Friday, May 29, 2009


HAPPY BIRTHDAY SIS!!!! How's it feel to be old?

More thunderstorms came our way yesterday. I think we got approximately another 15 gallons of water from them. Possibly more. It's all very, very welcome. Of course, Poor Pan was ready to pack his bags and head for his Auntie's house. She doesn't get as many thunderstorms. Hummm.. I'll have to discuss with him which could be worse for his poor palsied nerves.. Thunderstorms or 4 children (3 of which are 6 and under).

Today is a bit of a lazy day. We need to drive down to town to mail off some money orders, and then possibly over to visit some friends and check on the chicks. Other than that, we aren't going far. We are slated to get more thunderstorms today and I don't like leaving the pooches for long in that. Thor takes it pretty stolidly, although... It does take a LOT to make him perturbed. Freya likes to be in the same room with you, but poor pan just can't hold himself together during storms. Nubis wants to go out and play in them, it's like he thinks it's just someone banging on the side of HIS trailer.

I must admit, moving here was a mess. My sister was going to take the dogs at that time if we could find a place to rent there in Eugene. We were laughing about it the other day. That would have made her kids do back flips as they all like dogs to various degrees. But moving here and being able to keep the dogs with us I think did good things for hubby and his various mental difficulties. I know it did good things for me. I was very depressed at the thought of the dogs having to go away. Moving here enabled me to do that, but it has made other things pretty hard. such as the power and water situation.

The sandhill cranes all have chicks with them now as we drive by and see them in the pastures. They are kind of cute in that so ugly you just have to love them way. We saw two white swans on the river day before yesterday. Didn't see any baby swans though, just the two adults. The geese and more that fly around home all have babies somewhere, as do the eagles and the buzzards and everything else. It's such a great time of year.

our neighbors last year lost almost all of their birds to a cougar. So far this year they haven't been able to replenish them. But they still have chickens, ducks and a turkey. They also have bunnies. I found out yesterday that one of their bunnies had been killed last week by another neighbors dogs. It's pretty sad about that. Although, like a good neighbor, he's going to make it right. I admit I have 4 dogs, and no fence at all around my property, but my dogs are very contained. they don't go outside unless we are with them and when they are outside they are either on the leash (Freya) or voice contained. Freya has run off a few times, and it really bothers me when she does. I don't want her to be the one that is out there causing problems. I don't need that hassle and cost, and neither does she, she being Freya.

I am in love with my new printer. We are calling it Hugh, like Hugh the Borg that the federation freed from the collective then let him go back to his hive. It fits... After all it's is a Hewlett Packard printer. I have scanned in a book of coloring pages for mythical creatures, and a packet of paper piecing patterns a friend had sent to me in 2001 and that I have been packing around every since then. I am getting ready today to scan in a fairy/wizard coloring book and 2 Egyptian coloring books. I use all these as patterns for paper piecing for scrapbooks and cards as well as I paint them various places and for various reasons. lol. I figure though, that instead of taking up space on my book shelf, they can take up a cd or two. Infinitely more space there. Hubby has about 300 - 400 Dragon magazines in storage, and when we get them here we are going to scan those too. And I have almost all the Mother Earth News magazines, so I'll do those too. It'll take up so much less room.

Breakfast this morning was bagels and cream cheese, still thinking about dinner. I really want to do pizza sometime soon, I bought all the makings for sausage pizza while we were in town so I think I may try that today or tomorrow. :D

ok, off to find more trouble and do some scanning.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sometimes there is just too much going on....

Whoot! I have a printer. Not only a printer, but a HP C4400 series photo printer/scanner. I wanted something that could do photocopies since to have photo copies made I have to go a minimum of 15 miles one way... And that is to the forestry service office, and they are allowed only so many copies a month for the public. Whew. With the possibility of not even being able to make copies unless I went into the big city an hour and a half away, I needed to be able to make the copies here at home. Especially with all the photocopies that go into hubby and his SSD application. So I bit the bullet and paid $99.00 for this nifty little printer. It has a lot of bonuses for me as I can scan things into searchable pdf's (pretty easily actually) as well as use it to very, very quickly and easily download my camera to the laptop. It does basic printing too.. But who wants a printer that can do that when it can do everything else besides tap dance? I mean, everything else just kind of makes the printing kind of boring. lol.

