Wednesday, June 26, 2024


 When did the American people forget how to use this small, two letter, one syllable word?

I hear about governmental regulations telling people they can't grow a garden.  There are all sorts of reasons given, mostly pulled from thin air under the guise of "save the planet."

We have states where farmers are told they can not water their crops.  The same ridiculous reasons are given for this stupidity.

And then there are the continuing efforts to disarm us all.  What part of "shall not be infringed" do they not understand.

This stomping all over our rights is nothing new.  A friend told me about when he was a kid, some 50 years ago.  There was a small tree growing in the yard of the family house.  The roots were causing problems.  The city said the family could not cut down the tree.  So in the middle of the night, the kid and a hand saw took care of the problem.  Fines were levied.  Citations were written.  There was a judge involved.  All over a very small tree in a yard the homeowner had paid for.

The stupidity has grown by leaps and bounds since that time.  

We now have rules and regulations covering every aspect of our lives.  And what I find astounding is that so many are OK with that.  Have we become so lazy that we no longer care that we are living under the thumbs of politicians?

Should a bureaucrat have had the audacity to tell my ancestors how they should be growing the crops in their fields or even hinted that they weren't allowed to grow food to feed their families, I'm thinking that unfortunate soul would have been frog-marched off my ancestor's land with the promise of what would happen should that person be stupid enough to try that again. 

Spines need to be grown.  And we need to remember not only how to say "No," but how to say "Hell, No" and mean it.

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Time Out and Tired of Politicians

 So, the past week has found me in Blogger time-out more than once.  I was working on my method of putting the various branches of my family tree online without having to pay genealogy websites' monthly fees.  That involves making new blogs off of this one. (These can be seen by clicking on "View my complete profile" on the right side of this page.)  Each page contains one Family Group Sheet for each ancestor.  I have lots of ancestors.  Blogger gets its panties in a twist when I add lots of pages at one time.  So, they slap my hands and set me in a corner until they are over their snit.  Sigh.

So while in time-out, I have been spending time sewing quilts together.  This is Minnesota.  Winters are usually mind numbing cold.  A good supply of blankets and quilts is a good idea.  Our winters often include blizzards.  Blizzards can knock out electricity.  Cold is no fun at all.

Seems like my days are filled with all things preparedness.  I find myself convinced that these efforts are necessary.  I don't know what the future holds, but none of it looks really good.

There is one thing I have all but eliminated from my daily routine.  I have stopped paying attention to the latest "slings and arrows" being thrown around by politicians seeking election or re-election.  I am tired of the foolishness.  I am tired of the stupidity.  And mostly I am tired of both sides thinking that we are so ignorant that we will actually believe the lies.

I might actually listen if the solutions to problems were discussed instead of the personal picadilloes of opponents, real or imagined. I don't care.  What I do care about is the fact that in my last grocery order, I paid $4.99 for one pound of butter.  So it now costs me $1.25 per stick - that's per stick - and I have to weigh whether or not I really want butter on my popcorn.

That may seem like a small thing to some, but to many of us, the increases in the price of not only groceries but in so many other goods and services are a big deal.  Toss in the threats of war that are being talked about lately and all of the other issues we hear about, and it is easy to become fearful and overwhelmed.

So I stick to sewing quilts and canning food and dehydrating food and storing all the other supplies that may be needed.  Gives me focus.  Keeps me sane - or as sane as I can be these days.  And I know I cannot change the behemoth our government has become.  But I can do everything in my power to make sure that no matter what happens, my family will be alright.

And that is far more important than anything any politicians could say.  As far as government goes.....I just wish they would leave me alone.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Successful Experiment

When I get involved in a project and mealtime rolls around, I go for quick and easy.  And that generally comes in a jar of home canned food.

While scanning my shelves for something that looked good, I found, hiding back in a corner, a jar of sausage patties.  I remembered having a large quantity of bulk sausage some time back and canning patties was the experiment of the day.

The date on the jar was August 2019.  I popped the lid, took a sniff and concluded the patties looked and smelled OK.

Dropped the meat into a small cake pan.  Dug in the freezer and found some Tater Tots.  Threw in a couple of handfuls of those.  Into the oven the pan went at 400 degrees.  Let them heat until the sausage looked browned on top - about a half hour.

Fried up a couple of eggs and dinner was served.

Tasted great.  An experiment that actually worked!  Not too often that happens, at least for me.

