Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Attack of the Killer Tomato

This is my outdoor canning station. Still minus a table but I make do
  I ran out of propane yesterday just as the timer dinged on yet another canner load of tomato's.  Oh no!!!   Honestly?  I'm sort of glad I can't get any more propane until payday.  I've been canning tomato's for 8 straight days.  Salsa, rotel, Italian, stewed, whole, crushed and juice have all been done.  Add to that every one of the tomato skins have been being dried as well. I'm thinking I might do another round of the Rotel's as we use it often, especially in beans but we'll see.

I've already started giving tomatos away. I took the neighbor a box yesterday and the mail lady keeps finding tomato's in the mail box.  Of course Mars keeps ribbing me about the bounty.  He keeps saying "Aren't you glad you only planted 30 plants?  And remember? You wanted to plant 50".  Yeah yeah funny man.  I wonder if I'll end up dropping them off on neighbors front porchs like zucchini before it's over. 

Other than 3 plants that got knocked down in the last storm we had they are all looking nice and healthy. It actually looks like they might make it through the summer and into the fall. I haven't started drying tomato's yet but I suppose I will be soon.  So far all I've been drying are the skins.

  I had seen a post from someone who had made tomato juice for the first time.  She talked all about how easy it was. Really?  I'd like to remember where I saw it cause I wanna go ask her just what she considers hard!! LOL  This had to be the most labor intensive thing I've done in ages.  All the chopping of veggies to add to the juice, the cooking down, stirring, using the food mill to get it all nice, and then using the food mill again to try for a more smooth texture.  I realize now I should have used the food processor first and then the food mill though.  All that work netted me 7 quarts of tomato juice.  I don't know if I'll be making more tomato juice any time again soon.   But then again I sure do have a lot of tomato's still coming on.  Geesh....

A friend sent me some seed a few months ago.  One of the packages she had marked Yellow Canary Squash.  I was instantly intrigued as I'd never heard of this before.  Why?  Because it is actually Canary Melon.  I'd never heard of it or seen it before.  I planted some and it's been growing like crazy.  Nothing seems to be bothering it either.  We're having a real bad grasshopper year and they aren't even on the melons.  This thing is not only huge but so are the melons.  There are at least a  dozen of them out there and they all are at least 4lbs each, some more.   She told me her kids liked it baked with some cinnamon and sugar.  I've never heard of baking a melon before but I'm willing to try it.I've never eaten them before?  How 'bout you?  Have you ever grown or eaten Canary melon? Any suggestions or recipes?

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Tomato's Anyone?

It's been a busy week around here.  I've been canning tomato's as fast as I can and am still a ways little behind.  I've put up 21 quarts of salsa and I figure that should hold us for a year.  I've also canned up some diced tomato's. I think there are 10 pints and 2 or 3 quarts.  I got 14 quarts of black-eyed peas put up as well.  Then I put up some "Rotel" tomato's.  I just diced up some onions and hot peppers to add to diced tomato's. I still want to put up at least another batch. We use a lot of Rotel type tomato's in beans, chili, soups, stews and Mexican type foods. .  I might be wrong but I think growing up in Texas you kind of HAVE to love Tex-Mex!  It's in  "raisin' ya know.

Here's a picture of my canning set up. My outdoor sink is over to the left, just out of the picture.  I still need a table to work on. It would make things a whole lot easier than setting things on the ground,but honestly? I'm happy to have what I do.  It's hands down better than the single burner I've been using since I started canning.  I think it was around 2oo9.  I'd have to ask kymber or look back on my posts to be sure though.  

Notice the tin on the side, front and back of the stove?  I was having a problem with the wind blowing the flames around and even blowing the fire out.  So Mars cut some of the old tin he  saved from the old barn and solved the wind problem for me!!  

With all the tomato's coming in I have tried to find a sort of  rhythm to getting things done. All my jars are out in the barn so I'll grab what I need and grab some dehydrator trays. and get everything washed up.  Then get the water boiling to dunk the tomato's in and another with cold cold well water to drop them in for easy peeling.  Folks always say  use ice and water to dunk them in.  I've found that our well water is plenty cold to do the job. Something I've been thinking about is just how much water it takes to get all this done.  If we were in a SHTF situation canning might become difficult if there is limited or no water.  That's one reason I really like drying foods. It might take a little water to re-hydrate them but nothing compared to the water it takes to can.

