Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thanks Granny Sue!

Last week I was the recipient of a very nice gift. You see I visit Granny Sue's a lot. It just so happened I joined in the fun of her chicken riddles contest. To my surprise I ended up the winner. As such, Susanna sent me a copy of her CD 'Mountain Story, Mountain Song'.

That same evening after dinner Coop and I shared an hour being spellbound by Susanna Holstein's voice in story and lyric as she wove her tales and sang her songs. Granny Sue knows how to tell a tale as a tale should be told. We enjoyed the stories and songs immensely. My favorite story was the tale of "Gracie's Cabin". Days later I found myself humming the tune that accompanied that story, picturing Gracie stirring her kettle of herbs and potions over the fire.

For me there was also something reminiscent in the way Granny Sue tells a story. It took me back to my childhood days when on occasion my dad would gather us round and tell ghost stories. Thanks for the CD Granny Sue and for the memories as well.

Btw, if you want to see the answers to Granny Sue's chicken riddles, here they are.
An afterthought here...Granny Sue's CD would make a really great gift this holiday season!

The Ten Commandments of Responsible Pet Ownership

My twin sis posted this on myspace and I thought it worth repeating.

1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.

2. Give me time to understand what you want of me.

3. Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.

4. Don't be angry with me for long, and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends, your entertainments; but I have only you.

5. Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.

6. Be aware that however you treat me I will never forget it.

7. Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I have teeth that could easily crush the bones in your hand and yet I choose not to bite you.

8. Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.

9. Please take care of me when I grow old. You too will grow old.

10. On the difficult journey, on the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there because I love you so.

Take a moment today to thank God for your companions. Enjoy and take good care of them. Life would be a much duller, less joyful thing without God's critters. Please pass this on to other pet owners.

We do not have to wait for heaven to be surrounded by hope, love and joyfulness. It is here on earth and has four feet.

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c

Monday, September 29, 2008

the times we live in

Despite living a simple, frugal lifestyle and budgeting carefully, I've really felt the effects of a more limited budget the past couple of months. (I'll be posting more on this subject soon.)
In an effort to attract some added income I've become an affiliate for Mountain Rose Herbs. I chose this company because of their strong emphasis on sustainable agriculture and overall commitment to the environment, the reason Mountain Rose Herbs has been my supplier for organic herbs and supplies for the past several years. Their prices are some of the best as well. So you see, I have a lot of reasons for choosing to become an affiliate. The bottom line is, I love Mountain Rose and hope you will consider them for your herbs, spices, teas and other quality items. Please use one of the enclosed links or the sidebar link on my blog site to visit Mountain Rose Herbs and while there be sure to read their guiding principles. We need more caring companies like this! I hope you'll support them for your needs. In the process you'll be helping me out as well and for that a seriously huge thank you from my homestead heart.

As well as the aforementioned items, MRH carries natural health and body care products, carrier oils and bulk supplies as well as essential oils, aromatherapy products and gifts for the home and garden. Their list of herbs and spices is extensive and their customer service fabulous. I know!

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ending the Cholesterol-Heart Disease Myth

Some food for thought. I think I'd like to read the authors book.

by Andreas Moritz (see all articles by this author)

(NaturalNews) Why has there never been a record of cholesterol having blocked a vein in the body! What is it about arteries that makes cholesterol attach itself to their walls, while leaving the veins alone? Is it really the sticky nature of cholesterol that is behind the blockage of healthy blood vessel walls?

The answers to these questions may surprise you. The body actually uses the lipoprotein cholesterol as a kind of bandage to cover abrasions and tears in damaged arterial walls just as it does it for any other wound. Cholesterol is nothing less than a life-saver. However, for the past thirty-eight years, this lipoprotein has been stigmatized to be the number one cause of deaths in the rich nations - heart disease.

This is how the theory goes: For reasons not really known, a form of cholesterol that has earned the name “bad” somehow increases in the bloodstream of millions of people today; it sticks to the walls of arteries, and eventually, it will starve the heart muscle of oxygen and nutrients. Accordingly, the masses are urged to reduce or ban cholesterol-containing fats from their diet so that they can live without the fear of arterial occlusion and dying from a heart attack.

The tremendous concern of being attacked by this “vicious” lipoprotein has finally led to innovative technologies that can even extract cholesterol from cheese, eggs, and sausages, thus making these “deadly” foods “consumer-safe.” Products that claim to be low in cholesterol, such as margarine and light-foods, have become a popular choice of “healthy eating.”

Cholesterol is Not the Culprit After All

But as INTERHEART and other studies have shown, cholesterol isn't a serious risk factor for heart disease at all. An earlier study sponsored by the German Ministry of Research and Technology showed that no exact link exists between food cholesterol and blood cholesterol. Even more surprising, in Japan, the cholesterol levels have risen during recent years, yet the number of heart attacks has dropped. The largest health study ever conducted on the risks of heart disease took place in China. Like so many similar studies, the Chinese study found no connection between heart disease and the consumption of animal fats.

In an 8-year long heart study, researchers observed 10,000 people with high cholesterol levels. Half of them received a best-selling statin drug. The other half were simply told to eat a normal diet and get enough exercise. The results stunned the researchers. Although the statin drug did indeed lower serum cholesterol, this had no impact whatsoever on death rate, non-fatal heart attacks and fatal arterial disease. In other words, the statin-users had zero advantage over those who received no treatment at all. However, they had just spent eight years taking a costly drug with hideous side effects - risking liver failure, muscle wasting, even sudden death. Lowering cholesterol either through drugs or low fat diets does not lower the risk of developing heart disease.

