Friday, July 30, 2010

911 Call

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The coast is clear guys.... come on out!!!
I can see the future!  Well some of it anyway... We are going to be doing round two on canning figs a little later on today.  There is already one HUGE bowl of  them picked and by this afternoon there will probably be another 1/2 a bowl ready.  We should get several more pints put up today. The first batch of figs netted 8 pints. There are wayyy more figs this time around!  I'll be doing a post on canning figs in the next couple of days.

The fall garden is starting to come up!  We have cucumbers, magic purple beans, onions, peppers, and tomato's all sticking their little green heads up out of the dirt. Its a beautiful thing to behold! I'll be taking pictures as things start getting a bit bigger.

I saw where the Posers are now eating Spaghetti Squash that Mars had planted in the little "herb" garden.   Dang I wish I had pulled up all those plants before we left there! OK OK  I know I shouldn't be thinking things like that but..... Grrrrrrrrrr   I thought about ripping them all up too, but I figured someone had to be the better person in that situation.  


I've been wanting to make some tortillas for well over a week now but I am out of lard. I cannot believe it but I am having trouble finding it in the stores around here. I'm beginning to wonder if it is a cultural thing. Until now I have never seen a store that didn't carry it.  But then I'm from Texas so that may be the difference.  I never even entertained the idea that a person couldn't find lard in the grocery store.  It has just "always been there".  I have been to 3 different ones and no one has any!  How the heck can ya make righteous tortilla's without it? 


Anyway......  I don't know if anyone has noticed the new gadget on the right hand side of the page here.  It lists fruits and vegetables that are in season. You can change the locations on it for your area and even change the part of the month that they are in season.  I've been having fun playing with it!  It is interesting to see what all is in season in different parts of the country.  Can you tell I am easily amused?  


PS Speaking of easily amused.. after over two years posting here on this blog I realized that I can put captions under my pictures.  How cool is that and what a dork I am for not realizing this hundreds of pictures ago!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Learning New Skills

Have you thought about what skills you possess?  Or how important they may become for you and your loved ones in the future? This would be a good time to assess your skills and also those you may be lacking.
Make a list of your talents and your family's (groups) skills as well. What all can you do? Are there things that are quite obvious that you will need to know if SHTF?  There have been many articles written on this subject and for a good reason. 


We will all need to know how to get along if things suddenly "aren't the way they used to be".  This does not necessarily mean that we are going to find ourselves in a post- apocalyptic situation, although it could happen.  So wouldn’t it be a good idea to do an inventory?


 Personally I would like to have the skills necessary to be able to take care of as much as possible without "outside" help. Our goal is to one day be able to live as self- sufficiently as possible. To grow our own foods and raise some small livestock. I have been thinking about this more and more lately.  Especially once we acquire that little piece of land and are living in a "smaller" world of our own design.   It also makes more sense to know this stuff if for no other reason than to be able to do it ourselves. The trading and bartering of skills will most likely be the new way to do business.  Therefore it makes sense that the more you know the "richer" you are.


At first I couldn't think of many things I felt I knew how to do. I think there are alot of us that feel like that. And then I realized that I DO know how to do a few things.  Like how to preserve foods by canning and dehydrating and gardening.
 Sometimes we “know” things that we don’t even think about.  They have become so much a part of us that they become second nature.  Other things we have to think about. For instance, I am currently trying to learn to knit.  This would be a wonderful skill to have "at the ready".  I would like to learn to repair and to make clothing, and especially things like socks and sweaters.
 
 I am lucky that my husband is one of those guys who can do a myriad of things. A true jack-of-all-trades.  And yet there are skills that he would like to acquire and those he would like to become more proficient at.
 For instance, he has the basic “book knowledge” about solar power.  He's read several books on the subject.  And yet he wants some hands on experience with it.  Because you can have all the “book” knowledge in the world, but until you can apply it with your own hands it isn't going to be of much use to you. Practice makes perfect.


Take gardening for instance, just because you have the seeds to plant a garden, and just because you know that you will need to plant the seeds it does not guarantee that they will grow.  You need to practice your skills until you are comfortable with the process.  Seeds don’t guarantee success.  Putting your knowledge to use will give you the added practice necessary to succeed. Don't wait until you are up against a wall to put your knowledge into practice. 


  ~ What better time is there than right now to learn something new?~

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

DIY All Purpose Seasoning +

This morning was one of those mornings that are just made for sitting on the porch and enjoying a nice cup of coffee.  A nice breeze, just a bit overcast and temperatures in the low 70's.
That's when I noticed a stuffed animal in the yard.  Now this thing was not in the yard last night so I had to wonder where in the world it came from. I picked it up and up comes running B.B. (our dog)  She takes it out of my hand and walks away with it.  She didn't tug on it or shake it or run with it.  She just calmly walked away and set it down gently.  I have to tell you this is NOT normal behavior for her!  She has been carrying it around like she is "taking care of it" every since.   I am not exactly sure where it came from and it isn't one of those "cheap" toys either.   Maybe some kid tossed it over the fence being mean to his sister or something.  My guess is though that she jumped the fence, went and found it and then jumped back into the yard.  It is the darndest thing I have ever seen her do. Pretty cute though, I have to admit!

I was checking out my "usual" reading the other day and saw that Survivalblog now has an interesting new forum.  If you haven't checked it out it may be something some of you guys would be interested in.

