Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rain, rants. ramblings, reowrking and reasons for change

There isn't much to write about today. I woke up to rain and it hasn't stopped yet. We really needed this so I can't complain. It's been so hot and humid the past week that we were beginning to worry about the garden. Yesterday we had a thunderstorm, but it was nothing more than some high winds, lots of thunder, and less than 30 minutes of light rain. So, this steady soaking rain is a welcome sight. It'll do wonders for the garden.
Everything that we've planted is looking good, other than the gourd seed. If nothing is popping up above ground by Monday at the latest, I'll check the seeds and resew the area with something new. Maybe celery. All of the other plants though are doing well. The sweet corn is even standing close to 16" tall already. It looks to be a great garden year.
This morning I'm going to do some re-working in the basement. The little chest freezer I picked up for free last week will be going in the walk-in closet in my room downstairs where we store all of the canning supplies and goods. My plan is to turn that area into food storage since we planted so many potatos and onions. We plan on using that small freezer for chicken, but that could change at any time. I've already butchered three freebies, and there are five more outside that will be getting the same in another week or two. I'm hoping to get back into rabbits as a supplimental food source, but I haven't seen any breeders for sale at a reasonable price. I'm watching for some, but it's not all that important right now.
Over the course of the past few months, Lisa has dramatically changed her diet. She has changed due to wanting to lose more weight and to lower her cholesterol. So far she's lost 62 pounds, which to me is amazing. Just by cutting back portion sizes and all the work I've been doing outside, I've gone from 228 to 186 myself. We've both been doing more research and reading into food and what we eat and have decided to make a giant change in some things. We will no longer be buying any meat of any kind from ANY grocery store. Though Lisa has become vegetarian, I haven't. And if her cholesterol checks out ok tomrrow when we both go back to get checked, she'll return to just white meat. (red meat has never agreed with her system anyway) We'll find sources for local meat or work with our friend in southern Ohio
This decision has been made for several reasons. First of course is what is IN the meats we buy at the grocery store. Growth hormones, forced antibiotics, all kinds of nasty stuff. I want to know where my food came from, and what it's diet was. There are links to all of those chemicals and additives to disease that plagues this country. That we want to avoid.
Secondly is how those animals are treated. I'm never going to be a PITA member or any other similar organization, but I have to look at how these animals live. Chickens live their lives in a giant warehouse in a tiny box that they can't even stand up in. Cattle are fed feed full of growth hormones to make them grow fatter and faster. They eat strictly corn and feed. Cows just aren't designed for that kind of diet. Chickens for meat have been cross bred into mutant-like birds that grow so large and so fast that they are prone to broken legs and just dropping dead from heart attacks. Some people may say "it's just a chicken" or "it's just a cow". Look next to you at that dog or cat laying at your feet and say the same thing. Really, do it. It's just a dog. Stick it in a tiny doghouse that it barely fits in and feed it garbage. No? What's the difference? Where do we draw a line? I not only want to know what these animals have been fed, but also how they have been treated. Read FOOD INC. and it will open your eyes to a lot of things. Do some research online on how "factory" farms treat animals and you will be disgusted. I can no longer with any kind of concience support that way of production. We have found several places locally that raise and butcher their own on-site and will be buying from them now on. Sure it will be more expensive. Yes, the buy1-get1 meat sales from the big chain store will be gone, but what price do you put on your concience? I wish more people would do some reading and research, but most either don't care or are happy being totally blind to it while they jam fast food burgers down their throats. more of that for us. If we can't raise and butcher it ourselves or get it locally from someone that we can trust, then we just plain won't bring it into the house.
The same will go for other food products as well. No more canned anything from the store. I don't want to eat canned vegetables from god knows where sprayed with herbicides and pesticides that more than likely aren't even legal to use here in the U.S. Home canning will be taking a giant leap this year, which is the reason for reworking the basement storage area. Some things will be unavailable to get locally, but we'll keep those at a minimum. It's time to not only take responsibility for our food, but for our health and well being. This will be another big turning point for us, and we've yet to take one of those turns that hasn't worked for the better.
Sometime in the next few days Mike and I will be returning to his brothers house to get more things that he planned on leaving behind. The list includes 12-15 flourescent shop lights, a trampoline, 16-20 pieces of 6ft privacy fence, some storage shelves and possibly some workbenches. There is some carpeting laying inside that was meant to go in his dining room, and if it is still in decent shape, it will come here and go into either my room or Lisa's sweing room, or course depending on size. My garage is going to glow like a tanning bed by the time I get all of these lights up. Again, I don't feel like I'm taking advantage of a bad situation and a friend. This is mostly his own fault, and why leave things behind that will most likely just be thrown in a dumpster.
For now, I'm off to check eggs then start moving things around downstairs. Luckily this small freezer doesn't weigh as much as the last chest model we had...whew.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I need a nap

Today we're finally getting some rain that we've really needed for a few weeks. The forecast has said several times that we'd get rain, but it never happened. I've been having to water the tomato plants sometimes twice a day because it's been so dry. It was a great sight to wake up at 6am to a good solid rain. We can sure use it.
The moving on Friday was brutal. It was really hot, and his place was a disaster. We ended up with two 19ft box trucks and two pickup loads full. Loading was a bit bad but unloading was easy since we were able to just back up and unload into his mothers garage. I felt bad for him losing his house, but at the same time I remembered that it was partly his fault. He'd quit his job in the late fall of '08 and never really bothered to even look for work. His fiancee and kids had left, and he'd had various friends staying there with him. Needless to say, the place was trashed. And I don't mean just messy, I mean TRASHED. His mother had gotten a pretty large insurance settlement right before he bought the house 3 years ago, and she insisted on furnishing the entire place. New appliances, carpet, paint, everything right down to privacy fence and lawn equiptment. You would never know everything in that house was only 2-3 years old.
He had packed up a few boxes and set aside the things he wanted to keep. The rest he just plain didn't care about. So....his brother and I loaded the pickup twice with things he didn't want that we did. Why just leave things there that were fairly new for the bank to just take anyway? I ended up with two 12ft swimming pools, a 12x12 screen tent, a weedeater, misc garden tools, 5 ton chainfall (hoist), small unused chest freezer, and a few things that I can't seem to think of right now. Sometime later this week I'm heading back with his brother to help take down the privacy fence and see what's left. Some might say I'm taking advantage of a bad situation, but he doesn't care about most of the things and planned on just leaving them there.
Thursday was a long rough day of outdoor things and moving that pile of sod. Friday was all the moving. Saturday was our annual party to celebrate summer solstice. We were up from around 6:30 until the last guests left at after 2am. Sunday morning we got up, headed to my folks for fathers day, then drove almost 2 hours to a picnic at my friend Bens and didn't get home until close to 9pm. It was an exausting four days.
Yesterday I just cleaned up outside from the party, cleaned the mudroom and patio, and just put things away. It was in the high 80's, really humid, and no wind at all. It was just too hot and I was too exausted to do much of anything strenuious. The evening was just sitting around in the screen tent reading and eating a big bowl of raspberries that I picked from the front yard.
Today since it's raining, I'm just going to clean house a bit, do laundry, and put things away that are still sitting out from Saturday's party. I have 3 or 4 books started and plan on spending some time reading later today as well. I'm just physically drained, even after an easy day yesterday. It's going to be a lazy,lazy day.

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