Friday, December 16, 2016

Rounding up the ends

I am one of those few people who will admit that they LOVE Black Friday.
There are a few things that are significantly less on that day.
Next year, with old brick and mortar stores closing, it might not be as fun.

Today I dropped off some of my last finds.
Take a hint from me and indulge in this find next year.
Kid coast go on sale on Black Friday.
Last year my budget allowed for ten of them.

This year it was fifteen.
If you take up my challenge,
just dropped them off at the elementary and middle schools.
Kids will be warmer and so will you.

Lots of books under the tree this year.
My oldest grand is quite a reader.
He finds his "core reading" at the library.
We fill him in with humor and mystery.

And then there are a few great Pirate books.
Having a grand who is old enough to enjoy
such things is a pleasure.

My inventory of "stuff for winter" is completed and filled in.
We are ready to begin to enjoy some of the summer harvest
in pies, stews and cobblers while it is snowing.
The wealth of fresh will help the days go ever faster.

Tomorrow we begin the end of the year look back
and budget for next year.
Without actual income coming in anymore,
the looks are a bit tighter,
but never too tight for one more

Almost Winter Solstice, then Christmas, then New Years.
The ends are almost complete.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The weather is cooling

Delaware has been having its normal warm fall.
We just got back from California and Thanksgiving with the "kids" and their kids.

Tonight the rain is coming down and the temperature is dropping.
Glad to see winter begin to sweep in.

Starting my projects for winter.
Five sets of hand warmers for the littles in my life are first.

I am thinking of making a car seat warmer for my smallest grand.

My next project will be to take apart a normal travel pillow
and rework it into an aroma therapy pillow for my daughter's terrible neck.
This one is filled with micro beads.
I will refill it with rice and lavender from my garden.
I'll save the micro beads for a different project.

Outside, the garden is covered with leaves.
Almost all of the dead plants have been cut back.
We took off the cages for our blueberry bushes before we left on our trip.
forgot to put them back on,
and ended up with blueberry stubs---again.
Darn rabbits!

Our propane tank will be checked tomorrow and filled for the winter.
I am thankful for a full tank
knowing it can be accessed even if all of the electricity goes out in the area.

Life is good!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Stocking up!

This time of year is when I hit the Dollar Store and Walmart.
Stocking up for the "day packages" that we give out.

What is inside?
Chemical hand warmers and stretch gloves
toothbrush and paste
small bar soap
cracker packet (like peanut butter crackers)
socks and
a dollar.

If I find good sales, I also stock up on:
winter hats,
more socks,
coffee packets,

On Black Friday I always pray that JC Pennys will have their coats on sale.
I try to get some in the medium kid size.
They are great to take to schools in January.

Every little bit helps.
It gets mighty cold here.
I just keep them in my front seat.
Every homeless person is a person first.

This year there is a particular Salvation Army we plan on giving lots of these things to.
We know someone, who chooses to be homeless at this point, who uses their showers.
We are going to do towels and sheets for them.

Do you have suggestions?

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Quiet night with an almost full moon

The family has been here for the weekend
A three year old can drive the entire household crazy
But mostly we were laughing.

Haven't turned on the news much
Tired of the violence and mean speak

Full moon tomorrow
that explains everything!

Rearranging my retirement portfolio

Yes, it is that time of year for me.
There were already some big moves for me
and they will continue.
Not a financial planner- to say the least,
but a stock picker for sure.

Tesla. Gosh, gotta love that founder.
Sometimes a dreamer needs as much backing as s/he can get.
Love his passive solar and batteries.
And Mars- something for my grands to dream about.

Cardinal Health has been through the ringer
Hope it comes out the other end.
Maybe Ford will start making US autos again-
that would be nice.

Looking for companies that put money into inner city projects
It would be nice to invest in Baltimore
but their mayor just gave a huge contract
to a German company
with no real care for the unemployed in the area.
I'll have to look further.

Love the rails. Wish BSN had not been purchased by Buffett
He pushed out the small investor for his mega hedge fund.
Maybe Canadian Pacific?