I closed my bank account with Chase yesterday. Here's the thing. I have been with Washington Mutual for 7 years. I do not have a checking account (I can't do math to save my life and have had WAY to many problems with them) and no debit card with this savings account I have had. We went in yesterday to cash hubby's disability check and get told that they have to hold our check for 24 hours before they can cash it. What??? how dumb is that? It's an hour and a half to get to the bank, an hour and a half home, and so on and so forth. I can't drive in, deposit the check, drive home... Blah, blah, blah. there aren't too many businesses out here locally that deal in anything besides cash as it's hard to prove a personal check isn't going to bounce when they themselves also have to drive in an hour and a half to the nearest bank to cash the checks. So, we ended up going to a nearby check cashing place, paid them an exporbidant amount from the check we received and they cashed our check without batting an eye. It sucked. We then went back and asked for the bank to reimburse us for the check cashing fee they caused us to be charged (We didn't ask anything for inconvienence, although I'm tempted). They of course said no. hubby has now decided that he is going to take the bank manager to small claims court for the amount the bank caused us to be charged and I am going to talk with him and tack on another $100.00 for inconvienence if he decides to go through with the suit. If we sue the bank manager, maybe she'll see what kind of a crooked bank she's working for. by going through small claims court, then she can't bring in the banks lawyers. We'll have to see how that pans out. Perhaps hubby will decide it's not worth it. in the mean time we are researching other places/ways to cash our disability checks. Why? Because I was fed up and decided to close my account with them and they could kiss my rump as we left. Hubby is writing up an article for the consumerist, so watch for it there. And just in case you are wondering, this check was drawn on a JP Morgan Chase bank. So it's not like they had to verifiy the money from another bank.

And on to animals. Nubis earned his kibble yesterday! Those with squeamish tummy's please skip to the next paragraph! lol. We have our old camp stove in the store room since we have a nice big stove in the kitchen now that I cook on. And Freya and Nubis were going nuts in there pawing at the stove yesterday before we left for town. so, Hubby opened the stove, only to see that some rodent type varmit was in there trying to make a nest. UGH! I can't stand that. We are surrounded by about 5000 acres of forested lands, hay fields, cattle fields and such so rodents are to be expected. I don't mind them... OUTSIDE. They come inside and they deserve whatever they get. Anyway, as hubby opened the stove, a large mouse/small rat went scampering behind the boxes. This caused Nubis and Freya to become rabid, slobbering, drooling messes. want to personally know what it looked like? hang a dripping steak in a room for three days, don't feed your dog for three days, then let them in the room with the steak hung just out of reach... Yup, now you are close to what it was like, because now this steak had just run behind some boxes they couldn't reach behind. Anywho... hubby and I went to work moving boxes. FINALLY, after every single box in the storeroom was moved so the dogs could get behind it except one, the steak.. err... mouse, ran out and Nubis, being the faster, and closer to where the mouse had ran out, snapped it up and killed it. Whoot! I made him take it out and spit it on the ground, and leave it. Ugh! It was huge. at least 4 inches from nose to bottom, and he had eviserated the mousie. At least it died quick. But what was more, it was a pregnant female, with 5 little pinkie meeses inside, that were about a week from birth. yuck. I said a quick prayer for their poor departed souls, and asked them to please let any of their living cousins know to stay out of the trailer and they would live longer.

Today we spent running over to one of the local small towns, filling all our propane tanks (except the big 80 pounder, it's been so warm we probably won't need it for another few months.) and our gas cans, and our water jugs and our bellies. We stopped at our favorite local cafe and had some yummy, yummy food. It'll be one of the 3 or so times this month we will actually eat out. Stopped on the way back at a friends house. And I bought a lilac (white) plant, orange mint plant, peppermint plant, and a "fuzzy" mint plant all for only $10.00. Since our friend has been here for about 7 years and really knows the area, she was also able to tell me where to go to get some elderberry trees/bushes! That has me really, really excited. I want these here on the property so bad. And knowing where they grow naturally, I'll be able to go and pick some when they become ripe too. That's also very exciting, as I'll make up a bunch of jams and jellies for my neighbors for Christmas and such. That leaves me looking for honeyberry plants, I think I'll have to have those shipped in (Anyone have any starts of honeyberry bushes? I'd be happy to send you my address) and some rosa rugosa, AKA Wild Rose (I'll take starts of those too! lol.)

