Monday, December 28, 2009

Unusual Places to Shop

A friend recently told me I should share some of my *frugal* (okay, CHEAP) shopping tips.
I shop thrift shops, yard sales and a few other stranger places (more on those later).

Yard Sales:
Unless you are the hyper type that has to rush around to yard sales to find *all the good stuff before it is gone* do these things:
Go later in the day when people are liable to be ready to shut it will get deals because people don't want to haul that stuff back in!
Go on cloudy days when the skies are threatening rain.
Go on days when it is so hot and humid that people are dropping of heat stroke.
Go on a cold, chilly, windy day.
Inclement weather is AWESOME to go yard-sale-ing.
People do NOT want to endure nasty weather to get 7 bucks for that coffee table...offer them 4 bucks so they can get back inside under the ac or heater or out of the rain. They'll take it.
Take your time looking. Especially in bad weather. I frequently have sellers blurt out to me "Look, what do you want, I'll make you a deal!"

ONLY carry one dollar bills and change. Yes, it will be a pain in the butt to count out 20 bucks in ones for that tv, but if you pull out a wad of 20s and 100s, you'll be charged higher prices!

Think ahead. If you see things new in package or close to new or maybe an antique or used item that would be appreciated by someone in your family or circle of friends, think ahead to birthdays, Christmas, Mothers Day, Fathers Day, etc. If you have an infant and you spot a toddler bed in great shape at a cheap price, GET IT! Store it until you need it...that baby will be needing it sooner than you think and you won't find a bed at that price again!

That's my yard sale advice.

On to *stranger* places to shop:

Dry Cleaners. Yup, go shopping at your local dry cleaners, especially if they are a *mom and pop* type business. Though state laws differ, most dry cleaners sell off clothes left behind by customers after 30, 60 or 90 days. Frequently they sell them just for what is owed--the cost of cleaning them! Men's suits, coats, jackets, prom dresses, wedding dresses, sweaters, women's suits! I have seen them all (and bought quite a few). Where else can you get a freshly cleaned 300 dollar leather jacket for 15 bucks? A friend of mine bought her wedding dress this way. Sixty dollars. She looked the dress up online--$4000.00! A designer wedding dress for 60 bucks! She paid another $100.00 for alterations and had a gorgeous wedding dress that fit her well!

Now...onto another strange place...check with companies in your area that rent out linens for events. Tablecloths in particular. Call a wedding planner and ask what company they use. You want the BIG tablecloths. They discard them after they get a stain or the edges fray or they get a hole in them. Frequently, they are 100% cotton, but since they have been washed so many times, the fabric will be pre-shrunk when you use it. Some use cotton-poly blends. Most take dye really well. They are perfect for curtains, quilting, I have even made skirts and dresses out of some. You can dye the fabric using various techniques...solid color, tie-dyed, batik, etc.

Look, ways to shop frugally and save money are out there!
Sometimes you just have to look in *out of the box* places to find the best ways for you!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Big Holiday Meal Ahead!

Okay...I know everyone is prepared for the huge holiday meal (be it Yule, Christmas, not have time to name them all!).
Are you using any food storage items in your holiday meal?
If not...What is wrong with you?

Huge feasts were, in bygone times, not just a way to celebrate a festive occasion, but a way to show friends and family that you had provided well for your family, your harvest had been abundant and your livestock had produced. It was a gathering of the fruits of your labors for the benefit of your household and the meal was a gentle *boast* as well as a meal.

I have flour that will be turned into bread, cookies and cakes. My honeyed ginger slices that I will finely julienne and add to my home made cranberry sauce...quick recipe--2 cups fresh cranberries, 1/4 cup honey, 2 teaspoons julienned ginger, 1 teaspoon orange zest, 1/2 cup orange juice and a teaspoon of lemon juice. Sometimes I add a drop of vanilla to the mix. I bring it to a boil, then put it on simmer and cover. Cook it down until nice and thick. Great served with turkey or ham...or over ice cream or a smidge on vanilla pudding.

I have some white beans...I am thinking of cooking up some of them as a side dish.
I am making cornbread today...going to let it dry up a bit to turn it into cornbread stuffing.
I have some dried elderberry that I may turn into elderberry jelly today to serve on the bread I plan to make.

Food storage does NOT have to be boring or bland when included in your meals.
It can be quite festive! Use imagination, find great recipes and experiment!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More *Everything for a Buck* gift ideas

Okay, I had occasion to wander into our local "Everything $1" store here recently.
Now, as I posted about a month ago, you can pare down your Holiday gift giving expenses by shopping at one of these places and still get gifts that will be appreciated and used.
Make your budget and STICK TO IT!

For the kids (age 10 and under): There are usually oodles of toys, coloring books, childrens books, childrens Bibles (at my local one!), socks, rubber duckys, infant clothes (for babies or dress up a hand made baby doll!)

For adolescents and teens: Journals, diaries, cosmetics, pocket knives (at my local store), rain ponchos (good to go in a B.O.B or E.D.C.), notebooks, pens (does anyone ever have enough pens?), bubble bath, bath fizzies, fancy soap, books (saw several good novels suitable for teens at mine), Bibles, covers for cell phones, fake tattoos, jewelry...and on and on...

Women: The aforementioned rain poncho, bath goodies, perfumes, jewelry, books, Bibles, pretty scented candles, office and stationery supplies, cosmetics, hair accessories...and on and on....

Men: Pocket knives, tools, car accessories such as cup holders--etc, computer mouse pads, Biibles, books, mens cologne, covers for cell phones, etc and son...

Use your imagination! If you only have $5.00 budgeted for Aunt Martha, go in there and get her 5 presents!
Maybe Aunt Martha likes her bath-time...
A pretty basket, some Yardley English Lavender soap, a lavender scented candle and some lavender bubble bath and lavender bath fizzies.. Crumple some tissue paper into the basket, put the soap, candle and bubble bath and fizzies in, tie a ribbon around the basket, DONE!
Aunt Martha like to write? Stack a journal, a thesaurus/dictionary, a package of nice pens, a pack of pencils and a pencil sharpener together and tie ribbon over it to tie it together.

Now Uncle have $5.00 budgeted for him, too.
Uncle Bob like to fish?
Looking at my local $1.00 store, I actually found some fishing stuff!
So, get Uncle Bob a little tupperwear-type container (I saw a nice square one that had a handle, I think it was actually for school supplies), a couple of lures, a package of hooks, a pocket knife and (if your store has it) some pine scented soap to get *fishy* smell off his hands.

Budgetts may be limited, but your imagination is endless!

I haunt yard sales all summer long and buy stuff for presents there. Many people have no clue that I NEVER spend more than $1.00 on each present I give.
Yeah...I AM that cheap!
This year, I outdid myself.
I got presents for an entire family...6 kids and 2 parents that are friends of mine.
TOTAL cost (I am almost embarrassed to admit this): $2.50.
That's right. I spent no more than 25 cents on each person.
NOT impossible.
I went to a yard sale my neighborhood association had...they had OODLES of stuff and it was close to the end of the day.
They were almost giving it away!
For Mom and Dad, I got each a book.
For the two youngest boys I found toys (still in original packaging! Seriously!), For one child, a snowglobe that plays music, for the 3 girls, jewelry and a purse and a book.
They aren't big presents, but they are all nice and I know the people I am giving them to will use them and like them.

After the holidays I will be grabbing up wrapping paper and tissue paper and gift bags for next year!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cold Weather = SOUP!

We finally got some sorta brisk temperatures here in South East Texas, so I made soup.
I love soup.
Soup is also cheap and filling and nutritious, as long as you make it yourself and don't buy that heat and serve garbage they sell in cans!

I am about to disclose oone of my most cherished secret recipes.
I have never shared it before and seeing as there are no future daughter-in-laws on the horizon (Hello, boys? This is Mom...GET MARRIED AND PRODUCE SOME GRANDCHILDREN!!!),
so I decided to go ahead and post it here.
I fed 10 people with the batch of soup I made the other night. The soup cost me under 10 bucks for the whole batch!

Lets get started...
5 pounds of potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick (leave skins on! wash well!)
1 LARGE yellow onion, sliced thin
1 stick of butter
chicken stock (or use bouillon cubes dissolved in water) About 4 to 6 cups
milk (2 cups)
heavy cream (about 1 cup)
flour and more butter (to make roux, you'll need about 1/2 cup roux total)
garlic (3 cloves, minced fine)
salt pepper
Italian seasoning (2 tablespoons)
crumbled bacon
grated sharp cheddar cheese

Cook potatoes in chicken stock, caramelize onions in melted stick of butter, add onions and melted butter to potatoes and chicken stock. Simmer until potatoes are tender. Add minced garlic, salt & pepper to taste, and Italian seasoning, cover. Make roux from 1/2 stick butter and 1/2 cup flour, whisk in milk until you have a thick sauce, about 1 1/2-2 cups milk...add to potatoes and stock, uncover and stir . Let soup thicken. 10 minutes before serving, add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup heavy cream. Stir in gently. Let come back to simmer.
You can also make this in a crock pot. Just caramelize the onions before you add them to the crock pot.
To serve:
Ladle soup in bowl, add croutons, crumbled bacon and grated cheese on top.

Now, my other favorite soup is Beef and Barley. I usually serve that with a nice slice of French bread that I have put a slice of cheddar cheese on and stuck under the broiler until all melty....*drooool*
Beef and barley soup is also inexpensive to make...and will fill you up and make you feel all warm and cozy inside!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

You can do what?

