Monday, August 29, 2011

Been Busy....

I have been very,very busy this past week with preparations for my new teaching assignment. I have spent at least 50 hours last week trying to get my room ready for students and reviewing the curriculum. Tonight is Back to School Night, and I will be in my classroom most of the day getting even more things ready.

My prayers and thoughts go out to all those affected by Hurricane Irene, but have you been distracted with the excessive Hurricane Irene coverage? I always wonder what Obama has up his sleeve when there is a crisis distraction. Gold is up over $1,800 per ounce. There are more than 46 million people on food stamps, up 20 million from about 3 years ago (when who came into office?), people are struggling to pay rent, and the list goes on and on. Oh, and I found this disturbing article on trans-humanism, where freak scientists are aiming to improve the human race with humans that are disease resistant, impervious to aging, and don't get hateful. Massive food shortages are being predicted worldwide,even here in the U.S. I don't know about you, but my mind has a hard time trying to keep up with everything that is happening in our world with lightning speed. I'm like most people just trying to get by and be the best that I am able.

How is your life right now? Are you prepared for natural disasters, dollar devaluation, food shortages? Super human freaks? How will you deal with adversity? Prepare, my friends.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Summer is Finally Here in the PACNW

I've been hearing about the blistering heat in the eastern and southern sections of the United States, but her in the Pacific Northwest, it has been cool, rainy and windy. The last 2 days it has been beautiful and yesterday it got up to 92 with no wind. It's absolutely gorgeous outside. I was stuck inside most of yesterday trying to get some things ready before I head off to my new job on Wednesday. I canned up some corn, made ranch chicken in the crock pot and froze it in 2 containers, BBQ'd chicken for dinner and will freeze the leftover, dried some apricots, did 5 loads of laundry, and looked over upcoming lessons. Today, I am going to spend some time outdoors after church, that is why I'm writing now in the morning hours, so I can enjoy some sunshine!

Tomorrow I will carpool with my husband and drop him off at work and then head over to the school where I will be teaching. I got some great decorations on Friday from our Vacation Bible School. Most were being thrown out in the trash and I snagged them to use in my classroom. They are great, with a "God is wild about you" theme. I have a lot of old materials and things to box up from the previous teacher and hope to organize books and lessons. Then on Tuesday, DH is joining me in the class to help decorate, set up a line across the room for artwork, and other manly jobs. The school is almost 100 years old and that painted cinder block, so I'm sure the acoustics will be interesting. My husband pointed out that the same day I interviewed and was offered this teaching position, offering envelopes arrived in the mail from our church. Coincidence?

Rooster update: Well, our flock of 17 pullets has turned out to be 16 pullets and one cock. Yesterday I heard bloody murder coming from the chicken yard so I started yelling for our dog, Cooper. He was just sitting there and looked at me like I had gone mad. "Sheesh, mom, I'm just lazing around here. What's the emergency?" "Oh, sorry, Cooper. I should know better than to think you would go after one of our chickens." We had trained him with a shock collar when he was young because he did go after and catch our chickens. He has learned that is not a good choice around our homestead. Turns out our young Buff Orpington cock was trying out his method with the pullets, who weren't about to have any of it. And when old Diablo, the barred rock rooster saw what was going on, he came charging at the cock with such a fuss and vocalizations, I didn't know what had got into the chickens. Those two were skating around each other and having a little show of domination. Later, I heard more commotion, but this time the young cock was attempting to service a pullet out of sight of the rooster. He came charging out of the hen house to put that cock in his place. Yes, it is interesting times at our place in the lives of chickens. I predict the rooster will be in the stock pot this week. I will keep you posted.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

More Insane Headlines

Seriously, folks. I was driving in my car yesterday and was listening to the G. Gordon Liddy show and started laughing so hard I was beside myself. My DD16 asked what was so funny and I asked her, "Weren't you listening? NASA scientists and Pennsylvania State University colleagues think that Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilizations. They think that extra terrestrials can detect that the earth is warming and that climate change may pose a threat." "While aliens may arrive to eat, enslave or attack us, the report adds that people might also suffer from being physically crushed or by contracting diseases carried by the visitors." I mean, the ludicrous insanity that our tax dollars are spent on is mind boggling. How can anyone take these people seriously?

