Thursday, October 31, 2019

Drowning in Fabric...

It is amazing to me just how many yards of fabric scraps one person can accumulate.  I discovered I not only had plenty of scrap fabric for the window quilts, there is more than enough for at least one full sized quilt.  As long as I was making a mess with little snippets of cloth, I decided to cut out enough pieces for the quilt along with the window quilt pieces.

Years past it would have been a quick and easy job of cutting quilt pieces for patchwork, using a heavy plastic ruler and a rotary cutter.  However, as with many of my vintage, arthritis in the hands is causing problems.  I have tried every trick in the book, but I am unable to keep the cutter straight and the ruler as firmly in place to be able to cut precise pieces.  So I have reverted to the method I used many years ago before the newer cutting methods were available.  I made a template of plastic and draw around it for each patchwork piece, cutting them out with a scissors, giving each piece about a quarter inch seam allowance, using the pencil line as my sewing guide.  Time consuming - yes.  But I was wasting too much fabric when the ruler would slip or when my fingers couldn't control the direction of the rotary cutter.  Using a template is an old time method, but it works.

I am spending today cutting fabric.  A friend mentioned the British TV series, 'Wartime Kitchen and Garden.  I found it on YouTube and am watching that today as I work.  It is about how cooks and gardeners coped with the food rationing in England during WWII.  So far I am finding lots of useful information that may be needed right here at home, if things continue to slide downhill.

I hope to start sewing by the weekend.  Until then, back at it.  Only about 500 more pieces to go.  Sigh.

Monday, October 28, 2019

A New Project

My son walked in the other day with news that the construction that has begun across the street will be a seven story apartment building.  I have three windows in my living room that face the street and the construction.  Granted, I doubt there will be much construction before spring, but like my son said, when the building is occupied, unless I get some curtains on the windows in my second floor apartment, I will be living in a goldfish bowl.

Minnesota gets a bit nippy in the winter.  Blizzards are not uncommon.  Below zero temps for days on end are the norm.  I have found that even though my windows are new, they still can be a little bit drafty when the wind is strong.  Many people use plastic to keep out the winter cold, but I don't much care for that solution. I decided to make three window quilts to fit the windows.

I am making scrap quilts, using the fabric scraps I have leftover from other projects.  I also have a number of cream colored sheets that can be used for the backs of the quilts.  I can use tie backs to let in light during the day.  There are enough sheets to also make curtain panels to use in the warmer months.

I suppose I could have just purchased thermal drapes, but I really like the idea of using what I have on hand.  My bank account likes it, too.  The only thing I need buy is the batting for the window quilts.  This is good practice for a time when we may have to learn to make do with what we have.

I will post pictures when the quilts are finished, but don't hold your breath.  Making quilts take time.  I do hope to finish them by the time the temperatures head downward. It is not unusual to have snow by Thanksgiving, so I had better get busy.  :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Food as a Weapon

Most of us who are into prepping have heard a slacker or two say, "Well, if things ever get really bad, I will just come to your house."  Or they ridicule us for stockpiling food.  Or they tell us we are wasting our time by canning and dehydrating because we can buy whatever we want at the grocery store.

We have heard it often enough.  Mostly from those whose priorities are big screen TVs, new vehicles and vacations in exotic lands.  The same ones who run up their credit cards to own the latest gadget or buy the designer clothes in order to impress their friends. They have no earthly idea what is happening right here in our own country because they either aren't paying attention or they believe what they hear from lying politicians and the main stream media.

There is no way to sugar coat the truth.  We are in trouble.  America is deeply divided in every way.  Some say a civil war has already begun.  Senseless violence is becoming the norm.  And in Washington, there are those who are doing their level best to remove our duly elected president from office.

Make no mistake.  What is happening is nothing less than a coup de tat.  Have you thought about what could happen if it is successful?  What life will be like if we refuse to comply?

Ol' Remus over at the Woodpile Report gives us examples of what has happened when socialism has reared its ugly head.  You might want to take a look.  I'll wait.

This is why we spend hours and hours canning and dehydrating food.  This is why we buy extra food with each grocery shopping trip.  This is why we prepare.

If you don't think something similar could happen here, you are sadly mistaken.

My thanks to CW in Iowa for the 'heads up' on the article in the Woodpile Report.  And as she often says, "Keep on prepping."

Monday, October 21, 2019


Occasionally my mind goes on vacation and leaves me here all by myself.  That seems to be the case today.  After several false starts on a blog post, I have come to the conclusion I have nuthin'.  So rather than bore you, I am going to spend this cold, rainy day at my sewing machine.  Perhaps my mind will return tomorrow with something worth writing about.  Until then, those folks in the side bar have lots of good things to say.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Common Sense Prepping

When I first realized the need to be prepared for bad times, I did some online research.  I watched videos.  I read blogs.  I looked up statistics.

