Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday "Stuff"

I've been wanting to post some pictures here but for the life of me I can't remember where the cord to my camera is.  It's been several months since I have seen the dang thing, and heaven only knows where it might be. I was fine when using the other computer since all the drivers are already installed on it.  This one... not.  I can't figure out how to get the computer to read the camera card.  So, until I either find the dang cord or figure out how to get the slot drive to read the card....  no pictures.

Mars started tearing down the last part of the old stuff off the barn. Same as the rest of it, all the wood and tin needs to be replaced.  One good thing about it is that a lot of the old tin is still "useable" for other projects although most of the wood is just rotten. Before we were able to start on tearing all that down we had piles and piles of old trashy stuff that had to be sorted through.  Everything that we could burn went onto a bonfire yesterday evening. We are going to have to figure out something to do with all the old rusty metal stuff eventually.  When we moved here there was all sorts of trash and stuff out around the barn as well as the remnants of the old house that used to be here.  Slowly, all that is being sorted through and cleaned up as well.  Hey, at least we aren't going to run out of things to do any time soon! 

I hate to admit it but I'm going to have to go to the Laundromat.  I've let things get so far behind that it would take me several days to catch back up doing them by hand.  I've been hoping to find a cheap/free washing machine on Craigslist but haven't had much luck yet.  Of course when I do find one we will have to run a water line and electricity for it.  Which means that it will end up in the barn, which is fine with me.  We need water and electricity out there anyway and there really isn't another place to put a washing machine.  Anyway... until all that happens I'm still buried in a pile of dirty clothes that I will have to take to the Laundromat.  I hate those places.  Always have.  Bunch of unhappy people with screaming kids who have NO manners.  I'd almost rather go have teeth pulled....  Oh well, it's not like I go often.  Who knows, maybe things have changed since the last time I went? 

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

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Climate Change!!

We have been having the most amazing weather.  Still being a "newbie" here in Oklahoma the differences in the climate is still a wondrous thing.  To have four real seasons is such a cool thing!  Although the summer has been long,hot, dry and mostly unbearable at least I can say its finally over.  The first day of fall is upon us and has brought some welcome rain with it.  I slept in this morning just listening to the rain falling... drifting in and out of sleep.  Then I looked at the clock and all the sudden it was past 9am.  Time to feed the rabbits.  Of course when you feed anything around here the cats demand to be included.  I'm almost positive that one of my does is pregnant but I suppose I'll know more in about two weeks.  We have to get a nesting box built.  One of the things that has been on the list, ya know. Easy enough to fix.  I'm hoping all goes well and that we will have our first batch o' bunnies soon.  Freezer Food!! 

The barn now has the 20x 20 workshop/storage area almost done.  We still have to hang the tin on one outside wall but all the posts are set and the runners are ready to go.  It seems like it's taking forever but I know that's just because I'm impatient to see the finished product.  It seems my job is to just "hold" stuff and be a gofer but hey... someone has to do it right?  LOL  We've been talking about trying to find some cheap/free windows off Craigslist and putting them in. That way we would have a place to start plants for the spring.  There just isn't any room in the RV to do anything like that.  I sure would rather be able to start my own tomato's and peppers this next spring than to have to get the plants from "down the road" if  at all possible.

 We had to go into town this morning to have a tire fixed on the truck and stopped at the local lumber yard for some more sheet metal screws and the three last posts. (Thanks to Gary for the generous dontation!)  While there, I asked them if they had any old pallets I could have.  I want to use them in the barn to set "stuff" on since it has a dirt floor and I'm betting the ground might get wet.  Anyway.... he gave us 6 pallets and has some more for us when we are ready to go pick them up!  So soon comes the part where I get to start unloading all the boxes that have been stacked to the ceiling in the bedroom out into the barn.  YaY!!!  I might get the house in order before winter after all.  I guess we will just have to see how things work out.

I've been neglecting this blog some.  It seems that I just needed a little time off from the internet in general to get some things done around here.  I have to admit I haven't acomplished much but the time off was good for me.  I was in a bit of a "funk", not feeling good but not really feeling bad... It seemed that it has been all I can do just to get the basic stuff done and of course "hold" stuff out in the barn.  What was that disease that Tom Hanks had in "Joe and the Volcano"?  Oh yeah... was it a brain fog??  I'm sure it will lift soon and things will get back to normal, till then I just hope ya'll will bear with me.  

