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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

More Weird Weather Anyone... again?

 We've been silent on the blog as we have not been able to get on the net as much as we'd like too. So an update to things going on here. Well we've had crazy weather again. For 3 days we've had spring-ish temperatures, yesterday we had severe weather in the form of severe thunderstorms and some tornadoes. Today the forecast is for occasional snow flurries and what ever our temperature this morning at 6am would be our high for today. It's so nice to see winter coming back, and I'm serious as I do have flowers that I don't want killed off due to the weather being wonky. Due to the rain yesterday our “pond” (which is still not finished being dug) is filled to the current spill over.
We have finally come to a good place in working with our wood stove, we have it burn new wood at the coal stage only and we have a smoldering fire all day and night. We don't “burn ourselves out” and it stays toasty enough. We also seem to have hit the spot in the wood pile where the densest wood seems to be at. Which is good for long burning anyway.
In the last week I have gotten up at 3 am to bake bread, I have to say I may be doing it more often. The bread I have made these last two times has been heavenly. Good flavor and just the right “weight” (if that makes sense), silver told me today that I need to get up at 3am every morning now. Guess that means he likes it huh?
We have made a small discovery that we hope will work like we think. Loews sells “blown in” insulation that is “green”. This insulation is made from shredded recycled paper. Silver has been wanting to do papercrete on the interior of the dome to insulate it. My only issue had been, where do we get that much paper. Then we noticed that insulation, we are planning on buying one bag and trying to mix some papercrete up and see if it does well with the insulation. If it works out I will let everyone know. Silver is also looking for a way to combine the wall flue of a Russian Masonry stove and a rocket mass heater. Any Recommendation would be helpful.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A word on "Prepping"

I know there are many preppers out there who are getting ready for "something" to happen.  While I think that listening/reading/watching them can be helpful, I don't know if something bad is coming at us or not.  However, I do think having a good supply of self safe food(s) available for 'just in case'.
Where I am living we get told at the beginning of 'storm season' (tornado season), we are told to have a emergency kit just in case we have one hit near us and there is no power what will you do for food and water?  So instead of just waiting for one instance of one season to hit you. Where I live in Missouri we could have a blizzard, if we do; and I live in a very rural area.  When would I receive help?  When would the roads be clear enough to get food from a store?  If the power went out after it thankfully I have a wood stove for heat.  However my cook stove is electric.
Look back at first Katrina, and then Sandy.  Both of them had issues with people getting food, Katrina was, pardon this; a clusterf###!  Then with Sandy parts of the cities were without access to food for a week.  What would you do in this situation?  The biggest problem for a city  is that 90% of your home is electric.  I know in the Chicago area most people have gas stoves and heat, unless you have matches what will you use to light your stove?
I would like to see people keeping some extra foods that are shelf stable that can be eaten without cooking, while I know this is very limited in scope for the people who are picky eaters.  But, let me ask you this.  What would you prefer?  Not having any food or having something you can eat though you do not like it?
When I go shopping I tend to buy an item or two that I am not planning on using right then.  It gets put in the pantry for later use, whenever I find tuna on sale or peanut butter I buy lots of it.  I don't like peanut butter, but if I had to I'd eat it.
Now with that said, I have a comment on something that has popped up all over the place.

#1 Buying MRE's for your emergency stash
#2 Buying tons of dried foods for your emergency stash
#3 forgetting to account for water