If anyone is interested, the sausage was formed into patties that fit in a wide mouth pint jar.  Water was added to cover, and the patties were canned at 10 lbs. pressure (for my area) for 75 minutes.  Even while experimenting, following the basic rules of canning is not only important, it is necessary.

I have a bunch of hamburger in the freezer and I'm thinking I might try this with the beef.  Also plan to buy more bulk sausage if it ever goes on sale.

Doesn't hurt to branch out and try new things.  Might actually come up with a winner.  :)

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Caroline and Alberta

For a while now I have been noticing that people in general are becoming cranky.  And rude.  And sometimes, downright mean.  Not everyone, but it is out there.  I no longer go out among the population.  But I live next door to a bar.  Used to be this neighborhood bar was kind of like the TV show "Cheers."  It was a rare Saturday night that I would hear a fight in the alley between my building and the bar.  I mostly heard folks talking and laughing and enjoying an adult beverage and the company of friends.  But now I can pretty much count on a ruckus in the street on a weekend.

Some of those who come into my apartment tell me about ornery people they have run across out in the world.  Say it is becoming more common.  Didn't used to be that way.

Enter Caroline and Alberta.

Caroline is a nurse.  A darned good one.  She has been taking care of my legs for several years.  She isn't just a nurse.  She is a friend.

Some time back her sister had a garage sale where she sold her excess fabric and lots of other stuff.  Caroline knows I sew.  She brought me three pieces of plaid flannel, each at least 3 yards long, plus a couple of other cotton pieces about the same size.

Alberta was my next-door neighbor in my building a few years ago.  She was a hard-working farm wife until her husband died.  She would stop in every now and then - not really often.  Or we would talk if we saw each other outside.  Under her rough exterior was a sense of humor and a heart of gold.

She showed up one afternoon, carrying a box about the size of a banker's box, filled with large denim yardages.  She knew I sewed, and she thought I might like to have the denim for a project.

Her remark as she sat by my kitchen table was, "I wanted to see you and I wanted you to have this fabric before I die."  

And because we had joked with each other in the past, I said, "Oh, Alberta.  You are too ornery to die any time soon."

Less than a week later she was carried down the stairs in a body bag.  I still miss her.

This past week while digging through some boxes I have stored, looking for I can't remember what, I ran across the flannel and denim.  Both are now cut into 7 inch squares.  I am in the process of sewing everything together to make two lightweight rag quilts.  I will post a picture when they are finished - maybe in a week or a little more.

And when I rest under the quilts, they will remind me of my nurse who is also my friend and of a friend since departed who had a rough exterior and a kind heart.

Would that people stop fussing at each other and go back to a world of friendships and kindness.  To a world where being offended wasn't like an occupation.  And a world where "woke" meant literally "not asleep."


Sunday, June 9, 2024

Reasons for Paranoia

Anybody else having nagging feelings about being watched.  Being listened to.  Being recorded.  All of the above?

There was a time when I would have been happy to show people my shelves of home canned and dehydrated food.   Not to brag...well, OK.  Maybe a little bit.  We do have the right to be proud of the results of hard work.  But mostly as an incentive to prepare.  As in, "See?   You can do this, too.  And if you want help, just let me know."

That's how things used to be.  Now...not so much.

As an example, not all that long ago I had a new to me nurse come by to deal with my legs.  Now, the exit door in my apartment and the door to the room where most of my food is stored are close to one another.   Perhaps it was an honest mistake.  Perhaps not.  But when she opened the wrong door when leaving, her remarks were:  "My God, but you have a lot of food in  there.  I know where I will come if anything bad happens."

At that point I informed her that this was for my family should an emergency arise.  And then I wanted to know which one of my grandchildren should go without so she could eat.  And then I called the nursing office to let them know that this particular nurse would not be allowed in my apartment again.  Never.

It's not like we aren't being watched nearly every minute of the day.  Grocery store parking lots have a camera on every light pole.  Buying stamps at the Post Office?  Cameras whirring there.  Cameras at every busy intersection, recording where you are at any given time.

A while back I asked my son in a phone conversation to please pick up a battery operated can opener for me.  Within a couple of hours the ads popping up on my computer were for battery operated can openers.  And I don't even own a cell phone.  Those phones that are notorious for gathering private information and tracking the users.

My daughter was here a few days ago.  We talked about her upcoming trip to Montana.  In a conversation with another family member, it was mentioned that one of my grands had just finished her first year at a Wisconsin college.  Want to take a wild guess as to the subjects of the vacation ads now visible on my computers?

