Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kittens and Canning (no not at the same time!)

One of the "homeless" cats that hang around here showed up about a month ago all skinny and looking poorly.  Mushroom leaves food for her cat Groucho and Miss Kitty and for the neighborhood cats out so it has been dining here regularly.  It's an interesting looking cat and is part Abyssinian and has a bob tail. It has the skinny face and the high back legs of the Abyssinian breed.  And it is such a sweet little cat. " It" just happens to be a "she" cat who we have started calling  Bobby. (because of her tail) We found out yesterday one of the reason she has been looking so poorly (other than being homeless) is because she has kittens!  Three of them in fact!  They just appeared yesterday.  I love kittens!  There are two yellow tabby looking ones and one tortoise marked one.  All three of them have bobbed tails too! They are still pretty skittish so I haven't been able to get very close to them yet, but I'm working on it.  Pictures will be coming just as soon as I can snap one.  Those little suckers (get it... suckers.. hehe)  are freaking FAST!
The little garden is still looking good.  I hate to report that the blooms that were on the cucumbers were males.  What a fake out!   It's ok though because the plants are growing great.  The spaghetti squash is starting to vine and climb up the cage but there aren't any blooms yet.  We just might have spaghetti squash yet this year.  The yellow squash, on the other hand, is starting to bloom like crazy and there are tiny little babies all over it! 
The "magic" beans  are doing great. They are climbing like crazy!  The little tomato and pepper plants are coming along but as I said before, I doubt if they are going to do much before it gets too cool.   That's ok though, we knew the odds when we started them so if  they produce it will be like a bonus and there is always hope!
The basil is doing great but it doesn't look like any of the other herbs have really taken off.  I don't know if its the seed or just my inability to grow herbs.  I think it might be the seeds though because I used the same ones this spring and out of the four (of each) all of the basil came up, one sage plant came up, and 2 of the cilantro sprouted.  The germination  rate pretty much sucks for both of them.  Nothing is coming up this time except for the basil.  It is getting big. I just love the look of the plant.  They are sooo pretty. Since it is doing so well I thought I would try my hand at making pesto.  Does anyone care to share the how-to's for making pesto?  I've never tried it before but I figure as wonderfully as it is growing I might just give it a shot.  I know, I know, I could google it but I would rather try learning how-to from folks who have actually done it before!   First hand knowledge is so much better than google  any day of the week.

HerbalPagan asked me the other day if I would share the soap recipe I used for my first batch of soap.  I really like it because it lathers up nice and rinses clean.  Oh, and did I mention how great it makes your skin feel?  I'm not going to do a tutorial about soap-making just yet though because after all, it was just my first batch!  So here's the recipe I used.

Canolive II Soap
36 ounces canola oil (or you may substitute sweet almond, corn, peanut oil, or any blend of those oils if you'd like)
36 ounces olive oil
16 ounces coconut oil
24 ounces cold water
12 ounces lye crystals

Temperatures: 90-100 degrees
This soap has a very nice texture after 24 hours (cutting stage). I used the stick blender, so don't know how it will be with hand stirring. If you are not comfortable with the low water content, you could bump it up to 28 or 32 ounces, but I like the firmer bars that don't take as long to harden up.

I found this recipe over at Miller Homemade Soaps .  It's a great site and there are several other recipes there that I want to try as well. I do feel like I need to put out a warning here.  This soap contains lye. You run a risk of seriously hurting yourself if you aren't careful.  So if you decide to do this at home kiddies be sure to take ALL the proper precautions including wearing protective gear.

I've been thinking about what someone was saying about canning meat and have decided it is high time I got off my rear and tried it. No time like the present  right? And I have incentive as  chicken quarters are on sale. Anyway, I want to pick some up see how it goes. That and  today is the last day of the sale for the ice cream I've been wanting too so I need to get over there and either 1) pick up some or 2) grab a rain-check for it.
  Oh , and Small Farm Girl?  In answer to your question left in the comments yesterday, the answer is a big resounding NO.  And Hell hasn't frozen over  yet either!! LOL

                           ~~Hey... I'm Just Sayin...~~

Monday, August 30, 2010

Love and Life and Other Stuff

I would like to give a big hello to all of my new readers.  I hope you enjoy what you read here and please feel free to read back through the archives.  I tend to reference things from the past sometimes without even thinking that some of you might be wondering "What the Heck is she talking about!"  In case you haven't figured it  out yet, I am what some folks are now referring  to as a prepper.  Which really just means that I am trying to learn to be as self-sufficient as possible and to try and be ready for any major (or minor) disaster that might come our way.  I am really involved in food storage. I'm learning how to do alot of things the way my grandparents did them.  Being cheap...errr I mean frugal... Is a part of who I am.  I love thrift stores and garage sales.  I actually LIKE canning and I am a hands down fool for dehydrating!  I'm  learning to knit and how to make soap.  I haven't bought more than 4 loaves of store bought bread in the last couple of years.  I have a new found love for baking.  My husband and I hope one day in the near future to buy a couple of acres of land out away from the hustle and bustle of the city and raise a big garden, a few chickens, some rabbits and maybe a goat or two. In the mean time I tend to rattle on about whatever happens to cross my mind on any given day...  So there ya have it!  I hope you enjoy your visit and that you will come back often to see what's going on around here!

For some reason I have been in "Ice Cream" mode now for the last couple of weeks.  Serious cravings!  It just so happens that the local grocery has been having a sale on their ice cream for the past two weeks.  Last week it was advertised as 4 for 5 bucks so I picked some up.  Not a bad deal.  Between the two of us we wiped it all out in just a few days.  Well this ad-week they had it on sale for $1.25 a carton.  Yeah, I know.  It's the same price!  Grocery stores are tricky like that.  So I ran down to the store to pick up a carton or two and danged if they weren't out.  I'm not talking about just out of my favorite flavor either.  I'm talking about OUT of ALL of it.Every single carton.   Well, I still had an ice cream withdrawal in progress and so grabbed another brand to ease the pain.  (gotta feed the need right?)  The good thing that came out of all this is that I was smart enough to ask for a rain check!  I'll stop by again today and see if they have anymore in but in all honesty I hope they don't!  I want another rain check!  This way I have an additional 30 days to use the sale price.  Oh, here's a tip you may or may not know.  If you are redeeming a raincheck say in a week or two and they are out of said product, you can get ANOTHER  raincheck !  So even if you loose you win!  LOL

I had a dream last night.  One of those dreams you wish would go on for just awhile longer. The kind that you try, once awake, to get back to if even for just a few more minutes.  I dreamed about my mother. Actually she was my step-mother but I never could tell the difference.  We were in some house I had never been in before.   My dad was out somewhere and so it was just the two of us laughing and talking and drinking ice tea. It seemed like we sat for a couple of hours just comfortably chatting.  And then I woke up.  That was it. The whole dream.  Nothing earth shattering, no cryptic messages, just a sense of peace and of love.  Tomorrow also marks two years since my best friend passed away.  I think Mom just wanted me to know that everything is alright and that she will always be close by watching over me.  Silly?  Some might say yes but I firmly believe that our loved ones are always with us.  And that love, once given, can never truly disappear.