All the major European long-term cholesterol studies have confirmed that a low-fat diet did not reduce cholesterol levels by more than 4 percent, in most cases merely 1-2 percent. Since measurement mistakes are usually higher than 4 percent and cholesterol levels naturally increase by 20 percent in autumn and drop again during the wintertime, the anti-cholesterol campaigns since the late 1980s have been very misleading, to say the least. A more recent study from Denmark involving 20,000 men and women, in fact, demonstrated that most heart disease patients have normal cholesterol levels. The bottom line is that cholesterol hasn't been proved a risk factor for anything.

The current medical understanding of the cholesterol issue is more than incomplete. The argument that animal tests on rabbits have confirmed that fatty foods cause hardening of the arteries sounds convincing, but only when the following facts are omitted:

* Rabbits respond 3,000 times more sensitively to cholesterol than humans do.

* Rabbits, which are non-carnivorous animals by nature, are force-fed excessive quantities of egg yolk and brain for the sake of proving that cholesterol-containing foods are harmful.

* The DNA and enzyme systems of rabbits are not designed for consumption of fatty foods, and if given a choice, these animals would never eat eggs or brains.

It is obvious that the arteries of these animals have only an extremely limited ability to respond to the damage caused by such unsuitable diets. For over three and half decades, Western civilization assumed that animal fats were the main cause of dietary heart disease. This misinformation is highlighted by the fact that heart attacks began to rise when consumption of animal fats actually decreased. This was verified by British research, which revealed that those areas in the U.K. where people consumed more margarine and less butter had the highest numbers of heart attacks. Further studies revealed that heart attack patients had consumed the least amounts of animal fats.

In this context, it is important to differentiate between processed and unprocessed fats. It has been discovered that people who died from a heart attack were found to have many more of the harmful fatty acids derived from the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils in their fat tissue than those who survived. These so-called "faulty" fats (trans-fatty acids) envelop and congest the membranes of cells, including those that make up the heart and coronary arteries. This practically starves the cells of oxygen, nutrients, and water, and eventually kills them.

In another more comprehensive study, 85,000 nurses working in American hospitals observed a higher risk for heart disease in patients who consumed margarine, crisps, potato chips, biscuits, cookies, cakes, and white bread, all of which contain trans fats.

Eating margarine can increase heart disease in women by 53 percent over eating the same amount of butter, according to a recent Harvard Medical Study. While actually increasing LDL cholesterol, margarine lowers the beneficial HDL cholesterol. It also increases the risk of cancers up to five times. Margarine suppresses both the immune response and insulin response. This highly processed and artificial product is practically resistant to destruction, being one molecule away from plastic. Flies, bacteria, fungi, etc. won't go near it because it has no nutritional value and cannot be broken down by them. It can last for years, not just outside the body, but inside as well.

It is very apparent that eating damaged, rancid fats or trans-fats can destroy any healthy organism and should be avoided by anyone. In 2007 New York City banned the use of trans fats in its restaurants; however, the trans fats are merely being replaced with new artificial fats that have the same or worse effects.

Healthy Today - Sick Tomorrow

Unfortunately, high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) has become the dominating health concern of the 21st century. It is actually an invented disease that doesn't show up as one. Even the healthiest people may have elevated serum cholesterol and yet their health remains perfect. But they are instantly turned into patients when a routine blood test reveals that they have a "cholesterol problem."

Since feeling good is actually a symptom of high cholesterol, the cholesterol issue has confused millions of people. To be declared sick when you actually feel great is a hard nut to swallow. So it may take a lot of effort on behalf of a practicing physician to convince his patients that they are sick and need to take one or more expensive drugs for the rest of their lives. These healthy individuals may become depressed when they are being told they will need to take potentially harmful drugs to lower their cholesterol levels on a long-term, daily basis. When they also learn that they will require regular checkups and blood tests, their worry-free, good life is now over.

These doctors cannot be blamed for the blunder of converting healthy people into patients. Behind them stands the full force of the U.S. government, the media, the medical establishment, agencies, and of course, the pharmaceutical companies. All of them have collaborated to create relentless pressure in disseminating the cholesterol myth and convincing the population that high cholesterol is its number one enemy. We are told that we need to combat it by all means possible to keep us safe from the dreadful consequences of hypercholesterolemia.

The definition of a "healthy" level of cholesterol has been repeatedly adjusted during the past 30 years, which certainly does not give me much confidence in a system of medicine that professes to be founded on sound scientific principles. In the early days of measuring cholesterol levels, a person at risk was any middle-aged man whose cholesterol was over 240 and possessed other risk factors, such as smoking or being overweight.

After the adjustment of parameters during the Cholesterol Consensus Conference in 1984, the population was hit by a shock wave. Now, anyone (male or female) with overall cholesterol readings of 200 mg percent (200mg per 100 ml) could receive the dreaded diagnosis and a prescription for pills. The claim that 200 blood serum cholesterol is normal and everything above is dangerous was scientifically unfounded, though. At least, this was the consensus of all the major cholesterol studies. In fact, a report in a 1995 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association showed no evidence linking high cholesterol levels in women with heart conditions later in life.

Although it is considered completely normal for a 55-year-old woman to have a cholesterol level of 260 mg percent, most women that age are not told about this. Also healthy employees are found to have an average of 250 mg percent with high fluctuations in both directions.

The lack of evidence linking elevated cholesterol with increased risk of heart disease, however, didn't stop the brainwashing of the masses. In the U.S. 84 percent of all men and 93 percent of all women aged 50-59 with high cholesterol levels were suddenly told they needed treatment for heart disease. The totally unproved but aggressively promoted cholesterol theories turned most of us into patients for a disease that we probably will never develop. Fortunately, not everyone has followed the advice to have their cholesterol levels checked but, unfortunately, millions of people have fallen into the trap of misinformation.