I don't believe the Russians will come marching down my street.  I doubt that the marauding hordes will overtake my neighborhood.  And I am not buying into the fearmongering of many of the YouTube channels, as in "Buy this gadget or you will surely die!"

However, I have 16 people in my immediate family to worry about.  With that in mind, as much as I would like to help those outside my family in an emergency situation, that's not happening.   Family first.  Always.

And I believe that those who will come knocking on the door looking for a handout are the same people who went on vacation and who feel the need to dress in the latest fashion and who have money to spend on pedicures but failed to see the need to stock up on food and water.  And now expect someone else to feed them because they didn't bother preparing.

So I am doing whatever necessary to downplay my preparedness efforts to those locally.   But I do admit to being somewhat paranoid about those who I don't really trust.  Nevertheless, the stacking and praying continues.  Hope you all are busy doing the same.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Looking Back...

One of my granddaughters gave each of her parents a book.  The pages are filled with questions ranging from birth to the present.  Then she decided that Grandma needed a book to fill out as well.  Her reasoning, "I know about my ancestors.  But I don't know hardly anything about your life."

So, I am slowly filling in the blanks.  And the process brings back some long-forgotten memories.  Not sure if that is a good thing always.

While working on the part dealing with childhood, it occurred to me that kid's lives years ago would cause apoplexy in some today.

(Apoplexy, informal definition:  incapacity or speechlessness caused by extreme anger)

Sports drinks came from the garden hose.  Drinking water came from a tap in the kitchen.  We would have considered it a foolish waste of money to buy bottles of drinking water.  

My kids rode in the back of my pickup truck.  Side note:  We once chased a black bear down the road by our rural house, until he veered off into the woods.  Kids waving and shouting like mad, enjoying the sight.

Some of my kids were involved in sports.  When they lost a game, they tried harder to improve.  They were not awarded a 'participation trophy.'  Another side note:  My grandson's team lost in a tournament.  Grandson asked his coach where his trophy was.  Coach replied that if he wanted a trophy, he had better earn it. A rare coach these days.

"Play Dates."  Really?  Scheduled play was unheard of.  We went outside.  In the summer there was bike riding and sidewalk roller skating (remember skate keys on a shoelace hanging around every kid's neck?) and exploring any grove of trees within a couple of miles from home.  And building forts in among the trees.

Winter was the time for us in the North to get our snow sleds out of the garage and slide down the hill at the end of the block, watching for street traffic.  And when the skating rink at the elementary school was frozen over and the little warming house with the small wood stove inside blazing away, we pretended to be Olympic speed skaters or figure skaters.  Except for me.  Never did learn to skate backwards.  :)

Moving to the country brought new adventures.  Wading in the creek running at the end of the bean field.  Catching frogs and crawdads.  Feasting on wild plums and raspberries.

Walking the mile and a half to school, spring and fall.  Couldn't claim both ways were uphill and snowdrift deep.  My kids knew the roads.  And the hills.  And that plows cleared off the snow.  :)

The fun of me and my cousins being dragged behind a car by my Dad and Uncle.  They hooked up with sturdy ropes, an old car hood, smooth side down, to Dad's car, set us kids on blankets in the hood and away we went, sliding along on the frozen lake.  

Seems to me that today's kids are growing up without knowing what real freedom is.  My generation and that of my kids had rules.  "Come in when the streetlights come on."  "It is your turn to wash the supper dishes."  "Stop teasing your sister."  

But we didn't have someone watching our every move or planning our play.  We learned to think for ourselves and to make hopefully, good decisions.  I doubt today's kids will learn what real freedom is.

Judging by current events, I'm not so sure any of us will keep the freedoms we now enjoy.

As always - keep stacking it to the rafters.  Keep praying.  We need all the help we can get.

Sunday, June 2, 2024

Homemade Mixes

Any of you who have been hanging around here for a while are aware of the fact that I have a medical condition involving my lower legs.  They have to be wrapped 24/7 to keep them from filling with fluid that could result in open wounds and infection.  I see home health care nurses three times a week.  These angels have kept me wound free and infection free for several years.

I now see a new nurse.  She is not only excellent in doing her job, she is also like-minded.  I know you all are aware of how few and far between like-minded people are.  It is a joy to be able to talk about current issues and preparedness.

We were talking about grocery prices.  I mentioned that I liked having those packets of brown gravy mix on hand for various uses, but I no longer order them because I refuse to pay the price now asked for them.  Instead, I am making my own gravy mixes from scratch and find I like them just as well or better than the packaged mixes.  And I know there are no nasty ingredients in them. 

