Friday, August 10, 2018

My Almost Bucket List

I read a post a day or two ago about bucket lists. Like Patrice, I have never had a bucket list. I never felt the need for one. I didn't panic when I turned 30. Or 40 for that matter.

I remember when I was in my early 20's, I worked in my mom's office part time. One of the gals that worked there was getting ready to turn 30. She was truly upset and worried because she had a bucket list and had not completed it. She had children, she was turning 30, her life was over! Very dramatic. I asked her why turning 30 was so bad. She lamented that she was getting old. I didn't understand because I wasn't knocking on the door to 30. Of course, I also had to ask what a bucket list was since I had never heard of it.

When I turned 30, I breathed a sigh of relief. No more would people look at me think I was still "young" and immature. I was an adult. No more being told I was only 20-something and I couldn't possibly understand. Mind you, I had my son when I was 22, one month to the day before I turned 23. It's not like I was a single, childless college student who had never been in the real world. I had a full time job and was raising my kid. I finally felt I had joined the ranks of adulthood.

I  just don't get the idea of a bucket list, though. If you have a goal or a desire to do something, why are you not striving to do it now, instead of some unspecified time in the future? Why wouldn't you want to? We have a goal and desire to own our own land. We are working towards it now. We have a goal date set. I don't understand the idea that you would want it and not go after it. If you have some place that you want to see or go, why not start saving now.

Maybe it's just me, but I look at a bucket list as a way to be unmotivated. If you can put it on a bucket list, you don't ever actually have to strive towards it. Perhaps some folks do. I don't know. I only know of a few folks that ever talked about having one, and without fail, none of them did any of the items on their lists and then complained about it. The folks that did do great or fun things, did them because they had an opportunity and they took it. My mom and sister went to Spain. A friend of mine went to Peru last summer. They didn't put it on some list and then whine about not going. They saved up the money (in my mom's case working two jobs) and went for it.

It could be that I don't feel the need for a bucket list because I don't have a desire to travel much beyond getting on the bike with my husband and taking a short trip. If I ever get to see the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone or some other place, then I will be pleased about it. I won't, however, be sad if I don't. I still have seen many beautiful and moving places in my life. I choose to be happy and content than to be sad and disappointed. If I were to have a bucket list, item number one would be to be happy.

What do you know? I had a bucket list and I completed it.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Hooray for Thunder Shirts and Other Daily Goings-on

I am happy to report that the thunder shirt is working. My dog still doesn't like the storms and thunder, but instead of hiding and shaking and pounding heart, he simply finds a place to lay down where it's fairly closed in and dark. That is a huge improvement. I am so glad that we got it.

We did get the garden sprayed. The stuff that we used has neem oil and an "exciter" to make the bugs come out and eat the treated leaves. Then they die off. It affects their neurological systems so that they stop laying eggs and stop eating. Course when I went out the next day to water, I saw about a million bugs I think. It was a little surprising and kinda gross to see so many. We will spray again next weekend to get them under control before we plant the fall garden.

I have saved and dried a bunch of the beans we grew this year for planting next year. The pintos and Cherokee cornfield did really well, the red beans did ok and the limas and tiger eye did not do well at all. Hopefully as I keep planting them, the harvest will improve as it adapts to my soil and micro-climate.

The corn is now a total loss. The last two storms did it in. I thought last week after the storm that I could probably salvage some of it. The storms yesterday pretty much finished it off. I am not sure that any of it will mature enough to save any seed. Bummer. Plus as it fell and broke it started smothering the squash plants. I think that bed is going to be done for now. I will leave it there until after we spray this coming weekend to make sure we get any bugs that might be hiding in there and then rip it all out. I don't think it has too many pests as none of the plants look like they have been munched on.

The peanuts, on the other hand, are still going strong and looking splendid. It will still be a while before they are ready to harvest. They have a long maturation date.

We had to fix the truck again. Over the weekend as we were out running errands, the fan quit blowing. Which sucked because it was so hot and humid. We first replaced some resistor thing. I don't remember exactly what it was called. It was cheaper than the blower motor and if it didn't work, we figured it's still a new part and we won't have to worry about it going out later. It didn't work. So the next day my husband bought the blower motor. We went out and changed it. It was surprisingly easy to do. Now it works again.

I have an old rocking chair that I will be restoring and cleaning. I spent some time researching it. It appears to have been made in the early 1900's. I need to clean it to see if I can find any identifying mark on it. It is a mission style chair and seems to be in the Stickley style. Without finding the mark, I can't be sure of the maker, though. I don't think it has any actual value as the seat cushion has been replaced and there seems to be either a back cushion or something along those lines missing. It does, however, appear to have the original springs. I just think it's cool to have a piece of furniture that is that old. I actually got it from my mom years ago. I also have an old dresser that I think I will do some research on to see if I can date it as well. Also from my mom. I seriously doubt that it is worth anything, either, owing to the stickers I put on it as a kid!! Although I may be able to get them off without damaging it. It makes me wonder with furniture that old where all it has been. How many people have owned it. If it could talk, what stories would it have. They were both obviously well cared for as they are both in pretty good condition. Even if they are 100+ years old (which is what classifies a piece of furniture as antique), they have both been in my family, either my mom's house or mine, for probably 40 years or more. I will have to ask her when she bought them. I just remember them always being there.

I roasted some garlic yesterday. Oh man, does that ever make the house smell good. I saved all the tops that I could to use in fresh cooking. Waste not, want not and all that. I also made breakfast burrito guts yesterday. We don't wrap them anymore, as my husband hasn't mastered the biting into things yet without his plate coming loose or moving. So I make the innards and he just eats them off a plate instead. It's a really filling hearty breakfast.

After the storms yesterday, it cooled off enough that I was able to open windows and use fans. Boy, I love fresh air in the house. Don't get me wrong, I am thankful for air conditioning. I just get tired of the staleness in the house when it's on. I also love to have fresh air when I am sleeping, as does my husband.

This afternoon, I am going to find my mayonnaise recipe and make it so I can make my gouda cheese dip. It's quite tasty. I am not sure how well my husband will do with crackers, but maybe he can use bread instead. I imagine it would be good on anything. It's cheese. That's kind of like bacon, it goes with everything. And if it doesn't, then you shouldn't eat it!

That's about it for the last several days. I don't really feel like I have gotten a lot accomplished. I did get things done, like laundry, washing down cabinets, sorting and purging lids for food containers that I no longer have the bowls, organizing cabinets, etc., but there really isn't anything exciting or news-worthy about that! I do feel that they are all important tasks as I would not have to worry about those issues if something happened. Just not worth putting up a blog post about it. Do you ever feel like you haven't accomplished anything if it wasn't something big?

Starting next week, I will be working two days a week. The new assistant manager seems pretty cool. She told me she heard good things about me and that she could be very persistent and would be in getting me to work more. I told her I could be very stubborn, but was willing to test our wills! Which in that case she would actually win since I had already decided to start picking up more hours. Slowly to make sure the dog doesn't freak out when I am suddenly gone more than one day a week. Plus, as I start working more, I am hoping that the temperatures start going down. I realize they won't for a while yet, but I can handle a couple of days for now.

Well, I am off to find something to do. I am not sure what I will accomplish this afternoon. I just plan on flying by the seat of my pants to figure it out. Probably start with cleaning the bathroom since I washed the bathroom rug yesterday. Don't want to put a clean rug in a dirty bathroom. 😁

P.S. Supper tonight will be ham steak and eggs. Or maybe the cheese dip and crackers with some fresh fruit. Not sure yet.

