Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012

2012 Pictures

Wood from downed cedar trees. Bonus! 
The chicken coop is finished Notice the cedar posts?

We found a washing machine and use the water for watering 
Our first baby chicks
Coco the Loco Kitty
Still Loco
Stewie, Dumplin' and friends. Dinner any?     

Bountiful garden

Lots of good eats
Cherokee Beans 

Habernero  Peppers

Hot Pepper Jelly
Pears from the neighbors made wonderful Pear Honey, preserves and slices

And canning....

and canning....

And canning! 
The drought was horrible on many folks this year.  We were "tinder box" dry.
Creek County Wildfire was stopped less than a mile from here
The Wreck
Thank you my friends!
And the sun sets on 2012. 
Here's to hoping you all have a wonderful New Year

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Last Weekend of 2012 (And we are still here)

I wish I could say that I've been so busy around here that I haven't had a chance to sit down and write.  Things have slowed down to a crawl around here with winter coming on.  This was an interesting month for weather around here for sure. It was warm right up until a couple of days before Christmas. 

Mars was on a mission to finish the interior walls on the barn before it got cold.  He did a great job with it.  He's fired up the wood stove and it gets pretty nice in there.  I can see why he wanted it finished.  This RV gets really really small in the winter time and the barn is now a good place to escape.  He's got tons of projects lined up. I don't even ask what he's up to anymore.  At least I'm usually pleasantly surprised with what he comes up with.

I've been trying to get things re-organized and clutter cleaned out.  That's another thing about living in a small place.  Things go from clutter to full blown disaster much quicker.  Counter space is prime real estate around here and sometimes I feel like I should be pushing a shopping cart like a bag lady. 

The hen that was sitting on a big bunch of eggs decided that she was tired of sitting.  So she got up, stretched her legs, got a drink of water and a big meal.  And didn't go back.... Danged if she was only a week shy of them hatching.  Maybe she knows something I don't? 

Mars put together a really good soup for dinner last night.  He took the carcass of the chicken left from Christmas Dinner and tossed it in the pressure cooker. He made a nice chicken broth and then started adding dehydrated ingredients.  It was fun watching him look through all the dried foods and build a nice solid chicken, rice and veggie soup.  The chicken was actually the only thing that wasn't dehydrated. Really tasty meal with some thick sliced bread! He did use up the last of the onions I'd dried from the garden which means we really need to look at planting much more this coming season.  We are both crazy about onions and it seems like we use them in more meals than not. From using the things we grew this summer I can see the things that we need to grow more of next year.  Like onions. And Carrots And... well you get the idea!

Speaking of the coimng season this is the perfect time of the year to start planning your spring garden.  I know I need to do an inventory of what seed we have and what we need.  I also need to make a list of things I'd like to try.  With the amount of garden space we have one of the plans is to suppliment as much feed for the critters that we can. Of course this is just in the "thought" phase at the moment.  I'll have to budget the groceries for the next couple of months to include some seed purchases.  That's the only part of the budget that I can wiggle just a bit.  Sometimes I wish there was such a thing as a seed fairy!! LOL!

I wish I could say that I've been busy and just haven't had time to write.  Honestly I think it's just that time of year. I have all sorts of things that need to be done yet the energy it takes to get them done has been eluding me.  None of them are really large projects in themselves but I can't seem to accomplish much this past month or so. I think it has something to do with the lack of sunshine.  That's what I'm blaming it on anyway!

Christmas around here was quiet.  We didn't exchange gifts.  The money was better used to pay the land taxes.  We had a really nice dinner and waited for the snow. The weatherman had been hyping up the chances of snow so much that I was just SURE we would have a white Christmas.  Errr..... they got the cold right but the snow was mainly to the south and east. We didn't see a single snowflake. BUT...  Yesterday while I was out feeding the critters I looked up and saw a bit of a snow falling.  Tiny snow flakes turned into huge fluffy flakes for about an hour.  It was just enough to dust everything and was gone inside an hour.  It was fun while it lasted though.  I'm still like a kid around snow.  Of course I've never dealt with it on the same level as many of you.  I admire those of you who can take it all in stride.  I will probably always be awed at snowfall and the glorious way the sun reflects off it. Like tiny diamonds strewn across the land.  Can you see this Texan trying to to talk herself into liking winter yet???  LOL Now that's truly a work in progress.

             Have a weekend folks.... It's the last one of 2012!!     

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Merry Christmas From The Family

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas around here if I didn't listen to Robert Earl Keen.  I hope you all have a wonderful time with your friends and family.... From Us to YOU!

Merry Christmas to my big ol' Blogger Family!!!!

(P.S. I promise this link works!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chicken Question +


  We've been trying to catch up on all those things that we couldn't get to this summer.  It's funny, this spring and summer I was so busy with the garden and putting up all those wonderful goodies that I was actually happy that it was over.  It was all worth it though.  We have been enjoying all kinds of beans and peas and assorted goodies that I put up this summer.  It really makes you feel good when you can sit back and enjoy the fruits (or beans) of your labor.  And now that I've had a bit of time to rest up, I can hardly wait to start it all over again in the spring!

Interior Barn Wall and Door Going up
Mars has been working on the barn again. He's had the material to finish putting up the interior walls and the door for awhile but hasn't had time to get to it until now. This is one of those winter time jobs. Things to do in the "man cave" on a rainy day I suppose.   He's got all sorts of things he wants to do around here. It seems the list of things to do never really gets any shorter.