I'll be making bread again sometime in the next few days. I picked up some bagels, english muffins, and some bread in town, but not a lot. I want to try making most of these myself. Maybe not the bagels, but they were on clearance so they were a treat. We just got paid yesterday, and after paying all the bills (WHOOT!) and this round of gas, propane and the like, we have less than what I would like to have (hubby doesn't want me to put the real amount, needless to say, it's small) to last us until the end of the month for more gas, laundry, propane, food, and all that. I'll do what I can to make it stretch though. The gas and propane will be the most expensive part of the whole equation. I still have to pick up some rabbit feed for when the bunnies get here (should be getting the the middle of this month) and some chick feed as the chicks are supposed to get here this week or next as well. Ugh! All the "little" things.

OK, this post is very, very long, so I'll go for now.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Backhome Cavepainting

Today was a so-so day. We were expecting hubby's disability check, but it didn't come, so that was a bit of a downer. But, on the way back from the post office we got a gift so that made it better.

I waved at a gentleman who was mending fences, and of course, since he was mending fence he didn't see me. Just beyond him I saw two tan figures running. From the distance we were at I couldn't tell what they were, but from the color I thought they were llamas or alpacas. As we got closer I was able to tell they were antelope! Pronghorn Antelope! They were fantastic, and running through the field at a good clip. We tried to get pictures, but they were too fast and we were too slow. I think I got pictures of their rumps as they ran away though. lol. This was the first time I had ever seen antelope in real life in the wild.

Tomorrow is my hearing with the unemployment office regarding my claim. I hope it goes well, but I won't know until after the hearing and they will let me know via letter. I sent them a fax today that said that I wasn't disputing the fact that I QUIT my job. I said I quit when I made the claim. Somehow they entered it that I was laid off. I was disputing the REASON for my quitting. I quit to take care of my husband. I didn't quit to sit on my butt and eat bon-bons... although that thought is very tempting. Dove makes some of the best ice cream bon-bons.... Anyway, I'll write again in a day or so and let you all know how it goes.

I am painting this wonderful Greek picture on my wall. It's small, only about 3 inches tall by about 4 inches wide, and has two stylized bird/dog things and a man in it. I was trying to decide if I wanted to do the man flesh toned with a white beard and hair (he has horns on his head by the way) or if I wanted to paint him as more of a green man. But I thought if I painted him as a green man, he may get lost against the green of the wall. Any ideas folks? I'm going to do the picture up in rich blues, greens, reds and whites and I'm really looking forward to getting it painted over the next few days.

Dinner tonight was kind of quick, easy, and yummy. I chopped up 4 pre-cooked sausage patties, drained a can of corn and put that and the sausage in a loaf pan and then dumped some cream of corn/potaot/vegetable soup over it. I sprinkled it with some salt and a lot of pepper, then I topped it with prepared fake mashed potatoes. I popped it in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes and tada! That was dinner. It was sooo yummy and so simple. All of the ingredients were free to me, so the meal didn't cost me anything financial wise. time wise it took all of about 5 minutes to put together so it was cheap there too. Breakfast this morning was pancakes, and I realized, I need to make some more syrup, and some more pancake mix.

For those of you on my always_ready list over at yahoo groups, I posted a great article today from Backhome magazine on how to make a bunch of spice/herb blends. I thought about posting it here too... but it's pretty long. It's from the Nov/Dec 2008 issue, and it's titled "Traditional Blends of Herb and Spice" and it's written by Lynn Smythe. If you don't sub to this magazine, I highly recommend it. Backhome has been around for a while, and isn't quite as "yuppy" as Mother Earth News has become. you can subscribe for only $21.97 and you can subscribe at or call 800-992-2546 or write BackHome, PO Box 70, Hendersonville, NC 28793. No, I don't work for them, no I get nothing from this. I just like the magazine. Which reminds me... I have to reup my subscription too! I just got my last issue. lol.

ok, it's 9:29pm, and I have to be up early tomorrow to put everything together to take to town. I hope to get this all posted for you.

Have a great week!


Monday, May 25, 2009

Unemployed Hollandaise

Good morning everyone!

It's a nice and beautiful day today here at Treehaven... The birds are singing, the whistle dogs are peeping, and then lizards are rushing to and fro. The dogs are up and playing even though they let us sleep in until 6:30am this morning.