                                ~~Hey...I'm Just Sayin...~~

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Last Sunday of the Month

It's quiet around here today.  Not much going on and even less to write about. Sometimes it seems days are just melding into one another almost seamlessly. Must be the winding down of summer.  The garden is doing fine.  Everything is looking good and is growing as it should. I don't think the tomato's are going to be big enough to actually make but we weren't really counting on them to.  It's one of those  if it grows it grows sort of things.  You can actually feel that fall is right around the corner.

  I need to get to the big city sometime soon to pick up some coconut oil so I can make another batch of soap. I used two different molds for the last batch.  For one of them I used those little mini loaf pans that makes 8 loaves.  Those came out great! The recipe I used is wonderful. The soap lathers well and feels great on the skin with lots of moisturizing goodness.  It also rinses off easily and leaves no sticky residue.  (Oh my, I sound like a soap commercial!)  For the other batch I used a large tupperware container.  I obviously didn't set the container on an even surface because it came out a bit lopsided! So me in all my great "wisdom" decided I would try rebatching that container. My rebatching efforts came out horribly.  I should have just left well enough alone as the soap was fine before, even if it was a little "funny" looking. I think I used too much liquid when trying  to remelt it and it isn't setting up the way it should.  It's really soft now.  I don't know if it will actually set again or not but I am going to leave it a couple of more days and see what happens.  In any case, I will chalk that up to the learning curve.  I have my eyes open for something to use for molds.  Since you can use all manner of things I am sure I will stumble across something that will work.

I've been working on a list of things that need to be replenished in our food storage.  Pretty  basic stuff actually. Reads just like a regular shopping list. Flour, milk, eggs, sugar etc...  I'm not sure how long it will take me to replenish what we have used over the past several months.  I hope it doesn't take long to get things back in order.  One good thing about using our storage over these months is that I have been able to see the "holes" in it and am happy to say that there haven't been many. The one that stands out more than most is meats.  I still haven't worked much on storing meats  other than the cans of tuna, chicken and turkey.  I suppose I should think about canning and drying some.  I've been saying that for awhile now and still haven't done much in that direction. 

                                ~~Hey...I'm Just Sayin...~~

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pork Ribs and Onion Rolls

   I got a big surprise a couple of days ago, and it wasn't the good kind either.  Apparently my email account was hacked.   I received a couple of emails from friends who had questions about an email from my address.  It had nothing at all in the subject line and when it was opened it was spam from some viagra company.  One friend was kind enough to inform me that the site in the email was no longer a "live" site.  Thank goodness for that.   Then another problem pops up.  I can't access my email account.  Someone had jacked my password apparently.  After spending the last couple of days running every program I can think of to try and find the culprit  I still can't find anything infected on my computer.  Every single scan I have run comes up with no problems. I have run several different scans with several different programs and they all come up with zip!  I have changed the password and created a "saftey seal" for the account.  We'll see how things go. 
    It just burns my butt that this happened. Especially to my friends who received the mail.  I had one person tell me they would no longer read my emails if there were no subject line in it.  The thing is... I NEVER send emails with no subject line so I hope everything will work out and that I have solved the problem.  I guess only time will tell. I do apologize to all those who received that email. I feel terrible about it.

   Today I'm trying my hand at making fig jam.  It's the first time I've tried it so we will have to just wait and see how it comes out.  With any luck at all it will turn out as well as the figs Mushroom and I put up a couple or so weeks ago.  I was going to try fig preserves but they had been in the ice box for awhile so I ended up crushing them and trying jam instead.   I have them slow cooking right now so I should have some pictures tomorrow of the finished product!

   On another note,  we picked up some pork ribs at the store the other day. ( While I was freaking out over the cost of sugar!)   They had a good sale on them so you know we just HAD to!  It is so nice to be BBQ'ing again. (Where I come from if you are smoking, grilling, etc.. it's called barbecuing even though technically there is no sauce!)  We went through a spell during the spring where the only thing we had to fire  up  was the little travel pit in the first picture.  I thought it was just a tad ironic that our "host" didn't do any outdoor cooking but that's another story.  Anyway...  Now don't get me wrong, I love that little  pit.  It is great for just the two of us most of the time.  The problem is that it isn't big enough to cook a brisket or ribs or even a whole chicken.  Thank goodness that Mushroom and Bud have a nice size one that fits the bill perfectly. 
   I  walked out the door yesterday evening and was knocked over by the  smell of woodsmoke and pork ribs. What a glorious smell!  I have seriously missed that aroma these past few months.  Not to be outdone,  Mushroom made some awesome onion rolls. The aroma wafting around the place had to have had the neighbors drooling.  I know I sure was!                   

                            We feasted on smoked pork ribs, 

                                cheesy potato pancakes, 
    baked beans,(sorry I didn't get a picture of the beans) 
                              re-hydrated peas & carrots. 
 And those mouthwatering onion rolls dripping with real butter. 
  I ate till I was as full a a tick.  Absolutely spectacular meal!                      
       I wonder what the rich folks had for dinner last night!!

                             ~~Hey...I'm Just Sayin...~~

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Weather Alert-Beautiful Days Forecast!

It's a beautiful day!  It looks like we have finally turned the corner on the miserable heat here in this neck of the woods.  I always love it when the weatherman finally says... "I don't think we will be seeing those 100+ days anymore."  It is like an affirmation that things are finally going to be bearable again.  Having lived in Texas all my life (until recently) this time of year is undoubtedly one of the best. 

I apologize for not posting yesterday.  I wasn't feeling all that great and honestly didn't even have the energy to TRY and find a video or some such thing for your entertainment.  It seems like I have just been so tired lately.  And it's not like I've been really doing much either.  I guess I needed some rest because I slept almost all day and then went to bed early too.  Thank goodness I'm feeling a whole lot better now.  I hate feeling yucky!!  But then, don't we all.

I've been reading all the gloom and doom about our economy and all the injustices being done to our country by our own government.  It seems that things just keep getting worse and worse.  I won't go off on a rant today because I'm actually in a good mood due to the weather being so nice.  I'm not ignoring things,  I am just going to spare you the disgust that I am feeling towards the whole mess.   Just a couple of the things going on right now....

Here's one of the things I've run across just in the last few days. Another   here   and another and another.  You get the idea...  This is just a very small sampling of things going on around us.  I didn't even have to search for any of these, which is a sad statement  about the world we are living in now.