To make matters worse, the official, acceptable cholesterol level has now been moved down to 180. If you have already had one heart attack, your cardiologist will tell you to take cholesterol-lowering statins even if your cholesterol is very low. From the viewpoint of conventional medicine, having a heart attack implies that your cholesterol must be too high. Hence you are being sentenced to a lifetime of statins and a boring low-fat diet. But even if you have not experienced any heart trouble yet, you are already being considered for possible treatment.

Since so many children now show signs of elevated cholesterol, we have a whole new generation of candidates for medical treatment. So yes, current edicts stipulate cholesterol testing and treatment for young adults and even children! The statin drugs that doctors use to push cholesterol levels down are LIPITOR (atorvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin), Mevacor (lovastatin), and Pravachol (pravastatin). If you decide to follow your doctor's advice and take one of these drugs, make certain to read the list of side effects so that you know the risks you are taking.

If you want to obtain objective and untainted information on cholesterol, agencies like the National Institutes of Health and the American College of Cardiology are certainly not the places from which to obtain it. Until recently, they wanted you to keep your overall cholesterol level below 150. Then, in 2001, they finally admitted that measuring overall cholesterol levels makes no sense at all, so they began recommending an LDL level below 100. Now their aim is to keep LDL lower than 70. Every time they lower the target, the number of "patients" requiring treatment jumps dramatically, much to the benefit of the drug producers. Being officially backed by these agencies, doctors feel motivated, if not obliged, to prescribe these expensive drugs to their new patients.

The extensive promotional campaigns by the pharmaceutical giants have already brainwashed the masses to believe they need these drugs to be safe from sudden heart attack. Even if a doctor knows the truth about the cholesterol deception, these anxious patients will demand a prescription from him. This is not just affecting their health, but everyone's economic future. The massive sales of these best-selling drugs of all time drive up health care costs to levels that undermine economic growth and make basic health care unaffordable to an ever-increasing number of people. The masses have been so brainwashed with misinformation that this lurking financial crisis doesn't seem to be their immediate concern.

In 2004, there were already 36 million statin candidates in the U.S., with 16 million using LIPITOR alone. When the official LDL target level drops to 70, another 5 million people will be eligible for their use. At the consumer markup price of $272.37 and an actual cost of $5.80 for a month supply of LIPITOR, you can understand the incentive that the pharmaceutical industry has to push their products and make them a mass commodity.

Excerpted from Chapter 9 of Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation by Andreas Moritz, (www.ener-chi.com) or (www.amazon.com) . Check out the book for more information about statins, cholesterol and heart disease, or any of the related topics listed below

* The Secret Cause Of Heart Disease - And Why It’s So Easily Reversed

* The Beginning Stages Of Heart Disease

* Major Contributing Factors

* Meat Consumption And Heart Disease

* Yes, Your Body Can Store Protein!

* Protein Storage - A Time Bomb

* The Revealing Role Of Homocysteine

* C-Reactive Protein Reveals The Truth

* How And Why Heart Attacks Really Occur

* Heart Attacks Can Occur In A Number Of Ways:

1) New Studies Question Value Of Opening Arteries

2) Risk Indications Of A Heart Attack

3) What Statins May Do To You!

4) But Doesn’t Aspirin Protect Against Heart Disease?

5) Dangers Of Low Cholesterol

6) Cholesterol - Your Life And Blood

7) When Cholesterol Signals SOS

8) Balancing Cholesterol Levels Naturally

9) Overcoming Heart Disease - Two Encouraging Stories

10) Non-Dietary Causes Of Heart Disease.

11) A Lacking Social Support System

12) Greatest Risk Factors: Job Satisfaction And Happiness Rating

13) Your Need To Love

14) What A Loving Spouse Can Do

15) The Healing Power Of “Loving Touch”

Buzz up!vote nowBoost this article on YahooBuzz! Click "BuzzUp!"

About the author

Andreas Moritz is a medical intuitive; a practitioner of Ayurveda, iridology, shiatsu, and vibrational medicine; a writer; and an artist. He is the author of The Amazing Liver and Gallbladder Flush, Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation, Lifting the Veil of Duality, Cancer Is Not a Disease, It’s Time to Come Alive, Heart Disease No More, Diabetes No More, Simple Steps to Total Health, Diabetes—No More, Ending the AIDS Myth and Heal Yourself with Sunlight. For more information, visit the author’s website (www.ener-chi.com).

Thursday, September 25, 2008

smelly dog syndrome

I’m grinning here as I type this. I mean, just looking at the title of is post. (I also have that old Skynyrd tune in my head, ooh, ooh that smell...) If you have a dog I’m betting you at least have some idea of what that means. If not, well by all means lemme explain….some dogs (not necessarily all) seem to have a built in tendency to want to roll around in smelly stuff. No one is sure exactly why, but it's assumed that they are trying to disguise their own scent. I think they just like stinky stuff. Whatever the case may be, some dogs do it. And when they do they seem to be extremely enthusiastic about it…at least my dog Timmy is. You’ll maybe recall my mention of him doing so at three o’clock one morning and him being quarantined in the garage until I could give him a bath.

When I complained to my sis about his behavior she told me what cured her dog of many years prior. One day, after bathing him she sprayed him with her musk cologne. As time went by she noticed that he obviously wasn’t practicing his smelly dog habit any longer. So, every so often she would give him a spray of musk cologne and that seemed to resolve his need to roll. I thought it was worth at least a try. Anything within reason was worth a try. If you've ever had the smelly dog experience you know what I'm sayin'.

