Friday, October 31, 2008

Samhain Pictures, Images and Photos

No matter how you celebrate and even if you don't,
I hope yours is a blessed day and a spooktacular night!

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I saw this on Granny Sue’s blog and thought I'd give it a try as well.

A ~Aprons--y/n If y, what does your favorite look like? Yes, love them. My most used one is an old blue print bib apron stained from years of cooking, canning and baking. My favorite one is my pretty pink bib style that I made over the summer.

B ~ Baking--Favorite thing to bake? I like making casseroles and pies, but there’s not much better than the smell of bread baking.

C ~ Clothes line? Oh yes, one inside used from Spring right though Fall. Another one going up inside for winter.

D ~ Donuts—yes, once many years ago. Something I’d like to try again.

E ~ Everyday--One homemaking thing you do everyday? Only one? I have a morning ritual that includes wiping down the bathroom sink and commode, dusting off my desk and the coffee table and removing pet hair from the sofa and loveseat before I do anything else.

F ~ Freezer--Do you have a separate deep freeze? Yes, and it’s packed with good things from the summer harvest.

G ~ Garbage Disposer? No, but when you have a dog, two cats, two ducks and a compost bin who needs a garbage disposer?

H ~ Handbook--What is your favorite homemaking resource? Recipes; those for food as well as soap making, household cleaning, etc.

I ~ Ironing--Love it or Hate it? Or hate it but love the results? I don’t mind it at all, in fact can enjoy it but it’s something I seldom do these days. Ironing, like many things, can be a zen experience.

J ~ Junk Drawer--y/n? Where is it? Of course, tell me anyone who doesn’t have one! Mine is in the kitchen.

K ~ Kitchen--color and decorating scheme. Walls are light pink, wood trim is a light mocha. I think I would like to integrate some green. The atmosphere is my own, "eclectic farmhouse".

L ~ Love--what is your favorite part of homemaking? I love those days when I can just putter about the kitchen or spend a whole day cooking and creating. I also love the sense of accomplishment and appreciation I feel when I step back and take note of the comfortable and positive environment I’ve created.

M ~ Mop--y/n? Yes, two, one sponge mop for light work, one rag mop for serious mopping.

N ~ Nylons, machine or hand wash? Nylons!? No thank you. I can’t even remember the last time I wore them.

O ~ Oven--do you use the window or open the oven to check? I don’t use the oven light and window, I open the door.

P ~ Pizza--What do you put on yours? Not something we consume very often. When we do, prefer loaded with lots of onions and peppers, sausage or pepperoni or both, good sauce and provolone or a blend of cheeses.

Q ~ Quiet--What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment? I go into the living room and crochet or meditate, or go outside to the garden or take a walk around the property.

R ~ Recipe Card Box--y/n? What does it look like? Ha ha! I have my most used books on a shelf, but in the cupboard is a box full of my MIL’s old recipe books I haven’t been able to part with, plus a folder of loose recipes from the internet and friends, plus a berry basket full of my most beloved recipes.

S ~ Style of house--What style is your house? 108 year old basic two story farm house.

T ~Tablecloths or Place mats? Neither most of the time, but I do like using vintage tablecloths for special occasions.

U ~ Under the kitchen sink--organized or toxic wasteland? Uhmmm..somewhat organized but not a lot of toxins.

V ~ Vacuum--How many times per week? 1-2 times per week I vacuum the living room area rug. The rest of our floors I sweep with a broom or dust mop as they are not carpeted.

W ~ Wash--How many loads of laundry do you do per week? Two, unless I have bedding to wash. Then I have three.

X's--Do you keep a daily list of things to do that you cross off? Almost always…it’s what keeps me focused and moving.

Y ~ Yard--y/n? yes, substantially sized despite two gardens.

ZZZ's ~ what is your last homemaking task for the day before going to bed? Letting the dog out for the last time, turning off all the power strips, lowering the thermostat, locking the doors and making my list for the next day.