Let me just say this.  Folks, things are going to hell in a handbasket.  Pay attention, stay on guard, and prepare today as if you will not have the chance to do it tomorrow.  I know I've said it over and over.  It's better to have it than to wish you did! 

 Here's an example of why working on your food storage today is better than waiting until "when I can afford it".  What you buy today will surely be cheaper than it will later on.   I was in the grocery store this week to pick up a few things.  I'm trying to replenish some things that I have used over the last few months. Due to our circumstances, we have been using our stores for the last several months without the benefit of being  able to restock.  Anyway....

Will someone tell me when the heck sugar took a MAJOR price hike?  They wanted $3.88 for a 5lb bag of sugar.  The last time I bought any it was right about  $2.29 for the same 5 lbs.  I was shocked.  Needless to say I bought a bag and put it on my list of things to stock back up on.  Right now I am down to one 5 gallon bucket + that 5 lbs.  All the talk about wheat prices and Russia stopping their exports of all goods should be another sign that things are bound to get worse in the near future.  So far the flour prices in this neck of the woods hasn't seen an increase but I am sure it is only a matter of time.  Therefore that is another thing I have on my re-supply list.  I'm down to only 2 buckets right now.  I like to have at least three times that much in my stores since baking bread definitely takes its fair share of flour.  Since I  don't have a grain mill (yet) I haven't got to the point where I store whole wheat yet.  It is definitely on my list of things I want to do. 

I have seriously GOT to get out and take some more pictures.  I lost so many when I had the big crash last year.  It just about broke my heart as there were many of our dear friend who passed away a couple of years ago. Things that just can't be replaced.  It taught me a good  but costly lesson about backing up my computer.  In case you didn't know,  99% of the pictures here on this blog are those I took myself. One good thing about posting them here is that Blogger uses Picassa (sp) and any pictures I have posted here are stored on their site.   I've been seriously slacking here lately though.  I guess I need to get out more! 

                                                 ~~Hey... I'm Just Sayin...~~

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Meet The Puppy

I found this over on Facebook and just HAD  to share it.  Warning... this is PG-13 because of a couple of words (that I admit to use on occasion ). 

MEET THE PUPPY     Enoy....

                                        ~~Hey... I'm Just Sayin...~~

Monday, August 23, 2010

Dehydrating Tomato's

It was a beautiful morning with temperatures in the mid 70's.  Of course it quickly turned into a hot and muggy Monday.  But for a little while it was actually comfortable to sit outside with a cup of coffee and the dog and cat for company! 

  The fall garden spots are coming right along.  This morning I got a couple of nice surprises.  The spaghetti squash is putting out runners so it got its very own growing cage this morning.  

And then I saw color!    One of the cucumber plants has blooms on it and is starting to climb up the cage it is in.  These are heirloom Armenian Cucumbers.  From what I understand they really aren't cucumbers at all but in the melon family.  They put out really big fruit.  Regardless of what family they are in they taste like cucumber and I am planning on making my first dill pickles when they are ready.  The only pickles I actually have put up in the past are bread and butter pickles. I might put up a few more jars of them as well, but we will have to see how many cucumbers we get first.  So anyway, this will be my first attempt at dill pickles.  If any of you have a really good  recipe you would like to share with me I would love to try it.  Oh and speaking of recipes I am also looking for a dill pickle relish.  Hey...  a girls got to find her recipes where she can right?  And what better way to find one than to ask all of you guys?

I was talking to a friend in the American Preppers Network chatroom the other night.  We got to talking about tomato's.  The subject wound up being about preserving tomato's.  She has lots and lots of cherry tomato's ripe on the vine.  I asked her if she had thought of dehydrating them.   It is a great way to preserve most any kind of tomato.  And this time of year, with it being so hot and all, it is one less thing you have to fire up the canner for.  That gets an extra star in my book!

There are a couple of schools of thought on preparing your tomato's for the dehydrator.  You can remove the skin from the tomato's or you can leave the skin on.  The choice is yours.  If you want to peel the tomato's just blanch them in boiling water for a few seconds and then plunge them in ice water.  The skins should peel right off.  If you decide to peel them you can save the skins and dehydrate them too.  Then just grind them and use them when you are making tomato powder.

If you are using cherry tomato's you can just cut them in half and place them skin side down on the dryer tray.  When you are using regular sized tomato's just slice them thin.  Try and make your slices as uniform as possible so they will all dry at about the same rate. Place them on your dryer trays and make sure they are not touching each other.  Let them dry for several hours.  I can't tell you exactly how long it will take because all dehydrators are different.  When they are dry take them off your trays and place them in an airtight container.  Check them after about 24 hours and make sure they are dry through and through.  If they aren't, just pop them back in the dehydrator for another hour or two.  Store them in an airtight container until you are ready to use them.  I store mine in vacuum sealed canning jars.  It is really easy to do and like I said, you don't have to fire up the canner.  What I usually do is to can what I will be needing for the next year and then I  dry the rest of them.

 When you are ready to use the dried tomato's, just take what you need out of the jar and rehydrate them by soaking them in water. A good rule of thumb is that tomato's and other veggies will "shrink" to about 1/4th  of their size.  You can use dried tomato's on pizza, put them in soups and stews and all sorts of things. If you want tomato powder all you do is take a few out of the jar and grind them up in a food processor, blender, or spice grinder.  Just add water and tomato powder until you have the desired consistancy.
It's really easy to do... And I'm all about easy!
                            ~~ Hey... I'm Just Sayin...~~     

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Preservitis- A New Disorder Identified?

There is a newly recognized disorder that has come to the attention of folks across the country.  Although this disorder has been around for many years, it now has an identifiable name. That name is Preservitis. Symptoms include, but are not limited to the uncontrollable urge to can, dehydrate, freeze or otherwise preserve every fruit and vegetable that come across the path of the affected individual.  This disorder may become more intense as the summer season winds to a close.  Person's with this affliction have also been known to try unconventional recipes so as to save every known part of said fruits and vegetables.

   There is no known cure for this disorder at this time.  The prescribed treatment is to let the symptoms run their course.  To alleviate symptoms, it is recommended to allow the affected individuals to pursue their urges to can, dehydrate freeze foods until the symptoms have dissipated.  It appears that once they have found that all fruits and vegetables have been attended to, the affected individuals return to a semi-normal state of mind. Studies have shown that symptoms will usually ease off as the summer winds to a close.  

WARNING-  In most patients these urges WILL return year after year. Researchers believe that Preservitis will become more prevalent as society begins to sense a growing need for self-sustained living.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Ramblings

Another week has come and gone.  They sure seem to go faster these days.  It has been pretty quiet around here.  I am reading the blogs and see how busy everyone is right now. Some gardens coming in strong and others just winding down.  Lots of people busy canning and drying fruits and vegetables.  Freezers getting full. Jams and jellies being made.  I was reading one of the blogs I follow  yesterday and she was talking about having the "bug".  She said she was preserving everything that she could get her hands on and enjoying every minute of it, knowing that this winter she and her family would be eating wonderful homegrown foods.  I hope everyone is doing the same out there in the blogosphere.  I have had to "take a break" this summer due to the situation we find ourselves in.  I have high hopes though that the little fall garden here does well.  I may get to break out the canner yet!  I sure have my fingers crossed!