Sunset on the Hillside
We got the last of the fence up for the goats and now Mars just needs to build the gates and the goat shed and install some barb wire along the top. Without a truck to be able to haul lumber and supplies much has had to be put on hold this year. I guess I never really thought about it before as we have always had a truck. It is frustrating not having one. And of course there is the guilt I still feel about wrecking the dang thing. There is always something coming up that would be a breeze to do except you can't haul it in the car. One day we want to replace the upper part of the cab and the windshield. Of course first we'll have to find another truck. It shouldn't be hard to find another cab since the cabs are all the same from about 89-93. Coming up with the money to do it is quite another thing.The truck still runs like a champ though and the Cummins Diesel motor still has a half a million miles to go. We use it around the homestead but it's not road ready yet for sure All in good time I suppose. 

Heating water for Rooster Dunking!
Of course life has to jump in and take over sometimes. Like the washing machine going out. I'm blessed to have a man that can take on most any task and get it done. Sometimes it just takes on a life of its own though. The other morning I went out to start a load of clothes. Things were going fine until I started smelling burning rubber. It seems that one of the belts on the old Maytag needed to be replaced. I won't go into all the gory details but lets just say that I've been to the parts place three times to exchange the belt. It's still not right. I'll have to go
into town and try it again now that Mars has figured out what is going on under there. I'll have to spend a couple of days catching up on the laundry if he can get the old girl working again. It sure beats the alternative though.  If I never have to step into another laundry mat it would suit me just fine!

I bred the new doe (or thought I did) last month and waited... and waited.... Nope. No babies. I'm starting to get discouraged but rabbits are such a big part of what we want to do. I refuse to give up until I get this thing right! It's been over a year and all I've done is feed rabbits every day. Sure they are cute and all that but cute's not cutting it! LOL 

Notice the excess eggs?
I'll be danged if one of my hens has gone broody. All the other hens go into her nesting box every day and leave more eggs. She's trying so hard to cover them all up but it doesn't look like she can spread out much farther. I saw another hen in there with her today that seemed to want to stay with her.

 I checked them later and sure enough the little white(ish) hen was in the box and the broody mama was stretching her legs and grabbing a bite to eat. ETA of baby chickens..... Dec 28. Her timing SUCKS. 
"Thanks for helping"

I think the little white(ish) might be going broody too. Maybe between the two of them they can come up with some baby chicks. Heaven knows there's plenty of eggs to sit on. I need to go get a light fixture and a timer for the chickens and Mars will hook it all up for me. There's just enough wire left to reach over there. It's going to have to wait until payday though.

 We "dispatched" the last of the roosters today. They are now in their new home. It's got great air conditioning!! LOL

 I've got a question for you chicken people out there. Do you think these chickens will have to be stewed or pressure cooked? They are/were 8 months old and lived in the chicken pen/coop. What do you think? Will they be tough?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lighten up, It's Christmas

I've been so upset and angry for so long that I've been unable (or maybe its unwilling) to post here as often as I should.  You can fill in whatever subject you like because these days it seems most everything I hear in the news makes me ill.   I keep thinking I have much to say about things yet when I sit to write...  nothing happens.  SO I have decided that for the rest of this year I'm going to try to stop stressing over the outside world.  I mean, it's only a couple of weeks.... what could possibly go wrong?

And so on that note I will leave you today with my very favorite Pre- Christmas Bacon and Eggs Tradition.....  Give it a listen because if there ever was a time to LIGHTEN UP IT'S CHRISTMAS!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Winter Has Arrived

Sky Pic for Kymber 
It may not be official but I'm here to tell you that Winter has arrived here in Northern Oklahoma.  We've been down in the teens and low 20's for the past couple of days. The memories of the hard work of  summer have faded (sorta) and once more it's time to dream of a new year.  My winter sweaters have been found and are now officially in use until Spring.

The first of the seed catalogs arrived this week.  I just love reading seed catalogs.  Dreaming about some new variety of vegetable to try is always fun when you are spending more time in the house.  Let the drooling begin!!  I swear I could (and have) spent hours reading seed catalogs.  Over the next couple of months we'll be going over our seed inventory.  There are still some seeds that I'm sure I'll be wanting to order.  This coming year, one of my goals is to learn to be a better seed saver.  I'll admit to being a litle lax with it this year and also admit to feeling a little guilty about it.  I'm blaming it on my learning curve this time.  The trouble with using that excuse is that you can really only use it once.  Next year there won't be as easy an excuse.  Hey... I'm just sayin'....  If you would like a list of free catalogs from heirloom and open pollinated seeds here's a few to get you started. 

We got the rabbits moved to their winter quarters in the barn.  I know it sounds silly but I think they actually were trying to tell me thanks for the new digs!  I'll know by the end of the week if the new doe will have a litter this month.  I have to be one of the worse rabbit raisers in the world.  I've been trying for over a year to have at least one litter that makes it past a couple of days.  It's disheartening really to have spent so much time trying for results, but I will NOT give up. This is something I've been wanting to do for so long and truth be told I've really grown a bit attached to the boys.  OH! I never told you what I named the new doe.  Her name is Gladys. Do you remember the nosy neighbor that lived across the street from Samantha and Darren?  Yes, I'm talking about Bewitched.  Didn't everyone watch that show???  She's always busy watching what everyone else is doing and seems to enjoy the drama as it unfolds each day.

I've been trying to stock up on baking goods and other seasonal things that are on sale through the holidays. Sometimes I really miss not having a printer just because  I don't have a way to print out coupons. We don't get the Sunday paper here either.  It kind of sucks but what are ya gonna do?  The best you can!  That's what my dad's always said anyway and so far it's worked out for me.  Maybe I should talk to She Chef and have her send me some of her extras!  I did run into a great sale on whole bone-in pork sirloin roast at $0.99 a pound this week.  I picked up 4 really nice roasts and just had to try out a new recipe yesterday.  It turned out amazing.  I'll try to get the recipe posted up this week if anyone is interested.