I hope to read your ABC's on your blog! Let me know if you decide to play.

yay, we did it!

When I thought we had done everything possible to reduce the amount of our electric bill, we did it again! We’ve actually managed to bring our bill down this month to the pre rate increase amount, actually even a little less.

On average usage has been about 525 KWH per month. Electricity is not our heat source, but we have a freezer plus a side by side fridge, electric stove, electric water heater, water pump, washer, electric dryer, security light, the occasional use of garage lights, barn lights and air compressor and more. These things normally resulted in a bill of about $67 – $69 before the rate hike. When the rates went up our bill jumped up to $88 for the same KWH usage.

We already do the following things to lower our usage, cost and carbon footprint:

  • CFL’s throughout the house and garage

  • Minimizing light usage

  • Being conscientious when using the oven, making full use of it when on

  • Using dish pans at the sink instead of running a steady water stream, to prevent excess water usage and limit pump running

  • Minimizing the number of toilet flushes for the same reason

  • Insulated water heater

  • Keeping most if not all electricity vampires on power strips which are turned off at night, when not in use or when we go away. Microwave, TV, stereo, computer, etc.

  • Opening and closing the garage door manually rather than using the automatic garage door opener

  • Not using the dryer whenever possible (I think I used it 3 times between spring and now)

  • Washing clothes in cold water for the most part and doing only full loads

You get the picture. So what made our electric bill go down so dramatically? Well...we have been shutting off the water heater, having it on for maybe four or five hours a day for the past several weeks. And you know what? It hasn’t made a difference in our lives except to reduce the electric usage and money spent on the bill.

We usually turn it off in the evening after dinner and showers and then back on the following afternoon. If by chance I don’t have hot enough water in between for dishes, which is seldom, I simply heat a tea kettle full on the stove. I have never been without at least warm water since we began this practice. I was astonished that this simple practice reduced our bill by over 100 KWH and $20. Last months billing was $87. Our current billing is $66. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

coasting along...sweetly

Today I awoke to fluffy snowflakes drifting across the wintry morning sky. When I let Timmy out for his morning break I couldn’t resist stepping out into them for just a minute. Of course I hurried back to the bedroom to tell my sleeping husband, “It’s snowing!” I’m real sure he appreciated that. Yes, it doesn’t take much to excite me, lol! I still feel that child like awe, that sense of magic when it comes to certain things, most especially things like first snowfalls, the first fireflies in summer or the first flowers in the spring. The feeling has never worn thin.

As much as I would like to be more ambitious or aggressive in my approach to finishing or beginning some projects, I am not in that particular place at the moment. Lately it’s like the season has settled into my soul. So I have been doing little in “accomplishing” and instead I have been tinkering. A little baking, a little crocheting and still keeping up with routine maintenance around the house. And for now that feels like enough.

Today I was going to run some errands including stopping by our nearby rural bulk food shop to pick up a few things. Instead I baked pies. (See what I mean? I’m just kind of coasting through the days right now) I figure with all the berries we were able to gather and freeze over the summer, I may be baking pies and cobblers all winter. Nothing wrong with that, though.

I’m a good pie baker. No brag, just fact. But then it really doesn’t take a lot to be good at it. You just need a dependable dough recipe and the right ingredients and tools.

Here's my basic recipes for pie crust and cooked berry filling. The dough recipe will make five 9 or 10 inch crusts. I usually make two double crust fruit pies and one shell for a cream pie or to freeze. The filling will fill two 9-10" pies.

Basic Pie Filling (berry or cherry) for two 10” pies

About 10 cups of fresh or frozen (and thawed) berries

1 ½ - 2 cups sugar depending on particular berries and their tartness. This time I used black raspberries, so I used 1 ½ cups sugar since they are naturally sweet. If I were making elderberry or sour cherry pies I would likely increase the sugar to 2 cups.

6 T. cornstarch

Up to a cup of water if needed. Sorry, I don’t measure, I just pour a little out of the tea kettle if necessary to make sure they are a little liquidy.

