Friday, October 31, 2008

Photo Catchup

It's a constant dilemma: Do I blog while the idea is fresh in my brain, or do I get my ducks in a row (and my pictures in a file) before putting it all down on paper digital?

Usually I blog when I think about it, and oftentimes the accompanying photos are languishing on my memory card. Then a new dilemma presents itself, once I get the photos on the computer: Add the photo to the corresponding story (where no one will ever see it), or forget it entirely? This time, I picked a third option, putting them in their own post and linking to the appropriate narrative.

What do you think of doing it that way?


Remember the luscious soup I made, that turned itself into a pickled vinaigrette? I was so excited that I took pictures of the meal in progress:


I hate using flash.

Here we are, sorting the potatoes. Intact ones to store, all others to use straightaway. We are also covering the dining room in a thick layer of fine dust. But it's organic. Do I get a pass?

I left a few of these with my folks when we went to visit. Considering the fact that my mom gave me a few bags of sprouting organic red potatoes (which I subsequently planted in my own garden), trading russets seemed like the least I could do. :)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Home Again, Home Again..

We made it back from our trip late Tuesday night. We did stop at Gi-gi's to shower and do a load of laundry and eat a bit, before heading out again (at 10:30) for home.

It was a really nice trip, overall. The fall colors were beautiful, and since they have trees there, it was great. What are those maple-looking things with the huge leaves? Fabulous.

It was "somewhere between chaos and bedlam" most of the time; my folks have my stepbrother and his two kids living there, so our family had foam mattresses spread around the living room for the duration, and we effectively doubled their house population. Lots of cooking, eating, messes, fellowship. My dad's well is ... in need of replacement, so unless it's rained a lot (usually not a problem, but apparently it hadn't lately), it really needs babied. We got there Thursday afternoon and by Friday evening had run the well dry. And then again Saturday evening. After the second time, all laundry and showers were banned. The dishwasher was allowed to run, but that was about it. Not a good thing when you're a cloth diaper user who travelled lightly, packing only a handful of outfits for each active child. I went next door to my ol' Granny's to use her washer and dryer for a load of diapers on Monday.

We were able to see my wonderful 21-year-old cousin (who, oddly enough, is my cousin on Gi-gi's side, but lives outside the same small town my folks do), a friend from high school, a friend from middle school, and my girls got lots and lots of grandma time, which they love so much.

My granny went through some of her fabric stash (she was always quite a seamstress, but several strokes over recent years have left her quite impaired - plus she's 90), and gave me 8 yards of some lovely, soft, tiny-wale corduroy, yards and yards of unbleached muslin (I'm so excited!), a length of denim, lots of white stuff, and a few other odds and ends. I can't wait to dig in... as soon as this house is clean.

Now we're home, with things to unpack and sort through and clean. The weather Wednesday was incredible, in the 80s. It should cool WAY down by tomorrow, and then I'll be absolutely assuredly stuck with a not-cleaned-out garden. Again. *sigh*

Big Sister is thrilled with the hand-me-down little bicycle we were able to bring home. She's 7, but hasn't had the chance to ride a bike, really, and is terrified of the bigger one we have for her. She puts her faith in training wheels (which she was introduced to at Gi-gi's, darnitall), and is terrified of doing without. Hubby broke down and bought her a set and put them on her 'new bike' and she's been on it constantly since then.

Organique did amazingly well on our trip; the worst part was the carseat time, but she slept and even napped in the huge (busy) living room, unlike Little Artist's tendency at that age.

Now, to step away from the computer and get something (else) done.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

FLDS, Still

The Headmistress at The Common Room has another update on the FLDS situation in Texas. Two, actually; one from October 24, and one from the 25th. Both good reads. I echo her sentiments about their situation: I disagree with them on several points, theologically, culturally and otherwise, but that doesn't mean they should lose their children.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Palin Poll

I got this in my email, and thought it might as well be posted here, since I'm all busy cleaning cars and doing laundry and thinking about how the chickens will survive without us.

PBS has an online poll posted asking if Sarah Palin is qualified. Apparently the left wing knew about this in advance and are flooding the voting with NO votes.

The poll will be reported on PBS and picked up by mainstream media. It can influence undecided voters in swing states.

Please do two things -- takes 20 seconds.

1) Click on link and vote!

Here's the link:

2) Tell others!

When I 'voted' it was nearly tied. Now, I don't know how 'qualified' she is, but she certainly seems head-and-shoulders above the qualifications of either candidate on the Democrat ticket.

And while I'm at it: Do you ever just want to find an otherwise-reasonable Obama supporter, unzip their head, examine their brain, and see how in the world they could vote for him? The more I learn about him, the more I'm beside myself at how close this race is. HOW can it be? If he's elected, then we might as well burn the Constitution. If he's elected, America won't bear any resemblance to what she was intended to be.