I have a tenant here at the rooming house that is most excellent at Guitar Hero. (That is a video game). She puts in two to three hours a day practicing her technique.
This is on a plastic guitar that plugs into a plastic box that plugs into the (mostly) plastic t.v..
She cannot play a real guitar, mind you. Just her pink, undersized, toy, plastic one.
I asked her how long she had been playing Guitar Hero.
A couple of years.
Now, if she had expended the same time and effort, not to mention money, on learning to play a real guitar, she would probably be a virtuoso by now!
She can not cook or bake. She can barely wash dishes...and then, only under duress. She can not sew a stitch. She has never gardened or raised livestock.
But, WOW!, can she play Guitar Hero!
Look, guys, the way I look at it, her parents did her a disservice. If the proverbial shit does hit the fan, her parents have condemned her to death. Or perhaps she can prostitute herself --there's a cheerful thought!--and in that manner keep a roof over her head and food in her belly.
She can always start learning some skills now. Except she has absolutely no interest in learning anything but the new riffs on her video game.

If you have kids, do them a HUGE favor.
No video games for Christmas.
Sign them up for a cooking class.
Or buy them a sewing machine.
Get them some cookbooks.
Get them a gun and spend time at the range with them.
Get them camping gear.

I sometimes despair when I see young adults like my tenant. They have absolutely no clue as to how really bad the world can be. They have been protected from harshness by well-meaning and loving parents their whole life. What a disservice to a childs survival that is!
Invest in your son or daughter's actual survival.
Yes, Junior or your Princess may be pissed that the video game or electronic doo-dad they coveted isn't under the tree, but let them be pissed. They'll get over it. Long after the video game or i-pod is useless and in the trash or stuffed in the back of the closet, they will remember going camping with dad, or sewing a dress with mom.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Multi-Purpose OCD

Okay, I have my own little personal form of OCD.
Been with me most my life.
I almost NEVER get anything that is single purpose.
Even if it is intended for only one purpose, I can usually find several purposes for almost every item I own.

I also have the tendency to drag things out of dumpsters or off the curb when other *wasteful* folks toss the item out.

Here's an example of both...rolled into one item.

A hammock.
One of my tenants tossed it out because it got wet and "started smelling funky".
The hammock was folded up in a matching fabric bag.
I took the hammock out of the bag, and both the fabric bag and the hammock in a bucket. I dumped a quart bottle of white vinegar in and added water to cover.
Let it soak overnight.

Wrung it out the next morning.
Washed it twice the next morning in the washer.
Dried it in the dryer with 3 fabric sheets.
Then hung it outside (nice breeze was blowing) for the rest of the day.
No funky smell. Smells sweet and fresh.
But, the ropes on either end...not in such good shape.
I cut them off and replace them with stronger para-cord (easy fix).
Also, as I was removing the old roping, I could see how the new roping would go in/on AND figured out how to make one of the many serapes I have into a similar hammock.

Now...why would I go to such lengths for an old hammock?
First, the hammock wasn't that old. Was, in fact, fairly new.
I looked online and found that the hammock (shown above) retails for 89.99.
Seeing how the hammock was constructed, taught me how to construct my own.
Also, when asked by the darling man as to what other purposes the hammock and bag could be used for OTHER than a hammock and's what I came up with:
Hammock in bag = pillow/cushion
Bag = Means of filtering debris out of water
Hammock = Net for catching fish in a water channel
Hammock = blanket
Hammock = Tied up in trees to safeguard food cache from wildlife
Bag = Berry picking/food gathering bag away from camp
Bag = Fish Creel
Hammock = Compact sledge to drag large game, injured companion, etc.
Bag = Filled with rocks for a weight (makeshift anchor for tent, boat, whatever)

See where I am going with this?
I live in a small space. One room, more or less.
I HAVE to utilize my space efficiently.
Therefore, most everything I own is, at the very least, dual purpose. The more uses, the better.

As for dragging stuff out of the trash...well....
My neighbor threw out a comforter about a month ago. I grabbed it from the top of his trash can and asked him if I could have it.
Okay with him, he said it had a tear in it.
The tear was TWO INCHES LONG!
This was a LUXURY comforter! From JC Penney's! I looked up the style and the price.
$199.00 (Pic at top of this post)
Holy Crap!
YES, I sewed up the eensy-weensy rip and washed it. It is on my bed right now!
Later on, if it later disintegrates, it can be reused for other things...I can rip it apart and use the fabric for pillows, tote bags, a dog bed, curtains, whatever and use the batting for a quilt or two.

Why, why, WHY do people toss out perfectly good items?
I have no clue, but I am glad they do (for my greedy hands to find and repair!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Food Storage for One Person from the Grocery Store

I know some people that read this are not on farms where they have ample produce to can and dehydrate.
Some people that read it do not order from one of the many online resources for #10 cans of long term food storage.
Some people do not go to a local LDS cannery for LTS (Long Term Storage).
Some people shop at their local grocery store and think it is nigh near impossible to effectively get a LTS pantry set up.
Here is a good basic list for one person for one month:

Basic Supplies and Needs For 1 Month
For one person, At least 1600 Calories A Day
Shelf Stable Grocery Store Purchased Foods

Canned Meats and/or Fish 16 Cans (5 to 6 oz)
Canned Beans 8 Cans(15 oz)
Canned Vegetables 34 Cans (15 oz)
Canned Fruits 26 Cans (15 oz)
Canned Soups 16 Cans(15 oz)
Canned Individual Meals (Ravioli, etc) 16 Cans
Granola/Protein/Fruit Bars 18 Bars
Peanut Butter 1 Jar
Jelly 1 Jar
Nuts/Trail Mix 2 Lb.s
Dried Fruit 2 lb.s
Crackers 1 box
Canned Juice 2 Gallons
Bottled Water for Drinking 3 Cases of 16 oz bottles
Water for other purposes 30 Gallons
Electrolyte Drinks (Gatorade, etc) 1 Gallon
Bread 3 Loaves
Velveeta Cheese 1 Box
Eggs 3 dozen
Ready To Eat Cereal 2 Boxes
Oatmeal 1 box
Chips 2 Bags
Spaghetti/Pasta/Noodles 2 lb.s
Spaghetti/Pasta Sauce 2 Jars
Pancake Mix 1 Box
Syrup 1/2 Bottle
Honey 1 Jar (pint)
Rice 1 lb.
Milk (fresh/canned/powdered) 4 gallons or equivalent
Candy (Stress Food) 1 Bag
Cookies 2 pkg.
Condiments and Spices As Needed for personal taste
Cake/Brownie Mix 4 pkg.
Pudding/Jello 4 pkg
Bleach 1 gallon
Laundry Detergent 1 box
Bath Soap 4 bars
Toilet Paper 4 rolls
Vitamins 30 Day Supply
Dish detergent 2 bottles

Okay, that is a basic list for one month for one person using 1600 calories as a base, and using shelf stable, non-refrigerated items from the local grocery store.
For 3 months, triple it.

All you have to do is buy an extra item here and there and stock your pantry. Be very aware of expiration dates and *use by* dates. The food does not suddenly self-destruct on that date, but it is a good guide. Your best bet is to buy cans of food that have the further-est out date.
Also, if you print out the list and put it in your pantry or keep it in a notebook or such, you can take advantage of sales when they crop up.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Special Holiday Boxes for Troops

My darling man is currently deployed to Iraq.
I will be mailing his holiday box no later than the 20th of November.
Today's entry is an attempt to help those not familiar with mailing to the troops.

First, the box.
You get them free at the Post Office. Cost 12 bucks to mail to any APO address.
Doesn't matter what it weighs as long as it is under 70 pounds.

Here are good basic rules for mailing to Iraq/Afghanistan:
No alcohol (don't even try to sneak it in a bottle of mouthwash, customs knows that trick. Sneaking in alcohol is a great way to get a soldier tossed out of the Army...whether he asked for the alcohol or not)
Nothing explosive (well, d'uuuuh)
No knives or other weapons.
Nothing flammable. on to the good stuff:
Here's a list of goodies that is common place in *Care* packages that the troops appreciate:
Baby Wipes
Hard candies
Beef jerky
Deviled Ham (not the *potted meat* stuff, DEVILED HAM! UNDERWOOD DEVILED HAM!)
Snack packs of ham salad, chicken salad, that come with crackers.
Gold Bond Foot Powder
Gold Bond Body Powder
New socks
Pillow Cases (Seriously, most of the guys have no pillow cases! Get silly and send them one with a cartoon character--Spongebob is a favorite, also Superman and other superheroes)
Shower gel/Body wash
Cakes in a jar

Whatever you send, please realize the delivery time can vary between 2 weeks to 6 weeks depending on where they are.
Packages are frequently stored in un-air conditioned or unheated storage areas once they reach Iraq/Afghanistan.
Sometimes they are loaded on pallets, a tarp is tossed over them and they set them outside until a flight or a vehicle is available to take them to their proper destination.

So, that being said:

Packing the box:
Bubble wrap is a wonderful thing for padding the box.
You can also use crumpled up newspaper, plastic grocery bags and the like.
OR, use hard candies as a packing material!
Get creative! Socks, goofy pairs of boxers, a tee shirt with a funny saying, all make good packing material.

Now...on a more serious note....
I included elderberry syrup and honeyed ginger slices in my fellas last package.
The elderberry syrup for H1N1 preventative and treatment.
The honeyed ginger slices for basic coughs and colds and sore throats.

