Saturday, April 30, 2011

Thursday Was NOT a Good Day

I will have to pick up the slack and post about this later,  but right now I am still trying to get a few things straightened out here and waiting for some news.
Long story short:
Darlin' Man has about a 90% chance of being deployed yet again. In August, so not much warning.
We'll find out in a week or two if it is chiseled in stone.
A lot of factors for us to consider and a lot of planning and decision making to be done.
So...will post more about this later.
In the meantime, goats are fine, chicken are fine, another sandstorm, my garden seedlings are suffering from the darn wind and sand, that's about it for now.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Versatility Tuesday Delayed Because of Storm!

Well, the wind blew in yesterday morning...and blew, and blew and BLEW! The power flickered on and off all day, so I finally gave up on two things: Trying to make my Tuesday post and Resetting the darn clocks!
So, besides posting about one of my favorite versatility things, I'll give a little catch-up post here! And maybe throw in a video for Wednesday!
First...when the cashier says "Paper of Plastic", I am more likely to say "Paper!". I get weird looks for it (especially from my fell, lol!), but there is a reason I want paper bags.
Plastic bags aren't that versatile. Sure, you can use them for trash bags in little trash cans, and the more crafty can cut them into strips and crochet them into door mats. Some people use them to stuff into those balloon curtain toppers to make them more *poofy*. I have no balloon-y type toppers, so that's out for me.
Ahhhh...paper bags, I love 'em!
The dull, everyday brown paper bag is a joy to most of us that sew. I quilt and the brown paper is awesome for making quilt templates and patterns. When I get a new sewing pattern, I usually do not cut it, I trace it down onto brown paper bags (that I have taped together) and make a sturdy, brown paper bag pattern. It lasts soooo much longer than tissue paper patterns. A little bulkier, but much sturdier.

For crafters, brown paper bags can be used in dozens of projects.
If you can and give canned items as gifts, brown paper looks charming as a label.
My kids (when little) made Halloween masks and other projects from brown paper bags.
At Christmas, I would make decorations from brown paper, using a small hole punch and yarn. Cut your brown paper into stockings, stars or other shapes. Place two stockings together, hole punch around the edges, sew together with brightly colored yarn. You can either stuff and sew closed for a puffy look, or leave the top open and fill with candy of small gft items.

Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown,
And Jill came tumbling after.

Up Jack got, and home did trot,
As fast as he could caper,
To old Dame Dob, who patched his nob
With vinegar and brown paper.
Yes, I have used vinegar soaked brown paper for headaches and once in a while for aches, pains, mild sprains. Soak the brown paper in vinegar, place on forehead or affected area and cover with dry brown paper.
Why does it work? I don't know! I know it does, though--at least it has for me! I have also used it on others when no other medical item was available...and it usually worked then, too! Just don't use it on open wounds...OWIE!!! Vinegar stings!
So, the next time you see a lowly brown paper bag...don't dismiss it and immediately grab it's shiny plastic cousin. Think of all the versatile ways you can use that brown paper bag!
Mama Champagne and new baby are doing well! The new baby has been named by the fella...Cloris, after Cloris Leachman. Just. Don't. Ask. LOL!
The storm here was a wind storm with loads of sand whipping was a mess! 
The wind was so powerful, it even blew out one of windows!
So, right now, we have a piece of plywood serving for a window. Thank goodness we have oodles of spare plywood and lumber.
Video for today (Video Wednesday)

Monday, April 25, 2011


Champagne, who we thought was due in mid-May just delivere a gorgeous little doe next to the front steps! I heard her vocals change from her usual *bleat* "I'm bored/hungry/lonely/wanna talk" bleat to a "Holy cow what is going on?" bleat, so I went to see what was up and she was in hard labor...she saw me, laid down next to the steps and I sat on the steps to offer encouragement and to scratch behind her ears. After a bit she strained and out came a feisty and kicking little doe. She is ADORABLE!
Mama and baby are back in their pen and doing well.
Pics when I am able to...right now, no camera or phone to take pics with...