There. Now I feel better. A bit.

Family History

I've long wanted to record bits of family history, and since this blog doubles as my 'scrapbook' (and it's not something the kids can get into and tear apart!), it's as good a place as any. Except, of course, that my tin-foil-hat paranoia will make the actual, accurate recording a bit awkward. Should I use initials? Pseudonyms? First names? Code? Perhaps I'll use some of each, but I won't tell you which are which, and you'll never know if I'm using actual family names or not. Mwahahaha... Aren't I tricky?

I will also do my best to be accurate without being boring. Not that anyone (other than myself) will find a whole lot of enjoyment in such stories, but, well, it's my blog right? It's not like I charge non-refundable admission. :)

So - when I have nothing notable to blog about (which might be often, once the garden is put to bed, right?) I'll try to put in some fun "family history" every now and then.

Monday, October 20, 2008


We're enjoying some Indian Summer weather today. Last Saturday it was in the 80s, and today must be 70 or so, and just beautiful. The girls are in bare feet outside.

We are planning a family trip this weekend, which promises to be a challenge. Three carseats, two parents, one sedan, and all the stuff to keep us afloat for six days? We could hook up the green monster, I suppose, but that might hurt gas mileage. And time. It's a 12 hour drive at the speed limit(s) without kids, 11 hours can be done, but add the little ones to the mix and it's anyone's guess. We'll cut 2 hours off by heading to Gi-gi's house the night before. That will give us a bit of a head start Thursday morning.

Before leaving I have to completely deal with all the produce sitting around here, which is actually a good thing. I'll be able to come home to a house free of fruit flies and piled tomatoes. I made four quarts of applesauce today, which perplexes me because I had 16 quarts of quartered apples to start with. Maybe I'll start making cider (and fend off Hubby's attempts to throw in some yeast to make Apple Jack? *sigh*). My granny has proposed a deal, however, which should help. I emailed to ask her if I might sometime have the stool that matches the vanity she gave me years back. She agreed, if I would bring her some tomatoes. What a deal! Their climate has almost never produced a vine-ripened tomato for them (and trust me, if anyone has a green thumb, it's her!), so we both win. Though technically any that are red and edible this week weren't likely vine-ripened. :)

I am looking forward to seeing a couple old friends from middle- and high-school this time as well. Seems like there's never enough time to squeeze in non-family visits, but I am determined this time.

I may even look for a Whole Foods (do they have them there? I will find out) and brave the aisles. I imagine it to be a unique experience: A store that "feels like home" to my crazy nutritional sensibilities, and yet, in terms of clientele, probably feels like Mars. I'll keep you posted if I find one.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Soup D'Spair

I hope you like this post. It may be the last thing I ever type.

Well, you probably won't get that lucky. :)

Yesterday I made a late, but great, soup. It was like my Garden Stew, only with hamburger instead of stew meat, cabbage instead of corn or beans. It was delicious. I dug the last of the carrots to put in it, some red potatoes from my garden plot, just divine. I made a lot. I filled my 16-quart stockpot for the occasion.

As is my habit sometimes, instead of refrigerating it (it had a lot of heat within), I covered it and left it on the stove. Sometimes I keep it at a simmer, but sometimes I just count on the earlier boiling to take care of it. I didn't simmer it, but knew I'd be serving it up again today, so I wasn't worried about it.

In the midst of baking pumpkin and cookies, I got a bit delayed, so didn't turn the heat back on until later in the afternoon. It simmered up nicely and I dished it out to the girls and myself, as Hubby had been called on an off-season service call this morning, and the quick fix turned into an 11-hour day. At my first bite, I was a bit perplexed. It tasted... vinegary. I cocked my head to recollect Hubby's comment the night before; "put some vinegar in it. It's good that way." Had he been so bold as to season the whole pot? I didn't think I much cared for it, if he had. I tried calling him on his cell phone, but he didn't answer. The girls weren't too thrilled with today's flavor either, but there were cookies to be had if they finished their dinner. I commiserated with them and we pondered if Daddy had abused our meal.

After the girls were finished (and I mostly), Hubby managed to call and say he was headed home. I told him I had a very, very important question to ask, and did he happen to add vinegar to the soup this morning?

He had not.


He'd had some in his thermos for lunch, but said it tasted fine. He did add vinegar to his thermos, though. Then he recalled the difficulty he'd had in opening the thermos, and that it had been under considerable pressure when the seal finally released.