Terrific recipe for elderberry syrup can be found here:

The troops in my fellas AO have been given the seasonal flu shot, but are not being vaccinated for H1N1. Also, there is a high degree of skepticism about the effectiveness (especially in the medical community) about said vaccination. In places such as the Ukraine, China, Poland and Eastern Europe, it appears that the H1N1 has mutated or recombined with other viruses and has now become a type of Hemorrhagic Fever/Virus, meaning that blood fills the lungs and pours out of every bodily orifice. There may also be sores on the skin with bleeding presented.

Elderberry syrup has been shown to be effective against the H1N1 virus and other flu types.
So, my fella will have a couple of jars of elderberry syrup *just in case*.

When you send a package, you have to fill out a customs form.
On said form, you list the contents of the package.
I keep it simple:
Snacks, canned meat, home-made jam (simpler than explaining elderberry syrup on the form!), hygiene supplies.
About one out of 20 packages is opened is what I am told. I think that estimate is high, but I always assume MY package is the one that will be opened. So, if I include a present (such as for Christmas/Yule/Birthday) I do not wrap it, I just find one of those cute bags and tuck it into that.
There's my best advice, if you send packages, try to keep it neat and simple!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Back to the grind...

Well, my birthday was quite nice. I did have some friends take me out for cake and ice cream...YAY!!!
But today, back to the grind.

My plans for today include doing a complete inventory of my food preps.
I have my pantry, I also have food in my room (that's what I use for my bed frame!)

I SHOULD inventory every month.

I generally get it done about every 4 months.
If I had a bunch of kids at home and a spouse here, I would HAVE to inventory every month.
Since it is just me right now, I am sorta lax about it.

Today is also the day I put out vermin traps and poisons.
Yes, mice, rats and roaches, all of which are found in abundance in the region I live.
It is warm here and damp (most of the time), the city sewer system has the distressing habit of getting flooded with alarming regularity--which means rats abandon it and search for drier digs.

Because a couple of my tenants have been ill, I am also sanitizing the house top to bottom..a good idea for every household during flu season. (See my posts on making disinfectant)
So, busy day here!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Birthday Reflections

Well, today is my birthday.
No big party here, just a regular day with some time for reflections and musing.

Okay...I am 53.
No homestead yet.
Don't even own a patch of dirt to call my own.
I have dreams and goals and plans and , hopefully, they will all come to fruition.

What have I done with my life...what have I actually accomplished that wouldn't have happened except for my presence?

I have had 7 kids
Started one non-profit
Physically saved 2 lives
Rehabbed around 17 houses
Married 3 times
Divorced 3 times,heh.
Been in love several times.
Had a few guys fall in love with me.
Planted several thousand trees
Hunted and killed 6 deer, innumerable rabbits and squirrels, 1 elk, various *varmit* animals.
Been in 3 car wrecks...NONE of which were my fault! (Damn MEN drivers!)
Started 4 businesses.
Went out of business 4 times, lol!
Written countless poems and a few books.
Been published in a few poetry journals.
Painted countless paintings.
Sold a few paintings...I mainly give them for presents.
Milked several thousand cows.
Branded several hundred cows.
Slaughtered and butchered 4 cows, 6 sheep, countless chickens and rabbits and 4 pigs.
Tanned innumerable hides from cows, sheep, deer, snakes, rabbits, etc.
Started countless gardens.
Owned several damn fine dogs and four good cats.

All in all, an average life.
Since I plan on living until 106, I am only halfway done and I plan on doing much, much more before my ashes are scattered. (Oh yes, cremation is the way to go...why take up a patch of dirt that could be better used for a pasture or garden?)

Today is my 53rd birthday.
Cake and ice cream for everybody!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Brandied Fruit Recipe #3's a *twist* recipe I came up with on my own a few years ago.

Your ingredients are a bit different!

1 Cup almonds (I use blanched, slivered almonds)
1 cup fresh peaches, peeled and diced kinds large (1/2 inch dice)
1 cup fresh nectarines (done same way as peaches)
1 cup pineapple (you can used canned for this if you like, but fresh is better)
1 cup cherries (I have used canned for this...fresh is better, but canned will work JUST DON'T USE CHERRY PIE FILLING!!!)
1 cup Raspberries (if you use frozen, let thaw first and cut sugar in recipe by 1/2 cup)
4 tablespoons lemon grass, cut in 1 inch pieces OR 3 teaspoons lemon zest!

3 cups fine granulated sugar

Here's the fun part:
Amaretto!!! (Or plain Brandy, if you have no Amaretto)

Now, toss the fruit and almonds with the sugar and lemongrass or lemon zest, mix gently, but well, in a large bowl. Let set for one hour, mixing gently about every 20 minutes.

Spoon into clean pint jars and pour in Amaretto (or Brandy) to cover. Cap tightly and put in the back of your pantry for *aging*.

Wait one month before using.

Spoon over ice cream, pound cake, crepes, etc.

This is great because it has a nice citrus note that enhances the fruit flavors and the almonds had a great texture.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More Fruit Recipes

Okay, you have to make this one in THIS WEEK for it to be ready by the holidays!

It is from the German/Austrian tradition and you can use Rum (German/Austrian tradition) Bourbon (French tradition) or Brandy(English tradition)

In Germany it is called RUMTOPF (Rum Pot)


Fresh, unblemished fruits
Good quality rum, bourbon or brandy
Fine granulated sugar

Now. most of us don't have a *Rumtopf crock* sitting around, but don't despair...use your crockpot liner! (You do have a crockpot---right? Well, pull out the insert--the crock itself--and use that)
You will also need some Saran Wrap or other cellophane type wrap that clings good.
Now, find a small plate that will fit inside your crocpot. More about that later.
And the lid for your crockpot.

Ideal fruits are:
Pineapple (remove rind & core and cut in large cubes)
Cherries (any variety, pitted)
Apricots (halves, pitted)
Nectarines (halves, pitted)
Peaches (peel,remove pits and cut in halves, quarters, or slices)
Pears (cored, peeled & sliced)
Plums (remove seed and half or quarter)
Grapes (sweet seedless red or green grapes are ideal)
Strawberries (don't wash, just remove stem & leaves). Strawberries will lose their red color.
Raspberries (don't wash). Raspberries will lose some of their red color.
Red currants (removed from stem)
Other less ideal fruits, may be added if you wish:
Blackberries or Blueberries (can be bitter and can discolor the other fruits)
Watermelon and Cantaloupe chunks (can make the mixture a bit watery)
Rhubarb (can make mixture sour)
Bananas (too mushy)
Citrus (too acidic, although if you use Mandarian orange slices, they are good!)

Wash and dry the inside of the Rumtopf/Crockpot.
Wash and dry the first chosen fruit. (Don't wash Strawberries and Raspberries.)
Remove any stems, seed and pits.
In a separate bowl cover the fruit with an equal weight of granulated sugar and allow to sit for one hour.
(example: 3 pounds of fruit and 3 pounds of sugar)
Place the fruit, sugar and any juices left in the bowl into the Rumtopf/Crockpot.
Pour in just enough rum (or bourbon or brandy) to cover the fruit.
Weigh the fruit down with a clean saucer or plate (see, told you to have one ready!)
Cover the opening of the Rumtopf/Crockpot with plastic (to avoid evaporation) and place the lid firmly on top.
Store in a cool place away from heat and sunlight.

Serve the Rumtopf fruits with its syrup (hot or cold) over ice-cream, cake, flan, puddings, or cheese cake. Serve in an elegant dish topped with whipped cream or crème frâiche.
Serve as a side dish with any game meat.
Serve the strained liquid as a liquor or after-dinner cordial.
Add two tablespoons of the strained liquid to Champagne for a unique and elegant cocktail.

Brandied Fruits

Traditional Eastern European Brandied Fruit Recipe

This is normally prepared in July when most of the fruits are in season...or early fall.

Serve room temperature or warmed over pound cake slices or ice cream or get dramatic and serve a la flame' over crepes!

Makes 8 pint jars


  • 9 cups diced fruit of choice (cherries, blueberries, plums and peeled nectarines and peaches)
  • 5 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 cups (or more as necessary) good-quality brandy


  1. In a very large bowl, combine fruit and sugars, tossing well. Cover and let marinate for 1 hour, tossing every 15 minutes.

  2. Divide fruit among 8 sterilized pint jars or a gallon covered crock. Pour in brandy, making sure fruit is submerged. Cover and store in a cool place for at least one month. Since the brandied fruit will only improve with age, let the flavors develop for more than one month. (Some of the best I ever had aged for 3 months...was *droolishess*!)

  3. Once aged, store the brandied fruit on a counter. As its contents diminish, just add more diced fruit (2 cups fruit to 1/2 cup each white and firmly packed brown sugar) and brandy to cover.
That's recipe No. #1

2 and 3 will follow as soon as I dig out my recipe book

Quick Thought Post #1

10 Uses for an empty bleach bottle:
Alternative uses for One Gallon Bleach Bottles:

1) Water storage.
2) Storage for dry goods--beans, rice, wheat, etc. Rinse with scalding hot water, make sure they are thoroughly dry, pop in one little O2 absorber, fill half way, drop in another O2 absorber, fill to top, pop in one last O2 absorber.
3) Make into piggy bank. (Use empty thread spools for legs/feet, pieces of felt glued on for ears, pipe cleaner for tail)
4) Cut and make into large scoops. We did this to have big scoops for the kids to play with in the sandbox, my grandmother used one in her flour bin, grandad used one to put corn into the feed buckets.
5) Cut off top, punch a few small holes in bottom (use finishing nails for that) for drainage and use as planting pots to start seedlings.
6) Use top 5 or 6 inches to protect seedlings from late frosts at night. (You can also do this with 2 liter bottles and make mini-greenhouses for cold days)
7) Fill with sand and make weights for physical fitness exercises.
8 ) Fill with sand/small rocks, bundle 3 together (tie together with stout cord) and use as a small anchor.
9) Cut off top, punch holes in either side and attach strong cord...improvised small bucket!
10) Use cut off top for funnel.