See What Janet Napolitano Believes Terrorists Look Like. Yep, "The DHS suggests a typical woman terrorist would be in her late 20s or early 30s, with brunette hair, stylish clothing, high heels and a shoulder bag, and Caucasian. A man? About the same age, short hair, wearing a shirt and slacks and familiar with technology, as he's wearing an earpiece cellphone. And Caucasian." But wait, aren't Muslims, who do not fit these descriptions at all, responsible for almost all the world's terror attacks? Why aren't there relevant descriptions of them? "See something, say something." That's the new mantra. Sounds eerily similar to the post I made last week Paying with Cash? Buying Matches? The FBI Wants YOU! The FBI is asking surplus supply stores, gun shops, hotels and farm supply stores to get information about people who may be terrorists because they are buying matches, ammo, ready-to-eat meals, flashlights, and pay with cash. So, spy on your neighbor who is trying to take care of themselves and their family in the case of a power outage or natural disaster like FEMA suggests. I fear our government is specifically targeting white, middle class Americans who are taking responsibility for their own safety and living. What are they going to do with us? Make an attempt at reeducation? Our country is going insane by the whack jobs that are running it. It is pure mental illness.

The homosexual lobby is once again pushing to molest the minds of 3 and 4 year olds with Sesame Streets Bert and Ernie. Oh, if only Bert and Ernie were allowed to wed it would put an end to bullying, LGBT suicides, homophobia, and discrimination. What the pro homosexual lobby really wants is early access to your children to "open" their mind to perverse activities and lifestyles that go against sound morals and values.

These are just three stories. Try to wrap your head around all the crazy thought processes of our scientists, leaders, and the liberal left. A sane person can't. The Marketing of Evil is explained in David Kuplian's book. Our world is in chaos and being run by those with mental illness. Liberals won't let you express your view, because if you do, then you are a discriminatory bigot. They claim tolerance and acceptance, but only if you share their warped view of the world.

Are you straight with God? Our world is upside down and our leaders are out to impose communism on the world. The past two years have heralded unprecedented natural disasters and weather disruptions. Our economy is in the tank, the Dow Jones is rocketing up and down, and all prices, including food and gold are rising up out of sight. Where do you think we are at and what do you believe is coming down the pike?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Got a Job Offer!

I am so excited! I had a job interview at 9 a.m. this morning for a 2nd grade position. I am so blessed to have been offered the position. I will be teaching at a Catholic School on a one year contract. I am hoping that it will develop into a continuing contract next year, but we will see how things go. Somehow, things work out. For now, prayers have been answered. A big thank you to my followers for your support. School starts in two weeks, so I will be very busy, but will be posting when I can.

We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. (Romans 8:28).

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Paying with cash? Buying Matches? The FBI Wants YOU!

Creeping communism under the guise of community safety. A little at a time. Spying on your neighbors and reporting activities is the responsibility of noble citizens concerned with the welfare of their community and their country. Doesn't this reek of Naziism? This month the US government revealed their newest strategy to spy on neighbors for conducting lawful, legitimate business, and purchasing common items. Why is the focus on legal Americans making legal purchases, rather than real Muslim terrorists and Mexican drug cartels?

"Preventing terrorism is a community effort...The partnership between the community and law enforcement is essential to the success of anti-terrorism efforts." The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the FBI are targeting surplus supply stores, farm supply stores, guns shops and hotels in the hopes of getting pertinent information about customers who may be terrorists. The FBI is handing out brochures to these businesses and asking the clerks and owners to identify and copy identification information from people who come in and purchase such items as matches, meals ready to eat (MRE's), rifle tri-pods, and night flashlights. Heaven forbid if you buy a flashlight and pay with cash. You will be labeled a terrorist and may be investigated. They also want clerks to make note of any customer who has shaved their beard or changed their hair color. I guess that makes you or your neighbor a terrorist, too. Oh, and don't make any religious references, that can indicate that you condone violence. Check out the flyer here.

One would think that being prepared and having supplies would be a good, logical activity. I mean, if a natural disaster strikes, say, like Hurricane Katrina, wouldn't it make more sense for folks to be prepared and able to take care of themselves rather than waiting and relying on the government to take care of their basic needs? I mean, remember how the Katrina efforts went?

The irony of all this is that FEMA already suggests that you have a flashlight and waterproof matches, and ready-to-eat foods! But now, if you purchase these common items, you are identified and labeled as a terrorist!

Our government should be focusing on real extremists and not law abiding US citizens who take responsibility for themselves and try to have useful items on hand in the event they are needed. Remember the DHS flyer on Right Wing Extremism in 2009? According to that DHS document I am a Right Wing extremist because I am pro-life and believe in marriage between one man and one woman. Now I am being targeted because I like to pay with cash and may change my hair color.

