Monday, November 30, 2015

Blood and Joints, Really?

I am truly astounded. And not in a good way.

I recently had a conversation with my son. We don't have too many of those. We were waiting for an appointment, so we had time to sit and chat. Most conversations are something of a trial with him. At his age, of course he knows everything. And of course, I know nothing. Typical teenager of today's society.

But back to the conversation. I am not sure exactly how the topic came up as we were talking about his dog. He said to me something along the lines of how there should be more blood between joints to cushion them. What? I asked, totally confused about what he was talking about. He said you know the blood between your joints to cushion your bones. Then I was very confused. I asked him if he really thought that blood is what is between joints. He said yes. So at this point I tried to give him a very quick short biology lesson. I then asked him if has ever studied the human body in his science classes. No is the answer.

Now, my son is in high school. (A very short history - he lived with his dad until just over a year ago when I got custody back.) I'll repeat. High School. And he has never had a biology or science class that covered the human body.

What has happened to our schools? I started learning human biology in grade school. I believe somewhere around the third grade. My sister did as well. We sat at the dinner table every night and compared notes on what we learned in school about the various functions of the body. Yes, we had some mighty strange discussions at our dinner table. Never ruined any of our appetites, though. Well, at least my sister or me... I can't say for sure for my mom and step-dad.

But when did it become okay for our schools to drop this kind of information? When did it happen that our children were no longer taught the basics about the human body? What other information are they not teaching our children in school? Is this all schools, or just the one that he went to while living with his dad?

With our children not learning things that should be considered mandatory, how can we ever expect them to grow into intelligent adults? How the heck am I supposed to send my child to college (At this point that is provided he actually graduates high school with good enough grades to even go) when he would have to take remedial classes just to finish his high school education?

I want to know where our standards went. Why do we not expect more out of our schools and teachers? The curriculum? The students?

If my son were younger, I would yank his butt out of public schools. (I put him in a private school when I had custody and he was much younger.) I would put him back in a private school or home school him. I find it completely unacceptable that my son doesn't even know what cartilage is, or what tendons and ligaments are. I am not sure at this point what my options are. At his age, he is more interested in his "own life" than learning anything. Because of course, he already knows everything that he needs to know.

So have you asked your children about what they are learning? Or more accurately, what they are not learning. You might want to.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Stuck Inside -- But No Worries

Today was a dreary, rainy day. So we stayed inside. We did not get a whole lot done. We organized our freezer so we could see what we actually have. After that, we made our list of meals for the week. Actually, we set up a meal plan for the next two weeks. Meal lists allow us to plan for leftovers and try to eliminate food waste.

Then we dehydrated mushrooms. We really like mushrooms. Except on pizza. Then they are just slimy and gross. When we bought mushrooms at the store last time we went, we decided we should try drying them. But we had to eat some of them first. So, this is what we had left to work with:

After we washed them and cut them up, this is what we had:

One tray. I could not add anything else to dry with the mushrooms as the temp they start out at is much lower than anything else. So, into the dehydrator they went. They are still in there right now. I thought they might have a strong smell while drying but they don't. I was worried the house might smell like musty dirt. No need to worry though as they have not had any smell that I noticed.

Then we decided to make up some more rolls. We all really like bread. Especially home made bread. Fresh and hot right out of the oven. Oh, pardon me, I was drooling...

Anyway. Rolls. For these rolls, Crisco is your friend. Grease your pan, grease your hands. Then roll them up. See? Rolling:
Then, slimy, Crisco-y hands and a dough ball:

Put two of these in each muffin cup. Greased, though, or you will never be able to scrape it out of your pan.

Keep rolling and filling. Then you have filled pans:

Or almost full. I ran out of dough. This is the second half of this batch of dough. Depending on the size you roll the dough hunks out, you will wind up with 18-24 rolls. Then you let them sit on the counter to rise for 2-3 hours. Turn on your oven when you are ready to 450* and bake on the middle rack for about 10 minutes. The middle rack is vital. On any other rack they will not bake right and will not turn into the yummy goodness they are supposed to be.

See? That is yummy goodness.
Pssst: You do know to fill any empty muffin cups with water before baking, right? Make sure you do that.