Yesterday I tried my hand at "English Muffin Loaf". I was going to make english muffins, but I realized that the largest cutter I have is only about 2.5 inches across. not big enough for muffins really. So I turned them into loaves and just cut them with a knife to eat. They were supposed to raise about 35 to 40 minutes or until double in size. I'll tell you this.. They doubled in size inside of 15 minutes. lol. so I baked them up and they were cooked in only 20 minutes too instead of 30 - 35 minutes. It was AMAZING! Hubby like them so I have decided I'll do them again. I "kind of" liked them. I'm not sure what I liked or didn't like about them. But I am more than willing to give them a second chance. lol.

I made hollandaise sauce "sos" for dinner. I found this recipe in BackHome Magazine that you put 3 egg yolks in a bowl, add some lemon juice and some salt, melt a stick of butter in a pan until boiling, then drizzle the butter in the egg while mixing. It makes hollandaise. I thought that would be a great way to do it since I don't have a double boiler, nor do I have pans that would fit together right now to make one. So I made it up. then I took a jar of chip beef out of food storage (have to get more of those when we go shopping, only have 1 jar left!) and chopped it up into 1 inch cubes, and I drained a can of peas. I put both the beef and the peas into the hollandaise and served it over our english muffin bread slices. Hubby liked it, as a matter of fact he had seconds of the hollandaise mix. I was unsure about doing the hollandaise this way due to the yolk spending no time over heat.. but the eggs we buy are farm raised from healthy chickens so I am thinking it is a-ok. and the boiling butter you add to them has to impart some cooking to the eggs.

Today is dishes, and packing up the truck to go into the big city this week. hubbys disability check should be here tomorrow. Whew. That means I'll be able to pay some bills. Whoot! It's not fancy living, but it meets most of our needs.

My unemployment hearing is set for Wednesday the 27th at 3:00 pm. It's a phone hearing where I simply have to call a # and meet with a judge and possibly my employer. The person I spoke with at the unemployment office didn't know for sure if my employer was going to be there or not. I think they (the unemployment office) is of the thought that this hearing is because they had me as laid off and I lied. I know they are wrong. lol. I never told them I was laid off, I told them I quit so I could move and take care of my husband. But whoever entered my claim, entered it wrong and now I have to jump through their hoops to get my unemployment. . What a mess this is. All because someone entered the wrong stupid code. I wish I had a friend on the inside that could help me out with this. check this out, they asked if I was going to have a lawyer there or not! It's not like it's a whole lot of money to them. only $205.00 per week is what I am entitled to. But they fight like it's the whole $475.00 per week max or a million dollars. lol. Even considering that it would include back pay, what they owe me would be less than $1,300.00 total so far. Oh well, I'll play their game and see if I win or loose. At this point, the cards are stacked against me. I guess we have the hearing, then the judge will send both myself and my ex-employer a verdict after the hearing. I don't know how long that will take, but the one think I can say that is positive about the Unemployment Department here in Oregon is the fact that they are usually prompt.

ok, I need to go and make something for breakfast, my tums rumbling like the thunder we had Saturday night. lol. Have a great day!


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Long Weekend

Yesterday we hit the library in town. we were there for only about an hour, but I was able to upload/download email. It's odd how email has replaced letter writing in so many ways. I really enjoy writing letters, but I also enjoy writing email.

I don't have a lot going on today, it's Sunday of a three day weekend. Tomorrow is a Federal holiday so banks and post offices will be closed. I may make some bread, and see whatever else comes up. :)

It's beautiful weather right now, highs in the 70's and lows in the 40's. Last evening though we had a surprise visit from weather. Right up until about 4pm it was bright and sunny and pretty warm, then by 4:30om it became very cloudy and we had rain, thunder, and lightening. The thunder was so loud it rumbled the floor in the mobile. Pan hid under the table, and Nubis kept running to the window to look out when the lightening would flash. It didn't last more than 2 hours, and we got about 3 inches of water in our totes during this time.

Like I said, not a whole lot going on. lol. Maybe I'll have more tomorrrow.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cabbage patch Dinners

Was a baking fool last night!

Baked dinner. made 3 pie crusts, and made a pot pie for dinner. Filled it with a can of beef and tomato sauce, peas, carrots, and sliced canned taters. Baked it for about 40 to 45 minutes in a 350 to 375 F oven.

Then, I baked a pie for hubby. Chocolate Chess pie. I am not a fan of it, but he loves it so I made it for him. Poor man is out of M&M's until payday. Anyway, he's been nannying on that since I made it last night.