This creeping gradualism that twists wording to make ordinary citizens think they are helping the government against real terrorists is disturbing. You need to read Austria 1938 by Kitty Werthmann. She gives an eyewitness account of how Hitler and Naziism destroyed Austria in less than 5 years. Hitler ran restaurants out of business because they were unable to comply with all the regulations. Gun registration was mandatory because people were getting injured and soon the country was unarmed. Consumer protection told citizens how to shop and what to buy. Farmers and ranchers were told what to grow and how to grow it. The entitlements destroyed the country socially. The slow brainwashing in the name of community safety and security sounded okay, but ravaged the country and its citizens instead.

When your government starts asking citizens and businesses to spy on and report perfectly legal activities and purchases, you should be highly suspicious. This kind of feel-good sounding, cooperative tactic in the name of homeland security is secretly focusing on citizens who believe in doing for themselves and being prepared. Why would the government want citizens to not be prepared? The idea of unprepared citizens and families is more disturbing. Is the government going to come to your house and confiscate items you've legally purchased such as food, flashlights, ready-to-eat meals and ammunition? I have to ask myself what is the motive? I personally feel that the government doesn't want you prepared. Because that means you are a thinking American and are looking ahead down the road during these very troubled economic and political times. You want to defend and take care of your family. Now, why wouldn't the government want you to be able to take care of your family? Are they going to strip you of that right? Or worse? Is this part of the plan to reeducate 25 million Americans who adhere to their constitutional rights and belief in the American dream? Neighbor against neighbor? What is happening to our American way of life?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wrestling a 700 Pound Safe

A safe is a wise investment. You can store your valuables in it. You don't need to rely on your banks weekday hours to get needed items out of it. It is great for storing important papers, guns, gold/silver, jewelry, and other necessary items. It is easily bolted to the floor. You have your choice of a dial or electronic combination. They come in an array of finishes and colors to match your decor. Depending on what you can afford and how much room you have, a fire safe is worth the extra investment. It can withstand fires for up to one hour or more. And they give you piece of mind.

I got the bright idea several months ago that our office/sewing/
craft/storage/safe room should be turned into an office/sewing/
craft/storage/TV room. So, that meant moving the safe out of the room and into another room. Then, after moving the behemoth, the plan is to put up some shelving for storage and a TV, plus a couple of comfy chairs. This multi-purpose room is a generous 8 X 12 space with an eastern exposure. Yeah, it's small.

Have you ever wrestled 700 pounds? In a small room? Through three doorways? It was more like 1,700 pounds and I was so glad when our friend (a male) showed up to help. Because I wasn't helping much no matter how hard I tried to budge this monstrosity. I couldn't even seem to be able to tip it onto the hand truck. Pathetic. I read the other day that on a per size basis, women are only 52% as strong as men in the upper body, and have 66% the strength in the lower body. Now, I am a strong woman. I even held the bench press record in my weight class at the community college I went to. I was a swimmer and rower. I bike, hike and love to walk and be active. But I have to tell you, I felt down right puny trying to wrangle this safe. My husband was very patient with me as we ripped out a floor strip between rooms, and I think he must have been powering about 97% of the weight of this safe. I am so thankful for friends that show up and help out with chores such as this. The men finished up the moving job quickly and we were able to sit and have a nice visit afterward.

This was a wise move. Not only is the safe now in another room, it is not in plain sight if someone looks through a window. It is also against an outside wall with the foundation, rather than an inside wall. I now have some room in the office for more shelving and as an added bonus, we are going to put a TV in there with a couple of small chairs. This is nice because we don't have a separate family room. The girls can have a space to watch TV with friends and not feel our presence in the room. Plus, it just looks right in its new spot.

Prediction: We will not be moving the safe ever again...unless we do a whole house move.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Does Simplicity Mean to You?

First, I want to say a big "Thank You!" to all of my followers. Thank you for following my humble little blog as I make my way in the blogging world. I appreciate your comments and the help you have given me as I have started out.

I have started this post a couple of times and with different titles, as I have wanted to share my ideas about my blog title, but I always delete them as I can't seem to articulate my thoughts on the title of my blog. I think "Everyday Living" seems explanatory enough. It's our life and happenings here at home and around the country and how we are handling them. But what about "Simple?" To me simple in the context of everyday living means for me to have fewer distractions. These distractions can be in the form of materialistic items, extra sports (read drama), extra activities that take time and money, too much TV or internet exposure, overload from following politics and the economy daily, too many commitments, and anything that diverts your attention to what really matters in life. Kind of like all the unimportant distractions the liberal media throws at you over and over again while Obama is implementing destructive policies.