Since cologne is something you won’t find in my house, but essentials oils are, I concocted a spray to try on my boy Tim. I chose two that I felt were earthy and kind of musky. I placed a dropper full of patchouli along with a few drops of vetivert into a spray bottle with about 6-8 ounces of water. “Here Timmy boy, come to mamma!” This dog is so good, he just stood there and let me spray him all over. When done, he raced into the living room and started rubbing and rolling all over the floor, just like he does outside when he finds something as wonderful as duck crap. He seems to love it when I spray him with the stuff! (I don't mean the duck crap, although he would love that bottled in a spray I'm sure.)

It’s been over a month now since I began the practice of spraying him down about once weekly with this blend and I am elated to say he has not once (to my noses knowledge) rolled in anything to make him come in smelling like a litter box in dire need of cleaning. And believe me, I have checked. For a couple weeks I was in the habit of sniffing him over every time he came inside after a jaunt outdoors. Now, not only are we humans no longer suffering from the effects of SDS (smelly dog syndrome), Timmy smells real purty all the time.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bad Choices, Bailouts and my thoughts for what they're worth

So, here we are bailing out these mega financial companies because of poor decisions and practices. So, my thoughts are this; if it's a necessary and prudent choice to do so for the good of the country and the economy, then should it not be equally as necessary to forgive the common folk their poor choices and judgment and bail them out as well? I mean, you know, for the good of the country and the economy?

It seems the little people who made poor choices in home loans are living the consequences of their mistakes. So, perhaps we should let the big guys do the same. I really don't know nor do I have the answers but these are questions that take up space in my brain.

Congress will likely approve the 700 billion dollar (plus) financial rescue plan. If so, how about just giving the people a leg up...like a place to live by giving their homes back to them? Now there's a rescue plan that just might restore a little more faith in the American way. With all the money being spent on bailouts and war, why not? Call me idealistic, but I tend to believe that if something doesn't work for everyone then it really doesn't work. Just my thoughts at the moment.

From telegraph.co.uk - Homeless encampments dubbed "tent cities" are springing up across the US, partly in response to soaring numbers of home repossessions, the credit crunch and rising unemployment, according to a report.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I'm on a mission and I can't be stopped

I’ve been on a kick for a week now, sorting, organizing and trying my best to arrange my home in a more orderly fashion. I think it’s because throughout the past two months I’ve been a tad bit overwhelmed with clutter while canning. Now that’s behind me I seem to be on a mission to streamline things…well, as best I can. And when I say I am done with canning this time, I really mean it. I thought I was done several times, but ended up with a few more quarts of this and a few more pints of that. The week before the wind storm I canned pear sauce. Then last Monday, the day after the storm, I got a bargain on a big ol’ box of peaches. How could I resist? Nearly ¾ bushel and I paid $5 for them! So Monday night and Tuesday morn I was canning peaches. I love peaches and was thrilled to find them marked down so low. A few were over ripe, but 99% were just fine and all nice big, tree ripened peaches. Tasty! Earlier I had called around local orchards and they were going for $36-38 a bushel. That’s way beyond my budget so finding a deal like I did was awesome! And how about this; I had just enough jars left to can them…just enough. So yes, I am done now because I am out of canning jars. That, my friends, is hard to believe because I had a load of jars at the beginning of the season.

Anyhoo, about the mission…I have reworked the kitchen a little to suit me better, switched things from one cupboard to another and somehow I actually found storage for my small appliances; the crockpots, the food processor, the blender, etc. I still haven’t figured that one out because I actually eliminated the sideboard. Trust me; I’m not questioned how, just celebrating the fact, lol! Today I unintentionally worked on the living room and rearranged enough to make it feel more spacious. With the cooler weather here and more time being spent indoors as the weather turns to fall, I needed to feel less closed in. The truth is, despite my simplified life, I have too much stuff and too much furniture. I am limited as to how I can arrange things and still maintain my own sense of aesthetics. But I pulled it off and managed to open the living room up a bit for a more spacious feel. Damn I am good! *snicker* I did take note as I was reloading the shelves with books and pretties that I need to go through these particular things and get rid of some of this excess stuff. But for the moment I am just going to feel good about what has been done.

My mind has been drifting to the holidays already. That means I must be picking up on my crafting soon since we give primarily handmade gifts. I have always enjoyed the creative process and my skills come in handy, especially on our budget. Not only when it comes to gift giving, but also in our everyday lives. Recently I crocheted a scarf for the top of the toilet tank. I felt it needed a little something to make it a little prettier. I happened to have some green cotton yarn on hand so I worked up this “doily” in a simple V stitch.

I also like to make shawls and have a couple I’ve made for myself and use regularly. They’re the nicest things to wrap up in on a cool morning or evening. I use mine in place of a robe around the house. I especially like to take one along when we go to the concerts in the park during the summer. The evenings can get quite cool and they are the perfect wrap.

Well, speaking of wrap, I think I’ll wrap this up. But before I do, check out the boys, Timmy and Arther. I think they’ve adapted well to one another.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy Autumnal Equinox

As you, O Autumn, take pleasure in your great beauty,
let me also delight
in the abundance of the simple things in life
which are the true sources of joy.
With the golden glow of peaceful contentment
may I truly appreciate this autumn day.

