Tuesday, December 30, 2008
While growing up, I never learned any of the wilderness survival skills in the scout books like making a shelter or tying knots, but I learned a lot from just living, even though at the time I didn't realize it. I learned to garden, I learned to shoot and hunt, I learned to fish, I learned how to preserve food, and I learned how to live on next to nothing. Times were hard at home, nearly my entire youth was spent from check to check by my parents barely making ends meet.At that time in the late 60's and early 70's, concrete guys just plain didnt work in the winter, so dad was always layed off. To understand where I'm coming from, I'll go into a little detail:
I grew up with my mom, dad, and sister on 3 acres in a small township in the same county I live in now. Our house was a 3 room basement home. NOT 3 bedrooms, 3 ROOMS...kitchen, living room, backroom, thats it. We slept in the same room as our parents on bunkbeds till I was about 12, when dad seperated the 2 rooms. Heat in the house was via an oil burning stove in the center of the living room,no ductwork, just radiant heat.(so even though we had our own room, we had to keep the door open when it was cold) We had well water attached to a kitchen sink and a washing machine, and that was all. We bathed in an old galvanized washtub with hot water from the sink. Our toilet was an indoor outhouse of sorts, inside a closet in the backroom. Basically just a frame with a seat and bucket underneath, with a matching real outhouse behind the old shed that was about 80 yards from the house.In the evenings after dark, dad carried that bucket to the outhouse, 365 days a year. We finally got a real bathroom with a tub, shower, and toilet when I was 15, so we (sis and I)thought we were rich. We had a black and white tv attached to a 25 foot antenna tower dad scrounged from a jobsite, with a grand total of 5 stations. (anyone else remember antenna rotors?) I believe I was around 18 or 19 when we got basic cable.I remember an old rotary phone in the house till around '85 as well. The flat tar roof leaked, the floor was almost always damp, the bare block walls cold, and the place always smelled of heating oil and Hoppes gun cleaner. (though I still love the smell of Hoppes, lol)
Food was always a big issue. During the warmer months, we ate what we deemed as "normal" food, though most was the cheapest cut available, and usually other things from the dented can bins at the local Sparkle Market. We busted our asses with a decent sized garden all summer, and I grew to hate it as a kid. I remember many days of pushing myself and my sister through green briar to pick blackberries, as well as wild grapes, so mom could make jellies and jams to can or freeze. (I still hate freezer jam though!) We never had any animals other than beagles, so our only meat source other than the store (when dad was working) was hunting. I can't begin to imagine how many meals we had that were duck, squirrel, or rabbit. At the time there were still pheasants in this part of Ohio, and we were always excited to bag one since it meant a good sized dinner. I think the worst time we had was one winter when dad and I set off hunting on Thanksgiving morning hoping to get a pheasant so we didn't have to have rabbit for dinner. Luckily we got one that day .
Funny how life works, isn't it? Most of my life I hated the way I grew up and resented my parents for making us live that way. We were "forced" to help around the house and garden. We had to use an outhouse when everyone else had a real bathroom. We had to watch an old b&w tv when the neighbors had color, remote control AND cable! All through my teens 20's,and early 30's, I pulled myself as far away from that life as I could, buying and doing everything I could, just because I could. But here I sit, typing and thinking about all of this and realize something. I'm going back to that way of life on purpose. It makes me chuckle to think about it, but it also makes me kinda sad. I wasted all that time trying to ignore who/what I really am. It took me all this time to find myself, but I made it. Without my childhood, and without Lisa's encouragement I would never be where I am now.....make that-WE would never be where WE are now.Without going into any detail, she grew up ver similar in a house not much bigger with FOUR siblings...and I thought I had it tough! Sometimes I write in this blog like it's all me, but it's far from it. Lisa had taken every step right beside me the whole way,taking this incredible journey of lifestyle change that we are on.