I was surfing around the net the other day and saw a recipe (well a few recipes) for Seasoned Salt.  I got to reading the ingredients and thought... Hey I could make something like that!  I have been a big fan of Lawry's Seasoned Salt w/ cracked black pepper for quite awhile now. I use it on almost everything that a person would use regular salt on. It is my go-to flavor for lots of things, even seasoning meats before tossing them on the pit.  I had several bottles put back in my food storage but have recently run out.  So I thought what the heck.. I've got all sorts of seasonings so why not try to come up with an all-purpose seasoning of my own.  I have to admit I think I came up with a really good one. So here's the recipe I came up with.
Mind you though the approximate amounts as I'm pretty loose most of the time with measuring.

1/4 cup Sea Salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Lemon Pepper
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons fresh ground black pepper

Blend in a food processor until all the spices are well ground.  Let it set for a couple of days so as to "blend" the spices flavors.  Store in a spice container. 
Sprinkle generously! 

So far its really tasty on meats, eggs, fresh tomato slices, cooked veggies and pretty much everything else I have tried it on!  Now I just need to find a name for it.
 ~~ Any suggestions?~~

Sunday, July 25, 2010

One Year Old Today and a Cool Contest



I picked a pretty good batch of figs from the tree on the side of the house.  Looks like we are going to be putting some up in the next day or so.  The tree is loaded.  And this is just the first round! BTW that is not a "small" bowl either!  These things are super sweet and juicy too.... yummy.
 


I know someone having a blogoversary today!  One year ago today a friend of mine created a  fluffy pink and comfy place to go when everyone else was screaming about TEOTWAWKI.  A place removed from the hustle and bustle and the static around us.  Tales From The Scratching Post is a place sure to make you smile. Tap your toes to some good music, read a good joke, or find a super new recipe on her Food For Friday's post.  Congratulations to Tales From The Scratching Post on your first year.  I hope you have many more! Please stop in and check Felinae out when you have a chance.  Oh and tell her Sci says Hi!

On the subject of  good blogs ,I have been meaning to tell you about Wretha's for almost two weeks now. I've been reading her blog for as long as I can remember. Wretha's Adventures Living 100% OffGrid.  The name says it all!  Even if she weren't doing a give-away I would suggest her site. But hey.... everyone loves a contest right?
 She and her husband were interviewed awhile back and are now going to be "a chapter" in a new book by Nick Rosen called  "off the grid".  Very cool!  For those of you who are bloggers, she is also doing a give away of said book, so pop over and put in your entries before July 31st.  Click here to learn more about it. http://wretha.blogspot.com/2010/07/my-wonderful-guest-book-giveaway.html



Mars is starting a small fall garden this year.  He has been working the dirt and getting the spot(s) ready. He has started some seeds as well. I may get to can some tomato's this year after all!  I'm going to keep my fingers crossed!  I've used the last of the tomato's from last year and so far haven't had any to put up for this year. I don't have many store bought cans in food storage either since I had been counting on the home-canned ones for that.

Speaking of canning, I recently ran across a site that I had all but forgotten about.  The National Center for Home Food Preservation has a free self paced online canning class.  I took this a couple of years ago and really learned alot.  If you are new to canning, check them out.  There is alot of good information there.  I know the course helped me to become more comfortable with the whole canning process. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the registration link to get started on your free canning classes!  

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Learn To Knit?

I have decided to try and learn to knit.  It seems like it would be a good skill to learn and to know.  I've also discovered that it's pretty enjoyable. My first project was supposed to be a washcloth.  As you can see from the picture it is probably the most unique washcloth anyone have ever seen!  It looks more like a leaf, or maybe an arrowhead. Or maybe I can hang it on the wall and call it abstract art?  Whatever it is... I made it!  From start to finish. With all its flaws and imperfections. 

 My friend Mushroom is an awesome knitter and has volunteered to teach me.  How could I pass that opportunity up? Learning a new skill of any kind is valuable.  I hope one day to actually advance to making socks. For now though I'm going to keep it pretty simple until I can get the hang of it. Who knows, I may even knit a sweater one day!  The project I am working on now is tentatively going to be called a pot holder.  What it really is is an exercise in learning a new stitch with the yarn left from my "thingamabob".


I decided that a new skill would be a good thing. Any time you have the chance to learn a new one you might as well just go for it.  You can't know to much about how to do things for yourself right?  Right now I have the time and the good fortune to have an experienced teacher so show me the ropes.  What better time is there than right now!

So here's my question for you guys...Are you learning a new skill at the moment? If so, what are you working on?  Is there something that you would like to learn to do or to make?   If there is, what better time than right now to get started!

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Rhyme and a Reason?

It's been a rough day.  Even know I knew the odds,  I was still hopeful.   It seems that my obtaining Disability will take me upon the route that many others have had to travel.  I would have thought with some of the medical conditions I have it might have been easier.  I have tried and tried to prepare myself for the probability that I would be turned down on the first go-round. But I wanted to be one of the great exceptions to the rule. I guess I'm not so danged special after all!   I'm still bummed.  I will be filing for reconsideration next week and go from there.  I DID decide not to do anymore of this on my own and have acquired a good lawyer to help from here on out.  I'm still P.O.'d at Social Security for having taken 9 months (most first response is 4-6 months) to give me an answer.  I could be 3 months farther down the road by now.

Mushroom and Bud have been amazing through all this.They both say that things happen for a reason and I know that they are right.  Both of them feel that we were led here. That is to say that there is a reason we ended up here at this place and at this time.  I've had some time to think about that. Maybe they are right.  They said not to worry about things. That things are as they should be and that God knows what he is doing!  So for now I will work on trying not to worry about things I have no control over.  Wish me luck with that that one though. Worrying is a its a really bad habit of mine!  In some way I have to admit that because we got royally screwed by the Posers (where we were living before) we were led here because of it.  Rhyme and a Reason, ya know? 


