Monday, April 24, 2017

Saturday, April 22, 2017

A Deep Pantry

This is the day that changed my life.  My husband was in the office on the top end. Our car was near these cars- completely destroyed. I was at school- five miles away. My building was rocked and so was my world. We brought students back to a small compound that had injured soldiers all over it- many of the injured were the parents of the students. We had no idea.

For the next month I made meals for a core group of twenty people on night shift. Night shift in Saudi is day shift in the US- so they were core to the survival of the injured and moving the KIA. Several of the cooks were in the destruction, so that left the night shift to those of us who could put it together.

After having a tour in Hong Kong, I had learned to buy the things my children loved to eat in quantity when I saw it.  The supply ship would come in and three families would purchase cases of dried milk, pasta, pasta sauce, canned meats, jams, flour and yeast (one ship brought us salsa). Divide and conquer.  Each of us had a picky seven year old. It was important to them. It was then and there I can to appreciate a deep pantry.

The commissary officer laughed in Germany when I went for a mid tour breather from Saudi and ordered cases of the same things.  Those foods arrived in early October. November came with a crash and my life became one of "looking for fresh" on the economy. That meant that I would done my abaya and hijab, call one of the few drivers who still would take us places, and head to the market.
People in stress love comfort food. Finding a place that sold fresh ricotta and mozzarella was huge. I had the noodles and sauces in the pantry. I went to a huge market and found baking pans. I learned about the local fresh veggies and fruits in season and how to use dates instead of sugar. We made breads, entrees and fruit platters. It was crazy.

 Since that time, I have always had one. Deep pantry.
My family says that I am a closet prepper, but it is all about the moment.
Canning has added fruits to the winter- fruits from the area instead of South America.

After a wicked ice storm in Kansas in 2009 (we were stuck for ten days), different types of fuels were added to our deep pantry. Bees wax and soy candles, lots of solar lighting, back up water and propane were all a part of that preparation.
The garden is my new part. Having my own foods in the pantry, foods that were brought up in my backyard, well, it is a pleasure.
We finally live in a place where we can ride bikes to get places. We live in a community that can be self sufficient very easily.

Twenty years ago my life was changed by 220 lbs in the back of a pick up truck. Learning to take the good from the bad.
Maybe next year first aide will be on my list of things needed to make myself a part of the deep pantry.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spring gardening

Several of my family garden in southern Arizona.
Their gardens are almost done.
Mine have just begun.

Quietly it sat all winter.

 Awaited new soil and a bit of organization

 The herbs and a very early tomato are dug in.
 The raspberries and mint are finally coming back to life.

Asparagus is planted by the creek
BTW- if you are into all things Hawaii or Japan go see Laura at Occasional Nomads.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Vietnam Veteran's Day - March 29th

Did you know that?
I didn't until someone I knew put it up on her Facebook wall.

My husband and his brother both served in Vietnam.  Growing up in the poor side of their town, they both had gotten scholarships to the University of Idaho for engineering. My brother in law got kicked out because he failed to go to classes after he fell in love.  My husband quit the next year because his scholarship ran out. Unlike what my parents did for my brother; their parents could not afford to send them back by buying a slot at school. Their father had been in the Army Air Corps in Japan. Their grandfather was in WWI with the big guns. Service was an honor in their family, so off the boys went.

My brother in law became a door gunner for a medic helicopter. His second tour he was a crew chief on the same type of ship.  From what he said, when he was drunk, his role was to tell the pilot when to take off- wether everyone was on or not. They landed in some pretty heated places. Purple Heart type landings. When he returned for good he finished his degree and made a pretty good living.  He died ten years ago at the age of 58 from a combination of Agent Orange and lots of self medication.

My husband was a Special Forces medic. My guy is pretty shy, but sharp as a whip. He was at the top of his medic classes and saw that field as one to get to the most people in the fastest way. When he arrived in country his assignment was an area that lost a medic every ten minutes. His commander from training spotted him and rerouted him to teach the Montagnards the art of being a medic. His brother had no idea that he had enlisted and was mighty mad. My husband experienced nightly shelling, but felt he was "safe". Of course, all 20 year old guys are invincible.

Both men left as gawky, poor, inexperienced kids and returned as solid guys. Unfortunately, they were both assaulted at Fort Ord as they got off the planes after their tours with spit and dolls filled with red paint. People justify themselves often over these tactics, just as they currently justify themselves with calling  people who do not agree with them names. I don't know how many times it has been implied that, "I am the smart one on the right side".  To each their own.

My husband left service and returned to school. He went back and forth between his GI Bill and working in Alaska for seven years. His hair was down to his waist and his bar tab was higher then the trailer rent. The GI Bill ran out, so he joined ROTC. He graduated, with high honors with a Finance major and seven minors.

He rejoined the military, with an exemption for his age. That is a whole different story.

We go to Arlington and visit some of his friends and some of my relatives. Vietnam, Bosnia, Saudi Arabia, Germany, 9/11, Iraq and Afghanistan. We have friends at Arlington from each of these wars (or more politically correct- conflicts). We stand for the flag and put our hands over our hearts and remember that Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors and Marines are people who are trying to do their duty to serve a country and a people whom they love and honor. They are not political. They do it for us.