Oh check this blog out.  Mennonite Girls Can Cook.  It is a wonderful blog chock full of mouthwatering recipes.  I can't wait to try a few of them.  I'm already eying some of the cookie recipes!

Yesterday I made my first attempt at soapmaking.  I think it went ok.  It sure looks like it is supposed to.  I still have a few hours before it is ready to pop out of the molds and be ready for cutting into bars.  I can hardly wait!  It is sooo hard not to just go right now and see what it looks like.  I don't want to get to much ahead of myself though and screw things up!  I used a blend of olive oil, canola oil, and coconut oils in this batch.  I did a large mold with the recipe.  I also did a smaller batch using mini-loaf pans that should turn out to be individual bars.  With this one I tried something different.  I attempted to make "swirls" in the soap using natural cocoa for the color variation.  It looks pretty good so far but not exactly what I was hoping for!  I will have pictures soon.

The  phone and internet connection went down around here. Mushroom called the company and they are sending someone out to fix the problem.  It's funny how not being able to get on online makes me a little antsy.  I find it interesting just how much I miss it when I can't have it.  Of course I found myself  going to the library to "get my fix".  It was necessary right?  Hey, I had to get a post up for the blog right?  And of course while I was there I had emails to check and and others that needed to be sent.    And then there are blogs to read and comments to leave.  I just had to catch up on the news too, because you just can't get real news these days through the MSM. I rely alot on alternate news to find out what is really going on.   And of course I had to catch up on what all was going on in FaceBook land didn't I? You know I just can't leave everyone wondering what my status is for the day!   That is when I realized we have become accustomed to having the world (literally) at our fingertips.  Instant gratification.  I think there would be some major problems with people from all walks of life trying to go cold turkey if/when the internet goes down.    Just the thought of that is enough to give me bad dreams for quite awhile.  Lots of irate people cut off from their daily "fix".  I can only imagine the chaos that will evolve....

                               ~~Hey... I'm Just Sayin... ~~ 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Grocery Shopping Tips

I thought I would share a few things that I have learned over the years about grocery shopping.  I am sure that many of these you have heard before.  There is a reason for that though.  They work!  With food prices skyrocketing it has become even more important to make you dollar stretch.  And for those of us who are working on our food storage it means that the more we can save in one area, the more we can prep in another!

I like to keep a running list of the things I use.  Mine is on my fridge. A friend of mine keeps her's inside her pantry door with a pen attached to it so she can jot it down as she takes it out of the cupboard.   When you remove something from your pantry write it down so you will remember to replace it.  And always remember to rotate your groceries.  This makes sure you don't end up with wasted food. There is nothing worse than having to toss out something that you could have used if you had just rotated it in your pantry!

*** Check out the weekly ads in your area BEFORE you go shopping and use it to help with making your list.  Once you get your pantry stocked up you can use this "tip" to help you prep and save money while you are doing it.  The idea is to try and NEVER buy anything that isn't on sale or doesn't have the best bang for the buck so to speak.

*** Always shop with a list

*** If you have to veer off the list... make sure it is because you have found a REAL bargain.  Try and give yourself a little "leeway" just in case you find one of those Unadvertised Specials.  Don't make a habit of it but always try to be aware of these specials and jump on them if you find yourself a good bargain!

*** Use coupons. You CAN save alot of money using coupons.  There are tons of websites dedicated to couponing.  Check them out and do a little homework. Check out stores that offer double and triple coupons.  Don't buy things that you will not use or that you don't need.  Remember:  Eat what you Store and Store what you Eat.

*** Never shop when you are hungry.  There is no better way for me to load up on "crap" than when I go to the store with the munchies.  All the sudden everything looks good!

*** Try to shop alone.  Think about it.  When you take the kids or even the significant other how often do you find yourself buying things you had NO intention of getting when you walked in the store?

*** Check out the store brands.  Not always, but more often than not, the store brands are just as good and usually less expensive.  If you try the product and don't like it, most stores will refund you your money. They want your business and want you to come back.   I have actually taken back the label of an empty can of soup once that I thought was disgusting.   They gave me my $ back!  OK I know this one isn't a tip for the faint of heart but hey ....if you are cheap....er frugal...

*** Compare unit prices.  I have found this to be really really helpful.  Most all stores show the price per ounce. Lot's of times what you "thought" was a good deal really isn't at all. Compare the per ounce costs of each item.  You would be surprised at how many times "bigger is not always better".

*** Buying in bulk can save money.  Be careful with this one though.  I have found lately that some smaller sizes are actually less expensive than buying in bulk.  This is where watching your "unit" prices comes in handy.

*** When you are checking out ALWAYS watch the scanner.  I've caught mistakes over and over again because items didn't ring up correctly at the checkout.  Why spend all that time trying to save money just to have them not ring it up correctly?  Don't be shy about letting them know.

*** Watch for marked down items.  You can save huge money.  I try to go earlier in the day to catch marked down items. Always check what I like to call "the bargain buggy" This is where you can pick up some great deals on "dented" and discontinued items. When a package is torn or squashed they will mark the item down as well. 

*** I also find some excellent deals in the meat department like this.  Since I either use what I have bought the same day or freeze it that same day this works well for me.  I once found sliced cheese (24 oz package) marked down to $0.75 each. And yes it was "real" cheese. I bought all 15 packages and put them up in the freezer.

*** When you find something that you use regularly on sale - Stock up and buy as much as you can afford to. You know you will be using it later on and prices are rising fast these days.  Store what you eat and eat what you store.

*** If the store is out of your "sale" item always ask for a raincheck.  They usually ask how many you want at that price.  I ALWAYS tell them I want the maximum number allowed if it has a limit.  When you redeem the coupon you don't have to buy that amount but if you can afford it and want to you still have that option.  While you are waiting for them to restock that item you can also start looking for coupons for it.  That way when it does come in, you can save even more.

*** Sign up for the "Store Card"  This can save you money that you didn't even know about.  If you are reluctant to give up your information to them do what I do.  Make up some BS information.  They NEVER check the information anyway. And if they do, so what? What are they going to do?  Call the grocery cops on you? 

*** Remember that a sale is not always necessarily a sale. Many times a store will try to push something that has been overstocked and will just put it on an end-cap to get your attention.

*** Stay away from convenience foods.  You can make most of the same things at home for half the price. (I should  do a whole post on this one!)