Have no interest in solar mirrors
 (reflecting heat back into the atmosphere is not a great idea).
Wind energy- nothing like killing off migrating birds.
Those wind areas are the flight paths.

Maybe if we put a bit into updating nuclear.
Hummm- that might be an area to look into.

Elder care robots....

Seems I have lots of research to do.

I feel confident in this type of market.
Invest in the US.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Silent Majority

What an election.
It was one of the toughest I have ever witnessed--or read about.
Now my prayers begin again
in earnest.
Term limits and getting rid of the electoral college should be priorities.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Sunday, November 06, 2016

First day of fall back-Political

We were up at 4:30 am with the dogs
Their usual 5:30 wake up
was just as dark.
A warm breeze,
Hooting owl
and clear sky
met us at the door.

I am not getting much sleep these days
Cannot say I am worried
just sad.
Politics has always been amazing to me
How our country runs,
who runs it
and why.

In the past,
I felt that politics was mostly about an ideal
Who feels they could possibly
do the best for us
in their way.

I had that same ideal about large companies
health care systems
and even banks.

I knew banks were in trouble when my small country bank
sold off our loan to a broker.

I knew health care was in trouble when
my daughter got a bill
for an operation
when the hospital did not know she had coverage.
She was never admitted to the floor
had her appendix removed
in the ER
and she was discharged a few hours later.

My suspect of large companies
came when we lived in China and met
the people making Barbies
and polluting the rivers with plastics
and air with chemicals.
Something was wrong, very wrong.
We love those plastics and we will do anything
not to have them produced here.

And now I feel we have no champion.

How strange it feels
to have the same people
who complained about a millionaire businessman running for President
four years ago
championing a woman who has become almost a billionaire
by speaking and selling favors.
The same group who defies logic
of saying a man who says mean things
is worse then a man who lost his law license
for abuse of women.

Then there is the other side
a man who cannot keep his mouth shut
who is barbaric in his manners
even if he is wealthier then the greatest of anyone I know.
I think he joined the race on a lark
maybe even a bet
but here he is
bumbling through.

Will either protect us
I mean the "real" us?
I am taking my chances- and voting for the one who I do not know
over the one I know all too well.

The sadness comes
I see no protection for the ground swell.
Will either do anything for the poor?
or the wicked?
or the religious?
or the overly violent?
or the overly sexed?
or the oppressed?
Probably not

We will simply muddle through another four years
and drool over TV shows that show exactly what we cry against.

After Tuesday,
Just going to fall back
and see what happens
Disturbing, really, disturbing.
I think I will binge watch
Better to watch a country
who accepts that they are under the rule of the elite
then to live in one that pretends
we are not.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

The fall is here.

Continuing my canning marathon in September included: grape jam, tomato sauce, and my favorite- applesauce.
Here is my apple sauce recipe.
    Half and core apples,
    lay them in a dutch over
    put about 1/2 t of Maple syrup where the cores used to be
    bake for 30 minutes at 400degrees
    cool and use a food mill to get rid of the skins and mush the apples
    Put them jar and then in a water bath for 15 minutes.
  I am close to having enough applesauce for the entire baking season. (I don't use oil.)

Bean and Bacon soup was also on the menu

Oranges and lemons are very expensive here. 
When I see them for less, 
I dry them (after soaking in run) for tea in the winter.
Canning and drying are a great way to keep food from being boring in the winter.
Have you ever noticed how tasteless things seem when they have been shipped across the world to your supermarket?
This year, when the farmer markets close, I will not be in mourning.

The end of the month was my birthday.
This year the treat was Disneyland with my oldest grand
and my son's family.

This month is all about field trips before the weather gets cold.
But I still have a few more things to can....

Friday, September 09, 2016

And the finances settle in

We have been here a year.
The oldest car was sold
a new one came home.
The motorcycle was sold,
a tiny car came home.

We built a workshop
which is well loved and used.
Garden is in.

We still need to redo the bathroom
but most everything else is done.