Here is the easy-peasy recipe:

1/2 C sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 C Crisco - do not use oil, butter, margarine, etc. Use Crisco or lard
3/4 C boiling water
3/4 C cold water
1 egg, beaten
1 pkg yeast
1/2 C warm water
5 1/2 C white flour

Mix sugar, salt and Crisco in boiling water. Mix cold water and egg. Add egg mixture to the sugar mixture. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add to sugar and egg mixture. Stir in flour. Do NOT add any more flour. This dough is really really sticky.

At this point you can wrap it up in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge until you are ready for it. Then when you want rolls, just start rolling and filling your pan. But don't forget to grease your pans and hands. Let them rise for 2-3 hours and then bake about 10 minutes at 450*. Remove from pan and eat. And then another one. Maybe just one more to be sure they are safe for anyone else to eat.

If you do happen to have any leftover, pop them in the microwave to warm them up and they are still tasty. Try them plain. Try them with butter. Try them with jelly. You really can't go wrong with them.  What are you waiting for? Go make some.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope that today finds you with your family. If not the family you were born with, then the family that you chose. I hope that today finds your belly full, a smile on your face and love in your heart. I hope that you have much to be thankful for. We have much to be thankful for in our lives.

Please take some time today and give thanks for all of your blessings. Please take time today to say a prayer of thanks and safety for our service men and women who cannot be home today with their families. Please take some time today to share with your family all of the things that you are thankful for.



Also: be thankful you aren't the turkey.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Chemical-Free Cleaning

Have you ever looked at that bottle of cleaner you are using? Not the front of it where you see the brand name to make sure you are grabbing the right bottle. The back of the bottle, where the ingredients are listed. Maybe you have to lift up the top label to even see that list of ingredients. Go look, I'll wait a minute...

Ok, now you have looked at the list. How much of it was stuff you couldn't pronounce? How much of it was stuff that you aren't even sure what the heck it is? How much of it just sounds a little scary or creepy? Are you ready to put that bottle away and not look at it again? Good.

Let's look at some "alternative" ways to clean.

My go to cleaning option is good ole vinegar. I have been using vinegar as a household cleaner for years. It can clean and disinfect. Here and here are a couple of examples to start your research. Do more research. I assume if you are reading this, you are not one to "just take my word for it". Good for you!

I have used vinegar for cleaning mirrors, bathroom sinks, counters, toilets and tubs. I have used vinegar in the kitchen for sticky messes and cleaning counters. I have used vinegar in the rinse cycle for laundry. I have used vinegar for mopping floors. Believe it or not, it does not leave a smell behind. Of course you can smell it while you are using it, but that's it.

Another option for cleaning that I like is Tea Tree Oil. If you are in for some dry reading, try here, if you are just looking for how to use it, try here. I also like to put a few drops into a pot of water on the stove and set it to simmer. It adds a wonderful smell to the air while adding some moisture. Very important in the winter with all the dry heat. A caution for tea tree oil - do NOT consume it. It is for external use only. Never eat or drink anything with TTO in it. TTO can also be used for health applications. Here is another site to go to that has a wealth of info on using essential oils.

These two options are just two of the available choices for alternative cleaning products. If you look into it, you can find a wealth of articles on how to make your own cleaning products that do not use harsh chemicals. If you can eliminate those harsh cleaning chemicals from your home, why wouldn't you? Also, what would you do if you couldn't get to the store to buy more of those commercial cleansers? Vinegar can be made at home. Essential oils can be made from plants you can grow in your own yard. If you don't have a yard, you can plant them in a container on a patio or balcony. There are many essential oils that can be used for cleaning. Look them up and decide which ones you like. For example, lavender is easy enough to grow and can also be used for cleaning. It smells good, too.

One more thing, plain old soap and water will do a whole lot for cleaning. There are a variety of "soap plants" out there. Depending on your location in the US, there is a soap plant that will grow in your region. Start here to get some ideas on which plants you could grow in your own yard.

Now, look these ideas up, see which ones you like and get some plants growing in your yard. Then even if you can't get to the store to buy those chemical cleaners, you can march yourself out the door and pick your cleaners.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Sicky Germs


Obviously, illness is something that everyone needs to be prepared for. What I thought was a yucky cold just kept coming and getting worse. Last week, I thought that I was on the way back to health.