*** Avoid last minute  impulse items.  They put all that stuff next to the check-out counter to try and get you to make unnecessary purchases.  Keep your hands to yourself in the check-out lane!

These are just a few suggestions.  I am sure there are MANY more.  But following just a few basic guidelines can help you save lots of money and help your food storage to grow and grow.
                                           ~~Hey... I'm Just Sayin...~~

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Can You Believe It?

It was such a nice morning here.  I woke up with a light rain coming down.  Sat out on the porch and had a cup of coffee with the cat.  No, the cat didn't actually have coffee- she just loves sitting with me in the mornings!  I noticed that I have somehow snuck up over  300 posts.  Interesting... Sometimes I don't know how I came up with that much to talk about.  I want to thank everyone for hanging in here with me.  Thanks to all you guys who have been stopping by here for the last couple of years.  And thanks to all of you who have recently found this little spot in the blogosphere. I hope you don't get easily bored with my ramblings since I don't see quitting in the near future.  (Rambling that is)  Have a great day... and come back and see us... ya hear??

                                        ~~Hey...I'm Just Sayin...~~

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Pear Season- Pear Butter

Pears are another fruit that is in season this time of year.  I have noticed that there aren't really alot of things that you can do with pears as far as preserving them goes.  Last year I found a really good deal on pears and bought several pounds.  My grandmother used to make this Pear Butter with the pears in her yard.  It was always sooo good and sort of reminded me of honey.

Pear Butter
 8 cups peeled, cored and chopped pears
 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
4 cups white sugar


   1. Place chopped pears into a large pot.( I use a food processor to make them smoother)  Pour pineapple juice over them to prevent the pears from browning. Stir in sugar, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Stir frequently to prevent scorching. When the pears are at a full boil, reduce heat to medium low for about an hour then back to medium until it is the thickness you want , and  the mixture is the color and texture of honey. The longer you cook it, the thicker it gets. Cooking time varies so just keep an eye on it until it looks "wonderful" to you!  Generally it takes about 2-3 hours.

   2. Ladle into hot sterile jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of the top. Wipe rims with a clean damp cloth, and seal jars with lids and rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes, or the amount of time recommended by your local extension for your area.

It is important to stir frequently as the mixture WILL scorch if you are not careful.  You can also cook this in the crock pot.  Just cook on high for 2-3 hours on high and then on low for an additional 2-3 hours.

I made several different batches and varied the recipe a couple of times.
Try a bit of cinnamon and a few cloves if you like.  I also tried it using 3 cups of sugar and one cup of brown sugar. It makes the butter darker but is really good too.

 It also makes great Christmas gifts!  And NO its not to early to start thinking about Christmas!

                             ~~Hey... I'm Just Sayin...~~

Monday, August 16, 2010

Home Again

Well, we made it back all in one piece.  We were able to get everything out of the storage unit and back up here.  Now we just have to find a place for everything.  For now though it is a matter of getting things off the trailer.  Anyway, that's been the game for today. 

I have several thousand sports cards that have been in storage for years now.  Baseball, Basketball, and Football cards.  Many of them are in great shape and some are starting to some wear due to their long stint in storage.  Sometime in the near future I need to go through them all and sell them.  No need to keep lugging them around anymore.  I've lost my interest in them over the last few years.  Trouble is that I don't know much about their value. I just enjoyed collecting them for awhile.  I suppose I need to give myself a lesson or three about the worth of some of them.  Yet another thing I really need to get done.

We had a nice weekend for the most part. Of course it was really really hot.  Camped on the lake and spent two days just chilling out. We stayed hydrated and in the shade except for a dip in the lake occasionally.  One thing about camping when the weather is like this....You get the best camping spot in the park!  The dog was truly in heaven as we were the only people in the  area we camped in.  She had run of the place and took full advantage of it.  She stayed in the water almost as much as she was out of it.  I swear that dog is like a little kid when it comes to swimming and playing in the water!  She DID NOT want to get out!!

I want thank my friend Shelly for doing a guest post while I was gone.  I think she did a wonderful job and I am truly grateful for the help!  She currently writes for the Ohio Prepper's Network   and soon will  be  starting her own blog.  I'm looking forward to seeing what she has to say.  She's a real whiz with food preps and loves a good deal as much as I do.  I'll let everyone know when she gets it up and running.

Stay cool, drink lots of water, and remember that we all need to be doing all we can to prepare for our futures. Times are getting tougher folks and everything you can do today is one less thing you will worry about tomorrow!

                             ~~Hey... I'm Just Sayin...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Just Peachy

Well ain't that just peachy.  Our good friend Sci has decided to take a long weekend to take care of some business and get all lovey dovey with the hubby.  We will be awaiting your return and look forward to hearing about your adventures minus the lovey dovey. LOL  When Sci asked me to do a guest post for her I got a bit excited and a bit nervous all at the same time.  I mean this woman knows her prepping/ homesteading stuff, what could I possibly write about.   Then thought to myself peaches.

For many of us around the country peaches are ripening and the canners and recipes are out.  There is nothing like the sweet and juicy taste of the first peach of the season.  A few tidbits about peaches.  There is no need to refrigerate peaches as they will lose some of their flavor.  They can be stored at room temperature, but beware of the fruit flies.  On a more historical note, peaches originated in China eventually making it to the West.  I was doing some research on pie filling for this succulent fruit and was surprised to find that I could just can my peaches in light syrup and make the pie filling later.  This also works with store bought canned peaches.  I will share with you my new found recipes and briefly share with you how to can peaches.

To Can Peaches (Read Ball Canning Book as to How to Prep Your Jars and Lids or look on Internet)

Wash Peaches
Put in hot boiling water for 20-30 sec and put in bowl of ice cold water- this will help in removing the skins
Cut your peaches to desired size and sprinkle with ascorbic acid-found in the canning section of store
use 1 cup of sugar to 4 cups water-this makes a light syrup and you can make more of this syrup depending how many you are canning covering peaches
put peaches and syrup mixture on to boil
remove and put in jars and add liquid up to 1in. headspace
process quarts for 35 minutes, pints for 30

Peach Pie From Home Canned Peaches or Store bought Canned Peaches

Prepare your favorite pie crust or if your like me buy one from your grocers freezer
To prepare pie filling:

2-29oz cans of peaches or 1 quart homemade
2 Cups juice from peaches (you can add water to juice to make 2 cups)
1/4 cup of cornstarch
1/2 cup of sugar
1TBS of lemon juice
1/4 tsp of nutmeg

In large saucepan add sugar, cornstarch, and nutmeg
gradually stir in peach liquid and lemon juice
stir to dissolve cornstarch and put under med. heat
After mixture comes to a boil for one minute, it will thicken
remove from heat and add peaches- it will thin out a bit
Put pie filling into prepared pie crust and bake for1 hr. at 425 degrees
Top will be golden brown and bubbly from the juices
Enjoy warm with vanilla ice cream

I hope all of you are having bountiful harvests and for anything you do not grow, visit your local farmers market or road side stands.  And my thanks to Sci for allowing me to do a post on a such a fine blog.