 After I get the tomato's ready to peel I set myself up with a couple of buckets.  One for the tomato skins, one for the cores ( for the chickens) and one for the finished tomato's.  Get the jars in the water bath to sterilize them and the tomato's and other ingredients in the pot to warm up. Gather up the lids and rings and the utensils I'm going to need.  After that I fill the jars  and get them in the canner. While they are processing I'll grab some dehydrator trays and lay out the tomato skins to dry and take them out to the barn.  I've put the dryer in the barn since we don't have room in the trailer for them.  Besides, they blow hot air and I sure don't need that in the house.  This picture is just one batch of tomato skins ready to be put in a jar.  So far I've filled 4 quart jars with the skins. No more buying tomato paste or sauce this year! (Hey Sandy? I told you I could find a use for those pans! lol)   I need to come up with some new ways to put up tomato's. 
Those 30 plants have lots of green tomato's about to get ripe and I don't want to waste a single one.

 The cayenne peppers are going crazy.  I actually had to pick a whole bunch of them because they were weighing down the plant. I'm guessing there was almost a pound of peppers from the two plants. This was just the first round though.  There are little peppers and blooms all over them.
 I actually had 9 trays to dry and there are tons more almost ready to pick.  This is what I ended up with. 
  As soon as I have time I'll grind these up for the kitchen.  What I need to figure out is what I'm going to do with the gazillion that are still on the plants!  Anyone have any suggestions about what I can do with some of them?  You can only use so much dried pepper and pickled peppers.  I've been thinking about maybe putting some in olive oil to make a sort of hot pepper oil.  It would sure be yummy to saute some veggies in for a "kick".  Of course this is just a theory since I've never made a pepper oil with cayenne peppers.  There's a first time for everything though! 

I almost forgot!  I also put up 9 pints of hot cucumber relish.  It really came out yummy.  A friend of mine had told me about her relish and how much they enjoyed it.  I just had to try it.  I cut up equal parts of cucumber, onion, and peppers.  She used bread and butter spices in hers but I went the other direction and made it like a hot dill relish.  It turned out really really good! 

The actual canning part of canning is easy.  But folks don't tell you it's the prep work that takes forever. Every time I see someone post what they've canned or put up I remind myself just what sort of work actually went into it.

 So anyway....that's what I've been up to this week. I'm sure there are some things I'm missing but I've been working all day every day to get things put up. I'm trying not to get behind.  So far so good but....

I'm tired.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tomato Skins to Tomato Powder (Easy Tomato Paste & Sauce From Tomato Skins)

Ever wondered what to do with those tomato skins when you are putting up your tomato's?  Last year I came across an article on making tomato powder from tomato skins and was instantly intrigued. After seeing how simple making tomato powder is, I'm sorry I didn't start doing it sooner. I'm also thinking about all those skins I tossed to the chickens before I found this idea. I'm betting that won't happen again. The chickens might be disappointed but I'm sure not!

Why would you want tomato powder?  It's got so many uses. Sprinkle it liberally on meals like soups, stews, pasta sauces,taco mix, pizza toppings. Put some "zip" in your omelet or eggs. Shake it on veggies to add a bit of flavor.  It livens up all kinds of dishes.
You can also make a mean tomato soup using tomato powder.  I think this is an awesome addition to any food storage pantry.

The thing I wanted to do the most though was to be able to make tomato paste and tomato sauce.  I figured if it worked I wouldn't have to buy it in the can anymore.  I figured what the heck, I'll give it a shot and see. The worst thing that could happen was that the chickens would loose a snack. I've tried making tomato paste  on the stove and I have to tell you... It ain't as easy as it sounds. All that cooking time and stirring and hoping the whole time it doesn't burn, I didn't enjoy it at all.  Besides, it's just to hot in the kitchen during tomato season to do it.  So I decided to try this idea of making it from tomato skins. Now that I've done it I sure wish I had known about it sooner. It's awesome!
So here's what I do now.  First I go on and put up whatever it is at the moment. Salsa, whole tomato's, crushed tomato's, Rotel tomato's... you get the idea.  What I do differently now is to save the tomato skins.  

  Lay the tomato skins out on your dehydrator trays and set your heat to 115 degrees and wait  until the skins are dry.It doesn't take very long, a few hours.   They will be like brittle paper when they are done. 