Wrong. I started running a fever. Which lasted on and off for three days. I am not big on going to the doctor so true to form I did not this time either. The fever was a low grade fever so I do not believe that I had the flu. Aside from the fact that I ran a fever, all of my symptoms fell solidly into the camp of cold. Turns out, you can run a fever with a cold. Wow. I learned something new.

I am a firm believer that herbal remedies work for many things. That is what I used(after my husband went to the store when I ran out!) If you have specific questions about herbal remedies, please, look them up. There is all kinds of info out there online and in books to refer to. I have several.

What made me think this time was my situation. I am currently not working. If I had been working, I would have had the time to take off work or lose pay. If I had "pressing" chores to do, I would have had to do them, fever or not. Or, someone would have had to do my chores on top of theirs. That could create a big problem.

It did create a few small problems. Most notably, I was not up to cooking any meals. While I do not have any small children in my house, I do try to cook dinner every day for leftovers for lunch and to make sure my son eats decent food in the evening. Otherwise he would snack or eat a can of soup, or three, and call it good. I would much prefer him to eat a meal. My husband is also perfectly capable of cooking dinner as well. And he did, but this goes back to someone else having to pick up the slack. Right now, not a major problem, but it could become one.

I was not really prepared for this in any way. As noted above, my husband had to make a trip to the store to get me more of one of my choice herbal remedies. I had not taken any meat out of the freezer for meals. I did not have any more premade meals in the freezer for my family to grab in the event that we did not have a cooked dinner.

Another aspect of this: If you could not run to the store and buy bleach, or Lysol, or your preferred method of disinfecting, what would you use? How would you try to prevent the spread of the "sicky" germs?

So think ahead. How would you clean, feed, accomplish tasks? Let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Day in The Life

Yesterday was a fairly busy day for me. I did not get anything posted as we were forecast storms and I wanted to get the computer off and unplugged before they hit. Turns out, we did not get storms like the weather dummies said.

I started my day just like usual. I get up with my husband and start coffee. I then make sure my son is up. He swears to me every time I talk to him about responsibility that he gets himself up most mornings. So not true. So I make sure to wake him up. If it's cold, I start a fire if needed. I get my husbands lunch for the day ready. About this time, we sit down for a cup of coffee together before he leaves. Then it's time to make sure my son gets out the door on time to catch the bus. As we only have one working vehicle, unless it's a day my husband can take the bike, I cannot get my son to school if he misses the bus.

Since I knew we were supposed to be in for strong winds and storms, I figured that I would finish my coffee, have my cup of tea (I switch after one cup as I have found that too much coffee doesn't agree with me), and then get started on my day.

I started outside as I wanted all the outside stuff done before the weather moved in. First, I chopped wood.

See, no firewood.
Pile growing.
Some of the pieces to be chopped.


A mostly full tub.
Then it was time to take the awning down. We put up the awning to give us some shade and a place to sit outside in case it was raining. My mom had a gazebo that blew over a few years ago and she gave us the screening from it when she got rid of it. We attached that to the awning to help cut down on bugs. Mostly the mosquitos as wherever I am, there are also mosquitos having dinner on me. We also set up a table, which I had already removed, the grill/smoker and our cowboy grill. We hope to set up a "more permanent" moveable outdoor kitchen so that when the time comes for us to move we can take it with us. But that's for another day.
See? Gone.
This is where the pictures stop. Once I got the awning down and put away and the grills moved and covered, it was time to bring in the wood. I got distracted by one last look of summer.
It was the only one left in the yard. I love dandelions. They may be considered a weed, but in my book they are a welcome addition in the yard. They are very beneficial. And I hear they can make a pretty good wine.

Anyway, back to the wood. I knew there was no way I was going to be able to haul the tub all the way to the door and up the steps. So I got out my trusty dolly. I wheeled it out there and slid it under the tub and off I went. For about five feet. Then the tub dumped over. So I tipped it back upright and tried again, holding the dolly a lot lower trying to avoid another mishap. No such luck. It tipped a second time. So I picked it back up again and thankfully made it into the house. Out I went to get the wood that fell out. I stacked it on the dolly, kept the handle low again and still the wood would not stay on it. So I gathered about half of it and tried again. I got about 3/4 of the way to the door when it tipped and some of that wood fell off. I got it picked up and finally into the house. The third load, Woohoo!, I got it inside without a hitch.