~Edward Hays~

Wake Up Call

Last Sunday’s wind storm was a wake up call. Hurricane force winds of 70 mph or more wreaked havoc on many Ohioans who found themselves without power for a day or more. Some are still waiting to have their electric restored. We were some of the extremely fortunate ones. Our power was restored within 20 hours. Fortunately for all Ohioans this storm occurred in warm weather. The last time I can recall winds close to the magnitude we experienced last Sunday was during the blizzard of 78.

Sunday started out warm and breezy. As the afternoon wore on the gusts increased in strength and duration. Around 4:30 we had to close up the house. The gusts were strong enough by then that the houseplants sitting in my south window literally blew off the table. It was then I questioned how much longer we would have power. An hour later we didn’t.

Throughout the evening high winds continued with gusts reaching hurricane force. The sound of their approach was pretty scary. We watched as trees fell in the woods across the field south of our house. Crack after crack came from the woods just behind our home. We watched as not only limbs but entire trees came down, some that had stood for more years than we have been.

On Monday with daylight having returned, damages were assessed. Trees and large limbs down behind the house, but elsewhere only the littering of smaller limbs and twigs and a few shingles. We faired well. At the kitchen table it was time to assess our preparedness, or perhaps the lack of it.

Our major concern at the time was the freezer and not losing the produce and fruit inside. Of course generators were nowhere to be had. If the electric came back on in a reasonably short time everything would be ok. If not, we made plans to move the contents and the freezer into my sister’s house to plug in…a lot of hassle but one we considered worth the effort to save the food inside. Luckily it didn’t come down to that. Other than that, this is where we stood on the basics.

Food on hand - very good
Food prep capabilities - good. Propane stove with a full tank of propane, along with the outdoor charcoal grill. Not much charcoal on hand but plenty of limb wood! We also have an outdoor camp fire ring.
Water - good for short term as I always have several gallons of tap water on hand plus the 50 gallon hot water tank can be easily drained. Long term water storage is not good. In searching the internet for water storage solutions I came across Water Preserver™. It doesn’t clean water, but preserves tap water for up to 5 years. One bottle, depending on size, treats 30 to 55 gallon of tap water. Verde over at Justice Desserts just blogged about clean water solutions and after researching I agree that the Berkey Water Filtration System is the way to go.
Heat – We don’t do so well here. Because we rent we aren’t allowed to install a wood burner for insurance reasons. This is a real shame as we have loads of downed wood. Instead we have a kerosene heater and a small propane heater. But do we have an adequate supply of fuel on hand for these? Short term only. Luckily this power outage occurred in warm weather.
Back Up Power – no, a generator is in order. (wake up!) A good thing to remember here is that one doesn’t need to run a generator continuously. Operating one 2-3 hours at a time may be sufficient and would save on fuel usage and cost of operation.
Communication – we faired ok here because our landline stayed in effect and fortunately we still own a land phone. The cordless phone was of no use because the base is electric and with no power there is no function. We also have a cell phone but no car charger, so once the battery went on that it was useless, too. A car charger is in order. Also, we have a portable radio with batteries we keep for emergencies. However I think we may invest in a crank radio. Ironically, despite listening to the radio during the storm, no news on the storm was to be heard from any of our local stations, even the major stations in Cleveland. A weather radio would be a plus.
Light - good, we have kerosene lamps and lanterns, several flashlights and lot of candles.

Like many, we tend to be somewhat complacent until shit hits the fan. In ending this post all I can say is I’m glad for this wake up call. We definitely have things to work on and this situation brought those things to our attention. How about you? How prepared are you?

Friday, September 19, 2008

It's Just How I Am

a poem by yours truly for your reading pleasure...you might resonate with it...or not. :)

It really doesn't matter much
what others think of me,
I live by my own standards
since they suit me to a T.

I pin the laundry on the line
to dry by sun and breeze,
my underwear is hanging there
(and I don't care)
for all the world to see!

In the mornings in the garden,
in my nightie I'll be found.
Passers by should close their eyes
if I am bending down.

The things I do are mine to do
the way that I see fit,
and if they seem inappropriate,
it doesn't bother me one bit!

©sallie cooper 2008

Ahoy me buckos!

Avast all you lubbers out there, be warned as ye go about yer business this fair day, today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arrr! Thanks be that me very own daughter in law reminded me!

And just so ye know, the storm that blundered our way last weekend caused no serious damages. Arrrr! 'Tis one lucky lad and lassie we were. I be catchin' up with ye soon me hearties. Until then, fair winds!

My pirate name is:

Captain Anne Vane

Even though there's no legal rank on a pirate ship, everyone recognizes you're the one in charge. You tend to blend into the background occasionally, but that's okay, because it's much easier to sneak up on people and disembowel them that way. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

Sunday, September 14, 2008

harvest moon

While browsing moon lore I came across this lovely blog post which gives an efficient and timely summery of this time of the season.

Crane's Nest Creations: The Full Harvest Moon , Fall Equinox and Mabon

Friday, September 12, 2008

I QUIT…sort of

Four and half more pints of ketchup, seven more quarts of tomato juice and seven quarts of pickled Hungarian peppers are canned…and I quit! Oh wait, I forgot about that basket of small pears Coop picked. Well, looks like I’ll be making pear butter tomorrow…just when I thought I was done. Weeeell, I’m very close to being done. Then I quit! But I hear this little voice inside whispering, “Yeah, but what about those Hungarians and Amish Paste still out there?”

Yeah, what about them? I’ll tell you what about them…they can stay there, they can lay there and rot. I am tired of canning! My shelves are full, my freezer is full and I’m tired.”

“Now you know you won’t let them go to waste. You live by the rule of waste not want not.”

You’re right, you’re right, OKAY!?…you know me too well…*sigh*…I will do my best to make sure they are put to use, if not by me then by someone.