Lets start with #1... How many of you out there who think MRE's are a good idea have eaten them before?  I know I have only tried one type, Silver has tried many as he was in the military.  I was lucky the one I tried which I think was a chicken parma was good... not the best I'd ever had though.  I have been told by a few people (Silver included) that the tuna one is horrible, Silver thought it looked like and smelled like cat food.  Also each MRE is suppose to be 3,000 calories which for most people is the total calories you need.  The cost can go anywhere form $5-$12 a piece, which if you bought canned goods the MRE's would be more in cost.  You also need to check the dates on the MRE's as sometimes the ones you can buy are out of date... or they were rejected by the military.
#2 What good will dried anything do you if it needs to be re-hydrated with hot/warm water?  Or even cooked, if you have no way to heat or cook something?  I know dried fruits can be eaten as is, how long before you get ill from just eating fruits in an emergency situation?  Dried foods can be wonderful, but they need water to be edible aside from dried fruit... and sometimes the dried fruit needs water.  If you try to eat the dried foods dry, you will probably eat more than you should as they won't be very satisfying unless eaten in large quantities.  That said I do think they have their use, if you have the water available and the ability to cook the items that need cooking.
#3 I think this one is the most important, people don't tend to think of water when they store food for emergencies.  Now, I am the first person to say to not buy bottled water, however.  In the case of storing water for long term buy bottled water, you need about 3 gallons a person per day.  Which is a lot of water, and if the power is off there will be no water coming out of your taps, eventually in the cities the tanks where water is stored will run out.
Now some other things you should have for an emergency.  Extra blankets, if you have no heat you will need them to keep warm.  Also flashlights, WITH extra batteries; you'll need them at night and in dark corridors.  A fire extinguisher, a working one; also not a "kitchen sized" one as they don't put out anything  the average one lasts maybe 20-30 seconds.  What happens if you do manage to get your stove going and it catches on fire?  You'd need that extinguisher for that possibility.  I'd also suggest having something to entertain your kids if you have any, I know that when I was a kids power outages didn't bug me as I read like a book worm.  I know most kids are not like I was though.
You should also have a GOOD first aid kit, and I don't mean one of those under $20 ones at Wal-Mart.  They are not really helpful.  Ask your doctor what they'd recommend in one for emergencies.  Also maybe take a class on first aid, you never know when it might help.

Now please note... this is not a comprehensive list... nor is there any such things as a "magical list" that will work for everyone.  I am no expert on this stuff, but I know what makes sense to me; and what I have observed.  Make the decision for yourself.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chilly, but a nice morning

Such a nice morning out there even though it's still a tad chilly outside.  We have one more day before the house guest/farmhand moves on to their new home.  They just didn't work out here, I do hope their new place does work out well for them.
 Any who.. I finally got the pictures from the first snowfall from this year onto the computer.  These are a couple weeks old so please remember this.
  first real snowfall front Doesn't it look soooooooo.... pretty?  I always like watching snow fall and these were the big fluffy ones.  The funniest thing through was the two pups, neither of them wanted to go out into it.  Like they were afraid to touch the strange "white stuff" on the ground. We have not had anything measurable since this  snowfall, though Arkansas did get some a day or so ago.  I wish we had gotten it, we could really use the precip.  Though we are ahead on the precip for this new year ... so far, things can change and I do know it.
   Now for a really cute snowfall picture:
  road west with Merlin That is Merlin enjoying his first snowfall, mind you when we saw him there he was jumping each step trying to not get his paws wet.  His sister handled the snowfall much better than him... or at least she didn't do anything silly in front of us.  
 Well so far I can tell you that putting the chickens onto wild bird food does have a downturn in egg production.  It seems by at least half what we were getting before.  Live and learn is my opinion on it, and while I was hoping they would do good on it; I need the eggs.  I think we're going to have to really 'fiddle' with the feed portions when I start making my own.
 Wood stove update:
 It is still working very well, the only thing that I have seen as a problem so far has been one... we needed to do some better sealing around the chimney with the cement.  We are also having an issue with the handle for the door not wanting to move, but I think that's just a simple mechanical issue with the nuts.  It is still putting out a very good amount of heat, and we can simmer food on the surface, which next time I make my stew I may try putting it on the wood burner after the initial cooking.  The beef stew, my lentil stew already simmers on it.
 I have also discovered a side benefit for me anyway.  We have all those cinder blocks around the outside of the burner.  It makes a lovely spot to proof and rise bread dough.  Since having it here my breads have risen beautifully.

 Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Monday, January 14, 2013


 I wanted to take a moment to talk about something that has been “rumbling” through my head for about a week now. Now, I have a habit of posting things to facebook that I think have merit, are funny, or have a point in them whether everyone else sees it or not.
I have a few strong opinions on a few aspects of life that I have had to personally deal with that to some people could be seen as prejudicial. ..and here is the funny thing about that last word. EVERYONE has prejudices, you just do not always see them. I for one like my opinions to be known, and while I know this can sometimes surprise people in respect to the things I either believe in or have issue with. I have a few things to say about them being surprised and thinking that I'm not the person they “believed” me to be.

# 1 --- If you have a belief/opinion and you think it is firmly yours. Then nothing I say will change it.

# 2 --- If my opinion won't change yours, then it doesn't harm YOU.

#3 –- I am a firm believer that any knowledge as long as you learn something from it, is never negative.