In keeping with tradition here......

                                Hey... I'm just saying...



Thursday, August 12, 2010

More This And That

Does anyone else enjoy just getting out and riding the roads with no exact destination in mind?  Mars and I used to do it all the time.  It was a way to get away from the house and explore new roads and just get some "Us" time.  That's what we ended up doing yesterday.  Originally we were just taking a drive to go buy some tobacco from the Indian Smoke Shop's that they have here in Oklahoma.  It was a nice day even though it's still hotter than hades here. We ended up just "driving".   Sometimes we all need to just remember to take a little "us" time with our significant others. 

We decided it is time that we make the trip down south and retrieve our things out of storage.  We have less than two weeks now before the rent is due again.  It will be good to have that worry off our shoulders and all our things back within reach again.  Bud told us we could use his trailer so that is going to be a big help.  It's not like there is alot of stuff there but everything we have now is important to us and to our preps.  When we initially started on this journey we pared things down to the bare mimimum and so loosing anything now means the loss of "important stuff".

   We decided that we are going to take our time getting it done since it has been so hot.  There really isn't a reason to rush anyway.  So we are going to take the tent, the BBQ pit, and a few "essentials" and camp out at the lake there. You know, just take our time and try not to end up with heat stroke!   We are thinking that BB (the criminal element in our family) would enjoy going with us. 
She loves to ride and man oh man she loves the lake!  That dog would swim all day long if we would let her. Which I think is funny considering that she absolutely HATES getting her feet muddy. 

I have been doing tons and tons of research on making soap.  I have put alot of thought into it as well. I finally figured out that finding lye isn't something I can find around here locally.  It is just nowhere to be found.  So I found a decent deal online and have ordered some.  I've decided that if all goes well I am going to try and start a small soap making business.  There are lots of places that I could try and market it around here.  Flower shops, small mom and pop places, feed stores, local nurseries, even the flea market!  Heck even if I don't sell any of it I would be flush in soap from here on out!

Mushroom made some yummy beef stew the other day.  The reason I mention this is because she used some green peas from her food storage preps.  These were interesting because they were freezed dried and compacted AND they were purchaced in 1984!  26 year old green peas that tasted like fresh from the garden yesterday!  What have you added to your preps lately??

Speaking of fresh stuff, I actually bought a watermelon the other day.  It sucks that I had to buy one but hey... there is always next year.  Anyway, no one around here really likes watermelon except me.  So when I bought one of the biggest ripest ones I could find the question came up as to why I would want one so big.  Well if you have been reading here long you already know the answer to that one!  I'm cheap....er frugal.  I always want the biggest return on my "investment".   I figured if I don't eat it all then I can always preserve it right?  How many of you know that you can dry melons?  I've never done watermelon but I have dehydrated cantaloupe.  It turns out sort of like a chewy candy.  Pretty tasty actually.  From the looks of things though I don't think I'm going to have any left to try and dry.  Did I mention I LOVE WATERMELON! 

 Some folks wonder how to pick out a good watermelon.  I know you have heard about thumping a watermelon to see if it "sounds" ripe.  Well that IS part of picking a good one.  You listen for the tone.  I can't explain that here but I know the sound when I hear it. I usually eat the stripped melons.  It's a personal preference which probably comes from it being the one I was most exposed to growing up.  Here is what my Dad taught me and it has never failed me.... Look at the stripes on the watermelon.  If they are broken and not really "stripes" anymore, then the melon is ripe.  Pretty simple, yes?

                     ~~Hey...I'm Just Sayin...~~

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Repeat Offender

I found myself in a interesting situation first thing this morning. And now I have a hard decision to make.  You see, I think there may a criminal living out in the back yard. And that I may be harboring a fugitive.

I wonder if  I might  be an accomplice, after the fact, to a  kidnapping although no ransom has been demanded.   The suspect is pleading the fifth. When questioned she just wags her tail  and refuses to answer my questions.  Even though  she was caught dead to rights with the evidence in her possession she is not being cooperative. If charged she will become a repeat offender.

Circumstantial evidence and the knowledge that she is still a suspect in a similar crime two weeks 

ago leads me to believe that "said suspect" broke out again last night and went over the fence. From there she proceeded to enter into a residence toybox and take a hostage.

After her crime spree, the suspect  jumped BACK over the fence and brought   the apparent kidnap victim with her. She is claiming innocence but  it's hard to be all that convincing with a Stuffed Santa hanging out of your mouth. Yeah, you read that right. A stuffed Santa all dressed in red. Who, by the way, can be seen all the way out to the street.    At this time the victim  appears to be in stable condition but a bit shook up.  

And so now I have a choice to make.   Do I turn a blind eye to the crime?  Should I call the local law dawg? Or maybe the Dog Whisperer would be a better option?

I thought about confiscating the evidence and possibly trying to find the owner of one Stuffed Santa.  The thing is...she looked so happy dragging it around all over the yard. 

                                                     ~~Hey...I'm Just Sayin...~~

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hey.. I'm Just Sayin...

When I first started this blog it was pretty much for myself and a few friends and loved ones.  I am not trying to "pass off information" that may be life changing.  I never have.  I tend to write about what is going on in my life and some of the things that happen around me.  I am not trying to "prove a point" to anyone. For the most part these are my life experiences. I have my own ideas about things. And sometimes I can get pretty opinionated.  For example, My views on the state of our country are my views only.  When I rant about them ... that is exactly what it is ...a rant.

I enjoy sharing things that I have learned with others.  I may not always do things the way other people think I should but at least I make an effort.  I never realized that somehow, because I have a blog, I have be 100% correct in the things I write about. If that's the case I might as well quit right now.  I am not trying to change the world with this little blog of mine. 

Yesterday I posted an article that was emailed to me a few years ago. There were some great suggestions in it that I felt others would like to read as well.  I made sure to let you all know that that was what you were getting.  A friend left yet another comment that I disagreed with and before I even thought twice about it I deleted it.  After further consideration, I decided to repost it thinking that that would be the right thing to do.  Everyone has a right to their opinion, yes?

I let my feelings get in my way and for that I will apologize. I felt like I had been "punched in the nose" yet again. And I had a knee jerk reaction. A human trait, and one I really ought to work on.  I know that I am the one who chose to start this blogging adventure so I should be ok with folks stating their opinions. I mean hey... I put it out there in the first place, right?

  I suppose I should add a disclaimer somewhere that says these are my opinions only Don't try this at home kids. ..yadda yadda  yadda...