By this time, the morning had gone by and I still had plenty I wanted to get done. I wanted to take a shower because it is true, using wood to heat with definitely warms you more than once!

I had already started a load of laundry before going out to chop wood. I took that out and hung it on our drying rack and started a new load. Remember, I am trying to save as much money as possible, a dryer does not do that. A hanging clothes dryer can.

Then I sat down to eat lunch. Leftovers from dinner the night before. Still trying to save money and throwing food out does not do that either.

After lunch, I hung the second load of clothes. I only have one of the clothes drying racks, but I do have hangers and a shower rod. So that's where I hung the second load.

Then it was time to get started in the kitchen. I mixed up some bread dough and set it aside to rise. Then I got all the clean dishes put up and the dirty dishes washed. Next I went looking for chocolate chips as I was going to make cookies. I DON'T HAVE ANY!! Wow, that is just sad. So I decided to make brownies. And popcorn. And most definitely not the microwave kind.
With all the snacks out of the way, it was time to bake the bread and get started on dinner. Hamburgers, mushroom gravy and roasted potatoes. I think it was yummy. My husband and son said so. Did I not eat any, you ask? Oh, I did. I just couldn't taste it. You see, I woke up with a really yucky cold yesterday.
By this time, Hubby is home and he makes me a hot toddy. I think it was good, too, but again, I couldn't really taste it. It did ease my sore throat and I coughed a little bit less. We spent the evening vegging out since at that time I was about done for. We do not have cable, but do have an antenna so we can watch local channels and stations like PBS. We watched a really neat show about some cultures and their manhood ceremonies and how they earn money for a living for their families, and about the people that lived in America before it was "discovered". I do like shows like that. Then another hot toddy and off to bed. To hack and cough and not sleep.
Needless to say, I have not gotten much done today, except try to get rid of this cold. And try to sleep some. Didn't work too much better today. I have started a productive cough now and my throat doesn't hurt anymore, so I believe I am on the mend.
This does make me wonder though... Today I was able to just take it easy and rest. What would I have done if we had some sort of catastrophe going on? Pick any one of the things that could happen. Snow/ice storms, thunderstorms with power outages like many parts of the country right now, the myriad of social/economic issues, etc. Would I have had time to rest? To take a day off?  What would happen if my family's survival counted on me being at the top of my game? Or even if not that drastic, just their comfort. What if we already lived out in the country and I had animals and chores to do? Take a bit and ponder that for your situation.
Until tomorrow.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Let There Be Light

As we ease our way to the end of November, we are getting cooler temps and cloudier skies. Our forecast for tomorrow is possible storms. Fortunately, it is not going to be terribly cold tonight or tomorrow.

Something to think about, is with every storm comes the possibility of a power outage. Some areas are more prone to this than others, obviously. I have lived in a couple of different towns since I moved to Tennessee over five years ago, and apparently I have found the places that the power goes out the most! Since it is not that cold out yet, heating will not be the main concern. However, lights will. Now that we are off DST, it gets dark early. By the time my husband gets home from work, it's dark. I would like to do what I can to make sure that when he gets home from work, he is greeted in an inviting manner. So, I ask - Does a dark house do that? Not so much. If the power goes out, I can flip that wall switch as often as I want to and it will not work (We have all done that? Right? I am surely not the only one!).

What I can do, is light the oil lamps. Also known as kerosene lamps, hurricane lamps, etc. They all will do the same thing. Give light.

Candles will also do that. I have a love of candles. I would buy candles every time I left my house if I could. Individually, they don't put out a lot of light, though.

Both oil lamps and candles will put out some heat. It won't, of course, heat your house, but it will add a little bit of heat to a room. If I had to choose between an eternal source for one or the other, it would  be oil lamps. The amount of light they put out is much greater than candles. They also have the flame enclosed in the globe. The flame isn't as affected by any passing air. Since we purchase lamp oil, there is not much in the way of soot and there is no odor.

To increase the amount of light you are getting from your lamps or candles, try placing them in front of a mirror. I have a "barn" lamp that has a plate attached to the side of the lamp. It is supposed to be reflective but due to age, it no longer is. I can simply glue a mirror to this and increase the brightness.  Most of my oil lamps sit on the mantle just waiting for use. We plan to hit some salvage stores and see if we can find a length of mirror to run behind the lamps and candles placed there. If not, then I will buy a cheap back of the door mirror from the big box store, take the frame off and mount that over the mantle. No need to spend a lot of money on a mirror "cut to size".