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

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Busy Days

I realize that my posts have become a bit farther apart lately but the days are getting shorter and there is much to be done while the weather is good.  We are trying to get the work on the barn done before it gets too cold. We have to. We are talking about putting the woodstove we got last summer in the 20x20 area that will be the workshop and storage area. That thing is unbelievably heavy and needs to be moved in before the walls go up. This will also be where we will keep the rabbits during the winter.  Since the barn area includes the goat pens and the chicken coop, this is the big focus for now .

I know that it seems that all I do lately is talk about that barn and the garden, but to be honest that is what is consuming my days right now.  We are moving toward that elusive dream of more self sufficient living each day.  This is what I need to be doing right now.  What, in some way, we all should be doing right now. 

I'm starting to get antsy and a bit nervous about things going on around us these days.  The economy is tanking and the government has been hi-jacked.  Things are starting to get pretty interesting.  I just want to be as ready for the coming times as I can be.  With the prices rising at the grocery store close to 50% over this time last year, I can't see trying to stock up on things that I can grow here anymore. This has been the plan( the dream)  for years and its now time to make that plan work for us.  So if my posts are fewer in the next few weeks please bear with me.  The weathers good and Life is taking the drivers seat and its moving 90 miles an hour!

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

Monday, September 12, 2011

Awesome White Bread

One of the things I love about the somewhat cooler temperatures that we have been having is being able to bake.  Not the all out "winter baking" but at least enough to make some bread.  I've been using the bread machine for the past few months because of the heat.  Now don't get me wrong, I love the bread machine but I think that it just comes out better in the oven. 
I have found a new favorite bread recipe.  I've made three batches from it and every one of them came out just amazing!  This recipe, as written, is a wonderful sweet(ish) bread and reminds me of Hawaiian Bread.  I've also tried it cutting way back on the sugar and it is just as good.  The texture is light and kind of airy.  Not dense like some bread can be.   It also makes some wicked dinner rolls and is great to use for cinnamon rolls as well!  

Awesome White Bread
    2 cups warm water

    2/3 cup white sugar
    1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    6 cups  flour


    In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
    Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
    Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
    Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

(This review of the recipe really helped me out a lot. )

"This is a foolproof recipe provided you just follow the steps, watch your measurements of flour, have good yeast, and keep the temp at least 65 degrees. For those who have had failures try weighing out your flour instead of measuring. NOTES FOR KITCHEN AID MIXER USERS: Proof your yeast in the mixing bowl then add the oil/salt, the add the flour approx. 1 cup at a time with the dough hook on low speed. Once all the dry ingredients are in come up to medium speed for 5 minutes. Then take the dough out, fold it over on itself to redistribute the yeast, make a ball, and place it back in the same bowl after you drizzle a tablespoon of oil (veggie or olive) and turn the dough to coat evenly. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel. There are a number of tricks if you think your kitchen is too cool. Turn your over on for 20 seconds and then right off. Put the dough in to rise. I set mine about 4 feet from the woodstove and turn it once. However, get it over 115 degrees and you'll kill the yeast. Just kneading it in the KA will increase the temp of the dough. And by the way, I have cut the sugar down to 2 tablespoons and it is a classic farmhouse white bread. Hope this helps the few that are having trouble."   

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

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Testing...OK I Think I'm Back!

I can't believe its been a week since posting anything here.  I honestly can't recall when it has been this long between posts.  Sometimes life just gets in the way of things though.  I've been battling with the internet company daily for the past four weeks and it seems that I might actually be back online with some sort of luck.  I guess time will tell.  And again, just for the record, WildBlue Satellite has some of the worst customer service I have ever had the displeasure to do business with.  

Anyway... in other news around our lil place....  We have been blessed with some of the nicest weather we have had in many months this past week.  Temperatures haven't climbed out of the low 80's during the day and the nights have been wonderfully cool.  It's been so nice to be able to open up the windows and get some fresh air!  It's supposed to creep back up into the 90's this week but I think the worst of the worst is over.  Man, it couldn't happen soon enough as far as I'm concerned.  This has been a summer that many folks hope will never be repeated. 