With those points in mind lets look at them:

Point #1 If you have a belief/opinion and you think it is firmly yours. Then nothing I say will change it.
This refers to the fact that if you really believe in something than you know with all your heart/mind that it is true and yours. I tend to think that if someone -does- change my opinion or belief then either it wasn't held very well. The other side to that is I would also admit that I was wrong in what I thought.
Part of what makes our opinions “ours”, is our own personal experiences; which includes how you grew up. Everyone experiences things in a different manner than everyone else, and it's our differences that make us stronger.

Point #2 If my opinion won't change yours, then it doesn't harm YOU.
This being said while I think it is self explanatory, I imagine some people wouldn't see it as such. An opinion by itself harms no one, what you do with said opinion can harm someone however. Wars are started over opinions, on party believing theirs is the only correct one and wanting to make sure everyone believes what they do.
I personally find this behavior reprehensible, but I can only control so many things myself and while I strive to be the pebble that makes the eventual big wave. A lot of the times the pebble doesn't cause much of a minor one either.

Point #3 I am a firm believer that any knowledge as long as you learn something from it, is never negative.
To emphasize this point I'd like to point out something for anyone who -doesn't- know. I am Wiccan, to some that means witch. I grew up in a Roman Catholic household and my children attend fundamentalist churches. I watch T.V. Shows about the bible, and I have been known to read the bible. While I think a lot can be learned from the bible, I see it as a learning tool.

We like to comment in this country that I live in that EVERYONE is entitled to their opinion(s). To a degree this is true... I think the whole statement should be:
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, everyone else might not like it though; and some might jump all over you for making it known.
...scary thought though is it not? I think people should agree that they will not agree on something. Don't down something that is commented on just because you think it is bad, you can always say if you feel you need to make a negative response to something. “I personally do not believe that what is stated/posted is a good thing.” Maybe have an open dialogue about it. The problem however is if you disagree with someone and would like to discuss it, don't make it sound like they are totally in the wrong and you are totally right. This evokes a closed mind. If we are in the Enlightened age, then no one should have a closed mind.
That said I think there are already too many closed minds in this world. Unfortunately they are also the ones who are causing the wars worldwide.

BBBRRRRR... It's cold outside!

Lovely early Monday morning for those of you in the US!  
I got the kids up this morning and found out some of the local schools are closed due to the temps it is 15 F outside right now which is about -15 C   I imagine those schools are having either heating issues or had pipes burst, as my kids still have school, they aren't happy about it; but that is life.  I remember the one time I figured I'd get off of school when I was in middle school, we had; had thunder snow the night before.  When we discovered we still had school the next day I found out that the snow was up to my hips.
I'm just kinda amazed that the schools are open today as 2 winters ago they closed school when we had about 4 inches of snow on our car bumper.  I just hope they stay warm enough, they all have nice coats for cold.  My son is just the type that thinks 40's is good shorts and no coat weather.
I had to take the chickens some boiling water this morning to thaw their water and I will probably have to do it again in a couple of hours.  I'm trying them out on wild bird seed at this moment as we ran out of chicken feed on a day that the feed store was closed.  I'll let you know if I notice any changes in their egg production.  I am planning on eventually to do my own animal feed.  It might start this year as I'm going to try growing Amaranth this year and if we get a good crop of it I'm going to try it on the chickens first.

For all of you in the North... Stay warm!  ..and those in the south stay cool!

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Breakfast Cereal

    cereal boxesBreakfast cereals, the iconic American breakfast. Sometimes called the Breakfast of Champions, most children eat it every morning. I have stopped buying this as of a year or two ago. I discovered that the cereal was not really cost effective for me Also as we have been trying to keep the kids away from as much HFCS as we can, as well as GMO grains not buying it does double duty.  
 Oddest thing I've learned about not buying this product that I, myself grew up with. Once in a great while I miss the flavors of the cereals, in a snacking sense. As I am one of those who when they were in the house would eat it as a late night snack. My mother when I was a child refused to buy the more sugary of the boxed cereals. So we tended toward just the plain Cheerios, honey nut Cheerios, and Chex. While they do contain less sweetener than say Cocopuffs, they are still filled with grains some of which are GMO products.  

100_0919I have run into one major problem with my kids and this however. My kids are all getting tired of eating eggs. I think it's funny, as I prefer a couple of fried eggs for breakfast almost daily; and since we are “growing our own” it's cheaper. Also my youngest is tired of eating pancakes. Now mind you with them in the local school they eat breakfast at home two days a week unless it's some kind of time off from school.  
       Sad thing here though. I think the school's breakfasts are not very healthy no matter what the First Lady has done to the school “lunch” program. The offering at my kids' school in the morning consists of :  

 Cereal Bars

 Honey Bun(s)

   Chocolate Muffins  


   Chocolate Milk  

 Vanilla Milk

   Now tell me how kids are suppose to have a healthy breakfast on that????