Though they'll never see this, thank you mom and dad for making me who I am today, and thank you Lisa for your love and encouragement. You are my guiding light down this path to self sufficiency.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Yesterday morning, we set off on a bit of an adventure. A few years ago we stayed at a bed & breakfast in Zoar (amish country) for our annivesary, and during that stay we traveled the backroads to Lehmans. During that drive, we found an amish bulk/dry goods store. The kind with bulk foods, canned goods, amish owned and ran, lit by lanterns....our kinda place. The goal for yesterday was to find this store again. We started in Kidron at the antique store I saw the Rolls Razor at. After realizing the shaving handle was missing, I passed on it and ended up getting a pipe pocket tool. Kinda like a Leatherman tool for pipe smokers. It has 3 folding accesories-a metal pipe cleaner, a pipe scraper, and a single blade, and the outside end of the stainless case is a pipe tamper....pretty cool! It was only $7, so I picked it up, and we set off to find the old store. We traveled winding country roads past countless farms and small homes, from Kidron to Strasburg,( close to 20 miles by backroads), and couldn't find it. I doubled up 77 to Zoar, and head back....still nothing. We ended up back close to where we started and ended up going to Berlin. (another 25 miles) I hate Berlin. It's turned into a giant tourist trap, and people eat it up. I sware you could pick up a horse turd off the road, label it "amish made", and these idiots would pay top dollar for it. I never imagined it would be so busy on a weekend in December, but the place was packed. There were cars parked along the road through the entire 10 or so blocks of "downtown". As I drove by disgusted, Lisa spotted a sign on a side road for "bulk foods". We turned around and went to check it out. To my surprise, the place had a few things we wanted to get. We had stopped at a few stores along this journey, but in all of them, "bulk foods" were 2 pound of this, 1 pound of that, and 3 pounds of the other. This one was a bit different in they had things like flour, sugar, and oats in bags of 2, 5, 10 and 25 pounds. We settled on a 25 lb bag of white sugar, and a 25lb bag of brown sugar. I asked about bulk coffee beans, and their only suggestion was the coffee shop across the street.
UGH I hate those place, and especially this one. These people come from god-knows-where to visit "amish country" for a day, but they sure can't live without their fancy coffee. I roll my eyes several times, drive across the street, and walk into my version of hell. Yep....it's a starbucks with a jolt of hippy wannabe's and other people that have so many reasons NOT to be in this neck of the woods. First of all, I walk in the door to Bob Dylan on the speakers. (oh please kill me now) The place smells of fancy pastries, flavored coffee, and cologne I'm pretty sure men shouldn't wear unless their loafers are kinda light. (if you get my drift) It's an endless sea of sweater vests, eddy bauer and l.l. bean coats. Please tell me they have bulk coffee so I can get out of here. I need to run out to the street and rub my face in a big pile of horse manure just to get the burning odor of yuppie out of my nose! We look around and see some bins of coffee beans, over 20 to be exact. C'mon people, there's only 2 kinds of coffee....french roast, or regular old wake 'yer ass up....thats it. UGHHHHHHHHH I decide to get a bag of the most regular roast I could find and get out. $11 a pound and I walk to the counter, only to be greeted by a young guy ( I refuse to say MAN to this), wearing a sweater vest and beret. It took every bit of energy I had not to laugh. If it weren't for Lisa's sore knee, I would have ran out the door. Thank god, I'm back outside...I survived and live to tell you people about it.
I still haven't been able to locate a source for bulk coffee beans. I really don't want to go to the store and buy 25 of those little 1 pound bags, but it may come to that. I've tried everywhere I can think of. Later today I'll look online, but I've tried that before with no luck. If anyone has suggestions, please pass them on.
Monday, December 22, 2008
The girls are all settled in together finally and getting along fine. Egg production has went up to between 5 and 7 eggs a day now. I gave some away this weekend to my mom and my friend Bill's mom, and Lisa gave her daughter a half dozen yesterday when she came to visit. Quite a few got used over the weekend as Lisa continued her baking frenzy on Saturday from around 1pm till roughly 9pm, and yesterday pretty much all day. She also made buckeyes, chocolate covered pretzels, chocolate covered peanuts, and white chocolate covered popcorn. Two "goody baskets" went out in the mail already, one to a friend in Oregon and another to a friend in North Carolina, plus we sent one home with Bill for his mom. She can't garden or do much anymore since her stroke left her with no use of her left arm, so we send her things quite a bit during the growing season. This one was all kinds of cookies, candy, bread, jams, jellies, and her request of homeade pickles, lol. Love ya Weezie!
Last night we sat around, notebooks in hand and made out our list for seed & plant orders. The temps outside continuted to drop, the wind picked up, and Lisa bundled up under her usual blankets. Of course as you can see, Austin (our bloodhound) decided he wanted to play lapdog again and get in on the blanket action. Sometimes he forgets he's 120 pounds, lol. It's not the best picture, but not too bad from a cell phone.....
We came up with a pretty good list for '09. Most were things we have always grown, some were from this years new trials, and others are new things we want to try. Every year the garden and thus the selection grows, even despite the fact that it's just us at home now. We just want to try new things, and do more that can be canned or otherwise preserved.
The list from this year will be carried over : sweet corn, green beans, tomatos, green peppers, jalepeno peppers, habenero peppers, chili peppers, hungarian hot wax peppers, green onion, yellow onion, yellow squash, cucumbers, potatos, broccoli, kalarabi, turnips, parsnips, carrots, beets, spinach, leaf lettuce and melons. We'll be adding another 10 or so blackberry plants, as well as starting some peach trees just to see how they do. Other than that, the fruits from the past years will remain. The additions for next year will be: garlic,cabbage,swiss chard,deer tongue,cauliflower,sage, lavender,italian basil, oregeno, mammoth dill, sweet leaf, parsley, lemon drop peppers, and elderberries. Looks like I've got a lot more digging to do in the spring! lol We decided also that this year we are going 100% heirloom so we can start saving seeds and have the orders picked out accordingly. With a little research, I found a place in Wadsworth (about 20 minutes away) that is a vendor for Seeds of Change, so we'll visit there before making any mail orders.