I found there was a vast amount of information out there.  There were sites that told me about the gear that every prepper had to have.  There were lists of foods that were absolutely necessary to store.  Other sites showed me how to survive out in the woods.

I dutifully made lists of the recommended items.  I searched online for the best prices on various items.  I worked out scenarios of what would constitute a SHTF moment and what would be needed in those situations.

And then my common sense side said, "Hold on.  How much of this stuff really applies to you."

First off, I am not going to be building any shelters in the middle of the forest.  I am an old woman with health issues.  I am connected 24/7 to an oxygen machine, fondly referred to as R2D2, due to it's size and shape.  I would be hard pressed to make it to the end of the block, to say nothing of heading to the hills.  Having knowledge of bushcraft skills might be fine for someone young and healthy, but for me...not so much.

These facts eliminated the need for specialized gear.  My gear consists of a variety of flashlights, oil lamps and candles.  It includes a propane camp stove and a propane space heater.  It also includes two pressure canners and two dehydrators.  The dehydrators will be useless if the lights go out, but in the meantime they have made it possible to stock up on dried food.  The rest of my gear is the normal household tools and utensils.

Most of those of my vintage are on a fixed income.  We can't justify spending large amounts of money on the recommended freeze dried foods or the pre-packaged ready to eat meals.  My solution to this problem is home canning of a variety of meats and vegetables and fruits along with lots of soups and stews that only need to be heated or, in a pinch, can be eaten right out of the jar.

Not everyone has the skills or equipment for home canning.  But by adding a few extra cans of food every time one shops for groceries, a deep pantry can be a reality over time.  Some of you are aware of the fact that due to health issues, I use a grocery delivery service.  Each delivery includes a couple of items I can not make at home, like sugar, flour, powdered milk, rice, etc.  These are stored away for future use. I use what I store, so food is rotated out and replaced regularly.

I once watched a video of a woman who had a full sized chest of drawers completely filled with health and medical supplies.  She had everything from leg splints to neck braces to several kinds of over the counter pain killers to vitamins of every kind. There were medications for every possible situation.  I was impressed.

But I can not afford to do the same.  What I have done is to stock up on the basics - aspirin, burn cream, peroxide, alcohol, band-aids, cough drops, etc.  I add to the stash from time to time - items like diarrhea medication, multi vitamins, antibiotic salves.  And I found a good First-Aid book that covers the common medical and injury needs.

If a person has the wherewithal and the storage space for a full compliment of prepping items, good for them.  But most of us tend to pinch a penny or two in our daily lives, so we do the best we can with what we have to work with.

The main point is that we do something.  Sitting idly by, waiting for the government to rescue us in times of disaster isn't going to cut it.  The way things are going, I doubt that rescue will be on the minds of 'our betters.'  Seems more likely they will be the ones we have to watch out for.  The better prepared we are, the better our chances.

Keep on prepping.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Proud Grandma

A week or so ago I received a phone call from granddaughter Maddie Mae.  She was letting me know that she had been accepted into the National Honor Society.  I made her promise to send me pictures of her induction into the Society.

This is my Maddie Mae, showing her induction certificate.  She works hard to maintain a very high grade average and I am really glad that her hard work has been rewarded.  She has earned the honor.

I got a bonus picture of Maddie with her family - my son, his son and daughters and his lovely wife.

I am so very pleased with the way David and Staci are raising their children.  They are being taught the values that seem to be going by the wayside in our country.  They know how to work and they know that not everyone gets a trophy - it has to be earned.  Family time is important to this group.  And the result is three good kids.

Maddie Mae - I am so very proud of you and your accomplishments.  And it makes me happy that you called to share your news about your induction into the National Honor Society with me.  This post is for you, Sweetheart.

Love, Grandma

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Civilized Behavior Is a Thing of the Past

My youngest son planned to go to the Trump Rally in Minneapolis Thursday.  As it turned out, the friend he planned to go with couldn't make it and David decided not to go alone.  I am glad he didn't.

I am not glad he missed the rally for I think he would have enjoyed it.  But I am glad and relieved he missed the aftermath.

The animals were protesting in the streets outside the venue. And the four legged kinds of animals are better behaved than those sorry excuses for human beings.

They carried signs filled with vulgarity.  They screamed obscenities.  They harassed the police.  They threw rocks and bottles at the police.  They threw rocks and bottles at the horses of the horse patrol.  They started fires in the streets.  They harassed and bullied innocent people leaving the venue who were just trying to get to their vehicles to go home.  They threw rocks and bottles at the cars leaving.  They threw jars of urine on supporters of our President. 

It saddened me to see the behavior of these thugs here in my home state.  We are supposed to be a state where nice, friendly people live.  And for the most part, we are.  But when people act like this over just a political rally, what do you suppose they will do when the sh** really does hit the fan?