P.P.S. I am thankful for my husband. I had a killer headache this morning (sinus) and he let me sleep in. He really takes good care of me. I can only hope I take care of him as well as he does me.  

Monday, July 30, 2018

Decisions and Catching Up

I was unofficially offered a promotion at work on Saturday. It would mean a pretty good raise, but also a lot more hours. Saturday night, my husband and I talked about it. I slept on it. We talked some more on Sunday morning. I decided if they could meet a few terms that I had, I would take the job. So, I texted my boss Sunday evening to tell him I had made a decision. Would he rather me come in on Monday or just call? He said just to call. I think he thought I would say no.

I called today mid-morning and he didn't answer and I left a message. He called this afternoon to tell me the offer was off the table for now. The owner had made a decision early this morning to hire another manager. He also told me that if this other employee didn't work out, he would make sure the owner knew what he had in mind and the offer would be renewed.

My dog got stung by a bee again today. He has a bad habit of chasing anything that buzzes. He went flying off the porch when I let him out to chase something in the yard and before he got off the steps, he apparently stepped on a yellow jacket. He limped back up on the porch and we got him inside. I looked up what could be done for it. I saw a few things, but the biggest thing I saw was to make sure the stinger was out. I was trying to look at his paw and he was NOT happy about it. He growled at me and actually snapped at me. I know he was hurting, but that is totally not acceptable. So, I snapped my fingers at him and pointed down, which he knows means to stop what he is doing and lay down, which he did. He didn't bite hard and didn't break the skin or leave a mark or anything, however, that behavior will not be tolerated. We decided for me to hold him in my lap and hang on to his head just in case and my husband checked the paw out. No stinger that we could see. He did growl, just didn't make any attempt to snap or bite. We gave him a couple of treats for being such a good boy. I got some frozen chicken innards I saved from the last chicken we cooked and stuck them in a sock. I put it down on the floor and got his paw on it. He stayed like that for a few minutes. Now, he seems to be fine.

We have to take my son to meet his dad Thursday evening. After that, we will go watch my husband's grandson play baseball. This is the first year that he is playing and we are both excited. I played softball and my husband played baseball growing up. We are really looking forward to it!

We are going to spray the garden tonight. I don't like to do that, but some bugs seem to think that my tomatoes are for their delight. Not so. Death to the bugs! *evil laugh here*

We got a bunch of beans out of the garden to dry and put up for next year's garden. I am already starting to make plans. First, I have to get the garden ready for fall and make those plans. I know some of what we will plant, but need to see what I have left and saved from last year. Then I will have to order some seeds.

My husband has a sinus infection. Not sure if it is from the dental work or just because. We are treating it and he seems to be on the back end of it. Not soon enough for him. I don't blame him, I don't like them either.

We had fried fish again last night. We did not have game night. We listened to music instead. It has been a while since we have done that, too. I think we will have game night tonight. Yahtzee is calling my name!

One of the things that we do each week is set up a meal plan. That allows us to use up all the leftovers and not have to throw food out. The meal plan is of course flexible. We decide what we think sounds good for the week, write it down, then invariably change something at some point. It seems to be just a starting place while allowing both of us to be part of the planning process. Cuz who wants to be the only one choosing dinner every night?

Our reel mower seems to be doing a good job as long as we stay on top of the yard. Or my husband stays on top of the yard. 😀  I think we will stick with it. No gas or oil? I'm in.

See y'all later!

P.S. Supper tonight is home made pizza. I have the dough rising right now and all the topping picked out and ready to go. Dessert/snack is going to be fresh fruit.

P.P.S. I am thankful that the bee sting for my poor puppy wasn't worse.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

I'm Ba-aaack!!!

So after a rough couple of weeks, I am back. Life in the Trailer household is back on track.

So after the crazy drivers on Friday when my husband had his dental work, I figured that his mouth hurting and not being able to eat well would be the only problem. Well, we all know what happens when you assume something.

On Saturday, the adhesive they used to hold the plate in was long gone. He was told to keep it in for 24 hours at least. He woke up in the middle of the night with the plate in the bed and not his mouth. It would not stay in place the whole day on Saturday. It rubbed his gums where the teeth had come out. He couldn't eat anything. I make a lot of home made stock, thankfully, so at least he could drink something nutritious. I didn't eat much either. I felt bad eating in front of him when he was so hungry and all he could get in himself was stock. He was in quite a bit of pain on Saturday as well. I tried to do what I could, but there isn't much to do for that except make sure he had ibuprofen. We don't either one take prescription pain meds. He doesn't like them and I can't take them.

The ibuprofen helped some, but definitely did not get rid of the pain. So in a stoke of stupidity, we decided a couple of shots of whiskey would help get rid of the pain. Well, it did work. The stupidity came in because neither of us had eaten anything solid. So, after a couple of shots, you can imagine just how much it affected us. My husband went on to bed. I was on the phone with a friend, so I stayed up longer. And continued to drink. That's where the real stupidity came in. I was drunker than Cooter Brown by the time I went to bed. I woke up with what I thought was a hangover. Which I obviously deserved for being that dumb. I got out the Pedialyte and drank the whole container. Then started on a second one. Then I realized I wasn't dehydrated any more. I just didn't feel good. I still attributed that to being hung over. A mistake I won't make again.

I realized the next morning that wasn't the case. I won't go into details, but for three days, instead of me taking care of my husband, he was taking care of me. That was not how this was supposed to work!! It wiped my ass out. It took almost a week to recover. Add in to that not sleeping because of storms and still more fireworks, it was rough.

I still haven't had a really good nights sleep. I have laid on the floor and slept on the floor more in the last month than I have in the last year. I have had nights that I have had heartburn so bad, I had to sleep sitting up, which is also uncomfortable. At least I can take a nap if I need one!!

In addition to all of that, both of us have just felt bad the last couple of weeks. Since we had cut out most of the sugar and chemicals out of our diet we had been feeling a lot better physically. My headaches had virtually vanished. I hadn't been having much heartburn, hormone or gut issues. Just felt better. But since my husband was so limited on what he could eat, I was focusing on fixing what he could. I ate what he ate. Big mistake. Basically, I did it to myself, though. That is another mistake I won't make again.

Now on to the good news!

My husband had his follow up visit. His mouth is healing really well. He was able to move to the paste to hold the denture in. It finally stays in all day. He is figuring out how to chew with it and is able to eat a lot more foods now. Since he can eat more food now, I have been able to go back to fixing the foods we normally eat. In the past few days, we have gone back to low sugar, organic and chemical free foods. The difference in how I feel is dramatic.

The garden is still doing well. We are getting all kinds of squash. Delicious. The beans are just about done, so I will be pulling them this week and replanting the ones with the short maturity dates so we can get another round out of them before I plant the fall garden. Sadly, the corn is not fairing well. The winds from the storms have pretty much knocked it all down. It hasn't seemed to kill it so I left it out there to see if any of the corn will be salvageable. The peanuts are doing fabulous, and we have some winter squash and watermelons coming right along. The tomatoes are producing, albeit slowly, but producing.

We bought a fryer at Kroger. It was on sale for 20% off and I had a coupon for another $10 off. Woohoo! I have been wanting one for a long time. So on Sunday night, I made fried fish with a beer batter coating and French fries. So much better fried and not baked. I bought mushrooms and onions when we got groceries planning to dehydrate them, but now I think I will make fried mushrooms and onion rings.

We also added quite a bit of food to our deep pantry. I have a can rack that we bought that will hold and rotate about 200 cans. We have it almost full. Which doesn't count the stuff that I can and that doesn't fit in the can rack due to the shape of the can. I realize that wouldn't go too far feeding the three of us, but it would be better than nothing, and more than most people have.