 I certainly don't know how they can call this better for them, I think one of the things they should offer there is (I hate the amount of packaging but in this case it is a good idea) prepackaged cut fruit, maybe some granola (and I realize that they'd buy it from Big G), yogurt, plain milk with the OJ. To me that would be 100X's better than what they offer.

 Now when they were still in the grammar school there was a “hot” breakfast as well... those entail bread sticks , or biscuits and gravy, or... “super bun”. Now I know when “super bun” came to my mind I thought of just a large roll maybe toasted... it's not. What it is, is a LARGE honey bun sometimes covered in chocolate. Again how is this a healthy meal?     I think that it's not just the “lunches” that need looking at, breakfast needs to be as well.  

 Think on it...

   Be Well Be Safe, and Blessed Be...  

Monday, January 7, 2013

The News

The title while small really does say it all doesn’t it?  When someone comments on “the news” you might think of network news companies like NBC,ABC,CBS,Fox.  You might even think of CNN, or Huffingtonpost.  I also on occasion think of Treehugger and Infowars, as well as natural News.

Now my question to all of you regarding this is how much actual new do you see from any of these places?  …and I mean  real  news, news that will honestly mean something about the world you live in and things you believe in.  I spend a lot of time only paying attention on the “networks” to just the “headlines” as that is the only place where things about the world in general get spoken about.

How often do you have to go online to look up what is going on in other countries to see if it might at some point down the line inter-fear with your own life and world around you?  Take GMO laws as an example.  How many people out there who aren’t in the movement know that most GMO’s are banned in Europe?  Probably not many…

How about the current debt crisis’s around the world?  How many people saw them coming, before the “networks” decided to tell you about them?  Again probably not many.

I happen to get most of my real news on facebook and twitter, as if I haven’t found the story myself through browsing one of my friends/followers will.

I think it’s sad that most Americans -don’t- know what’s really going on in the world and they also don’t care either.  I think this recent “gun control” issue is going to wake a few people up to what the world is like, unlike the issue with the fiscal cliff (yes I said the naughty phrase yell at me later for it).  Grant thought it was a manufactured event precipitated by our own government.  There were many people out there who just shrugged their shoulders at it.  We watched it very carefully though we knew and it happened that they did something to fix it last minute.

I think someone needs to come up with a news company that actually has new on it, as a way to keep people better informed.  However, I also realize no person in the  (I hate this phrase) “popular” group of the “world mind” will do so as all the -normal- people want to know what is the next big style in clothes; and what they should and should not buy.  Or even better.. which stores will open earliest on Black Friday.

Come on folks… why not grow up some and pay attention to the REAL WORLD (not the MTV show) and stop just worrying about what someone does/not think is the current style and be aware of the world around you!

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be…

Friday, January 4, 2013

Life can be funny sometimes

Well so we have my weekly update now, first comment of the day.

Jobs in this area just don't exist, for you to be off foodstamps if you are on them.  Due tot he fact that right now we do get food stamps I am required as I am not disabled to get a job. When I figured out the requirements for the job I need to have to make the FS office happy I need to have a job that pays $7.50 hr for 40hrs a week.  The minimum wage in this state is in the $6 range, and the manufacturing jobs in this area all seem to need people who can lift on a regular basis more than I can.  So what are we suppose to do...?

Well according to the company that takes care of the job searches I -MUST-  apply to 3 jobs a week, in either a) three different locations, or b) three different jobs in the same location.  I live in a rural area, I have no home internet and I don't have the money to fill my gas tank all the time to get around to do it.  They don't care and... they will not help you get gas if you do not already have work.  How are you suppose to get a job if you can't get anywhere?

Even more fun... one of the major comments in Pres Obama's campaign this last year is that he wants to make sure hat everyone can go to a 4-year college to get degree's so that more manufacturing jobs can open up.  I'm sorry, but who wants to spend a boat load of money going to a 4-year school to get a job in manufacturing?  It really is a waste of your education, all you need for even a CNC machine is a tech school, there is no need for a 4-year degree to work manufacturing.

...or am I the only one seeing this?

Anywho my son seems to have gotten a stomach bug and I need to run home now that I also got my job search done as well.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be