This was a wake-up call for me.  It not only showed me that my efforts to get ready for whatever happens are spot on, it was a lesson on how low humans can sink when they don't get their way.  The attempt to shut down the rally ahead of time failed and this was their answer.  The mayor of Minneapolis didn't help the situation.  He declared it "Love to Hate Trump Day."

I don't care what the political leanings are as long as we can treat each other with respect.  They can protest all they want.  It is their right.  But when they become a mob of thugs trying to physically hurt those on the other side, that is where I draw the line.

This mob showed me what to expect in the future - maybe sooner than we think.  I believe that 'keep on prepping' and 'keep your powder dry' both fall under the category of Good Advice.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Minnesota Cops Fight Back

I love my home state of Minnesota.  It is a beautiful state, from the rolling farmlands in the southern and central parts of the state to the pine forests of the north, to its '10,000 lakes.'  It is true that winters are interesting with occasional blizzards and massive snowfalls, but if you have ever walked through woods so quiet you can hear the snowflakes touch the ground, you will understand true beauty.  I have sat on the deck of my brother's home and watched a small black bear up a tree on the other side of his driveway.  I have watched yearling fawns running and jumping and playing in the first snowfall of the year.  I have heard the haunting songs of the loons calling to one another across the waters of some of the most beautiful lakes anywhere.  I have spent hours, rod and reel in hand, catching the best tasting fresh water fish.

You may have heard the term 'Minnesota Nice.'  If you get away from the hustle and bustle of the cities, you will find it in abundance.  The people are for the most part, friendly.  Neighbors help neighbors.  They get together for summer barbecues and winter snowmobile rides.  People you don't know will wave in passing.  They will go out of their way to help someone in need.

There are good folks living in the cities, but sadly, the political climate is decidedly left leaning, complete with the current Trump Derangement Syndrome.  President Trump is holding a rally in Minneapolis this week.  The mayor of Minneapolis has decreed that police officers appearing at the rally are not allowed to wear their uniforms even though officers have traditionally been at events in uniform.  He has also decided to charge the Trump campaign way more for security than has ever been charged for an event before.  The hope was that Trump would cancel the rally.  The mayor obviously doesn't understand the concept of 'fighting back.'

He also doesn't understand what it does to morale when officers are told they can not wear a uniform they are proud to wear.  So the officers in the Minneapolis Police Department fought back and they designed this:

The officers will be wearing this shirt to the rally.  They have offered it for sale on their website.  (Note:  When I tried to post a link to the MPD Federation website, I found a notice that the website has been suspended.  I don't know if that is just temporary or permanent.  Odd, that.).    All proceeds go to charity.  A spokesman for the Department said in an interview that they would like to flood the audience with red shirts.

My goal here is not to sell t-shirts.  I have no connection to this effort.  But I do love the fact that these police officers, who put their lives on the line for us every single day, have decided to fight back against tyrannical politicians.  God bless them for having the courage of their convictions.  If more of us did what we could to fight back against those who would try to take our freedoms from us, we might not be so close to losing them to those who think they know better than we do how we should live our lives.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Everyday Stuff

The leaves here in southern Minnesota are beginning to turn colors.  The daytime temps are now in the 50's and 60's and the northern part of the state has already had a hard frost.  It is the time of year when we in the north begin to prepare for massive amounts of ice and snow and sub-zero temperatures.

I taste tested the chicken vegetable soup I canned last week.  That is some seriously good soup.  I had layered 1/2 cup chicken, 1/3 cup each corn, carrots and peas and 1/4 cup each of celery and onions in each pint jar.  On top of that went a chicken bouillon cube and the jars were filled with water.  They were processed for 75 minutes.  This has become my new favorite go-to soup.

I am running low on canning jars again, so it is time to concentrate on other items for my food storage.  I transferred four containers of cornmeal to zip lock bags and stashed them away.  Bugs seem to like the cardboard and paper containers, but I have had no problems with keeping dry food in zip lock bags.  I also have been ordering extra sugar and flour with each grocery order, and need to get more molasses to use in making my own brown sugar (1 Tablespoon molasses to 1 Cup of sugar).

I had bought 10 lbs of potatoes, thinking I would use some of them in the soup, but decided instead to dehydrate them.  So later today I will be peeling, slicing and blanching and getting them into the dehydrators.

Yesterday I made up several more of my cookie mixes - chocolate chip and oatmeal - which are my favorites of the cookie mix recipes HERE.  I need to make up some brownie mixes and more hot chocolate mix.  The hot chocolate mix seems to disappear quickly these days.

Winter is my time for needlework.  I have picked up where I left off on my youngest grandkid's graduation afghan and have been spending evenings with a crochet hook and usually a movie.  I am sick to death of the dog and pony show that is Washington these days and am back to reading headlines only.  Keeps my blood pressure on an even keel. :)

That's about it for me here in my little corner of the world.  Hope things are going well with all of you and that your pantrys are filling up.  I am hearing rumors that a long, cold winter is coming, at least for us here in the tundra.  Keep on prepping.