Until next time.....

P.S.  Did you know that tomorrow the date on the calendar will be 12-12-12 and that this type of date won't happen again for a LONG LONG time.  Hmmm.... and tomorrow twice the time and date will be 12-12-12  12:12.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dehydrating Carrots

What do you do when you run across a good grocery deal?   "Grab it if you can!" has always been my motto!  Last week I ran across one of those awesome deals on carrots.  This was one of those in-store deals that I just love.  With 5 of their store tokens- one of the weekly deals was a 2lb bag of carrots for $0.50.  I had enough tokens for 6 bags. These are the kind of deals I wait for! I really only needed one bag for "now" but at that price how could I pass them up?? So what to do with 10 "extra" pounds of carrots?  It was time to pull out the dehydrator and put some up!

   Drying carrots is easy.  First you'll need to cut them up into whatever "shape" you want.  This time I sliced them with the food processor.  The slices are a little thin but they are uniform in size.  Size matters when you are drying foods!  The more uniform in size they are the more evenly they will dry.

  Carrots need to be blanched or steamed for a few minutes.  This retains the color and the nutritional value.  Have you ever wondered what would happen if you somehow forgot to do this step?  Well wonder no more because I just so happen to have a picture. (Don't ask!!)

Lets just say I had a few moments of blondness when I was doing that batch on the left last year.  Hey it makes for a good "Do as I say, not as I do"  moment doesn't it?   My dad would be SO proud!! LOL

Anyway.... I decided to steam the carrots since I had 10 pounds to process.  It just takes less time to steam them than to toss them off in the pot a few at a time to blanch. I don't have to wait for the water to come back to a boil for each new batch this way.  I let them steam for 4-5 minutes and plunged them in cold cold water to stop the cooking process.

After I got them all cut and steamed I laid them out on my dryer trays. You want to place a single layer on each tray.  It doesn't matter as much if they are touching on the trays, you just don't want them more than one layer thick.  Set the dehydrator to 135 and dry til crisp.  Store in a cool dark place. I put most of my dried foods in jars but a ziplock baggie works too.  

Since I used my food processor to cut up the carrot slices I ended up with the top part of the carrots left over.  I also cut some of the bottoms of the carrots because they were so skinny.  These I will blanch and then flash freeze.  I'll use them in roasts, stews or soups.  
Isn't it amazing that you can put up 10 pounds of carrots in a couple of jars??  Oh, just a side note about the first picture... notice that blue lid on the pint jar?  That is a Kraft mayonnaise jar lid.  They fit tight and work well on wide mouth jars. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ramblings of a Mad Woman

I cannot begin to tell you just how hard it has become to even sit down and try to put "pen to paper" lately.  I have good intentions, but when I sit down  and try to come up with something.... anything to write about I've just been getting stuck.  It happens occasionally I know, but it makes it no easier to write. 

  I think much of it is due to the current conditions on this Big Blue Marble we call home.  Tension can be felt everywhere it seems.  Much of it is out of my control but I still feel that knot in my stomach.  I've had to come to some serious conclusions concerning the land we live in and the people who are in control of it now.  I'm afraid we are watching America die a slow and painful death.  This incremental destruction of our liberties is maddening.  All the smoke and mirrors, the lies and the liars, the haves and the have not's.  Let's not say so though... Political Correctness has become a monster that we all fight. Oh dear!! We wouldn't want to hurt someones feelings' now would we?

I've come to believe that Americans will accept just about anything.  Repeat a lie often enough and it will become the truth.  I'm becoming jaded and cynical and I don't really want to be.  I find myself wanting to scream at the top of my lungs "WHY CAN'T YOU SEE WHAT IS HAPPENING TO YOUR COUNTRY!!!!!!"   Oh, wait.... the people spoke on election day.  And what they said was that they like the Nanny State and whatever "ism" you want to call this mess.  Facisim, Socialism, Communism....I won't argue the semantics. It's hard to watch and even harder to live among people who would argue the point. 

Have you ever had one of those moments when everything just comes together in your mind?  Things just "click" and finally you see the whole picture?  I've had one of those recently. It took watching that movie 2016: Obama's America for me to suddenly understand just what the hell is going on, and worse,  I can see exactly where this man would like to see us.  I'd recomend the movie to everyone,  but like the movie.... you will have to make your own mind up.  I came away with a deeper understanding of just how far that tyranny has come and just where we are headed. I also wonder if we have already been complacent to long.

I've never been so sure that we are headed to some sort of  eruption.  The government obviously feels the same way.  Why else are they stockpiling over 1.4 BILLION rounds of ammunition to be used by the varying agencies INSIDE the United States.  They are preparing for an event yet unknown to us.  Unfortunately I think that we are going to find out sooner than we would like just what they have planned.

  The intrusions into our lives has already begun. One good example would be the TSA moving from airport terminals to the streets.  Just this week the head guy of the TSA told CONgress that he would NOT meet and testify before them and CONgress has NO jurisdiction over them.  Sound Stazi to you? 
    Drones will be flying our skies by 2015 in all states.  They have already been used against a farmer up North over a cattle dispute.  How long will it take before they start taking out the riff-raff that would dare to argue with them?.  Ask those folks in Syria just how much safer they feel now.

   These are just a couple of things that have been on my mind lately.  There are more. Lot's more.  Someone asked me once if I could help them to understand some of the things l talk about.  The only thing I could say (and I still feel bad about it) was that I don't want to be the one who shows you just how bad things are.   Of course there is more to the story than that.  There are reasons I didn't want to be the one to  bring this "knowing" to her. Purely selfish reasons. Because once you start on the path to the truth you cannot turn back.  You can't put the genie back in the bottle. You can not un-know things. I'll guarantee a few sleepless nights as well.  I'll be the first to admit that I WANT people to wake up and smell the commie coffee for what it is, but in this case I didn't want to know that I was the one to bring this ugly mess to her.  She has her own personal struggles and I just felt that all this "negative" energy was something she does not need. Of course I may be wrong, but I will accept that.  I only hope that I didn't loose her friendship over my decision. 