Mix sugar and corn starch in a bowl. In pan, place berries. If fresh, mash down somewhat to get them juicy. If from the freezer, do not drain.

Add sugar mixture and stir in well. Add a little water if necessary. Cook over medium high heat until bubbly, glossy and thickened, stirring continually to prevent sticking. Remove from heat to cool.

Dough for five 10” pie crusts

6 cups unbleached flour

2 cups Spectrum organic shortening or lard.

1 T. salt

about ¾ cup cold water

Mix salt and flour together.

Add shortening and mix with pastry blender until it looks like this.

Add water by sprinkling it over the dough mixture with a spoon then working it in with your hands until you get this.

Once blended, form a nice sized ball of dough with your hands and pat it out somewhat on a piece of wax paper. Lay a second piece of wax paper on top and begin rolling it out.

You must be firm with the rolling pin and turn the wax paper around fairly often to get an evenly rolled crust. I have always rolled my dough like this because it’s never failed to guarantee me a nice crust without integrating too much flour or having it stick to the rolling surface or having your rolling pin stick to the dough. It just works for me.

When adequately rolled, peel off the top layer of wax paper, flip the dough into the pie plate and then carefully peel off the other layer of wax paper that is now facing you.

You will do this again for your second pie.

Once you have filled your crusts with pie filling of your choice, then repeat dough rolling process for your top crusts. Just before applying top crust, wet edge of bottom crust. This seals the two crusts. Crimp edges by pinching dough between your thumb and index finger…at least that’s how I do it. Then with a knife edge, shave off excess dough. Vent your top crusts to allow steam to escape and bake as directed. I like to lightly sprinkle some sugar on the top crust. Just makes a prettier pie imo.

I bake my fruit pies at about 425 for 12-15 minutes to brown, then another 30-35 minutes at 325.

Tah Dah! Who cares what's for dinner, let's eat pie!

Monday, October 27, 2008

in this moment

In this moment I will not worry about the state of the world or what tomorrow, next week, next month or next year might bring. I am here now, in this moment and all is well.

Those I love are well and safe.

I am well clothed and well fed.

I am blessed with shelter, food, hot running water and all that is necessary to not only sustain life but do so more than adequately.

And in this moment I know I am loved.

There is nothing necessary in this moment, nothing that demands my attention and nothing but this moment. I am not being complacent, but simply being.

Sometimes we need to stop and realize where we are in the now moment. If we do this we may realize that we lack little to nothing.

Sometimes we just need to relax and breathe and be here now in order to be sustain oneself.

That’s all.

Be here now.

Everything changes in that moment.

simple woman’s daybook

Outside my windowthe sky is gray and it feels as if winter may have set in.

I am thinking…about how I should get back to doing some online selling on ebay and etsy.

I am thankful for... all my simple abundance; food, shelter, warmth, love and all the things that sustain me.

From the kitchen...chicken thawing, raspberries thawing, bread rising, dishes caught up…for now.

I am wearing...tan cords, tan turtleneck and a multi colored sweater.

I am reading...When All Hell Breaks Loose by Cody Lunden.

I am get Coop’s jeans hemmed tonight and have more energy as the week goes on.

I am afghan in sage green, chocolate brown and burgundy.

I am hearing...the drone of my computer.

Around the house...things are in fair order; the trash has been taken out to the garage, the bathroom wiped down, things tidied up.

One of my favorite the presence and warmth of our canine boy Timmy.

A few plans for the rest of the week…bake pies, work on some crochet projects and maybe sort my beads as well as keep up with the usual housework.

a green "new deal"

With the economy and the environment in a downward spiral it's about time a green "new deal" was discussed. Let's just hope the U.S. goes along with it not only in word, but deed as well.

U.N. Set to Spur Global Green Market
By GreenBiz Staff

-- The United Nations Environment Programme launched the Green Economic Initiative last week to shift the global economy toward environmentally friendly investments in order to create jobs and address climate change.

