Tuesday, December 31, 2013


First things first.  I want to apologize for not responding to your comments the past couple of posts.I wasn't trying to be rude or anything.   I find myself yet again in "Time-Out" with Wildblue Sux.  My internet speed has once again been throttled back enough to make dial-up seem fast.  Annoying to say the least but I've come to expect it.

 Did you know that not only is tomorrow is a New Moon but it's only the third time in 300 years that the New Moon has fallen on the first day of the new year?  AND it's called a Super New Moon because it is the closest the moon will be to earth all year!  

Out with the old and in with the new!  I've got a feeling 2014 is going to be an interesting year. It's sure starting out that way.  This is also the only time in my lifetime my birthday will be 1-14-14.

I want to wish each and every one of you a Very Happy New Year!  If you go out to celebrate please find yourself a designated driver.  Cops will most definitely be out and looking for any excuse to pull you over and that could get really expensive really fast.  I'll have to tell you I can't remember the last time we actually went "out" on New Year's Eve. Let me parrot what my friend Jerry over at MDR... Leave it to the rookies to go out and party, we pro's stay home.  (paraphrased of course)

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Strawberry Banna Bread

 After a couple of days with the sun shining, today turned cold,windy and overcast.  After hearing how bad it's been over toward the North East this is a cake walk. OH.... cake walk!!  Not really but I chose to bake bread which is close... kinda....

I don't know if I was bored or what but I felt the need to bake today.I  got my bread made and then I figured there's no time like now to make banana bread.  While I was searching the freezer for banana's I found some strawberries hiding in the freezer. I figured I might as well put them to good use.  It turned out pretty darn good if I have to say so myself.  Sorry there are no pictures but... my camera's still not working. *sigh*

Strawberry Banana Bread

3 1/2 cups of All-Purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter ( or sub 1 cup of shortening if you'd rather)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups of very ripe mashed bananas

1 cup smushed strawberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 9x5 loaf pans.
In a big bowl beat the butter and gradually add your sugar. Add eggs and beat well. Stir in mashed banana's, strawberries and vanilla.
In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Blend into the banana/strawberry batter.  If you want to add nuts, now is the time.  Divide the batter between the two greased pans.
Pop it into the hot oven.  Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center of the loaves comes out clean.

Grab a cup of coffee and a big slice of hot goodness slathered in butter and you have.... Bliss!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Stuff Happens

After all the attention Mars has paid to keep the water lines from freezing, leave it to me to not pay any attention last Sunday night.  I didn't drain the water out (which was my only job to handle at the time) of the pipes from the house and of course it froze.  Heck, we were down to about 15 degrees that night. Not that we don't/didn't have stored water but to have the water into the house froze solid was no fun.  It was only three days (right during the ice storm) but it opened up yet another thing we'll need to address more closely.  Water.  Gotta have more stored water.  Easy enough to work on AND it's not like it costs anything to do either. One of the highlights of our Christmas, for me anyway, was when the water finally thawed and I could wash the pile of dirty dishes without heating up water!  It's the little things in life that can sure make your day!

   I didn't really cook anything fancy for Christmas Dinner.  A baked chicken with carrots and onions, black-eyed peas from the garden,  a salad and homemade bread and I called it done.  Since we don't really like turkey much we'll usually have chicken in it's place. We've been known to frequently have Non-Traditional holiday dinners.  Before the BP oil spill many times we'd have a nice seafood dinner.  Shrimp, oysters, scallops etc. These days we've given up on seafood.  It's just not worth risking eating tainted seafood.  Being raised around Galveston Bay we would have seafood pretty regularly.  Not these days.  We've also stopped buying canned tuna for fear of contamination.  I've still got a couple of cases of tuna in our food storage but once that's gone I'm not sure we'll try and replace it.

My mom is something else I tell ya. Last year she sent Mars a Kindle Fire for his birthday.  Being a "real" book lover he wasn't really sure he was going to like e-books.  Let's just say that I "borrowed" his Kindle A LOT and I just loved it.  After a bit he slowly started using the Kindle more and more often.  There are just tons of free books available.  I was spending less and less time on his Kindle because he was slowly using it more and more.  Well, my mom (being the great gift giver that she is) called a couple of weeks before Christmas and told me that there were packages coming in the mail.  Once they got here I was instructed to wrap them both and stick them under my imaginary Christmas tree!  When I opened it up I had to just start laughing.  In  the box was my very own Kindle Fire!  She's cool like that ya know! lol

And in other news..... When we first moved out here to the homeplace there were piles and piles of debris from the house fire that needed to be disposed of. We took several truckloads of scrap metal (lots of siding too) to the recycling center.  Now, most of that is all gone but there is still lots of things like brick, firebrick and cinder-block that need to be removed from where the old house stood.  Much of the cinder-block isn't any good.  For the most part they pretty much break into smaller pieces when picked up.  Mars has used some for the parking area for the car, He also crushed up a bunch of it with a sledge hammer and used it to make walkways so we weren't walking in mud.  The newest thing to do with the old cinder-block pieces is to use them to build up the corner at the front of the property.  There's a pretty good slope there and that part of the land is mostly huge sandstone boulders with just a little bit of dirt and grass growing over it.  So the idea is to use the cinder-blocks to build up the corner.  Once that is done Mars wants to dig out the top few inches of dirt from where the old house was sitting and cover up the cinder-blocks with it.  Eventually there might even be grass or something covering up that little corner.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas Ya'll

   I've tried and tried to get some pictures of the ice, but it seems my poor camera has some sort of power problem.  I've changed batteries several times, bought new batteries just in case and tried with them.  Nothing.  All I get is a black screen saying Change the batteries.  Geesh.  