Hopefully.....................the church job I'll be going to today has heat! Last week I was there a day and a half, and it was pretty chilly in the basement where we're working. If there is no heat, we can't work with the glue we use for the CPVC sprinkler pipe. If not, it may be a short day....guess I'll have to wait and see.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
So here is my question. Where is the channel or programs for the rest of us? Where is the backyard chicken special? Where is the vegetable gardening program? (one that doesn't involve anal-retentive "master" gardeners who test the soil more often than a $%^! fish tank) Where are the rest of the shows on living simpler, making your own clothes, raising animals, preparedness, canning, hunting (and not the "oh boy I got a 12 point, what a trophy" kind of mentality), and all the other things that we all do? We won't see 'em. Simply because people that give these channels the ratings are the kind that wouldn't do such things. What?? Get dirty? Get up at 5am to feed chickens? Grow my own vegetables? I'll miss my favorite rerun of Seinfeld!! They wouldnt watch a show on choosing the right breed of chicken, but by god run something on electric cars and they are all over it. Imagine the droves of electric cars running to the mall and Starbucks, all of them smiling from ear to ear over how "green" they are........ We're solar now! Lets go ahead and get that 60" plasma tv that costs more than the neighbors car! Yea!.........it's pitiful.
I looked all over for a feedback section of this channel's website, but of course there isn't one. Maybe I should just start my own channel and make my own programs....Appliance Intervention, episode 1, pilot-Susy is a 38 year old wife and mother of 3, and she is addicted to the microwave and frozen food. I sit down with the family and tell them of dreamy things like fresh cooked food and things that aren't wrapped in plastic. Suzy walks into the room see's the people, and asks whats going on......................you get the picture, lol.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
When we left, I spotted an antique store I had never seen before, so we made a quick U turn and went back. I love places like this. It's not the "fancy-schmancy" antique store full of valuables and things that cost more than I make in a week. It's more like a yard sale/flea market atmosphere with all kinds of different things. It almost appears like the place you take things leftover from a yard/barn sale. I loved it!!!!! Lisa didn't find anything she really wanted to get, but I was in heaven. I picked up a second safety razor, but this one is different in it uses the single sided razors. They had a Rolls Safety Razor there too, and I think I'll be heading back for it next weekend. I've heard a lot about them, and people I know that use them sware they do just as good as a straight razor. http://www.geocities.com/safetyrazors/Rolls_Page.htm I saw a few pipes I wanted to get, but I resisted temptation and didn't get a single one. Over the past 3 weeks or so, I've taken to smoking a pipe at home in the evenings, and am actually smoking a pipe now filled with cherry cavendish. A post on BWH got me thinking, and I realized I had my dads old pipes sitting here collecting dust, as well as 1 or 2 that were Lisa's fathers. I love the smell of a pipe, and somehow it's relaxing and strangly soothing over just firing up a camel. I think I can get used to this..............
Now let me explain an earlier comment...."The Christmas Cheese Fund". For some reason, every year since we've been at this house, Lisa has ordered a big cheese sampler from a catalog at Christmas. They always come with all kinds of cheeses, crackers, trail bologna's, beef sticks, etc. We never ate all of it. Some of the flavors were just bizarre and nasty. I think one last year was garlic/lemon/bacon.....WTF? So.......we decided to do our own this year. We saved change for a short time for a "cheese fund" and went with $60 to spend. Of course, the ONLY place for us to go was Schisslers Cheese House, just north of Lehmans. If anyone ever gets to visit Kidron, I highly reccomend this place!! We walked out with all kinds of various cheese, totalling 12 pounds (give or take) and only went $2 over the budget. I imagine that was due to my small road bag of assorted cheese & beef sticks, and bottle of birch beer. Hey, it's a 45 minute drive home! I could have starved!!!!!