He feels fine, though, and figures we'll be okay as well. This really shouldn't be too much to handle; we brew kombucha and kefir and yogurt and all sorts of bacterially-enhanced things. Why should hamburger soup be any different? *gulp*

Friday, October 17, 2008

More Debate Observations

There were a couple more thoughts I meant to add in my Debate Observations post, but, as is all to common these days, my brain apparently left them in a back storage lobe, and I only recently was able to retrieve them.

The first is the difference in terminology (and, I believe, philosophy) regarding judicial nominees. McCain stressed the importance of appointing judges based on their adherence to the Constitution, and Obama mentioned he would select judges based on their 'fairness' and 'justice.' I have a deep, sincere problem with Obama's stance here (are you surprised?!?). Who decides what is 'fair,' if not the Constitution? Is it fair for the government to 'spread the wealth around,' or is it fair for people to have equal opportunity at success and it's rewards? "Fairness" is subjective, obviously, and I don't want a fuzzy, squishy basis of decision for the nine most powerful people in our justice system (perhaps the entire government). What is "just" if we aren't pulling from scripture? I'll tell you what it is: It's Roe v. Wade.

Dovetailing with this point is my next. Obama 'clearly sees' a 'right to privacy' in the Constitution, which protects abortion choices (which should be made 'between the woman, her family, doctors, clergy..'). He also doesn't think different states should be allowed to moderate this right - any more than individual states should be able to infringe upon our First Amendment rights to free speech. I wanted to reach through the computer monitor, grab him by his stripey tie and holler, "or any more than our Second Amendment rights should be infringed!??!?" How does a 'right to privacy' have anything to do with abortion? As long as it's done 'in private,' it's allowed by the Constitution??? So, couldn't we argue that child abuse is okay as long as it's done behind closed doors? Or to children too young or handicapped to make it known publicly? Their arguments here are thin and weak. And I don't understand how our great country has been shackled by such flimsy reasoning for so long.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Great News!

After weeks of wondering about their demise, the Bay Leaves have been found!

They were under some towels on the floor of the upstairs hall/bathroom closet!


Continued Thoughts on Vaccines

I've been slowly reading Vaccination Deception: How Vaccines Prevent Optimal Health by Teddy H. Spence, DDS, ND. It's a hard one for me, because I really don't like two opposite views without being able to really find truth. And even though I'm not even half through the book, I'm struck by the claims within it. And because those claims are so very bad, I can't easily come to grips with it in my mind. If the things this book claim are true (and at least some of them seem very plausible, without having double-checked the research myself), then I can't just chalk it up to a 'difference of opinion.' No, if these things are true, then the 'other side' isn't just lazy, it's wicked. THAT'S what's hard to swallow.

For one: He links vaccines to cancer. Me: Plausible - vaccines are often created using animal DNA, and foreign DNA seems unwise to introduce straight into our systems without expecting some eventual reaction. Isn't cancer intentionally caused in lab animals by that practice?

He links to SIDS, which seems to hold up, if the statistics on countries where infant vaccination isn't done are accurate. No infant vaccines, virtually no SIDS.

Some things I'd like to know more about: The 'renaming' of polio and other 'vaccination-eliminated' diseases. Spence claims that the incidence of polio and other diseases only seemed to drop because of a change in classification. Polio became "aseptic meningitis," "atypical measles" became a common diagnosis, etc. "Call it anything, but don't call it by the diseases for which you were vaccinated or the vaccine would be implicated." Something I found intriguing was the way polio was dealt with in one area: They eliminated "sugar and ice cream" and polio rates dropped drastically that year. When the sugar industry responded the following year, the rates rose again. Another 'cure' was being administered in Australia; a woman was treating patients with muscular training exercises and physical therapy.

(*side note - this fits anecdotally with family history. Gigi was very sick for a long time during her childhood, after which she couldn't walk. Her brothers thought she'd "forgotten how" and spent no small time dragging her up and down the fields, one on each side of her, until she 'relearned' how to walk. Some years ago a doctor asked her if she'd had polio, and she described that time in her life. He 'could tell' by her inability to wrinkle or fissure her brow, which, at least to him, signified having polio at some point.)

Also, why the "48-hour" window within which time a vaccine can be blamed for a reaction? That seems highly suspect to me. Is it truly so they can avoid facing the possibility that a condition 3 days later, or 3 weeks later might have something to do with the barrage of injections given a newborn or infant?

Will we ever get to real truth in this issue? I attribute many claims above to the author, but truly he defers to several different authors, scientists, and researchers for his claims. I could google them, but I have no doubt that, being controversial as this issue is, I will find each and every one of them 'discredited' by some medical association or government institution.