Last night for dinner was lasagna mess. I just use whatever noodles I want and instead of taking the time to layer it, I throw everything in the pot I made the sauce in, mix it up and dump it into a baking dish. Easy, peasy, cheesy.

I talked to my sister yesterday. Fertile Myrtle is pregnant with number five!! I am excited for her! She has four girls, so her and her husband decided to try one more time to see if they can get a boy! She is having a lot of morning (all day) sickness like I had with my son, and she didn't with her girls, so they are really hoping that is a sign that this one is a boy. And of course her husband feels bad and keeps apologizing saying he did this to her! I am pretty sure based on what I learned in biology class, that it took both of them! I am just glad that he cares that much about her.

We bought a thunder shirt for the dog. We have had several people tell us that it has worked wonders for their dogs for storms and fireworks. We bought it last Friday. I am glad we did as it stormed all night Friday night. I didn't go to bed until about four in the morning. Then had to work Saturday. That was a long day. The thunder shirt is helping I think. He doesn't seem to mind wearing it. He also seems to calm down faster when I sit or lay down with him. He is still scared, but not shaking so bad and his heart doesn't pound as fast. I plan on putting it on him a little bit each day and kind of randomly. I don't want him to equate the shirt to storms and get scared just because I put it on him. Hopefully we will see a difference soon. I would love for him to not be so scared. That can't be good for him.

Sunday night, my husband and I got back into game night. We played Connect 4. We always have a blast when we have game night. I have a ton of board games and card games, dice and dominos. We used to have game night every week. I am not sure when exactly or why we stopped, but I think this will be put back in our routine. Maybe every Sunday, along with a fish fry! Now we just need to get into fishing and catch our own!

I have to run to Walmart today to pick up a couple of things. I hope to get out in the garden after that. It is cloudy right now, and if it stays that way, it will make it nicer to work out there. I am hoping it stays nice out for a while at least so I can wash the dog's rugs and have enough time out there with him so they can dry.

I think that is pretty much everything for right now. I'll see you all tomorrow!

P.S. Supper tonight is meatloaf with those aforementioned fried mushrooms and onion rings.

P.P.S. I am thankful for health and feeling good. Obviously, feeling good makes for a better mood and outlook and easier to accomplish things.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

When it Rains, It Pours

Wow, it's been a rough few days.

On Friday, my husband and I went in for his morning appointment. It was the measurement, fitting, instructions, waivers and all of that for the teeth he was getting pulled. Time for all the questions that we had come up with. All of that went really well. We went to Wallyworld to get the stuff they told us we would need for at least the first two weeks. We came home. We had a really good lunch since I knew that my husband would not be able to eat dinner. We got a couple of things done, but not much because I didn't want to work him too hard since he was getting teeth pulled.

We left about an hour or so before the afternoon appointment to make sure we had time to get there. Good thing as there was some road construction about two blocks from the office that was not there that morning. We did make it with a few minutes to spare. We decided to smoke once more before we went in while watching traffic. It was backed up forever and we were talking about how we hoped it was gone before we had to leave. We watched a truck pull in to the back of the building with mowers. Then this noise... At first we thought that was fast, how did they get the mowers running that fast? Oh NO!! It was our truck!!!!

So, out we jump and pop the hood. The serpentine belt had shredded. Really? Right now?

In we go so my husband can check in. We know we need to call the insurance to schedule a tow. We figure out where we want to take it. My husband said he will call his buddy. He pulls out his phone and started to pull the guy's number up and they called him back. He started to head back and realized I needed the phone number so I can call this guy. I was checking our insurance online to make sure we had the towing add on, which I was pretty sure of, but just double checking cuz that's what I do.
I open his phone back up to call the guy. Only to realize he had pulled him up by his first name, not full name and there were three to choose from. I asked the girl at the front desk to go back and ask which one I am supposed to call. They were already working on him. These folks waste no time! I head outside and start at the top. Nope, not it. I called the second one. Nope, wrong number. Third call was no answer. So I called again. I can be quite persistent. Bingo! Got an answer and it was the right person. He can take the truck today, but can't work on it until Monday. I told him I had no idea what time we would be there as my husband is getting his teeth worked on and I have to call a tow truck. Who would be bringing us with him. Of course, I have no idea how we will get home. He told me no problem, we could all figure something out.

I go back inside and ask the girl at the front desk how long this typically takes. She said about an hour. Ok, back out to call the insurance and see how long for a tow truck. The phone call was easy, the gal was really helpful and polite. She made sure that we were safe and not in any immediate danger and set everything up. About an hour they should be there.

My husband came out from the back and still no tow truck. We had to wait almost 20 minutes after he was done for the truck to get there. At least we were inside as it was pretty hot outside. The tow truck guy finally shows up. He gets the shredded belt off and the truck on the roll back. With about half an inch to spare before missing it entirely. Gets it strapped down and now it's time to climb into the truck. Only to realize there is only two seats and what I assumed was a filing cabinet in the middle. So I sat on the filing cabinet. And rode with the craziest driver I have ever had the privilege to ride with. He tailgated, he slammed on his brakes at the last second, he checked the weather on his phone, he picked his nose. OH MY GOD, I thought he was going to kill us. The only thing I could think of is, he is going to hit someone and I am going to fly through the windshield and the truck is going to flip over the cab and squash me.

It didn't happen. We made it to the shop in one piece. Well, except my nerves. But alive.

So, my husband and his mechanic buddy talk for a few minutes and we find out he is going to have his wife drive us all the way to our house. Which is not really that far from their house, but she planned on going all the way back to the shop. Which was really cool of them!

Turns out she is about the third or fourth craziest driver I have ever rode with. She is from Chicago and still drives like it! She was super nice and really pleasant to talk with on the way home, but I don't miss the Chicago driving experience. I wasn't keen on living it again with someone I had never rode with. Again, we made it home in one piece, minus a few nerves. And maybe a few more gray hairs after the driving we had to endure in one afternoon.

Finally, we are home and looking forward to relaxing. We sit and talk for a bit and figure we are both wiped out and are ready for bed. Then the fireworks start again. Yay. Time for the next dog freak out. I don't even know what time I got to bed.

I will leave it here for now, as I am still tired and am really hoping that there are no more fireworks. I have had all I can take for this year. I will finish the rest in the next post.

P.S. Supper tonight was salmon patties and potato wedges.

P.P.S. I am thankful that the Fourth of July only comes once a year.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Garden Goodies and a Fearful Fourth!

Hello, everyone! How was your Independence Day? We had a pretty good one all the way up until the fireworks started. Then one cat went into hiding. The dog freaked out.

Here is the cat "hiding":

No pics of the dog freaking out. I was ready to pull my hair out. He was going through the house trying to climb or crawl under everything. I had to drag him out of the litter box. My husband and I finally put his cage back up and shoved him in. He started chewing on the bars and I was afraid he would break his teeth. So, in I went into the cage. I sat in there with him for about an hour. Then I let him out when it sounded like the fireworks had slowed down. Only to have him make a beeline for my son's room and try to claw his way through it. About 2330 he finally settled enough for me to go to bed. Only to have my other cat wake me up at about 0230. I checked on the dog and he seemed okay by then. Then I woke up at 0330 with heartburn. I came to the kitchen to get some milk and found the dog getting ready to eat cat poop. Which I took from him and cleaned up his mess. Next thing I know, the cat that had awakened me was hacking and puking in the hallway. Yay. What a night.

