It has been a long time since I posted on my blog.
Computer crashes caused me to loose many of the pictures I had saved. One thing I learned, the hard way, do NOT put a magnet near a memory stick. The Apple computer has a magnetized plug port, and of course, I put my memory stick too close to it.
I have been collecting pictures ever since, but it won't bring back the pictures of my family members who have passed.
So, today, while reading kathy003's blog, I remembered, I too, had started one and let it fade away into the mist of every day's activities.
Here's a picture of the desert in our area. Nice and dry, with spiny things everywhere.
It's been a few years since I have had a nice garden, so I am going to give it a go again this year. I have done things here and there the last few years. I started a small strawberry patch, added some fruit tree's (ok, about 10 of them), and added some herbs to my herb garden. about 2 years ago I added an Oregano plant, I didn't expect much from it, since I had no idea what to expect. That Oregano bush has become my pride and joy! It's strange that I feel so accomplished by one plant. I also started growing Sage, which took off nicely.
I don't have any "goals" as far as the garden goes yet. Ok, that is not exactly true,,,, i would like to grow enough for a small roadside stand in front of my house, but we will see how that goes. Lord knows, I planted enough corn yesterday to do that, and I am going to plant two more rows tomorrow.
Last year a friend of mine taught me how to butcher chickens and turkey's. It has been a few years since I have had any livestock, so besides gardening, I plan to get the chicken coop ready for next spring and, something new,,, my husband wants to get goats to raise for food. So, my goal for that this year is to build a pen to keep them in. I think I have some left over fencing I can use, and an old barn.
We made it through the holidays! I just learned about a property that is promising - a little house on 3+ acres. I am trying to get in to see it this week. We had not planned to buy anything until our current place sold, but maybe we could swing this one. It is a foreclosure, and priced quite low.
I have mixed feelings about buying a foreclosure. I have never been one to want to profit from another' s misfortune. But if this place could work for us, it could be a Godsend. Still, somebody lost the home and I imagine has shed many tears.
I need to figure out if I can be OK with buying a foreclosure. Does that sound bizarre?
I've had several homesteads over my life so far, and each one has been something of an evolution in my thinking about homesteading. Now my professional life has taken me to another place, and thus we must find a new homestead. It is a new transition, and a new opportunity to consider how we want to pursue homesteading in the next phase of our lives.
The first order of business is to sell our current homestead. It is a work in progress, so we have to get some projects finished before it is really sale-able! So far, we have removed an old pool deck (there used to be an above ground pool in the yard), we have re-landscaped the back yard, we have painted, we have replaced the floor in one bathroom, and we have insulated and dry-walled the garage.
I have been looking at prospective homesteads in the new area. But we can't make an offer until we get this one sold.
It is discouraging at times, but I thought if I chronicle our progress here it would help me to track our progress. And possibly someone else might enjoy reading it (or not!).
It is simply wrong how people are treated in the world today - I know that's not a news flash, and it's something that society as a whole just accepts as the way things are, but by golly, it makes my blood pressure rise! People deserve to be treated with dignity and compassion - what is so complicated about treating others as we'd like to be treated? Why do some look down on others and feel they are judge and jury, or even more so, little gods in power positions where they and only they can mandate who gets what.
Several things have played in to this little venting moment this evening ... one was being in line at the gas station and having a snooty lady make a snide remark about a guy who had 'dirty hands' - well how dare the man work for a living and then have the nerve to step in to her realm of existence It was heightened when hearing about how Arby is being treated at the ER -- it's 2012 for goodness sake, how is it that we can have men go to the moon, the rover on Mars, but people in pain cannot get the treatment they need and deserve. How difficult would it be for the medical 'professionals' to have compassion, and actually listen and care about what they're being told, about what the patient feels, and to address those issues? I would think it's well within their ability. Do they reach a point where they think they know all? Do they become so calloused and cut off from human compassion that they lose that ability? How can people be so uncaring, and in some cases outright cruel, and be able to be okay with themselves?