The work on the barn continues.  Mars has about 2/3 of the roof on.  Next thing I think he is going to do is finish up these two parts since they are going to be the closed in areas.  After some thought about it he will have to put in some posts along the walls to have something to nail the tin to.  It seems the poles that are in place are too far apart to even be able to use 12 foot 2x's.  Another wrinkle in the progress but it has to be done.  I'm looking forward to this part being done because once it is, we can start work on the chicken coop!  I absolutely LOVE forward progress.

The garden is doing the "garden thing" right now.  New plants are growing taller, the last of the tomato plants finally lost to the horn worms and unidentified bugs and I'm still fighting the squash bugs.  I know its a week or so late but today I will go out and finish the planting in the new bed.  Some turnips, spinach, kohlrabi, radishes and maybe some lettuce.  I'm not to sure about the lettuce though. It may be a little hot yet to start it outside and we have no room inside to be starting plants.  Hmmm.... that could be a problem come about January or February for the tomato plants...   Oh well, right now it is only September and we have September things to do!  I'll worry about that when it gets here.

All you folks in Central Texas, I want you to know that you are in my prayers.  What a horrible set of fires... all those homes lost and whole families having to start all over again with nothing but the clothes on their backs.  Almost 1400 homes destroyed... all those lives touched.  God Bless Texas!!!

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

Saturday, September 3, 2011

September- Emergency Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month. I'll be doing a couple of posts this month about emergency preparedness.  Many of you are already aware and ready for an emergency, which is commendable. I wish everyone was. Since this is National Preparedness Month I feel like I should at least address some of the things that might help those who are just realizing that it might not be a bad idea to be prepared and ready for an "event" that could change your life, if only for a little while. 
 Most of you know that even the government suggests you have 3 days of supplies ready and stored in case of an emergency.  The recent hurricane and flooding on the East Coast is a perfect example of why you should be prepared.  It has been a week now since some folks have had power. Many are "homebound" because of the high waters.  What would you do if you're electricity was cut off for that long?  Would you be able to cook?  Would you have enough water stored?  What about food?  Medicines?  What if you had to evacuate?
  I'll try to cover a few of these situations over the coming month.  For those of you already "in the know" thanks for your patience and your input would most certainly be appreciated.  I'm no expert here, just trying to help out as I can.

First things first here. Sit down and make a list. You should be prepared to do a couple of things.  One is to be prepared to evacuate if you find you have to.  Fire, flooding, hurricanes are just a few of the reasons you could find yourself in a situation where you might have to leave your home. Some of us "preppers" call that bugging out. Just a fancy term for evacuation really.  The other thing to be considerded is to be ready to "bug in". Which is just another way we say hunkering down at home. 
Today I'm going to go through the list of things you need to think about if you find yourself having "bug out".  Personally I think bugging out is MUCH more difficult than hunkering down and "bugging in".  Mainly because you have to take the things you will need with you.  So sit down and make a list.
Most people will tell you to have a B.O.B (72 hour evacuation kit / bug out bag) This should contain things necessary to make it for 3 days.  There are literally thousands of articles on what you should have in your 72 hour kit. It's hard to say exactly what you will have in yours.  They are a personal thing and items will vary depending on your situation.  Here is a list of the bare essentials that a B.O.B should contain.
1. A water supply.  Minimum of one gallon of water per person, per day.
2.A non-perishable food supply. This should be things you don't need to do much more with than to open a package or can to prepare.  MRE's are good as well because with many all you need to add is a small amount of water to prepare. Don't forget a can opener (non-electric).
3. A change of clothes, including shoes or boots and rain gear. Top to bottom on the clothes including socks and underwear.
4. Blankets and/or sleeping bag.
5. A good first aid kit and any medicines you are taking.  Oh and don't forget your glasses!  If you have an extra pair, toss them in the bag.
6. A battery powered radio and a flashlight.  Don't forget the batteries.  You might think about a solar powered radio and maybe a "shake" flashlight.
7. Credit card AND cash.  Not OR that reads AND.  There may not be a way to use that credit card if the power is out.
8. A list of Doctors and other emergency numbers
9. A list of important  family information.  Insurance information, Doctor's numbers, Phone numbers you could need, etc.
10. Special needs for individuals like the elderly and infants.

Remember, this is just a basic list. It is meant for a 3 day emergency away from home. Think about it a little. Tweak it to suit your own (and your family's) needs. You should have one of these for each member of your family. As I said, there are many many different thoughts on B.O.B.'s, The thing is to  just make sure you have one.

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