Dinner tonight was pretty good, and very simple!

in a 8 inch round cake pan I put...

A little olive oil
1 lb of chopped thawed carrots (Frozen of course)
1/2 a head of chopped cabbage
3 sausage patties, cut into 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. maple syrup

covered it with tin foil and cooked at 350 F until the cabbage was soft. (the sausage patties were pre-cooked).

It was pretty good. hubby liked it and I loved it. I'll have to do this one again some time...

Yesterday was commodities day! that gave me the cabbage. I received a food box and that had the sausage and the carrots in it. So this dinner cost me less than .25 cents in cash outlay and fed the two of us plus leftovers for breakfast tomorrow.

Today was a quiet day. Got up this morning and did a lot of dishes, (whew!), swept my living room, and then went for a walk this afternoon with hubby and the two youngest dogs.

Sure beat making pie crusts though.

Tomorrow will be laundry day! I need to do some laundry or we will end up walking around nekket! Don't want any unseemly bits hanging out, so I'll do up some laundry and hang it out on the line tomorrow. We have the water for it now at least!

And, a horrible, horrible thing happened... I drank the last pepsi I have until payday... 2 weeks from now. and I drank it yesterday... So I am CAFFINELESS! WITHOUT CAFFINE! ZIP, NADA, NONE, ZILCH!!! Ok, well, I still have tea. lol. Poor hubby is about to run screaming into the hills. But so far my head hasn't spun around and I am not belching green barf and reciting latin. Yet. ROFL! It's a good dry run for teotwawki I guess. hubby says he's not ready to go there yet and will get me some caffine even if he has to kidnap someone for ransom.

Tomorrow, I think I will also make some German Chocolate cake. I don't know what frosting I have held back for cakes, I may just have to wing it with some powdered sugar, butter and milk. I know that traditionally german chocolate has either cream cheese frosting or this coconut frosting stuff on it. But I don't have cream cheese or coconut, so I'll see what I can do. Maybe I'll just melt some chocolate or butterscotch chips on it, that could be good I think. And I definitely don't have a shortage of chocolate chips! I have simply bags and bags of them.

ok, It's late, so I think I'll hit the bed.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"do"ing heat

Dinner last night was horribly unusual. Pinnapple upside down cake. Hey, it has MOST of the food groups in it at least. Dairy (egg and butter), grains (flour), Fruit (pineapple).. There's even alcohol in the Vanilla extract for those of us who enjoy an after dinner nip.

Tonight will be fudge I think. No, not for dinner, but for dessert. I don't have a double boiler, but I think I have two pans that will fit together acceptably to do the chore. I have a lot of chocolate chips, butter, powdered sugar, and eggs so I definitely have all that's needed.

Today we are running back to the library so hubby can reset his ipod. It started doing odd things then kind of died. I guess we'll have to look into getting him a new one, it just hasn't been exactly the same after the dunking in the laundry water that it took about 3 - 4 months ago. And he uses it ALL the time, so it's not like he can be without it. It's enough that we are out here without internet of our own for my poor misplaced geek of a hubby.

OH! Speaking of hubby, it has been 9 days since he tried to amputate his finger on Freya's leash. We have cleaned it and changed the bandaging every day and it is looking really well. Really makes you think about what it would have been like 200 years ago with no neosporin. Although I guess 200 years ago I could have used honey (anti-bacterial / anti-viral) and cattail pollen (clots blood) on it and soaked it in salt water (over all cleaning and drying and bruise healer) and it would have been good to go too. Kind of makes me feel good. If we lived in the city he would have probably needed a stitch or two in it, but we handled it very well.

The last few days have been downright hot. It made me come to the realization that hair down past my hips is HOT! So yesterday I cut it. It is still considered long, and hits not quite mid-point on my back, but I whacked off about 12 inches overall. :D I have the hair on my counter in the bathroom to prove it. lol. I'll tie it up and add it to a box. Someday I may need a wig for some reason and if I ever do then I have the hair this way to make one of my own hair. kind of when you bank your own blood for surgery. I'll have picks taken and they'll be our picasa account. And, this length is good, because when winter rolls around it'll be long enough again to help keep my neck and head warm.

gotta get dressed so we can get ready to go!