Monday Recipes...Leftover Madness!

Yesterday we had a lovely ham for dinner. Of course, we have leftovers...lovely, succulent ham leftovers, the best kind!

Tonight for dinner, we'll have one of the Darlin' Man's favorite dishes...

Ham Hash
1 cup diced ham
2 cups diced potatoes
1/2 cup diced onions
2 tablespoons butter
Melt butter in cast iron skillet or frying pan. Add potatoes and ham. Cook over medium heat until potatoes are tender, then add onions and saute for additional 5 minutes, stirring so it doesn't burn/scorch.
Serve hot.

A simple dish, but it disappears from plates FAST around here.

I, personally, am drooling in anticipation of MY favorite ham leftover dish..

Hawaiian Ham Croquettes
1 cup finely minced or diced ham
1/4 cup green pepper finely diced
1/4 cup finely minced pineapple (you can use crushed pineapple--well drained)
3 tablespoons finely diced celery
1 egg
1/2 to 1 cup dry breadcrumbs (really, it is personal preference here, plus local humidity)
Mix all of the above together, make small patties--about a teaspoon of mixture to a patty and fry in oil (just enough oil to cover). Drain on paper towels.
I make a sauce to go with the croquettes by using about a tablespoon of the frying oil, 1/4 cup pineapple juice, 3 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon of (powdered) ginger with a teaspoon or so of cornstarch and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water. I serve the ham croquettes over rice and spoon on a bit of the sauce.

Of course, there is always ham and beans when we get down to the bone, ham salad to be made with all the bits and pieces, omelets with ham and cheese, etc.
I love the versatility of ham!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My Saturday Post Made on Sunday

HAH! Thought I had forgotten, didn't you!?
I am so determined to keep on schedule, lol!
Anyway, I am up early as it is Easter Sunday and I have a lot of cooking and baking to do.
So, as the bread dough rises for some yummy, fluffy dinner rolls later today, I figured I would get in a post.

Saturday being a *wild card* day, I am liable to bounce around on different topics for no rhyme or reason.
While reorganizing everything here during my Spring Cleaning Frenzy, I came across a box of my books I hadn't unpacked since I moved here in September.
First book I pulled out of the box is one of my all-time favorite practical books!
The Self Reliant Homestead by Charles Saunders
I won this book in an online contest at a forum I frequented...and I won it from no less than the author himself! He wrote an inscription on the title page to me and autographed the book!
I cherish it for that, and, more importantly, the contents!
 It is a good basic overview of establishing and living on a rural homestead. He covers looking for and buying property, Raising beef, building fences and walls, how to earn income from your homestead, etc., etc. and everything in between. Good photos and drawings illustrate. A terrific *overview* book that doesn't bog down in detail and is also an interesting read. If you plan on moving to a rural area, this book is a good *primer*.
I wanted to fix duck for Easter dinner, but budget constraints made me push that idea aside and I am fixing a ham. I will, of course, be basting it with Dr Pepper, some brown sugar and spices. Mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, a fresh spring salad and home made dinner rolls will round out the meal. Two desserts...a cherry pie and a chocolate cake.Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!
I would have posted pictures today...BUT...the Boys phone was stolen when he took it to school. I had protested about him taking it to school, but my Darlin' Man thought it would be okay (after the Boy raised a ruckus). Yes, I said "I told you so" and said it rather smugly!
Well, it is a lovely morning. The goats have been fed, as have the chickens, my bread dough is rising and ham is marinating in a Dr Pepper/spice/brown sugar mix. I think I'll make a cup of tea and wander off to the back patio for a bit....
Happy Easter and Happy Spring!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Financial Friday...a day late and a dollar short...

Okay, meant to post this yesterday, but various events got in the way. Since I am still determined to post on schedule, I'll post this now, and do my Saturday post later this evening!

Financial Friday
Investing your money when you have no money!