                                 ~~Hey... I'm Just Sayin....~~

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Amazing Uses of WD-40

I'm on a slow roll today.  Maybe because its Sunday? I think I will do a little knitting and listen to some music this afternoon.  It is back to being hot and humid again today.   We finally got some nice rain here yesterday morning.  One of those slow and steady rains that lasted several hours.  The garden seems to have enjoyed it.

I ran across some information that I had thought I had lost. An email that was sent to me a couple of years ago with the multitude of things that WD-40 can be used for.  So today I thought I would share this with you.  I'm sure that some folks already know many of its uses but there may be a couple that might be new to you.  

Water Displacement #40. The product began from a search for A rust preventative solvent and degreaser to protect Missile parts. WD- 40 was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company.. Its name comes from the project that was to find a 'water displacement' compound. They were successful with the fortieth formulation, thus WD-40. The Corvair Company bought it in bulk to protect their atlas missile parts.

Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you...' IT IS MADE FROM FISH OIL' . When you read the 'shower door' part, try it. It's the first thing that has ever cleaned that spotty shower door. If yours is plastic, it works just as well as glass. It is a miracle! Then try it on your stovetop... It is now shinier than it has ever been before.

1) Protects silver from tarnishing.
2) Removes road tar and grime from cars.
3) Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.
4) Gives floors that `just-waxed` sheen without making it slippery.
5) Keeps flies off cows.
6) Restores and cleans chalkboards.
7) Removes lipstick s t ains.
8) Loosens stubborn zippers.
9) Untangles jewelry chains.
10) Removes stains from stainless steel sinks.
11) Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.
12) Keeps ceramic/terra cotta garden pots from oxidizing.
13) Removes tomato stains from clothing.
14) Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots.
15) Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.
16) Keeps scissors working smoothly.
17) Lubricates noisy door hinges on vehicles and doors in homes
18) It removes black scuff marks from the kitchen floor! Open some windows if you have a lot of marks.
19) Bug guts will eat away the finish on your car. Removed quickly, with WD-40!
20) Gives a children's play gym slide a shine for a super fast slide.
21) Lubricates gear shift on lawn mowers.
22) Rids kids rocking chairs and swings of squeaky noises.
23) Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open.
24) Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close.
25) Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, well as vinyl bumpers.
26) Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.
27 ) Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.
28) Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling.
29) Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.
30) Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools.
31) Removes splattered grease on stove.
32) Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging.
33) Lubricates prosthetic limbs.
34) Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell).
35) Removes all traces of duct tape.
36) Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve arthritis pain
37)   Florida   's favorite use 'Cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers.'
38) Protects the Statue of   Liberty   from the elements.  
39) WD -40 attracts fish. Spray a LITTLE on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time.
40) Ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch.
41) WD-40 is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray on the mark and wipe with a clean rag.
42) If you've washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and Presto! Lipstick is gone!
43) If you spray WD-40 on the distributor cap, it will displace the moisture and allow the car to start.

Keep a can of WD-40 in your kitchen cabinet. It is good for oven burns or any other type of burn. It takes the burned feeling away and heals with NO scarring.

Remember, the basic ingredient is FISH OIL

                        ~Hey... I'm just sayin...~ 

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Benefits Of Preparedness

Folks if you have not been watching the news, the price of wheat is skyrocketing.  Russia yesterday announced that it will not be exporting ANY wheat until further notice. The USDA is reporting serious shortages this year.   This IMHO is just a warning shot and we should be listening carefully.  If you have yet to begin to store food I would strongly suggest you start NOW.  The time is getting short and prices are exploding.

 I received a message from a FaceBook friend that flour at the Costco in his area is now $12.95 for 25 pounds. Up $3.00 from last week.  His local grocery store has 5 pound bags of flour for $5.00.  If that isn't enough to open your eyes then I am not sure just what will.  I am going to start putting back as much as I can.  Stock up now and save big money. 

 One example I can think of off the top of my head is canned tuna.  For the longest time I could find tuna at  around $0.59 a can.  Lately I have watched the price increase up to $0.89.  So that can of tuna is now effectively worth 30 cents more than it was just 3-4 months ago. Investing in food is just plain smart. It is a tangible asset that is sure to become more valuable in the near future.  And folks, we all have to eat!

Speaking of prepping and eating.....The mini garden is coming right along.  The beans are looking great and the cabbage is sprouting.  It won't be long before it can be transplanted out into Mushrooms boat!  She has taken an old boat and turned it into a raised bed.  Really cool idea and a great way to re-purpose what otherwise would have ended up in a landfill. The yellow squash is about 3 inches tall now and the beets that Mars planted for Mushroom are sprouting too.  We had ONE spaghetti squash seed left in a package from this spring. Mars planted it in the boat as well.  Looks like we are going to have some spaghetti squash after all!  After having left those plants growing at the "posers place" we are being blessed by that one little seed.  How cool is that!

When Mars was getting the beds ready for planting he pulled up a bunch of elephant garlic.  So I cleaned it all up,

sliced it thin,

and put it in the dehydrator.  
When it was done 

I ground it up

and now have almost a pint of mild garlic powder.  I didn't have room to do all of it since most of my dehydrator trays are still in storage. So with what garlic is left I am going to slice it up, dry it, and leave it in "chips" so we can add it to things like spaghetti.  Pretty cool, don't ya think?

I haven't done much canning this year due to circumstances beyond our control. But the years not over yet right?  Mushroom and I put up 18 pints of whole figs last week though and we still have plans to make Fig Jam.  Canning is a wonderful  way to store foods for the long term.  And I mean REALLY long term!  We had Chicken and Dumplings several days ago. It was made with canned chicken that she had put up in 1995.  Yep!  We had 15 year old chicken for dinner and it was AWESOME! 

                              ~ Hey... I'm just sayin... ~

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Gardening Is The Answer

If you have not been paying attention lately the cost of food is skyrocketing and has nowhere to go but up.  The cost of all food has been dramatically increasing at an alarming rate.  There are all sorts of reports coming out recently that point to a huge increase in wheat prices within the next few months.  There are huge changes on our horizon and I, for one, am terrified of the implications.  If there ever was a time to advocate storing food that time is now.  No longer are we, as prepper's, being considered a strange and paranoid group.  Everyday folks are finally becoming aware of the seriousness of the economic situation we are facing. 

There has also been a huge rise in the number of people becoming interested in gardening over the past year. That number is increasing daily as more and more folks realize that there are things they can do to help themselves.  I spoke with the owner of a local nursery who told me his business had increased over 50% from last year.  He says that is because of the new-found popularity of growing your own fruits and vegetables.  The numbers are bound to increase as more and more people realize the benefits of raising their own food. Knowing where your food is coming from and exactly what has been "done" to it from the time it is planted until it makes its way to your family's table brings great peace of mind.  It also, over time, save you big money.  Not only that, there is a great satisfaction in knowing that YOU grew it yourself. 