We got home around 3:30, I took an unplanned nap on the couch, and Lisa started her bake-a-thon, and didn't stop till 9:30 when we sat down to watch a movie that Bill brought over. Of course, I'm overstuffed on oatmeal scotchies, peanut butter cookies, and buckeyes.....I didn't get to be 6'3" and 225 by eating salads! LOL
I'd checked the chickens as soon as we got home, and had one brown egg. Before Bill got over at 8, I checked again-nothing....wierd. This morning I overslept (thanks to Bill leaving at 2am) and didn't get out to the animals till almost 10am. After feeding and watering the rabbits and birds, I found 3 eggs already. All still warm, so they hadn't been there long. I went to the garage around noon to get something, and checked again while I was there....there were 2 more. I went out a last time at 4, and taaadaaaa-2 more! Wow, these girls are making up for lost time. So, the total for the day was 7. Not bad for 7 out of 10 birds! 3 were green, 3 brown and large, and then that one little cute brown banty egg. They look so tiny compared to the others! It's a good thing Lisa is in baking mode!
Friday, December 5, 2008
I've been working on cleaning out the laundry room little by little this week, and it will soon be ready for firring strips and drywall. I have to relocate some plumbing and light fixtures first, but that's easy stuff......I HATE DRYWALL! ugh But....I'll get it done before spring. I want to make a hanging clothes drying rack for in there when I'm finished. It'll be something similar to this ( http://www.lehmans.com/shopping/product/detailmain.jsp?itemID=114&itemType=PRODUCT&iMainCat=673&iSubCat=728&iProductID=114 ) but I'll have one wall mounted, and another that hangs from the ceiling on a pulley system. I dispise running the dryer so much in the winter, and I plan to use this a lot. Now to get that wringer washer to match.....hehehe.
This room will get a slight makeover too. I brought in ALL my camping, fishing & hunting gear from the garage and misc closets in the house, and have way more than I thought. All combined it looks like a mini Cabela's store in here lol. I'll get it all organized and marked on the supply sheet. (yes- I track every single thing in here) I have a 20+ page notebook of things to stock, some I have, some I don't, and some I'm getting this weekend. When the big xmas toy battery sales happen, I'll be getting quite a few for the flashlight, emercency radio, and smoke/CO2 detectors. I'm also gonna push Lisa to spend another afternoon making candles so I can get some down here.....you can never have too many. I brought in the giant industrial first aid kit I had in my last work van, and will go through that and re-stock it too.
We're gonna make a few stops today when Lisa gets off work and try for some food grade buckets. I've read a few times about people getting them from subway and bakeries/grocery stores with bakeries. The plan is to clean and fill them with flour for now. Later will come sugar, rice, oats, and some other things.
Yep....that crazy stockpiling couple is at it again.
Monday, December 1, 2008
The 4-day weekend helped on getting things caught up around here. The temporary winter coop is as finished as it can be finally, with the feeder & waterer hung from a bracket, and the heat lamp hung directly over them. Hopefully this will help a bit with the water freezing. I put small boards in front of the new nest boxes since they kept kicking out the straw, and put a golf ball in each one to see if it helps them. I'm still only getting about 2 eggs a day, but I'm going to blame that on stress for now. The 7 new birds had free roam of about a quarter acre, and now they're somewhere new and confined to 15x4 feet roaming space. I imagine they'll come around soon. I also got a programmable timer, so the lights and heat lamp come on at 5:30am and turn off at 9:00pm. They get the overhead 4 foot florescent light, as well as double 500 watt halogen lights. I'm hoping this also helps since the garage was pretty dark, even with me turning on the one 4 footer every morning at 5am. Things look much better out there finally. All I have left to do is get more straw today on the way home.
Even with christmas fast approaching, we've talked more about stocking food and supplies. Reading the news stories lately shows some scary stuff. Famine, rotten economy, food shortages...scary stuff. Lisa got another 25 lbs of bread flour when she was out on Thursday, and we plan to get more soon. After christmas we'll take a more agressive approach to it and get more each week. Garden seeds will be ordered in the next few weeks too, and we're adding some basic greens that can be grown inside to that order. I'm not taking any chances. Maybe we're just a bit crazy for doing all this, but I'd rather be prepared than not. I'll be purchasing more ammo soon as well. Firearm sales are up 40% here, and ammuniton is up 60%....everyone see's what's coming, and I'll soon join the ranks of these smart individuals. There are too many things on the books for our new p.e., and I want to be ready BEFORE all of these rediculous things are passed. It's a shame when an honest law abiding, hard working, tax paying citizen is punished for the acts of the criminals of our society....or governed by the blind and jaded.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
The dr's Lisa works for have 4 offices, and they all decided to start doing some charity work this fall & winter. Last month everyone donated cash to the local independant Humane Society, and this month they're donating to the homeless shelter (Haven of Rest). The back of the new Pontiac is loaded with things from her office, and today she is going to the other 3 to pick up what they have. We'll drop it all off when I get off work around 4pm. Just her office alone has 3 boxes of canned goods, a few winter coats, and a bunch of baby clothes. Imagine what the other 3 offices will have.