It will be awhile now before that little piece of land in the country becomes a reality. And the chickens and the rabbits  will have to wait as well. But if it is meant to be then it will come when the time is right.  And not a moment before!  Disappointing to be sure  but its not life-ending.  I can only be bummed so long and then it is time to pick up and be happy for all that I have been blessed with.  I might be down, but I'm not out by a long shot! We are surrounded by wonderful caring people.  If that isn't a blessing then I don't know what is.  If you think this sounds like a pep talk to myself, well you are probably right.   But hey, if it works then all I did was bore you right?

               ~and it sure makes me feel better~

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dewberries

I love dewberries.  There are alot of people who are not familiar with them.  We used to find them along the side of the road or growing along the railroad tracks.  I grew up picking and eating them so I just "assumed" that everyone knew what they were.  Well we all know what you get for assuming.  I've met a few people lately that aren't familiar with them.

Dewberries are in the blackberry family.  The difference is that instead of growing on upright branches, they grow on stems that trail along the ground. The vines have tiny stickers and can really "get" you while you are picking them.  My granddad used to call them bramble berries. They start out with red berries that turn a really dark purple to almost black in the early spring.

 One of my favorite memories as a kid was going berry picking with my granddad.  There was kind of a ritual that we went through every single time we went.  First on the list was changing out of our shorts into long pants. Those dang vines will tear you up if you aren't careful of  the tiny thorns. The next thing we had to do was find a long stick to poke around the vines to make sure there weren't any surprises hiding in there like snakes.  For some reason snakes seem to like dewberries too!

Every time we went picking dewberries my granddad would tell us the same thing. That if we didn't stop eating them off the vine we wouldn't have enough for my grandma to make us a dewberry cobbler.  Of course it was hard for him to fuss at us too much since his lips were just as purple as ours were!!  Those were some good times.

Dewberries make wonderful cobblers and some yummy jelly too.  I've never had dewberry wine but I bet it would be darned good as well.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This and That

Well it looks like I sort of fell off the blogging wagon for a couple of days.  I sure am glad it didn't leave a mark!  :)


I thought I would share a picture with you of the BBQ pit that Mars made. If you look closely you can see it was made out of an old 7-Up syrup bottle.  And yes that is a brake drum for the base!  We have used this little pit regularly forever. It cooks great and it's portable too.  Trust me when I say it has seen it's share of lakes, rivers, and campsites!  Just the perfect size for the two of us!



We rode into the Big City yesterday to do some shopping.  M & B had to do some restocking on supplies and so we went to Sam's Club. I have a confession to make... I had never been in a Sam's before.  Interesting place to be sure but I can't see me shopping there.  For the way that I shop it just wouldn't be cost effective (even with the bulk discounts) to buy a membership. I DID find something I hadn't seen before and just had to try.  They had large jars of brown gravy mix.  I've always bought it in those little packages you get for 2@$1.00 and only make one cup. This jar has enough in it to make probably 50-60 cups or so and was $4.88.  So I can't wait to try it and see how it works out.

We are getting ready to be overwhelmed with figs around here.  The tree by the side of the house is loaded down with them. They are super sweet and wonderful right off the tree! I am going to go pick the first round of them tonight after it cools off a little. There just may be some canning to be done after all this summer!

Mars started some tomato and pepper seed today for the fall.  And Mushroom said we could knock ourselves out and use the greenhouse and her boat too! Plant away she said!  FYI the boat has been turned into a big old raised bed.  I'm looking forward to seeing what all he will put out there.  Maybe I will try my hand at some herbs again. I don't know why I have such bad luck them.  I keep on trying though.  It seems the only things I have any luck with is Basil, Sage, and Cilantro.

I had to laugh at my animals yesterday.  Cat's and dog's can be so funny.  I was eating peanut butter and crackers and offered Miss Kitty one. I had no idea she liked peanut butter!  To see her trying to get it off the roof of her mouth was Priceless! I sure wish I had had a video!
 
I was looking through the fridge and ran across a package of soy cheese that someone gave us.  I tried a bite of it and almost spit it out.  Now I know why they gave it away! Talk about nasty... Anyway, I thought maybe B.B.(the dog) would eat it.  Heck she will eat most anything. So I took some stale bread and put a slice of that soy cheese on it.  I offered it to her and she took it "gingerly" and walked off with it in her mouth.  I followed her to see what she would do.  She walked around to the back of the yard behind the wood pile, dropped the sandwich, dug a hole, and covered it up!  Apparently she didn't like it any more than I did.  Another priceless moment!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Your Tax Dollars At Work

     It's been one of those days. The thrift store trip didn't happen nor did the laundry that I needed to do. I had a few other things that I wanted to try and get done to but somehow most of it didn't happen either.
I spent half the afternoon on the phone dealing with our wonderful medical system.And if that wasn't enough I spent some quality time with some of our reliable government workers. 

     I've been trying for several weeks to get Social Security to send the blood test results to the doctor I saw when I was in Little Big Town. You remember that right? The blood test I had to drive 175 miles to get?  Of course that was when I was actually IN Little Big Town.  Once again things have changed.   But anyway, they finally sent the tests to the doctors office over  two weeks ago.
     I have been trying every since to get the Dr's office to give me the results.  Or at least to explain them to me over the phone.  Well for over a week I couldn't get them to call me back. We played phone tag for awhile. When they finally did get back to me I was told they could not give me the results over the phone. Apparently that is not "done". I tried to explain to them I could not make the trip back down there.    So after arguing for a week about it they said ok.  Come to find out all they could tell me was what the numbers on the test were.  They couldn't say anymore. Not ANYTHING.   Of course I asked questions but to no avail.  So I finally asked them if I had made the trip down there could they have told me anything more?  Here's the kicker.... They said NO.
    What I am wondering now is why they made such a stink out of not wanting to give me the results over the phone?   So I know now just as much as I did before.  Which isn't much.  My numbers are elevated.  I already knew that. And I seem to have wasted almost two weeks to find out absolutely nothing new.