A lot of us of the *prepper* mindset have little money to spare. We have very little if any money to spare for investing. Yes, it is nice to talk about the stock market and commodities and gold and silver, but when you are most concerned about making sure you get the car insurance paid on time  or putting food on the table, all the *investment* talk is so much "castles in the air".
Most of us just can't afford to invest monies in anything but the *here and now*.

I think the first thing you have to do is redefine what *investment* means.
Here is the dictionaries definition:


the investing  of money or capital in order to gain profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value.
a particular instance or mode of investing.
a thing invested  in, as a business, a quantity of shares of stock, etc.
something that is invested;  sum invested.
the act or fact of investing  or state of being invested,  as with a garment.
a devoting, using, or giving of time, talent, emotional energy, etc., as for a purpose or to achieve something: His investment in the project included more time than he cared to remember.
Biology . any covering, coating, outer layer, or integument, as of an animal or vegetable.
the act of investing  with a quality, attribute, etc.
investiture with an office, dignity, or right.
a siege or blockade; the surrounding of a place with military forces or works, as in besieging.
Also called investment compound. Metallurgy . a refractory material applied in a plastic state to a pattern to make a mold.
Archaic . a garment or vestment.
When you break it down like that, the only two definitions we are concerned about today are No 1 and No 6.
No 1:
The investing of money or capital in order to gain profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value.
The reason I emphasized  appreciation in value is because there are many ways to view this.
All those folks that bought *McMansions* viewed their homes as investments. They expected them to increase in value and to bring them a profit in later years when they sold them. People buy art, baseball cards, comic books, jewelry, etc for the same reason.
I personally know very few people that can afford to sink their money into art, jewelry and the like to hang onto to it for years in the hope of making a tidy profit.
I assume most of my readers are of the same financial situation as most of the country out there...not totally poverty stricken, but not elite wealthy, either.
So lets change that definition o make it more suitable for the of us with a *prepper* mindset.
The investing of money or capital in order to gain profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value or increased usefulness in the present/future or as tools in the present to protect and acquire current or future assets.
Now that we are in the *prepper* mindset, lets discuss *investments* with that definition in mind.
Under that definition, we can include:
Grain grinders
Cast iron cookware
Heirloom garden seeds
Canning Jars and Lids
Pressure Canner/Cooker
Quality Garden Tools
First Aid Supplies
Traps and Snares
Quality Carpentry Tools
Long term Food Supplies/Storage
Sewing Machine
Sewing Needles
Fishing Poles
Hooks and Lures

I hope you get the idea.
Items that will help ensure your well-being in the future are an investment.
Let's take cast iron cookware for an example...
You need a new frying pan. You could *invest* 8 bucks in a crappy *non-stick* frying pan at the local discount store or you could invest 20 dollars in a cast iron frying pan. Now, you have to *season* the cast iron and you aren't an expert on cast iron cooking, so there will be a bit of a learning curve. 5 years, or 10 years or 20 years, which pan will you still be able to use?
Which is the best *investment* in your health, considering many *non-stick* compounds have been found to be carcinogenic, while cast iron adds iron to your diet in a slow & natural manner?
If you had no power, which one would you feel more comfortable and confident using on your grill or over a campfire?
Yes, you will spend more on the cast iron (look at thrift stores and at yard sales to lower the price!), but even if the cast iron is double or triple the price it is still worth more in the long term.
Cast iron is a positive investment.
Will it increase dramatically in value?
Probably not (unless that SHTF event occurs that will make further production impossible)
Will it increase in it's benefit to you? Most assuredly it will be of better benefit than that cheaply made non-stick frying benefits, longevity of use, etc. are all far superior with the cast iron option.As time goes on, not having to buy another cheap pan and then another and another will be a financial blessing when added up.The miniscule amount of iron added to your diet from cooking in cast iron is an added health benefit that also continues with time.

You have to think and choose wisely when you are investing your hard earned cash into material items.
No 6:
a devoting, using, or giving of time, talent, emotional energy etc., as for a purpose or to achieve something.