  I know what happens when you open Pandora's Box.......

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Happy Saturday Ya'll

  I keep forgetting that it's Saturday.  What with Thanksgiving and all  I've been having to remind myself that its not Monday!  I hope everyone had a wonderful time with family and friends.

  I'm happy to report that our Thanksgiving went wonderfully!  It's amazing what a little bit of planning and foresight can do to make things run smoothly. Neither of us care all that much for turkey so we usually have something else. No telling what usually, but the way I have it figured it's not so much the "what" you have but the "why" you have Thanksgiving in the first place. 

  I didn't get any pictures of dinner this year.  The rechargeable batteries I've been using in my camera don't seem to be charging as well as they used to.  I'll have them charged up and in the camera and try to take a picture and it already needs recharging again.  Do rechargeable batteries have an expiration date?  Anyway....  

  It was a pretty warm and sunny day here.  Mars fired up the pit.  Originally we were just going to smoke a chicken. Then he remembered the brisket I'd picked up on sale awhile back.  Nothing says yummy like a smoked brisket! ( Of course that might just be because I'm from Texas)  Our menu for the day might be a little off the traditional but we did have sweet potato's, Granny's Recipe Cornbread Dressing, pasta salad, fresh baked rolls and a Pumpkin Cheesecake for dessert.  I won't have to cook for a week!  LOL

    Other than that there's not much new to tell ya.  We are still working in the garden when we can.  All the irrigation tape has been taken up and properly stored till next spring.  We still have to come back with compost and manure once we finish weeding out as much of the Johnson grass as we can so as not to have so much come back in the spring.  I've got a feeling this is going to take awhile!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Repost- Our First Thanksgiving

Notice the missing parts? He couldn't wait another minute
Talk about lessons learned! This year I actually have a menu, a plan and an extra day.....  Here's how it went last year......

I had good intentions.  I really did!  It's the planning I didn't quite have worked out.  I mean, it's not my first time to cook Thanksgiving Dinner. (although you might question that after today)  I really hadn't even thought much about the dinner itself. I kind of had an idea of what I wanted to do.  Just a simple meal, nothing really fancy since it's just Mars and I here.  And as far as he was concerned I could have made any old meal as long as I called him to dinner.   The one thing I knew I wasn't going to do was to go to town for any of it.  If we didn't already have it here at the house already I wasn't going to make it. Since the oven in the RV is too small to hold a turkey I decided to just bake a whole chicken instead.

On Wednesday, instead of prepping things ahead of time,(yeah, what was I thinking, right?) I decided I should make cookies for the neighbors and for Bob down at the lumber yard. (more about that later)  I made a huge batch of Snickerdoodles, and helped Mars some with the skirting on the trailer. I delivered "Bob the Builder" his cookies. Then "life" just sort of happened and before you know it the day was gone.  I figured what the heck, It's just a simple meal and won't take much time at all to get it done in the morning.  So off to bed I went. And didn't wake up till almost 9:30.  Hey it's Thanksgiving right??   I wasn't too upset though, heck I was just going to bake a chicken and some sweet potato's right? How hard can that be?

So while I'm drinking coffee and checking out emails I got to thinking that well... it IS Thanksgiving.  Maybe I should make some dressing (that's southern for stuffing) to go with that bird. I mean what's Thanksgiving without dressing? I ran through the items in my head that I'd need... ok no problem... I think I've got everything.

So as I'm making  breakfast, I realized I only had a half a loaf of bread left and I was going to need it ALL for the stuffing. And if we were going to have chicken and dressing we were going to need something to sop up the gravy wouldn't we?  So I needed to make some bread. I needed to make some anyway... But then I got to thinking... you can't just have bread with a Thanksgiving dinner can you?  I'd need to make some rolls too.  No problem, I'd just whip up a batch of dough before I got started on everything else.
 Wait a second...Did I just say GRAVY? Where did that come from? But you know if you are going to have chicken and dressing you just have to have gravy right? I mean it IS Thanksgiving. And really, it isn't all hard and takes no time at all to whip up...

So now the menu was Chicken and Dressing with giblet gravy, baked sweet potato's ( I'm not crazy about the sweet potato casserole, thanks but no thanks) and homemade rolls.  It sound's simple enough and traditional but then I got to thinking.... Man I would sure love some deviled eggs to go with that! We used to have them every holiday when I was a kid Ok, easy enough, right?  But wait!!!  We need a desert of some kind don't we I mean it IS Thanksgiving and what would it be without dessert?  I have a bunch of pumpkin spice pudding I got on sale last year that I could make pretty quick and I had some whipped topping in the freezer.  I'd just need to go into the understorage on the trailer to find the pudding.

So I set out to make Thanksgiving Dinner. And apparently, looking back, I was having a "Blonde" day.

Step 1) Mix up the dough. Get hot water ready to "proof" my yeast. Grab the sugar canister.... empty! Go out to storage and fill the sugar up. Put sugar, yeast and water in the bowl and let it start working. Grab the flour canister.  Two cups left in it, need 6. (Darn, made cookies yesterday and used it all) Go to storage and get more flour. Mix the dough and let it rise for an hour or so.

Step 2) Slice up the half a loaf of bread to let it "air dry" for a bit. Chop celery and onion and set it in the fridge for later. Take the celery ends to the rabbits because they really like them.