The last thing, the thing that's hard to wrap my mind around, is what in the world could be the motivation for perpetrating such a worldwide deception? I have to get out my tin foil hat here, because the only things that fit are pretty dark and conspiratorial. Population control? Doing away with the lower classes a la Margaret Sanger repackaged? Perhaps the last two-third of the book will offer some insight.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Debate Observations

Hubby locked the ice pick away, so I sat myself in front of the debate tonight. I was armed with my handy Debate Bingo Card and a 72 oz bag of chocolate chips. That'll get me through just about anything. :)

I didn't get to listen to everything in it's entirety, due to, you know, being a mother and all, but a few things toward the end got me a little riled up, and I figured to vent them here.

In the "Education" section, a few things caught my ear. The candidates were presented with the fact that America has among the highest spending for education, and yet the system lacks results in a big way. Obama's plan? Reform and more spending. He also referred to "an army of teachers" and a plan to offer credit (paid tuition? loan forgiveness?) for "community service, like military, peace corps.." These things might not be red flags, but I've been reading Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg, and Obama's words ring a bell to the chapters about Woodrow Wilson and FDR, both of whom had scary policies to curl the hair of any patriot. "Armies" of teachers? And civilian 'armies' of various things... Community organizing, perhaps? *shudder*

Another glaring hypocrisy is his plan for making college affordable. I read somewhere that in the past few years, university education tuition has risen some 400 or 500%! Now, when gasoline and oil start going up in price (albeit not that much), oil executives are called in to Congress and given the third degree. I don't recall Obama or other democrats railing at the 'obscene compensation packages' of university presidents or professors, have you? I mean, those evil big wigs in higher education are just taking absolute advantage of students - and we know students are the lifeblood of this country - we need stronger regulatory oversight! I'm outraged!

Good grief.

Another annoyance is McCain's thoughts on Head Start. He talked about how the program seems to have problems, that by third grade the Head Start kids aren't any better off than the non-head start kids. He started out on the right track with that, but instead of realizing this is true for all early childhood education, he decided the problem is that Head Start needs reforming. *sigh* In *my* Perfect World, the Left's re-defining of 'healthy families' gets reformed and children get to be raised by two parents (two married parents, of opposite gender), and their mama gets to be with them longer than a couple hours a day. But then again, I'm an evil, conservative hatemonger.

What I would like to see in debates is less lying. I know, call me crazy. But wouldn't it be great to have a panel of well-researched people who have dug into both candidate's pasts, and when one says, "that's absolutely not true" and the other says, "facts are facts" we can pause and have the appropriate person stand up and read from whatever relevant history applies? I'm sure the candidate would just spin it with "out of context" and "wasn't aware at the time," but it's a nice fantasy to add to My Perfect World, anyway.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Liver Love?

Saturday, after a long day of errands, I was at a loss for dinner. We'd eaten the wonderful lasagnas from the freezer, and the split pea soup doesn't hold quite the same excitement (plus, we'd had that recently too). The turkey bones were a long way from soup, and I had penance to do for buying a pizza (yes, a store-bought, nitrate-filled, nasty, killer pizza - and it was SOOO good) for a late lunch to feed my starving offspring (not Baby, she had yogurt).

The night before (which I think ended up split pea night) I had tried to dig in the chest freezer (but you can't get very far, it's so full!), and came across an easily-accessible package of beef liver. I'd instructed the butcher that we wanted that, being as it was from a wonderful grass-fed critter and Nourishing Traditions encouraged such things. I'd hit a road block that night, because NT called for 'soaking' the liver in lemon juice for several hours to 'improve flavor and draw out impurities'. Well, I'm all for good flavor and less impurities, so I let it defrost. By the time we got home on Saturday, I decided to have a go at it. It had been years since I'd eaten the stuff. But - being so full of enzymes or minerals or omega-3 fats, I was sallying forth with determination.

I juiced 2 lemons and layered the freaky slices of liver in a bowl with juice in/on everything. Come dinnertime, I patted it dry, as per the instructions, and dredged it in flour (barley flour, since I'm holding off on wheat for Organique) and fried it in.. lard, bacon grease (I'm pretty sure NT would disapprove), coconut oil - I might've used sunflower oil at some point as well. It really soaked up the fat. I also sliced a big sweet onion and sauteed it (in a mixture of olive oil and butter), and steamed some peas and corn. Then I served it to my adoring family.

They weren't adoring for long. Hubby had never actually had liver and onions, and remarked, "I see why they always eat it with onions." Indeed, after a few bites of liver a la carte, I started eating it with the onions, for remarkable improvement. The girls were not so easily convinced. It really was strong stuff. Interestingly, they did eat all their onions. Organique ate a bite or two, but eventually started giving me dirty looks and letting the stuff fall out of her mouth each time I tried to give her some. She stuck with the peas and corn, mostly.