So why not consider starting a garden? Don't use the old excuse "I just don't have any room to start a garden".  You don't need lots and lots of room.  Don't want to dig up your backyard and put in a garden?  Why not start growing some vegetables in one of your flowerbeds?   Even if you live in an apartment you can grow fruits and vegetables.  There are literally thousands of sites on the internet that can help you start.  Don't let that intimidate you.  Container gardens are easy to start and you just might be surprised at how much you can get from them.  

So if you are not already gardening, wouldn't NOW be a great time to start?  There is still plenty of time to start some fall vegetables and you could be eating fresh healthy food by the time the snow flies!

                                             ~~Hey... I'm just sayin' .....~~

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Back Tomorrow

Wednesday 9:00 PM
It seems I have been having one of those weird days.  I had every intention of doing a post today. Heck I even had a couple of things I wanted to share with everyone. And then the day just sped by.  Sometimes, life just steps up and says "HEY, WHAT ABOUT ME?"  So I listened.  I'll be back tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tortilla's and Lye

This has been one HOT summer and it's just barely August.  One good thing,  I have heard is that it actually starts to cool off in September here!  Bonus for me as I'm used to it being closer to the end of October before we get much relief from the heat.  I really need to rethink my "calendar".  From what I can figure we are about 6 weeks ahead of the schedule I am used to. 

I appreciate all the comments on yesterday's post.  It is good to know that there are alot of folks who "get it" when it comes to the service industry.  There are hard working people out there who's service most of the time we just take for granted.   Unfortunately I lost a reader over it .  All I can say is I'm sorry if I offended anyone as that was not the intent of the post.

I have started my first official knitting project.  I'm trying my hand at making a ski hat. If all goes well (and even if it doesn't) I will post pictures as it starts to look like something. Even if it looks like an art project... I've decided that after that I will try my hand at a matching scarf.  Hopefully I won't get pointed to and laughed at wearing them out in public!  Now all I need to do is try and get them both finished in time to wear this fall or winter because I sure don't want to try wearing them in the spring.  The laughing and pointing would be sure haunt me then.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I wouldn't want to put myself under undue stress!  LOL

I am still looking for lye for soap making.  I found some Draino at the ChinaMart but apparently that is NOT going to work.  Don't laugh.... well ok go on laugh if ya want. What did I know! At least I was able to provide the locals with a couple of laughs today!   Apparently folks around here use lye for making methamphetamine.  Which is why it is so hard to find.  The girl at the counter asked me what I wanted with Lye.  I told her I wanted to make soap.  Her response was "You can't use lye to make soap!"   Hmmmm.....
    And boy  you should have seen the look on the pharmacist when I asked him if it was 100% lye.  I thought they were going to have to call 911 for him.  After he took a few deep breaths he asked my why I wanted to know.  So I told him I wanted to make soap.  All he could say was "I wouldn't recommend that".  And then just to make sure... he repeated himself.  So I of course had to ask "You wouldn't recommend making soap?"  To which again he replied "I wouldn't recommend that".  I was trying hard not to laugh as I walked away, leaving him shaking his head with his mouth flopped open!

    I wonder what they would think if they knew I make my own bread and tortilla's.  Or that I can make my own toothpaste.  Heaven help me if they knew I had personal cloths for using as an alternative T.P. source!
    Speaking of tortilla's, I finally found lard.  It seems I happened to hit Wallyworld while they were out of it the last time we were there.  I also found out that I am out of practice making the dang things.    Thank goodness Mushroom came to the rescue today and helped me with them.  My timing was definitely off.  Mars can easily go through 2 dozen in a week.  Oh well, no worries, I will be back up to par before ya know it!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Crappy Tippers

I was just trying to catch up on some blog's I follow today. I haven't been feeling so great the last couple of days and so have been slow with pretty much every thing it seems.  I ran across a post that made me stop and think a little bit.  Now this is nothing to do with gardening or homesteading or any sort of thing like that.  It was just one sentence and it really irked me.
     Someone had been out to dinner.  They asked the waiter to bring them something and apparently the waiter answered in a "sarcastic" manner. The waiter tried to make it up to the patron throughout the dinner but she was having none of that!  So what did the patron do?  Stiffed that waiter.  Yep, no tip!  Even though it was apparent to the patron that the server realized the error and tried to "make things right".   Now I know that some folks would say hey, the waiter shouldn't have been "sarcastic".  I would agree.  What I don't agree with is the patron stiffing that waiter.  He, on her own admission, tried to make up for the mistake he had made.  
      Here are a few things that you might not know about waiting tables for a living. First on the list is the rate of pay.  Most servers are only paid a couple of dollars an hour and the rest of their money comes from the tips they make.  In Texas that hourly rate is (and has been for many years) $2.14 an hour.  Anything more comes from tips.  I realize that good service is directly related to good tips.  It does not mean a server should not be treated with a little respect. 
    Too many times I have been treated like a second class citizen and run ragged "fetching" things. I hate when a person will tell you that they need X and so you ask "Can I bring you anything else?"  No, they say, That's all.  So you bring X and sure enough they ask if you could bring them Y and so you ask again... Will there be anything else?  And the circle goes round and round. The tone of a patrons voice tells alot about how the whole experience will be for both. Trust me, the server usually has you pegged right away.
     Another thing most people don't know is that it is NOT ok to "camp" out at a table during peak hours. Peak hours only last 2-3 hours usually.  Servers are given a certain amount of tables.  With those tables the only way to make money is to "turn" the tables.  Which means the more tables you can wait on the more $$ you can make.  If a patron goes in and sits at a table for an hour and a half they have effectively shut that servers "place of business" down for that amount of time. They could have waited on 2-3 more tables in that amount of time.  It is one thing to to camp out at a table and tip the server for time spent there. It is quite another to spend that time and then either stiff the server or leave 2-3 dollars and act like everything is fine. The only person it is fine with is YOU. The only time a server makes decent money or gets many tables to work with is during peak hours. 
      Another thing is this... Tips should be at LEAST 10% of the check. And that's just a barely passable tip.  A tip that the patron above should have left.  A decent tip is 15% of the check and a great tip is 20% and up.  Trust me, the next time you show up in a restaurant ALL the servers will know what kind of tipper you are.  They DO talk and they DO remember, both the good tippers and the bad ones.  You wouldn't believe how many times I have heard servers in the "galley" trying to get another less experienced server to "pick up" a table because they don't want to have to wait on Mr. Gloomy Gus or Miss Snob-o-lot. I have seen servers leave the floor and hide out in the back of the restaurant so they don't have to serve a particularly hard to deal with customer who they know won't even leave a tip. 
    I am not saying that there is NEVER a time not to tip... only that more often than not that is not the case.

I am sorry that this turned into a Server Rant. If I have offended anyone I apologize up front.  I will gladly take the comments be they positive or negative and try to plead the servers case if I can.