 I laid some  straight on the trays and some on trays with screens. (For the life of me I can't figure out what I did with the rest of my screens.)  They both work fine, it just seemed easier to remove the skins using the screens. Only because they are pliable though.

I took some of the dried skins and ground them up in my little coffee/spice grinder. That was it!  Tomato powder!

 To make tomato paste from it, just add a tablespoon of water (more or less) to each tablespoon of powder until you get the consistency you are looking for. 
 To make tomato sauce start with one tablespoon of tomato powder to two parts water. (more or less)  For tomato juice just add one tablespoon to 4 tablespoons of water.(more or less)  It's kind of a "feel" thing and not exact measurements.  Just add water until you get the consistency you want for whatever you are making.  

I am forever running out of tomato paste. Not any more!  This is a great thing to have in my food storage. I know I didn't buy tomato paste or sauce at all this past year!  I decided not to grind all the skins and just store them in jars until I need them.  I also figured with the moisture content it would end up being hard as a brick in no time if I ground it all and then stored it.. So I put the skins in mason jars and vacuum sealed them. I just grind them as needed.  I know I'll be drying tomato skins from here on out. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Another Gardening Update (Like we need another!)

It seems I've been a bit lax in posting again.  Everything seems to be a bit late in  the garden this year and I have been staying pretty busy with things around here.  Funny but it seems like by this time last year (I'd have to look back and see) what little hadn't already burned up had been canned, dehydrated or frozen.  I'm not fussing though.  I'm happy to even get a spring garden in this year!

Some of the peppers are still not producing while others are going gangbusters. There are several different kinds of peppers out there, most of them hot.  Thanks to that deal I got at the Feed Store it looks like we are going to be eating peppers in all sorts of ways!  Most of the plants from the Feed Store were pretty stressed when I brought them home.  They were all root-bound and tall and leggy.  Most of them are looking pretty good now and I'm hoping they'll start producing soon.  The jalapeno's, cayenne and bell peppers are doing ok, but the star of the garden right now are the cayenne plants.  They are covered with both blooms and peppers and are probably three and a half foot tall.  Anyone care to share what they know about putting up/ using cayenne peppers?  I mean other than drying them for the seasoning?  I'd love it if you'd leave me a comment with suggestions. 

I've picked another couple of buckets of black-eyed peas this week.  Shelling takes so much time but I've found a little secret that has really helped.  Rather than shelling them the day I pick them I'll wait till the next evening to shell them.  It seems that once they dry just a little they are much easier (read faster) to process.  Yeah, yeah... don't ask how I figured that one out.  But since we are on the subject of peas I have another question for you guys.Let me explain first.  Last year when I was canning the peas and other "shell beans"  I would fill the jar with the beans and then add my water and process. Once they came out of the canner, no matter what I tried, they would always end up with twice as much "head space" than I started with.  The very top layer of beans were dry and kind of yucky looking.  They tasted fine when I opened them, they were just ugly.  So.... this year I asked a friend what she would do to have them come out right.  She suggested I soak the beans/peas overnight before I canned them.  They turned out better but I still have more head space than I want.  Anyone have any suggestions?

The tomato's are coming in like gangbusters now with no sign of giving up anytime soon. With the lower temps we had a couple of weeks ago I've even got some new fruit set.  I've been keeping my fingers crossed that all the stuff for making salsa would come in about the same time.  I kind of ran into a minor snag though because of the peppers.  The jalapeno's are just now starting to get going (and they aren't hot at all) and the tomato's are piling up so after kicking around the problem for a little bit I decided to go on and make a batch of salsa with the few jalapeno's that are ready and using some of those prolific cayenne peppers in their place.  I'm happy to say it worked out fine.  You just have to roll with what you are given and trust that it will all be ok.  Kinda like life, yeah? 

I put up a canner load of my version of Rotel tomato's yesterday.  I need to do another one soon.  Basically it's just chopped tomato's, onions and (this time) cayenne peppers.  We really like to cook with "rotel" type tomato's so the plan is to put up enough for the coming year.  Oh, I almost forgot... while I'm on the tomato topic.... all the skins from all the tomato's have been put in the dehydrator.  This worked out so well last year that I just had to do it again.  What do I do with the tomato skins?  Once they are dry I put them in jars and vacuum seal them.  When I need tomato paste or tomato sauce I just grind up some of the skins, add water till I have the consistency I need and don't have to buy either tomato sauce or paste anymore!

