Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Incongruity

They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover.

However, I think there are exceptions.  Books covered in images of shirtless muscle-men with waist-length flowing hair and gripping a half-undressed woman are usually, well, trashy novels.  Girl-p*rn, really.

A while back I was searching for a handful of classic kids books, and was hitting up the second-hand stores in Town to see if I could avoid the shipping costs of buying online.  Hubby and the kids waited in the van while I perused the back wall of one such shop, passing over the obligatory Microwave Cooking cookbooks and MS-DOS how-to manuals.  A demure, older Mennonite woman walked to the back of the store as well, and went directly to the far end of the wall.  A-ha, I thought.  That's where the good stuff is.  I pretended to continue searching along as I slowly made my way in her direction, waiting until she had made her selections and left the area.  I happily strode towards the Good Shelf.

To find books covered in images of shirtless muscle-men...

I laughed to myself, when standing in line to buy some 50¢ crayola paints, the woman was turning in a good-sized stack of similar novels to get 'credit' towards the purchase of the new stack.  Classic literature indeed.  Silly me. :)

Just goes to show that you can't judge a book by its cover...?

Monday, December 27, 2010

War of the Worlds

This is one of those stories I need to write down for posterity.  You might know of the War of the Worlds movie with Tom Cruise.  I recall an earlier version, watching it on my mom's (well, my grandparents', but they moved out of their house so my mom, brother, and I could live there) old 8-foot-long tv.  The TV was set in the middle, and cloth-and-wood covered speakers were built-in at either side.  The green animated laser beams were just slightly less frightening than my mom's tale of people jumping to their deaths in fear that this story was real.

Gi-gi remembers this time.  It was 1938, according to Wikipedia.  The story was broadcast on radio, and there were those that didn't realize it was just a story.  I asked Gi-gi how that could be, and she said that there was always a lot of static, things weren't near as clear as they are nowadays, and when you only caught the gist, well, I guess it sounded pretty real.

Gi-gi was 11.  She had an older sister married, two older brothers at home, 2 younger brothers, the baby sister, plus mom and dad.  They lived along the river where they farmed a little, and her dad might've been in the state legislature at this time, or had already served a term or two.  I don't know if the family was gathered around the radio for the evening's entertainment, or if suddenly their ears were tuned to the broadcast, but  at whatever point, Grandma Great came to believe that martians were truly invading the earth.

This is where my modern sense starts to balk (seriously, you didn't know it was just a story??), but there is something to be learned here.

My great grandma Betty, who was 41, did not jump out a window.  Not that they had a window tall enough to jump to your death, but still.  She quietly gathered her six children and walked them out to the riverbank to await The End.  She was a Scotch Presbyterian and had great faith.  If this was it, then she was ready; she encouraged her children to be brave, and to meet the Lord with gladness.

I pause here with tears in my eyes.  My comfortable existence has a hard time imagining this.  Would I be as calm, as prepared, as willing to gather my children and gracefully meet our expected demise?  At the hands of invading aliens, no less?!?

I'm not sure how long they waited, or if it was daylight or nighttime, but at some point my great-grandfather said, "Betty, get back in this house! and bring the kids!" or something to that effect.  :)  I don't know if Grandma Great woke up the next day ashamed of her actions, or with a greater gratitude for her family and life, but the memory has stuck with her children at least.

What do you think YOU would do, at such a time?

Monday, December 20, 2010

How We Got Out

This is the next Sunday.  I was finally getting a little cabin fever.  Ahem.  Hubby got the tractor very stuck, and you can see all the little footprints where Hubby would "walk home" from his truck (parked up at the neighbor's) each night.

Sunken Tractor
The day before, I was beginning to get desperate.  I called a neighbor about borrowing his tractor, but he said his bucket-contraption wasn't working right.  I called my nearest neighbor (a wonderful older woman, who gives wayyy too much candy to my children) who'd had her driveway cleared (of WHAT, I might ask; hers wasn't like ours!) and she called the guy who did hers, and someone else who had offered.  Neither answered their phone, but she got a hold of a family who does odd jobs for her sometimes, and they came to take a look.  This was Sunday morning, and they thought that our portion of the driveway would take about 2 hours.  They charge a fantastic hourly rate (considering there are six or eight of them, from 11 years old to 60+(?)).  I gave the go-ahead, and they set to work with tractor and shovels.  
Help is on the way!
The snow was much wetter and heavier by this time, and it was not near as easy to move as they'd thought.  At 2.5 hours they were about halfway between my van and the neighbor's property line, and all the way through my driveway-clearing budget. :)  The old boy on the tractor had driven around the side of the driveway to help free my tractor, and I asked if he thought my van could traverse the ground there without getting stuck.  He thought so, so I asked him to clear that portion enough to get my van out instead of working further on the driveway.  He hollered and the rest of the group and their shovels marched up to where I was and set to work clearing the big drifts in the front of the motor home (oh, and I had my shovel too!  I could taste the freedom, and was happy to be doing something!).
It ain't pretty, but it works...
Before long the way was (kinda) clear, and I happily drove my van up to the neighbor's and parked it there (which is what I will be doing next time I lie in bed with the wind howling me awake after a snowfall).  For a week or more we parked the van there, and I was so grateful to be able to leave, that I almost didn't mind trekking a quarter-mile through mud and slush.  With children.  I DID come to mind the quarter-mile trek back, after dark, in the wind, with a sleeping baby in my arms. We made a family trip to town for Hubby's music practice, and ferried the groceries and baby home in his pickup afterwards. :)

These are the good ol' days!  When my kids are older and more experienced, they will look back on these things and realize how terribly weird we were.  And hopefully it will bring smiles to their faces.  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

S'no Problem!

A few weeks back, just before Thanksgiving, it snowed.  It was a nice snow, a warm, snowball-making snow.  Then it snowed some more, colder, powdery.

About 8 inches total on the ground.

And then it got windy, very early on a Sunday.  It buffeted the outside of the wall where my head lies at night.  It howled, and the house groaned.  I did too, a bit.  Later Hubby tried to go to church, but he only got about 200 feet from the house.   Soon it looked like this:

From the living room window.  The driveway goes between the motor home and the power meter.
Yes, this is what eight inches and a breeze does to us.  Okay, a 45 mph breeze.

And Hubby put his little truck in four-wheel mode and went into the pasture, just to make me jealous.  And bring back groceries.  He did the same with his big work truck.


 The backyard gets some interesting wind-effects in the drifts.  As I write this, most of the backyard and all the neighboring fields are free of snow, but we are still able to walk across the top of the fence at this point.
The backyard, snow blowing across a peak.
This was taken another day, the wind was gone, the sky was clear and bright.  And my driveway is somewhere down there!  It starts at the lower right of the photo, then follows diagonally towards the upper left.  At the telephone pole way out there (not the one with the transformer in the middle of the photo), the driveway veers left, then right, before going out to the road.

From upstairs
Ah, now where are my snowshoes??

Snowed in February 2008. <-- Back when I actually would step out of the house to take a photo...