So. Hubby did choose a liver sandwich for lunch on Sunday, because we, for once, had plenty of leftovers. And we are brainstorming other ways to give our bodies the great nourishment that this provides, without the, um, sacrifice of actually tasting it. Any ideas? Can I grind it up and mix it with hamburger to make meatloaf? Could I use the juice of, say, 40 lemons and exponentially 'improve the flavor?' We have several packages in the freezer, and it seems wrong to feed such healthy fare to the chickens. Give me your best recipes. :)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weekend Chaos

Why is it, that after five consecutive days of fairly regular cleaning/upkeep, my house looks like a disaster come Sunday (sometimes Saturday!) evening? It's horribly oppressive to me. Is it just Hubby? :)

I think it's the way I cast aside my 'regular' style to be 'in the flow' with Hubby. This, however, often leaves much to be desired, because he doesn't really tend to 'flow' much at all on weekends. I say things like, "Okay, Hon, what are your plans for today?" And he replies, "I dunno." Or, "Is there anything you want to accomplish today?" "Maybe." So then I hang in a state of limbo, not wanting to pursue my own agenda (because I want to be involved with him, whatever we do), and not having a clear idea of what his might be. So I do little bits of this and that, and the weekend slips away, leaving in it's wake a massive tide of chaos.

Perhaps this weekend was complicated by the many piles of foodstuffs taking shelter from the 38 degree high yesterday (quick, someone alert Al Gore). Buckets and baskets of green tomatoes (to add to the piles of reds), nearly 200 lbs of organic russet potatoes, and my long-simmering turkey carcass that's been on the stove since friday -- add to that Hubby's grand plan to salvage the plums from the tree and make wine. He must've worked half the day on that. *sigh* At least he had an agenda, right? Even if my kitchen is slathered in plum residue. So - sorting potatoes (must separate and use the cut/injured ones first), separating meat/bones/broth/other from the stockpot (and then digging/scrubbing/peeling/slicing carrots, and it's accompanied mess), pitting and juicing plums... Yeah, the kitchen is in sore need of being burned down and rebuilt some rehabilitation. We won't discuss what it looks like underneath the dining room table. *shudder*

Now I shall google for a knit hoodie pattern and try to put my psyche back together after reliving what is downstairs.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Economic Idiocy

We made it into Town this morning, for some errands I'd been glibly looking forward to all week. And while we woke to barely a skiff of snow, the closer we got to town, the more of it there was. They're calling for more, possibly. But at least I now have 50 lbs of oatmeal (for $30! That used to cost me $16, maybe) and enough fabric to keep busy until Christmas. I struck out on what I wanted most to find... Last year I found some nice quilter's premium cotton which is so lovely, and I hoped to find more. But either they're not discounting/clearancing such fabric any more, or it sells out at regular prices, because there was none to be found. I did find a few nice pieces, some buttons, and a couple patterns, though. We went to the home improvement warehouse and Hubby bought the parts to make me a fantastic and wondrous thing - I'll tell more about it later. In between searching for parking spaces and taking turns waiting in the car, I heard a lot of this week's talk-radio reruns, and I'm perplexed by something...

There's so much talk about the financial problems, the credit crunch, the world bank issues, and how 'commercial paper' has stopped flowing. And all of this is dire because everything runs on this stuff. Without credit no one buys cars, and the car dealer will go out of business. Without commercial paper businesses can't make payroll and farmers can't buy seed. And we won't even bring up the housing market.

Now, maybe this has been said before, but it seems like they're NOT talking about something pretty obvious. And that is, maybe an economy built on credit (and therefore debt) isn't very sound to start with. Maybe we need to pull back and take a closer look. Instead of blaming the now-limited 'commercial paper,' maybe the real problem is that businesses should manage (real, actual) money better. Maybe we should buy cars when we can afford them. Is this such a wild notion that it doesn't even hit the radar of the media? I don't have a problem living my life far more restrictively than others. I know people who make as much (or more) money as we, and are in debt enough to drown themselves (I know because their creditors call us, somehow!). Now, they're not living in fancy neighborhoods, but they're overstretched somewhere. Most people would advise people like this to 'stop buying on credit' and 'live within their means.' Does that sound radical? I don't think so. But expecting business (and government!) to do this isn't even an option.

And I'm afraid, like the families who think paying cash for a vehicle 'isn't even an option,' this economy will continue to struggle until we start building a new 'normal.'

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Change of Seasoning

Two days ago I was hanging out the girls' sheets in the sunshine and breeze.

Today I am holed up watching the snow blow outside. Two to five inches of accumulation is expected by morning. Brrr! The good news is that today is the first day we've had to use our pellet stove. The bad news is that the five or so sheets and a blanket weren't much help in the garden last night, and certainly won't do for tonight, so I've picked the tomato vines as clean as I can.