In Webster's, one definition is "stupid." I think sometimes if your life isn't simple, it can make you stupid. I don't want to be so busy that I am always running around here and there so that I don't take time to sit and visit with friends. I don't want to go non-stop every day so that by 5:30 I am so frazzled that I stop and spend my hard earned money on a Papa Murphy pizza to pop in the oven, and it isn't nearly as good as homemade. I don't want to have such a full schedule that I have to plan my day to the very last minute and am trying to squeeze in that load of laundry at 9 o'clock at night. I don't want my calendar to be so full that I have to set my phone alarm to remind me of appointments or other commitments. Often, money was not spent wisely. I did all that. I want to be making good choices for our family, not last minute, harried choices. But choices that lead to a life of value.

I want to bake bread, can up food, hang laundry on the clothesline, read good books, help out at church, visit friends, cook dinner every night, watch the chickens, be role modes for our children, and value my family and our lifestyle. I have been able to work part-time the last 3 years so this way of life has been a blessing. Our life has been so much better since we have more time together as a couple. There is less stress and drama in our household. Less money, but less stress.

What does simple mean to you? I would love to hear what your thoughts are and how you've made your family life simpler.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Are You Ready? Hold on to the Seat of Your Pants!

Just this morning (8 a.m. Pacific), gold has shot up $40 since closing on Friday, from $1,662 to 1,703. The Dow Jones lost 500 points last week and now it has dropped 303 points this morning (an 8.25% loss in one week). Is it just me or didn't GM and Citibank used to be in the Dow Jones? Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me they were, along with a couple of other big companies. Taking those 2 and others out of the equation sure appears like it would alter the actual percentage and points in the Dow Jones, wouldn't you say? Hmm, now why would they do that? Manipulation of numbers and false security. The S&P downgraded the US , as you already know from a AAA rating to AA+. Freddie and Fannie Mac have been downgraded. The European Central Bank is buying up Italian and Spanish government bonds. The Euro zone is in crisis. This whole situation is global in nature and is affecting everyone. If there is a run on the banks, do you have some cash on hand? Bartering items?

On another note, Iran is furious that another one of its nuclear scientists was assassinated last month and Iran is vowing retaliation against the US in the form of a cyber attack on our electric grid. Is your generator in good working order with a supply of gasoline? Have you thought about how you would manage day to day living without electricity?

Are you ready? Hold on for a bumpy ride!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happenings Around Our Homestead

Creature in the garage update:
Caught- an army of ants eating the peanut butter, they cleaned it to a polish, and didn't set off the trap.
Other traps- moldy peanut butter
Plan C- re-bait all traps with cheese

Our rooster is favoring one hen out of four, to the point that she was terrified of him and would not come down off her roost in the morning. The second she did, she was in submission stance and the rooster servicing her. He has tread on her back so much that her back is bald and her downy white feathers are coming out. There is risk that his talons can cut her back and wound her. This continued for several days (or more), until on Thursday. She actually hid in the weeds. All chickens come home to roost, so finally, she made her appearance. We got her in and isolated her in the adjacent pen so she could have a break from him, and have time to heal. He went ballistic! The second her saw her in the pen, he paced and crowed and flapped his wings, and made cackling noises, and paced some more. He wanted her! Too bad, buddy. Maybe he should be in the time-out pen.

He is a barred rock and he is BIG. He has also gotten very aggressive since we put the pullets in with the main flock of 5. He flaps his wings, crows, and will come after you when you go out to feed. In our flock of up and coming pullets, who should start laying late next month, there appears to be one Buff Orpington that is larger than the rest, with a slightly larger comb, and some inkling of tail feathers appearing. Buff Orpington's are a gentle breed, or at least supposed to be. My only concern is that you should have a ratio of about 10 hens per rooster, and we will have 21 hens. But, I think you know what I'm thinking. Dinner!

Oh, by the way, we had oysters on our trip to Oregon. We saved the shells and smashed them up to give to the chickens. They have calcium and help keep the egg shells firm. No point in paying for oyster shell when you can make your own.

Looming House Projects:
We have a never ending list of projects to get done.
Here is our list:
Peel and paint trim on house
caulk around door frames
re-caulk bathtub
clean out office, put in more shelves, and TV
measure for tin on roof so it can be ordered, repair skylight- skylight in kitchen to be salvaged, skylight in bathroom to be boarded over
stain fence railing
stain deck (doubtful this will happen)
fix the barn door