Friday, December 17, 2010

Doings

My goodness, 'tis the season, is it not?  I have been busy with things I can't write about, because as soon as I do, some lurking relative will come back and read about something they shouldn't! :)  Time has been spent in the kitchen and the sewing room, with a little knitting thrown in here and there.   I can tell you:

I just tonight finished putting the binding (poorly) on a quilt for Baby.  And I will tell you that I should have done it when she was born, as I promised her, because she was not able to come up and push all the buttons to change the stitches mid-seam, or turn the whole thing off in the middle of a decorative stitch, or cause other mayhem and chaos to the project.  At least it's hers, and I can blame it all on her.  Even my mistakes, perhaps. :)

I used some velvet-y, deep red 'crushed panné' fabric to make a twirly, long-sleeved dress for Organique.  I think she'll love it.

I don't have any good ideas for a sewn project for Little Artist.  This is bothering me.

I plan to make Big Sister an apron, but haven't yet.  I also plan to make slippers for each girl, and have traced their feet.  I'm not sure if it will work; the closest way I know to do such a thing is from the little baby slipper tutorials I've seen online.  I'm hoping I can adjust those to work...?

Big Sister has a Christmas wishlist as long as my arm (things like a swan princess movie, a bb gun, and roller skates), but the only thing from it I've 'granted' so far is a mixing bowl.  Little Artist wants a Polly Pocket thing like her sister's (Big Sister received a toy that came with four little dogs, leashes, bowls, and sixteen (!) little doggie shoes. And has managed to keep track of most of it.).  I'm disinclined to buy junk from China, but there are not many other options.  We got a family-style game, and some stocking stuffers.  I'm hoping for time next week to make homemade peanut butter cups and mint patties. :)  I've been making marshmallows this week, some Little Artist can eat, and currently have a marshmallow downstairs waiting to be used in a recipe.  The marshmallow is about 2.25 lbs!  And sits in the bottom of my soup pot. :)

I am thrilled to make a trip to Gi-gi's soon, where I will be able to see my brother and his wife and daughter.  We haven't seen them since last year, I think, and that's terrible!  At least to me!  :)  Also, a lifelong friend and her husband are visiting her parents in the area this month, and she hasn't been back for 2 years.  She has lived on 3 continents and four countries (not counting this one) and it's fascinating to compare how divergent our lives have become.  Yet how wonderful and easy to come back together and share such history.  If her brother can be in attendance, it will truly be like old times (but with older versions of ourselves!).

I will post again soon, with pictures of the snow that kept me homebound for 9 days!

Monday, December 06, 2010

But Wait


And you're saying, "But I don't know where else to buy eggs!  I don't see local grass-fed beef at Costco! I can't pay $6/lb for hamburger at the organic grocer's!"

Sometimes it's hard.  We have to lose that Black Friday lemming mentality that expects to have everything available within reach.  Start to realize that what's within reach are not all the choices, just the choices you're being offered by one party.  

What then?  Where do we look?  There are blogs all over with answers to these questions.  There are websites, but not everyone lists there.  I'll tell you what has worked for us, and what I would recommend.  

I found raw milk by talking about it.  At Hubby's company party a few years ago, I spent most of the time nursing Organique and chatting with another wife (whom I'd met before, but didn't know well).  Before long, she called me with a name and number of someone who sold raw milk - who lived about a half mile from me!  

Once I bought a beef after seeing a listing in the classified ads.  Later, I called the local organic health food store and asked if they knew anyone that produced locally (you might want to be careful on this one.  I'd developed a relationship of sorts with them, and they knew I was familiar with their organic beef producer, but wouldn't even buy it on the hoof from him, due to price.  I wanted someone less established, not necessarily certified organic, but feeding green stuff.).  They had a # of a guy who had been wanting to market through them, and I ended up buying a beef from him.  This time, that man is no longer producing, so I'd been buying black-market beef by the cut from a neighbor, but the taste wasn't my preference and the inventory was waning.  I was at a loss, and praying for some beef!  One chilly October afternoon I was driving through our little town on "market day" - the little unofficial farmer's market they have weekly - and decided to see what people had (there were only 2 vendors there, all bundled up).  One vendor was selling fresh produce not entirely local or organic.  The other was hawking mostly baked breads and jams and apple butter, but I bought a dozen eggs and got their business card.  They were beginning the process of opening a store, they hoped.  Later I thought to ask them if they had any grass-fed beef sources, so emailed them.  Lo and behold, they were raising a lone steer and wanted a buyer for half, so I put in my order!  Thank you, Lord!

I order monthly from Azure, and if they deliver to your area, the drop point alone is probably full of the kind of people who Know.  Talk to people, get names or email addresses or find them on facebook, and ask them where they buy their _____.  

I've bought eggs from self-serve coolers on back porches, after seeing a sign hanging by a country lane.  If you see the chickens out pecking and scratching, it's far-and-away better than anything in the store, whether they're fed 'organic' feed or not. 

I found eating chickens (before I made my own) by asking the guy at the feed store if anyone in the area produces chicken they might sell.  They know who orders feed by the pallet or truck load.  I bought from 2 producers this way; one on-the-way-to-organic, one conventional (but far better than what you see in factory farms).

So, what can YOU do?  First, read.  Holy Cows and Hog Heaven is the best book of its kind I've read.  Omnivore's Dilemma is reportedly good, though I haven't read it.  Learn about the differences between beef fed on grain/soy/chicken poop/chicken guts and beef fed on pasture, and the link to e. coli, the different nutritional profile.  Learn about what rBST does to cows, and what it might do to people who drink the milk.  Learn about how eggs are processed, whether your producer uses bleach, mineral oil, or other things, or not.  Why milk is pasteurized, and why not, and the difference.  Ditto homogenization.  

Then, talk to people.  If you find ONE person who locally buys or produces some of what you're looking for, chances are they know of an entire network of people.  Go to the farmer's market in season, and talk.  I mentioned the Azure delivery point.  A health food store that doesn't sell food might have knowledgable clerks.  Check for a bulletin board at the same place.  Look for one at the local feed/farm store.  Most fliers/business cards there are geared towards conventional ag (at least in our area), but I have seen raw goat's milk advertised, rabbit meat, and other 'unconventional' things.  Inspect for yourself (as always!), know what you're looking for, and you might find a treasure.  Attend an organic gardening class or meeting.  

Also realize we can't always have year-round availability of everything.  But realize this is the first time in the history of the world where anyone could expect to buy tomatoes in January in the northern hemisphere (but seriously, have you tasted them?  They may look like tomatoes, but I don't think they qualify.).  I find there is a gratitude, and better understanding when we're tied a little more closely to our food. The cow we get milk from is "dry" right now, until calving in January.  I purchased a few more gallons toward the later weeks of availability, and put them in the freezer (I'm nearly through with gallon #2).  It was a sad, sad day when I'd planned to buy 2 gallons a day before the 'cutoff' day - and then learned that she had stopped milking a day earlier due to super-cold temperatures we were having.  Sadness!  But I am so happy to have a little bit set by, and will be thrilled when January comes around.  We haven't had beef for over a month**, except for some stew I made from a lone soup bone hiding in my freezer.  We have a couple weeks yet, and you can bet I'll love that beef all the more for the wait! 