The $4 million initiative is comprised of three planks: job growth, improving the natural world, and identifying the steps needed to foster the transition to a more environmentally friendly economy. It will deliver a comprehensive roadmap to all governments within two years.

Already the initiative has targeted five sectors that stand to yield the highest returns: clean energy and cleantech; sustainable agriculture; ecosystem infrastructure; cutting greenhouse gas emissions; and sustainable urban planning.

Achim Steiner, the organization's Environment Programme's executive director, called for "tranformational" thinking and decisions before major upcoming policy discussions, such as the next round of climate change talks in Poland.

A lack of leadership and inability to manage markets have led to fossil fuel dependence and depleted natural assets, he said.

"The flip side of the coin is the enormous economic, social and environmental benefits likely to arise from combating climate change and re-investing in natural infrastructure -- benefits ranging from new green jobs in cleantech and clean energy businesses up to ones in sustainable agriculture and conservation-based enterprises," Steiner said.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Top 7 Reasons to buy used goods

I couldn't say it any better myself.

Peak Oil Hausfrau: Top 7 Reasons to buy used goods

so much to share

Ya know, there are so many things I want to share with you here but I have always had a tendency to have a million things running through my brain that by the time I get to them they have taken a back seat to more immediate things or they’ve slipped my mind. I think my tendency to have so much going on in my head is why I strive (not always successfully I might add) to keep a sense of order in my home. I am often jotting down thoughts, ideas or inspirations to write about and share but then I often fail to remember where I’ve written them. Silly, since I have journals for that very reason! I need more structure in that department although many of my friends would say I’m anal enough. Yes, that is what they often call me. : ( But really, that’s not a bad thing. I have to be that way to a certain extent or my life would be like my thoughts, random and helter skelter.

For quite some time I have wanted to tell you about this cast iron cauldron I found over the summer at a yard sale. I was taken by it of course for several reasons, I could tell it was old and interesting, (I always say that’s why I married Coop, but I don’t think he appreciates that remark), it was cast iron and it was a cauldron. Tell me, have you ever known a witch that didn’t like cauldrons?

Anyhow, the man selling it told me it had belonged to his grandfather or maybe it was his great grandfather, not sure now. I was curious about the brass rod that had a ceramic bulb on the end. He explained to me that this was a dauber.

The cauldron was used to house oil and the dauber was to spread oil onto logs to light them or keep them burning. Obviously the man could tell I just loved his grandfather’s old oil kettle and he voluntarily knocked the price down for me. How could I resist? He even accepted a check since I didn’t have any cash left as I had just a couple of dollars with me and had already used that on a few other things he’d had for sale like the box of vintage sewing items I got for $2.

Then, there was the heart Coop noticed one day as he was munching on a fresh pear he’d just picked…

And the day Coop found the baby bunny in the yard, badly injured. He brought it in and I examined it and saw that its back leg was dangling and it was already in shock, so we set it back out to let nature take its course. Poor bunny.

And then there are the two hawk feathers that presented themselves to me last week as I walked the trail through the woods.

I’ve found four of these now since we’ve returned to the farm. According to Native American lore finding a hawk feather means that you are on the correct trail and you should continue in that direction. Considering the direction of my life that sounds like a good, sound message from my perspective.

a hello to all & sharing links

It seems that 'From My Homestead' readers are on the rise so before I go any further I first want to say hello to my new followers and thank you to all my readers. I'm somewhat amazed by the number of people actually reading my blog and so I am also somewhat humbled and very much appreciative that all of you are reading and perhaps finding worth in my words. Thank you, and I mean that.

I want to recommend a few posts I've read very recently that I thought quite wonderful or helpful.

Visit Women not Dabbling in Normal to read Robbyn's (from The Back Forty) post 'what would Gramma do?' It's a wonderful read as she reminisces about her grandmothers lessons in making do.

If you are considering (or wishing for) a wood burning cook stove you do not want to miss Granny Miller's post on Cook Stove Basics.

And last of all, for a great synopsis on rechargeable batteries head on over to Planetary Verbosity.