This morning, I sliced a bag of onions with my mandolin slicer my honey got for me. It was marvelous. I sliced those suckers in a fraction of the time it normally takes. Loaded them up into the dehydrator. (I think I have mentioned I have a nine tray Excalibur.) I filled all the trays up, took it outside and turned it on. I will be able to bring it in later after the smell dies down. I think I am probably stinking up the whole street.

Yesterday, I put up the mushrooms I had already dehydrated. We have about one quart of those now. We found some clearanced out so we bought four packages and into the dehydrator they went.

I canned some ground beef last week that I forgot to mention. I followed the tips from Annie (Thank You!!) and think I have a good batch.

Also, this morning I spent some time in the garden harvesting more veggies. I got three lemon squash, gold rush beans, green beans, tiger eye, pinto, red and Cherokee cornfield beans.

I need to work on using the flash so it doesn't come out with funky colors.

I was supposed to get my new holster today. It didn't show up. We have a new mailman and seem to be having some problems.

Tomorrow, my husband goes in for his dental work. I am looking forward to it so he won't have to deal with the constant pain anymore. For the past few weeks, it's been every day. At least after the procedure is done and his mouth starts healing the pain will go away. I plan on spoiling him for the next little while until he feels like himself again. He will probably tell me he is fine and to stop hovering! LOL

January will be my turn. Unless something changes, I want to wait until the down time at work when I don't have any hours so I don't miss any days. After that, we will finish my husband's teeth, then mine and all dental work will be done.

As per request, here are a couple of pics of the gazebo we put up.

It even has shelves and a hook in the corners so I can put out some pretties! And maybe someday I will even get cushions for my chairs and get them in there. For now, it's just the fire pit to keep it out of the weather. I will get our adirondack chairs in there so we can enjoy it now.
It is now time for me to get some dishes done and laundry washed to hang outside. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day! Tomorrow, I will get some pics of the dried up onions posted.

P.S. Supper tonight is chuck roast and garden veggies. I am using the pressure cooker this time to see how it turns out. A new project for me as I have never used one before.

P.P.S. Today I am thankful that we do have a cage for the dog. We used it when we first got him to keep him safe from the cats at night. We haven't used it in ages and had to put it back together last night since we had taken it down some time ago. I am just glad that I was able to safely contain him and prevent him from getting hurt during his freak out.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Monthly Maintenance and Rambling

This is our maintenance week. The first week of every month we specify as our week to make sure things get done.

We clean our guns(we both have our carry permits), we run down the generator and recharge it, we clean the filters on the air conditioners, ad nauseam.

One of the things I do is run some vinegar through the coffee pot. It stinks but does clean it out. We clean the filters on the air conditioners. We clean the fan blades and the motors. I wash rugs and blankets that sit on the back of chairs. We take this week to make sure that everything that needs regular attention gets it. We have found that if we set a specific week aside for maintenance, it actually happens.

We (meaning my husband) found the part for the mower. If we can find a bit of time that is drier, we (meaning my husband) will mow, hopefully tomorrow. Or just in the morning, wet or not.

As a random aside, it took my son all of one day to fall out of his pattern of getting up in the morning. He is back to his staying up late, playing video games and watching you tube all night(I do not provide the internet that allows him to do this any more. He downloads stuff when he is at dad's house, so he doesn't need it when he is home) He swears he has goals, but just can't seem to stick with them. As seems to be typical for a millennial, he thinks things should be handed to him without work. He has a short amount of time before he has to figure it out and go somewhere. It may be the Marines if he can figure out a few things, or flat on his face, because he doesn't get to just stay here forever.  I hope he can figure it out since I don't want him to wind up a failure, but I can't fix everything for him. He has to grow up at some point.

We finally got our gazebo put up. It said it could be put up in 30 minutes. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
It took us a couple of hours. It wasn't really hard, it was just that the directions left a lot to be desired. Now that it is up, we are glad for that and are looking forward to being able to spend some time outside in an enclosed space and try to avoid some mosquitos. And flies. And other creepy crawlies.

Someone set off fireworks on Saturday night and my poor puppy freaked out. There hasn't been any since then, but not holding my breath that there won't be any tonight. I am hoping that with time we can get him over the loud noise fear.

Another thing that we try to do every week is plan our meals. It makes it much easier to plan buying groceries and using the food that we have that is fresh. Less waste means less money wasted. And less money wasted means more money saved.

For me, more money saved means we get to where we want to go. I have wanted a "simpler" lifestyle since I was a kid. My husband was the same. It's not that we don't want to work, we just want to work for ourselves on our own land. Also, we want to spend our time together. I know that there are folks out there who actually enjoy spending time together and folks who don't. We are one of those couples that enjoys being together.

Last night for supper we had sirloin steaks (broiled - I am so glad for my broiler pan), beans and greens for my husband and I and green beans for my picky eater kid.

What sort of thing(s) do you look at to ensure maintenance of the things you need to take care of? How often do you change filters? Clean filters? Just in general check the maintenance and status of the stuff you own? Would you check those items more than once a month? What sort of things do you do weekly or monthly?

P.S. Supper tonight is roasted chicken and mashed potatoes.

P.P.S. Today I am thankful for air conditioning since it was so hot and muggy out today.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Friday Wash-Out and Purge

I want to start off with an apology that I have not posted or answered/responded to comments for a few days. I use my phone as a hot spot and when the weather is stormy, I have spotty service for internet. It's really slow when there are a lot of folks around me using the internet to begin with, but add in bad weather and it's even worse.

I did not get a lot done this week as I spent a lot of time calming my pets during all the storms. Then I was just lazy after that! I find that rainy weather makes me feel lazy.

Yesterday was wash day. I don't mean laundry. Every Friday, I do extra cleaning. I take everything off my counters and wash it. I wash the microwave inside and out, including the tray. I wash down the appliances. I scrub out the whole coffee pot. I wipe out the inside of the oven if it needs it. I wash the shelves in the fridge. I wipe down handles on cabinets. I just make sure that everything in the kitchen is spic and span. Obviously, I wipe off counters and clean up spills every day, but just want to do a more thorough cleaning at least once a week. This house is dusty enough without letting it pile up behind/under appliances on the counter. I also think that, in a way, keeping the house clean is a way of being prepared. If you have a clean house and laundry, etc. caught up, if you have any kind of event, it's one less thing that you have to worry about.

I cleaned out two more cabinets in the kitchen. I purged a lot out of it. Now we have an entire cabinet that is empty! Woohoo! I plan on getting some of the stuff that sits on the counter in there (like the food processor and my tea collection). I am trying to purge stuff that has outlived its usefulness. I also set aside a bunch of dish towels to dump into the rag bin. They are not as absorbent as they used to be and some were getting a little too threadbare.

I used my new broiler pan last night. I made pork chops. They were delicious. Pork fat rules! lol I also broiled the rest of the zucchini I picked out of the garden and made salad and home made blue cheese dressing. I can't wait til everything for a salad comes out of the garden again. I am pleased with the broiler pan we got. It did not warp or twist and nothing stuck to it! Woohoo!

I do have to work today. I will be picking up another day per week soon. I talked to my boss about it last weekend. He asked if I would be willing to come in on his day off as they don't have anyone else that they can rely on for sales if one or the other of us isn't there. I also found out last week, that despite only working one day a week, I am the highest seller. How pathetic. And that doesn't speak well for the direction of the company, either. I hope that is something that improves. We do have a lot of new folks, so hopefully they will get better at sales as they grow more comfortable in the job. I've been there three years and still learn new things. It's a lot to absorb. It's sure to be a hot one out there today, but supposed to be clear all day. I am keeping my fingers crossed for good customer traffic for some good sales. Plus that helps the day go by faster. (I don't work on commission, just don't want to see the company I work for fail.)