Also expect some difference.  Our taste buds are trained to what we give them often.  When first we tried raw milk, it was definitely different.  Within a couple days, the flavor changed, and it was even more unusual to me.  Baking a batch of cookies to dunk in the milk helped, or using it primarily on cereal or anyway-but-straight helped get used to it.  Fast forward a few years...  Expecting our 'milk-less time,' I've lately purchased a gallon or two of organic whole milk for the freezer, when it's on 'clearance' and much cheaper.  I poured out a portion of milk, so the gallon could expand in the freezer, and drank it, remembering how much I enjoyed this milk (pasteurized though it may be), how 'neutral' it tasted, how it was nice that it tasted the same for several days running. :)  Well, let's just say I was entirely shocked.  The milk was not sour, or old, by any means, but it was not... good!  It tasted, well, just awful.  Very weird.  It was cool, and refreshing in that fashion, but tasted so off.  Maybe it tasted cooked, since it is.  Where once I had to bake cookies to go back into the raw milk when the cow was freshened, perhaps now I'll need to bake them to go back to the nasty pasteurized stuff when the cow dries up!  (Nothing like an excuse for cookies, eh?)  Of course, there's the option to go without milk, too, which is probably the more natural, original option.

So, go forth and seek!  Look for food outside of the box (store).  You will be amazed at what you may find, and blessed.



**Actually, Hubby desired beef very much a while back, so I bought a 3 1/2 lb package of ground beef at a decent grocery store.  I tossed the whole thing into a skillet to brown, and had to leave the kitchen for a time.  Hubby finished the cooking of it.  Later I went in, and shook my head, wondering why he had added so much water to it (he often adds oil to a pan to cook something that has plenty of oil, or water to steam something I wouldn't :)  ).  When I saw him, I asked him about it, and he told me he hadn't added any water at all.  But there was a good half-inch in the pan!  I was perplexed, and after thinking about it some time, I realized that I have just 'transitioned' fully to another product (one that probably took some time to transition into, at first!), that hangs in a cooler for 1-2 weeks instead of the standard 30 hours or so.  This greatly affects moisture content, so all other things being equal (which they're NOT), a longer-chilled carcass will have less water, and what there is isn't clear, as this was.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Salmonella?

That looks to be among the LEAST of the problems with this system.



I didn't understand what I was seeing in some of that footage, but there are dead/dying hens with prolapsed uteri, eggs resting on corpses, manure-covered hens, and worse.

I've sometimes rethought the passionate words I typed in a former post, exhorting us all to trust God for provision that doesn't violate His creation.  There are moments that just seems so elitist, so arrogant.  And then I'm reminded of things like this, and I'm convinced all over again.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this stirs up my politics too.  Not in the way of some, "why is this legal?  The government needs to do something about this!" but more, "see what happens when we trust some bureaucracy?  When we give regulating power over to some Department, when we allow the FDA or EPA or USDA to say what "organic" means - and then trust it?" [just to clarify, the above video was NOT of organic production, but if you trust a product just because it sports the organic logo, you're trusting someone else to control your food] Please, know where your food comes from.  Educate yourself.  If you're not sure, take a notepad with you to the store, and jot down brands/products you could know more about.  Do you know which "organic" milk brands are from cows raised on cement, in the dark, with organic grain as feed?  Which ones feed at least a portion of hay and use pasture when possible?  Which brands of cheese use milk from rBST-treated cows?  Better yet, buy what you can locally, put 100% of the price of your food into the producer's hands.  Isn't this a lot of work?  Maybe.  But do one thing at a time.  Eggs, this month.  Learn, choose, buy.  Do it consciously, not like one more Black Friday lemming who is swayed by every wind of advertisement.  Next month, milk, or yogurt, or some other staple of your home.  You can't change the big company featured in the video, but you can certainly change where your own grocery budget goes, who and what your dollars support.

Is it worth it?  You bet!  You will (probably) get far better food when you're judging its source for yourself.  There is something very satisfying about looking someone in the eye who caretakes your eggs, or beef, or carrots, or whatever.  You don't need to worry "where it came from" when you feed it to your children, whether their fried egg was first with a corpse, then workers-of-questionable-hygeine, then chemicals, then..?  If you are concerned about the well-being of the land, you can determine whether you're a help or hindrance to that, with your purchases.  You will more likely be eating fresher food and avoiding genetically-modified frankenfood.

You can do it!  Don't trust Big Brother with your food!  That responsibility is yours! :)


More on egg production/processing here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Purple Soup!

We've been enjoying some delicious soups this fall.  Homemade chicken and turkey soup, potato soup, beef stew.  All so tasty!  But they're a little unusual looking...


Potato Soup
Horrid photo, with the flash, but the creamy soup looks a little strange, do you think?

Chicken Soup
 Another bizarre broth...

Turkey Soup?
What in the world could be making all our soups purple?!?  The kids love it, they taste great, and in fact there isn't any wild ingredient, like beet root powder or anything.  Can you see, in the above photos, where the purple is coming from?



I'll give you a hint:




We grew it in our garden.  We harvested a huge tupperware bowl full of them after frost.  We're about through that bowl (better plant lots more next year!)




Any ideas??




Ok; here you go:


Poker chips?
Yes, our favorite Purple Haze carrots!  We grew them in half of our deep square foot garden.  They tasted much better than the orange ones that filled the other half, though both were tasty.  The kids will certainly be disappointed (me too, to say the truth) to go back to those boring old "orange" grocery store carrots.  The first year I planted them, I remember cooking them and I thought the purple cooked out like purple beans do.  Apparently, the purple leaves the carrot, but stays in the soup.  Put enough in, and you have a decidedly purple soup!  Broth, chicken, even the rice [or whatever] takes on the hue!  Lovely!

*sigh*  I do wonder how I survived the first 25 or so years of life before I ever even knew there were carrots other than orange.  My children truly live a different life than I did!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Need This

I don't know how many (unfinished, of course) posts I have begun that all say, "Something has got to give here!  I can't do it all!"  Of course, then I get a wild idea to build more fences, or start more projects.  *sigh*

This book, Large Family Logistics (yes, written by the blogger), looks like something that might be of benefit to myself.  And in fact, there is a giveaway for it!

I hope I win, but if not, I hope YOU win, and loan it to me! :)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baby Steps

Four years ago, when I started this blog (are you kidding?  I had to look that up.  Amazing.), I had just taken delivery of my first batch of chickens, which I ordered and brooded in cold weather and wind, in a hoophouse I'd made with my own hands.  I made a trip with Gi-gi to transport rare-breed pigs across state lines in the trunk of MaryJane, my beautiful Toyota Camry.  I bought Joel Salatin's how-to books, and I had plans.  Oh, I had plans.  And half the children I have now. :)

My pigs never managed to clear the small trees out of our field, partly because they hadn't read the books I did about how they were supposed to be managed, and partly because I'd become pregnant with Organique within a month of their acquisition, and oh, that changes plans.  They became very expensive pork chops.

My flock of 30 or so hens began laying in spring, and in summer, when I was 7 months pregnant, a pair of dogs killed all but 2 of them.

We managed to get our first broilers in the freezer that year, but barely, after about half of them died along the way.

My plans obviously shrunk - from feeding the neighborhood down to supplementing our table and managing the household.

Since then we've had a tenant in our 'pasture,' who doesn't have the time to manage really well, but at least doesn't use chemicals.  She has her sheep in there this fall, eating down waist-high grass and weeds after a summer of growth and partial irrigation.