Cooper is our 4 year old golden retriever. Over the last 2 years he has matured and developed into an outstanding member of the family. He is a great mouser, a sounding alarm when someone is venturing down our driveway, a help with chicken herding, a protector against aggressive roosters, and an egg collector. Let me explain the last one. Once we moved the pullets in with the older chickens, the enclosed outside pen didn't allow ample free range for 22 chickens. So, I started keeping the gate ajar against a rock so there was enough room for the chickens to get in and out, but not enough for the horses to get in. I had noticed recently that Cooper had brought an egg or two up onto the front porch and left it there, unbroken. I figured since I was leaving the gate open for the chickens to get out and forage, that they were laying eggs on the ground in the barn and not in their boxes that are in the pen. One day I was in the outside pen with the gate closed and Cooper with me. I turned around and Cooper wasn't there, but for some reason I didn't pay attention to where he could possibly be, since the only opening is the gate, which was closed. The next thing I know, here Cooper is next to me with an egg in his mouth. He had somehow managed to squeeze himself through the little chicken door (we're talking 6"x 8") that goes into the chicken barn! That's where the boxes are and where the hens lay their eggs. Yeah, he is retrieving eggs now, true to his breed. He just stands there and waits for me to take the egg. It was so funny! Well, now I catch him retrieving eggs all the time, so I had to close up the gate a little more so he couldn't get through. What a great dog!

Our wind break trees have been ravaged by scale the last couple of years. This year we have sprayed malathion 3 times, but we are still losing trees and branches. The nurseries around here have been of little help. Has anyone else battled scale and how did you resolve it?

Our Garden:
It has been a peculiar year. Very cool with an extended wet spring. Our 70 potato plants are down to 69, due to some insects and blight, I think. Or some other potato disease. But they are hanging in there. Last year our zucchini foliage was so large I was ready to order some Agent Orange to combat the jungle that it created. Seriously, it was all you could do to try and work your way through the leaves and stems to find the zucchini. And then, when you thought you had them all, there was that one GINORMOUS zucchini of all zucchini. This year, another story. The leaves are so small, there is no shade for the plants at all and I have harvested 1 zucchini. I have a couple 3-4 more total on 3 plants. Can't figure that one out.

Tomatoes are finally starting to flower, but no fruit yet. Peppers are just starting to show signs of flowering, maybe this week. I have harvested one cabbage, and have enough broccoli to have with dinner this week. I hope to harvest enough pea pods to serve peas as well this week. Got some pickling cukes, and the butternut squash hasn't flowered yet. My spinach is, um, I'm not sure. My romaine has bolted. That's about it for my garden. Strawberries are harvested and got 3 qts. in the freezer and made jam. Our raspberry plants we planted last year have a total of 5 berries between the 2 plants. We are hoping they are putting energy into growing this year and will produce next year.

Just trying to maintain and keep supplies built up. Need to go out and get some target practice in, hopefully this week.

That's about all that's going on around here for right now. How are things in your neck of the woods?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Best Dill Pickles!

When I was growing up in Alaska, my friend's mother, Evelyn, made the best dill pickles. She special ordered her cukes, dill, and Walla Walla onions. It was exciting to be at her house when she was making them, because I knew in a couple of months, they would be pickles. Now, I frequently had lunch at their house during the school year. Back then, lots of students would walk home for lunch. Starting in September, I would ask if the pickles were ready. "Not yet," was always the reply. But, oh come about late November, she would bring out a quart of pickles. We were only allowed one each. And I think secretly, that maybe come November, I wasn't invited quite as often for lunch, because I always wanted a pickle. And if it was up to me, the pickles would probably be all gone by Christmas!

But years later, as I wanted to get into canning and making my own pickles, I wrote and got Evelyn's recipe. I made a couple of changes. For example, I use Pickle Crisp (calcium chloride) instead of Alum. And she calls for adding a small red pepper per jar, but I don't know what kind, so I just use red pepper flakes. Also, if possible, I add a grape leaf to each jar.

Now I will tell you the truth. It has taken several years for me to perfect pickles. I have had several failures. The first year I did not scrub the pickles with a brush. You must scrub your pickles clean so there is no white residue. My jars of my prized pickles came out of the canner with these long, white, threads growing up out of the pickles! I am not kidding. The threads were waving around in the jars even though the jars were still on the counter. They had to be alive! It was like some sort of freak biology experiment. I vowed to scrub my pickles so as not to have any sort of weird, psycho bacteria that will grow and thrive in a pickle jar. It reminded me of those odd sea horses you could order and grow as a kid. Remember those? Anyway...

Next, I got the brilliant idea to do it the old fashioned way and ferment them in a crock. Gross. The disgusting layer of film you have to skim off every day is yucky. It is time consuming, anyway. And after all that skimming of film, how can you be sure they are even safe to eat?

Then I tried Evelyn's recipe again, but the pickles were soft and not crunchy, and sort of sad. Not at all like I remembered. Someone suggested putting a grape leaf in each jar to make them crisp. Hey, I was desperate and didn't care that when I asked for grape leaves down at the local farm stand, he thought I was nuts. I explained I needed them to make pickles. Yeah. So he called the neighbor who grows grapes and he let me come and pick grape leaves for free. Now, the pickles were a bit crisper, and the grape leaves lend a unique taste to the pickles. They were getting better. Love the grape leaf flavor, but they still needed more crispness.