There's my top ten uses.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

bison survival blog: scary sheeple

bison survival blog: scary sheeple

Gifts in a Jar

Some gifts in a jar are necessary to do NOW.
Why NOW?
Some things, such as brandied fruit, need time to set in order to be *done* by the holidays.

Here is one of my favorites, that I am making tonight!

Honeyed Ginger Slices

Fresh Ginger, peeled and sliced into slices no more than a 1/4 inch thick...thinner is better!
Raw honey
Pint or half-pint jar(s) --depends on how much you are making. I suggest the wide mouth type.

Pour just enough honey into the jar to cover the bottom.
Add layer of ginger slices, enough to cover the honey.
Pour in enough honey to cover the ginger slices.
Add another layer of ginger slices.
Pour in another layer of honey...
Continue until jar is full, making sure to put a layer of honey as the last layer.

Now, some people then do a boiling water bath. I don't because I feel the high heat destroys the good enzymes in the honey.

Set the jar(s) in the back of your pantry for at least one month. It gives the ginger slices time to absorb the honey.
Use the ginger slices in the bottom of your tea cup for a lovely way to sweeten a cup of hot tea on a cold morning.
Use the ginger spiced honey in baking or on pancakes.
I end up sneaking a slice or two of the ginger when I have the sniffles. Clears up my sinuses and tastes SO good!
If it sets for long enough that the honey crystallizes, no worries!
Continue to use the slices in your tea and just set the jar in hot water to liquefy the honey again!
The ginger honey also works well as a cough syrup!

Tomorrow...Three amazing brandied fruit recipes!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Long time between posts...

...but as they say, Life intervenes...

Going on to fall here and we FINALLY have some cooler weather here in SouthEast Texas.
Cool air...mmmmmmnnnn...absolute heaven to me!

Have a little over 2 months until Christmas, Yule, Mass of Commercialism, whatever you want to call it.
Too many people spending WAY too much money on mostly cheap plastic crap made in China.

Start preparing NOW for a sane, sensible, debt free holiday season!
Do you sew...even a little?
Make hats, scarves, tote bags, place mats, doll clothes, etc.
Make soap or candles.
Buy some quart canning jars and put together *recipes in a jar*. Google that. Lots of recipes for everything from cocoa mix to bean soup to cake. Trim each jar with a pretty ribbon and a tag with cooking directions.
Go to the nearest *Everything for a Buck* store and buy some pretty baskets to fill with home made cookies and other goodies.
I am going to make a few of these projects in the coming weeks and will post pics of finished projects. May have to borrow a digital camera, but I am going to try to post pics of *how tos* as well.

Look, the economy is in the toilet. It sucks. You know it, I know it, we all know it.
Why put yourself in debt for something that is liable to be tossed aside within a few days?
I know the gifts I have suggested would not make a childs heart bubble over with joy (except maybe the doll clothes), but in the coming weeks, I will come up with suggestions for the littler ones on your list!

Our theme this year:
Give from the heart, not the pocketbook!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

bison survival blog: and you didn't prepare

If you don't already, I suggest you start reading Bison Survival Blog....good stuf there!

bison survival blog: and you didn't prepare

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Illegal Medicinal Plants on the Homestead

I wrote this some time ago and posted it on the Backwoods Home forum. It is posted here for informational/educational purposes. All opinions are my own.

Opium poppies and Marijuana...will you or would you grow them on your homestead for medicinal use?

Lets tackle opium poppies first...

Today, people search the ‘Net for naturally-occurring medicines. A patchwork quilt of information suggests this quest is as old as time. Records indicate a variety of plant drugs were used by early civilizations. These peoples sought out the psychological boost of alcohol, tobacco or opium.

There were several variations of the benefits from a plant-derivative intoxication. The drug-induced state was sometimes used to see visions of the future. As medical knowledge expanded by discovery and conjecture, it was believed that one could remove the mental or physical symptoms that were caused by an imbalance of the Ancient Greek humors of blood, bile and phlegm by cleansing superfluous humors from the brain. One natural medicine in particular can be dated back to the earliest human settlements: the opium poppy Papaver Somniferum.

The earliest relationship between people and the opium poppy dates back to the Sumerians of approximately 3300 B.C. The Sumerians were one of the world’s first organized faming communities. They harvested the opium poppy as one of their many main crops. The Sumerians are credited with the invention of writing in the Middle East. They recorded using the opium poppy Papaver Somniferum for medicine and pleasure. The Sumerians called Papaver Somniferum the “plant of joy”. They used opium from the poppy to induce the same intoxicated and relaxed conditions as the manufacture of beer from barley crops. The poppy plant was also commonly used and traded at this time for its value as a supply of food, animal fodder oil and fuel.

The value of opium from the Papaver Somniferum poppy spread along trading routes from the Persian Gulf all the way to Greece. The records of the Greek physician Hippocrates contain prescriptions for the healing power of opium to cure insomnia. Other physicians would later agree with Hippocrates’ views on opium. Galen advocated eating opium as well as vegetable therapies. Dioscorides described how opium mixed with a liquid was a valuable medicine for added strength. Dioscorides described how the pod of the poppy could be crushed and mixed with the liquid. He is credited with proposing that the word “nepenthes” in a passage from Homer’s Oddessy may have been a drug mixture that included opium.

The apparent magic of the poppy’s ability to induce a drowsy state comes from morphine that is the principal active ingredient in opium. Raw opium contains a concentration of three to twenty percent morphine depending on its cultivation and processing.
The most common means of taking opium was called a liquid elixir. The raw opium milk found in the seed pod was mixed with wine or water. This liquid did not cure the patient but the dreamy euphoric state helped lessen the patient’s pain. The early Greeks believed that the physical world around them was tightly connected to the quality of life provided by the gods. The abundance of poppy seeds in the dried poppy pod was seen as a sign of fertility by the Greeks.

The poppy spread east to India and China along trading routes during the seventh century. The Chinese welcomed the wonder of the poppy seed mixed with bamboo juice. The Chinese felt this mixture offered a tremendous healing power.

Present day findings have classified opium as a drug that dulls the senses and has listed opium as a narcotic. As narcotics opium, morphine and heroin are drugs tat relieve pain, relax spasms, reduce fevers and induce sleep.

Up to this point, the spread of the poppy seed had been very slow over land-based trading routes. The European development of ocean-going sailing ships rapidly expanded the introduction of opium into England and the United States. The wealthy class in Britain regularly consumed opium to relieve pain. Members of the British Royalty took opium to relieve a variety of aliments.

As use of opium spread, it was used to “treat” piles, chitis, cholera, dysentery, bronchitis, earaches and measles. The opium products calmed the patients and the temporary relief from pain caused an appearance of regaining good health. At this time, opium was called a ‘stimulant” because opium was considered to be a jump-start to well-being.

The search for medicines that could at least temporarily relieve pain in the 1700 and 1800s was sought by every developing nation. Opium was commonly consumed to get some relief from dropsy, consumption (tuberculosis) and rheumatism (rheumatoid arthritis). Britain and the United States imported hundreds of thousands of pounds of opium to meet the demand.

In these two countries the people preferred taking opium as a liquid known a s “Laudanum” or “black drop”. Laudanum was usually an opium-alcohol mixture. Another variation of Laudanum, Laudanum Cydoniatum, was made from a mixture of opium and vinegar. In Britain, Laudanum was very inexpensive and could be bought as easily as acetaminophen today. It was even sold in grocery stores as a medically-acknowledged temporary relief from coughing and pain. Records of bills from San Francisco to Vancouver show opium to be considered a grocery staple along with sugar, rice and tea.

Another form of use was a pill composed of opium, sweetened with saffron, castor, ambergris, musk and nutmeg to disguise the bitter opium taste. The opium pill was considered so safe that pregnant women could use it to control morning sickness.

In the 19th century opium was commonly listed as one of the ingredients in a wide range of patent medicines. A product called Ayers Cherry Pectoral contained opium as one of its key ingredients. This product was readily available to thousands of British and American parents to sooth babies who were crying due to teething, hunger or pains of childhood. Cough syrups in the mid-nineteenth century usually contained opium. Opium is still considered to be unsurpassed as a cough suppressant.

In 1931 Louis Lewin recorded opiates as a drug that sedated mental activity. He classified this sedation as “Euphorica”. Today the chemical properties of Papaver Somniferum are well documented, including images of changes to the brain activity

Now, the raw product has been time-proven for thousands of years as a VERY effective medicine to treat:
Severe coughing, severe nausea, pain of all types, insomnia, muscle spasms, severe diarrhea and other ills. Raw opium latex, packed into a wound can stop sepsis and other infections in their tracks!

Opiates are addictive and the unrefined raw form can become addictive as well, though usually not at the rate such refined products as heroin and morphine are. The side effects, when raw opium is used for occasional medicinal purposes, are by far less than the side effects one would or could experience from the use of common OTC (over-the-counter) medications. (Read the back of that bottle of Tylenol or Robitussion sometime)

Will I grow opium poppies when I get my land?
The benefits far outweigh the risks in my book. I have grown them before and used them for medicinal purposes.
Cultivation and harvesting is simple and the seeds are easily available. A few opium poppies growing even in a suburban neighborhood are unlikely to attract any undue attention from local law enforcement.
A huge field of them on a farm would be another matter indeed!
I don't intend to sell, refine or distribute any of the products derived from growing them, they would be for medicinal use only for myself and for farm animals that needed it.