It's been on my heart for some time to try to do more with the land.  The sheep are great to eat things down for now, but I know about rotational grazing, and how it can help remedy the weed problem we have, without chemicals.  I know about the nutritional profile of grass-fed beef, and I know there is potential here that could feed us [and maybe even part of the neighborhood].

Don't get me wrong; we're not out buying cows, by any means, but we're taking baby steps in that direction.  The first order of business is to get the fences in far better shape.  I took a chunk of my carefully-hoarded laundry-room-remodel savings and bought a couple rolls of fence, and some expensive wooden posts, for corners and support every 100 feet or so.  We started working on the south end of the property, along the road, where Hubby has put in H-frames at the corners and across the ditch (more to go at the other end) and I unwired the rotten fence posts from the metal t-posts that were shoring them up, and laid down the 3 strands of barbed wire, excavating where necessary, digging through brush and dead, overturned trees (small by tree standards, big and poky to my standards).

It looks so simple in a drawing...
Still to go on that section is more H-frames to cross the ditch at the eastern corner, removal of the t-posts (might have to get the tractor involved there) and old fence, then stretching and attaching new fence.  Hubby left a space for a "man gate" (I hope women are allowed too...) right near that "X" in the eastern corner.  The "X" represents the headgate, the source of our water.  It might be handy to be able to get to that from the field.

So - it's not much, but it's a baby step in the right direction.  And I'm praying we can get more done before the ground freezes, because once it thaws in the spring, Hubby is working too long and too often to get much done around this here homestead. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Amazon Again

UPDATE:  Amazon has pulled the title.  I have issued a 'thank you' email, and my hopes they will use better discretion in the future, in their decisions on where/how to profit. :)

Some time ago I had a purchasing problem with Amazon.  Within a year (!) it was resolved, more or less, and I went back to buying from them.

Today, however, I am rethinking that.

Raising Homemakers on facebook posted a link (not for young readers) to an article discussing Amazon's defense of a pedophile's "How-To Manual."  I am all for free-speech, but I certainly don't have to support it with MY dollars, if I don't like it.  This bothers me greatly, considering my new favorite treasure, and all my gift cards, but this is pretty disgusting.  I am hoping they pull the title soon, and put the FBI on the author's tail.

Here is my email, to jeff@amazon.com (Amazon's CEO, Jeff Bezos):


Mr. Bezos,

I am a longtime customer of amazon.com.  I have bought food, books, household products, electronics, and more.  I recently purchased a kindle, and have wishlists many pages long, full of your products.  I have a handful of gift cards I was just getting ready to redeem, and an order pending in my mind, if not yet on your system. :)

However, I am dismayed to learn of your company's defense of the title "The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure."  As I understand it, this is a how-to guide for committing (and getting away with) serious illegal acts, the exploitation and injury of children.

I understand the free-speech debate.  As a borderline libertarian, I defend much of what I disagree with.  However, I don't think this falls under that heading.  Amazon.com should not profit from encouraging such acts.  Would you sell a how-to manual on kidnap and rape?  On blowing up airplanes, and getting past security?  On murder?  I sincerely hope you would not; those titles may exist, but I would hope you would be above such business.  

Please consider removing the title from your 'shelves.'  It would not hurt you to do so, and it would go a long way in securing future business from myself and other concerned buyers.

Sincerely,
EllaJac 

Per Raising Homemakers, you can also write to Amazon.Com P.O. Box 81226 Seattle, Wa. 98108-1226 
Or call 1-866-321-8851 reference ASIN#B0049U4CF6

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Farmageddon Documentary


I got this from Mercola.  It looks like a worthwhile documentary, when it releases.  It profiles some of the scary tactics used against small, traditional farmers in the name of "public health and safety."

You may remember the Manna Storehouse raid, where a SWAT team spent 8 hours of on-the-clock time holding a homeschooling Mama and her eight (yes, even the baby who needed a diaper change) children at gunpoint (just an aside here..  What kind of person carries out that order?  Land of the free, anyone?  Good grief.).  They're profiled, among others.

The trailer shows a few woman farmers lamenting that organics doesn't have as much as an advocacy within the government.  Seriously?  Does she know what she's saying?  "We just need more lobbyists."  On the contrary, I believe regulations should be seriously lifted from the small, local producer, or perhaps from farms that sell direct to consumer.  Isn't that risky?  Of course.  So is drinking aspartame, and the government gives that its seal of approval.  Personally, I trust my own eyes and ears more than layers of government paperwork when it comes to deciding what to eat.

So no, don't wish for more lobbyists - haven't you figured out that giving the government authority over any aspect of your business/product backfires?  Organics decided to get "government approval" for that very word "organic," and now there are all sorts of loopholes and the Big Guys (can't blame them, this is the game they play with Big Brother) can use the same label, with far different conditions behind it than the movement first intended.  DON'T turn over your product, or labeling to the government if you have any choice in the matter.  And DO work to get the bureaucracy off the backs of the people you'd like to buy from.  YOU be their advocate; We The People did a little of that in the recent election.  Keep it up, and free up your food!

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Five-Week Diet Update

For Little Artist..

We saw the ND today.  He agrees with me that she's doing well on her diet.  Her belly is soft and squishy to the touch, her bowel movements are painless, frequent, and normal (can I just offer a Hallelujah here?!?), and while she is some stubborn and cranky at times, her overall attitude is amazingly improved, she is more cheerful and loving, happier.  Her behavior is therefore also better, and I begin to wonder if Organique is really begging me to change her diet drastically too.  :]

Doc advises 2 more months of the same (the half-life of IgG antibodies is 45 days), and in addition to the L-Glutamine and digestive enzyme, to give her a dose of fish oil once daily.  He says this will keep elimination on track too.

I do have teff in the house, but I haven't used it yet.  Maybe soon. :)  I've been lurking on GF blogs and printing out lots of recipes.  Mostly for things like pie and brownies.  :)  I've ordered or bought locally sorghum flour, buckwheat flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, GF hot breakfast cereal, quinoa (Hubby hates it though!) and coconut milk.

Little Artist misses some of the dairy items, but the 'feeling better' seems to compensate.  In fact, I think she feels pretty special to have "her" biscuits, soup, or cookies.  Poor middle child that she is. ;)

[much of what we eat as a family is diet-friendly, but sometimes expense, efficiency, and preference cause the rest of us to eat somewhat differently.]

I still hate it; hate being 'different' in yet another way (sunday school snacks, are you kidding me?), hate having to change my cooking so much, hate using more expensive ingredients, hate *never* eating out, even just a hamburger, hate the added thought/work that goes into eating anywhere outside the house (we are having a Thanksgiving potluck on Sunday, celebrating a full year as a fellowship "under new management," and cooking begins Friday).  But it is not all sacrifice, and the rewards are a tremendous blessing.  I love seeing my girl thriving, love, love, love it!  And I am so grateful to God for this answer, that it wasn't (isn't) some major health issue that would require surgery or medication or other harsh treatment.  He is good!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lost And Found

You may remember that Big Sister got a hamster for her 9th birthday.

Or maybe I didn't write that post.