Because if 150 pounds of russets weren't enough to keep me busy, a few more bushels of tomatoes should certainly do the job. Now to find some good recipes for "green tomato ____".

This usually doesn't happen until later in the month. We'll typically get a skiff of snow once in October, but then not again for awhile. It doesn't usually stick around.

Organique is enthralled with the bright beautiful flame in the pellet stove (I shouldn't have windexed the glass, I see), and while personal experience would be a quick teacher, I've opted to blockade it instead. She's had stern warnings, and I've let her get near enough to (hopefully) learn what is 'hot' without blisters to prove it. Now to keep her away long enough for the glass to soot up again...

I don't usually wash my sheets until Monday, but I might be forced to exchange my beloved 550-thread sheets for their bright red winter counterparts tonight. It's feeling like flannel time.

The girls are playing Christmas music and turning the pellet stove blockade (playpen, ottoman) into a cozy reading nook. I don't have enough baby gates to protect the potatoes and tomatoes from the baby, nor to protect her from the hot peppers. I need to rig up a place for them to hang dry, if I'm able. The turkey bones from last weekend are simmering on the stove in my darling new stockpot, and I might go dig carrots before they're buried in the snow. The guineas aren't sure what to do with this weather, and their pen doesn't have a lot in the way of shelter. The free-ranging hens are tucked under the porch, and the younger flock are in an open-sided shed, but protected from the wind.

We were planning some family errands tomorrow, a fabric sale and parts to make a diaper sprayer, but depending on the road conditions, we might not make it after all.

Not to worry; I'm sure I can keep occupied here at home! I hope you are all having a lovely day, wherever you are, and whatever the weather. :)

Potato Time

Yesterday the girls and I left the house for our Thursday errands, which were pretty light. Pick up some supplements from Hubby's naturopath, pick up my Azure order, return a book to Costco that had a little too much nude sunbathing/topless women in the first two chapters, and use some Costco coupons to stock up on soap and q-tips... and chocolate chips. (please forgive me, Lord, I know they're from Nestle, which is an evil company, but there was a $2 off coupon and we are totally out and I didn't want to make an extra stop.) I'd let our new neighbor gal know I was going into town (she's got a 15-mo-old toddler and another due in Dec.) and did she need anything at Costco? I added her toilet paper order to my list and set out. Before getting to Costco, she called to let me know her plans and ask if I wanted to join.

What plans?

Oh, nothing but gleaning organic potatoes in a field south of Town -- for free.

Um, gee, what do you think I said?

Oh, I don't have any buckets on hand? Or proper footwear? Or gloves? Or coats for the children? [insert dismissive wave and headshake here] "We'll be there!"

We were there considerably earlier than she, even adding in another stop in town, so we waited. Apparently she used to know the farmer some time ago, and happened to call and ask about doing this yesterday. Harvest started yesterday, in fact, so we were in good time.

I am thankful there was no camera available to capture me in all my glory; fine wool coat, handkerchief on my head, and 20+ lbs of dirty organic russets held in my skirt. The seams held, the zipper held, and I remained dressed for the entire outing. I'm not sure how much we came home with, but I gleaned for 2 hours at least. After dragging (yes, dragging) a full 18-gallon rubbermaid-tote-but-cheaper type thing 3/4 the way across the field, I knew there had to be a better way. Maybe even one that would keep the tractor/harvester drivers from snickering. Eventually I decided the biggest and best were to be had on the other side of the field, so drove around and parked on that side. I filled another half tote full there, before driving home in exhaustion. Happy exhaustion. In all, we have 2 totes very full, and 1 1/2 small boxes full. Oh, and because of the blustery day, I also have 10 fingernails full of dirt. And 2 shoes, 2 socks, 2 ears, and 2 nostrils full. And more between my toes. And teeth. He didn't charge us a dime for the potatoes (though if he knew how much certified organic dirt I brought home, he might've charged for that), and now we'll need to sort out the cut/broken ones for quick use, and figure out how to keep organic spuds from sprouting (hahaha).

Thankfully there was a frozen lasagna to serve my wimpy self last night, so I didn't have to start washing/sorting/peeling/slicing/dicing/shredding/baking/boiling/frying just to eat dinner. After 2 hours of bending and lifting, we would have gone to bed quite hungry. :)

Praise the Lord for such wonderful provision!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Pessimist Day

Did you watch the debate last night? Did you want to poke yourself in the eye with an icepick?

You know, for the first time in my adult life, I'm really worried about what America is going to look like.

And you can quote me on that.

I don't want to be fined if I choose to not insure my children.

I don't want our taxes to have to shore up every lazy/uneducated homeowner, or pay for daycare for every working mother.

