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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Midnight Musings...: FRUGALITY in Every Day living.
musings on needful things...
One the subject of frugality and how to survive well in whatever situation we might end up in, the thing i see the most, is that we tend to worry and plan in the short term. --- i am thinking tho, that this is our mistake..----- i know we dont want hard times to last so we dont want to think "long term".
it has such a negative feel to it..
i believe it shouldnt.. with a moderate amount of long term planning even the roughest time can be made better or at least more bearable.. in that vein of thought here is one step in that direction.. its where i started:
First for me is Always BOOKS.. the books i believe to be vital to our needs.. surprisingly there arent that many but these are Specifically useful. & i believe they or a variation of them should be on everyone's bookshelf..

Make-A-Mix by Karine Eliason - there are several versions. pick at least one that has the most of your favorite mixes.. your budget will thank you.

Simply Scratch: 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy  by Laurie McNamara and her blog

The Greater American Cookbook  1940 edition

{or The Lily-Wallace New American Cook Book 1943 Edition (first published 1941)
or   America's Cookbook New & Revised Edition 1944)} 
and yes i do have a weakness for the 40s cookbooks.. 
the reasons are many - they have how to's from scratch for such classics as Tomato Aspic and Buttermilk pie,  cakes of all sorts, maple syrup gingerbread.. and the lists go on..
they are very successful and knowledgeable on  how to feed a family on smaller amounts of meat or fish and still be tasty and nutritious

Ball Blue Book of Canning- more on this later

Kitchen /household Necessities. - these will be varied and dictated by each family's needs but these are the ones i consider absolute necessities: and worth the $ investment over time:

Kitchen Aide Mixer. and no, i am not a spokesperson. my mixer is nearly 40yrs old and STILL working perfectly. with it i can make almost ANYTHING. . especially bread (i have failed with bread for years until i found a recipe that utilized my KA. now i can make it any time..!!
(recipe here:   ) as your situation improves you can add 'gadgets' to the mixer, my fave is the noodle maker and sausage grinder. 

Cast Iron Skillet and Dutch oven.. to me the skillet is a must do. the dutch oven is a choice. (we do outdoor cooking so its a choice but a good one)

a LARGE steel pot.. mine was a handles large pot from a thrift store over 20 yrs ago and its STILL my Favorite pot. i make everything from spaggetti sauce to peanut brittle in that puppy. i will NEVER give it up.. 

a small saucepan. over the years have had a number of these, usually from a thrift store. always useful..   we lived for over 6 months with only with these 3 pans/pots and didnt actually need any others. granted at the time i also had a crock pot.

YOU will NOTE i do not list a Crockpot in my Necessary list any longer. when Space/money is an issue i keep looking to maximize those items with more versatility. 

after my last crockpot died, rather than replace it i Upgraded to an electric Pressure cooker.. - the reasons were several, but most because the one i bought (instapot as it has a stainless steel insert) can do several types of cooking in One pot including slow cooking and as a rice cooker. that just eliminated multiple appliances. 

Neither of these items NEED a specialty pot of any kind,  but this is when you factor in time management and cooking skills into the mix.. . for us, cooking all day when temps are over 110F daily is a major factor, besides my rice cooking skills suck lol..

Canning and gardening.. this is a mixed bag - I WANT a Major garden. but i have had to face reality here. i have TEN BLACK thumbs in the growing dept. sigh.. 
i kill silk plants. ;(.
but i AM lucky in that we are an area there are Many local farm stands and places i can get veggies/fruits at good prices.. which leads me to CANNING. and yes i can IN the summer despite the heat. ITS WORTH it.

the investment of a PRESSURE CANNER pays for itself over and over and over.. a larger canner can be used for BOTH Pressure Canning and Water bath canning. AND can be used as a large cooking pot.. have also used my big mama (the larger of the 2 i have) to pressure cook a 17pound turkey.. wasnt norman rockwell pretty but OH MY Goodness was it good! if you dont know HOW to can then the Ball book and the internet are your BEST FRIENDS.. 