Let's back up a bit...  Big Sister turned 9 on the 6th of September.  She had been asking for some time for a pet hamster.  After some thought and prayer, we decided to grant her birthday wish.  I purchased the beast critter and a 'starter kit' - cage, feed, water bottle, etc - while in Town one evening for my regular errands.  A good friend agreed to critter-sit for a few days, and bring the little guy when she came for the party. Big Sister was thrilled, and she kept very good care of him, remembering to say a special 'good night' to him every evening before bed.  She named him Nutmeg.


Nine days later, my mom and her kids came for a visit.  They arrived shortly before bedtime, and the first thing Big Sister did was let the kids hold Nutmeg.  Then it was off to bed.  The 4-year-old boy, who, like Organique, almost never does as he is told, instead re-visited the hamster.  And left the cage open.  My mom saw some of what he did, I guess, but it didn't register, and so it wasn't until the morning, when Nutmeg was sought, that the gaping door of the cage was discovered.  The boy explained that a tiger had captured Nutmeg, and ate him outside.  While I was fairly certain that didn't happen, I was some worried that he'd fed him to the cat.

Many tears and prayers were offered on Nutmeg's behalf.  Before my mom left five days later, he'd been spotted in the kitchen.  She and Hubby tried to capture him, but he resisted strongly and they failed.  I used a canning jar and lid to fashion a trap (use a large knife to cut a * shape in the lid, bending the sharp points inward), but I left him too much room and he absconded with the bait (his feed) leaving little bits of hair on the pointy parts of the lid.

Hubby bought a live mouse trap, and we set that.  We also bought some dead mouse traps, because we were interested in ridding the house of the annual fall invasion.  We did NOT set those out, fearing the worst would happen to Nutmeg if we did.

Weeks passed and I was certain Nutmeg was gone.  We'd had (and lost) many hamsters over the years when I was young, and the longest any had gone missing (and turned up alive) was a week and a half or so.  I was upset that Big Sister had lost him so unjustly, and sad to hear her ask about him daily.

Then one morning Hubby reported seeing him!  He was back where his cage had been (on the pellet stove) and was trying to chew into the bag of feed.  When Hubby tried to catch him, he jumped into the lower shelves of the changing table and was gone.  We moved the traps, but still nothing for days.

Eventually he showed up again in the kitchen.  I began to wonder, should I be encouraged by the fact that Nutmeg had survived so long unattended, or completely depressed that my house has enough crumbs and debris to sustain life for such a creature.  I'm still really not sure...  I decided that our 'traps' weren't enough, and googled hamster-trapping ideas.  I set up some ramps/buckets/bait systems, using a gallon jar, a glass cookie jar, and a rubbermaid tote.  I mixed up peanut butter, oats, and raisins.  For a few days, nothing.  My dad recalled our finding a hamster (dead) inside a quart mason jar below the sink; he had fallen in and couldn't get out, and we didn't find him in time.  I began to think about lining up all my quart mason jars in a group in the kitchen, making several ramps, and putting bait everywhere, hoping he'd fall in among the sea of jars. :)  In the meantime, I knew he (or a mouse) was using the ramps.  I'd put one flake of peanut-buttery oatmeal at the top of each ramp, and each morning that was gone.  Since he was used to the system, I began thinking I needed something better than his inclination to 'jump' into the jar/bucket.  I decided on some thin cardboard (cut from a ziploc box or such), like a diving board or pirate-plank.  I attached a small strip of cardboard to the top few inches of ramp, and bent it slightly so it extended horizontally over the jar (secured VERY lightly with some double-sided tape at the bend of the cardboard).  I put my regular bit of bait on the ramp, and then more (balanced carefully!) on the plank.  The first night one trap was sprung (or it fell in on it's own weight) but there was no hamster.  The second night, he was captured!  And he was NOT pleased (nor was I, to see what he'd done to my cookie/kombucha jar).

That was a week or two ago, and I'm glad to say he has seemed to re-civilize.  He has not escaped (i.e. 'been turned loose') again, and I hope to keep it that way.  Big Sister is delighted, and I'm happy to have caught a few of the uninvited interlopers.  Not with the live trap.  :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There Are Days...

...in which I desire to be an example of joyful motherhood.

And come across as an advertisement for birth control.


May those days be few.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Organique Was Here

 My mom used to laugh when we passed a "Kilroy was here" mark.  In a frozen cabin with a group of handicapped adventurers, on a railroad overpass in the mountains, on a short brick wall near a school.  Those are the only places I actually recall the funny caricature, but it stuck with me because I couldn't for the life of me figure out what the humor was about, nor could she explain it.

We have a similar, if less funny, version of that in our house.  And it takes a practiced eye to really decode the "Organique was here" message.  See if you can figure it out:

Exterior latex primer, sliding glass door.

Ditto

New Decor in the Guest Room

A Closer Look


I especially love that last one.  Need some cinnamon?  No problem!  I hope you like paprika too.  You can probably put it through the sifter and remove the italian seasoning.  Actually I'm considering marketing this new cinnamonpaprikapoppycayennegarlicalum spice.  What do you think?

I don't have a picture of my suspiciously-rearranged jewelry boxes.  And considering I changed out my earrings (briefly, like for a day) in the neighborhood of 2007, it's not like I'd know if anything was missing, really.

But in our home, there is no graffiti of one peering over a wall.  The "Organique was here" messages abound, however.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Remedied!

One of the things that sets me apart from a lot of people in my family is my tendency to favor natural (even weird) remedies before pursuing allopathic medicine.  Sometimes, of course, there's not much choice.

The other day I tiptoed upstairs with my sleeping 14-month-old on my shoulder to lay her in her crib for a nap.  I have allowed horrific habits to develop, and am at their mercy until I get up the energy to wean her from needing to "nurse to sleep."  In any case, the drop went bad and she awoke with much travail.  I settled down to nurse her again, hoping (ha ha ha) the girls would sit tight and work on their schoolwork for a few more minutes.  They did not, of course, and shortly Little Artist came up to express concern over her big sister having "something like a nail poked into her knee."  Baby was sleeping at this point, so I put her in her crib (successfully) and hurried downstairs, mulling over the unlikelihood that Li'l Artist would confuse "sliver" with "nail" and that this probably wasn't a broken nail, and I hope it doesn't require surgery since health insurance isn't one of my current tools.

Big Sister was crouched low, the holey-knees of her jeans exposing her kneecaps and then some.  In one of her knees was... something.  "Something like a nail," in fact.  I say "something," because while the business end of it (the part poking through her skin and skidding around on the surface of her patella) was very nail-like.  The rest of it wasn't, much.  It looked like something that might've been attached to the bottom of a table leg.  Circular, metal, and protruding from the back side of it were two 'nail-like' appendages, maybe an inch long or more.  One of these was decidedly through the skin.  I tried gently to pull it out, but it wasn't cooperating, and Big Sister howled a lot at the attempt.  I assumed the inserted spike was like the other one (not barbed or anything), but it wasn't acting like it, and I didn't want to cause more trouble by helping. I called my husband at work, and he advised taking her to the local doc that saw Gi-gi last year, and that chided my husband for his lack of "eyebrows." I had the same thought, so I helped her to the van, and plucked the soundly-sleeping (doggone it) Baby from her crib, and loaded the rest up as well.  It's only about 2 miles away, so we got there and I walked Big Sister in (yes, she could walk), showed the receptionist, and was called back to the doctor by the time I'd finished filling out the medical history paperwork.