I've shared my photo's for pretty much the entire time I've been writing this blog.  It feels so strange to post without one so I found an older one today!

The storm that is moving toward the east coast left us here with everything covered in ice.   It looks like a winter wonderland around here.  So beautiful.  Boy is it ever cold though!  Temps haven't been above freezing in a few days.  Mars has been keeping the water turned off most of the time.  He'll turn it on and I'll refill the containers that need to be filled and get the dishes washed up.  Then he drains the lines and shuts it back off.  So far we've not had frozen pipes.  Keep your fingers crossed will ya?  Every time he goes out there to turn it on I sort of hold my breath till water starts coming.

There is a half an inch of ice covering everything.  It looks like a winter wonderland around here.  Absolutely stunning.  Especially when the sun comes out for a half a second!  hehehehe   The two little Redbud trees we planted last spring are bent over in half, icy limbs touching the ground.  All I can say is they haven't broken yet so that's a good sign, isn't it??  I've got my fingers crossed.

We lost electricity here  on Sunday for about 24 hours   Let me tell you it was COLD up in here huddled in multiple layers of clothing. I'm sure glad we both have our insulated coveralls.   We really are going to have to  work on getting another type of heat beyond the electric heaters.    We've put it off much to long and this isn't the first time we've been caught unprepared for the electricity going out. We're ok with the lights as we have oil lamps and a couple of battery type lights. but we've got to address an alternate heating arrangement besides the stove. .  Hey if it came down to it we'd just fire up the stove in the barn and hang out. I'd rather not have to do that So it has now moved higher on THE LIST. 

I'd really like to thank the reader who hit the donation button. You know who you are.  What an awesome surprise!   Your thoughtfulness has put me into the Christmas mood. 
Thanks so very much.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Real Life

  I try really hard not to get "down" this time of year.  It's been kind of hard this year for some reason.  We are just stretched so far that if the budget were any tighter it would snap and break.  Shoot, we're so broke that even Christmas cards and stamps were out of the question.  Along with the taxes being due, extra propane and the electric bill that has doubled with the cold weather there was the new battery we had to have for the car . With the little check we get by on that battery is our Christmas.  BUT I have so much to be thankful for.  Least of not which is our land.  We are just two more payments away from it being paid for!  We'll have a little bit more wiggle once that happens.

I've not said much of anything about the diesel truck I wrecked last Spring.  It's been harder here than you know without that dang truck on the road.  Mars is and always has been self employed and always needed a truck for the kind of work he does.  Fencing, welding, decks, small construction jobs.   Most all of those things require a pickup truck.  You have got to have something to haul the materials in. So the loss of the truck not only put us out of transportation for a bit (thanks to good folks we do have our little beater car!) but it has put him out of work for the most part. 

 Not to mention all the things that we've been unable to do around here without a truck.  It's hard to haul 8' or 1o' 2x4's in a little car. I swear I can't even look at Craigslist anymore.  I am always seeing free "stuff" that we could use around here for the house we will onc day build.   We just have no way to haul it. 

Geesh,  I don't know why I got off onto this subject.  It makes me sound ungrateful for all the things we do have.  I don't mean it to be. There are so many who are hurting worse than we are.   Once the land is paid for it will free up some money in our budget.  Then we can begin to tackle some  the problems that have been set before us.  We've just got to hang tight for now and know in our hearts that things happen for a reason. Even though we might not see it at the time.  

I hesitated sharing this, knowing full well that it is bound to open up conversations I don't really want to have.  I've pretty much always tried to see the positive and play down the negative here. I've tried to be honest though.  This is just the way things are.  This blog is as much for me to journal our travels and experiences in this new life that we have chosen, as it is to try in some small way to help others who are walking this path too.  Thanks for letting me rant for a bit.  I promise not to be such a Debbie Downer again this year. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Good Day Sunshine

It looks like here in N.E. Oklahoma it's going to be beautiful for the best part of the week.  I've been trying to take advantage of the weather to get some outdoor things done. It's amazing what all you can find to do when the weather has kept you indoors for awhile.

A couple of years ago we found an old washer and dryer on Craigslist .  The washer's kind of picky when the weather turns cold.  It seems that something (you'd have to ask Mars cause I'm clueless)  freezes inside the machine (pump?) and it won't agitate.  So it's either rig up some sort of light or heater OR just wait till the weather warms enough for it to thaw out.