    So since I was on such a good roll .....I decided to call Social Security .I wanted to find out why I have not received the reimbursement checks for my traveling all over Oklahoma on 3 different trips.  I was informed that I had been paid for 2 of the trips. And their records showed that not only had I not made the last trip but I had canceled the appointment as well.
      Well of course I informed them that I had received no checks for the 120 miles I drove the first time nor the 50 miles for the second trip.  She clicks away on her keyboard and says... "I show that we paid you for those".  OMG I wanted to scream.... but I just took a deep breath and asked her to please check her information again.  Seems that two checks were mailed 2 days ago and sent to my old address in Texas.  Mind you I had called several weeks ago to let them know my new address.  Gotta love the government at its peak of efficiency!  NOT 
      Of course then it was time to address the reimbursement for the 175 miles that I had to drive for the last trip.  Yes 175 miles to have blood drawn.  It took all of 5 minutes for the blood draw and I was headed back to the house.  The lady informs me that I never made the trip and that I had canceled the appointment.  Well this time I pretty much lost it.  I will leave out the exact words I used as I don't want to inflict my potty mouth on you here.   Let's just say that I was not a happy camper and told her as much. 
      To resolve the issue, she transferred me over to my case worker. (Who btw pretty much hates me since I called my congressman and had him get involved)  I told him it was one thing to have to wait over 8 months for a ruling that should only take (by their standards) 4-6 months. It is  quite another to make me spend money I didn't have to make a trip he could have easily scheduled in the next town over rather than a 175 mile trip.  I also told him if HE were eating beans and rice every day he might be a little more concerned with that little check I have been looking for.  (OK I know I exaggerated but hey....I was pissed off and his attitude sucks worse than mine)  Well all of the sudden, to get me off the phone and off his butt, he says he will make the calls and make sure the little check is mailed.
 
He has NO idea yet that until that stupid little check hits my mailbox- I will harass him like a bill collector at dinner time every day just because I freaking CAN.

And so there ya have it... Our government and our medical system working just for me and you.  I'm sure things will work out MUCH better once we all start getting that NEW OBAMA CARE!

Corn Oysters

Man its HOT!  If you have to be out in this summer heat please take care of yourself.  Lot's and lot's of water is a must.  Dehydration is only good when you are putting up food, so take the proper precautions while you are out in this heat.  Light colored clothing and staying in the shade as much as you can will help too.

Speaking of dehydrating, we had a sack of green peppers we picked just before we moved that I have cut up and am drying right now.  I sure didn't want to leave them there and definitely don't want to let them go to waste.  Dried bell peppers work great in lots and lots of recipes.  The ones I put up last year have all been used and so these will come in handy in the future.  I've become a serious fan of drying vegetables these days.  They take up lots less room in your food storage than canned foods. And with the heat of summer bearing down on us any time you don't have to fire p the stove and pull out the canner  is a BIG plus!

I think tomorrow I am going to go and check out some of the thrift stores around here.  Mar's has read all the books (again) so it's time to see what this Little Big Town has to offer. I've noticed there are at least three and I'm looking forward to exploring them.  Hopefully they will offer up more than the last ones did.  I checked out the library here but they are not as "friendly" as the one we were using before.  You need a picture ID (local only) to be issued a card here.  I'm not ready to have to go change my ID just yet as I don't know how long we will be staying in the area.

We had a wonderful dinner last night and I got to try a new recipe too!  Mars cooked steaks on the grill and we had green beans with bacon and Corn Oysters.  I'd never even heard of them before so I was glad to learn how to make them.  They have 3 things going for them too.  1) They are delicious 2) They are EASY to make and 3) They are made from things right out of our food storage.  Can't ask for much more than that can you? Oh wait, better make that 4 things.... They are very versatile and it's easy to tweak the recipe a few different ways.
So here ya go.....

Corn Oysters  (makes about 2 dozen)
1 cup bacon fat
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs (whisked)
1can whole kernel corn (drained)  Reserve 1/4 cup liquid

Heat bacon fat and oil in a skillet.  Mix the flour,baking powder,salt and corn in a mixing bowl.  Add eggs and 1/4 cup reserved "corn juice" and stir up.  Drop by spoonfuls in hot oil and fry until golden brown. (4-5 minutes) Drain on paper towels.


You could easily add diced jalapenos and/or diced onions as well.

Another way you could use this same recipe would be to make Apple Fritters. Omit the bacon fat in this one though. Use dried apples soaked in water (reserve the apple water 1/4 cup)i instead of the corn and follow the recipe.  You could add a little cinnamon in the mix or try mixing some cinnamon and sugar and rolling the fritters in the sugar mix when you take them out of the pan.

I wonder what the rich people had for dinner last night???  :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

God Bless Texas



I have been feeling a little homesick for my native state and remembered this old post.. Hope you don't mind a re-run! 
 
Have you ever looked at a map of the world? Look at Texas just for a second. That picture, with the Panhandle and the Gulf Coast , and the Red River and the Rio Grande is as much a part of you as anything ever will be. As soon as anyone anywhere in the world looks at it they know what it is. It's Texas . Pick any kid off the street in Japan and draw him a picture of Texas in the dirt and he'll know what it is. What happens if I show you a picture of any other state? You might get it maybe after a second or two, but who else would? And even if you do, does it ever stir any feelings in you?