Monday, May 18, 2009

Watered / Cheese

WATER! We have WATER! yesterday, totally out of the blue one of our neighbors called, he was heading out to go and fill his big (1500 gallons) water tank on his truck. And, would we like it if he stopped by and filled our tanks? Whoot! Our two 325 gallon water tanks are now mostly full. There is over 300 gallons in each. With prudent refilling from what we haul from the gas station, this will last us all summer, even with laundry, showers, dishes, watering a few growing things and a few critters. It's an unexpected bounty and one we are very grateful for.

Other than that we didn't do a whole lot. I didn't sleep well Saturday night, and so not a whole lot was being felt like being done. the dishes told me to take the day off and so did the sweeping, noodle making and bread baking. I did, however, make up a batch of BLM (Bisquick like mix) and made some corn tortillas, and some hummus and that was lunch yesterday.

I was going to make pancakes for breakfast this morning, BUT, hubby was up almost all night last night and so was I (again!). This means he's not eating at the moment, and I reheated the spaghetti sauce from dinner last evening and had it over bread for breakfast. Maybe I'll do pancakes for lunch instead.

Today, I am going to make noodles. Spaghetti noodles will be the order of the day. It's 8 cups of flour and 12 eggs and you make them up and dry air dry them. Then you can keep them for up to 3 months or so in your cabinet. I am thinking this would be MUCH cheaper than buying them as we pay $1.50 a dozen for our eggs, and the flour came from the commodities I receive from the local Tribe. It's good flour, and doesn't cost us anything other than my being Native American.

Since it is supposed to be close to 90 again today, I sit here all dressed up. lol. I have on my jeans, but I rolled the legs up to my knees so they look like clam digger pants, and my swimsuit top. I wore shorts yesterday, but with the loose legs on the shorts, I got skeeter bit in places I don't want bit again. Since I am allergic to skeeters, I get huge swellings and itch like MAD from the bites. The straps on the swimsuit top will allow me to get some sun when I go outside later today. Whoot. I need some more color.

other than that, there isn't a lot of plans for the day. Our new neighbor called last night to see if we needed anything from the local big city as he's going in today, but since we are basically broke until our next check comes in we expressed our thanks, and said maybe next time. now that we are getting paid only once a month instead of weekly, I have been working on a shopping list for when we DO go in. I'll tell you, it's double column, and fills a full notebook sheet, as well as has stuff written sideways in the margins. There is so much to get to restock the food larder when you go a full month.

Ok. I am going to read for a bit. Looking into making our own cheese... But I don't have rennet. lol. will have to try some with just vinegar. Here is a few of the recipes I found to try.

Cookin' with Powdered Milk
By: Peggy Layton

Zesty Parmesan Cheese

1 1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/2 cup powdered milk
4 1/2 TBSP. lemon juice

Blend together. Cook over low heat until milk boils. The curds will be small. Pour into a cheese cloth strainer. Rinse and pour out all excess water. Put curds in a bowl and stir to break up. Spread on a cookie sheet and dry for 2 hours at 150 F in the oven. Salt and blend in blender to make a powder. Put in a shaker

Home Cheese Making
By: Ricki Carroll

Queso Blanco

Queso Blanco which is spanish for "white cheese", is a Latin American Specialty with many variations. It is a firm cheese, with a bland mildly sweet flavor. It is easy to make and an excellent choice if you are in a hurry or if the weather is very hot, a condition that causes problems in the production of many cheeses.

This cheese is excellent for cooking, because it has the unique property of not melting, even when deep-fried. It is often diced into 1/2 inch cubes and added to stir-fries, soups or sauces (such as spaghetti) or used in chinese cooking as a substitue for bean curd. It browns nicely and takes on the flavor of the food and spices in a recipe.

1 gallon whole milk
1/4 cup vinegar (I use apple cider vinegar)

in a large pot, directly heat the milk to between 185 and 190 F, stirring often to prevent scorching.

Slowly add the vinegar, a little at a time, until the curds separate from the whey. Usually 1/4 cup of vinegar will precipitate 1 gallon of milk. you may increase the temperature to 200 F in order to use less vinegar and avoid an acidic or sour taste in your cheese. (Do not boil, as boiling will impart a "cooked" flavor.)

Ladle the curds into a colander lined with butter muslin. tie the corners of hte muslin into a knot and hang the bag to drain for several hours, or until the cheese has reached the desired consistency.