If you invest 125 dollars in, say, a cob building class, that can prove to be a worthwhile investment IF!!!
A very BIG *if*:
You actually learn techniques you didn't know before
You keep in practice
You are able to build useful things using the skills you learned in the class
You are able to sell your labor/skill in cob building to others

If you are taking the class just to take it and tell others that you took said class, but you do nothing with the skills you learned, you have wasted the money and time you invested. That makes it a negative investment.
If you buy a sewing machine and never bother to use it, that equals a negative investment.
ANYTHING that you invest time and/or money into that does not benefit you is a negative investment.
Even if you don't invest a dime into something, if you take several hours or days into learning a skill and then never use it, it is a negative investment!
What else could you have done with those hours or days? Time learning another skill or honing one you already have, time spent improving your property or time spent with your family?

I know, sometimes we all take a class just for fun or buy something completely useless just because we want it. But we should all (myself included), look around and see what investments of our time and monies is the most beneficial to us and our families.

Thursday, April 21, 2011, blog, etc

Spring cleaning having taken most of my attentions in the past couple of weeks, I have not posted too much here.
That's about to change.
I intend to put my blog on a I have been putting my household on a schedule, too!
I know, I know, putting livestock, teenagers and a fella in the military sounds like a situation that would be impossible to put on a regular schedule, but I am going to give it a heck of a try!
I also want to schedule my blog postings. I know...self-discipline and all that...not my best virtue!
I don't want to schedule a specific time each day to sit down and rattle off a post...I want to have a specific topic for each day of the week.
What I am thinking of right now breaks down like this:
Mondays: Recipes
Tuesdays: Versatility Tuesdays!
Wednesdays: Videos I like
Thursdays: General update on the critters, gardening, etc around here
Fridays: Financial Fridays...discussing finances, budgeting, money saving tips, etc.
Saturday: Wild card, lol! Probably picture heavy.
Sunday...awwww, c'mon, give a girl one day off a week!

What do you think? Sound doable?
Since today is Thursday....
Paulus was banded a couple of weeks ago and is now officially a wether (castrated goat)

He will be slaughtered and butchered in around 2 months, after he has sufficiently fattened up.
Gabrielle, our milk goat, is still milking well and has gentled down doubt in response to getting sweet feed everytime she gets on the milking stand!
Geordi (Gabrielle's offspring, a young buck) is sharing the bachelor quarters with Wang, our buck. He was NOT happy to be weaned! He is also not happy about Wang's...uhmmmm....horniness. Yes, when Wang needs a partner and has no doe readily available, he considers Geordi a suitable replacement, much to Geordis dismay. We have sold Geordi and his new owners is supposed to pick him up the first week in May. May can not come too soon for Geordi!
Champagne (young doe goat) is pregnant and is due in about a month. I surely hope she has a little doe!
Patches (Paulus mom) has been on the milking stand...but...wheeeew! She stinks, her milk tastes really *off* and smells VERY goaty. Paulus is still nursing, so her milk is being utilized by him, at least. Patches is a Nubian Dwarf, while Gabrielle is a Toggleberg cross, I wonder if that has something to do with it?
All I know is that no one here will drink Patches milk and when I tried to use it in cooking, it made the finished product taste gawdawful.

Personally, I prefer cows...just don't tell Gabrielle!

Recently, a friend called me to task for whining about the heat here. She said "Look, girl, you are with the man you love with a couple of great kids (yeah, they are pretty great), living in a comfortable house with the livestock and garden you always wanted! Can't you say ANYTHING nice about the climate there?"

Okay, okay, she is right...I do love my life here. And I DO whine about the heat...
So, here's the
Top Ten Reasons El Paso (and the weather here) ROCKS!:
10: No clothes dryer needed. Clothes dry on the line within 30 minutes.
9: Everything dries out too fast to mold.
8: The mountains are gorgeous at sunrise and sunset.
7: The desert night skies have to be seen to be believed! WOW! The stars really shine bright here!
6: No humidity = no humid hair frizzies.
5: No humidity = HUGE amount of static electricity. Fun at parties and you can zap a mugger to disarm them!
4: REAL Tex-Mex restaurants at reasonable prices.
3: HUGE variety of Mexican & Asian grocers!
2: No raking leaves in the fall. Just kick the tumbleweeds out of the yard!
1: DAVES PAWN SHOP!!!  'Nuff said.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Versatility Tuesday

I have decided that every Tuesday, I will tell how I use one item around the house for various things.
Today, a simple staple most have in their kitchen...