In every man, woman and child on this planet, there is a person who wishes just once he could be a real live Texan and get up on a horse or ride off in a pickup. There is a little bit of Texas in everyone.

Texas is the Alamo . Texas is 183 men standing in a church, facing thousands of Mexican nationals, fighting for freedom, who had the chance to walk out and save themselves, but stayed instead to fight and die for the cause of freedom.

We send our kids to schools named William B. Travis and James Bowie and Davy Crockett, and do you know why? Because those men saw a line in the sand and they decided to cross it and be heroes.

John Wayne paid to do the movie himself . That is the Spirit of Texas.

Texas is Sam Houston capturing Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana at San Jacinto.

Texas is huge forests of Piney Woods like the Davy Crockett and Sam Houston National Forests.

Texas is breathtaking mountains in the Big Bend.

Texas is the unparalleled beauty of bluebonnet fields in the Texas Hill Country.



Texas is floating the rivers of the Hill Country on a hot summer day.


Texas is the beautiful, warm beaches of the Gulf Coast of South Texas
.
Texas is beaches you can drive on and have many memorable bon-fires with close friends.

Texas is that warm feeling you get when someone asks where you're from.

Texas is the shiny skyscrapers in Houston and Dallas.

Texas is world record bass from places like Lake Fork.

Texas is Mexican foods like nowhere else, not even Mexico.

Texas is chicken fried steak and world famous Bar-B-Q.



Texas is the Fort Worth Stockyards, Bass Hall, the Ballpark in Arlington and the Astrodome. (guess now the Reliant Stadium too)..

Texas is larger-than-life legends like Michael DeBakey, Ann Richards, Denton Cooley, Willie Nelson, Buddy Holly, Gene Autry, Audie Murphy, Tommy Lee Jones, Waylon Jennings, Farrah Fawcet, Janis Joplin, Sandra Bullock, Kris Kristofferson, Tom Landry, Eva Longoria, Darrell Royal, ZZ Top, Eric Dickerson, Earl Campbell, Nolan Ryan, Sam Rayburn, Howard Hughes, George H. W. Bush, Lyndon B. Johnson, and let's not forget GEORGE STRAIT- PANTERA, the Big Bopper, Tex Ritter, George Jones, Clay Walker, Mark Chestnut,Noah Bragg, to name ONLY a few.

Texas is great companies like Dell Computer, Texas Instruments, EDS and Compaq, Whataburger, Southwest Airlines, Bell Helicopter and LOCKHEED MARTIN AEROSPACE, Home of the F-16 Jet Fighter and the JSF Fighter, Valero.

Texas is NASA.

Texas is huge herds of cattle, beautiful horses and miles of crops.


Texas is home to the world famous King Ranch.


Texas is home to the most amazing sunsets of gold over an empty field.

Texas is hundreds of deer running around neighborhoods and fields.

Texas is skies blackened with doves and fields full of deer.

Texas is a place where towns and cities shut down to watch the local high school football game on Friday nights and for the Cowboys on Monday Night Football, and for the night In Old San Antonio River Parade in San Antonio.

To drive across Texas is to drive 1/3 the way across the United States.


Texas is ocean beaches, deserts, lakes and rivers, mountains and prairies, and modern cities.

If it isn't already in Texas, you probably don't need it.

No one does anything bigger or better than it's done in Texas .


By federal law, Texas is the only state in the U...S. That can fly its flag at the same height as the U.S.Flag. Think about that for a second. You fly the Stars and Stripes at 20 feet in Maryland, California, orMaine, and your state flag, whatever it is, goes at 17 feet. You fly the Stars and Stripes in front of Klein Oak High or anyplace else at 20 feet, the Lone Star flies at the same height - 20 feet. Do you know why? Because it is the only state that was a Republic before it became a state.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_Annexation


Also, being a Texan is as high as being an American down here. Our capitol is the only one in the country that is taller than the capitol building in Washington , D.C. And we can divide our state into five states at any time if we wanted to!
We can become a republic again at any time the voters of Texaschoose, and we included these things as part of the deal when we came on.
That's the best part, right there.


Texas even has its own power grid!! And don't even lie to yourself... Did I mention Live music capitol of the world?
GOD BLESS TEXAS!
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays

Well it looks like it is going to rain again  here today.  I don't mind it  a bit to tell ya the truth.  What with the hot and humid weather that is assaulting most of the US this summer, I will take the clouds and rain every chance I get!  I am missing not having a garden this year. And the lack of fresh vegetables SUCK!! But with any luck at all by this time next year I will be up to my ears in vegetables and back to canning and dehydrating! 

    I noticed over the weekend that there are now over 100 people who follow this blog via Blogspot and close to 50 more who follow on Facebook.  To each and everyone of you I would like to personally say thank you.  To my new readers , I hope I can keep your attention for awhile and thank you for taking the time to visit here.  And to you guys that have followed my progress through this world for awhile,I am glad to have had you folks along for the ride.  I feel like many of you are old friends.   You have watched my life's twist's and turn's,and your kind words have always been and still are, greatly appreciated.

 I would probably be better off not mentioning this but for some reason I just can't seem to help myself. It irritates me, what can I say?    I noticed that the "Posers" with whom we spent the spring with seem to have gained a real interest in following here as well. We are talking about someone who couldn't allow a person their freedom of speech without severe retribution? I have to wonder, what could I possibly have to say these days that would interest them?    Go figure, right?