Flashlights are another source of light and they definitely have a purpose. I for one do not want to hold a flashlight while trying to cook dinner. Or take a shower. or a myriad of other tasks. Would I like one to walk around in the yard or outside anywhere for any reason? Heck ya! I would prefer a flashlight over a candle or lamp in that scenario any day, and for many other uses. In fact, I carry one on my belt everyday as part of my everyday carry. Just not so much for the daily tasks I would be doing inside.

Today, I topped off all the oil lamps and made sure that all our candle holders were full, just in case. Have you dusted off those oil lamps and filled those candle holders to Let There Be Light when times are tough?

Monday, November 16, 2015

What Did You Do?

So, did you do anything this weekend to prepare? No, I hear you saying...

Well, did you go to the grocery store? Did you buy exactly what you need for the next seven or so days until you go back? Or did you buy a few more items than you needed? If so, then you prepared some.

Well, did you do yard work, house work, etc. to "Prepare" for winter? Then you prepared some.

Well, did you get out and hike or camp or do any physical activity? Then you prepared some.

We went to the grocery store and stocked up on some sale items. It is that time of year that there are some really good sales with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up. This is the time of year to catch those loss leaders and really stock up. Don't know what a loss leader is? Look at the front of your local grocery store ad. See that really good, don't want to pass it up, deal? Like turkey for 60 cents a pound? That is a loss leader. See that ad for butter for $1.99? That is a loss leader. The store will lose money if all you do is come in and buy that particular item. What they are counting on is for you to come in and buy that "super" sale item and lots of other stuff along with it. Then they make their profit.

What would be ideal, is having enough stock in your kitchen to only shop sales and loss leaders. Are we there yet? Heck no. But to me, that is a goal worth having. To buy only when I want to! That is my kind of shopping. The more I save, the more I have. Or can have.

The more I can have, the more prepared I can be. If I save money each time I go to the grocery store, by buying the items I normally use that are on sale, the better off I can be. If I buy an item on sale, butter for example which I use a lot of, then I should buy it every time it goes on sale. Especially when it is a loss leader. Then I can put it up and have it for future times when it is not on sale. If you buy items that you normally use when they are on sale, why not buy a couple of more?  Each time you do that, you are adding to your stock. That makes you more prepared.

We also dehydrated some carrots and some cherry tomatoes that we bought. We chopped more wood for the fireplace. We bought some kerosene for the heaters. We made sure that we were caught up on laundry. We made a trip to Walmart (uggg I do not like Walmart) for the things that we couldn't get at other stores (at least for as cheaply as we could there). All this for life's uncertainties.

So, tell me, what did you do to prepare?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Baby, It's Cold Outside! (Or maybe it's just me)

We have a bit of a cold snap coming in this weekend. Possibly some freezing temps overnight. Well, it's November so we can't complain.

Most people who know me, they will tell you I am always cold. Where I used to work, it was something of a joke to everyone. Here comes M with her layers and layers. How many layers do you have on today? Except the days I had hot flashes - I mean "power surges". Then the new comments started - Where's your jacket? Oh, you do have skin on your arms! Like I am some kind of alien and the skin on my face was a farce and really the rest of my body must have been make of some kind of metal or something. What am I, The Terminator? No I am not, but that would be bad-ass!

I am working on the cold thing. My hands and feet get cold very easy. Like painfully cold. Many people have made the comment to me, especially in the summer, oh it must be nice not getting hot. Well, I have news for you, it's not. Imagine it's 80 degrees outside and your hands are hurting and so cold that it's hard to type. When your job requires working on a computer, that really sucks. But, I have learned that some of the coldness is mental and just requires some conditioning. This summer and fall, I have been working on "teaching" myself not to be so cold. I have actually been outside on days when the highs are in the 60's just in jeans and a t-shirt. I do get cold eventually, but to be able to go outside like that is a huge step for me.