Now...onto Marijuana...Cannabis Sativa, Herb, Weed, Pot, many names, so many rumors....

C'mon...most of us tried it...or still use it. I don't, but that is mainly because I don not have a need to and I am not a great proponent of *recreational* use of any intoxicant. When I used it in high school, my grades didn't drop, I had an active social and extra-curricular life and I never went out and committed a crime because of it. So much for the current commercials screaming out of our t.v.s!

And there's this small article (NOT publicized by the DEA or the US gov't....)


A synthetic substance similar to ones found in marijuana stimulates cell growth in regions of the brain associated with anxiety and depression, pointing the way for new treatments for these diseases, according to University of Saskatchewan medical research published today in The Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Xia Zhang, an associate professor in the U of S neuropsychiatry research unit, led the team that tested the effects of HU-210, a potent synthetic cannabinoid similar to a group of compounds found in marijuana. The synthetic version is about 100 times as powerful as THC, the compound responsible for the high experienced by recreational users.

The team found that rats treated with HU-210 on a regular basis showed neurogenesis - the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus. This region of the brain is associated with learning and memory, as well as anxiety and depression.

The effect is the opposite of most legal and illicit drugs such as alcohol, nicotine, heroin, and cocaine.

Most 'drugs of abuse' suppress neurogenesis, Zhang says.Only marijuana promotes neurogenesis.

Current theory states that depression may be sparked when too few new brain cells are grown in the hippocampus. It is unclear whether anxiety is part of this process, but if true, HU-210 could offer a treatment for both mood disorders by stimulating the growth of new brain cells.

But Zhang cautions that HU-210 is only one of many cannabinoids. His previous work with marijuana shows that while the plant may contain medicinal compounds, they come in the same package as those that cause symptoms such as acute memory impairment, addiction, and withdrawal. Also, the HU-210 used in the study is highly purified.

This is a very potent cannabinoid oil, Zhang says. &It's not something that would be available on the street.

Marijuana has been used for recreational and medicinal purposes for centuries, evoking public interest and controversy along the way. As a medicine, the plant is used to ease pain in multiple sclerosis patients, combat nausea in cancer patients, and stimulate appetite in people afflicted with AIDS. It has also been used to treat epilepsy and stroke.

Zhang's work is the latest product of the U of S Neural Systems and Plasticity Research Group, a multidisciplinary effort by researchers from the Colleges of Arts and Science, Engineering, Kinesiology, Medicine, Pharmacy and Nutrition, and Veterinary Medicine. The group collaborates to study the function of neural systems, from nerves to brain, in living organisms. In particular, they look at how these systems change over time with experience.

Zhang's research is supported by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), as well as a CIHR New Investigator Award. The Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation provided funding support to establish the Neural Systems and Plasticity Research Group, as well as post-doctoral fellowship awards to research team members Wen Jiang and Shao-Ping Ji. -- ©University of Saskatchewan

Lets look at one section of it again :

Marijuana has been used for recreational and medicinal purposes for centuries, evoking public interest and controversy along the way. As a medicine, the plant is used to ease pain in multiple sclerosis patients, combat nausea in cancer patients, and stimulate appetite in people afflicted with AIDS. It has also been used to treat epilepsy and stroke.

The history of cannabis products and their use has been long, colorful and varied. To the agriculturist, cannabis is a fiber crop; to the physician, it is an enigma; to the user, a euphoriant; to the police, a menace; to the trafficker, a source of profitable danger; to the convict or parolee and his family, a source of sorrow (Mikuriya, 1969: 34). The fact is that cannabis has been held simultaneously in high and low esteem at various times throughout recorded history, particularly in our own times.

The volume of information available on the medical application of cannabis is considerable. Occasionally certain references have been condensed or deleted, but this should not detract from the completeness of the report.

This historical survey of the medical uses of marijuana is introduced by abroad overview of its use, including brief notes on current and projected research, and then considers specific historical settings and circumstances in ancient China, moving on to Egypt, India, Greece, Africa, and the Western World.

Cannabis sativa has been used therapeutically from the earliest records, nearly 5,000 years ago, to the present day (Mikuriya, 1969: 34) and its products have been widely noted for their effects, both physiological and psychological, throughout the world. Although the Chinese and Indian cultures knew about the properties of this drug from very early times, this information did not become general in the Near and Middle East until after the fifth century A.D., when travelers, traders and adventurers began to carry knowledge of the drug westward to Persia and Arabia.

Historians claim that cannabis was first employed in these countries as an antiseptic and analgesic. Other medical uses were later developed and spread throughout the Middle East, Africa, and Eastern Europe.

Several years after the return of Napoleon's army from Egypt, cannabis became widely accepted by Western medical practitioners. Previously, it had had limited use for such purposes as the treatment of burns. The scientific members of Napoleon's forces were interested in the drug's pain relieving and sedative effects. It was used during, and to a greater extent, following his rule in France, especially after 1840 when the work of such physicians as O'Shaughnessy, Aubert-Roche, and Moreau de Tours drew wide attention to this drug.

With the rise of the literary movement of the 1840-1860 period in France (Gautier, Baudelaire, Dumas, etc.), cannabis became somewhat popular as an intoxicant of the intellectual classes.

In the United States, medical interest in cannabis use was evidenced in 1860 by the convening of a Committee on Cannabis Indica of the Ohio State Medical Society, which reported on its therapeutic applications (McMeens, 1860: 1). Between the period 1840-1890, Walton states that more than 100 articles were published recommending cannabis for one disorder or another.

Concern about cannabis as an intoxicant led the government of India to establish the India Hemp Commission of 1893-94 to examine the entire question of cannabis use in India.

Paralleling the question over cannabis use in the latter half of the 19th century was the growing medical use of other medications superior to cannabis in their effects and more easily controlled as to dose. Consequently, medical use of cannabis declined and cannabis began to lose support of the medical profession.

During the years between 1856-1937, cannabis lost its image as a medicine and was left with a disreputable image as an intoxicant. Strong public reaction coupled with a campaign in the public press led to a federal anti-marihuana law in 1937. (The drug was illegal in many states before 1937.) The issue of medical use remained active, however, and Dr. William C. Woodward, Legislative Counsel to the AMA, an opponent of cannabis use and the only physician to be a witness at the Taxation of Marihuana hearings, stated:

There are exceptions in treatment in which cannabis cannot apparently be successfully subsituted for. The work of Pascal seems to show that Indian Hemp has remarkable properties in revealing the subconscious; hence, it can be used for psychological, psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic research (Hearings, House of Representatives, 1937: 91).

Although cannabis drugs are generally regarded as obsolete and rarely used in western medicine today, cannabis is ;still used extensively in the Ayruvedic, Unani and Tibbi systems of medicine of the Indian-Pakastani subcontinent (The Cannabis Problem, 1962: 27). The Pharmacopoeias of India mention cannabis use in the recent past. Two preparations of cannabis, a liquid extract and a tincture, are listed in the 1954 and 1966 Pharmacopoeias of India which contain descriptions of cannabis and its extract and how it is made (Chopra & Chopra, 1957: 9).

A more recent source makes reference to the fact that "in contemporary India and Pakistan, there continues to be widespread indigenous medical, 'quasi-medical,' and illicit use of both opium and cannabis" (Chopra & Chopra, 1957: 12-13). Bouquet notes that hemp resin is occasionally used in the native medicines of the countries where it is collected. He points especially to India where,
the medical systems . . . make much use of cannabis as a sedative, hypnotic, analgesic, anti-spasmodic and anti-hemorrhoidal
(Bulletin on Narcotics, 1962:27).

According to the Canadian Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs:

There is no currently accepted medical use of cannabis in North America outside of an experimental context. Although cannabis has been reported to produce an array of possibly useful medical effects, these have either not been adequately investigated, or can be replaced by using other more readily available and convenient drugs. The natural product's variability in potency and instability over time are among the factors which have led to its disfavor in Western 20th century medicine.... cannabis has often been employed in the past, and is currently used illicitly in North America, to reduce the secondary symptoms and suffering caused by the flue and the common cold. These . . . alleged therapeutic properties of cannabis have not been adequately studied in a scientific context, and their general medical potential remains a matter of conjecture
(1970: 74).

Similar statements regarding cannabis are to be found in Marijuana, edited by Erich Goode, and in the textbook Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics by Goodman and Gilman (1970: 300). Concerning therapeutic uses, the latter states:

Although cannabis was once used for a wide variety of clinical disorders and has even been demonstrated to have antibacterial activity, there are at present no well substantiated indications for its use. It is no longer an official drug. Preparations are rarely available (cannabis preparation and synthetic THC are obtainable only for research purposes), and prescriptions are regulated by special tax laws.

The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare report to Congress in 1971, Marijuana and Health, repeats the statement of the Canadian Interim Report of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, and states: There is no currently accepted medical use of cannabis in the United States outside of an experimental context (DHEW: 1971: 27). Allen Geller and Maxwell Boas (1969: 4) think that cannabis' unsavory reputation has largely stymied further research.