This weekend we will be working on the yard and garden. We need to get a part for the mower that we are having a hard time finding. Don't ask me what it is, I can't remember what it's called. We do have the reel mower but it doesn't do a very good job for the stuff that is really tall. And with all the rain, the grass is really tall again.

That's it for me for now. How did you guys do this week?

P.S. Supper tonight is who knows? It will depend on how worn out I am from the heat today. I drink Pedialyte while at work to prevent dehydration, but the heat and humidity can still wear a body out.

P.P.S. I am going to start listing something that I am thankful for when I post. A good way to remind myself of the better things in life. It might be something small or something important, but I just want a way to be active in positive thinking. Today I am thankful that I found a good broiler pan. It will help make some of our suppers faster and easier to prepare.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Storms and Suppers

It has stormed here again today so we did not put the gazebo up. It's supposed to storm again tomorrow so we will not put it up tomorrow either.

I was planning on canning today. When I was ready to get started, I saw the forecast for storms and decided to hold off until tomorrow morning. Since we lose power here so readily, I did not want to risk the jars going into the canner and then not finishing due to power loss.

Today was a regular day for me. I got laundry done. It was outside for a while to dry. Nothing like the smell of laundry hung outside to dry in sun and fresh air. Then the clouds started rolling in, so I brought it in to avoid it getting soaked again.

As I said yesterday, I made some beef veggie soup Saturday morning. For the beef, I used the eye of round roast I made and didn't eat, as the meat was really tough when I cooked it the first time. I tried a recipe I found online that was repeated several times so I hoped it would be good. Not so much. I cut the roast up into pieces and made a tomato juice, with some other veggies pureed and added in, and let it sit overnight hoping to make the meat more tender. I added some beans and corn to the mix and let it simmer all day. When we ate it and to begin with the meat still wasn't tender enough for me and the soup had way too much meat. To stretch the pot of soup, today I added more veggies (carrots, potatoes and some zucchini from the garden) and a bit more tomato juice. Now it has the consistency and look that I hoped for the first time. Plus it stretches one dish that will have a few leftovers into something we can eat for a few more days. (It makes a great lunch.)

Any ideas on how to cook eye of round roast good and tender the first time? I am thinking I need to pressure cook it, but cooking beef is a new thing for me. I didn't grow up eating much beef. I was totally missing out! My husband is a total beef and potatoes kind of guy, but hasn't had much experience cooking roasts, so we are a bit clueless in this!

I would also love some recommendations on cube steak. It is not something that I have had and like so far, but we have some from the beef we bought. I am thinking I will need to pressure cook that as well. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

I found a broiler pan at Kroger. I have been looking for one for a while now, but after reading reviews decided against any that I found online since I couldn't put hands on it. On Sunday, we went grocery shopping and checked out their kitchen stuff. It is a Good Cook brand. I think I will be pleased with it when I use it the first time.

 Change of thinking now: we have had almost three inches of rain in three days. How much rain have you gotten? You getting flooded out?

P.S. Supper tonight is the fixed and added to soup.

P.P.S Today I am thankful for readers (Annie) that help me out and give me some tips! Advice is always welcome! 😀

Monday, June 25, 2018

Some Canning Lessons and More

Last week ended up being a busy week, right through today. We just got home.

Wednesday, I had some unexpected time with my husband. We spent the day going over some plans for when we are ready to build our home. We also made our plans for what we had going on this weekend.

Then Wednesday evening, I noticed that something didn't smell too good in the hallway. I thought it was the litter boxes. I thought to myself, I really need to do something about that. My husband and I also noticed a big increase in the gnats and flies in the house. I assumed it was from the heat and humidity and letting the dog in and out all day long. And probably the litter boxes.

So on Thursday, I decided to get a start on the litter boxes. I figured it must be time to completely dump and wash out. Except when I got them out, I knew that could not be the problem. Cleaned them out anyway. Still smells. Did something die under the house?

I got the beans and beef broth jars washed off and ready to put in the panty. I opened the door, and Oh my Lord! there was the smell. And flies. And gnats. And GRODY! maggots on some of my canned jars. Barf-gag-eewwww-bleh! I pulled the jars down and immediately took them to the kitchen sink to wash them off and see if the seal was broken. As far as I could tell they were not, except that the bugs were on the inside, too. I pushed the tops in to see if they popped. They did not. They still looked sealed. So I filled the sink with hot soapy water and dropped them in. Here was the bubbles. Not very many, but enough to show me they were not sealed completely. I am not sure how the tops can be popped down but the seal not intact. Strange.

Then I had to clean the pantry out. I inspected every single jar in there. Most everything in it is commercially canned or sealed up in bags, so everything else was ok. I sprayed vinegar on the shelf and wiped up as much as I could. I got out the vacuum cleaner and sucked up as much as I could. Then I sprayed again. And vacuumed again. Then sprayed again for good measure. I left the pantry open to check on the progress and make sure no more icky buggies were left. I did get everything out of the pantry but the flies and gnats moved on the rest of the house. I spent all day Friday chasing flies and killing them. My dog helped out and caught a few. And proceeded to eat them. I am glad he is not a licker. The cats were useless in this job.

To control the gnats, I used water, apple cider vinegar and a few drops of dish soap. I mixed it up, covered it with plastic wrap and cut a hole in it. When I have read about it online, it said a little slit. I found that doesn't work and put a decent size hole. Then when the little bastards fly in and land on the under side of it, I smack it and send them right into the mix. They drown and I laugh my evil laugh. Just like every time I killed a fly. DIE bugs DIE!

Since I spent so much time on bug patrol on Thursday and Friday, I did not get as much around the house done as I wanted. I did not make it to the store, I did not get out into the garden and I did not get any laundry done.

I worked again on Saturday. So no time there either. Saturday morning, I put together some beef vegetable soup in the crock pot for supper Saturday and leftovers for Sunday. Thankfully, because we had a two hour road trip to meet my ex and pick my kid up from his visit with his dad and grandmother. At work, I did get a really good deal on more fruit trees. $5 each! I got two more apples, a pear (will need another one for pollination) and a nectarine tree. I will be so glad when we get our property and I can plant my fruit trees in the ground instead of in pots.

Sunday, we pretty much spent the day either out shopping and running errands or calming the dog and one of the cats when the thunder started rolling again.

We did find a gazebo on clearance on Sunday so we snatched that deal up. We have been looking at replacing the one that bit the dust last year but so far just hadn't bit the bullet and gotten one. Sunday was our day. We don't have it up because of the storms. Hopefully by this weekend we will have it up.

Today, we went to my mother-in-law's house to install her microwave. She bought a new kitchen set of appliances and they had to order the microwave. So my husband and I met his brother at his mom's house to install it. Which of course goes how every installation goes. We ran into problems and it took about 4 hours longer than we thought it would. Totally typical. At least for us, and I assume most everyone else.

We are now home and can take a breather before getting up tomorrow and starting our work week. (Our work schedules are Tuesday through Saturday.)

Lesson learned: Check those canning jars. Don't put them on a top shelf where you can't see them. Check them all the time. Don't let those bastard bugs set up shop in your pantry, because when you do, it's hell to get rid of them.

Tomorrow, it's back to normal for us. With a new routing for me to check the canning jars at least once or twice a week.

P.S. We did clean the vacuum cleaner out. We took it apart to make sure that none of the bugs were left in it.