This is why I so love cyberspace. There is such a wealth of information at our very fingertips to educate and enlighten us.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Saturday's fun and adventure

Before any more time slips by I wanted to share our Saturday adventure. After being back here at the homestead for over two years now, we finally made the thirty minute drive to visit Lehman’s Hardware. So this past sunny Saturday morning, with our niece and her husband along, we drove down to Kidron, Ohio.

It was a busy day at Lehman’s, being a Saturday with such fine weather. There was a flea market just across the street so before venturing into the hardware we decided to do a little junkin’. I found a #7 Wagner Ware cast iron skillet to bring home with me for just $5. I love it because it’s not only a little deeper than most of my cast iron skillets, but a great size, in between my small and large skillets. What with giving up my cheap coated cookware, this was a great find at a great price.

After browsing the tables at the flea market we ventured into the world famous Lehman Bros. store which has been enlarged and changed quite a bit since my last visit some years ago. I am sure I missed some of the many wonderful items because there was just so much to see. I totally regret forgetting my camera! If I had taken it along I would have shown you the largest display of cookie cutters I have ever seen. I would have also shown you the pottery and enamel ware section where I oohed and ahhed over bowls and bread pans. But alas, I left those behind and moved on.

I’ve no doubt I spent more time in the cast iron sections than anyplace. You see, I had regretted not coming home with a good sturdy tripod and Dutch oven on my last visit to Lehman’s years ago. We found the tripod we wanted and with much consideration and examination along with my dear, sweet niece’s generous nature telling me (to my surprise), “get what you want” I finally chose my Dutch oven. At first I was going to get the standard three legged over the coals style for outdoor use. But then I reconsidered this. In the end I decided on a flat bottom 7 ½ quart model that could be used not only over n open fire, but on the stovetop or in the oven as well. The iron on the flat bottomed style is just a teensy bit thinner but the style will serve well for outdoor cooking on the grill or with the pot hanging from the center of the tripod. Browsing the assortment of cast iron cookware I couldn’t resist treating myself to a small melting pot. This I know I will use as well.

the "new" skillet, Dutch oven and melting pot.

I also found another nifty item; a lamp top that fits a canning jar, converting any pint mason jar into an oil burning lamp.

This then led to finding an inexpensive globe top to fit as well. Here I’ve shown it on a quart jar since I had no empty pint immediately available. If the wick were longer a quart jar would work equally as well.

It was a grand and great day, the sun shining brightly to take a bit of the chill off the crisp fall air, the trees at the height of their autumn beauty, and the four of us walking away with useful goods at fair prices that will last generations. I don’t shop often to say the least and this is the first time in a very long time I have shopped for anything besides food. I’m not a shopper in general, avoiding the consumerist lifestyle for the most part. Seldom is there much of anything I need in the way of consumer goods. But I must admit this was fun, the most fun I’ve had in a spell.

On the trip back we sidetracked over to Wooster where our nephew treated everyone to lunch at the Longhorn Steakhouse. Ironically three out of the four us ordered chicken, lol! With the rising cost of everything, it has been a very long while since Coop and I have dined out, so this was such a nice treat. It was so enjoyable to spend the day with two of our favorite people and top it off with a good meal someone else had cooked and would clean up. It could not have been a more perfect and special day! And a special thank you to Jenni and John for being so gracious and good to us.

Friday, October 17, 2008

my place of sorcery

Enter our home from either door and you enter the kitchen. My country kitchen is homey, amply sized and somewhat eclectic. We don’t have a separate dining area, so the kitchen truly is the central place in our home where the majority of my day’s activities take place and where people seem to gather when they visit. It’s where the action is and where magic happens, where cupboards are filled with a myriad of ingredients and items for magic making.

The antique medicine cupboard on the east wall is abundantly full of herbs and spices to conjure up a most scrumptious meal or culinary treat.

The farmhouse cupboard on the southwest wall is stocked with more herbs most specifically for tea and medicinal use.