Despite the many statements discounting cannabis' therapeutic usefulness, some authorities maintain that its medical value might be reborn through further research and/or use. David Solomon, in his foreword to The Marihuana Papers (1968: xxi) argues that:

Marihuana should be accorded the medical status it once had in this country as a legitimate prescription item. After 1937, with the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act and subsequent federal and state legislation, it became virtually impossible for physicians to obtain or prescribe marihuana preparations for their patients. Thus, the medical profession was denied access to a versatile pharmaceutical tool with a history of therapeutic utility going back thousands of years.

In a 1970 article,Pot Facing Stringent Scientific Examination , reference is made to Dr. Par who states that there are three areas in which chemical and animal experiments are under way:

(1) Analgesia-mood elevation plus analgesic power may make useful drug.

(2) Blood pressure reduction-hypertension may be helped by new drugs which lower the blood pressure by what seems to be action on the central nervous system.

(3) Psychotherapeutic-new compounds are antidepressants and antianxiety drugs (Culliton: 1970).

Mikuriya cites it studies concerning cannabis funded by the National Institute of Mental Health in 1961. The studies were either specialized animal experiments, part of an observational sociologic study of a number of drugs, or explorations of chemical detection methods(Mikuriya, 1969: 38).

Feinglass has pointed to four general categories into which the clinical studies of marijuana could be divided (1968: 206-208). They are:

1. Anticonvulsant effects-treatment of tetanus, convulsions of rabies, epilepsy, and infant convulsions.
2. Psychotherapeutic actions - appetite-stimulation, treatment of depression, and as a sedative and hypnotic in reducing anxiety; treatment of addiction.
3. Antibiotic properties.
4. Pain-affecting power.

Grinspoon suggests:

Very little research attention has been given to the possibility that marihuana might protect some people from psychosis. Among users of the drug, the proportion of people with neuroses or personality disorders is usually higher than in the general population; one might therefore expect the incidence of psychoses also to be higher in this group. The fact that it is not suggests that for some mentally disturbed people, the escape provided by the drug may serve to prevent a psychotic breakdown
(1969: 24).

Mikuriya lists many possible therapeutic uses of THC and similar products in his paper Marihuana in Medicine: Past, Present and Future.
He includes:
Analgesic-hypnotic, appetite stimulant, antiepileptic, antispasmodic, prophylactic and treatment of the neuralgias, including migraine and tic douloureaux, antidepressant-tranquillizer, anti-asthmatic, oxytocic, anti-tussive, topical anesthetic, withdrawal agent for opiate and alcohol addiction, child birth analgesic, and antibiotic (1968: 39).


The oldest known therapeutic description Of cannabis was by the Emperor Shen-Nung in the 28th century B.C. in China, where the plant had long been grown for fiber. He prescribed cannabis for beri-beri, constipation, "female weakness", gout, malaria, rheumatism and absentmindedness (Bloomquist, 1968: 19).


In Egypt, in the 20th century B.C., cannabis was used to treat sore eyes. Additional medical usage was not reported until much later.


Prior to the 10th century B.C., bhang, a cannabis preparation, was used as an anesthetic and antiphlegmatic in India. In the second century A.D., a Chinese physician, Hoa-Tho, prescribed it as an analgesic in surgical procedures (Mikuriya, 1969: 34).

From the 10th century B.C. up to 1945 (and even to the present time), cannabis has been used in India to treat a wide variety of human maladies. The drug is highly regarded by some medical practitioners in that country.

The religious use of cannabis in India is thought to have preceded its medical use (Blum and Associates, II, 1969: 73; Snyder, 1970: 125). The religious use of cannabis is to help "the user to free his mind from worldly distractions and to concentrate on the Supreme Being" (Barber, 1970: 80).

Cannabis is used in Hindu and Sikh temples and at Mohammedan shrines. Besides using the drug as an aid to meditation, it is also used to overcome hunger and thirst by the religious mendicants. In Nepal, it is distributed on certain feast days at the temples of all Shiva followers (Blum & Associates, 1969, 11: 63).

The Hindus spoke of the drug as the "heavenly guide", "the soother of grief". Considered holy, it was described as a sacred grass during the Vedic period (Fort, 1969: 15). A reference to cannabis in Hindu scriptures is the following:

To the Hindu the hemp plant is holy. A guardian lives in bhang ... Bhang is the joy giver, the sky filer, the heavenly guide, the poor man's heaven, the soother of grief ... No god or man is as good as the religious drinker of Mang. The students of the scriptures of Benares are given bhang before they sit to study. At Benares, Ujjain and other holy places, yogis take deep draughts of Mang that they may center their thoughts on the Eternal . . . By the help of Mang ascetics pass days without food or drink. The supporting power of Mang has brought many a Hindu family safe through the miseries of famine
(Snyder, 1970: 125).


In ancient Greece, cannabis was used as a remedy for earache, edema, and inflammation (Robinson, 1946: 382-383).


Cannabis was used in Africa to restore appetite and to relieve pain of hemorrhoids, its antiseptic uses were also known to certain African native tribes (O'Shaughnessy, 1842: 431). Various other uses, in a number of countries, included the treatment of tetanus, hydrophobia, delirium tremens, infantile convulsions, neuralgia and other nervous disorders, cholera, menorrhagia, rheumatism, hay fever, asthma, skin diseases, and protracted labor during childbirth.
The 19th Century

Documents of the 19th century report on the use of cannabis to control diarrhea in cholera and to stimulate appetite. In his reports of the late 1830's and early 1840's, O'Shaughnessy (1842: 431) stated that tetanus could be arrested and cured when treated with extra large doses of cannabis.

John Bell, M.D., Boston, reported enthusiastically in 1857, about the effects of cannabis in the control of mental and emotional disorders as opposed to the use of moral discipline to restrain the mentally ill. Similarly, in 1858, Moureau. de Tours reported several case histories of manic and depressive disorders treated with hashish (Walton, 1938: 3).

The Ohio State Medical Society's Committee on Cannabis Indica, convened in 1860, reported that their respondents claimed cannabis successfully treated neuralgic pain, dysmenorhea, uterine hemorrhage, hysteria, delirium tremens, mania, palsy, whooping cough, infantile convulsions, asthma, gonorrhea, nervous rheumatism, chronic bronchitis, muscular spasms, tetanus, epilepsy and appetite stimulation (McMeens, 1860: 1).

The India Hemp Commission (1894: 174) likewise was informed of similar medicinal uses for cannabis. Specific reports included the use of cannabis as an analgesic, a restorer of energy, a hemostat, an ecbolic, and an antidiaretic. Cannabis was also mentioned as an aid in treating hay fever, cholera, dysentery, gonorrhea, diabetes, impotence, urinary incontinence, swelling of the testicles, granulation of open sores, and chronic ulcers. Other beneficial effects attributed to cannabis were prevention of insomnia, relief of anxiety, protection against cholera, alleviation of hunger and as an aid to concentration of attention.


Despite the fact that marijuana was made illegal in the United States in 1937, research has continued on the medical uses of marijuana. The findings include various possible medical applications of cannabis and its chemical derivatives.

One of the most recent and interesting findings (Frank, 1972) concerns the effect of cannabis in reducing interocular pressure. It was found that as the dose of marijuana increased, the pressure within the eye decreased by up to 30%. This occurred in normal persons as well as in those with glaucoma, a disease of the eye in which increased interocular pressure may cause blindness. Much more research is necessary in connection with this experimental clinical finding before final judgment can be passed on such a possible therapeutic value.

During the past 20 years in western medicine, marijuana has been assigned antibiotic activity; as a result, several studies relating to this possibility have been undertaken. H. B. M. Murphy (1963: 20) reported investigations in Eastern Europe. He stated that it is alleged to be active against gram positive organisms at 1/100,000 dilution, but to be largely inactivated by plasma, so that prospects for its use appear to be, confined to E. N. T. (ear, nose and throat) and skin infections.

Dr. J. Kabelikovi (1952: 500-503) and his coworkers carried out tests on rats, which were similar to tests carried out with penicillin in vitro. The alcohol extract of cannabis was bacterially effective against many gram-positive and one gram-negative microorganisms. It was also found that a paste form of external application was successful. According to Kabelikovi, from a study of 2,000 herbs by Czechoslovakian scientists it was found that cannabis indica (the Indian Hemp) was the most promising in the realm of antibiotics.

In a 1959 publication of Pharmacie, Krejci stated: ;From the flowering tips and leaves of hemp, cannabis sativa var indica bred in Middle Europe, were extracted a phenol and an acid fraction. From the acid fraction, two acids were obtained, of which one preserved its antibiotic properties (p. 349). In another Czechoslovakian publication, Krejci (1961: 1351-1353) referred to two additional samples with antibiotic activity.

Sample I in Fig. 1 has been sufficiently identified as cannabidiolic acid and sample 9 as cannabidiol. Both fractions show antibiotic activity. The results of tests lead us to conclude that the antibacterial action of cannabis sativa is not identical to the hashish effect found, for example, in tetrahydrocannabinol. However, it was established that cannabis sativa is effective as an antibiotic for local infections.

Kabelik, Krejci, and Santavy (1960: 13) include in Cannabis as a Medicant, the various microorganisms against which cannabis is effective.

Proof could be furnished that the cannabis extracts produce a very satisfactory antibacterial effect upon the following microbes: staphylococcus pyogenes aureus, steptococcus alpha haemolyticus, streptococcus beta haemolyticus, enterococcus, diplococcus pneumonia, B. anthracis, and corynebacterium diptheriae i.e., all of them gram-positive microorganisms. Noteworthy is the effect upon staphylococcus aureaus strains, which are resistant to penicillin and to other antibiotics.