I've got a ton of cucumbers to do something with in the next couple of days. I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do with them yet though.  We aren't big pickle eaters here.  Shoot, I've still got a few quarts of dill and bread and butter pickles from year before last in the pantry.  I have to do something with them in the next day or so (the sooner the better) and I'm still trying to figure out how to put them up.  A friend of mine was telling me about some relish that she did that I might have to try.  I really liked the idea.  Chop cucumbers, onions and hot peppers up and process them like pickles.  She did her's with a bread and butter mix.  Mars doesn't care for bread and butter pickles so I'm thinking about "tweaking" this one and making sort of a hot dill relish. 

So there ya have it. What I've been up to this past week.  Get up, drink coffee, feed critters and head out to the garden to pick whatevers ready.  Fire up the canner and dehydrator and go from there.  Then there's the weeding and prepping for the fall garden.  I've planted more beans as it seems the green beans aren't going to produce like I had hoped.  We'll try squash again even though I don't have much hope for it.( $#(!# squash bugs) and who knows... maybe... just maybe we'll be able to win this time.

Monday, July 15, 2013

How to Cook Southern Style Black-eyed Peas

I love black-eyed peas.  For me they are a comfort food.  This year I planted purple hull peas. Some people call them pink eyed peas, but they are all in the same family.  To be honest, I can't tell the difference in the taste or even the "look" of them once they are cooked.

Here's today's bounty. I'll need to pick them again in a couple of days and should get another bucket like this.  They are still blooming and should produce for at least another month!!
There are lots of ways to fix peas, but my favorite way to cook them is pretty straightforward. My grandmother made them like this and now so do I.  I guess I shouldn't really call it a recipe as there isn't any measuring going on. More of a guide really.    That's a gallon baggie of fresh shelled peas. It took almost two five gallon buckets to fill it up!

First things first though. Shell your peas.  Sometimes you'll find you've picked a pea a little early. No worries!  Just snap them like you would a green bean. That's how you get the snaps in Black-eyed Peas with snaps! ( wink) After I shell the peas I'll give them a good rinse and then put the desired amount in a pot. I cut up onions  add that to the pot..  A slice or (three hehehe) of bacon goes in along with some salt ((I use Tony's Seasoning a lot) and pepper.  Cover the peas with water.  You will want about twice as much water as it takes to cover the peas.  Set them on the stove and bring to a boil.  Cook at a low boil until the peas are soft. Usually 20-30 minutes will do it.  That's it... nothing to it right?  And they are soooo good.

You can really play around with this basic recipe.  Sometimes I'll add garlic, or jalapeno peppers or both. . If you want, you can add tomato's as well.  If you have ever bought a can of black-eyed peas at the store I have to warn you- These taste absolutely nothing like that.  (Hey... I'm just sayin'...)

But in the end, whatever I add there can't be many things that bring back those memories of sitting on the back porch with my grandmother and shelling peas for supper.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Snake in the Hen House

It seems Mars got tired of eating ribs three days in a row.  So I decided to make an old southern favorite  that we both just love.  Chicken fried steak, mashed potato's and white gravy, and our first purple hull peas this year!  And before you ask?  That is NOT my plate.  :-)

I picked the  first bucket of purple hull peas of the season yesterday. It seems so strange to have everything planted so late this year.  With our last freeze being a month later than normal things are obviously late producing.  It's hard to believe it's already time to plant a fall garden and I've not had any tomato's start turning ripe yet here in the middle of July.  

I harvested the garlic and the onions a couple of days ago and have them "hardening off" right now. I think I might even make some garlic powder again this year.  We use bunches of garlic and onions throughout the year.  I'll look over the onions and dry some of them too.  Last year the fresh onions didn't last as long as I had hoped and rather than have them go bad I just cut them up and put them in the dehydrator.  I love having things like dried onions and garlic in the pantry.