Our budget now has lots of "envelopes" of savings.
These are all virtual accounts.
Since the interest rate is near zero- we don't worry of there isn't enough for interest.
They are:
Car replacement (at zero right now)
Equipment replacement
       one never knows when the dishwasher will die.
Doggies and propane (they seem to alternate)
This and that for the house
Grandchildren's education

We have our regular bills-
electricity (we pay about 1/2 of what we paid in Kansas)
Amazon books
Gas and maintenance for the cars

It is nice to finally be in a time and space where the income and out go are close to the same.
At this point, although we are not near seven figures in savings,
I think we will be fine for the next twenty years.
Knock on wood!

What a trip!
The days have been blooming hot here lately.
Had a heat stroke when I was 18, inside is my safe zone.

We have hit the zoo and lots of the parks this summer
My confession is comes in a high second to canning these days.
There are so many interesting stories in my family tree!
 My husband's great grand mother. The plural LDS wife to a man who was also married to her sister.
 My husband's great grandfather - from his mom's side. A Canadian who helped found Utah.
My mother's grandmother. She died in childbirth. Her story seems to begin and end with her. She left no real trace. Thank goodness someone took two pictures and put them in the family bible!

I love the names! Granville, Juliathea, Kassiah, Ambrose,Ursula, Marion, Hyrum and so many more.
Farmers, stone cutters, ship captains, merchants (no kings or queens).  Priests, nuns, Quakers, Mormons, Episcopalians, Catholics. Most all of the family tree is from the Ireland and England with a healthy dose of German, maybe some African Americans and at least one---who knows who the father was....


Monday, August 29, 2016

Dehydrating, Canning and Summer. Oh MY!

I am not known for my homemaking skills.
Quick and easy.
Meals, cleaning, painting, dog care
Fast is better.
The only things I knew how to make when I married were:
Mac and Cheese, Brownies and hamburgers.
My menu did expand in the next 33 years,
but not much.

Moving to Delaware we found ourselves living close to
one of the largest producers of fruit in the area.
First we bought the pies.
 Blueberry Lemonbrickle.
Then my daughter wanted to pick strawberries.
Have you seen the price of freeze dried strawberries?

Decided to use my husband's jerky dehydrator
and save some for winter..

It became an obsession!
At home my husband was building a deer and mole proof garden for me.
Tomatoes have been grown every summer of our marriage.
This year they will be safe.

Then blueberry season hit!
Blueberries do not dry well.
Maybe I can make jam? Compote? Preserves?
The obsession began.
 The water bath was purchased from the commissary.
The canning of jam began- strawberry and blueberry.
Finding recipes with little sugar was key
since my grands will be the ones enjoying them.
I thought, "Good summer" and put everything away.

 Then my garden went crazy.
Eating spinach every morning
waiting for the tomatoes to come on.
Come they did!
Out came the canner
And dehydrator for the zucchini and squash.

The local orchard had peaches and finally apples.
Canning went into full swing.
 Here is a very small part of what was canned this season.
We cannot wait to open the Bozzy Peaches.

Summer is closing

And the horned worms are eating my tomatoes now.

Hibiscus are putting on their last blooms.

Slowly I am excepting that canning season is coming to a close.
This should be a wonderful winter of goodies.
From a city girl,
that is a very big thing.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Ten things I do not regret doing before now.

Following Cindi's blog,

1) Had children young. My kids were born when I was 24 and 26.  They are grown now and I am LOVING being a Grandmother. Was worth stopping my great career.

2) Marrying the man I did.  Luck, pure luck that I found him.

 3) Getting to know my elders.  I spent a lot of time with my Nana and my Step Grandmother and learned the family stories. I try to do the same with my mom and her sisters.

4) Moving and traveling. I don't mind moving, but my hard core travel days are over. From The Stone Forest in China to the Empty Quarter in Saudi, Van Gogh in Amsterdam to temples of Thailand, From Alaska to Hawaii- Florida to Maine, we have seen some pretty amazing things.  We still may travel, but it will be a different type. I suspect this is not our last house.
5) Being passionate about making sure people are heard- even if I do not like what they are heard for. I may not like the political people, but I will go crazy if you put words in their mouths! That started early and often in my life.