At home, we've had a guest since last Tuesday. My bosses brother is staying with us till this weekend. ( I knew him before from a week-long salmon fishing trip with his brother in '99) He's gone thru a bitter divorce and his company went bankrupt. He had a rough summer, some of which he spent homeless with nothing but his Harley and the clothes on his back. He's been working with me at that close jobsite, but all he has now is his motorcycle. He was fine till last Monday when we got the first snowfall, then was stuck with no way to get to work from the hotel he was basically living in. It took a whole day of convincing to get him to stay here, but he decided it was for the best. He's just waiting for a check from his attorney on some old business matters,which should be Tuesday, and will be catching a greyhound this weekend to start a new life in Wisconsin. He's not paying hotel costs or eating fast food twice a day, so he's saving that little bit for his trip as well. The bike is in storage, and he's set to go Saturday at 6am on his journey. In a way I'm jealous....leaving it all behind, going to a new state with nothing, and starting from scratch. I honestly don't know if I would have the courage for that big of a move. It's been fun having company here, and Lisa has loved cooking for one more person with an appetite. Yesterday she even taught him how to make homeade bread and noodles since he had asked how to do it; she really enjoyed that. It'll be sad to see him go this weekend, but he's making his big life change, so thats a wonderful thing for him.
Beyond that, there's really nothing all that eventfull going on here. I'll spend the next few evenings digging out all the christmas decorations since we have so much. Everything will be put up Friday and Saturday as always, even our cattle proof tree fencing. Yes fencing. With 5 dogs, we have to fence in the tree. Presents get chewed/eaten, ornaments get broken, lights get pulled....heathen hounds anyway, lol. So a few years ago, I made a 3 foot tall picket fence that hinges around the tree to the wall, making it as dogproof as possible without going to chain link with barbed wire and a mine field, hahaha. We tell people the tree keeps trying to escape when they question the fence...those damn artificial trees are pretty rowdy when cornered!! Luckily with the fence and being teathered with the lights plugged in, we keep it under control.
Monday, November 17, 2008
It was an odd change to go into the garage to feed and water the chickens and rabbits. Normally I just go in to get the feed, but now the animals are inside for the winter as well. I finally got to that yesterday morning, and I'm glad I did since we got this snow. I ran a 4 foot flourescent light to right above the chickens, and the rabbits are right beside them, maybe 3 feet away. It seems to light up that side of the garage ok, but I'm going to get a 2nd one this week along with a timer and hopefully heat lamps. I have to block two broken windows in the garage door and seal a bit around the doors to help block drafts, then it should be nice and cozy in there for them. I'll have to get more straw by this weekend for both, but that has to wait as well thanks to the huge amount of checks we've written in the past week. I have a tarp tossed over the grill and will get it all tied down today when I get home, and dig out another tarp to cover the Lowboy. I wanted it inside either the garage or carport thing, but I have more stuff than room, so it has to sit outside. At least where it's parked is a straight line to the garage for the plow, and close to electric to run a block heater. Next year I definitly have to do better preps for winter storage and thin down on some things! I'm playin the old "10 gallons in a 5 gallon bucket" game here, lol.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Of course, by then all the tranny shops are closed, so I get online to get a few phone numbers to call tomorrow (today). After getting the numbers, I get curious and check a few online car forums, and got a HUGE shock. Apparantly '03 Saturn Vue's are notorious for bad transmissions. I read post after post of the same things happening to literally hundreds of people on the same exact vehicle. Many stated that after talking to Saturn's customer care, they are well aware of the problem yet doing nothing about it. A few people said that Saturn offered to help by covering half of the repair bill, but most were dealt with covering it themselves. Now for the kicker....... EVERY person that posted had the same figures about repair cost from Saturn, every single one. The price????.......hold on to your hats.......$5-6000 plus labor. I almost fell outta my chair when I was reading this. There is NO WAY we can afford that much right now, not a chance. We're down to the last 6 months or so of payments on that thing, and now it decides to take a s**t?? I honestly don't know what we are going to do. We sure as hell don't have that kind of cash laying around, and of course can't take on another car payment. Even if we could, we couldn't get financed. Thanks to 20 hour weeks most of the early spring, bills were late and our credit is in the crapper. We're really stuck. Just when we were FINALLY getting caught up on bills, here comes this royal kick in the ass.