Here’s the thing; I always plan for and plant more than we can use because one never knows when one type of produce or one section of the garden might fail. That was pretty much the case with the sweet peppers, but boy those Hungarians took off and all the tomatoes did exceptionally well this year. A variety of winter squash didn’t do so well due to vine borers, but we got a little of this and a little of that and we had plenty of zucchini! All I know is that I have enough veggies preserved for the winter and then some and I am tired of standing at the sink and stove, tired of finding tomato splatter on things it should not be on, tired of washing jars and kettles and kitchen towels and chopping veggies and peeling tomatoes, I’m tired of my kitchen table looking like a produce stand at the farmers market and tired of hauling dishpans full of tomato skins out to the compost bin, tired of the spills and the clutter piling up, and, and…

(catches her breath) I am so very, very grateful that through all the planning and hard work, our joint effort with nature has given us such beautiful, bounteous and tasty results. It has all been so very much worth it so…um…er..if you will please, uh…just disregard my rant, ok? : )

The 65 mpg Ford the U.S. Can't Have

From Business Week

Ford's Fiesta ECOnetic gets an astonishing 65 mpg, but the carmaker can't afford to sell it in the U.S.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

the dangers of multi-tasking

Late last night a storm moved in from the south bringing with it the dankness of autumn and the hint of winter not too far off. This afternoon the sun has finally made its presence known and there’s hope of it turning into a pleasant fall day after all.

Today I am puttering about, doing my best to catch up on household chores and re-establish a routine. Things got out of whack the past two months with the garden taking priority. Coop promises to get those Amish paste tomatoes picked today, (providing the ground dries up a bit more) as well as hot peppers while I continue to do some household catching up. I had seriously good intentions yesterday. That was until I took a dive across the kitchen floor and landed full force on my knees. I ended up doing a lot less than initially planned…even had to lie down for awhile with an ice pack. My left knee is still giving me grief today despite icing it down and using arnica cream and homeopathic meds. I can however at least get around better today than yesterday.

It wasn’t funny when it happened but looking back it must have been a site. I was heading towards the microwave when I tripped over a box on the floor. Yeah, I put the box there. I had been taking the rings off my canned tomatoes, preparing them to take to the basement later. The box was out because as I was removing the rings I had been dropping them into that box that I keep slid under my utility table during canning season. Uh…I forgot to put the box back into its proper place you see…while multi-tasking. That’s a subject for another day and another blog post I am sure. Anyhoo, on my way to the microwave I was talking on the phone, too. Most likely the reason I didn’t notice the box. I flew, the phone flew, and the cup of water in my hand flew. As I lay moaning on the floor I noticed the phone in three pieces, battery dangling out the back of it. I yelled “I’m ok, I’m ok” to my daughter who might still be on the line. Finally I got hold of the phone and she was still there. So there I am, spread out on the floor with a third of the phone in my hand, battery dangling by a thin wire, reassuring my girl that hr mom was ok…even though I wasn’t real sure whether that was true. We hung up and somewhat afraid to move, I decided to put the phone back together. It wasn’t broken broken, just everything had snapped apart from the impact with the floor. Coop was out mowing when all this happened so I continued to sit there. I was really quite afraid I had busted my knee cap and that an attempt to get up to a standing position might result in another fall. What was a girl to do? Well this girl decided to scooch across the floor to the back door and although not intentionally, in the process I managed to soak up most of the spilled water with the back of my jeans. So, not only was I on the floor, now I was wet as well! Luckily the main door was open and I could reach the storm door handle. I opened it and adjusted the plunger to keep it open and was able to get my butt to the edge of the doorway where the step down into the garage was. There I could at least sit semi-comfortably until I got up the nerve to try standing. After a few more moans and groans and a couple of tears I decided to give it a shot. Mind you, Coop is driving back and forth mowing, right past the overhead garage door and he doesn’t see me. I am waving, banging my hand against the storm door making as much noise as I can to get his attention, hoping for a little help to no avail. I did manage to get up and the knee worked. It was painful, but it worked and that was all that mattered. From there my day was pretty well shot. But today is a new day and although I am not progressing as well as I’d like it’s better than yesterday. I have managed to do dishes, sort and at least start the laundry, shake a couple rugs, sort the closet a bit and straighten the house. My goals for the rest of today are to take a broom to the bare floors and the vacuum to the living room rug, get a comforting warm shower and then ice and wrap the knee. Not lofty goals but if I accomplish them I will be happy to have done so! Oh yeah…and fix dinner, tonight. With this fall weather a pot of pork and sauerkraut with a side of smashed taters sounds so good, don’t you think? I better get started on that! I wanted to make homemade bread, but I don’t think that’s going to happen…not today anyhow.

Hope your week is good and no accidents befall you and yours! : ) I’m telling you, forget multitasking, it’s far too dangerous I say!

Monday, September 8, 2008

6 Questions to Ask Yourself to Get the Most Out of Life

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” - Abraham Lincoln

read more | digg story

Saturday, September 6, 2008

garden notes 2007/2008 comparisons

I have canned 40 quarts of tomatoes since Sept 1st. I am done (hallelujah!) basically other than whatever Amish paste tomatoes remain. Having taken a good look at the garden this morning it was clear that the Brandywine and Cherokee Purple are done producing as is the zucchini. Our peppers that appeared to fail early on and give us little to nothing in the way of edible fruit have suddenly decided to grow and produce! So, I will get a few peppers before the season is over.