Behind the glass doors reside essential oils as well for aromatherapy potions and massage oils. There are bottles and jars both empty and full, and crystals tucked in baskets along with books on herbs and oils as well as my own secret recipes written into my book of shadows.

The bakers rack in the southeast corner hosts my most loved and most used cookbooks.

A small wooden chest houses those more rarely used herbs and you can see soap curing on another shelf. Beside the bakers rack resides my wicker chair at the window, situated intentionally for reading, recipe browsing or simply relaxing with a cup of tea.

Above the stove is a plaque purposefully chosen for that space. It shows the Kanji symbol representing love.

I believe the energy of words and thought are as real as anything.

I consider love a most essential ingredient and a constant in any sorcery that takes place here. Therefore, it’s most assuredly all good.

Last but certainly not least, there is my kitchen table where much if not most of the magic happens. You’ve seen it time and time again in photos I’ve shared. Appropriately it takes center stage. We purchased it in early 93, specifically for this kitchen during our first residence here and just shortly before we learned we had to move. Eventually it was passed on to our son. When his family no longer needed it was put to use at our daughter’s house. It has had fifteen years of steady use, of dough rolling, cookie cutting, kid climbing, card playing and dinner eating. It may look rough and in need of refinishing, but it’s imbued with all fifteen years worth of good vibes from family and friends gathering round it, so to me how it appears doesn’t really matter. It's value is in memories and function. Like me, it’s a bit careworn and weathered, but like me it has come home and together we make magic happen.

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

experience has taught me

In my last post maybe I came across as a naysayer and sounded a little hard. My concerns for tomorrow exist because I relish life and have a "we can do it, we'll get through it" attitude in general. I have concerns about people, especially those very near and dear to me, so of course I hope they will think ahead enough to prepare for their own well being. Often I seem to be one of those people others look to for guidance, advice and support. Because I am preparing for the possibility of hard times, I want them to be better prepared as well. I hope my concerns about the near future don't materialize. I have some serious concerns prompting me to take what measures I can, but just so you know, I don't necessarily live every day as if the end is near.

We are in many ways defined by our experiences through life. Which explains my mind set when it comes to "survival". I am a survivalist, but not in the sense that I'm a overzealous gun toting redneck, huh uh. I am none of those. I'm a survivalist from having lived through some pretty skimpy times.

I grew up poor, although that reality didn't set in for many years, until I was practically grown up. Early in my marriage times were pretty rough for a variety of reasons. At one point in the early 80's my husband was laid off from work and we were existing on $40 a week. Our circumstances didn't allow me to be prepared, plus being younger and whole lot more naive didn't help either. It was winter and we were feeding our family of four on whatever we could muster up and often on the charity of others. I was washing cotton diapers out by hand in the basement for my infant daughter and my son was wearing a coat with a broken zipper and canvas tennis shoes on his feet while he stood outside in the cold and snow waiting for the school bus. (Even now, the thought of him standing out there like that makes me want to cry.) I'll never forget the first time I was finally forced to go to a charitable organization and ask for food. The lady there asked if we would accept dry beans. I must have looked at her in a peculiar way because she added, "Some people won't eat that type of thing." I was dumbfounded and reassured her that I would take anything they were willing to give me; food was food and we had none. It was during this same period of time that we were driving down the road when my husband suddenly swerved the car to the side of the road and then pulled over. I had no immediate idea of why he did either. He got out of the car, threw the dead rabbit he had deliberately hit onto the hood and we drove home. That evening he skinned it and I cooked a pot of rabbit stew.

This is just an example of how life experience helps to define our tendencies. As I said, I relish life and the art of being present in the moment, but I have learned that doing what is within my power to prepare for tomorrow is vital to our well being. My message is simply to alert people to the possibility of hard times and to exercise some common sense, that is all. The economy itself doesn't need to collapse for us to find ourselves facing tough times. 'Nuff said.

What experiences have lead you towards the path of preparedness?

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c

Monday, October 13, 2008

preparedness - are you an ant or a grasshopper?