Cornstarch is usually in everyone's kitchen cabinet, but is usually woefully under-used.
Most know that added to sauces, soups, stews and gravies, it thickens up to be smooth and creamy. Much better than flour, in my opinion, as it doesn't leave a *flour-y* taste behind and there is much less chance of lumps developing.

But how can you use cornstarch other than cooking?

Cornstarch makes an excellent and non-irritating powder for baby's bottom, for hot feet, to ward off heat rash, etc.
If you MUST have scented powder, put cornstarch in your container for powder, add a small (1 inch x 1 inch) piece of gauze that you have sprinkled a few drops of your favorite essential oil on. Let the gauze stay in the cornstarch for 24 hours, undisturbed, then shake, let set another 24 hours and the cornstarch should be well scented.

Is your bath hating dog smelling, well, too *doggy*? Sprinkle your canine all over with cornstarch and work it into his/her fur a bit. Let set 5 to 10 minutes, then vigorously brush it out.

In high school, when it was necessary to wash my hair, but just no time to do it...I used to sprinkle cornstarch in my hair, work it through a bit and then brush it out. Excess oil gone and hair was fresh looking and smelling!

Cornstarch is a good *refresher* for that collection of stuffed animals that can't be washed. Put stuffed critter in a plastic bag (or several at a time in a plastic trash bag), sprinkle in cornstarch...for an average 10 inch tall teddy bear, figure about a quarter cup or less of cornstarch. Shake bag (great activity for energetic kids!) for about 5 minutes. Let set another 10 minutes, remove stuffed toys and brush off well. Clean and fresh!

Homemade finger paints...messy outdoor fun, easily cleaned off kids! Neater kids can do their art work inside, lol! Mix 1/4 cup cornstarch with two cups cold water and mix well. Bring to a boil and stir until thickened. Pour into separate little containers and mix in food coloring. Soooo much cheaper than buying finger paints and no worries about toxic or dangerous additives!

Like baking soda, you can sprinkle corn starch on carpets before vacuuming to take out unpleasant smells and refresh your rugs!

Cornstarch removes stains, too. To get ink or make-up out of carpet and off of many fabrics, make a paste of milk and cornstarch, rub into stain, let dry and then brush out. You may have to do this 3 to 4 times before the stain completely lifts.

If a stain is protein based (like blood), make the paste out of cornstarch and water and rub into the stain and dry the fabric item in bright sunlight until dry. Then brush out. Re-treat if necessary.

Cornstarch is great in absorbing oil stains out of leather. Just sprinkle it on the spot, let set overnight and then brush away!
For oil stains on fabric, make a paste of corn starch and water and rub into oil stain. Let set 12 hours or overnight, brush off and launder.

Cornstarch will dry out water damaged books and other paper documents. If it's a book, sprinkle corn starch between the pages, let set overnight and then brush it out. Best to do this job outside, so as not to have mold spores attacking your indoor spaces! For important documents, get a piece of cardboard a little larger than the document and sprinkle the cardboard generously with cornstarch. Place the document on top of the cornstarch and then sprinkle cornstarch generously directly on the document. Place another piece of cardboard on top and let dry overnight.In the morning, remove document and shake off cornstarch. Examine document to make sure it is completely dry, if not, treat again. If dry, gently brush remnants of cornstarch off. A friend of mine saved several precious family documents after Hurricane Katrina using this method, including her great-grandparents beautiful wedding certificate!