Luckily, today is Holly's day off, so she is coming here and running us both to work. I'll be making some calls to tranny shops today from work to get an estimate, which hopefully will be lower that the outrageous ones from Saturn, like that really helps anyway. Half or whole, we just don't have it. Lisa has to work tomorrow, and I don't know how she is going to get there. Work will be getting me a company vehicle soon, but that doesn't help a bit right now. I'm angry, frustrated, depressed, and worried all at the same time.....it's not a good day.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
While walking through the isles, looking at gallon jugs of mayonaise and 5 gallon buckets of pickles, we started to fill the cart with things that we actually USE, and things to stock up on. We didn't get a lot, but we got the notebook from Lisa's purse and started a list of what we plan to get on the next trip. 25lb bags of flour, 50lb bags of rice, 12 packs of Sterno (chafing fluid by store/martha stewart definitions), 5 gallon buckets of cooking oil, cases of TP, 25lb bags of sugar,coffee, tea.......lots of good deals on great things to stockpile. We came home, went through the list, and once again went through a list of all things necessary on the list we already made. We spent a few hours going through our list while the sound of bubbling water from the canner full of chicken soup filled the house....not a bad afternoon at all. We did get 50 lbs of flour and a weeks worth of lunch food, so we did well. We normally don't buy junk food, but neither of us could resist the 12 pack of cheese danishes......wth, we gotta indulge once in a while.
We talked more about canning and storing food, and decided on making some other things to can. We'll start this week with chili, then move on to various meats after this weekend. The weekend will be too busy to do much since Lisa will work Saturday till noon, and then the Witches Ball and my friend Mike's annual Halloween party after that. Possibly on Sunday we can do some more.
While we were talking and the canner was going, I sat and cut up two 5 gallon buckets of the last of the green peppers for the freezer. I also got some carpet thread and strung up the last of the chili's and jabenero's to dry and hung them here in the basement room. It stays dry and warm down here, so they should dry well. When the chili's are dry, I'll grind them by hand with a mortice and pestle and make my own chili powder and try the same with the jabeneros. I figured it was worth a try with them too, if it doesn't work well, I'm not out anything but a little time. Just one more thing to add to the stock list and cross off under the "spices" category. Our list is a bit beyond the basic necessities, though we have a seperate small list for a BOB or to have ready to go beside it. IF something were to happen and our preps came in handy, I don't want to be the guy living on ramen noodles and potted meat.(ICK) I'd much rather have a good stockpile of good quality food and food prep items. I hope we never will need it, but I'm happy it's there just in case.
The food list will take a while to work on, but slowly in between I am stocking other things down here as well. I had some time to kill before Lisa got off work on Friday, so I went to the Walmart near her work and got 10 packs of Coleman mantles. I was looking at some prices and figured by the time I replace the globe, pump, and strikers in dads old fuel lanterns, I can just get a new propane one. I already have 2 propane lanterns, but I'll go ahead and get 2 more with the plastic case and start buying more cans of propane. I already have a dozen, but more can't hurt. I'll go ahead and get a couple spare globes too. Same as oil lamp chimneys, they're glass and DO break, so having spares is a good idea.
I plan on continuing this post later, but for now I have to feed the critters and head to work.....grr thats what I get for sleeping till 6 instead of getting up at 5 as always........
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
After work, I came home, took all my tools out of my uncles truck, and returned it to him. He needed it back to haul some more free firewood and get a load of manure for the areas of his place he is working on. He's 73 years old, and has been spending the past 2 weeks moving and leveling dirt with his Massey loader and the neighbors bulldozer. (must be nice having a neighbor who owns a BIG tool/equiptment rental business!) Slowly but surely, he's leveling out about 5 of his 8 acres. Why at 73 years old? Because he knows we'll farm it when we "take over" as he puts it. He told me all about the trees he wants to take down next year, again, "in case you and Lisa want to build a barn there for horses". Sometimes it makes me happy to see that he understands what we do and supports it, but at other times, it makes me sad thinking that he's preparing his place for when he passes away. I suppose I shoould be flattered that he trusts us to take care of the place, but I still feel somewhat guilty about it. Depending on the work schedule, I'll be over there 1 day this weekend to help him. He was pushing around piles and found 2 HUGE chunks of rotten tree trunk that need moved. Of course they're on the edge of the side thats already finished, so he can't go on that side and push them back. We'll have to roll em over a chain and pull them to a spot to be buried. I'll make time for that in between working on Lisa's Saturn, working on the never ending woodpile here, raking leaves for the compost pile, winterizing the small tractor and tiller, general cleanup, hauling empty canning jars from the basement to the kitchen, visiting my parents, hanging mirrors and towel bars at Holly's new house, hanging the new feed hopper, and.....................damn I'm busy lol.
This weekend Lisa plans to start canning large amounts of chicken soup. She made the stock already and it's in the freezer, so it shouldn't take long. I want to do chili next, but since I'm the only one that eats it, it can wait. We're hoping to take some of this overtime and visit a good meat market soon too, and can some meat rather than freeze it all since we have that pressure canner now. I'll just call all of this "convienence" food for us. It's far easier to open a jar than thaw something out, especially with our normally packed schedules, and it sure beats anything store bought from a can. Between gifts from my mother, my uncles yard sale find, and a pile I found in the basement (no where near where I would have ever thought to look), we have about 7 or 8 dozen canning jars. Neither of us like to see empty jars, so we'll fill 'em with anything we can.