Step 3) Put eggs on to boil for the Deviled Eggs.  So far so good.

Step 4) Go out to the understorage to find the pudding. Unload several boxes before I realize what I need is in the BACK. Find the pudding mix and re-stack the boxes.  Find a can of cranberry sauce. YaY!! Bonus!!  What's dressing without cranberry sauce? This is when I find a can of pumpkin I forgot I had.  Hmmmm.... boy, pumpkin pie sure would be good...  Of course I've never made a pumpkin pie before but how hard could it be? And it IS Thanksgiving....

Step 5) Put cranberry sauce in the fridge. Look up recipe for Pumpkin Pie and realize that it's the same one that's on the can! Calls for evaporated milk. Which is in storage. Go out and unload a few boxes and find the milk. Hmmmm I'm going to need a pie shell.  Hop on the internet and look up a recipe for one that sounds simple enough.

Step 6) Bread dough is ready to form into rolls. Make two pans and a loaf of bread and let rise till doubled.   Put the rolls in the tiny oven to bake. Set the timer (because it is becoming apparent I'm not to be trusted today) Take a break because after all... it IS Thanksgiving.

Step 7) Put the second round of bread in the tiny oven to cook.

Step 8) Make the pie dough and wonder why it's not holding together like it should. Read the recipe and see where it says chill the dough first. Put it in the fridge and start mixing up the pumpkin filling.  I can't find the ground cloves.... I have whole cloves. OK, break out the little spice grinder and try to grind them up. They don't grind up real well but at this point it is going to have to do. Take the pie dough out and it's better now.  Roll out two pie crusts because the recipe says to make one deep dish pie and I don't have a deep dish.

Step 9) Take out the bread, put the pies in the oven and cross my fingers.  Recipe says it should take approximately an hour. Set the timer (because it's now my best friend)

Step 10) Put celery,onions and butter in pan to saute for the dressing. Look for the poultry seasoning. There IS no poultry seasoning.  Wonder if there is any in storage. Go out to look, pull out the boxes... nothing... put the boxes back and hit the internet (again) for a homemade poultry seasoning recipe.  I actually have all the spices. I know this because I had just looked through every single one I have looking for the poultry seasoning.  Wash the spice grinder (because it has clove powder stuck in it) Mix up seasoning and add to the celery and onions, cut bread cubes and add them and the other ingredients necessary. Set aside till I'm ready to do the chicken.

Step 11) Check the pie's. They are nowhere near done. Put them back in to cook and set the timer for 30 minutes. Check the clock. Realize that Thanksgiving Dinner is really going to be Thanksgiving Supper.

Step 12) Wash the chicken and am amazed that all the "innards" are in it.  Season chicken and stuff with the dressing. Check the pies.... still not done.  Set timer for another 15 minutes.

Step 13) Make the Deviled Eggs. Nothing went wrong.... weird.

Step 14) Start the "innards" in chicken stock and spices. Check the pies. Almost done. Set timer for 5 more minutes.

Step 15) Take a break cause after all it IS Thanksgiving.

Step 16) Pies are ready!!!  Take out to cool and put chicken in.  Set timer for 1 hour. Put sweet potato's in too.

Step 17) Realize I used all the boiled eggs for the deviled eggs and have none for the gravy.  Put on some to boil and start the gravy.

Step 18) Wait for chicken to bake and eat a couple of rolls because I'm starving. Set out plates, etc for dinner. Open the can of cranberry and see its gone bad. At this point I'm no longer worried about it... Give me CHICKEN!  Toss it out in the compost pile.  Finish up the gravy. Check the clock. Almost time.... Check chicken and see that it is nowhere near done. It's going to be another hour. <sigh>

Step 19) Spend some quality time with Mars and hand him another roll. Talk about all the things we are thankful for this year, and how blessed we are to be here.

Step 20) Dinner is finally ready.  Give thanks for all we have been blessed with this past year and eat till I'm about to pop.

In looking back, I realized that all this could have been a whole lot easier with at least SOME planning on my part. But I have to say that if nothing else it was a memorable Thanksgiving Dinner. Everything worked out and that's really all that matters in the end. It was still one of the best Thanksgiving's I've ever had.

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

Saturday, November 10, 2012


What have we been up to lately?  With the garden now nothing more than a few dead plants and the weeds now, we are trying to get it ready to put to bed for the winter.  Of course that sounds easy enough doesn't it?  Uhmmm.....  We've been working on the beds a little at a time trying to knock back the Johnson grass as best we can while we are at it.  The irrigation lines still need to be rolled back up for the winter.  The beds all still need to be dressed with the compost and the mature manure from the neighbors horses.  Then we should be good to go for the spring.  I noticed while searching in the dirt for the bottom of the dang root systems of this stupid Johnson grass that the soil is so much better than it was last year.  We'll get a soil sample done before spring too.  I'd be curious as to what is going on out there! 

In other news on the home front,  we (read Mars here) did our first butchering out here.  The two big ol roosters I had to separate from the others (and each other) were the first to go.  Mars built himself a butchering station out under a big old tree and proceeded to off Stewie and Randy Roo.  Everything went according to plan.  Stewie made a wonderful meal of chicken and dumplings and Randy is now waiting in the freezer for warmer days! LOL   I'll have to pressure cook him cause they are pretty tough old birds.  We still have 3 roosters to go.  These were the ones from the chickens born in the spring.  I don't know why we waited so long.... all I can say is... Stuff happens!

We've also been taking advantage of these nice days.  I've been saying all summer that once it cools off we can tackle the mess out there in the barn.  All our "stuff" is stored out there on pallets and was pretty much just a big ol' tumbling mess.  Not anymore!!  Everything has been reorganized and I can actually find something when I need to.  We even made walkways between the pallets so it would be easier to access things.