People have used a 50-50 mix of cornstarch and plaster of Paris to kill cockroaches for years! You can get the plaster of Paris at most hardware stores.After you have mixed it, sprinkle it in cracks and crevices, behind your fridge, etc to kill the creepy crawlies.

Two tablespoons of cornstarch with one tablespoon of shortening. Voila! White clown face-paint! Add a few drops of food coloring to make other colors.

If you have silver, cornstarch made into a paste with water is perfect for polishing it! Apply with a damp cloth, let dry, then rub off with a dishtowel.

A paste of cornstarch and water applied to an insect bite or bee-sting takes the venom and/or the itch or *owie* out.

For sunburn, mix 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with a quart of water, put in a spray bottle, shake and then spray on the affected area.

Have a musty smelling old suitcase? Sprinkle cornstarch inside, close and let set overnight. The next day, brush out the cornstarch. Repeat if necessary.

Old furniture can smell *off* and musty, too, particularly if it has been stored away for a long while. Sprinkle drawers and/or all the wood with cornstarch and let set overnight. Brush off the next day. Repeat if necessary.

Upholstered pieces can be refreshed by cornstarch as well. Sprinkle sofa cushions and such with cornstarch, let set 5 minutes and then vacuum.

If a piece of upholstered furniture has a strong musty or off smell, sprinkle generously and let set overnight before vacuuming.

Now, there are dozens of cornstarch play dough and goo recipes out there, so I am not going to add to taht mix as I don't have little ones to entertain around my house. If you don't have a good recipe, google it. If you have a good recipes, feel free to post it in the comments!

Do you have any other uses for cornstarch ---out of the kitchen uses?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Things to Worry About, the Basics

Yes, there are things to worry about.
Sometimes it depends on where you live.
In some areas, you worry about earthquakes. In others, tornadoes.
Some worry about a family members health--or their own, or making the mortgage or rent payment.
Some folks worry about paying the utility bills or getting enough groceries to get to the next paycheck.
We all have worries, whether they are big or small.

The thing you have to do is have a thought out plan of action for when one of your worries becomes a reality.

Have a bug out bag readily accessible for each member of your family for natural (or man made) disasters.
Not too far from where I live, over in New Mexico, they have had wildfires. People had to evacuate their homes in a hurry.
In NC and Va., they have had tornadoes and flooding. Again, people had to evacuate in a hurry or seek shelter in a hurry.
Even if you live somewhere where natural disasters are few and far between, you have to think of man-made events. Train derailments and chemical spills. A car flying off the road and hitting your house.
Incidents like that can make it imperative for you to evacuate your home.
Get a bug out bag together. You may never use it, but it is better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

If you have a family member in your households with ongoing medical issues, plan ahead. If they have prescriptions, find out the effective shelf life of each one, and, if possible, get the doctor to write 90 day prescriptions. Let the doctor know that you intend to stockpile a bit of the prescription in case of emergencies. Most doctors will cooperate.
Same goes if you or a loved one has a need for specific medical devices, such as oxygen, test strips for a glucose meter, etc. When you can, stockpile a little as you can afford it.

When it comes to regular, ongoing bills, such as rent or mortgage, try to get ahead a month or two (or more!) and make sure you hang on to the receipts!  I talked to someone recently that was worried about their next rent payment and the short hours they were currently getting at work. I asked about the tax refund they had told me about in February. "Oh, we bought a new t.v. and some other goodies for the house. Felt like we deserved them" I asked how many months rent they could have paid with that refund. Two months. They could have been TWO MONTHS ahead on their rent!
Look, I am not saying to go without all the little luxuries that may make life more enjoyable, what I am saying is plan ahead. Some utility bills you can pay ahead as well. Internet sevice or cable t.v., phone, some electric/gas/water companies let you pay ahead on your bills as well.
It can be a huge relief on your stress burden if there is a shortage of income, yet you know that essential bills are paid ahead.

As for groceries, well...anyone that has read this blog knows I am a huge advocate of Long Term Food Storage. It has been a life saver for me in the past! I have gone for two months without grocery shopping. My diet wasn't wildly varied and I supplemented with such things as foraged dandelion greens and wild herbs, but I was well fed and ate healthy.
Also, garden and can/dry/preserve the excess from your garden. Raise livestock if you can where you live.