Things will start to wind down soon, and we can start other projects. Lisa can make a try at cheesemaking, and make another batch of candles. I can finish this room and get her sewing room put back together. After the snow starts to fall, I want to re-do the laundry room. I'll be re-routing some plumbing for a future double basin washtub and wringer, plus putting the electric washer and dryer on the same side of the room rather than opposite sides like they are now. I want to make a hanging clothes rack similar to the one we see at Lehmans too. I hate having to use the dryer all winter long. The walls are bare concrete block, so I'll mount studs and drywall the whole room, add a drywall ceiling, and remake a door to the pump room. Ahhh the joys of being a homeowner and homesteader.....the list never ends.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
I managed to get more of the woodpile cut up and stacked, and then found more thanks to another fallen apple tree. I'll try to get that cut up later this week. I picked the last of the jabeneros and green peppers so Lisa could make more jelly and stuffed peppers, then went ahead and pulled the plants. There weren't many Hungarian Hots left, but I picked them anyway for pickling, and pulled those as well. I took out the last of the onions, beets, turnips, and kalarabi to go inside, and pulled the last of the tomato plants too. Nothing left out there now but carrots, some greens, and the hilled potato's.
Rather than do it all by hand, I put the blade on the International, and started leveling out the raised beds since next year I plan to reverse the direction they were this year. I'm pushing soil around nice and slow, and hear this strange engine noise behind me....lol....there's the little boy from next door, following me around the dirt on his little 50cc 4 wheeler. I got a good laugh at it, then decided to let him have some fun. I took the blade and pushed some soil into little dips and hills...his own little off road racetrack. He was having a ball. Next thing ya know, here comes his dad, laughing and encouraging him to hit the dips like a jump, and his younger brother on an electric 4 wheeler trying to keep up. The neighbor walked over with his grandaughter, who just got her own little 4 wheeler for her birthday, and she lasted about a minute before she ran over and had her dad go home for hers so she could play. It wasn't long before I had 3 kids running in circles around the garden, and parents, grandparents, and aunts all standing around laughing and taking pictures. I dug out a hole about 3 feet wide by 6 inches deep then let the hose run, hehe, their own little mud pit. 3 kids, covered in mud, laughing like mad...it was fun watching them. There were plenty of pictures taken and I'll have to have someone e-mail them to me so I can post a few. They ran around that little track for a good 2 hours straight before they all had to go home to eat dinner. We hosed off the mud covered 4 wheelers and 3 pairs of seriously mud packed feet and off they went. It wasn't much of a productive 2 hours, but we all had fun.
Today is the big housewarming party, so not much will get done here. I can't wait for the reactions of everyone on Holly's first house. Hopefully they're all as proud of her as we are. It starts at 2, and Lisa is already there helping to get all the food ready. I'll be heading there soon after I finish a few things that need done.
Speaking of which.....I better un-glue myself from this chair and head outside.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Today was pretty uneventful. Another fun day at the hotel job, but I still can't complain since it's so close. I left there at 3:30, went to the bank, and made my usual Friday Goodwill stop. Nothing, not a thing worth getting, so I headed home. Lisa called as she was leaving work and asked what I wanted to do for dinner, and I suggested going out. I have a good bit of overtime on this check, and we deserve a night out. So as I waited for her, I cut the last 2 sunflowers and set them out to dry. I looked over the garden, and discovered I have another boatload of peppers to pick. I took this weekend off since there is so much to get done, and the housewarming party is Sunday, so I'll just add pepper picking to my std list for tomorrow. I'm glad there are more out there though, after eating 2 jelly jars of the jabenero jelly Lisa made, I know we better make as much as possible....and this time in pints.
She came home, we jumped in the truck, and went to a local family resteraunt for dinner. Nothing special, just good basic food. After we ate, we went to the BIG Goodwill store 15 minutes away. I was hoping to find some cheap furniture for this room, but what was there was either in awful shape or overpriced. We did manage to get about 30 candles at the tune of 3 for $1 (can never have too many!), some were broken, but she'll melt them and make new as she always does. I found another 25lb feed hopper for $5, which struck me as odd since I found the same one there in July for the same price. Not an item you'd expect to see twice, guess it was my lucky day lol. We left there and headed for Walgreens for Halloween cards for Lisa to mail out. She always does them, but she ooops'd and forgot to send some to the kids at the new address, so we just needed 2. While we were there, I added to my stockpile by getting 2 packages each of shaving soap and double edge blades. I'll vac-seal the blades and store them down here with the soap. We picked up another small yard Halloween decoration, Lisa's prescription, and found some reeeeeeeeealllllllly cheap old black and white horror movies for a buck each...now how can ya turn down a 1 dollar movie?? We came home, fed the pack-o-hounds, and watched one. (each dvd actually has 2 movies on each-so we really got 4!!!!) Let me tell ya........Atom Age Zombies was worth the dollar LOL we pretty much laughed through the whole thing. Lisa started to fall asleep in the middle of Revenge of the Zombies, and went to bed. I wasn't tired, so here I sit.