The weather has been weird this year. Yeah I know we say that every year, but this year I mean exceptionally weird. August has been crazier than any August I can remember. All month the weather has jumped from high to low, with say two days of high heat and humidity followed by a week of fall weather with highs in the 60's. That's the trouble with gardening, you never know what the weather will bring or what you're going to reap in the end.

I decided to do a quick 2007/2008 garden comparison. I've highlighted a few things we've tried or learned.

  • In 2007 all my plants were homegrown from seed and pretty small when they were planted. Plant time in 07 was the first week of June. I was canning tomatoes in July. The 2008 garden was planted the weekend prior to Labor day so we got it in a week to a week and a half sooner this year plus all my plants were commercially grown and much bigger and more established so you'd think they would have produced sooner, wouldn't you? They actually produced 2 weeks later and this year, even with the timely planting it was August before I had enough of anything to can. I think things started out slowly because the cool spring weather kept the ground colder longer than normal. Later things slowed down again a time or two due to unseasonably cool spells.
  • 2007 peppers went crazy, both hot and sweet. This year all my beautiful pepper plants lost their blossoms and withered up...until now that is. We are wondering now if they just didn't get pollinated so the blossoms died rather than bearing fruit. Just a thought since the honey bees are scarce these days. Maybe it was the cooler weather, can't say for sure.
  • Last year we planted San Marzano paste tomatoes and had a problem with blossom end rot on just this bunch. This year we planted Amish paste in the same location and had no problems. BUT, when we planted we added a scoop full of crushed egg shells to the holes before setting the plants in. So, was it the calcium in the egg shells that prevented blossom end rot or were the Amish Paste less susceptible? I'll be darned if I know, but I'm going to do the egg shell thing again next year just to be on the safe side.
  • In 2007 we were bombarded with horn worms in our tomatoes. This year we planted a patch of dill just beyond the garden to attract beneficial brachonid wasps (which it did very nicely) and had little to any problem with horn worms. Coop found one large horn worm but it was covered in wasp larvae so we left it alone. That's what you want to see!
  • Cucumbers and winter squash started out well both years and then dwindled out before they could produce a real good crop. Vine borers are the culprit. Considering injectable nematodes next year.
  • We had a bumper crop of tomatoes this year, far more than last with fewer plants. But this year we mulched the tomatoes and were sure glad we did especially with the number of dry spells we had. Also last year we turned the garden soil then tilled it again just prior to planting. This year we chose to turn the soil by tilling much more shallowly to lessen the disturbance of the ecosystem and doing so early, giving nature time to re-establish its natural eco-system before we planted. We then then did a shallow hand cultivation just prior to planting so as not to destroy it. With less disturbance it was natural that we saw a lot more earth worms inhabiting the soil when planting. Despite the wacky weather and blossom loss on the peppers we actually had a better garden than last year with overall higher production.
  • Beans....last year we planted Blue Lake green beans in the main garden and they did beautifully, producing nearly all summer. This year we planted Contender and they did well but not as prolific as the Blue Lake. Later in the year we planted Blue Lake in our secondary garden next to cukes. Bad idea!! Now we know that the cucumber bugs like green beans as well and never to plant the beans so close to cukes or squash.
In addition to repeating the procedures that seemed to be beneficial and not repeating those things that were detrimental, next year we'll add flowers directly to the garden to attract pollinators.

Also, before I end this let me recommend one book that helped us identify some problems and should be in every gardeners library, "The Organic Gardeners Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control" from Rodale Press. It's an invaluable reference.

Friday, September 5, 2008

all in one day home improvements

Just the other day I was a bitchin about not having any bathroom cabinets and then...

my dear husband remedied that situation by repurposing two kitchen cabinets that were taking up room in the barn. Then he decided to put in a cupboard and counter space where none had ever been before.

It's not an exact match to our pre-existing cupboards but it works for me! Is he a great guy or what?

the nature of things

nature's pentagram...btw Paula Red apples are great pie making apples.

nature's oddity...or maybe this Marglobe tomato was just happy to see me.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

HSBC - the bank that giveth, the bank that taketh away

Coop and I have two credit cards. One is from a warehouse type store where, when necessary we purchase major items at a significant savings, things such as tires for the car. The other is your basic all purpose major credit card we keep in case of emergencies. We use it occasionally to keep it active and then pay the bill in full immediately upon arrival. Let me rephrase that...we used to use it occasionally. Today when I tried to use it, my credit card was denied. I assumed it was just a glitch in the system and thought nothing more about...that is until the mail came. That is when I received the following notice telling me that I "no longer have access to any of my card benefits" and to "please discard any cards associated with this account". At least they said "please".

It seems the account has been closed because of inactivity. That more correctly should have read "inadequate activity according to our preconceived idea of what determines a credit worthy account holder." Obviously when they kept raising my limit and I didn't raise my spending level, they decided my account was not worth more than the paper this cancellation notice was written on.

We'll manage without the credit, we do a fine job of it already. It was just nice to have that shiny little card in my purse in the event of an emergency situation. I would even have been willing to pay an annual fee to keep it active since they weren't making much off my purchases and nothing off interest or finance charges. I get that. I wasn't given the option of an annual fee. In fact I wasn't given any option. Sorry Mrs. Cooper, you're just too darn responsible to have access to that kind of credit so we're just going to take it all away. How do you like those apples? They've left a somewhat sour taste in my mouth.

August 2008 Independence Summery

Well here it is, my August summery, but first things first. I have to share this somewhat fuzzy photo of my largest Brandywine to date.

If you recall the last one I showed you weighed 1 pound 11 ounces. Well this baby came in at 2 pounds 2 ounces! It was darn tasty, too!

Planting, Harvesting & Preserving

Planted fall crop of romaine lettuce.