For some reason I haven't told you about two of my hens going broody together and hatching 10 little chicks. They are so funny.  The hens are sharing the chicks.  Unfortunately they are sharing a whole lot fewer of them than they started with.  I went to water on Monday and one of the babies was outside the pen trying desperately to get back to mama.  So I caught it up, put it back in the pen plugged the hole he escaped from and counted chicks.  There were only six!  I looked and looked and couldn't even find a "body".   The next morning I went to feed and water and the first thing I saw was a HUGE snake in the nest box.  Once my heart stopped trying to jump out of my chest I hollered at Mars "SNAKE!!!!"  (I don't "do" snakes well)  He grabbed the pellet gun and killed it.  A big five foot long chicken snake.  (shivers...  I would have grabbed a shotgun! LOL)  I counted chicks and there were only three left.  I could see three distinct chick size lumps in this *^@#* snake.  It is the first time that anythings got in the pen and now I'm nervous as a terrorist getting ready to be water-boarded to go in there.  (That should bring my friends in the D.o.D in here *wink*)

Maybe the reason I didn't tell you about the chicks in the first place was because I was worried something would happen to them. Then again, I do this stuff to try and show folks that even the inept can work on living this type of lifestyle. Every day is a new learning opportunity.  I'm living proof!!!

UPDATE - I picked three pink tomato's this afternoon.  Look's like things are going to get real busy for a bit around here very soon!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Guess Who Came for Dinner

  This past weekend we had company.  Now around here we don't have that happen very often.  Especially if the company that's coming are blogger friends!   To say I was excited is a bit of an understatement.  At one point before everyone came I just about had a melt down when I found I'd scorched my pot of beans.  Mars was great though.  He gave me a hug, told me to settle down and things would be fine.  Of course he was right.

 Some of you may know Sandy from Oklahoma Transient.  I'm happy to say that I've actually met her and her husband now!  If you have ever wondered if Sandy could possibly be as nice as she is in her comments across the interwebs, I'm here to tell you she really is!  And so is her hubby BullDog Man.  He's got a wicked good sense of humor too.  We're hoping to visit again soon since we are only a couple of hours from them.  (Which in bloggerland isn't really very far!) 

 Who else came, you ask? Just one of the coolest homesteaders I know!  I've been knowing Phelan from A Homesteading Neophyte. since back in the beginning days of the APN.  I've always had a bit of "hero worship" (or should that be "homesteading worship"?)  When I've had questions about things it was usually she and MMPaints that my buddy kymber and I turned to for answers.  Those that walk the walk, ya know?  Anyway, it was so great to actually put a real face to the name this weekend.  She and her hubby are some seriously down to earth good folks.  They brought Medium and Small with them too.  Good kids.  They got a little bored so  Mars hauled out the pellet guns for them to do some plinking while we all sat up under the shade trees and visited. 

One thing about bloggers getting together for a visit is that even though you may have never met in person before, you already have things in common.  What's even better is that when you find that you could chat for hours and hours and never repeat a thing!  I didn't take any pictures... Opsec ya know.  I'm ashamed to say that I did get a little bit of food porn.  hehehe.....

Phelan brought a hostess gift of some home made pepper jelly.  I think she called it Lemonhead Pepper Jelly. I'll have to ask her again. Isn't it pretty???  

Sandy was awesome and brought two pans of peach and strawberry crisp for dessert.  It was really yummy with the whipped cream she brought to top it with.  

Mars cooked a couple of racks of ribs on the pit. This is what was left of the ribs. 

  I'd tossed together a pasta salad and some cucumber salad, made some bread and punted. I opened a couple of jars of green beans to replace the dang burned beans and we called it done.  I'll admit we had quite a bit of food left over though.  I guess folks weren't as hungry as I thought they'd be.  Either that or I just overdid it as I tend to do.  Either way, we have leftovers for the week!

Such a great day with great folks. I'm so happy to have had the chance to meet Phelan and her bunch before they move to Kentucky in a couple of weeks. Speaking of that, you wouldn't believe how Phelan's Mr. lights up every time he talks about their new land.  I might never get the chance to get together with them again.  Unless I just get an urge to drive 900 miles of course.  Who knows!  I'm sure we will meet up with Sandy and Bulldog Man again. That will be fun too and we are both looking forward to it.  It was an awesome day with some seriously cool people.  How often do you get to do that?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

On the Eve of the 4th of July

 With the recent and even the not so recent scandals rocking this country I find myself saddened on the eve of the 4th of July.  Although it may still seem to some we still have "freedom and justice for all" we are moving down a hellish path.  Our individual liberties are being taken, one by one, under the guise of security.  And at what cost? Do you feel safer now? 