Mars is working on getting the wood stove hooked up out in the barn.  Gotta have heat in the "man cave" ya know!  He doesn't like to be indoors if he can help it but I'm betting he'll be spending some time out there this winter.  This RV can give you claustrophobia when cooped up in it for to long!  Trust me on this one.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday, Oct 25

 I have a habit of pretty much wearing my "heart" on my sleeve sometimes with this blog. I always have. I've been told that sometimes I just share to much about things that some consider personal.  Maybe I do... I don't know.  I've just always believed that if I can talk to you like I would a friend then maybe I could reach out and help someone along the way.  It's hard sometimes. Hard to find a way to reach folks who don't understand what it is to be a prepper. Hard to shape the words in such a way that just might enable someone who has never even thought about what it might be like to find their world suddenly upside down. And it is sometimes even more difficult to express what sort of challenges lay ahead.

We try (as preppers) to find the words that might make someone conceive the importance of devising a plan for you and your family that will work for you when things get tough.  And they ARE going to get tougher.  Are you ready? Is your family ready?  Can you do  what it takes to ensure your family's well-being?

It is difficult enough just to "BE" a prepper.  It carries responsibilities, not only for yourself but for your family and the ones you care about. Food, water, medical supplies and protection all have to be assembled.  Not only that but once they ARE pieced together one must have the skills and knowledge to put them to the best use possible. These things cannot be learned or taught overnight.  It is an ongoing process, a way of life. A predisposition for survival is not only required but will be absolutely necessary in the coming days.

Sometimes I feel that it would just be easier to quit.  Stop the preaching and begging and pleading for folks to just be ready for what is ahead.  To focus on family and  preps.  But there is another part of me that can't seem to walk away. And believe me when I say I have wanted to lay this down many times. But we need to keep sounding the alarm, to forewarn and forearm those who have not yet started to prepare.  Time is drawing short and there is still much to be done. I know that we are not as far along we would like to be right now. None of us are. There are so many things left to do.  We are living in interesting times. Prepping isn't something that is ever "finished". It becomes a way of life.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Puttering Around

Funny how time just flies sometimes. Finding the time for blogging doesn't seem to be on the top of the list right now.  I have to admire those of you who can keep it up as regularly as you do.  It seems that the longer I'm out here on our little slice of heaven the less time I seem to have for it.  Then again, I know that I've got to take advantage of these beautiful days while I can, because winter's coming and there will be much time for blogging then.  Anyway.... I hope you will bear with me for awhile.  I'm still winging it around here and the learning curve is larger than originally thought. (Go figure, right?)

As is the way of things, we've found a couple of surprises out in the garden.  It looks like some of the pepper plants might have survived the early freeze.  Last week we got out there and cut away all the frozen parts of all the plants .Well just the squash and peppers but.... anyway.  Not all the pepper plants were even worth messing with but there are a few that just might make it with some proper care.  It's probably too late for the squash to do much but amazingly enough some of it is now flowering.  The yellow squash has actually produced a few nice ones.  I'll keep my fingers crossed but anything we get from them now is a bonus.

   I know it sounds funny to say this because of having that super early spring, but I think we just might push for all squash to go in for a late summer/early fall garden.  I've still not seen one single squash bug on these plants. I'm thinking it just might have something to do with the temperatures but I need to read up and find out.  Plenty of time to check it out this winter.

  We are slowly getting the empty parts of the garden "put to bed" for the season. This might take awhile! LOL!  We'll also be going down to the neighbors for some more of his "mature manure" in the next few weeks.  Lots more to do in the fall around here (even without much of a garden left) than I thought. I don't know why that surprises me. 

The new doe is settling in well and she was bred this past Sunday. I'll keep an eye on her and my fingers crossed.  I'm not positive she's pregnant but will know soon enough!  She's still skittish, having been raised in a breeder barn but I'll have her literally eating out of my hand soon enough.  She might be a bit nervous now but I've got time.  I check them all twice a day anyway and have been stopping to talk to her and try to gentle her down some.  I might be crazy but I want my breeders to be tamed and as easy to handle as possible.  It might make it a little harder when they have to be "culled out" down the road but for the time being we are gong to be spending way to much time together for her (or any of them) to be to wild to handle.

There is so much around here that just didn't get done during the summer because of the heat. (The lack of a truck didn't help much either.) I haven't even touched the list of things that I need to get done out in the barn.  It sort of became the catch-all in the past year. Not that I didn't expect it to since so many of our things are rotated in and out of the RV. It might be messy out there right now but at least everything is under cover and I pretty much know where most everything is. (Except for the two boxes of winter clothes that contain my long johns n stuff.) The goal will be to get it all organized over the cool months.  We'll see how that goes.

There's so much more to talk about but I've run out of time for now. I've got pepper jelly and pickled peppers to can today. I've been procrastinating on getting them done.  I've been putting it off and putting it off but if I don't move soon I'll end up loosing the peppers.  That ain't gonna happen!  We are out of bread so I need to remedy that as well.  OH NO! We are out of cookies too.....hmmmm...... Cookies just in time for a cool front moving in.   <(~@~)>

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

First Freeze of Fall and a New Doe

The shock of the weekend has finally worn off.  We had more record breaking weather around here. ( Honestly, I could do without it- what ever happened to normal? )  We had two mornings with temps down around freezing here.  That's not supposed to happen for another dang month!  Needless to say, I think most of the squash is toast.  Same for the okra, beans and peppers.  I really hate that.  We were starting to get yellow squash, acorn, patty pan and butternut.  It seems the squash bugs don't care much for the cooler temperatures.  We hadn't had a single one munching out there.  I was SO excited.  Now, not so much....  I know it's just one of those things that happen but I sure was hoping for some sort of fall garden.  Of course now that the damage is done the weather is back to normal and will probably stay that way for awhile.