My new nurse / friend asked for recipes.  I was going to just print out several recipes for mixes, but I am kind of low on printer paper at the moment, so I decided to post them here and anyone who could use them can just copy and paste.  I may have posted some of these before, but if so, I think they are worth repeating.

I have, over the years, collected tons of recipes from the internet and I have no clue where I found them.  These are just a few that I use regularly.  Enjoy.

Homemade Beef Gravy Mix  (About 2-2/3 cups mix)

1-1/3 cups powdered milk                    3/4 cup flour

3 tablespoons beef bouillon                  

1/8 teaspoon thyme or celery powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder                   

1/8 teaspoon sage or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix well and store in an airtight container.

TO USE: Pour 1 cup cold water in saucepan, using a whisk to blend, stir in 1/2 cup mix.

Stir constantly over medium heat until gravy is smooth and slightly thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Makes 1 cup gravy.


Homemade Chicken Gravy Mix   (Makes about 2 cups of mix.)

1-1/3 cups powdered milk                       3/4 cup flour

3 tablespoons chicken bouillon               1/4 teaspoon sage

1/8 teaspoon thyme or 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/8 teaspoon pepper or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

or 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Mix well and store in an airtight container.

TO USE: Pour 1 cup cold water in saucepan, using a whisk to blend, stir in 1/2 cup mix.

Stir constantly over medium heat until gravy is smooth and slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes.

Makes 1 cup gravy.


Chicken or Beef Gravy

3/4 cup all-purpose flour                       1 tsp ground black pepper

3 tablespoons of chicken or beef bullion

Country Gravy

3/4 cup all-purpose flour                     1/2 tsp salt

1 -2 teaspoons of ground black pepper

1 teaspoon of minced, dehydrated or freeze-dried chopped onion

This batch will make you 8 cups of gravy.

To make 1 cup of gravy

Melt 1 Tablespoon of butter, lard or oil in a pan and mix with 2 tablespoons of gravy mix. Once all combined, add 1 cup of cold water and whisk until smooth. Stir until it thickens.


Spaghetti Sauce Mix

1/4 cup cornstarch                          1/4 cup dried onions, minced

1/4 cup dried parsley flakes

3 tablespoons dried vegetable flakes or 3 tablespoons sweet pepper flakes

2 tablespoons Italian seasoning                   4 teaspoons salt

4 teaspoons sugar                                        

2 teaspoons dried garlic, minced

To Use:  1 lb. ground beef,  2 cups water,  1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste

Directions: Combine the first eight ingredients. Store in an airtight container in a cool dry place up to 1 year. 

To use: Stir in 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce mix, water and tomato paste. Bring to a boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20 minutes.


Spaghetti Sauce Spice Blend

1/4 c. celery salt           1 T. dried basil             1 T. dried oregano

1 T. dried parsley         1 T. garlic powder        1 T. onion salt

1 T. sugar                     1 T. pepper

Mix ingredients together, place in an airtight container. Shake before using. Attach instructions. Makes about 3/4 cup. Instructions: To make spaghetti sauce, whisk an 8-ounce can tomatoes with 1/4 cup spice blend in a saucepan; simmer for 30 minutes. Pour over an 8-ounce package prepared pasta. Serves 4.



5 cups nonfat dry powdered milk                    3 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups dry cocoa                            1 cup nondairy coffee creamer

pinch of salt

Mix powdered milk, creamer, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Sift in cocoa and powdered sugar. Mix well. Store in a airtight container.

When ready to use, add approximately 1/3 cup to a mug of boiling water. Stir until cool enough to drink.


Malted Hot Cocoa Mix

1 (25.6 ounce) box nonfat dry milk powder

1 (16 ounce) container instant chocolate milk mix

1 (13 ounce) jar malted milk powder

1 cup sifted confectioners' sugar

1 (6 ounce) jar powdered nondairy creamer

1/2 teaspoon salt

In large bowl, combine all ingredients and stir until well blended. Store in an airtight container. Keep in a cool place.

To serve: In mug, pour 6 ounces of hot water over 1/3 cup cocoa mix, and stir until well blended.


The above are a few of the mixes I regularly use.  I find that in addition to doing more pressure canning lately, I am making more homemade convenience foods rather than pay the insane prices that continue to go skyward.  I still believe that the more we can do for ourselves, the better off we will be.

Keep stacking, my friends.  Keep praying!