He injected some novocaine (or something), the sight of which, since she wouldn't lay down and doc wouldn't wait, caused her much anguish.  By the time I took her face in my hands to assure her the sting would be short-lived, doc had the wicked thing out with a pair of tweezers.

What followed was discussion about tetanus, punctuated with phrases like, "promise you this thing is covered in tetanus" and "guaranteed death sentence" and other gentle, compassionate utterances.  I told doc I didn't think she'd had the shot before (later, in reading, I changed my mind, as she did have the 'routine' shots for a few years early in life.  I didn't realize tetanus was part of that.), and asked what else was in it.  "What else?  Nothing else!  It's tetanus!"  "Well, what is it preserved with?"  I don't know that I got an answer, having to check on and/or retrieve the other girls at this point.  I asked if there was a 'safe window,' that is, could I look into things, and if I decide to give her the vaccine, would I be able to come the next day..  He said he wasn't terribly sure, tetanus being so rare in America anymore, but he figured that it was likely I'd have a day or two.**  I thanked him, and the receptionist said she'd bill us, and we were on our way home.

I'd like to say I knew what to do from that point, but I didn't.  I called some friends who are better versed than I in dealing with such things, and they recommended soaking her knee in hydrogen peroxide, really working it in to the spot, bandaging with antibiotic ointment.  Doc had already recommended epsom salts, so I thought I'd start with the peroxide.  

We did the peroxide, we did the epsom salts, we did the ointment and bandaid and I googled tetanus info.  Which wasn't very calming.  But I discovered that it's the T in DTAP, and I was fairly certain that sounded familiar from back in the day when I didn't ask so many doggone questions.  While getting a new vaccine is a huge, difficult decision with what I know (or rather, what no one seems to know) about vaccines, there's not a lot I can do about one that's already done, and at least I felt I could inform the doc of that.  This was a Thursday.

Friday morning came, and with it a puffy, red, painful area around the entry wound.  After watching Gi-gi's rapid infection (from a wound far less serious) last year, I didn't want to mess around with this, either.  We were still doing epsom salts, and I had her scratch at the spot to try to let in more peroxide (I really wished I could just inject some, not that it's recommended!).  I remembered my midwife recommending chewed plantain for Gi-gi's wound (which didn't work, or at least not enough), and I knew I had comfrey growing everywhere I didn't want it.  I googled a little more, discovering that comfrey is a great healing agent, but you want to apply it to a clean wound, and not knit the skin together over something infected.  Oops.  That wasn't going to work.  I found some plantain in the grass, and, in lieu of having her chew it (the girl was already balking at the soaking schedule, etc), I tried putting some leaves in the blender with some of her spit.  :)  I wrapped it on her knee with plastic wrap, simultaneously calling the doctor to see if he recommended antibiotics. He sure did, and told me to go to a pharmacy and have them call him. [My plan was to fill the prescription, but give the herb a chance to work.  I didn't want to be caught on a weekend with a serious infection, but wasn't going to give any antibiotics to her just then either.]  As it happened, the pharmacy didn't have the right size/dosage of pill, but they were open briefly Saturday morning and they'd have it by then.  I told them that was perfect, since I planned to treat her with spit and weeds from the lawn (okay, I wasn't quite that brave) for a day or two anyway.

It didn't change for the better by afternoon, and further research said to let the poultice dry, that the drawing-out would be enhanced.  Oops on the plastic wrap.  I ditched the blender too, chopping finely on the cutting board and mixing with spit in a bowl (I suppose there might be reason to have her chew and absorb some of the elements that way, but the enzymes would work on the plantain however the spit was introduced.  :)  When she had to be up and around, I used a bandaid to hold the leaves in place, and also as she slept.

By morning I was quite surprised to see NO sign of infection.  It didn't hurt.  No redness or swelling.  Hubby's second opinion concurred, and not only did I save the cost of the antibiotics, but I got to call and cancel the prescription and say that my organic, backwoods, voodoo-medicine worked!  In turn, he assured me he'd hold the prescription on the shelf for me "in case" I needed it early in the week. :)

We didn't need it, and the knee is healing nicely.  I DID take a picture on my cellphone, but I don't know how to get it from there to here.  You really didn't want to see it anyway.


Monday, October 11, 2010

Halloween

I just watched an interesting YouTube at A Wise Woman Builds Her Home.  It's on the origins and history of Halloween, (most of which I'm familiar with) and then argues against Christians participating in the traditions.

I always have such a dilemma this time of year, more so as my kids get older and are more aware of the holiday.  Should it be something Christians take part in?

I grew up in a fairly secular home, and did the trick-or-treat thing.  My mom fondly remembered getting the best end of the deal as a Catholic - November 1 is All Saint's Day, and always a day off of school for the parochial students, so they got to stay up extra-late raking in the goodies.

As a parent, we've ignored the holiday altogether, save for explaining the sudden appearance of hellish decor at the grocery stores.

We've also gone to church-sponsored halloween-alternative Bible-maze things.

We've gone to smaller (our main church) Harvest (read: Candy and Cake Walk) Parties.

We've stayed home with root-beer floats and played games.

We've never sanctioned 'evil' or scary costumes - this was most easily done at our small church harvest party, where it wasn't advertised to the whole town, and we parents used collective discretion.  No witches, goblins, vampires and the like.  Raggedy Ann, princesses, etc.

Theologically, I've had both ends of the spectrum imposed upon me.  And I don't mean that to impugn anyone else.  I've just never found my own peace with the subject.

Children love to dress up, and the idea of a holiday with that specific tradition, well, that's a hard one to abandon, unless you have another day or time to enjoy the costume aspect (maybe that's what we need to do).  I've not had trouble staying away from the trick-or-treat tradition, since I'm not big on candy nor the   whole idea of begging/entitlement.  Worse, is the history:  Give me a treat (your money) or I'll play a trick (burn your house down).  :]

The comparative analogy mentioned in the YouTube video (the Nazi salute) is compelling.

What are your thoughts?  Do you celebrate it with all the cultural traditions, abandon it completely, or some pseudo-version that is less offensive to your faith?

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Well, That's Just Teff!


Oh, this is not a post I ever wanted to write.  It's not a season (I hope it's only a season!) I ever wanted to live.  

But it's good for me, and good for Little Artist, so here we are.

I finally took Little Artist to the Naturopath last week to address some of her digestive issues.  She's always - always - had trouble in that department, and while we finally seemed to have conquered the Fear-Constipation-Fear cycle, there was more going on.  I started to notice a distinct difference in how she looked - like when you look at children who are built differently than your own, and the difference strikes you.  Well, it was like that, but she IS my own, so that made it extra-odd.  At least for me. When I see her upper arms, they are not shaped like her sisters' arms are - more thin, I guess, like those hungry kids you see in photos (not THAT hungry, obviously).  Her backbone sticks out in places like alligator-bumps.  Yet, her profile isn't slim.  Her belly is disproportionately big.  But if you try to 'pinch' a bit of fat, that's all you get - a TINY bit.  Not fat, but round, firm, and big.