P.P.S. Supper tonight is Arby's as I didn't plan anything for dinner, so we grabbed a couple of sandwiches and will eat them for supper.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Canning and More Canning

It's supposed to rain here today. So far, it has sprinkled just enough to make my dog want to come in.
Then it quits and he wants back out. Then it sprinkles and he wants back in. I am well trained, obviously. I hope it does actually rain as I don't want to water again and the garden could use some rain.

We got more canning done. We canned the green beans we picked out of the garden. Since it is mostly just my husband and me, I chose to can in pints so we don't have a ton of leftovers. I got five pints of beans from one week of picking! Not bad for my little bitty garden.

I also made some beef bone broth. I have made it before with added veggie leftovers and canned some in quarts. This time I wanted pints for smaller amounts. It was very strange for me the first time I made it, as I didn't know it came out white-ish. I thought it would have a brown color to it.

I have also made ham stock from a smoked pork butt my husband smoked up. OH MY! It was delicious. I used some of it in the navy bean soup I made on Tuesday. Talk about a little slice of heaven. Well, bowl of heaven. I didn't even add any seasoning to it. It didn't need any. We will definitely be doing that again. The ham was delicious and the broth was delicious. I'm making myself hungry...

I took several pounds of hamburger out of the freezer and hope to can that tonight. Today, I plan on canning the rest of the beef bone broth. I will also be making some breakfast burritos to put in the freezer for my husband to take to work for breakfast. I will be heating up the kitchen today!

I have no idea why, but my dog and cats were really acting up yesterday. They were not fighting or anything. Well, the dog wasn't. My cats were both quite testy yesterday. Hissing and swiping at the poor dog. He was too close for comfort, I guess. Every time I start to think the cats will relax and just ignore the dog, we have another day like that. At some point, they will all figure it out.

The solar generator is charging today. Since we have a good chance of storms for the next few days, I figured I better get it ready. I have also gotten a start on laundry and filtering water to refill our pitchers. Busy bee today.

I'm off to the kitchen to start some cookin'. And no, I won't be barefoot today.

P.S. Tonight for supper will be eye of round roast. I have never cooked that before. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

June 19, 2018 Because I'm too Lazy to Come Up With a Title

I have talked about power outage being the most likely problem that we will have to deal with. Yesterday, our power went out again. This seems to be becoming a regular thing. This spring and summer, at least once a week, the power has gone out. It started out about 10-15 minutes. Then 20 minutes. Then 30 minutes. Yesterday, we have worked up to a little over an hour.

I do not have some big conspiracy theory about why that is happening. I believe that it is simply the grid is overwhelmed with all the new construction and growing population in our area.

No matter what the reason is, at least once a week the power goes out. It was a bit over 90 outside yesterday. We closed all the curtains to keep the sun out and pulled out our solar generator, plugged in a fan to help keep the pets cool and continued working on the stuff we were working on outside. We were weeding and mowing and weed-eating.

Then the mower went down. My husband could tell you exactly why, but it's all mechanical and I'm not so I am not sure why. We have previously talked about getting a reel mower if our mower died. No gas, no oil, minimal maintenance. So we went ahead and got one. Back to the whole being prepared for the shit happens and it may not be TEOTWAWKI. It's the little things that can get you first. So we went to purchase a reel mower and to buy the part if we could find it. No such luck, we didn't find the part. We did get the reel mower. At least we mowed the yard. And by we, I mean my husband! 😁

We picked a few more beans so we can put them up. I will be glad when we have a pantry full of home canned yummy foods.

I have also decided that I am going to start doing some landscape design. I have had several people at work ask me if I will come to their house and help them figure out what to plant. Originally, I said no, but have decided that I will. I like the design part of things. I don't want to do the digging and all of that, but like the planning part. So, I am designing some cards and will share them with the folks that are asking about it. I have a friend who will do the digging. I think we can have an accord and make a go of it for both of us.

A lot of rambling tonight, hope you don't mind.

P.S. Supper tonight is navy bean and ham soup. Boy it smells good!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Father's Day Ride

Hope every dad out there had a wonderful day!

We went for a ride. I took my camera to take some photos along the way.

We saw some cool cars 

We went across the Foothills Parkway That is where we saw these cars. There was one guy who was willing to talk to us about the cars, but the guy driving the yellow car didn't seem to want to talk to us at all. He rushed them all off. Boy, they sounded good!

Next up, the Parkway:

I never get tired of looking at the mountains.

I never get tired of the beauty of this area either. 

We are so lucky to live in this area. We like to ride and there are plenty of rides in East TN. And they are all beautiful. 

P.S. Supper tonight was a breakfast bowl. Sausage, eggs, fried potatoes and onions all topped with sausage gravy. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Moonshine and Mishaps

My husband and I like to ride. We now have a dual sport bike that is really fun to ride. My husband grew up riding and I grew up riding with my dad. So, when we have time, we jump on the bike and take off. Mostly day trips, but have taken a couple of longer trips. Although, the second one we took pretty much got rained out.

Last summer we decided again to take a day trip. We rode our way through back roads and ended up in Gatlinburg. We don't really get up there too often. There's usually more people there than we like to be around. It was a nice day out, so we chose to park the bike in the garage and mosey a bit. Our first stop was Doc Collier's. I like that store. We go in and wander around a bit. We hadn't been there in quite some time. Well before the fires. Apparently, they had some smoke damage and had some items like clothes on clearance.

Then the guy behind the counter announced they were ready to start a tasting. Of course we had to join in. There were some we liked and some we didn't. We decided we should get a couple of bottles to take home with us.

Once we were done with the tasting, we continued to browse around. I found a shot glass that I liked. I also found a couple of the clearance tee shirts that I liked. After that we were ready to check out. The lady at the register rang everything up and packed everything in a bag. As we head to the door, my husband, ever the gentleman, opens the door for me. Good thing as I had my head in the bag looking at my purchases and really wasn't paying attention to where I was walking. So, my husband opens the door and....

I fall out the door! Straight down. There is a small little step down that I didn't see as I had my head stuck in the bag. I twisted my left ankle and landed hard on my right knee (This knee already has occasional problems due to a fall I had about 10 years ago). Shit! That HURT!

The first thing I do is check the bag to make sure my shot glass and drinks didn't get broken! My husband, of course, is trying to see if I am okay. I tell him I think I am okay. Nothing broken that I can tell. As I sit there rubbing my ankle, the guy standing outside the store next door smoking looks over and says "I see that all the time"! Awesome, I had an audience! At least I'm not the only graceful person.

Up I get so I can walk it off. I am hobbling and limping up the sidewalk. Holding a moonshine bag. I'm sure some folks thought I had a little too much! At that point, I wished I had so I wouldn't be hurting so much.

We had planned on stopping in a restaurant and getting some dinner. With that in mind, we continued up the sidewalk to the restaurant of choice. I had to stop and sit on a bench. I pulled the leg of my pants up to look at my knee. It was already getting a huge bruise on it. My ankle wasn't any better. My husband went down the street a little bit to see just how far I would have to limp to get to the restaurant, which of course was at the opposite end of town from where we parked. It was a lot farther than I was willing to go. Home is where I wanted to go.

Back to the parking garage, with a pit stop at the convenience store for some cold water and Advil. I took a few. I was hurting a lot by then. Finally the parking garage.

And a motorcycle. Oh lord, how am I going to get on!?!? Both legs are hurt! So after a bit of thought, I lean myself onto the bike and ease myself up. I lean back and swing my right leg over the handle bars. Then I reach back and grab the handles at the back seat and pull myself onto the back of the bike. Then my husband could get on. Off we go.