 I was able to put up another 10 pints of pickled peppers the day before the freeze. Then there was picking all the bell peppers that had started coming back after all that heat this summer.  I ended up with one and a half 5 gallon buckets  of them.  Most were still pretty small but I'm cutting them all up and drying them.  It's been a good year for the peppers. I've been able to dry several quarts of bell peppers and will have two or three more once I'm done with them.  I've put up sweet n spicy banana peppers, pickled banana peppers, banana peppers and jalapeno mixes, jalapeno slices for nacho's, whole pickled jalapeno's, habanero's . and all sorts of variations of them all.  Oh and hot pepper jelly too.  I was sure hoping to be able to make some more of that this year. 

I went today and picked out another doe.  There's a woman down the road a ways that has quite a business selling rabbits, chickens, eggs.turkeys, milk and meat goats and who knows what all else.  She's got a cool place and was happy to show me around.  I almost came home with some guinea chicks but common sense prevailed at the last minute! LOL  I'd really like to have some guinea's but we aren't set up at the moment to take care of chicks.  I'd need to rig up a light and a cage for them and I'd want to have that all good to go before bringing home more critters.  The doe is a nice looking rabbit, good coat, eyes ears, nose etc.  I was happy the lady had this litter ready to go.  They all turned 5 months old today so I should be able to start breeding right away.  I feel like I'm so far behind where I wanted to be at this time.  BUT everything happens for a reason.  I just never seem to get the memo!

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

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rising Prices/ GMO Alert

Wow, talk about a change in weather!  We got down to just above freezing for the past two nights.  It looks like some of the squash took a bit of a hit.  It's not too bad and I'm hoping it will bounce back.  The weather is supposed to get warm again after tonight. I guess it will give me a little time to drag out the winter garb.  I sure could have used my flannel pj's last night!

I had to go into Little Big Town to do some grocery shopping and hit the Feed Store for chicken feed.  The feed cost has gone up almost a dollar a bag again this month.  The grocery shopping was just as depressing.  Prices are rising rapidly and I just don't know what folks are going to do in the coming months.  I'm trying to do all I can to stock up now but I'm feeling more and more like it just isn't enough.  I guess we are all going to just have to ride this one out to the end.  I sure wouldn't mind being able to do a big bill of groceries though.  I'd like to think that I'm pretty good at planning  out my shopping trips.  I know what I'm going to get before hand.  I usually know (within a few dollars) how much I'll spend.    Prices have already risen enough that I had to "trim" my frugal list.  All I keep thinking is that this is just the beginning....

There was a study put out a few days ago concerning GMO corn that I found horrifying. Have you seen this?    

(NaturalNews) Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto's Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. That's the conclusion of a shocking new study that looked at the long-term effects of consuming Monsanto's genetically modified corn.
The study has been deemed "the most thorough research ever published into the health effects of GM food crops and the herbicide Roundup on rats."

"Scientists found that rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females."
 It goes on to say: "The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. The researchers said 50 percent of males and 70 percent of females died prematurely, compared with only 30 percent and 20 percent in the control group."

Nice huh? Did you know that over 80% of all corn in the US is genetically modified? Some say that the percentage is even higher.  This stuff is already in our food chain. It is in widespread use all across the country.  The FDA doesn't even require that it be labeled.   Russia has stepped up and recently said they will no longer buy GMO corn from the US.    
California is trying to get legislation passed to require that all foods containing gmo's be labeled. For once I think we might just follow their lead.  

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

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It's Over

I was just looking at the calendar and realized that, other than garlic, the planting season is done here for the year.  Wow.  Time flies when you aren't looking! It's over... Until January of course!  Then we can think about next spring.  Those babies you see in the picture are now starting to lay eggs.  I still can't get over how cool it is to have babies born right here on our place.  I'm looking forward to more.  I'm still hoping for baby bunnies and to add a couple of goats eventually!
I almost started fussing at myself when I started to think of all the things that I "could" have planted this year.  Then I figured it's best to be grateful for all the wonderful food we HAVE grown this year.  

Besides, next year can only be better.I will have to admit that all in all I think we did quite well for our first year here. Even though the garden  was the largest either of us have had in the past, it produced well for the first year. Much was learned out there this gardening season. 
  I wasn't able to put up as much as I had originally hoped to.  Much was learned about that too. I just know that next years canning will go much more smoothly and much much faster with the high pressure propane stove my mom sent. (Thanks MoM!)  I need to be sure to tell her one day that she gives "good gift".  Always has..  LOL
The good thing about a new garden is that with proper care you know that next year will be even better as the soil improves.  Shoot, in a couple of years we might even get all the dang Bermuda and Johnson grasses out of it.  (Yeah, I know.. Dream on right??  lol )

 So in looking back  I must say that was some of the best money we've ever spent (other than a tiller of course) on the garden. The system that Mars put together worked great all summer.  The irrigation tape is rated up to eight years too so I guess we'll wait and see just how right or wrong that is.  And so for around $2oo we have a watering system that should last for a few years.  

Of course there are smaller parts involved that might need to be replaced in time but that is to be expected, heck all the valve parts are plastic.  The parts are pretty inexpensive (read cheap here) but have to be ordered by mail if they are needed.  If you would have told me 5 years ago that I could get so excited over something like a $200 irrigation system I would have straight up laughed out loud.  Funny how things change over time isn't it?

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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Pear Honey Anyone?

I laugh every time I see this pic!
I just love receiving gifts, especially those that come right out of the blue! The one's that take you by surprise and fill you with delight.  OK ...The ones that tickle you so much you just have to giggle.  Yeah I said it ... I Giggle! 

