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Friday, August 25, 2017

midnight musings
For a sister
waiting is hard.. very very hard.. may have after 40 plus years of searching found the last lost sibling. i have attempted first contact. and now i wait.. will she see it. will she Want to see it. will she answer. do i want to see her answer.. i can only hope she will want to connect even a little bit. scary thing is i dont know if she even knows she was adopted.. and we are pretty much sure its her..
i dont expect much From her, actually. i just need to fill in the holes of my past. she is part of that.. - i hope she will understand that. if allowed by her i would welcome her to the family with open arms & will try very hard to not push too hard..
finding missing people is a mixed bag. my birthfather was a happy story -my birth grandmother was just awful (long story) my one half brother has not connected by his choice but he's the same with his adopted family so it is what it is. i got family info to him and now its in his court.. makes me a bit sad but i did what I needed. i connected the puzzle piece. the half sister i did not know about has turned out good - she found me to answer Her questions  - now i wait for the half sister i did know of..
and i am so not good at waiting... sigh..
scared excited impatient.. yea am all of these..
and i hope

Thursday, August 17, 2017

a simple rant/commentary:
For all of you who subscribe to the "What about-itis syndrome*
first and foremost i would like to REMIND everyone of the definition of extremist " this is relevant & important
noun - "a person who holds extreme or fanatical political or religious views, especially one who resorts to or advocates extreme action". (up to and including cold blooded murder)
My point here is THAT ALL GROUPS of every walk of life has a small portion of extremists within it.
ALL groups..
the Difference here being that approx 98% of those groups are NOT led by or even adhere to any form of that extremism- groups that the so called alt right love to hang out a flag and whine about - groups like Black Lives Matter, something they call Antifa. (a group against Fascism is bad? in point of fact i can see why THEY hate them (see below)** - Planned Parenthood, etc etc etc....... NOTE THESE GROUPS are NOT led by nor even espouse the extreme portions of their own groups yet the alt right do everything they can to convince anyone they can otherwise..
THE DIFFERENCE BEING??? the alt right groups such as the KKK and the various NEO Nazis - are a WHOLE different kettle of fish gone bad. they ARE run by their extremists their entire entity is BASED on extremism.. the rare times i have seen where someone tried to go moderately, their OWN groups have gone after them like a shark feed frenzy..
SO DONT TRY wimping out with the "WHAT ABOUT?????" whine. its nothing but an attempt at a cop out. IF YOU DONT Believe in the hatefilled violence driven alt right DO NOT - I REPEAT - DO NOT try the 'the left is just as bad' whine. they are not. they never will be. - their VERY EXISTENCE is predicated on the OPPOSITE side of what the neo nazis and groups like the kkk represent.
if you use this excuse - you are actually CONDONING WHAT they stand for. and i for one REFUSE to have any part of that..
EVER..
i have served my country in 2 services. I CONTINUE to serve her in Standing up TO the hate and standing up FOR those willing to fight that hate.
*(a reminder that 'itis' refers to inflamation of..)
** the Antifa are autonomous anti-racist groups that monitor and track the activities of local neo-Nazis. They expose them to their neighbors and employers, they conduct public education campaigns, they support migrants and refugees and they pressure venues to cancel white power events.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

i think i have lived in the desert far too long...
channel surfing and came to some sort of nature program that had no voice-over.. just pics..
and realized immediately i knew where it was.. 
so kept watching. it seemed to be featuring different animals & plants and some behaviors where the two came together on a very hot summer day (you could tell by the by their behaviors)

about 10 minutes or so later i realized i knew what Every single animal and plant & bug (save one) they showed..
i am not sure, but that doesn't sound terribly normal to me..
tho my amateur naturalist desert freak of a dad would probably approve..
hahahaha

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 http://www.simplyscratch.com/


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

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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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEehss63VDg   ) 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..
sqeeeeeeeeeee!!!


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

THE GRAND PUMPKIN EXPERIMENT & not quite disaster

Now, understand, i AM a pumpkin-holic - I love the stuff!!!!!!!!
soooo.......
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
roasting..
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...