Remove the cheese from the muslin. Store ina covered bowl in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

yield: 1 1/2 to 2 pounds

I'll try one of these sometime in the next few weeks and then let everyone know how it goes.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

little finds

Made it to the library to upload and download email. But it wasn't a very good connection and while it was the 16th yesterday, I was only able to download email through the 13th. Oh well, I'll try again tomorrow and see if I can get the rest. As you can all tell, I was able to upload the blogs. And a huge surprise that was too.

While we were in town I stopped at the local second hand store. And for a total of $4.00 I found the following: 3 blue goblet glasses (we had no glasses at all for juice or ice tea), 3 blue plastic bowls, and 2 lovely cast iron utensils a dipper for soups and such and a strainer spoon. Not a bad haul if I do say so myself. She also had some very pretty copper pans hanging on her wall, but I didn't have the cash to get them. The cast iron utensils were a bit of a splurge, but since she asked so little for them, I had to get them.

We then came home and I moved all my dirty clothes out of the living room floor and moved them into the bedroom. I slept horribly last night, but I am hoping to recover enough to at least do some laundry today. I need to wash some socks and such so we don't run out of them. If not, then tomorrow. Blah.

It was definitely over 80 yesterday and it lasted well enough into the night that we didn't have the heat on until sometime this morning when hubby got cold. And it's supposed to be even warmer today than yesterday! He's estatic... I'm ready to cry. lol. Thankfully, it doesn't last long. :)

People around here are starting on their gardens. So this week we will be too. Will work on growing one or two things this year and see how it goes. I may have to shoot me some critters, but if that is all that I have to do to make things grow, I'll jump for joy. Our neighbor told me that it doesn't matter what you grow that the ground squirrels and prairie dogs will try to eat it. So we'll see about that. May have to turn the dogs loose on them. hehe.

Got together this morning and moved some short lengths of log to the front yard. I want to use them to form some raised beds for herbs. I have 6 of them, so I'll probably either do one square and wait for hubby to cut me a few more, or maybe I'll do 2 triangles and put one with something and the other with something. I know I want to get some stuff in this week and next. If I can get them down and some stuff into it, then I'll be that much ahead. lol. Although, I do worry about this soil. We have a lot of pine needles down and they are very acidic. But then, some plants like the acidic soil, so I'll do some research and see which of the seeds I have that like it. I know blueberries do, and I am going to pick up some plants the first part of June.

ok, I am off to find something to get into.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Water and Bored Now.

The plan for today is to go into the local small town and hit the internet. Need to upload/download email for myself, and the hubby needs some new podcasts. things around here are kind of quiet. The weather is supposed to be in the mid 80's today, and upper 80's by tomorrow. That's kind of exciting in that "please kill me before I roast" kind of way. I can't wait until I'm worth bazillions of dollars and have a summer home in the very North region of Alaska. Winter home can be here or maybe in Vegas where Hubby would like it to be. But summer would have to be spent in Northern Alaska. It can't be too warm there right? I guess if everything goes as it usually does, then sometime in July we will have a few rain/thunder/lightening storms and will get some water there, other than that the water thing is on us to haul it in.

We went up and spoke with our new neighbor yesterday. He has big plans for his place and they are impressive. I guess he came to the big wilderness for the same reason most other people have. To get away from everyone else. lol. he plans on buying up all the property around him so that he doesn't have to worry about neighbors. And that's ok by me. The more that we own and no one else can buy, the fewer people there will be who want to come out and spoil our unspoiled home. He has a wonderful idea for a well/cistern/fishpond that we were all discussing. What you do is put in the fish pond and cistern, then you put in a well. You put your well up on a solar system so that it constantly has water being pumped from it. About a 1 gallon per minute pump rate. It pumps into the cistern so your house and outbuildings can use that water and then the overflow from that goes into your pond. as the pond gets full, then your overflow goes into the natural gully we have, and flows on down to your neighbors to use. It's a green system in that even though you are putting up a small dam to keep your fish in, you are also helping to increase the water flow downstream from you. I like this idea, and Hubby and I may have to look into something like this. It helps the critters too in that it gives them all a place to go to get water to drink and it helps to make the land greener so that you can cut down on the forest fires.

Biscuits and gravy were the breakfast of the day. Used the last of the biscuit mix I received from my commodities to make the biscuits. I kept the bag, I want to find out where I can get the mix to put into my regular food storage/rotation. It was the best commercial mix I have ever had. Beat even my homemade mix, which is really saying something there. lol. Gravy was out of a jar. Heinz sausage gravy. It could have used more sausage, but who am I to quibble about that since I don't have to keep sausage frozen to still have gravy this way.