So we come to present day. This has been a 15 year learning experience. I use grape leaves when I can get them. 2 years ago I bought some brined in a jar and they were okay, but expensive. So now I will only put them in if I can get them for cheap, or better yet, free. The key I have learned is to scrub your cukes, and use Pickle Crisp by Ball.

Here's her modified recipe and my method for making delicious, crisp pickles.

Evelyn's Dill Pickles

For approximately 20 qt. jars, you will need:

5 onions
2 head garlic
1 bunch dill
20# pickling cucumbers

In each sterile jar pack:

1 grape leaf (optional)
1 thick slice onion (Walla Walla)
2 cloves peeled garlic
2-3 dry red peppers, or a rounded 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes)
1 spray dill
1/2 tsp mustard seed
pickle crisp (according to directions)
cucumbers to fill


2 C plain salt
4 qts. vinegar
4 qts water
Bring to a boil.

While you're prepping your cukes, bring to a boil your liquid.

First, soak your pickles well to lift off surface dirt.

Next, scrub those cucumbers!

Trim off about 1/16" from the blossom end. It has some sort of enzyme that can cause spoilage. Rinse your cukes well.

Fill your jars with 1 grape leaf, if using, 1 slice onion, 1 spray dill, red pepper, mustard seed, and garlic.

Add your cukes to the jar. I try to put larger straight ones around the outside and fill in with smaller or misshapen ones. You may need to cut cukes to fit you jar. Pack tightly.

Add your boiling liquid, remove air bubbles, wipe rims, cap and seal.

Process in a boiling water bath (BWB) for 15 min. adjusting for altitude. Fresh pack dills are one of the few food items that the water doesn't need to return to a boil before you start timing. Wish I had read my Ball Blue book a little more thoroughly. I spent years waiting forever for the water to return to a boil. One more reason my pickles weren't as crisp as they could have been.

There you have it. Processed pickles just waiting for a couple of months to pass by to be opened up and enjoyed.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I will do my best to answer them. Happy Canning!

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Productive Week

I got a lot accomplished this week and it sure feels good. I did quite a bit of canning.
From left to right: Triple berry jam (5 1/2 pints), green beans (32 pints), salsa (9 pints, and mustard pickles (4/1.2 pints).

Earlier today I baked 2 loaves of wheat bread and I just took 3 1/2 pints of strawberry-rhubarb jam out of the canner. Jam is easy and green beans are pretty straight forward. Here is the salsa recipe I used. We really like it because it is thick and not watery like most home-canned salsas, and it uses lemon juice so you don't have that "off" taste from vinegar that makes canned salsa taste funny. Plus, I don't bother peeling the tomatoes. That is one extra step I don't have the time for and you can't even tell once the salsa's made. Give it a try.


3 qts. cored slicing tomatoes
3 C chopped onions
6 jalapeno peppers, mostly seeded and chopped
4 long green chiles, mostly seeded and chopped (I use Anaheim peppers)
5-6 cloves garlic, chopped
2- 12 oz cans tomato paste (this thickens the salsa)
2 C bottled lemon juice
1 TB salt
1 TB ground cumin
2 TB oregano (optional, I don't usually use)
1 tsp black pepper
1/4 C chopped cilantro
1-2 dashes hot sauce (or more if you like it spicy)

Put the chopped tomatoes in a large saucepan. Let them sit for 5-10 min. Push them to the side and ladle off most of the liquid. This helps keep it thick. Add the rest of the ingredients in the saucepan except cilantro. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 25-30 min. Add the cilantro during the last 5 min. of simmering. Ladle into hot pint jars leaving 1/2 " head space. Adjust lids and process in boiling water bath for 15 min. Adjust for altitude. I am at 2,000 feet, so 20 min. for me.

More Insanity in the Headlines

Consider some of these recent headlines:

Iowa Police Shut Down 4 year-Old's Lemonade Stand
Really? Aren't the police embarrassed? Lemonade stands are as American as baseball and apple pie.

Moody's/Fitch: US Must Do More to Avoid Downgrade Ratings
"The ratio of general government debt, including state and local governments, to gross domestic product is projected to climb to 100 percent in 2012, the most of any country with an AAA ranking, Fitch said in April.

Standard & Poor’s put the U.S. government on notice on April 18 that it risks losing its AAA rating unless lawmakers agree on a plan by 2013 to reduce budget deficits and the national debt. S&P indicated last week that anything less than $4 trillion in cuts would jeopardize the U.S.’s AAA rating."