There's a lot of talk about choosing between "socialism, or socialism lite" with these candidates. I think it's worse than that. Marxism wants to destroy the family - parents in the workforce, children indoctrinated in institutions - and when you start taxing my husband to pay for my neighbor's daycare, that's exactly what's going to happen. We, who do not need such subsidies (homeschooling, for one), are also the ones who can least afford it (one income). And the idea of punishing true excellence will do more to push that excellence overseas than anything else. The top 5% (the ones who Obama claims don't pay their "fair" share?) already pay some 67% of taxes. Well, if that's not enough, what is? Would you work your hiney off to become part of that top 5% if that's your reward? Not me. Some time ago, when Obama was defending his capital gains tax hike, it was pointed out to him that when that rate was lowered, the government actually got more revenue from it, because everyone jumped into investing. Would he still hike it? Yes. Why? For fairness.

The man is sick.

With this "bailout" mess, what will the future be for my kids? Will my daughters have the option of staying at home with their kids? If families choose radical simplification (no electricity?) over putting mom in the workforce, will they lose their children?

How bad does it have to get before we can start over, with the Constitution in charge?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Turkey Sunday

We did manage to harvest our last turkey hen yesterday (well, Hubby did it). She went from the turkey pen to Mama's table in just... well, several hours, actually. I forgot to inject the meat with broth and whatnot, and I'm disappointed in the tenderness (or lack thereof) of the meat. That, or watching her compadres disappear one by one the day before got her all uptight! We don't have a scale (that weighs over six pounds), but she was approximately the size of a large store-bought turkey. She fit into my great-grandma's turkey roaster, but kicked her ankles out from under the lid while roasting. I made mashed potatoes (be thankful I didn't photograph them, ladies. They were harvest leftovers from a commercial field, and VERY LARGE MUTANT looking critters), gravy (oh, I so love gravy!), and green beans. I also put up (more!) tomatoes, and left the house an absolute mess. I really don't want to go downstairs today at all. *sigh*

It's been that way, lately. Saturday night I got the girls bathed, their clothes ready, even showered myself (!) - Sunday morning I fed them all, got them ready, piled into the car, drove 25 minutes to church - and forgot the diaper bag. There are a couple other little ones in the church, but no one I know well enough to ask, and when I did a quick search, there was no Emergency Stash For Idiot Mothers on hand. Neither was there a ladies' room dispenser of other Absolutely Necessary Items (that were also in the diaper bag), so we had to greet everyone and then turn around and go home. Very frustrating. We had toyed with the idea of returning, but with gas prices and baby's Deep Desire to leave the carseat and find her crib, we decided against it.

Well, it's time to gather up some motivation, bend my back to the work (and my children's wills), and try to make this place liveable for once. :) Wish me luck! (better yet, pray for us?)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Cold Birds

Yesterday we managed four turkeys before the rain and wind and lack of propane drove us to quit. I am actually very excited; we kept one 'whole' for Thanksgiving (a big tom!) - wrapped fancily in two giant black trash bags. The rest we dismembered and put in gallon ziplocs. This is what excites me... Instead of figuring on one big roasted bird every 6 weeks or so (and then getting sick of it before week's end), I can put a pair of hindquarters in the crockpot, or half a breast, or put a pair of wings and a back into the stockpot and make a delicious soup - and I can do each of these meals several times! Yay!

Hubby has his own bags of gizzards and necks, and I actually kept the feet - yes the feet! - to make hearty, healthy, freakishly bizarre gelatin-based stocks/sauces. I'm not sure how to do that yet, but you can be sure I'll blog about it if/when I do.

The last bird we plan to do today... and because we don't have ANY more freezer space, we'll probably roast the whole thing as soon as we hose out the body cavity. (Hmm... 'hose out the body cavity'... that's not a phrase I get to use very often.)

Last year all our turkeys got killed (before we had a chance to do it), and we haven't had tender, tastey turkey in the freezer for a long time (the beast that broke the counter was too big/old/obnoxious to be roasted). We're so grateful.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Blog Changes

I'm not sure when it happened, but I noticed a while back that my background is different. Who did that? Did blogger? I don't think I did it. This nice yellow-ey background used to have a parchment look and feel to it, and now when I update my blogheaders, it's not near as nifty. Can I reclaim the parchment? Is it gone forever? Am I the only one who misses it? (don't answer that)

In other news, you can know even more about us (I know, just what you always wanted)... See the "About Me" profile on the right? There's a little link there where you can learn more about us, in case you have a hard time keeping our characters straight. Heck, sometimes even *I* have a hard time, and it's *my* life I'm living. Sheesh.