There are times when I have had enough and just cry over how badly others are being treated. I sincerely don't get people being so mean, so uncaring.
The world has such beauty in it -- but also such ugliness. The ugliness seems to be over-taking the beauty and goodness, and that both frightens and saddens me.
While I was ironing yesterday, I was watching an episode of The Universe that I had recorded over the weekend. The episode was I believe an older one from 2010 or early 2011 (thinking 2010) and they were addressing solar flares and citing a report from an official scientific organization (forget the exact name) that put out a report in 2009 stating that 2013 is projected to be the worst for solar flares in quite some time, and then proceeded to mention the possible outcomes if a major flare were to come our way. WOW, did it leave me rattled. Sure, I have read info online and even here on Mrs. S, but the reality of what could happen never fully materialized in my thinking until that program - esp. when they mentioned the potential for lost lives, how long it would take for the grid to be re-built, and so on. I was ironing off my husband's shirts thinking "there's no way we're ready!". A bit of panic set in (okay, a bit is an understatement).
What stuck me most was how many will be completely unprepared. Not to say that I am any where near being prepared, but at least I've got a start and a direction, how many have zero clue of what the possibilities are. Esp. those in the cities, no way I want to be in a city if
I'm actually reconsidering a trip we had planned for Feb of 2013 -- my son will be turning 17 and to celebrate we were taking a trip to Florida. Now I am VERY hesitant to go that far away with the increased possibility looming.
2013 (ideally) would be my time to stay close to home -- that program really rattled me, and has me thinking a lot more about how I am going about prepping -- I need to do sooooo much more.
Rambling on seems to help get things straight a bit
1) fashion a more definitive plan on what we need.
2) find another place to live - a safer place not on a main highway, ideally where we'd have more privacy and lots of room for storage, but short of a miracle, I am not hanging my hopes on that happening.
3) focus more on safety. People are nuts as it is, if there's a disaster, I can see that being magnified by a million. Not taking chances with my family's safety.
From what (little) I have seen regarding blogs, it appears as though they are filled with some insight or knowledge or are otherwise of some use to others -- this blog doubtfully will ever fit in to those categories. Mine is likely to simply be a holding tank for the things that I need to get out. I don't have many 'real life' friends ... or internet based friends for that matter ( I tend to be more solitary in nature, more of the observer as opposed to the jump on in and be part of the action) so I see this blog as being a way of getting the things that build up over time, or that I simply need to flesh out. Regardless ... presenting my blogging adventure...
I was asked to send a copy of a photograph to a friend.
After plugging my memory stick into the port on my computer, it took several minutes to load the pictures. Looking at the quantity...
I was shocked to see 13,000+ photographs!
And that does not count the photographs I have on the computer, from last year, needing to be transferred to another memory stick for safe keeping.
Like this one, which reminds me how much I like to swim.
Woke with this song playing in my memory yesterday. I sat quietly on my porch swing watching the stars slowly fade away as the dawn broke and birds began to sing.
When I'm feeling all alone
With so far to go
The signs are no where on this road
Guiding me home
When the night is closing in
Is falling on my skin
Oh God will You come close?
Light light light up the sky
You light up the sky
To show me You are with me
I I I can't deny
No I can't deny that You are right here with me
You've opened my eyes
So I can see You all around me
Light light light up the sky
You light up the sky to show me
That You are with me
When stars are hiding in the clouds
I don't feel them shining
When I can't see You beyond my doubt
The silver lining
When I've almost reached the end
Like a flood You're rushing in
Your love is rushing in
So I run straight into Your arms
You're the bright and morning sun
To show Your love there's nothing You won't do
That You are with me
That You are with me
Dawn has broken, light filtering in blinking out the stars in the brisk 34 degrees. The birds have begun to sing and humming birds are chasing each other around. As I walked around my yard, they whizzed past me so closely I felt the breeze of their wings on my face.