We are already being downgraded. I'm sure you all know what this means for our state of living and our economy. The debt ceiling was just hiked this week and already the govt has spent the money.

HHS: Insurers Must Pay for Birth Control For Women
I really don't want the government interfering in the bedroom. And breast-feeding equipment is paid for as well. Doesn't the govt believe that we Americans are capable of family planning decision making and paying for our families needs on our own? Do they really think providing free birth control will eliminate the housing projects? We know what is best for our families. What's next?

Obama Launches Gun Grab

Is this really limited to the Southwest? Or are the Mexican drug gangs an excuse to ease gun control into all of America under the guise of public safety? This is tyranny. Obama failed to secure the border and now he's waging war on law abiding gun owners instead of illegal drug cartels.

Free Cell Phones for the Needy
"It is a right to have peace of mind." Really? Where will these entitlements end? Recent studies show that most families living in poverty have TV's with satellite or cable. Plus,now the drug dealers can make their deals on free phones.

What Would Al Gores Tahrir Square Look Like
"Gore told Countdown host Keith Olbermann. “We need to have an American Spring, You know, the Arab Spring—the nonviolent part of it isn’t finished yet..."
Yep. Al Gore is calling for an uprising like Tahrir Square. Wow.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

DOT Targets Farm Tractors

I previously wrote about how Every Homestead Needs a Tractor. But this staple on the American homestead is under attack. America should be very alarmed. Our rights and livelihoods are being smoothly taken from us from right under our noses. Many of these rights reducing actions are being taken with the help of distractions such as Weinergate. Consider the new White House Rural Council which rings with the United Nations Agenda 21. For several weeks all that was on the news, even Fox News, was Weinergate. There were no other news stories and no mention of what sneaky things our president was doing.

Mike Opelka reports on The Blaze website, "Agenda 21 is a two-decade old, grand plan for global ’Sustainable Development,’ brought to you from the United Nations. George H.W. Bush (and 177 other world leaders) agreed to it back in 1992, and in 1995, Bill Clinton signed Executive Order #12858, creating a Presidential Council on ‘Sustainable Development.’ This effectively pushed the UN plan into America’s large, churning government machine without the need for any review or discussion by Congress or the American people.

‘Sustainable Development’ sounds like a nice idea, right? It sounds nice, until you scratch the surface and find that Agenda 21 and Sustainable Development are really cloaked plans to impose the tenets of Social Justice/Socialism on the world.

At risk from Agenda 21;

Private Property ownership
Single-Family homes
Private car ownership and individual travel choices
Privately owned farms

The Agenda 21 plan openly targets private property. For over thirty-five years the UN has made their stance very clear on the issue of individuals owning land;

Land… cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. The provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interest of society as a whole."

Back in June in the midst of Weinergate when no one was paying attention (and the liberal media was deliberately not focusing attention on this), Obama signed E.O. 13575 which created the "White House Rural Council." Like I want the White House involved with anything rural. They government is already confiscating public lands at an alarming rate. Section One of 13575 states:

Section 1. Policy. Sixteen percent of the American population lives in rural counties. Strong, sustainable rural communities are essential to winning the future and ensuring American competitiveness in the years ahead. These communities supply our food, fiber, and energy, safeguard our natural resources, and are essential in the development of science and innovation. Though rural communities face numerous challenges, they also present enormous economic potential. The Federal Government has an important role to play in order to expand access to the capital necessary for economic growth, promote innovation, improve access to health care and education, and expand outdoor recreational activities on public lands. Emphasis is mine.

I don't want the govt to expand access! I don't want the govt to take even more control! Agenda 21 doesn't want private land ownership where you can farm or do with it what you want. To start this off, there is a DOTproposal that all farm tractors and implements be considered commercial motor vehicles. Included in this ludicrous proposal is that everyone who operates farm equipment be licensed with a Commercial Driver's License (CDL)! So, you, your spouse, your 15 year old son or daughter, or the neighbor kid down the street from you will need to pass a class and pay a fee to get a CDL. But wait! Depending on which state you live in, you have to be anywhere from age 18-21 to even apply for a CDL. You may even need training from a truck driving school (that you have to pay for). Then you have to pass a written test and driving test to get your CDL just so you can drive your tractor on your property or on the roadway. It is more and more government control. Next, the govt will want to require you to pass a test, pay a fee, insure and license your 4-wheeler that you use on your property. It is all about losing your freedoms. Losing your rights. Losing your pride. Losing your property. Losing your right to do anything on your property without all the govt licenses, fees, regulations etc, etc.