Putting my feet on the pegs just made everything hurt more. I was ready to tell my  husband to pull over, go home, get the truck and come back for me. Which he would have never done. There would be no way he would just leave me on the side of the road somewhere.

Since we had chosen River Road to head out of town, I asked him to stop on a pull off where I could get to the water. He found an acceptable spot and pulled in. Getting off the bike was just as fun as getting on!

He helped me hobble down to the water. I took my boot and sock off and stuck my foot in. AHHHHH! The cold water felt awesome. I left it in the water until it was numb. I got my sock and boot back on and limped up to the bike. Using the same technique as the first time, we got back on and rode home.

Being as I am just a little bit accident prone, I already have an array of braces. So, I iced my ankle and knee and braced them up.

I had to work the next day. That means a lot of being on my feet and a LOT of walking. And stairs. The garden center I work at is about two acres and multiple levels. I'm a trooper though and went in. We do have carts, so I figured I would just ride as much as I could.

Oh, my! The ribbing I got! To this day, every time I damage myself in any way, the first question I get is "Was there moonshine?".

So what about you? Any moonshine mishaps?

Friday, June 15, 2018

Power Problems

As I stated yesterday, a power outage is the most likely situation that will come up for us. While we will try to be as ready as we can for multiple problems, we pay attention to the power issue because that happens quite often here. Mostly due to storms, but for other reasons as well.

Most of you will remember the wildfires that affected Gatlinburg severely. While we don't live there, those storms and winds that came through and caused the fire to spread, also caused smaller fires elsewhere. Like our backyard. We had a limb come down on the power line that runs across our back yard. While we were able to contain it, we still called the fire department to make sure everything was fully out and okay. After all, a trailer park would turn into an inferno if even just one trailer caught on fire. They do pack trailers in like sardines in trailer parks. Of course, when that limb came down and caught fire, it knocked the power out.

In the winter, we are better off with a power outage because we do not rely on power to heat our home. We have kerosene heaters and the fireplace. We do not have a furnace. In the summer, the trailer turns into an oven. We do have a little bit of shade from the trees in the back yard and the fence line and some tall shrubs on the west side of our house, but not enough to actually shade the trailer.

In order to remedy that particular concern, we bought a solar generator. We so far are not that impressed. We have run load tests and time tests to see how long it will last. We have tested a lot of different things on it. We have found that it charges our tool batteries and regular batteries just fine and will fully recharge with the panel. It is not big enough to run any appliances. We have also time tested fans overnight to see the capability. After being fully charged we ran three fans only. We have plenty of other light sources and if it's weather that we need fans, it's most likely light enough outside that we can do without the lights. Even with a full charge the generator will not last through the night running those three fans. We may try again with just two fans and see what happens. It's too hot to turn the air off overnight and test right now. As soon as we get a break in the heat, we will try again with just the two.

If we didn't have two indoor cats, I would not worry as much about the heat in the trailer. We could just spend as much time outside as possible. The dog can go outside with us as well and usually does. I don't let the cats outside because there is a large feral cat population. While that is great for rodent control, it is not so great for my cats. I am sure the cats are full of feline diseases and do not want my cats to contract any of them, nor do I want them to get into a fight. They are both about 12 years old and starting to show their age. So, we work at finding a solution to the heat.

Maybe I should go ahead and get my chicken coop and just toss them in that! Sans the chickens, of course!

Another thing that I have learned regarding short term (relatively speaking) power outages is to keep paper plates and disposable utensils on hand. I don't like paper plates and don't use them, therefore, didn't have any in the house. I have since decided that the solution to my aversion to paper plates is to suck it up, buttercup! and use them so I don't have to heat water to wash dishes. That will save that vital resource for more important things. Like drinking.

I'm sure a whole house generator would be awesome, but we don't have the money for something that expensive as we are saving for other big ticket items (like a house) and I wouldn't waste the money putting one in here since we already plan on moving.

So what solutions and ideas have you put into practice? Not to prepare for the end of the world as we know it, just those "run-of-the-mill" things that pop up?

Now I am off to wash and hang the clothes to dry and start picking more beans.

P.S. Supper tonight is fried chicken, beans from our garden, cottage cheese and peach slices.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Water Woes

We occasionally test our preps to see where we are with things. Nothing drastic like turning off the power to the whole house or anything like that. Just create a scenario and set our guidelines, like a storm has come through and knocked the power out: what do we do? We try to work with the scenarios that are most likely for us and power outages are the most frequent. Living in a trailer park, we are not exactly high priority for the power company.

Also, we think about things that have happened to us previously that we had to figure out what to do. An example of that is when I was a child, the area I lived in had an earthquake that disrupted the water supply. We had to go to the local grocery store and get water from the national guard and other .gov agencies. For a week. In the summer. We had to share bathwater, not flush the toilet every time we went to the bathroom and all the things that go with not having water. Eeeewwww.

Obviously, having water is a huge priority. We don't have anywhere to store large barrels of water. I'm pretty sure even if we did, the floor wouldn't support them. So we started buying jugs of water every time we went to the store. One gallon and two and a half gallons. At one point we had nearly 100 gallons of water set back. It felt good to know that while it wouldn't last forever, we at least had a head start and wouldn't need to rush to the store or stand in line if for some reason the water was out.

Then the jugs started leaking. The two and a half gallon jugs started first. I kept an eye on them and as soon as they started leaking, I would try to "rescue" the water by putting it in mason jars or anything else I could find with a lid. Then we just used them up. It wasn't long and the gallon jugs also started leaking. So we have started using them up as well. The jugs that the water comes in from the store definitely will not last long term. Not even really short term, unless you purchase them right before you need them. Lesson learned.

We have found a couple of solutions to this problem. One solution that we have found is large 250 gallon containers. There is a place about an hour or so away from us that sells them. We first purchased two that needed to be cleaned out. Another lesson learned. They still are not clean. Clean enough that we can hook together a rain catchment system and I will water the garden with it. Not clean enough that I would drink it. Even after running it through our Berkey. I just would not trust the water. Next time we are up that way, we plan to purchase an additional two more that are already cleaned.

Check in your area. Do you have something like this available? If not, do you have a bottling company near by? Check with them and see what they do with the empty syrup barrels. Or someplace that bottles maple syrup. Apparently, that is one of the previous lives of the containers that we found.

Another solution we found was on amazon. We plan on getting one and seven gallon reusable water containers. Puts us back at finding somewhere to store them, but once I have one in my hot little hands I will be able to figure that out.

Even though I am not aware of any time that the water has been unavailable in the area that we live in, I feel much better knowing we will all have plenty of water to keep us hydrated and hopefully at least reasonably clean. Even if we have to share bathwater again.

P.S. Supper tonight will be the steak and veggie kabobs. I am ready for them now!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Dogs, Dreams and Dinner

So yesterday, I decided it was high time to sort and organize my shelf that holds my canning jars. Living in a trailer, of course we had to build shelves. I realize the manufacturer only has so much space and "quality" to work with, but I have seen a lot of houses with no shelves or storage either. Lucky for me, my husband is quite a handy builder. So, now I have shelves and storage.

Anyway, back to my canning jars. I need more. I have some, but no where near to what I need. I am going to start canning more of the beef. I got some stew beef canned up. Next up will be hamburger. I have never canned hamburger before so it will be a new experience for me. I will take some photos and let you know how that goes. Also, I will try some to see how it turns out. I know I won't be able to make burgers out of it, but since hamburger is so versatile, I am sure I can come up with something to try it in.