 I was going to do a "link love" post here today  but once I got started on it the post grew pretty long so I will save that one for a day all its own!   I would like to introduce you all to some of my fellow bloggers!  If you are wondering what the heck "link love" is....stay tuned.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday Stuff

I apologize for the lack of posts since my rant. I have had a headache for three days running. Unusual for me as I don't generally get headaches. Anyway, its had me feeling a bit yucky and not in the mood for doing too much of anything. Today it seems to be a bit better though.

The sun is finally out too. I think it might actually quit raining today! It's been wet here for days. At least the temps here have been nice. We haven't had the horrible heat that most of the rest of the country has been experiencing. For that I am quite grateful. Of course the mosquito's are out in full force though! They aren't as big as Texas skeeters but you couldn't tell it from the welts they leave...

I have to wonder sometimes at the skills (or lack of said skills) at the US Post Office. I put in for a change of address a couple of weeks ago. After not receiving ANY mail since then I finally called the "ex" post office to inquire as to why. Now just so you know, this is a very small post office with only two employees. They know everyone in town (and country) and when you go in to check your mail you don't even have to actually open your box. They will just walk straight to your box and retreive it for you! No asking your name or box number either. Like I said.... small post office. Anyway, I called and asked about my mail. She at first said they would have to wait for the "change of address" form. "Well how long does that take?" I wanted to know, as it had already been well over a week. Well low and behold right there before her eyes appeared that danged old pesky form. She gathered all my mail and popped it in an envelope and....TA DAAAA.... The next day it showed up here! (Thanks Mom, I got your card :D ) And to think these are the same folks that are now demanding another rate increase for the USPS.   (chanting.... I will NOT rant ...I will NOT rant)

Bud (Mushroom's hubby) did the nicest thing right out of the blue the other day. He is an air gun afficinado (sp) and does custom builds and such. He has been doing it for years now. Mars had shown him his Chinese air rifle a couple of days before. Well he walks out of his "mancave" and hands Mars a really nice Benjamin Sheridan .177 air rifle with a Tasco Milidot scope. He said something to the effect that Chinese was ok but American Made can't be beat. Can you believe it? How neat was that! Out of the blue he gave it to him. So Mars has been playing with it in between rain showers getting the scope sighted in. The rain has stopped now so we are going to be doing some shooting this afternoon!

Also, in recognition of the freaking rain finally stopping we are going to celebrate by firing up the little pit and grilling some burgers. One of my all-time favorite ways to have food cooked is on the grill. Yummy!!!

So what are YOU doing this weekend?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

You Are Hereby Warned

I will warn you in advance that this is a raving mad rant.  I am going to say some things here that may anger many of you. If you are easily offended or don't want to hear a "different" point of view I would advise you to pass on reading any further. I will NOT be making any apologies either, trolls be damned.

It has finally happened. The main stream media has finally started using the "D" word.  CBS, NBC, Fox... they are all now actually using the word "depression" to describe what is going on with the US economy. 
Imagine that! We are in a "depression".  I have been saying this for over a year now. I have received nothing but blank stares and incredulous looks from most everyone that I have had the "gall" to actually speak with about it.  So is it ok for me to state it aloud now?  I mean... hey ... if the MSM says it ...well then it must be true right?  It must actually be "real".

And if thats the case might I go on and say other things as well?  Like the fact that the price of food in the US has increased over the last year by 20% and is expected to rise another 40% by this time next year?  Or that if you still have money in the stock market you might want to consider getting the hell out and buying gold and/or silver? 
Or how about this.... THERE IS NO PEAK OIL.  It is an illusion that the big oil companies have sold you down the river on. Or that Big Oil runs our government?  When BP can dictate what our president and Coast Guard can and cannot do in the Gulf of Mexico what else are we supposed to think?  How about the fact that we now have an illegal president in the white house?  Or that our 1st amendment rights were just this week rescinded in the Gulf of Mexico?  Can I say that now?
The Federal Reserve is a ponzi scheme designed to take every cent that America has and redistribute it to the Big Banks and Big Oil?  The United Nations wants to ditch the dollar and use some sort of Global currency.  The stock market is down below 10,000 again. 
That those who worked all their lives paying into the Social Security system can now just pound sand and die without any healthcare or dignity in their old age? Our taxes are expected to rise 50% over the next few months.
That if you are out of work these days it is because "they" have shipped all manufactured goods once made in the US out to freaking China and beyond? That the unemployment rate is hovering at close to 20%?  Or that somehow people have begun to believe the government "owes" them a living? I could go on and on but I hope you are awake enough to realize what is going on so that I don't have to.

 Things are bad and they are only getting worse every day.

LOOK PEOPLE!!!!      WAKE UP!! If you are not preparing for your future then how can I help you?  You see the signs, they are everywhere.  Get your houses in order now while you still can. If you haven't started yet PLEASE start NOW.  Stock up while you still can.  Stock up on your basics.  Beans, Bandaids, and Bullets.  Have you started a garden yet?  Have you even considered it?  Stock up on seeds now before Monsanto poisions them all. Do you preserve foods? Do you know how?  Do you know how to build a fire, store water, forage for wild foods? Can you cook without your electricity? Hone up on these and other skills NOW.  The more you know the better off you and your loved ones will fare in the event of a SHTF senario.  I personally feel like the time is growing short. I am not as prepared as I would like to be by a long shot. I don't believe any of us are, but at least I have a start on it and that is the most important thing.  I still am lacking in many areas but at least I have a grasp on what is still needed.  There is still time to hone your skills.  Prep now like you have never prepped before.  If I am wrong then what have you lost?  Nothing.  And you may just have acquired the knowledge to save you and your family's lives.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Toxic Release In Texas Occurred Just Before Gulf Explosion