I also set "requirements" for myself about heating the house. We do not have a furnace. We have a fireplace, space heaters and kerosene heaters. We have a temp gauge in the living room. I set the "rule" that I cannot use any heat source until the temp gets down to at least 64. I have stuck with this rule most of the time. (I've had a couple of fallbacks.) I am proud of myself. It used to be that if it was below 75 or so, I was cold and "had" to have some heat. Now I just tell myself that I am not cold. Believe it or not, it does work. Not every time as I have had a couple of days that I was cold no matter what I told myself. So I bundled up. I can't turn on the space heaters and start a fire every time I get chilly if I am going to save us money. More layers are free. Heat sources are not.

I guess what this ultimately boils down to, is mind over matter. If I believe I am cold, then I will be. If I don't believe it, then I won't be cold. This works with so many things.

What does this have to do with being prepared for things? A lot, actually. If I am wrapped up in 2903657 layers because I am always cold, what do I do when a winter storm rolls through and knocks the power out? Remember, I live in a trailer. In about 5 seconds, all the heat in our home would be gone if we relied only on electric heat (which we use in the bathrooms). I would freeze in about 10 seconds. Also, in those 2903657 layers, how do I function? I look like the Michelin Man and am just about as graceful. Teaching myself to not be so cold, however, I can wear less layers and be less affected by the cold. I can move about without bouncing off the walls and furniture. It means that we don't have to use as much fuel for heat, regardless of the source. It also means that I can be outside in cooler weather to help with the work that needs done around the house and yard and not be in pain from the cold. And what a difference that has made for me. And my husband. Just think the amount of work I am saving him. How, you ask? He can chop less wood! I do help him. I just am no where near as fast, efficient or capable as he is.

So, what are some things that you are doing to get yourself mentally prepared?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

An Experiment

I recently received an Excalibur dehydrator for the wonderful price of FREE! Who doesn't like free?

Actually, my mom gave it to me. She bought it several years ago and used it sporadically and decided she would be more than happy to part with it. So, now it's mine, and I love it. So far I have dehydrated carrots, celery, apples, onions and green peppers. I just dried more green peppers a couple of days ago. My pepper plants have finally called it quits this year and of course I didn't want to waste those yummy pieces of deliciousness. Let me tell you, it is amazing how small those pieces become once all the water has been sucked out. They are tiny. I have a quart mason jar full of them now and it was like 30 peppers. Talk about saving space!

I have giant red mustard growing in my fall garden. If you have never heard of it or had it, oh my goodness you need to. It really is red. It starts off green just like any other greens do, then starts getting red veins in it. Talk about yum. We just eat it fresh like lettuce on a sandwich or in a salad. I have read, however, that you can cook them just like any other greens. If you eat it fresh, it has a spicy peppery flavor. Apparently once you cook it, it loses that punch. We like the punch so we eat it fresh. Now, would you like to hear the sad part? Most people who grow this plant use it for a border plant in their landscaping. They never eat it! Boy, are they missing out.

Anyway, my experiment. I decided to try dehydrating the red mustard. I can crumble or powder it and add it to soups and stews. Or any dish I choose, I suppose. My haul today:

Several radishes, a variety of lettuce and those yummy red mustard leaves(on the left-see the red?). I washed them up and steamed them for a couple minutes until they were just wilted. Then I laid them out on the trays. Talk about tedious. They can't overlap according to the book I have and since they were steamed, they all stuck to each other and wadded up on themselves. They also seemed to lose some the red coloring as well.

I now have three trays of these beauties in the dehydrator. I didn't want to dry a bunch because if they turn out awful, I will be sad of the lost yummies. I am sure the dehydration will work just fine, but until I use them, I have no idea if this will be a successful experiment. I will have to figure out something to make for dinner this weekend to give them a whirl.

 I am really happy with the salad that we will have with dinner tonight.

Nothing like a fresh salad from your garden. In November. And it's still going strong.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thank A Vet

Thank a Vet today.

My husband and I neither one have a military background, although we both have family members that are current and former military. We both know the fear when they leave and the joy when they came back. My heart goes out to all those whose family didn't come back. They have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. To say "Thank You" just doesn't seem to be enough.


I want to live in the country. I haunt blogs like Patrice's.  I know that it is hard work and can be very frustrating. The way I see it though, what could be more satisfying than that lifestyle? Knowing where your food comes from, knowing that the animals you are eating were cared for humanely and knowing that the food you eat doesn't have some weird chemicals that you can't pronounce.