Still harvesting garden produce on regular basis for fresh eating and preserving. Harvesting winter squash. Harvested elderberries.

Canned 31 quarts of tomatoes, 15 quarts spaghetti sauce, 5 pints ketchup, 7 pints pickles, 11 pints sweet relish, 12 quarts tomato juice, 21 half pints hot sauce.

spaghetti sauce simmering

Froze 11 very full quarts elderberries, 15 bags squash (some zucchini, some summer squash), green peppers, hot peppers, 19 bags of green beans. I really wanted to can the beans but never had enough at one time to warrant doing that. Baked and froze 4 loaves zucchini bread, excess tomatoes.

Dried 3 pints Amish Paste tomatoes, 1 quart mixed hot [peppers, 1 pint sweet peppers.

Preparedness & Planning – Added purchased canned goods to reserves.

Managing household & reserves – Coop put together a much needed set of shelves in the cellar to store the canned good on in an orderly fashion. He also repaired cellar stairway with new concrete.

Keeping it Local – Eating from our garden daily, purchasing dairy products, fresh sweet corn from local Amish, purchased apples, sweet peppers and melon from local farmers market, sharing garden produce with neighbors and family.

Learned New Skill or Tried Something New – infusing elderberries for tincture as I write this, concocted a recipe for chutney using ground cherries.

Misc. & Handcrafting – yeah right. : ) Working occasionally on that afghan while planning a few projects for fall.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Ohio's Great Serpent Mound

Located east of Cincinnati in Adams County Ohio, the Great Serpent Mound is one of the finest effigy mounds and the largest of its kind in the world. It is located atop a ridge that over looks the Ohio Brush Creek. Serpent Mound averages about 1330 feet in length and 3 feet in height. Representing an unwinding serpent, the mound is sheathed in mystery and controversy. The serpent is thought by most to be about to swallow an egg. There is still controversy over the origins and dating of this historical site but evidence now suggests it dates back to the Hopewell culture from around 100 b.c.-500 a.d.

Our trip to Serpent Mound was taken on August 23rd. Intrigued by the mystery surrounding Serpent Mound, I was glad for the opportunity to visit it despite the 95 degree heat of the day. I have to say I am still surprised by the number of Ohioans unaware of its existence.

Our day started early, leaving the house by 6:30 Am to meet with the kids at their place, an hour and a half southwest of us. From there we traveled about another three hours taking the winding state routes until we arrived at Serpent Mound. Once there we began with a picnic lunch under the pavilion.

had brought along a few of my crystals and stones (as did Kandice) to lay out and charge near the mound while having lunch.

Coop & I in front of one of the conical mounds on the site.

After lunch we headed up to the lookout tower to get an overview of the Serpent.

From there, we decided to take the hike into the valley below, the site of the meteorite impact that occurred 250 to 300 million years ago.

A fraction of the way down I was sure I had better turn around and head back. Despite looking wide and welcoming in the photo above, the path narrowed significantly and I was losing my equilibrium making me quite wary of proceeding, especially since there was no guard rail along the edge of the path to prevent a tumble down the side into the depths of the valley below. Yikes! But not wanting to be a wussy as well as not wanting to miss the opportunity, I trudged on. I mean really, how often does one get the opportunity to walk through a meteorite impact site? Unfortunately I was unable to enjoy the view much at all because every time I looked down into the valley below I again lost my equilibrium. So I focused on the path ahead of me and ventured on and made it out alive and well. : ) Despite not seeing as much of the landscape as I would have liked, I was very proud of myself personally for making the hike. I could have easily turned back and chickened out but instead, moved on past my fear of falling. I also didn’t die of a heart attack or heat stroke either, which I thought quite fortunate and impressive in my heat exhausted, wobbly condition.

Looking up at the bedrock walls of the impact site.

Cave beneath the serpent

Cliff below the serpent's tail

On our way out at the end of the hike. The path widens again, there is a fence, I feel safe. Safe enough in fact to turn around and snap this photo, lol! (Call me a cissy, I don't care.)

Once out of the valley and off the trail we made our way around the Great Serpent. My pictures don't capture the serpent well. Aside from the mound having eroded over the years, the terrain was so dry and brown the photos just don't show good definition.

The Great Serpents tail.

The egg at the serpents mouth

The serpents mouth (left) swallowing the egg to the right

Near the serpent's mouth was this sign

and just beyond was this observation deck high above the impact site where we'd hiked prior.
That's my grandaughter Destiny.

Coop at the observation deck . I took this photo of Coop against the tree tops for perspective.

Afterwords we rested at a picnic table. That was when we noticed a fellow at the front of the museum, displaying geometrical drawings and chatting with visitors. Once rested, we ventured in that direction as the drawings showing geometric layouts and correlation to the stars and constellation Dracos were intriguing to say the least.

I would love to go into a detailed account of the science, astronomy and geometry associated with Serpent Mound, much of what was shared by Ross Hamilton on our visit that Saturday. However, some of the it is far better summed up by Ross, so I highly suggest reading some of the PDFs available on his website. Ross has researched Serpent Mound for a number of years and authored several projects on Serpent Mound and ancient North American culture.

The information shared by Ross Hamilton was primarily in regard to astrological alignments and geometric patterns coinciding with the Great Serpent. This fascinated me because of my interest in Sacred Geometry and the Golden Ratio.

Other interesting facts pertaining to the geographic location of Serpent Mound as well as its apparent connection to the Hopewell culture and sacred astronomy and geometry can be found here and here.

All in all it was an interesting day and I’m glad I got to take part in it despite the heat and the long and winding drive into southern Ohio.