i will make one caveat tho. and i am absolutely fanatic on this. DONT fall for the "my granny did it this way for 40 whatever years and She didnt kill anybody" nonsense that sadly is out there on the net. IT IS NOT worth the lives of your family to take those kind of chances. you can can ALMOST everything Safely if you take the time to Learn it. and its only ALMOST. some things Cannot be home canned ever and MUCH MUST be pressure canned. 
that said you can make the most amazing foods for your family. the last time i made homemade Chili con Carne with beans (at the heat level even i can eat) i canned 26 pints on that day alone. thats about 5/6 month of food (eaten once a week). its well worth time & $ and Quality investment..

my last (for now) is a SEWING MACHINE. now i am not talking about some over the top fancy schmancy dohickey sewing machine (tho they can be fun) but a BASIC quality Workhorse sewing machine. the kind you can mend the husbands shirt with, make the daughters sundress, sew your kitchen curtains, make your own pillowcases with, quilt or ... the list is endless and the usefulness is endless as well. if you dont sew but are reading this you have RESOURCES. you tube has become my best friend.. and should be yours as well

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Playing with the new toys.
and the research thats going with it. RECIPIES - need to find good ones..

holidays have been fun and we recieved (& bought) some fun new toys.
one is called an Instapot - its a small (6qt) pressure cooker. less bulky than my pressure canners. (love them but they are rather large for day to day use)
so have gotten to play and so far am loving it
homemade mac & cheese and tomato soup..

now, mind you i could do these without this fancy critter..
BUT it was fast and easy and 'one'pot cooking.. so rather fun :)

i intend to use the thing at LEAST 3times a week for something.. going to see if i follow through on that lol but i LOVE soups and this baby shines for soup

oooh  ooooh did i mention the BEAUTIFUL kitchen-aid immersion blender (in Turquoise!!!!) that we got? perfection for blending the tomatoe soup -- heavenly!

another 'fun' trinket.. little mini waffle maker..

we had a Large Belgium waffle maker - awesome beast - big and heavy. for only two of us - overkill - so it now resides with the kids & their kids!!  this little baby makes a single waffle just the right size to pop in a toaster.. so made a batch of batter - made breakfast for gr son & us and Still had enough batter to make then freeze about a dozen of them. will try them in the toaster when i have the littles here.. WAY better than buying frozen waffles at the store.. these i can make ANY time. :)
(i add extra eggs so higher nutrition too)

so much fun with 4 pretty gadgets :)

number four isnt a cooking pretty but a sewing one.. half way thru a marathon assembly line sewing session (making xmas gifts for 5 gr babies) the old machine up and died.. seriously dead.. it literally started screeching & then jammed. -- soooo not good.
hubby took me to wally world (plan was to give up and hit the toy aisle..3 days before xmas ya know)
but dear man took me over to the machines and said check them out.. then bought the one that seemed the most versatile for what i sew.. OH MY..

so gadget #4 was really gadget #1 lol & it came home and helped me finish all the gifts including small ornaments for all the grown ups.. its a Lovely little machine with lots of potential use..

Monday, December 12, 2016

midnight musings...

shade  and shadows
shadows and shade

have you ever noticed how the sky is lit affects how you perceive things??
or perhaps this is a desert thing....

on a clear day - a really clear day,  -- coming down the mountain road from the high desert to the low, the hills that stretch out across the valley from me, look as tho drawn in various shades of pastels that someone has then taken their thumb to, smudging and softening the edges.
surprising when the light itself is sharp & harsh.. this is the time one feels like you can just reach out and touch them, so lightly do they float in your vision.. one could believe that walking up there would be a gently quite stroll thru undulating hills & dales..

have seen paintings done of these hills, where the shades of lavenders & pinks are so rich they catch your breath, have heard people see such paintings and state mountains dont look like that!.. well sadly maybe their mountains dont.. but if you are lucky enough to be out at sunrise or just before dusk and the sky is lit just so.. for a few mesmerizing moments these colors will astound you..

there is such beauty here, there is such ruthlessness here.. both in the same breath.. a gut punch in perception at times

on a hazy cloudy day where the sky is patchy and shades of grey, i look at those same hills and they are sharp & clear, jagged edged as tho claws have caught them and pulled them asunder.. those curves no longer seem inviting when you can notice the sharpened outline of jagged teeth  even at this distance they are formidable and unfriendly...