Pondering today's activities, the guys want to watch football, guests in the house means, tidying up and preparing seating, snacks and meals.
It's a simple life...
DH and I lost a very dear friend on Saturday. She had fought cancer twice, but had a brain bleed Friday night, and died Saturday. We are so grateful that God put her in our lives. She blessed us so much. What a true Christian, who lived by example and gave wise counsel.
We also have a 41 year old niece fighting breast cancer and just found out a 61 year old cousin has breast cancer. Praying for miracles for them both.
Then just read about Old Maine Bear's passing. sigh
While I'm having a quick cup of tea, I thought I'd sit down and look around this wonderful site. DH and I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and a peacefilled 2012.
2011 was a very full year for our family. DH retired and it has been a blessing!
Children #4 and 5 both announced their engagements. They have chosen wisely and we are so happy to be adding a new daughter-in-law to our family in Feb. 2012 and a new son-in-law in May 2012. Grandchild #6 arrived the first of December and he has blessed the whole family.
Even though the times are so uncertain, our faith is giving us peace. God is soooo Good!
Tea time is over, now back to my long list of things to accomplish before Christmas Eve.
Well one of the next steps we have taken towards being more self sufficiient has been to acquire rabbits. We only have 2 of them, one of each, they are Silver fox? Anyway, we thought we would try to keep them alive over the winter, and if successful we will try to breed them in the spring. We hope to raise them for meat. But I have never purposely killed anything except a vegetable plant or an insect, so I am not sure if we will be able to harvest them. My DH says it is all up to me since I am the one who wanted to try raising them.... gee thanks. But I will definitely try. If I can bumble my way thru this successfully, we will get another female or two and really try to go into meat production for family usage. I am trying not to get too attached. They are cute, but very skittish. I have not really tried to tame them yet because of the whole harvesting thing. I am afraid once I see the babies, it will be all over...
I would like to eventually have chickens, but that will have to wait I think until we move to a place with more land and NO HOA. I hate having an HOA. You would think that with 3 acres, we would have a bit of room for a few ladies, but it is not allowed. I hope to move within the next year. It makes the whole adding to the orchard thing very difficult because I dont want to put in alot of trees just to move.
We finally got our soapstone stove put in. It is really great and heats the house wonderfully. We are only using half the heat from last year. We still use some because we are not home alot and for example dont want to start a fire first thing in the morning when we are leaviong for the day in 2hours. So we will take off the morning chill with the regular furnace and then build a fire when we are home in the evenings until we go to bed.
Well, it is almost the end of the year, hopefully the next year will bring more changes.
My wife and I are soon joining the Mennonites. We recently purchased a 130 year old farmhouse that needs complete restoration. We are hoping to live partially off grid one small step at a time. We plant our own food, can most of them and hydrate the rest. We hang dry our clothes on lines in the 2nd story balcony and in the cellar. We have a cistern that needs cleaning and next spring we plan on getting rain barrels and using our floor pump.
We bought this house because we wanted a quieter life after years of renting. It hasn't been easy as we find many things that need repairs. But I wouldn't trade this for anything. I am thankful to God for His blessings.
All of this prompted me to create a website chronicling my journey to becoming a Mennonite and the owner of an old farmhouse. Please check it out.
I never really thought that I'd go offline for a long time, it was supposed to be a break to deal with Dad, after he fell and hit his head in kitchen. Then he fell a few more times. The doctors couldn't find any reason, no symptoms of a stroke or anything... And the next thing I knew, my father, with his Masters' degrees in Theology and another in History, became nearly 100% uncommunicative. I watched as he held blank pieces of paper before his eyes, 10 or 15 minutes at a time, as if he were intent on reading. I didn't go offline because I needed to tend to him, he was able to be a private pay at a good facility... I went offline because I needed to BE with him. I spent the best and the most difficult months of my life sitting at the foot of his bed at 0530 with my coffee, reading aloud to him. Back for supper, to help him eat... to read his mail... help him into his pj's... and then my moment of "respite" just sitting and watching him breathe as his body continued to curl into what eventually became a permanent fetal position. All those little things that suddenly I did not want anyone else to do for him.