However, I live in a trailer park. I know, I know. Most people don't think that living in a trailer park is the "American Dream". I know it was not what I dreamed about as a child. No rolling hills with cattle roaming. No horses running through the fields. Not even any chickens in the backyard. However, my little slice of the trailer park is my dream for now. My husband and I are making it everything that we can. Trying to care for ourselves and help our neighbors when we can. Sharing the bounty of our garden... When it grows! because everyone knows that growing a garden is simple, right? We also want to be ready for as many of the things that life throws at us as we can. But you live in a trailer park! I hear the comments now.

Most folks also don't think that you can prepare for anything in a trailer park. But why can't you? No one says that you have to prepare for The End Of The World As We Know It. Why can't you just prepare for the everyday-life-happens sort of stuff? Why can't you grow your own little garden so you can at least know where some of your veggies come from? Why can't you store some water for those unknown events that might occur?

I am not talking about major catastrophe's. I am talking about the things that you didn't see coming and now you aren't sure what to do. Or maybe you do know what to do, but you weren't ready for it.

Let me give you a couple of examples:

I am out of work. I have now been out of work for a couple of months. I did look for a job and had a few interviews. Unfortunately, I apparently have not been what those companies are looking for. I won't give up, although my husband has suggested that I wait until after the holidays. I am ok with that. It gives me a chance to learn some things while I am home. Which has been more than I thought it could be.

Also, we had a water leak a couple of weeks ago. I was digging through the bottom of the closet trying to get our BOB straps out of the way so I could vacuum. It was wet. Oh no, a bottle must have started leaking, that was my first thought. Then I realized the floor was wet. Crap, did all the bottles leak? Until I realized that is not the bag with the water. All dry stuff. BIG OH NO at this point. The carpet was wet, the other bag on the floor was wet. Everything in the bottom of the closet was wet. Then I realized the walls were wet. Holy Cow! how long as this leak been there? I called my husband, turned the water off and cut the power to the house as I didn't know which breaker was the water heater. (I have since remedied that.) Long story short, we did not have to replace the water heater as it was a joint in the pipes feeding the water heater. However, we had to rip up carpet, flooring, subflooring, rip out the walls and the wet insulation. It was a mess. And we fixed it all ourselves.

This is the point of preppin' in a trailer park. We are not preparing for TEOTWAWKI. We are preparing for our own personal SHTF. Everyone has them. We do, our neighbors do, you do. Sooooo, why not plan for them? If I hadn't known how to shut the water off, it would have just continued to leak until my husband got home. If I hadn't known where the panel box was at and how to shut the power off, we would have just had water leaking all over the place and power still running to all the wires nearby. Granted, nothing had happened previously even though the water had been leaking apparently for ages, but I do live in a trailer and I wasn't about to take any chances.

Fortunately, we had gallon jugs of water and a couple of cases of bottles. I also filled up every bucket I could find, all sinks and the tub so we could flush the toilet. We were just fine.

And if you are wondering why we had so much water? Well a couple of months ago, not too far from our house, a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed and caught on fire. My husband and I didn't even know it had happened until we were on our way to work. I drove back home as my son was home to see what the heck we needed to do. I made phone call after phone call (no answer-please leave a message and we will get back to you- soooo very helpful). When I finally started packing to evacuate ( I know I am apparently a little slow on the uptake!) my boss called and demanded that I return to work. No concern about my son and what the heck I was supposed to do with him, and no I was not allowed to take him to work with me (Now do you see why I no longer work there?) So in the interest of keeping my job, I left my son at home and went to work. And felt like crap about it all day long. What the heck was wrong with me putting my job before my son? So when we came home from work, there were roadblocks we had to get through. They were advising us to gather our son and any pets and evacuate. OH, and maybe don't drink the water. We think it's ok but maybe go get a gallon or two.

So that is why we now have water on hand and BOB's. If I had had those to begin with, I wouldn't have had to waste time packing and could have had my son and pets out of the area before I ever had to worry when my boss called and demanded me to come back to work. All of these things have happened in the last few months. I know I am not the only one that seems to have things that just keep happening. It's different things for everyone, but we all have them.

So, let's be ready for them, shall we?