Earlier, I sat here and read through an interesting blog that was suggested on the Backwoods Home forums. The post suggested was titled: 100 Things That Disappear in a Panic. It's a pretty interesting list. Some things on the list I hadn't thought of, and have added to my personal list, (like writing paper or a battery operated co2 detector), and some we wouldnt have use for (like baby items), but it's still a great list. It got me to double check my list for anything else, but it seems like I have all bases covered. Tomorrow I'll bring in the last of the camping gear, even the cots, sleeping bags, and my tents (2-4 man, and 1-12 man). They aren't really items necesary to have in here, but I have the room now, and it's better to have them stored inside so they don't rot or mildew.
I took a few minutes and posted some misc pics at the bottom of the page, most are on the one older post I made of my Photobucket account, but I thought it was better to have them directoy on here. I'm going to try to take more tomorrow if my camera stops acting up.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Saturday I had left work to run to the feed store to get layer feed, only to find out they close at 2pm, grrr. Yesterday we left at noon, and I drove 20 minutes to the nearest TSC, and they were sold out! ARRGH! The girl there called 2 other stores for me, and they were sold out as well. WTH?? The closest one that had any in stock was Massilon, and I'm not driving the 40 minutes there in a truck that gets 15mpg on it's best day. Lisa doesn't have to go in today till 11, so she's going to the feed store before work.
After I got home, I talked to Lisa for a bit, who was busy again all day behind the canner. She got 12 pints of pickled hot peppers ut up, another 6 jars of my pepper jelly, and 16 quarts of tomato's. I went outside and dug the last of the onions, covered the beets since we won't get t0 them till later this week, and dug all the potato's. It was our first try at potatos here this year, and it was a total sucess. We'll definitly do more next year. I dug a trench, lined it with straw, filled it with the potatos, covered it with straw, then about 8 inches of soil. Our first little potato hill is roughly 8 feet long and 2 feet wide...not bad at all for our first year at 'em! I'll keep track of how they get used till next season, and base next years plantings on that. One more thing we've figured out we can easily do.....yay! The tomato's are done, so I pulled all the plants and put them in a pile for the composters. One day this week I'll put the blade back on the Lowboy and level out all the raised beds where they were. Next year I'll run them opposite the direction they were this year. They were n-s, next year they'll be e-w. With the corn in the back, and facing n-s, the back row didn't get enough sun with the front rows blocking it, so hopefully that will eliminate the problem.
I finished my day by working on our basement room a bit. I cleaned out the desk drawers, and organized and filed all the misc papers we had all over the house. We had papers printed from offline on all kinds of subjects, and now they're sorted and filed by category, FINALLY. I also sorted and filed all the magazines we had laying around too, just too much info in those to toss 'em after we read them. We get Mother Earth News, Backyard Poultry, Countryside, Field & Stream, and occasionally at the store get Grit and Hobby Farms. LOTS to sort, but I think I got 'em all. It will be great to be able to find something now when I want to read a particular article or paper again, rather than search through piles all over the house. Soon this room will be ready, and we plan on spending a lot of time in it. Next will be putting Lisa's sewing room back together......does it ever end?????
Friday, October 3, 2008
Since the weather has been kinda crappy, I've been putting together my basement room little by little. It's going to be a SHTF/emergency room, as well as my office and a sort-of second living room. I've brought all of the homesteading/self suffiency/gardening/etc... book down here and have them all up in the desk shelves. Also I brought in all the camping gear, camp cookware, lanterns, oil lanterns, lamp oil, fishing, and hunting gear that was stored all over the house and in the garage. It sure makes it nice to have it all in one place. Now I can inventory everything and know what we need to stock up on. After it's all set, this winter I'll move in the gun safe FINALLY and get all that back in order after a few years of collecting dust. I'll also be giving the generator a permanent home in the mudroom at the back of the house. It'll be easier to get to and run cords inside, plus closer to the well pump which I plan to fit with an emergency plug. When I'm finished with this room, in the event of an emercency, even in winter, we can practically live out of it...I can't wait to see it done.
This sunday I'll be clearing out the right side of the garage and moving the rabbits inside, then making the bigger chicken coop for in there as well. I never got around to getting the woodburner from my uncles and rigging it up, but I'll have electric heat and light out there for them so it'll be fine.
Ooops just realized the time, gotta fly to work. More to come soon.........
Monday, September 22, 2008
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