All that just to say I need to get some laundry done in the next couple of days while the weather's nice.  The dryer's newer and works great.  I just don't use it unless I'm forced to so not only do I need warmer weather I also want it to be sunny out so I can use the solar dryer.

I'm having chicken problems. It looks like I might be trying my hand at raising some feedstore chicks in the spring.  I've read and read about chickens and there are all sorts of different opinions.  I'm about ready to put some hens in the freezer.   Three haven't laid in over four months.  I gave it some time because two that had chicks weren't laying eggs.  Then I gave them a chance because they were molting.  Bring that around to now and I've only  got one hen laying.  Part of me wants to say it's because its cold.  The other part is really tired of feeding them.  And we won't even talk about the three roosters who are on death row.  

Now don't get me wrong but one of my New Years Resolution is going to be "If you don't work - I swear I'm gonna serve you with some carrots, potatoes and onions"   I've grown really tired of taking care of critters that don't pull their load around here!  I'll also know in a couple of weeks if we are going to be raising rabbits or eating them too. The new buck seems to know what he's doing though so we'll see.  Ol' Bucky just might be on death row too.

Well I'm off to do some "while the sun shines" stuff.  It's time to scratch some things off the list today.  Who knows what in the world might happen.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Staying Warm

I'd like to thank everyone for all the cool (no pun intended) insulation ideas you guys shared.  It's much warmer in the RV now. I'm thankful that Mars put up skirting around the RV last year.  It's helped a ton.   I've pulled out blankets and throws to cover the windows with.  It's amazing the difference it's made in retaining the heat.  It does sometimes feel like a dark cave in here though So I take them down on sunny days and use the sun's heat to help too.  I am one of those "sun" people.  I just function better when the sun is shining.  Dark and cloudy days are sometimes things that have to be endured until the sun comes out again.

We've been having temps in the teens at night and so Mars has been shutting off the water and draining the lines overnight to avoid pipes bursting. He also filled a big cooler with water and put it in the greenhouse to keep it from freezing up. That's the water I've been using to water the critters with.  I've been rotating out the water we've got stored and refilling when the water's on.  For a few days last week everything froze up and I was really glad that we've got several gallon jugs of water and a 5 gallon cooler for water in the house. They take up a lot of room in this little trailer but it's the only place we can keep it without having the freeze. It beats going without though. 

Our local grocery store has begun a new "service".  They have decided that they will honor other grocery stores sales ads.  I've been taking advantage it and last week I picked up celery at 2/$1.00. So I picked up six.  I still need to chop it all up and dry it but I was really happy to find such a great deal.  There is an Aldi's in T Town but it's almost a 90 mile trip round trip.  They have some killer specials on produce most every week and now I can still stay local and take advantage of the deals from Aldi's. For instance, the  week before Thanksgiving they had cranberries for $1 a bag. I realize now I should have picked up more than 2 bags. Especially when I found out just how easy (and yummy) homemade cranberry sauce is to make.

 It's hard to believe that just a month ago I was still enjoying the down time. Now I'm starting to think about spring.  Especially since I got my first 2014 Seed Catalog!  Baker's Creek even!!  I love reading seed catalog's and Baker Creek is one of my favorites. Just think, here in a few weeks I'll be starting tomatoes in the greenhouse.  Winter is a great time to go through my seeds and see what I have and also start planning what we'll actually plant in the spring. 

I think I'm going to bake a batch of cookies this afternoon.  Snickerdoodles anyone ?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Saturday Check In

Like most everyone across the country,  we are getting our share of snow and cold cold temps. The low last night was  right at 3 *.  We've warmed up to 9* here now .  Now that's some pretty cold weather.  We got about 6"  of snow and it looks like it's not going to melt much anytime soon. 

 The trailer isn't very warm but we are managing.  The heater runs constantly though and I can only imagine how high our electric bill is going to be after all this. Layers of clothes, hats and gloves are still required though.  I'm thankful I have a pair of fingerless gloves.  They really are coming in handy.  

One of the things on "The Eternally Growing List" is to make some heavier curtains for the windows.  They really loose the heat.  I'm sure wishing I had bumped it up a bit higher on the list. Hindsight's 20/20 though!   There have just been things that were more important and I've just not had the funds for the material.

The critters are all ok.  I've been breaking ice out of the water for the chickens three times a day for the past couple of days.  The rabbits don't seem phased much by the weather.  We move them into the barn in late fall and they overwinter there. Mars had the foresight to fill a big cooler full of water and set it in the greenhouse for critter water. We've got a little heater in there for the few plants that we are trying to overwinter and it's nice and warm in there. 

  I'm sorry about no pictures lately. My camera has some sort of problem where the  batteries go in.  It's not making a "connection" for some reason. It breaks my heart because I like to take photo's of things around here for future reference.  Besides I just love taking pictures!  Mars hasn't taken a look at the camera yet.  I'm hoping he'll be able to figure something out. We've added a new critter to the mix and I wanted to show you how cute he is. 

Ya'll all take care and stay warm.  Be sure to check on your neighbors and especially  the elderly to make sure they are ok too.