i often hear of foolish souls who look up on those hills on clear days, thinking oh what a lovely day and lovely spot for a bit of hiking - just an hour or two.. and they take little or no supplies or precautions.. little knowing those hills bite the unwary. they all to often swallow them whole and Maybe someday will spit them back.. maybe..

for myself i Love these hills in all of their moods. i used to drive to work at sunrise and watch the pink shadows work their way up the mountain sides..i love their moods and i have a deep and abiding respect for their ways.. i have climbed a number of them, slid down too many rough bits of rock and sand, camped on the rim of arroyos, even poked my nose in a mine or two (not a smart move i admit)

as the sun would rise i would watch the great horned owls winging their way towards the foothills & their sleeping sites for the day.. have often noted a coyote or 3 quietly trotting back to where-ever their current den was to wait out the heat of the coming day.. have had the privilege to briefly share my day and my life with bobcat, desert fox, raven, raccoon, puma, packrat, cactus wren & roadrunner diamond back, sidewinder, chuckwalla, Coopers hawk, Kestrel & more.. i have been incredibly lucky and perhaps even blessed by them..
so many humans are utterly oblivious to the sheer number of wildlife that reside here.

knowing always that for all my love of these places, they do not love me.. they may seduce the viewer, entice them to come be 'one' with the desert. but for most its a false promise and is never ever a safe one. love the desert but NEVER forget she is a harsh mistress and will kill you as easily as she can provide food and shelter for those who pay attention..

thats another secret of our hills.. humans think they have 'tamed' the desert.. the desert meanwhile laughs and thumbs its nose at us knowing better..
the desert is fragile tho and easily damaged often beyond saving in places,

but in the overall scheme of things, its most likely that it will still be here, moving in its slow and stately (most of the time) rhythms - the hills will continue telling their stories even if its only to the mountains and the winds --
Long past when humans have gone the way of the neanderthals & dinosaurs...

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Now, understand, i AM a pumpkin-holic - I love the stuff!!!!!!!!
We canned pumpkin this weekend, pureed & dehydrated or froze puree. froze seeds for roasting later. sounds like a REALLY productive weekend doesnt it??
and it was.........
sort of.
at this point i am counting the weekend as "INSTRUCTIVE" rather than successful..first and foremost somehow i missed the memo that two medium lg pumpkins will give you more than 18cups of puree!!!! and that 2 LITTLE ones will FILL 10pints of pumpkin chunks.
yikes.. -- so now you can understand when i say i made a Major miscalculation when i talked my friend into getting 19 med lg pumpkins...
sigh.... FIRST mistake..
Second mistake - the Reason we bought 19 of them was the price (or rather LACK of price) you know that old saying 'you get what you paid for?? yea.... that...
these apparently were rather on the 'old side' -- not great texture - not great taste - not great smell when cooked..
Third mistake (besides how many) DID NOT take into consideration How HARD it is to cut and peel a pumpkin (tho the 2 little ones were easier to peel) ESPECIALLY if you dont have top of the line knives.
her son was taking bets on who would cut themselves first.. happily he lost That bet.. the worst part is both of us have Carpel Tunnel problems and just do NOT have the hand strength for this kind of project. i for one, if i am feeling this crazy ever again will need someone Else to cut them for me.
Fourth mistake.. dehydrating pumpkin (again sort of) - the dehydrator i picked up at a thrift store Works
and works well. got 5 small sheets of dried pumpkin after about 18hrs........
and i tried several trays in the oven as well which again kind of worked.. the oven was on nearly 18hrs.
and they are SORT of dehydrated. one tray was near burnt & the other two still a bit leathery-
i gave up at that point.. none appeared edible..------------------
Good to know things here: Dollar tree had packages of 10 sheets of parchment paper for $1 and they are just about PERFECT for this sort of thing.. DT also carries cheesecloth at a buck a whack.. good to know.
and btw Aluminum foil under the puree - Bad idea.. wont come OFF the dried puree..
so about 5 SMALL sheets of dried puree to run thru blender to powder it.. ALL that work and ALL that time for about maybe half a cup??? not seeing a good return on this one..
so what do we have to show for ourselves... 26 pints of pumpkin chunks.. 6 bags of pumpkin puree in
freezer (at 6cups per bag) maybe?? half a cup of powdered pumpkin?? and a gallon bag of seeds for
all very bland/near tasteless but will, we think/hope, blend well with store canned pumpkin to stretch it and we will add spices etc to make the many pumpkin things we love to make.
and did i mention the TWELVE pumpkins we DID NOT use???
(that a very nice lady wanted for HER pumpkin plans even tho i TOLD her our results.. hopefully she will
have a better overall result..