Currently, several states have become more *enlightened* as to the medicinal uses of marijuana...California being prominent among them and Cannabis Sativa is prescribed for the many ills for which it is effective, from glaucoma to pain management and many more.

From Time Magazine:

While 13 states permit the limited sale of marijuana for medical use, and polls show a steady increase in the number of Americans who favor legalization, federal law still bans the cultivation, sale, or possession of marijuana. In fact, the feds still classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug, one that has no "currently accepted medical use" in the United States.

But supporters of legalization may have been handed their most convincing argument yet: the bummer economy. Advocates argue that if state or local governments could collect a tax on even a fraction of pot sales, it would help rescue cash-strapped communities. Not surprisingly, the idea is getting traction in California, home to both the nation"s largest supply of domestically grown marijuana (worth a estimated $14 billion a year) and to the country"s biggest state budget deficit (more than $26 billion).

So...without boring you to tears by posting more accounts of doctors and scientists that praise the medical efficacy of cannabis...let us continue...

It is easy to cultivate. Effects vary wildly of the end product due to cultivation.
However, this is one plant that will NOT pass as a decorative accent to your flower bed! A single plant growing in mid-cornfield can be spotted by searching LEOs due to it's unique heat signature on infra-red cameras.
Growing this for your medicine chest usually requires a little indoor horticulture. And a great deal of discretion.

I have always preferred to prepare this herbal treatment as a tea, rather than smoking it. As a tea, it focuses the effects on the body and doesn't give one the *head high* experienced by smoking.

As seen in the previous medical accounts, the uses are widespread...from glaucoma to arthritis to migraines to epilepsy...all legitimate conditions that could be treated by marijuana, if not for the gov't. crusade against it.

Will I grow it?
Again, absolutely.
I have seen first hand how effective a treatment it can be for several conditions, and since arthritis runs strong in my family, I plan on being able to sip a cup of tea to help out with the aches and pains of that condition should it ever strike me. As with opium poppies, the side effects are far less than those of medically prescribed treatments or even OTC medications.

People...if the crap hits the fan, you better realize that all those alphabet soup agencies such as the DEA, FBI, etc. will go kaput. So will your local pharmacy.
Get your knowledge may need it later.
Maybe you don't want to go out and be *Johnny Poppyseed*...but don't you think it more advisable to have the knowledge but not need it than to need the knowledge and not have it?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Guns and Ammo

Here we go...I am now going to give my opinion of firearms...owning them, using them, etc.
First and foremost, if you are legally able to own firearms, please get some!
The time is getting closer and closer to the point where a reliable firearm may be the difference between life and death for you and your loved ones...particularly if you live in an urban area.
Or a suburban area. Or even a rural area.
Check the news, home invasions are increasing and the perpetrators no longer just pistol whip the home-owners and grab what they can and run...they shoot to kill and take their time to ransack the home.
Also, hunting to put meat on the table is getting to be a necessity rather than a recreational pursuit.

Today, lets discuss the basics...
I own the three basic firearms that I believe everyone should have.
One handgun
One long rifle
One shotgun

If you can only afford one firearm, I would suggest a shotgun if you live in an urban or suburban area and a long rifle in a rural area. Your opinion may differ.
Which ever one you purchase, please have ample ammunition for it. I suggest no less than 300 rounds for which ever weapon you prefer. More is better.

A friend of mine that is a firearm aficionado is fond of saying "Two is one and one is none" when it comes to firearms. You have to be able to have a *back-up* in any situation...particularly in a combat situation.
Never think YOU will not be in a combat situation.
Home invasion, car jacking, mugging, rape...these all qualify as *combat* situations for the average person. Criminals are no longer satisfied with just taking your money and possessions...most know that leaving a live witness is a liability to their criminal endeavors. Police used to recommend just relinquishing your money or property to a criminal as it was thought that fighting back would escalate the situation. That recommendation has changed. Every Law Enforcement Officer I know now recommends you fight tooth and nail. Criminals are more violent, better armed and are more knowledgeable about police procedures than they used to be. They are MUCH more apt to kill you than they were 30, 20 or even 10 years ago.


Even a .20 gauge shotgun can even the odds up or sway them in your favor if someone breaks into your home in the dead of night.
A shotgun can be obtained fairly cheaply and easily in most states.
Or, you can go for a more expensive *auto-loader* shotgun (what I have). No need to *rack* it to ready it for the next shot...just like a SLR camera, just point and shoot, repeat.
Shotguns are great in urban areas, because you don't have the concern of bullets penetrating walls and possibly harming an innocent bystander or family member.
Shotgun shells can be obtained that will cause less than lethal harm to a human...such as birdshot, all the way up to *slugs* than will definitely cause lethal harm.

Long rifles are great for hunting and home defense...and have a wide variety of calibers to choose from. A small .22 is great for target practice....*plinking* at cans in the back pasture, or shooting varmints such as groundhogs. It will probably not kill an intruder...unless you manage to get off a lucky shot, but it will definitely cause them some pain.
If you want a rifle suitable for hunting larger game, such as deer, elk, moose, etc, you will need a more powerful weapon than a .22.
Your best bet in picking out a rifle or semi-automatic assault firearm is to go to your local shooting range and try out a few. Find the one that is the right *fit* for you.
Many shooting ranges have a vast array of firearms on hand for a novice shooter to try out. Pay your fee to use the range, pay for your ammo and ask for pointers. Most shooters are more than happy to oblige with a little free instruction, or you can attend a "shooting clinic". The NRA and GOA both organize clinics that any qualified (i.e., not a convicted felon, etc) person can attend for instruction and education.

Handguns I recommend for those that wish to obtain a Concealed Weapons Permit. Or, you may find yourself frequently in activities where a long rifle or shotgun is too bulky, but a firearm is necessary. My father always wore a handgun in a holster while out cutting trees, burning brush, etc as my parents property was a great habitat for copperheads and rattlesnakes!
I know many hunters that carry a handgun in holster as a *back up* when out hunting.
And, of course, if you work in a profession that is inviting to thieves, a handgun may be necessary Night clerk in a retail store, security guard, etc.
I urge anyone that gets a handgun to get enrolled in a Concealed Weapons Class and obtain their permit.
Again, caliber is a personal decision. Attend clinics, go to ranges and *try on* a few before making your purchase.

With ALL firearms, research availability and cost of ammunition.
It will do you little good to buy that firearm if you cannot afford the ammo!

You will go through a great deal of ammunition. You HAVE to when you are practicing to become proficient....and proficient you must be! You must become familiar with your weapon, you must become accurate with your weapon. I do not expect everyone to become Marine Recon Sniper accurate (heaven knows, I'm not!), but you should become reasonably accurate.

For those with children:
I grew up with over two hundred firearms in my parents home. I never once picked up, handled or even touched a single one of my fathers firearms without his explicit knowledge and permission. Many of the firearms were stored with their ammunition nearby and a few were kept loaded. None had trigger locks.
Yet, somehow I managed to make to adulthood and beyond without shooting myself or any of my relatives, playmates or classmates!

Nowadays, my father would probably be hauled into court for such "irresponsible" behaviors! But I was properly taught to respect (not fear) firearms and the power they had.
I was going to the range at age 7. Yes, SEVEN.

Children now are interviewed by their pediatricians and teachers and school counselors about firearms in their household. A child telling a doctor or teacher can (in some localities) bring the state a-knocking at your door.
In some states, if your firearms are not protected by trigger locks and there are children under age 18 in your home, you can be charged with a crime!
Investigate the laws in your state and locality. Act accordingly.

Again...all of the above is my own opinion. If you choose not to own firearms, please find some other weapon to become proficient with.
Remember though, if you take a knife to a gun usually doesn't turn out well for you....


I have been offline for various reasons.
So...lets pick a swine flu.
Yes, the nasty H1N1 virus continues and WHO declared it a pandemic back in late June.
Mandatory vaccinations loom on the horizon in the US and most of Europe--if the World Health Organization has it's way--despite the fact that there will not be enough vaccination to go around AND most reports surfacing say the vaccination that will be provided will not be effect.

Things to stock up on NOW:
Medical Face Masks
Latex Gloves
Vitamin C
Lysol Disinfectant (the full strength liquid type--it lasts longer and can be mixed to different strengths)
Echinacea (aka Purple Cone Flower. Tinctures, extracts and capsules are available)

The last item is extremely important.
Elderberry Tincture, Elderberry Extract and Elderberry Juice have been shown to be effective as a flu preventative and treatment.
If you have a local source for elderberries, please harvest and store as much as you can. They can be dried or juice or made into jelly or jam.
If not, check online for can buy them dried from several places and some sites have the Tincture, Extract and/or Juice already prepared.

Clean Quart Jar add 1/4 pound dried elderberries (Must be Sambucus nigra)
Now fill to top with vodka. Put lid on tight.
Store in a dark cupboard and shake once every few days.
Label and date your jar.
Let it sit for at least 30 days before you strain it.
You can use it without straining it too and it will just continue to get stronger.
Preventative - Adult - 1 teaspoon in water once a day
Children scale back by weight.

Other Herbal/Natural antivirals:
Olive Leaf Extract
Oregano Oil
Colloidal Silver
Grapefruit Seed Extract

Most of these can be found at your local health food outlets, vitamin shops and/or local drug stores.

I know many people out there are thinking that the worst of the flu pandemic is over.
If we look back to the 1918 flu pandemic, the *first wave* killed very few, it was the 2nd and 3rd waves that caused the most fatalities. The basic deal was that the flu went around the globe , weakening the population more each circuit.