Also, I never realized dogs could have bad dreams. Last night, my husband and I were sitting in our living room watching a little boob tube with our dog sleeping by our feet. Suddenly, he jumped straight up, seemed very agitated and confused and it took some doing to calm him down. He finally calmed down and laid back down, but had to be touching both of us. He just seemed to need to be comforted. Which of course we were more than happy to do. If I could get my hands on whoever it was who owned him previously, I would probably end up in jail. There is never a reason to mistreat an animal.

We had hamburger steaks, gravy and the beans from our garden for dinner last night. The beans that we are growing for fresh eating are called gold rush beans. They are string-less and very tender. They cook in about 15-20 minutes tops. We are also eating the tiger eye beans fresh along with them. When those beans are young the whole bean, shell and all can be eaten, A little more mature and the beans but not the pod can be eaten. At full maturity, they make a fine textured and flavored dry or soup bean. Tonight, if the rain holds off, we are going to grill some steak and veggie kabobs. If it does rain, we are going to have fried ham and eggs. Either way, yum. 😀

Yesterday, we received our hydraulic log splitter. I am not keen on chopping wood when I am at home alone since I happen to be accident prone. That would be a disaster in waiting! It is a 10 ton splitter and manually operated so I can get started splitting the wood that we bought and get it stacked up where we want it. I love to sit around the fire pit outside or in front of the fire place when it's really cold outside.

Today, I am picking up some hours for a fellow employee who needed off for a funeral. While I am at work, I will pick up some pepper and cucumber plants. Since mine are super pathetic and not growing, I will supplement the garden. I really hope to have some better luck starting the peppers from seed next year. It's been a bust for about two years in a row now. If we have some at work, I am also going to get an okra plant. Maybe two, but that would be it for okra. That stuff is prolific here.

I also would like to say thanks to Wirecutter for sending folks my way. I appreciate all the folks who stopped by to visit. Thanks to all of you!

Monday, June 11, 2018

It's Later

It is now later. Here are some photos of my garden now. 

3 Sisters Garden

Tomatoes and carrots
Good companion plants

Several kinds of beans

Nothing like home roasted peanuts

My pathetic vining plants
Cantaloupe, watermelon, and winter squash

My super pathetic cucumbers

Fig Tree


New strawberry plants

Lime bush

We harvested some beans. Almost two pounds. Not enough to can, just enough to eat so far. We harvested gold rush and tiger eye beans. Both are really good for fresh eating. We have not gotten and strawberries yet as we just planted them a month or so ago. I don't expect to get any this year. We also have a lemon tree. We got lemons last year, but not so far this year. So here is a fairly big look at my garden this year. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Random Thoughts

Some random thoughts about where we are in life.

I still have my snarky teenager at home. I did finally pull him from the public school. At the end of his 11th grade year last year, I pulled him out of school. I tried homeschooling him personally, but with our tense relationship, getting him to accomplish anything was a big struggle. I enrolled him in an online school at the beginning of this year. He is actually accomplishing it. Slowly, as he hates anything related to school. He will be done in a couple of weeks and be an official graduate. He says he wants to join the military. The Marines. Wow! What a complete turnaround in his attitude. I am not sure if he will actually sign up, but he says he wants to. He has already gone and talked to the recruiter even.  I hope he does follow through with this as he really does better with structured routines. (Don't we all?) I do dread the day they send him off. I'll be super proud, but worried none-the-less.

We added a dog to our household. A "Scary Pit Bull"! I sent a picture to my sister after we got him and the first response she had was "Oh he looks scary!" Yeah, I don't think so.  Course, I'm not afraid of dogs. He's about 60 pounds now and just loves life. When we first got him from the shelter, he had been there a little over two months and seemed nervous about everything. Cowered at the slightest movement, flinched when we would reach to pet him and never wagged his tail. Boy, what a change in the past couple of months. He's now full of life and a happy, friendly, tail-waggin dog. He does have some idiosyncrasies, though. He does not like to walk on tile, linoleum or concrete floors. It's really kind of funny to watch him tiptoe through the kitchen. Also, he will chase a ball all over inside the house, but not a bit outside. He just watches the ball go flying and then looks at me like "so what?". So I play fetch! 😀

I have a job now. Not in my field (accounting) and I am happier for it. I work at a garden center one or two days a week. I can share my love of digging in the dirt and gardening with all the folks who come in. It has been enlightening to talk to all the folks who are focusing on edible landscape and planting fruit and nut trees and all kinds of berry bushes. I'm glad the folks in my neck of the woods are growing their own!

My husband is still at his same job. He received a promotion and is finally being challenged again. He had a meeting with the President, Gen. Manager, and some other middle management a few days ago. The promotion they gave him was a pilot position to see if they needed to add the position to several of the other locations. (They have about 20 total locations although some are just satellite locations with no actual buildings.) They told him as he progresses the job, there is room for more advancement. As long as it makes him happy, I will support whatever he chooses.

I've also learned a few things about being prepared. Little things that I don't really recall reading or hearing anywhere else. Probably is out there, I just didn't see it. Or don't remember seeing it. Either way, have had a few problems crop up that I will be sharing with you.

We have also started changing our diets. We still eat a lot of the same stuff, we are just making as much home made as possible. I have found that not eating out and cutting out the prepackaged foods out of our diets has made me feel a lot better. I don't get headaches like I used to. My gut issues have almost entirely faded away. I just feel better all around. We watched a documentary called The Magic Pill a few weeks ago. I recommend it. We are now cutting as much sugar out of our diets as possible. This is a new change so it remains to be seen how this change will affect us. I may end up giving up coffee completely as I don't care for it without sugar and cream. I also never realized how many products have sugar in them. Even tomato sauce! Why? Good thing I like to cook!

That's all for now as I have to go to work in just a bit and still need to walk the dog.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, June 8, 2018

June 8, 2018

It's been a long time. Life seems to just keep happening that keeps us busy. There has been a lot of changes in our family in the past year. Some very good. Some very sad. As the saying goes, however, we keep marching on.

We have expanded our garden this year. Last year with all the spring rain, it seemed most stuff we tried to grow was a washout. This year is a different story. We had freezes and frosts throughout April so that it seemed we would never get anything growing. We got our seeds planted and had to keep covering the beds so that we could try to prevent any damage. Finally we had a few things start to sprout. It seemed to take all the seeds more time than usual to sprout, even when it warmed up. Now it's going gangbusters! We will be harvesting our first beans tonight.

Please ignore the cushion-less chairs. I have not decided exactly what I want for replacements.

Now: My batteries are dead in my camera. You will get the now later!

We also got an entire beef, grass-fed, thanks to a contact from my son-in-law. It was almost 600 pounds! Holy cow!! Took up almost our entire freezer. Which we are just fine with. We have eaten some, given some away and started canning some of it. I am also going to try dehydrating some hamburger and try my hand at making jerky.

Well, I was going to add in a picture there, but blogger seems to be feeling lazy right now and won't load it. Maybe blogger is a vegetarian and doesn't like meat pictures. Too bad for them. Leaves more for us sane folks who eat meat.

After we picked up our cow, we obviously brought it home to load into our freezer. We decided it was a job well done and to have a beer. Only to have barely cold beer because apparently our fridge decided that morning to die. (Remember the part in my profile about being prepared for the everyday stuff happens?) So off we went to Home Depot to buy a new fridge. I couldn't be more pleased with it. The old behemoth was hauled off and the new one brought in. And it's beautiful.

Next on our agenda is getting our teeth repaired. We both need some dental work done and have decided to just bite the bullet and get it done this summer.

That's all for now. I am going to get todays dishes caught up and get ready to start some supper.