We are being played. We are being fee'd and regulated to death. The govt uses such nice sounding labels such as "sustainable development." They are smooth and slick. The govt is like a creeping parasite. And what I don't understand is why the American public doesn't understand. Don't they get what is happening? There is so much corruption that there is no one to go to for help. All the good guys are being pushed out, dismissed, done away with. They get in the way of the political agenda. The agenda is complete control of our lives. How many farmers and people will this proposal severely limit or put out of business?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Giveaway over at Bacon and Eggs!

SciFiChick over at Bacon and Eggs is having her first giveaway. Check it out- there are three great prizes! Visit her site and sign up. Good Luck!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mice, Austerity, and Chicken

Mice: The other day when I went into the garage I heard a scratching noise. Not just a faint, scratch, but a loud, strong scraping noise. Vermin. I tracked down the general area of the noise but had to open the garage door first. Even with the sound of the door going up, the sound showed no signs of wavering. Great! It is coming from the front corner in the wall. Not good. We live in the country and have plenty of field mice, voles, rats (occasionally), rabbits, gophers, and even marmots show up now and then. Just as long as they don't take up residence in our house. We also have food stored in the garage, so this is a pressing matter. So I explained our infestation to DH who set up a mouse trap with cheese. The next morning, nothing. But alas, this morning, the trap had moved across the floor, the cheese was gone, and the trap had not tripped. Yikes! This critter is smart, too.

Plan B. Set up several traps with peanut butter, too, because that way the thief will have to work at getting its treat. The longer it is working the more opportunity for the trap to do it's job. I will keep you posted.

Austerity: I decided that since work is not just beating my door down, we should get our property tax and irrigation water paid now. They are due at the end of November, but I want to pay them both at the end of September with money saved this month. That way, if I'm not working, I know those bills are paid. I am planning to spend as little as possible this month with all the extra money going towards those 2 November bills. Today I spent $3.24 on 4 mouse traps. I will be tracking when, what and how much I am spending. I think it will probably be a real eye opener to actually track what I spend, especially since I am trying not to spend. I will have to be strict with myself. I just will have to refrain from even going in a store, and if I really need something- I will buy only that item(s)!

Chicken: I attend a Wives in Prayer group from my church on Friday mornings. One gal recently had a baby and our group takes turn cooking meals for new moms, deaths in the family or other situations. My day to cook for this family is today and I decided to cook roasted chicken, twice baked potatoes, and green beans, with ice cream bars for dessert. I picked up 2 chickens at the store on Saturday because I planned to make the same meal for my family. I put the chicken in the fridge out in the garage. With an 8/03/11 sell date I knew they would be fine. Well, at 3:00 today I pulled the chickens out of the fridge and opened the package. You know what was wrong. They were both spoiled! Oh my gosh! I live out of town and can't just run in any old time. I's 20 min. each way. I tried to rack my brain for a protein substitute. I knew I had other chicken frozen in the freezer, but you can't just defrost a whole chicken like that. Fortunately, I have DD 16 year that can drive. So, off to Fred Meyer to pick up another chicken for our friends. She's just about to the end of our 1/2 mile driveway and I realize I forgot to tell her to buy 2 chickens, because of course, that is what we were having for dinner, too. Alas, after several unanswered phone calls, I wandered into her bedroom and there is her cell phone on her desk. Of course. Now, what are we having for dinner?

DD 16 returns with the chicken and I cut it up, season it and pop it in the oven which I already have the potatoes baking in. I check the clock. Yep, I will have dinner delivered in time. Not that it really matters so much, but I was trying to have a hot meal ready to go when I arrived. Last time, I dropped off a meal early which had required reheating and I wanted to make it as easy as possible for this fine family. Oh, did I mention that DD returned from the store in 32 min? With the chicken? Umm, what's the speed limit? I will be adding $5.10 to my purchases this month for the chicken, but I am returning the spoiled chickens for a refund of $9.90. So, with my math, I have $4.80 to spend.

It just so happens that DD 16 found a couple of chicken breasts in the freezer. They will thaw in the microwave just fine. Don't you hate it when things like this happen? I mean, I have this all planned out, but Murphy somehow tried to throw a wrench in it. I kept telling myself I wasn't going to let this ruin my afternoon or upset me because plans have to change. And things worked themselves out after all. I got dinner delivered to their house just after 5 p.m. and got to sit and visit for a few. Then back home to put our dinner in the oven. Oh, and if you read my menu, I changed the salad tonight to coleslaw. I wanted to try the cabbage in our garden. It is delicious! I have never ever had fresh cabbage. It is so sweet and flavorful, nothing like store bought. It made a super coleslaw.