Remember, too, to have Cash On Hand. Not in a bank. ATM machines don't always work! I learned that the hard way after Hurricane Ike! And because merchants may run out of change quickly, try to have varied bills and coin denominations.
The Cash On Hand can also be tapped for emergencies you just didn't see when one of the kids informs you of a class trip the night before they have to show up with the signed form and 35 bucks!

I know all of this is common sense to a lot of my readers. But I also know there are new readers out there and folks new to self-sufficiency that don't have a good grasp of the basics yet.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spring Cleaning Time...

Yes, it's that time of year...when normally sane women suddenly go berserk cleaning their homes.
I don't know why we do it, we just do.
I am not the worlds greatest housekeeper, but even I get the Spring Cleaning bug!
Today I have scrubbed down the bathrooms and did a final wipe down of them with alcohol. (Just a personal quirk there, folks)
I am dusting shelves and the books to go on said shelves.
I know this will stay with me for about 2 weeks, so I am getting as much done as possible!
I am absoluting itching to get at the yard and set it up the way I want to, but I must do the inside first!
Cleaning supplies are vinegar (that I am currently woefully short of...add to shopping list!), baking soda, dish soap and alcohol, plus a wee bit of olive oil and some lemon juice.
Yes, you can clean almost everything with those!
I do want some Comet or Bon Ami to get some really grubby stuff done this weekend, though. (Add to shopping list...list getting longer!)
So many things to do...never enough time, energy or supplies to accomplish them all, it seems, but I'll give it a hell of a try!

Last night, the Boy fixed dinner. I assigned him the task as he has never cooked for the whole family since I have been here. I wanted to see how he did, and, he had criticize my cooking a couple of times, so I wanted to show him that it is not that easy to plan, prepare and serve a meal for four!
I am happy to say that he did quite well! He made chicken tacos with minimal supervision and they were quite good!
Tonight is the Girl's turn. I hope she has been planning---at least in her head!---and can accomplish the task as well.
I have more laundry to hang up on this sun-shiny Spring day and lots more to get done!
Hope all your Spring cleaning chores get done quick and with as little trouble as possible!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


This is what the chickens gave us yesterday:
Sorry about the crappy quality, using the Boys cell phone to take these.
Our chickens give us all different shades of brown and tan and one continues to lay pale blue and green eggs.

I have started arranging our raised beds for the dirt delivery:
I love these boxes! I have drilled holes in the bottom for drainage and will be lining the bottoms with mulch and straw to retain moisture in this drydryDRY climate.

They came out of salvaged lumber pile, just had to pull the lids off.
Here's some of our salvaged lumber:
 What you see in this picture is about 1/10 of our lumber pile!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

FINALLY! Some (More) pictures!!!

I finally worked out how to get pictures from the Boys phone onto my computer and, hence, onto my blog.
And yes, it IS way more complicated than you'd suspect, lol!
Although he is a month old now Patches' kid (now named Paulus...not my choice!) was less than 4 hours old when these pics were taken...

I'll have to get some more pics later today so that you can see how much the little cuss has grown in one month!
He is cute and frisky, but I haven't made a *pet* out of him (nor allowed anyone else to) as he is destined for the table. dog has him half convinced that SHE'S his mama, but that's her maternal overdrive issue, lol!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Having a "What's For Dinner" Day

Ever have a day when you happen to glance in the fridge...and then the cabinets and realize that due to your dislike of shopping, you are down to the *nitty-gritty* in quickly fixed groceries?
By quickly fixed, I do NOT mean boxed dinners and such...I mean fresh produce, a few *go to* spices or other ingredients you always keep on hand...but have run out.