Friday, November 4, 2016

November 2, 2016

have been feeling - kind of off today, not sad exactly just.. i dont know...
last night i was rocking & cuddling the baby while mum & daddy were at a class. i still call her the baby but she has been four yrs old a whole 2 weeks now... :) == anyway we were rocking (she wasnt feeling good) and she complained about feeling like she was sliding off of my lap.. the baby is getting too big ;(... for grandma's lap sitting... sigh...
while we were rocking i realized how much i was missing MY baby.
youngest of our two wondrous daughters.. 

who turned 25yrs old today..
oh my goodness when did THAT happen!!!
how i miss those rocking chair moments. and having her more than half the state away wasnt helping.. am most incredibly proud of our girls and this one has put herself back in school to obtain her masters so we are very proud of her hard work.. in that she is very much like her sister.. :) how did we get so lucky???
but i am missing her.. am missing those cuddle & rock together moments when she was little- am missing hearing her laugh at silly jokes. or playing her music or all the small things a mom misses..
Happy Birthday sweetheart mom & dad are cheering you on.. and missing you too...

Sunday, October 18, 2015

a Little Heart attack

 <p>Presented in a funny lighthearted way  Watch and Enjoy BUT   dont take its message lightly.. to many women are at risk when they ignore these symptoms..</p>

Saturday, October 10, 2015

RANT RAVE & Impassioned Plea... or just an idea of how to give yourself, your family and your descendants a holiday present:

Isnt the infant in the first photo ADORABLE?? such a beautiful gown - possibly an heirloom...
too bad we dont have a clue who it is..

RAVE: I have been going through an absolute TREASURE TROVE of family photos for the last several days and am Over the Moon about being able to Scan them and enter them into our Family Tree.. thanks to the unknown someone who wrote on the back of some of the photos and THANK YOU to my dear late father in law who sat down with us one day and went thru so many of these photos that have little sticky notes on the back where he was able to tell me who they were. its been nearly 25 years since we did this.. now i can do what i promised him and share with the family.
Sad rant: then there are the other photos with no clue especially the really old ones that even at the family reunion i have grave doubts we can identify.. its just been too long..

 pic of two boys is an example of this - aren't they sweet? Note also the condition of the pictures Luckily they have been stored away from light but many of them are glued to high acid cardboard backings (used to be presented that way)  - am still trying to figure out if there is a way to remove them safely

i have run into this before.. when my grandmother died we found two LARGE cardboard boxes of photos and more than 2 thirds were not identifiable by those still living - two thirds.. we have NO idea who or what we lost

pic 3 is a glass plate in DREADFUL condition.. i cannot say being stored safely in an acid free environment would have helped this very old picture but i DO know it couldn't have hurt. The bad part is that these new acid free things simply weren't available until fairly recently.

Now here is my Challenge to you - all of you.

especially with holidays coming up. drag those photo albums out and dust them off - with Acid free sleeves available in all different sizes - with acid free pens available to write data on the back of the pics with new acid free albums and storage boxes you have more of a chance of keeping those memories alive.

PLEASE give your family the very great and precious gift of their history..