My neighbor (the only close one) has a huge pear tree. That dang thing is at least 30 foot tall.  It is full of fruit all the way to the very top of the tree.  She told me that the pears this year are really small (and they are) compared to last years crop.  This year though (because of the drought and the heat I'm sure) the pears are pretty small. Smaller than a baseball but very sweet.  Her horses have eaten all the ones they could reach.  Anyway, she and I picked two big grocery sacks full of pears for me to take home!  She told me that I could have all I wanted if I wanted to get up there and pick them. 

 I thought about it but I weenied outwith this excuse. Pitiful I know. I have a pinched nerve right now and two fingers on my left hand are numb.  It's hard to hold anything right now. I didn't realize how handy your pinky finger was before! LOL   That's why it took me almost a week to get the ones we picked processed.  Those little pears fought back but I finally won.  lol 
The nice thing about it is that next year I'll be able to put up as many as I want!!  Pretty awesome, huh?

It took some time but I finally got the pears all processed and put up.  Several quarts of sliced pears and several pints of Pear Honey are now smiling at me in pretty Mason jars!  I had never heard of pear honey before but I'm glad I did.  It's really good. And it really does taste like honey!!  Of course I veered off the original recipe some.  I always do it seems... But the original recipe calls for cooking it on top of the stove for two or three hours while tending to it so it doesn't stick or burn.  Right now, I just don't have time for that.  I did it in the crock pot and it worked great! 

We are still piddling around in the garden.  Most of the squash has blooms on it and so far no sign of those DAMN squash bugs!  I've got my fingers crossed.  I've got a new weapon for them now.  Look out, I'm armed!!!  I swear one day I am gonna have a decent squash crop!!!

The okra is still gong like gangbusters.  I've been picking it daily and drying it.  I need to count up how many jars I have put up so far.  Anyway, there's no sign of it slowing down any time soon. I don't mind. I love me some fried okra!

I've got some beans planted too. I really liked the Cherokee Trail of Tears this spring and didn't get to put up enough of them.  I'm hoping for another crop this fall. They are looking good right now.  This spring I also planted some dixie butter peas. I'd never tried them before either. They didn't produce too much over the summer but are really taking off well now.  They are actually from the lima bean family but put out smaller rounder peas. We love beans around here so I'm excited.

All the peppers are starting to recover from the heat.  They all were trying to produce this summer but could only push out little tiny premie peppers. They are loaded with blooms again and the peppers are starting to get bigger.  4 of the bell pepper plants I put inare called Keystone.  They have produced like crazy and with huge peppers in the spring.  I'm hoping they'll do it again this fall.  I'm saving seeds to. I bought the plants so I really don't know "what kind" they are. I did buy them from a local place though.  Hopefully, they will be viable seeds and I can regrow them.  We'll see.

Hmmmm.... what else has been going on around here.  We are putting parts of the garden to bed. Trying to get a head start on some of it. I'm set to pick up two rabbits (does) next week. Rabbits are a big part of the plan around here so I sure need things to work out this time.  I've had very little no luck with them so far. Again the heat his summer won.  

 The chicks aren't chicks anymore but full fledged chickens. Some are starting to lay but its still sporadic. It shouldn't be long now before we have plenty of fresh eggs again.  We've got 5 roosters that will be headed off to dinner once it gets a little cooler. I've never offed a chicken before so stay tuned for what I'm sure to be quite an experience. 

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

Monday, September 24, 2012

Changes In The Wind

Fall is here! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  It was gorgeous here.  I have to confess though that I'm so glad  summer is over.  It seems to have taken a toll on me this year.   I've had little energy to expend on much of anything that doesn't absolutely have to be done. I'm getting better though.  I've had a big dose of prepper burn-out as well.  That's something that I see very little spoken of.  I know it happens though. I've seen it. Heck I've been there. (recently) I've noticed a couple more bloggers have decided to shut down their blogs.  One of the things about becoming a prepper is that a person will usually move into becoming more prepared mentally as well.  This leads to seeking out the truth about what is going on all around us.

As the line in the movie goes  " You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe." You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."  "Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad."(The Matrix 1999)  

 I think that quote just about sums up the first step in opening your eyes and making a decision to find the truth.  Some  will go no farther though. They are afraid of "the knowing" and will take the blue pill.  The choice is ours to make. We are watching the world spiral out of control.  In a way I think we are lucky to be here.  That maybe we were chosen to be here at this time and in this place to make a difference in this world.  We are living in a time that will be looked back on later in history.  What I have to wonder is what will history say about our choices?  What will our children say of our choices?  
(Morpheus)"...(the) system is our enemy. But when you're inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.  .... "

I am afraid for our country.  I'm not sure that we can, at this point, ever even return to the America our founding fathers laid out for us.  I also know that I will not give up the fight for freedom.  I will not lay down my guns and go quietly. I will go out kicking and screaming with everything that is in me fighting for what is ours to keep.  Our freedom.
All I know is that I will continue to fight for my god given human rights.  I have taken the red pill and I can feel the changes in the wind.  I'll leave you here with yet another scene from the Matrix....

Neo: This... this isn't the Matrix?
Morpheus: No. It is another training program designed to teach you one thing: if you are not one of us, you are one of them.
Morpheus: I imagine that right now, you're feeling a bit like Alice. Hmm? Tumbling down the rabbit hole?
Neo: You could say that.
Morpheus: I see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, that's not far from the truth. Do you believe in fate, Neo?
Neo: No.
Morpheus: Why not?
Neo: Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life.
Morpheus: I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?
Neo: The Matrix.
Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?
Neo: Yes.
Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work... when you go to church... when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.