To make a very long story short, he eventually died. And one of the HARD "prep lessons" I learned from that is that people do not react as one expects around death and the dying even with nearly a year of warning. My father's death cost me any but the most formal of relationships with my siblings. I was both FPOA and MPOA and at one point had to physically stand between my father and a nurse with a feeding tube that my brother had called in. We'd ALL had that discussion, that he didn't want such a thing... but when the moment came to let him starve himself to death, my siblings couldn't deal with it. Offline Prep Lesson 1 - do not expect anything to go as planned in the face of death. Decisions made in advance by intelligent and cooperative people can suddenly become null and void because of emotions.
A year later, my remaining sister died. Unexpectedly while in the hospital for a routine gall bladder removal she had a massive heart attack. This was especially difficult because my mother had now lost 3 of 5 children. Her grief was as great as anyone's; compounded by the behavior of my remaining brother and his family. Offline Prep Lesson 2 - Everyone who was mad at you before an unexpected death will be at least twice as mad at you afterward. This was a very valuable prep lesson to be, because from it I learned that no matter how well prepared WE may be to face awfulness... we WILL be affected by those who aren't prepared. I can steel my heart against almost anything... except for my mother. In a survival situation that could represent a real failure on my part. I'm still hashing through that one. I expect in the harsh light of survival reality, Mom will be important, but I'll get the job done. I hope so, at least.
It seemed that life began to settle back down... there were job changes and some issues with the dance studio, but things appeared to be returning to normal, but then I realized that through all of the above listed crap my marriage had fallen apart. My husband and I had more money invested in prep and survival stuff than we did in furniture, by far. Even though we divided much of it, I was still faced with spending thousands of dollars I did not have to replace large gun safes, weapons, ammo, camping gear. Offline Prep Lesson 3 - consider your physical preps a significant asset in your life. Be ready and willing to fight for them, for their loss can cost you way more than a car or replacement furnishings!
So, mostly I wrote this for my "old" MrsS friends, as a way of explaining and apologizing for disappearing. It was a tough 4 years. I thought of you often, but felt immobile... and almost powerless. Me, almost powerless. Scary.
So GLAD to be back! I'm shucked that powerless feeling, I'm re-empowered. I know I'm a little colder than I was before. But, life is good, preps go on.
So, it has been way too long since I have posted anything. To be honest, I forgot all about the blog. Lets see, in the past year, I sent 2 kids away to college, my DH graduated college after going two classes at a time off and on for 20 years... Yea! Continuing to homeschool darling son.I lost my longtime friend/puppy Jillie, and recently found a new friend to join our lives and protect our home, Avery Calypso (black lab/border collie). I joined a prep group in the area and have met some local like minded souls. I have expanded my garden and bought a small greenhouse. Now if we could only get some +70* weather, maybe I will have more luck with the warm weather garden. Oh, and we bought a wood burning stove to heat our house this winter. Now as soon as our tax refund arrives, we will have it installed, (want someone else to cut the hole in the roof!) But we are also looking for a new house with land, having to move my elderly parents in with us. So if we find something soon, I will wait with the install for the new house, otherwise I will have to move the stove too.
Have you ever gotten tired of paying a fortune for laundry soap? Do you have a front loader and have to use low-sudsing expensive HE soap? Well, both those statements apply to me, and so whilst perusing an online forum I stumbled across a recipe tutorial on how to make your own gel laundry detergent for cheap.
I watched the video a couple times, and thought, "Hey I can do that!". So I went out with Monkeys in tow this past week and bought my supplies.