The naturopath didn't do anything terribly invasive - no blood tests or anything - but he felt and tapped and listened, and told me that 90% of the time this kind of thing has to do with food allergies.  He wrote down the major ones he wanted us to avoid, and advised the use of a good digestive enzyme with each meal and a capsule of L-Glutamine daily.

The things to avoid:  Yeast, Nuts, Soy, Gluten, and Dairy.  Those last two are the killers.  Heh, well, they may indeed be killers to some extent, but avoiding them is hardest.  The soy we already mostly avoid, and nuts aren't hard to eliminate, but yeast is tricky (not just yeast-breads, but anything with vinegar), and gluten is really hard.  We love wheat around here (too much, probably), and if not wheat, then oats, and if not oats, barley, and... well, you get the idea. :)  Dairy is something I rely on daily as a lunchtime protein, and makes for frequent condiments to meals.  

We've been using other grains lately - rice is one we're fairly used to, and millet I've used on occasion.  I cooked up some amaranth the other evening (cooked like rice, with water) and it was very weird!  Millet puffs up and gets fluffy like rice, but amaranth... doesn't.  You can still see the individual grains, but it develops a clear, gelatinous goo...  It's so strange.  I found the smell to be odd, too, but we ate it, and again for breakfast the next day.  Hubby wondered later if there was any left (there wasn't, after that), and I was surprised that it was enjoyed to the extent it was.  I have read about it, and I believe it would grow well here, so there is a possibility I'd put it in the garden next year (it is known to cross with a certain weed we have, though, and I'm not sure about that!).  I've ordered some teff (another super-tiny grain I've never tried) from Azure, and it will be interesting to see how it cooks up and what else I can use it for.  Coconut flour is highly recommended - highly caloric, highly expensive too - but apparently it's usable in many baked goods as well as a thickener (like white sauce and gravy?).

She misses cheese, though, and I'm not sure what we can do about that.  :]

But it's for a season, and we're already seeing progress.  Her belly is much softer to the touch.  We're hopeful her body will heal, and these foods can at least become part of an occasional meal for her.  If not, we'll be grateful for a way to keep her well!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

My New Treasure

I have been thinking about these for some time now.  My Granny has one (an older version, obviously), and my brother consistently refuses to let me "babysit" his while he's on deployment.  They just weren't 'worth it' to me at $259.

Then, this summer, they introduced the newest version of the contraption, and had a few price wars with Barnes & Noble's Nook... and the price was $189.  Well, that almost did it for me, but I still didn't have the $$ to put towards it.  Then, as I waited and watched, they introduced a wi-fi only version for $139.


Now THAT was something I could get behind.  I didn't care if it had 3G coverage if it could read a book.  And when I got paid for a photography job, I pre-ordered it (they weren't set to release until late August, and 2 weeks into pre-ordering, they were already 'out of stock' and pushing back ship dates).  At this point I'd had more than one person ask me about and encourage me to look into the Nook, so I began to do that, keeping my 'place in line' with the Kindle anyways (it wouldn't charge me until it shipped anyway, and in case I decided to get the Kindle, I'd have less time to wait.).  It was a hard decision!  I went back and forth a few times.  I read reviews at tech-geek blogs, I went to B&N to get my hands on a Nook and ask, "So, what makes this better than Amazon's Kindle?"  My Nook-desperate cousin bought one and made me borrow it for an evening, certain I'd come to the "right" decision after that.  :)

Well, from the picture I'm sure you can tell what I settled on.  These are the things that 'sold me' on the Kindle:
  1. It's a lot lighter in weight than the Nook.  Nook is almost half again as heavy as the Kindle, and that was important to me.
  2. I have always used Amazon.com far more than Barnes & Noble, and it is a site/system that I was familiar with and preferred.
  3. While the touch-screen was cool (very, very briefly), I wasn't willing to trade off 2/3 of battery life for the cool factor.  Kindle can go up to a month between charges, they say.  Nook advertises up to 10 days.  I also found the touch-screen more of a liability than an asset the evening I borrowed my cousin's Nook.  Everything outside of page-turns required I first 'wake up' the touch screen, which was tedious for me.
  4. Kindle was $10 cheaper on the sticker price, but add the fact that sales tax wasn't an issue with amazon orders I saved more than $20.  THEN I used a $5 gift card earned from swagbucks, and it shipped to me for $134.
  5. The 2-year warranty was $40 for Kindle and $45 for Nook.  Since I was interested in that, it was another price benefit.
  6. I comparison-shopped e-books (from Ambleside Online's booklists, primarily) and when there was a price difference between B&N and Amazon, Amazon was cheaper on all but one item.
  7. The Kindle sported much faster page-turns than the Nook.
  8. The Kindle has higher screen-contrast than the Nook.
  9. The Kindle now offers 'collections' - that is, you can organize (like with files) different categories of books.  I have one for kid lit, Year 1 Ambleside stuff, Year 3, Bibles and Bible Study, etc.
Areas that the Nook prevailed:
  1. Expandable memory.  While Kindle 3 now comes with 4 gigs of memory, Nook has a memory-card slot to make it virtually infinite.
  2. Replaceable battery.  The Kindle can have it's battery replaced, but you have to return it to the factory, yada yada (the extended warranty does cover a one-time battery replacement, if need be).
  3. It uses the ePub format, which is more common.  Larger libraries sometimes offer digital book 'loans' in this format, and other online ebook sellers often use this format as well (so far there's one book I'm interested in that CBD offers in ePub that I can't get through Amazon).  However, older ebooks can be converted into a Kindle-friendly format, as long as they don't have DRM (copy) protection.  This frees up all the free 'googlebooks.'
  4. It has a 'loaner' feature - you can 'loan' a book from your Nook to a friend's Nook for a couple weeks, at which time it magically returns to you.  This was probably the hardest thing to give up.  I hope Amazon will take a hint and do this someday.
Things I LOVE (that are not necessarily Kindle-specific):
  1. I converted my favorite bible study from pdf to Kindle (kindle reads pdf, but interacting with the text is a bit more complicated), and can read, search, and take notes at bible study with one-tenth of the effort that my binder required.  And since I'm now using the same 'updated version' as everyone else, my page numbers are spot-on.  It thrills me, too, to see my dear friend's name as author on one of my kindle books.  It's not published - yet? - but this makes it feel pretty close. :)
  2. I can increase the font size to read in low light while I nurse baby... and make silent, one-handed page turns.  This is huge!  How did the tech-geeks miss THIS one???
  3. I can put the 'book' down with one hand, let it flop off the pillow, and it never loses my place.
  4. Organique cannot pull my bookmark out and lose my place.
  5. My mom got one too, on my account, so we 'share' (both have access to) whatever either of us purchases.  Since we use the same homeschool plan, this has made tracking down the books a little easier for her, and enables me to help 'manage' some of their homeschool things from afar.
I don't have wi-fi in our home (it'll kill ya, you know), but using my computer to transfer books into my Kindle couldn't be easier.  Drag-and-drop, done.  I DO have a mac, so that might simplify things, but my good friend (yes, she got one too.  And she was one who encouraged me to look into Nook.  I'm contagious.) uses her windows machine and doesn't have any trouble that I've heard of. :)  

There are more features I didn't mention, but any review will touch on them (be sure to google reviews of Kindle 3, as that's the latest unit).  Here are a few reviews to get you going.  Here. Here. Here.  There are also reviews on Amazon, but they're obviously going to be a little biased. :)  Many reviewers also own Nook, or iPad, and can offer their comparisons though.