Astounding. Really, I knew it would take a while to get actual regulators back in the regulatory agencies after BushCo, but isn't this something someone should have known about -- and notified the public?
TEXAS CITY, TEXAS -- Two weeks before the blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, the huge, trouble-plagued BP refinery in this coastal town spewed tens of thousands of pounds of toxic chemicals into the skies.
The release from the BP facility here began April 6 and lasted 40 days. It stemmed from the company's decision to keep producing and selling gasoline while it attempted repairs on a key piece of equipment, according to BP officials and Texas regulators.
BP says it failed to detect the extent of the emissions for several weeks. It discovered the scope of the problem only after analyzing data from a monitor that measures emissions from a flare 300 feet above the ground that was supposed to incinerate the toxic chemicals.
The company now estimates that 538,000 pounds of chemicals escaped from the refinery while it was replacing the equipment. These included 17,000 pounds of benzene, a known carcinogen; 36,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides, which contribute to respiratory problems; and 189,000 pounds of carbon monoxide.
It is unclear whether the pollutants harmed the health of Texas City residents, but the amount of chemicals far exceeds the limits set by Texas and other states.
Think about that. It exceeded the limits set by Texas, which translates to a public health emergency.

Visit me on Facebook for MANY MANY of these stories.  The scope of this mess is beyond belief.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pizza From the Pantry

Well I hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable 4th of July weekend.  Ours was more sedate than some in the past have been. No big get togethers or beer and fireworks this year. And I didn't miss it at all!  We smoked some turkey on the pit, had some good baked beans, swiss chard and home made bread and enjoyed good company.  What more can a person ask for?


We made pizza from scratch this weekend as well.  This was my first adventure in start to finish pizza from food storage.  Mushroom made the dough and let it rise.  And then divided it into pizza pan size dough.
And then we spread it out on the pizza pan.... Looking good!!
Sprinkled a little garlic powder onto the crust...Then we added pizza sauce.  We used a jarred spaghetti sauce for this. Just a little bit and spread it out to the edges.
Then we added fresh onions, some fresh ham,  and re-hydrated ground beef and mushrooms.
Topped it off with copious amounts of shredded mozzarella cheese. And popped it in the oven.
12 minutes or so later....
Amazing!!!  We had some left over dough which was cooked to go with the wonderful feast we enjoyed for the 4th on the next day.
So what did you do this holiday weekend?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Birthday, USA


This is a wonderful post from over on the American Prepper's Network Forum's   I hope you enjoy it as much as I did....

Postby NJerseyJ » Sun Jul 04, 2010 8:45 am
Once upon a time, a bunch of people decided to write a letter of protest to a king. this letter said things like no taxation without representation, freedom to worship as they saw fit, freedom to print what they deemed newsworthy, right to trial by a jury of peers, in short freedom of that king's tyrannical oppression.
this letter claimed (nay, DEMANDED) the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiniess.
self evident truth.
this treasonous letter declared the colonies' independence from the british kingdom. once independent, these colonies became something else. these colonies banded together to form a nation. this nation was located in a New World of beautiful rich land full of natural resources. from this land, from this new nation, the most essential resource for its ability to not only survive, but to thrive was and STILL IS- the PEOPLE.

so as i celebrate the birth of our nation with my friends and family, i'd like to say thanks to all of my fellow patriots out there for making me proud to say i am an American. To the guys and gals in the armed services past and present(and their families, too), thank you for your time, dedication, service, blood, sweat, and tears. to the guys and gals in law enforcement (including NSA, CIA, FBI, courts, jails, etc.) thank you for keeping my streets safe. to the guys and gals in the fire dept. thanks for being there. to the guys and gals in the hospitals, thanks for stitching us up. to the guys and gals in the churches, temples, etc. thanks for feeding our souls. to the guys and gals on the farms and ranches, thanks for feeding our bodies. to the guys and gals in engineering and construction, thanks for the roads, tunnels, bridges and buildings. to the guys and gals in the charities and soup kitchens, thanks for caring for those forgotten or in need. to the elderly, thanks for showing us the way. to the newborns, toddlers, and children, thanks for the smiles, laughter, songs, and dances. you are our future, hopes and dreams.

to my fellow preppers and patriots out there, thank you for sharing your thoughts, advice, concerns and well wishes for your fellow man.

yes, there are bad things in this world. yes our economy is rough. yes our system is flawed. yes disasters happen. yes robberies and riots and violent crimes happen. however, despite all that, i believe we can get through it all if we stick together, share our strengths to mitigate our flaws.

but for today, i'd like to step away from the doom and gloom that we all prepare for, just long enough to remind everybody to take some time to make life worth living. i wish you nothing but good things today, like a smile, a hug, and a fond memory.

i'm not really taking the day off prepping. i'm taking the day to prepare for emotionally draining times in the future, by making fond memories of celebrating today. so, i start today by celebrating you. THE PEOPLE.
i guarantee that the boots "over there" (anyone working today "third shift"/constant vigilance occupation) are clinging to their own fond memories today, because HOPE is a lifeline.

Self evident truth. Pursuit of happiness.
From sea to shining sea, land of the free, home of the brave, God bless America, land that i love.
Happy 4th of July, everybody.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My First Poll (aka Playing with Gadgets)

I have been kicking around the idea of "remodeling" the looks of this blog.  Nothing really major since my computer skills are....well lets just say they are limited.  I had considered taking out the slide show-but for some reason if I do that the pictures in my posts will disappear. (or so Picassa says)  I would hate to loose those.  I'm still working on that, and who knows , I might still find a way to get around it.  I just know that alot of folks don't have high-speed internet and that it must load painfully slow for some of you.  So I guess the question is this.  Do you think Bacon and Eggs could use a facelift or shall we just keep on keeping on?  Hmmmm  I've never done a poll here before.....