6) Going into teaching. A vocation, not a job. I am no longer patient enough to do it full time, but I loved the students.

7) Learning about my religion early and my faith when I got older.

8) Being open to those who do not have the same faith as me. I was taught this by my father. That lesson has been one of the most valuable ones he ever shared. Every person puts their undies on in the morning and hopes that they and their family have a good day.

9) Being true to those whom I love.  I do not have many life long friends. Those I do have, I have been loyal to them until the end.
10) Putting every found penny into paying off the house!  This is actually the third house we have owned outright. Each house had their own flavor- Flagstaff mountains, Kansas grasslands and now Delaware waters.  After sixteen years of a different rented house every two years- it was good to plant money into a place of our own. With the ownership of our house- worry about being homeless has slipped away.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Summer treats

Canning has become a passion.
If it is a fruit, it can be canned.
Canning provides the opportunity to know exactly what my family is consuming.

 Low sugar jams- strawberry, blueberry, cherry and combinations of each
Compot (fruit in their juice) Blueberry
 Cherry Pie filling
Syrup, pickles, full sugar jam

 Drying peach slices. Apple slices will be here next month.
Most veggies are either dried or frozen.
Next year they may be canned as well.
I really like eggplant chips!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Like 1968?

My nephew linked this article on Facebook.
"...Why 1968 was so much worse then 2016."

1968. Dad was a news junkie
even way back then.
Being his sidekick
my evenings were spent watching
the war,
and assassinations.
Funerals of friend's brothers.
Being eleven,
it was burned into my brain.
And the music
lots of "ungodly: music
which we listened to
on the radio
on the way to school.

The young man who wrote the article
is correct
this does not even begin to compare to what it was then.

He is a bit far fetched when comparing "the Donald"
to George Wallace.
The man who stood on the steps and did not permit a child to enter school,
is way different then political roderick.
The hate in his eyes
The dogs he had released.
Obviously, he did not live that era.

Now if he had compared Nixon to a different liar,
but this really isn't about that.

The nation has it pretty darn good.
People have gained rights
We are pulsing forward.
One step forward, two back?
I think the opposite is true.

Not even close to 1968.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Fourth of July

We have experienced the 4th in more settings then can be imagined at times.

When I was young we would meet up with my Grandparents
Eat watermelon
and watch the fireworks at "the club".
I can still smell the wet grass
since it was in Phoenix
and one of the only places with expansive lawns
wet down for fireworks
that were so close we could watch them set them off!
Several years were spent at Girl Scout Camp.
Camp Mariposa was in the hills of Prescott AZ.
In the late afternoon we would climb the hills
sip on orange and peppermint
And enjoy the works from the side of the mountain
Going back to camp was always a trick
My first overseas 4th was in Germany. 
Scott and I had just met. 
We lived in a town that had five military bases
and each one put off their own fireworks.
We sat on the Main River and watched them all.
When the children were babies 
we had moved to Washington DC
And braved the million person crowd
Yes, I am borrowing all of these pictures.

Fireworks over the Flint Hills were next.
We would sit on the parade field and watch them go off overhead.

Monterey Bay was next. 
They would shoot off the fireworks over the bay!
From our house we could sit on the front lawn and watch the entire thing.
Sophie Summer

At the American Club in Hong Kong
was the wildest.
No pictures allowed.
It was SO hot and we took the bus with lots of littles there.
Crazy celebrations.
Embassy people do it right.
Hawaii at the Hale Koa
Our last overseas 4th was in Saudi Arabia.
No pictures again.
Nothing like sitting in the crushing heat
with a black abaya on 
but is was well worth it.

We did seven years in Flagstaff
with hardly ever a firework 
parade, yes, fireworks, no.
It was fireseason and we did not belong to the club.

Back to Kansas

and now on the East coast again.
Today is in downtown Dover.
hotdogs and 
fireworks at sunset! 
Happy Fourth!