From our federal government to huge lending corporations to small town employers like Archway Cookies right here in Ashland County, it looks like greed and mismanagement continue to cause the downfall of America. A week ago employees of our local Archway Cookie plant went to work and found themselves locked out. Not only that but my understanding is that many worked overtime for the past seven days and now will have to fight for their final paycheck. Way to go Archway. The company simply packed up and moved out, leaving full timers and temporaries all in the lurch.

More and more jobs are being lost daily with few if any available jobs to get these people back into the workforce. The rich get richer and get bailed out while the middle to lower income families grow poorer by the day. Goodbye Middle America, it’s sad to see this (predictable) outcome which brings me to the subject of survival. It’s becoming quite clear that we need to prepare in whatever ways we can, not tomorrow but right now.

Just the other day I was wondering why more people are not actively taking measures to secure, in the very least, somewhat of a food supply and alternate plans in the event they, too suffer a job loss or some other catastrophic event that leaves them up the creek. I mean why wouldn’t anyone, when it’s within their means to do so, prepare somewhat? I could only think of a few possibilities…a) they honestly believe nothing bad will happen to them or b) if it does God will provide or c) someone else will take care of them/their needs or d) they simply have nothing extra to spend on surplus. Regarding B thinking, faith is often beneficial but I can’t help but be reminded of the story of the man who drowned waiting for God to save him…

There was a man whose farm was located on the banks of a flood-swollen river. As the water rose, a neighbor drove up urging him to leave before the farm was flooded.

"Oh, no," said the man confidently, "God will save me."

The water rose higher, and the man was forced to move into the second story of the farmhouse. A police boat soon came and the officers called for the man to hurry and get into their boat.

"Oh, no, that won't be necessary," the man insisted. "God will save me."

Finally the house was completely engulfed in water, and a helicopter swooped in to rescue the man, now perched on the roof. Again he refused. Just then, a huge wave of water swept over the house, and the man drowned.

When he got to heaven, he stormed at the Lord, asking WHY God had let him die when his faith had been so strong.

"What do you mean?" asked the heavenly Father. "I sent a neighbor, a boat, and a helicopter ... and you wouldn't budge!"

In regard to possibility C, I can’t help but find it incredulous that there are those who turn a blind eye to what’s going on in the world, living for the day as if there’s no possibility that hard times could befall them tomorrow. Some of them may even think our government will save them (ask Katrina victims how well that worked) or maybe they’re thinking if SHTF they’ll be showing up at your door expecting you to house and feed them.

My niece Jenni at Princess on a Soapbox blogged the following the other day and I thought it worth posting here.

The Ant and the Grasshopper

Æsop's Fables (sixth century B.C.)

In a field one summer’s day a Grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart’s content. An Ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.

“Why not come and chat with me,” said the Grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”

“I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the Ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”

“Why bother about winter?” said the Grasshopper; “we have got plenty of food at present.” But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper had no food, and found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing every day corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew:


Jenni goes on to echo my thoughts well…

“If you haven't already developed a support network and a plan for the worst-case scenario, please do so soon. Discuss options that would take care of everyone in your 'tribe', which may not necessarily be family. Different situations may require different plans. Don't assume that you'll be able to pile everything in the minivan and drive to one location or that you'll be able to even know what's going on with some of your loved ones. Remember when the phone networks were overloaded on 9/11? Remember the chaos after Hurricane Katrina? Remember the traffic from the evacuation for Hurricane Ike? Start with the people (and animals) who live with you, and then widen the circle for circumstances that may allow or require more travel. By planning ahead and working together, big expenses may be more manageable.

Don't assume that you will be welcomed with open arms and fed from a limited supply that was stored with a certain number of people in mind. "Ants" who have a year's supply of food and water for 4 will not last long if 6 "grasshoppers" are invited in…”

And then she asks, “Are you an Ant or a Grasshopper? As Frank Sinatra sang, everyone knows that ant can't move a rubber tree plant, but he's got high hopes!”