The Turkeys Are Restless

And with good reason. Today is their day. I'm tempted to pop one straight into the oven; it's finally starting to act like fall. I've enjoyed the weather (80s in October?!?) ripening up the tomatoes for us, but today is cooler and wet.

I've been struggling with some things lately, and haven't had it in me to blog more goofy posts (Did I just hear you say, "thank you Jesus!"?). I certainly don't have any wisdom (apparently) to share, either, so that leaves... not much to say. :)

God is good, though, all the time.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Love Tomatoes?

She does, and so far is the onliest girl here who does. The others do tolerate them in chili, spaghetti, lasagna and the like, so all is not lost.
She does, however, need to learn to finish one before she starts another. And do you know how long I've been trying to get her to "put back" things? Like aprons and hot pads from the drawer, or spice jars from the inside of a low cupboard door? Well, since she's been mobile, really. And it hasn't worked.
Until this day, that is, when she grabbed a small red tomato, ate half, slopped what remained of juice and seeds all over, and then put it back in the basket. She followed that with a quick bite of a large somewhat-ripe tomato (which I confiscated myself and replaced in the basket), then a good third of a mostly-green one. This was then put back in favor of a semi-pink roma, and a cherry tomato handed to her by her sister, in defense of what remained unmolested.

Fee Fi Fo Fum
Which of you 'maters is my next vic-tum?
(and now you know why I write blogs, and not books of poetry)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Bailout Shmailout

I haven't blogged anything political lately, not because I don't know what's going on, or don't have opinions (hahaha!) on it, but because if I start, it will go and go and go and I will short circuit in a puff of smoke and collapse and never be able to find my kitchen counters again. Oh, wait, that last part has kinda already happened. I'm working on it though. I am.

I did finally come to a conclusion of sorts on this bailout. I was surprised yesterday when it failed, more so to find out my representative had voted for it. In his defense, he did so with much deliberation and gnashing of teeth, believing it to be 'better for the tax payer' in the end.

I don't know about that. And I mean that at face value. I really don't know. Of course, I think 90% of our politicians know as much or less (thank you, public education), but I was able to come to a conclusion on the idea of it, without understanding every nuance.

When I tried to email my congressman, the page took forever to load, and I eventually got a "we're sorry, Capitol Hill is experiencing high email volume. Please try back again later" message. Ha. I bet. I used a different avenue, which sent my message to all my senators, reps, the Big Man himself, and the treasury guy. I did reference my congressman in particular, however.

My thoughts come down to this (excerpted from my letter):

I DO understand one thing: I WOULD RATHER HAND MY THREE CHILDREN A COUNTRY DESTROYED BY AN ECONOMIC DEPRESSION THAN HAND THEM ONE DESTROYED BY SOCIALISM. Depressions and hard work and effort sometimes bring out the best in us and our communities. Socialism never does. And if you do this (whether or not with taxpayers' best interest at heart), the next hiccup in the economy (or dire consequence of other liberal policies) will have the expectation of some (more) government intervention, ultimately suppressing our freedoms and liberties. I DO NOT SUPPORT THAT. Worse, people wanting more power, more government (maxine waters, anyone?) will have nothing to do but create another crisis by which to sweep more of the private sector under the umbrella of government management.

I don't think Thomas Jefferson or James Madison or any of their esteemed cohorts had that in mind, do you?

Lower the capital gains tax, if you want to flood the markets with money and confidence, and quit trying to create some false utopia wherein people can buy houses (and more) without money.

It took me a long while to get here. I really don't know what, if anything, should be done, but I think it's a slippery slope, and given the options above that I perceive, I'll take my chances with less government.

Do you agree? Disagree? Prefer some cake? Say so. :)


The other night (after we'd re-fixed the water heater), I headed downstairs and smelled something smoky/hot. I called to Hubby, who ran down two flights of stairs to check the water heater. All was well. We looked and sniffed around, and Hubby decided it was the base of the Vita Mix blender which he'd just used to make a giant frozen smoothie. I was doubtful, but we didn't see what else it could've been. I noticed the food dehydrator, and peeked in to see my chive bits were dry, so unplugged it and we went to bed.

The next day, I removed the lid to the food dehydrator and put the dry chives into a little bottle. I had lined the rack with the "fruit roll up" thing, which doesn't have any air-flow (except through the center open area) holes. Below that was a single rack that had a few still-soft peach slices finishing up. When I got to that layer, I had a revelation:

The fruit-roll-up liner must do a good job of containing the heat. And the one rack below it did a good job of letting that heat make some changes.

Can you say 'ouch'? I did, when one of these drew blood on my finger.

At least I didn't have to wash it. I tossed the over-baked peaches out to the chickens, and pondered whether or not I could find an aborigine to use this like a boomerang-of-death to capture a guinea or two.
Probably not.