You will need:
1 box Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1 5 gallon bucket with lid
1 box 20 Mule Team Borax
1 bar Fels Naptha soap
A measuring cup, a wisk to stir with, a pot to boil in, water and a cheese grater.
First take the bar of Fels Naptha and the grater and grate the soap all up. You can use either the large grate or small, it doesn't really matter. While you are doing this, put 4 cups water in your pot and bring it to a boil.
Now add your grated soap to the pot of boiling water slowly, and stir with your wisk, until the soap all dissolves. When you are done, it will look like this.
Then dump it into the bucket. Fill the bucket in the bathtub, half full of HOT tap water. Now add your 1/2 cup of Borax and stir well. Now add your 1 cup of washing soda, and stir well. You will notice it foams a little with the washing soda, and starts to thicken some. Be sure to stir it well from the bottom of the bucket to mix it well.
Once you have mixed it well, then you fill the bucket to about an inch or two from completely full, and stir some more. Then seal the lid on top, and let it sit overnight to cool and gel. When you check it the next day, it will be a semi-firm gel that stirs easily by hand and reliquifies as you stir it. Mix it well, especially from the bottom up, as the particulates can settle a bit.
Now all you do, is take your dispensing container (old laundry soap bottle is perfect), and fill it half full of the gel goo. Add more water to the bottle, till full, and shake well. Measure out 1/4 cup of the diluted soap mix for a full load of laundry, and wash! This recipe will yield approximately 10 gallons of laundry soap!
It's so nice to be able to post with the correct date. Yeah!
Our weekend at Darlene's was so wonderful, but also so tiring. I think we averaged 5 hours sleep/night. It's amazing how much we crammed into a weekend! As usual, I brought a camera and then forgot to use it. Thankfully Wormguy took pictures.
Today I cleaned the house and then tonight DH and I went to our church and hung, our Church's historical quilt from 2005, from the choir loft. It's about 7 ft wide and about 8 ft long. We printed pictures of most of the pastors, some of the stained glass windows and statues on to fabric and sewed them on to the quilt; plus we asked our parishoners to create blocks for the quilts. The purpose of the quilt is to commenorate our 140th anniversary of our church, and also be a historical record. This coming Sunday we will be installing our 24th pastor. So now we're home and I thought I'd check in before going to sleep.
I'm going to have to close, as I can barely kkep my eyes open. Take care, everyone.
Got back from vacation last week and found the blog feature seems to be working! YAY! So this is just a picture post to show off some of the nice fishies we caught on vacation at our lil' secret piece of heaven on earth. We don't own it, but we get to camp there...
So here are the fish pics!
Red coffee cup is DH's
Just so you don't think all we caught were lunkers...
But most of 'em were! At least for bass.
This one was DH's fish, held up by Monkey1
This morning I was doing some personal Bible Study and read the following scripture...
Mat 13:57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.
This made me think about being offended and what it means, how it develops and why it happens. Unless you are the Saint I Ain't, you, like me have found yourself offended at times. As a matter of fact, I'm struggling with an offense right now. Someone I love deeply and have invested a lot of my heart into gave me a 'low blow' and I'm still stinging from it a bit.
If you know much about me, you know that this led to a word study, the word Offended.
Here's the word in Greek σκανδαλίζω skandalizō
It occurs 30 times in the New Testament Scriptures
It means, for one thing, a stumbling block, to cause to fall away, to cause one to distrust, to have your foot entangled.
You may pick up on the fact that skandalizō sounds familiar. Think the Latin word scandalum or our English version, Scandal.
So, why were the people of Jesus' home town stumbling on the words of Jesus? What was the scandal all about? How did He offend them? Let's read the account in the book of Mark, starting with verse 1 in the NLT.
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown.
2 The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished. They asked, "Where did he get all his wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?
3 He's just the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us." They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him.
4 Then Jesus told them, "A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family."
5 And because of their unbelief, he couldn't do any mighty miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.