With the dollar value declining, institutions collapsing and the future unsure, it makes sense right now to put what money you may have available into life sustaining consumables. Believe me, that pair of pretty shoes you may have just bought won’t keep you warm or fill your belly. Nor will they be worth anything for barter. It’s very doubtful that the dollar will suddenly increase in value so food, fuel, tools, knowledge, land, seeds…these things that are of great value now will likely become more so tomorrow. Those not willing to help themselves now may very well find themselves like the grasshopper…mighty hungry.

Will you be prepared at least somewhat if tomorrow when you go into work you find yourself locked out? Will you be able to feed your family if the store shelves are empty or the store is closed up or you’re completely broke? Are you adequately prepared for keeping warm if your utilities are shut off or power goes out? Do you know people you could barter with and if so, what do you have to offer in goods or work experience? These questions and this post are not meant to create panic in anyone. In fact the main thing is to not panic but stay calm, keep your wits and plan. And if the S--- doesn’t hit the fan, it’s far better to be prepared and have excess than to not be prepared and be hungry or homeless or both.

I don’t mean to come across as all doom and gloom at all… in fact despite what I see happening I’m fairly confidant and even hopefully optimistic. Even though I think what is happening on national and international levels was to be expected and unfortunately people will suffer, in fact are suffering now and despite that I think it will get worse before it gets better, when all is said and done I truly hope and expect there will be some positive results with lessons in corporate and individual responsibility and sustainability learned. Perhaps in the long run humanity will evolve to a higher level of humaneness. That's my biggest hope. High hopes you say? Perhaps so, but after all, I am an ant.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

September 2008 Independence Summery

Things have certainly slowed down now that the peak months of August and September are over. Aside from the peppers and a few straggling tomato plants, the summer garden season is basically finished producing.

Planting, Harvesting & Preserving – Harvested tomatoes, winter squash, pears, herbs and seeds. Still harvesting peppers, some green and a few ripe tomatoes for fresh eating,

Canned 40 quarts of tomatoes in Sept as well as 7 quarts juice, 6 pints ketchup, 7 quarts hot peppers, 6 pints pear sauce, 13 quarts peaches. Froze a multitude of peppers and some additional squash. Dried peppers and tomatoes.

Preparedness & PlanningAfter a severe wind storm in Sept. causing statewide power outages and a wake up call, we sat down together and evaluated our emergency preparedness and working on manifesting those particulars.

Managing household & reserves – Cupboards were sorted and food and medical supplies evaluated. Looking at more ways to decrease electric consumption (our rates went up nearly 50% in Sept.) and dependence; will be putting up an indoor clothesline and hanger rod for winter clothes drying. Limiting meat purchases. Reasons are twofold - budget constraints as well as freeing up space for upcoming deer season.

Keeping it Local – Bulk and dry goods purchased from local independent merchants, eggs from local Amish, apples from farmers market. Donating excess garden produce to neighbors and friends.

Learned New Skill or Tried Something New – elderberry tincture made, continued research on natural treatments and remedies.

Misc. & Handcrafting – continued work on ongoing afghan project, began working on seasonal gift giving projects.

some things just make ya proud

There stood my girls exercising their first amendment right in a small rally my daughter Kandice put together to oppose the bailout. You can click on the link below the photo to read the article if you like. Kandice said she experienced a lot of negative reactions from people as well as support. A man from the county court house congratulated her on making local seems this was the first demonstration to ever be held in the town of Marysville.

By KURT MOORE • The Marion Star • September 30, 2008

Kandice Thompson and Destiny Wilson, left, of Richwood, Chris Anderson, a Vietnam Veteran from Lancaster, and Angela Beaver, also from Richwood, protest the federal government’s proposed financial bailout at a rally in Marysville on Monday.

My grandaughter Destiny holding a copy of the Marysville Journal tribune from Tuesday. Pretty cool to make the front page of two local newspapers. (Hey Dee, I love the shirt you're wearing!)