I hate going grocery shopping...really, I do.
But tonight...I HAVE to go. I am out of every type of garlic I normally have. Dried, powdered, minced in olive oil and fresh bulbs.
If that wasn't bad enough, I am also out of green onions. (A HUGE staple in our house!)
Out of regular onions as well. We ALL love onions!
The only fresh produce left is lettuce (red leaf and Romaine), two tomatoes and a few grapes.

I DO have plenty of pasta, in different forms (always, but ALWAYS keep pasta stocked!)
I have a few cans of organic tomato sauce left over from when the store had a case sale.
Plenty of ground beef in the freezer, plus a couple of packs of steak bought on sale.
I DO have plenty of rice, dehydrated onions, grits, oatmeal and fresh eggs and goats milk.
Also plenty of frozen peas, broccoli and spinach.
I am thinking...thinking....
I think I will make a couple of loaves of Italian bread, cut one loaf for garlic bread and crustinis (spread with my yummy goat cheese), make spaghetti and a light salad of lettuce, tomatoes w/sliced boiled eggs and have tapioca for dessert.

Still have to go to the store within a couple days...I soooo hate shopping sometimes...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

PLEASE, Go Watch These Videos!!!

Click over to The Cliffs of Insanity blog and watch the two videos he has posted BEFORE YouTube takes them down!!!
The Cliffs of Insanity

I have also posted them here...perhaps we can get youtube to keep them up!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Heat is On...

And the heat is on in more ways than one!
It has been hot here. I hate the heat...gimme cool Spring or Autumn weather or even the chill winds of Winter, PLEASE!
Maybe it is because I was born in late October, but I have always felt better in cooler weather. Yes, I was one of those kids that ran outside barefoot in the snow! In Summer, I wilt.
So, since the temperature has been above normal here, I have changed my schedule to reflect my animosity towards the blazing sun.
I get up around 4 am, quietly fix my breakfast, let the dogs out for their morning potty run while I get the goat feed and chicken feed together. I also feed the dogs and call them back in to breakfast.
I quickly eat breakfast (this morning, a scrambled egg and some cheese wrapped in a warm tortilla) and then go out and feed the goats and turn them out to pasture.
I'll wait to feed the chickens until the sun peeks a wee bit over the horizon.
Back in the house, I go over a short "gotta do" list and complete any tasks that can be done quietly.
I also check the news and weather (online) and check out a couple of favorite blogs and facebook (yes, I am on FB...keeps me in touch with kids, family and friends).
I post here--if I can think of anything to post, lol!
I usually start some bread dough or something else to bake later or figure out what I am going to fix for dinner and take meat out to thaw or start something in the crock-pot. (I LOVE my crock-pots in hot weather!!!)
The whole object of getting up so early and getting as much done as possible is so I will be able to take a break during the hot afternoon. I may take a short nap or a cool shower, I may read a book for a bit or just listen to music. But I will have about two hours to find some way to cool off and avoid the harsh sunlight.
Now, onto the metaphoric aspects of "The Heat is On"....
Radioactivity has been found in milk in Washington State. Still in the *safe range*.
Link to newspaper report
Expect grain prices to go Up, Up, UP!
This has nothing to do with weather or crop failure or fuel costs.
This has to do with George Soros (the man solely responsible for  crashing the Bank of England and causing the financial crisis in the UK)
His corporation (well, ONE of his corporations) has now bought up more grain elevators and facilities in the US.
Story HERE
Now, what does Soros have in mind? He never does anything that he cannot profit from---and profit heavily.
He cares nothing for the *common man* that will have financial burdens because of his [Soros} manipulations.
If you do not have grains (wheat, corn, oats, barley, etc.) stored, you better hop to it double quick!
Food storage...yes, you are just putting in your gardens, but you need to make sure your food storage is as close to adequate as possible. By adequate, I mean a years supply.
That is what I consider adequate. Some folks go for THREE years supply.
Even if the best you can manage is one months supply, get it done.
This is no joke. Fuel prices are going up. Non-GMO seeds are actually sold out at many seed suppliers.
Gather what you can while you can.
Fun Thing:
The Goat web cam at Beekmans Farm
Web Cam Click Here