The current flu will do the same, if it follows the same biological circuit as the 1918 flu---and there is no reason to believe it won't. Although with modern travel, it will be much faster!

I believe the next wave will hit as colder weather hits most of North America and western Europe.
Flu mutates. That is a known fact. The flu that comes around next will be a new variant of H1N1.
Whatever flu vaccine is being prepared now will be useless against a new variant.
Also, the flu vaccine itself may prove to be a danger to many.
I do not plan on getting vaccinated myself, I put far more trust in herbal/natural remedies.
You do as your conscience and beliefs dictate.

If the H1N1 follows the pattern of previous flu's, the *2nd wave* will hit between late September and mid-November. The *3rd wave* can be expected around February 2010.

This is my informed opinion after looking at all of the reports by WHO and other sources.
Currently, Argentina has ordered the bodies of all those that die of the flu to be cremated. The flu is currently hitting there hard and variants are already being reported by the medical community.

Be cautious, be careful, be aware.
Watch what is going on in your area. If you have any friends or relatives that work in the medical community, ask them to keep you updated on illnesses in your area.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Meanwhile, back at the ranch..........

Sorry for my prolonged absence...I had kind of a full plate for the end of April, start of May...
1) My divorce to my ex was finally FINALIZED (*throws confetti*)
2) My darlin' man got deployed to Iraq
3) I got a job at the local Dollar store (not gonna say which one)
4) Swine flu concerns kept me busy sanitizing the house regularly.
5) Food preps were getting a bit scanty, so I had to *bulk up* my pantry.
6) Gardening...yup...and lots of it!
7) My darlin' man gave me the gift of a new rifle and I HAD to try it out!

You might notice I have added a flash bar of my zazzle store to my blog. Yes, I make a wee bit of money there , not much, but it goes directly into my paypal account so I can shop for necessities online!
If you see something you like, buy it! If not...that's okay, too.
Will get back to my discourse on herbal medicine soon.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


I have read with great interest about the Swine Flu (H1N1) now hitting Mexico, NYC, Latin America and the Southwest US.
I am in one of the states affected. Texas.

I have already started Emergency Procedures here at the house:
I bought several vials of Lavender Oil at the local health food store, also a large bag of lavender flowers to make my own lavender oil. The blossoms are currently in a jar (old pickle jar, scaled out and clean) covered with almond oil, tightly capped and inverted out in the sunshine on the picnic table. I will do this for a week so all the essence of the lavender flowers gets into the oil. (Almond oil is an excellent carrier oil) I will keep that oil in reserve as I make it extremely strong.

The purchased lavender oil I use in a disinfecting spray. All bed linens, furniture, even the air is sprayed daily. Frequently, I walk through the house spraying the air. I spray down the bathroom, the door knobs, any surface that is frequently touched or handled.
Am I being paranoid?
Maybe a touch...but even the CDC has stated that this version of the Swine Flu could be the *pandemic* variety they have been dreading.
I also have broken out the face masks and latex gloves from my first aid kit...just in case.
I have 3 gallons of bleach, and Lysol as cleansing agents. All floors will be mopped with bleach in hot water (1 cup bleach to 3 gallons water). Before bed, all bathrooms will be wiped down with Lysol.

I urge anyone that reads this to get sickroom type supplies, plus cleansing/disinfecting agents.

My disinfecting Spray Recipe:
One cup rubbing alcohol
One cup water (I use distilled)
1 to 2 ounces Lavender Oil

I do hope that this is NOT the pandemic that the CDC and the World Health Org. is dreading, but I am being careful.

Put all in misting type bottle (I use an old Febreeze bottle)
Shake well before using.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

If I only had more thyme...

Definition of Herbalism

Herbalism: The practice of making or prescribing herbal remedies for medical conditions. Practitioners of herbalism may be licensed MDs, naturopaths, or osteopaths. They may also be unlicensed. Interested consumers should seek out knowledgeable, and preferably licensed, herbalists. ( )

Main Entry:
herbal medicine
1 : the art or practice of using herbs and herbal preparations to maintain health and to prevent, alleviate, or cure disease 2 : a plant or plant part or an extract or mixture of these used in herbal medicine. ( )
I put the definitions as the first part of this entry so there would be no mistakes in understanding what we are talking about here.
Some folks associate herbalism and herbal medicine with old crones with crooked noses and peaked hats stirring love potions up in cauldron for love lorn maidens.
Some pair the thought of herbal medicine with an image of an African witchdoctor or Amazon tribe shaman.
While most tribal communities use herbs in the prevention, care, treatment and cure of many medical ills, we should not distance ourselves from such a wonderful resource!

Here's one that is familiar to most of us:
Now, most have heard that garlic can lower blood pressure or prevent or lessen colds.
Did you know garlic is also an effective anti-fungal?
Garlic, smashed up fine and creamed into a simple ointment can be used to treat athletes foot and ringworm.
It has many more uses, but that is just one example.

Everyone should try and get knowledge of the herbs that grow in their local area.
I am a firm believer in everything having a purpose and those *weeds* in your yard have purpose, too!

Those dandelions that are so hard to eradicate? Natural diuretic. Cleanses the system (especially the liver) of toxins. And, quite tasty in a salad.

Most of what you call *herbs* used to be known as *weeds*. Then one day, someone decided to taste one, or someone having an illness tried one out of all followed from there.

Some herbs grow close to where they are needed most. Ever get tangled up in stinging nettles? Those will leave some nasty painful welts! But, if you look around a nettle plant, you will usually find some plantain growing. Crush the leaves and apply the plant juices to where the nettle got you and all is better. (That's a plantain pic at the start of this particular blog)
One lady I know that is very well versed in all things herbal firmly believe that herbs grow where they are most needed. Whenever she spots a new herb growing in her households vicinity, she does a quick *health check* on everyone there. She says that 99 times out of 100, before the plant reaches maturity, someone in her household comes down with something that can be effectively treated with that particular herb.

Kings in France and England used to order convents and monasteries to have herb gardens with certain herbs planted "for the general well-being" of the King and the populace.

If you have a homestead or even just a yard, a herb garden is one of the first things you should plant. Your "green medicine chest" can prove itself invaluable in times of illness...and usually without the nasty side effects that come with doctor prescribed medications.
My next blog will be about the basics of what to plant in your herb garden...
Til then, look around on your next walk and see what grows near your house. If you can't identify it, search the internet for it. See how many uses it cooking, medicine, aromatherapy, etc..

Monday, April 13, 2009


I had all my lovely little baby seedlings in my various garden patches about the yard. Most seemed to have gotten a good start and I dreamed of veggie and fruit goodness coming my way.
The last couple of weeks we have had rain on and off. Too much rain for some seedlings that weren't in the best drained locations.
Then yesterday morning we had one of those torrential downpours you dread. The rain came down so hard it stung painfully when I was running from the car to the house.
It lasted less than an hour, but the damage was done.
Many of my seedlings were beaten and destroyed by the intensity of the rain. Leaves stripped off of tender stems or the whole seedling just chewed up completely by the pounding rain.
Fortunately, I did not plant all my seeds. So, I have plenty to reseed with.
I went out this morning and surveyed the damage.
My tomatoes and cabbage and peppers...almost total loss. I may be able to salvage a few plants, but they may not produce well after such trauma.

So...gotta *re-boot* the garden.
Stuff like this happens, due to the vagaries of weather and a gardener has to be ready to bounce back and regroup.
You learn from lessons...and I have learned from this lesson to figure out a way to protect my young seedlings and sprouting plants from when the weather turns vicious.
Tomorrow I am building boxes, about 4 x 8 feet in the yard, filling them with dirt and replanting my seeds.
If a torrential rain hits, I can quickly cover them with a tarp or other protection. They will drain better, too. I will be able to better control the environment , fertilize, weed, pick wee bugs off, keep my fruits and veggies protected from rabbits and the like.
Also, if we suffer drought this summer, watering will be easier and more efficient.

You will have set backs in any endeavor. The key is to learn from the setback and then move forward.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Organization Impaired?

Me, too!
My pantry looks great. I obsess over keeping it organized.
My personal room...Ugh.
I don't know why, but my personal space always seem to be last on my *to do* list.
So, my April *to do* list has my room at the top.
Some of my food storage (long term) is in my room. Right now it is under my bed and taking up most of the space in my book case.
My books are scattered here and there. Bookcase, night stand, another small bookcase.
My sewing corner is a disaster. Seriously, that area needs a major overhaul!
I am finding that my lack of organization is impeding my completing projects, like sewing projects, art projects and the like. It sucks.
So...this month, as I get it organized, I will post any *good things* that helped me and might help others.
My issues are
1) Food storage. My long term supplies include 16 cases of MREs, 16 cases of #10 cans that won't fit in my pantry and the excess water supplies. (2 liter bottles)
2) Sewing area. I end up piling fabric in boxes, baskets and even bags. My tools (scissors, etc) are on the small table my sewing machine is on and my notions (thread, etc) are in a small plastic dresser I picked up at the dollar store.
3) My personal hygiene stuff (shampoo, make up, etc) is, again, on shelves in my crowded bookcase.

I live in a 15 x 15 room. So, I have to get this placed organized and stream-lined for the most efficient use of the space.
I am down-sizing my bed, from a king-sized to a full-sized. That will give me much more floor space, but will limit my under bed storage area. I am building a closet. I have no closet! So my clothes are on display hanging from a *make do* open closet I created in here. I plan on building shelves in the bottom of my closet for my shoes.
We'll see how it goes!