I've been called all sorts of names for my views  over the years.  I was a conspiracy theorist for believing that our government was spying on us.  Now it seems my views are not so much conspiracy theory as they are conspiracy facts.  We ARE being watched, tracked, and targeted by agencies for our beliefs.  We are being manipulated and our hands tied through fear and ignorance on our part. 

The recent discovery that the NSA and other alphabet agencies are watching most everything we do should cause alarm in us all.  The problem I see is that many folks these days have the attention span of a gnat. It seems we have forgotten all about things like the killing of our ambassador to Libya.  The horror of  what happened in Benghazi haunts me.  It has haunted me since the day it happened.  I knew within a week of the 9/11 attack that something was terribly wrong with the story being told by the White House.  How could top officials just sit back and allow this attack to happen while watching in real time?  I think I know.  As a matter of fact I think I know a lot more than most of the folks who depend on  TV for their news.  It's a horrible story and I really thought that we would finally see just how corrupt our government has become.  But then a new story came along and folks just seemed to forget that WE killed those men.  Not some mob gone crazy. Not some stupid YouTube video. 

The press seemed, just for a moment, outraged when they found that they had been wiretapped for months without their knowledge.  They were shocked then and yet there is little coverage of that now.  I'm sure it's because of the fear of reprisals by the government. What has become of us that we are now afraid of government reprisals.

Then we have the IRS scandal.  That one kind of came up out of the blue.  When the IRS actually apologizes for something it's done there HAS to be more to the story.  If they are targeting Tea Party, We the People, Patriot folks, and veterans then it's obvious to me that others are bound to be targets of the IRS as well.

You were shocked for all of a few days.  And then the news breaks that the NSA is watching everything we do. Our emails, our phone calls, what we say and do on the internet, all are being monitored.  As a matter of fact they are collecting so much information on everything about us that they have built a huge complex up in Utah to be able to store it all.  And for what?  Your safety?  When the government is afraid of it's people there is liberty.  When the people are afraid of the government there is tyranny.  Anyone ever heard that before?  We are being dictated by a tyrannical government and apparently there aren't that many who even give a flying rats @#*.

  By 2015 there will be drones flying across the entire United States.  Do you really think that they won't be used against us?  And don't give me that "I don't care because I have nothing to hide" crap.  That is the comment of the uneducated and uninformed and it just makes you look stupid.  Everyone has something that they would rather not have others know about them. 

I have never been very quiet about my opinions and what I see to be facts.  I've known for years that "they" are watching what we say and do.  Do you have a blog?  Do you post on Face Book, Twitter, or another social media site?  Do you use Google? Do you have a Yahoo account? Do you have a cell phone? These and many more are all being watched and recorded.  I was saying this when I first started this blog and I'm still saying it. They ARE watching you.

 The recent unveiling of the NSA's spying on US citizens has made some terrified to speak out anymore. I've got news for you.  They have been watching for years.  And they are gathering your information for the possibility  that in the future you might do something.  Did you see the movie "Minority Report"?  Basically, it was about thought crimes/future crimes.  Even thinking something would bring the government down on you.  Guess what, that is just about here now. 

I recently got a message from someone on Face Book that was pretty telling of just how scared some people are about being a target.  The message was a bit long but the main thing I took from it was how fearful we are becoming.  This person told me he likes the things that I post to Face Book but is afraid to click on most of the links.  Why?  Because he is afraid that someday someone will look at what he has done in the future  and where he has been on his computer.  He is fearful about future reprisals. I think that is pretty telling of what our nation is becoming. 

I have a newsflash for you. You ARE being watched.  Not only that you have been being spied on for years.  And as for me? Oh yeah, you can bet I'm on a list, probably several.  The Department of Defense has been visiting this blog for quite some time now.  Why?  Because I tend to speak out that's why.  If they are monitoring this little blog I can pretty much guarantee they will someday try to use my very words and thoughts against me at some point.  Not much I could do about it either. Even if today I decided to never speak out again, I can't undo what has been said in the past.  Neither can you.   My dad used to say "Your damned if you do and damned if you don't".  That pretty much sums it up.  So I figure I'll just keep doing what I do. Think about it.  Once you have seen what has happened to our freedom you can't just UNsee it. It isn't possible.

 It's a sad day that on the eve of the 4th of July I find myself thinking of the loss of  our freedoms rather than feeling the need to celebrate the birth of this nation.   Some may think that we are still a free nation.  I am not among them.