WRITE on those photos. NAMES / Occasions and DATES if you know them

don't make family members  go through deteriorating photo albums sometime in the future to realize they have no clue who these people are and in doing so LOSE their own history/family- I have lived through that frustration and loss - so let me tell you its REALLY horrid

THEN STORE THEM SAFELY.. we have the technology and knowledge now!!!

you Can do as i am doing and scanning them into the computer for another way to preserve them.. Please dont think you dont know how!! and put it off
i have only a minimum skill/program for 'fixing' pics but even that is helping clear the photos to make it easier to see the faces or places to identify them. EVERY LITTLE BIT HELPs
THEN SHARE your treasures!! the more places copies are the less likely they will be forever lost..(dreadful experiences with that problem in our family)
and besides
when you are done making Copies  GIVE them to other members of family - its a Great & caring gift

pic 4 one of our Treasures.. based on other photos i "think" i have identified these two

they MAY be Martha Ellen Rutherford and
Felix Grundy Johnson..

IF i have identified them correctly - id based on other smaller pictures

Pic 5 and identified picture although i have no idea when or the actual occasion still we know WHO they are and that is a treasure unto itself

JOHNSONs & DAVISON'sof Missouri and Iowa - Children & Cousins of Elmer Andrew Johnson and Letha Maude DAVISON

top row Margaret Zora Martha
next row Harlen Sam Lester Orlan
front row Leona Birt

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Midnight Musings.....

I fully expect to offend people tonite: I feel a strong Rant coming on – so read it or not, your choice. Don’t expect me to change my mind or even respond to any comments. If you don’t like it – delete it. Doesn’t matter either way. it is what it is.
My page my thoughts.

Rant of the nite: the claim of Modesty (freedom from vanity, boastfulness, regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress) or more accurately the complete hypocrisy in this movement.
I have to tell you I find it one of the most Antiquated irritating annoying inappropriate & superfluous (as in unnecessary or needless. obsolete) comments out there is when someone claims to be dressing “modestly”

Oh I ‘get’ what the poster supposedly “means’ by the comment – they think its supposed to be a compliment but it ISNT-
When this kind of comment is made, It’s the connotations that go with it that irritate me to distraction.

Case in point – a LOVELY well made dress for a lady's daughters prom. It was flattering, well constructed, dress of impeccable design – a dress for the wearer to be proud to be seen in & totally appropriate for the age of the wearer.

& then someone makes the comment of how ‘modest’ it is..
say huh? What has so called modesty to do with ANYTHING?
It was sleeveless which by some antiquated standards means its not modest. It doesn’t cover the neck – so not ‘modest’ and so on and so on.

The point I am making is the commenter was making a Judgement on the wearer’s lifestyle and belief system in that one rather snide comment.

And my particular beef with the whole modesty thing?....those who are the loudest & most virulent about it are the most NON modest people out there.

Case in point – Warren Jeffs' group in Texas – explain to me how an entire compound of women dressed alike in badly fitting dresses that even the 1980s don’t want back with a totally weird stand out hairdo on every single one of them is Not a complete demand for your spotlighted attention?

And like the quiverfull people & their “modesty movement”  which, by the way, is based on the fact that men can’t control their urges, constantly think about you know what, and so, all good decent Christian women in the US must eventually be put into burka style cover-ups. They want that all women must be covered head to toe so those poor pathetic, defenseless men can control themselves.” (oh and these are one of the groups who claim to hate Sharia law- yet that’s what they want to enact!) and of course its only the women who are targeted to dress ‘modest’


Now re-look at the definition Modesty: freedom from boastfulness:

so going out in public standing out like a camel on an iceberg, making SURE everyone who sees you KNOWS precisely what you are CLAIMING you are… how precisely are you acting modestly ???

Because THAT is what true modesty is… how you ACT. Not what you wear. A woman in a bikini can still be a modest person by how she acts and treats the world around her.
from what i can see, every single woman out there that follows this ‘HAVE to wear Modest clothing thing, is, essentially, SHOWING OFF,

Proclaiming how much better than you they believe they are.
(even when its not done deliberately (because of their own particular brand of brainwashing that they deal with)

That IS what they are doing. Showing off, bragging, making certain they are noticed……
As far as I am concerned that kind of showing off & thumbing their nose at the rest of the world is definitely the exact opposite of my idea of modesty. In ANY definition.

In fact I find it quite vulgar in many instances – certainly completely hypocritical.