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.