Do you have an e-reader?  Do you want one?  What is your preference and why?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Further Comparison

The Blaze has a side-by-side photo of the 8/28 rally and the 10.2.10 rally.  Not only is it humorous, how the propagandists and mainstream media (but I repeat myself) like to downplay the attendance at 8/28 (who were not even rounded up and given free bus rides to the site), but it's truly amazing when you consider how few 10.2 people managed to leave such a mess.  Did they round up full garbage trucks too, and dump them off with the attendees?

Also from The Blaze, a photo that says a lot (scroll down a little ways).  Yes, the stars and stripes heaped among debris that at least encircles a trash can.  And a brief video showing a beautiful fountain memorial of WWII decorated with discarded signs and empty water bottles.

A commenter there asked, 'whose future do you want to be a part of?'  Touché.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

To Compare...

Here is the Lincoln Memorial/Washington Mall after Glenn Beck's 8/28 Restoring Honor Rally.  What do you notice?



Here is the same place after the 10.2.10 One Nation Rally which supported liberal/socialist policies. Does it seem different?



This one, in winter, is of the same place after the last presidential inauguration.



As one commenter put it, "The underlying message couldn't be any clearer. When everyone takes personal responsibility for themselves and those around them, you are left with paradise. But when everyone leaves everything up to the "government" to take care of, you are left with one big mess!"

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Big Horse

There are usually a half-dozen or more draft horses at our fair each year, but this year some were 'working' at some kind of silly festival in another town.  Well, I suppose I can't disparage that.  These guys must eat more dollars than most families do in a day...

But this guy was lovely.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wow, A Smile!

I love this picture.  Crooked horizon and all.  Any time I point a camera his direction, he makes a bug-eyed look, or bares his fangs, or does something similarly freakish or scary.  He did the same this time, and I lowered the camera, and in my kindest, most pleading voice said, "please, can I just have a nice, warm smile?"


And he delivered.

Thanks honey. :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

September Update

The coyotes haven't returned, that we can tell.  I'm hoping someone else killed them, though it would be nice to know for sure so that I could sleep with both eyes (and ears) closed.

I uprooted all my tomatoes on Saturday.  I've put up 26 quarts of tomatoes (paltry, I know), and a counter is full of still-ripening ones, but there are a lot more green ones on the vines.  I hope this will encourage them to ripen!  For once, the "Old German" tomatoes I put in are producing well.  They were intriguing, before I remembered what they were.  A yellow tomato, with pink at the blossom end, extending from there in stripes toward the stem end.  Even peeled they are an interesting pink/yellow tiger appearance.  We also have a tomato plant that perplexes me.  It is a nice round fruit, but pure yellow when ripe.  The only tomato of which I bought a single plant was supposed to be Early Girl, but these are definitely not.  I wonder if the greenhouse mis-marked the plant, and if they'll have any idea what it was when I ask about it next year.  It's a nice fruit.

Goldie is still mothering 10 chicks, who are 6 weeks old today.  They probably managed to eat their own 26 quarts of tomatoes, but I've put them out of the garden.  I try to only let them out of their pen just after I've harvested, since they prefer the ripening ones.  This is the first time we've let a hen brood her own chicks, and I have no idea when they should be 'weaned!'  When they come into contact with the rest of the chickens, the other hens attack the chicks and unmercifully pluck out a beakful of feathers.  Should I just put Mama back in with the other chickens?  Is it fine to keep her with them?  How long?  I'll probably just let nature take its course, unless I run across information indicating there could be problems with that.  I do hope most of the 10 are female; for once I've got more egg-wanters than egg-producers.

Big Sister enjoyed her beautiful pet hamster for about 10 days before my mom came with her kids.  The little boy opened the cage the night they got here, and Nutmeg escaped.  He was seen the next night, but wasn't caught.  It's been 12 days since then, and we haven't seen him.  There are signs he might be about, but the live traps remain untouched.  We have seen mice, and we have a terrible dilemma.  Was the gnawed end of carrot we found from Nutmeg?  Or a mouse?  We don't dare put out killing traps for fear we'll find... well, you know. :(  How long do we wait to deal with the mice?  How long do we hope for Nutmeg's return?  I am having a harder time with this than I imagined I might.  He was the sweetest, friendliest hamster at the store, and Big Sister was really taking such good care of him.  My nephew is a handful, and probably no worse than some of mine, but I find myself still upset about this senseless loss. Big Sister is obviously more sad than I, and prays to find Nutmeg each day.

We've started to paint the house.  Or, we've started to finish painting the house?  In any case, the refinance requires that it be completed, so the paint is on hand, and we've been hard at work scraping/power washing/priming.  And we still don't know how to reach the uppermost parts...  I'm excited for it to get done and look nice.  And wow, even at 40% off, decent paint is pricey.  The walls to be Clary Sage, the trim Divine White.  Looking those up doesn't offer much by way of illustration, so I'll just have to take a photo later.  :)

The turkeys need put in the freezer, but with painting we didn't even get to thinking about it.  Not sure how that's going to go, but it's something that needs our attention soon.  Facebook updates are always so interesting this time of year...

I met a homeschool mom whose mother raises rabbits... and harvests them.. (!)  I've wanted to learn a bit more about this, and they've promised to tell us when they're going to process their next batch.  I'm more freaked out about it than my kids (who think bunnies would be fantastic to eat).  Typical weird, uncivilized homeschool field-trip:  "Load up kids, we're gonna go kill some bunnies!"  Yikes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You Might Be the R-Word, If...

I'm civilized.  I really am.  At least, I try to be, where it counts, playground notwithstanding.  In fact, Hubby uses the R-Word to harass me upon occasion.  I apparently still have my pride in place, because I always haughtily raise my eyebrows and my nose, and disparage the thought..

But...

A few months ago I had our windshield replaced.

A few weeks ago it cracked.

I wasn't sure if there were warranties or anything, so I called the local installer and they said they'd have someone come inspect it to see if it was from a rock, or stress, or what.

The guy came, found rock damage (doggone it) and I didn't realize until the young man left that I'd: a) stepped out of the house barefoot to talk to him, b) stood in the front yard, and c) held Baby on my hip.  You've heard that, right? (forty seconds at the link will explain it..)  Of course, that's probably happened routinely, but not usually with witnesses.

***

Cousin was by to let his son try and scare up a bird or two (not my chickens) and loan me a(nother) gun for my predator problem.  He shot his 12-gauge (NOT the one I borrowed), and part of the wood came apart from the barrel, and he lamented he'd have to take it home and fix it.  And THEN he thought he might have some duct tape in his new (old) blazer/bronco/whatever (that he recently TRADED for).  I warned him that such action could only mean one thing, not that his ego is as tender as mine...

***

And then there was the exchange about the gun he loaned me, that prompted me to say, "If my cousin loans me a gun, and then tells me just to bring it with me to church to return it, what does that make me?"

I'm not sure I can comply with the terms of this loan...