Friday, July 2, 2010

Dehydrating Okra & Putting up Tomato's

Well folks, it's definitely summer.  Which means lots of tomato's and Okra coming on. The summer vegetables that keep on giving and giving.....
I won't be doing any canning this year.  Funny that I sure am going to miss it.  About this time of the year most years I have the canner going daily and the dehydrator running 24/7.  And every year I think OMG I will be so glad when all this is done! 

Some of you might not have tried a couple of things I am going to talk about here today.  Alot of you probably have.  Canning tomato's is really not all that hard to do.  As a matter of fact it was the very first thing I learned to put up.  All you need is a water bath canner, a pot of boiling water, a sink of cold water, some jars and lids(toss these in some hot water to get the seal "sticky"),a little salt (if you want) and of course Tomato's!  The hardest part of it all is figuring out just what kind of tomato's you want to can.  Most of the time I just end up cutting the tomato's up in quarters or there about and decide later on what I want to do with them.  Get your water boiling in the canner and another pot for blanching your tomato's.  I sterilize my jars in the canner while I am doing the tomato dunking but any way you want to sterilize your jars is fine.  When the water in the dunking pot is boiling, toss off a few tomato's in there just until you can see the skin on them "loosening" a little bit.  Usually about 45 sec to a minute.  Take them out of the boiling water and dunk them in the cold sink water. (I like to use ice water but its not necessary)  Peel off the skins (they should slip right off) core them and cut them how ya want.  Put the tomato pieces in the hot jars and fill to about a 1/2 inch from the top.  Put the lids on the jars and place them in the water bath canner (make sure the water covers the tops of the jars) for 25-30 minutes.  Take them out and place them on a towel on the counter and let them cool.  You should start hearing that beautiful "ping" of the lids soon after.  That's it.... Easy Yes?

Another great way to "put up tomato's is to dehydrate them. You can blanch them and skin them if you want or leave the skins on. There are a few things you can do to prepare them but I'm just going to say that I don't peel mine or do the squeezing of the seeds out.  I slice the tomato's thin and as evenly as I can and place them on the dehydrator trays and turn that baby on.  Check back in a few hours to see your progress.  You want them dry and not tacky to the touch. They will be kind of leathery.When they are done,  I put my dried tomato's in canning jars and use my vacuum sealer to close them but you don't have to.  They will store just fine in ziplock baggies if that is what you have.  They can be used to make anything from tomato's for soups and stews, to tomato paste and tomato sauce.   For tomato paste and tomato sauce I use my blender to make a tomato powder(because I don't have a food processor) and just add water to the desired consistency. Again... Easy Right? 

And now for Okra. In the south it is the plant that keeps on giving, and giving and giving.......


I personally don't care for okra all that much unless it is fried. Mars likes me to put up a few jars of pickled okra and so I do a few.  I'm still experimenting on a recipe I want to stick with so I don't have one to share with you here.  I have done them like dill pickles and also put up some with some peppers included for some spicy ones for him.  There are tons of recipes on the internet.  Knock yourself out.  I don't can okra as we don't care for it all that much.  As I said we pretty much eat fried okra.  And that is how I came up with the idea to dehydrate okra!  We had tons of it.  If you have raised okra you know what I mean. It multiplies seemingly overnight. 
I cut up my okra in even pieces like I am going to fry it and then I season it with Tony's Seasoning while its still in the bowl.  Then I spread it out onto my dehydrator trays.  Don't worry about trying to separate it , its almost impossible what with the slime and all.  Just try to get it in one layer and then season it again.   Let it dry for several hours until it is "crispy". Then try one!  They are good!  Put it up in jars or baggies until you are ready to rehydrate it.  Here's something alot of people don't know..... dried okra makes really good "snacks".  Eat them dry like you would chips or peanuts or whatever!  Really tasty! 
When you are sitting around next winter and wish you could have a yummy plate of fried okra just add water.  It will rehydrate easily.  Even down to the "slime".  Then just cook it like you would cook the fresh stuff.

And there you have it folks.... It doesn't get much easier than that right?  And easy should be my middle name when it comes to doing stuff like this! 

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Return to Prepping?

This blog started out as a prepper's blog.  It has, as most blogs do, taken on its own life.  I am sure it will continue to evolve into whatever direction I tend to flow with.  I tend to write in the "here and now" most of the time. That's just me!   Unfortunately, (or so I thought) at this moment in my life, I have had to step back from prepping in the way I had become accustomed to. The gathering of physical preps has had to be put on hold for awhile. I found myself becoming a bit depressed over that reality.

  And then, in a weird twist of fate, I was reminded what the preparedness movement is REALLY about.  Some of the most important aspects of prepping come from learning and teaching others new skills and to be able to use those skills in real life situations. It is not just stocking up for those times you will need "things". Just because I am not actively adding physical things to my preps doesn't mean I have to hit the brakes.  I can still help others as well as learn new things every day. And isn't that the real purpose?  To find "freedom through teaching others self reliance"? 

I have been a member of one of the many preparedness forums out there for a few years now.  I had written many posts and have been an active member to one in particular. I was dismayed to find that someone had deleted all my posts and even deleted my membership there.  All things happen for a reason though.  My resolve share my knowledge with others has been rekindled.  So I would like to say thank you to the person who has helped me regain my forward motion!