We did some pick up around the property yesterday. Cleaned up litter and some trash, took apart the old tent. I kept the netting from the screen porch on the tent, and most of the zippers. These items were still good even if the nylon on the rest of the tent was rotted. We kept the unbent poles too, never know when a 3 foot section of metal rod will come in handy. It's one of the things you do when you live out here, you see what you can use things for and save them just in case. It's the same reason I save all the jars and lids we empty as well. You just never know what will be needed or when.

Not a whole lot to report other than this. So I am off to find something to do. Bored now.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Of Mice and Dogs

Ah... Every woman's dream, doing special things, and that's what this entry is all about!

Yesterday hubby took Freya and Nubis out for a stroll. They immediately yelled "Thanks dad!" and proceeded to run off. I went to the door because of hubby's frantic calls for Freya to come back only to find him crouched on the other side of the road holding a dog. Due to the fact that if something is 5 foot from my face I have to wear glasse or it all looks like Jabba the Hut, I couldn't see what it was, other than it was a dog. As I start walking down our drive, I see more of it and by the time I hit about 15 feet from it I gasped, hope and fear filling my entire personage. It wasn't JUST a dog. This lovely animal was a SHIBA INU! Wonders of wonders. For those of you who don't know me, I have had an all encompassing NEED to have a Shiba in my life for about 10 years. But, I have never lived close enough to a breeder to fullfill this fantasy of fur, so I have gone unfulfilled. I almost wept. Questions filled my mind. Is he owned? Was she ditched by an unloving person who obviously deserves to be encarserated in the 9th pit of hell? (you know the one, where people who talk in theaters and besmurch young virgins go...) Was he sick? Was it a she or a he? Did she wander off? Oh my. Upon close inspection we found out the animal in question was indeed a HE and that HE was an INTACT HE! Wow. He was also very, very old. Almost all of this little man's face was white in color while the rest of him was a very nice shade of fawn. I came back to the house, made a few phone calls and then carried back a pan of water and a can of dog food. The poor little man drank most of the water and gulped down the food. He was tired, and a little weak acting, so I figured that he needed both. Not reaching anyone who knew who he belonged to, hubby and I decided to put him in the cabin (to isolate him from the other dogs in case he was sick. By the way, by this time Freya and Nubis were back in the house, having not run any further than to this little wanderer they found.) and to go down to the local meeting places and see if they knew who he belonged to. At that moment a neighbor came down the road and stopped when they saw us. They had news I loved to hear, yet didn't want to hear at the same time. The Shiba belonged to a new neighbor! Whoot! So we went back, put the pup in the car and left on a journey to return him. Turns out the new neighbor has a lot of dogs. And I do mean a lot, but what was even better, is that he not only owns our wandering Shiba (Named: Joey.) but his brother and several others, I mentioned my longing for a shiba and how I almost kept him, and he asked me if I wanted a boy or a girl. I mentioned a Girl and I have one promised to me from his next litter! Whoot! (Don't tell my beloved mother in law, she may skin me if I get another dog. Although, my most excellent sister in law would be excited for me as I could breed and sell puppies, thus earning a secondary income for us and a rewarding feeling of purpetuating this AMAZING breed!) I about held my breath over it, and I can hardly sit still to see what the rest of his Shiba's look like.

While I am on the subject of old man doggies.. I have to tell you about a new trick we use with our wonderful Thor. Thor is OLD, 12 years old in human years actually. Which wouldn't be a bad thing if he were a pomeranian. But he's not. He's a 120 lb., Shar-pei, chow, lab mix. Because of his size, and his arthritis and his overall health we don't expect to get more than a year or two more with him on this Earthly Coil without his leaving over the rainbow bridge. Well, his appetite isn't what it used to be, and he's started to snub his kibble. Don't mistake me, we feed good kibble, Nutra Nuggets, Lamb and Rice $21.95 a 40 lb bag and our vet approved it to use as a substitute for IAMS. So, I concocted a recipe that I wanted to share with you all so that if you have pups with the same problem, maybe it would help. Take 1 jar of veal baby food, (Be sure there is no onion in it of course, I use BeechNut brand and it contains: Veal and Veal broth.) and 2 cups of broth, such as beef, chicken or even vegetable (I used a can of beef broth, which is 1 cup plus 7/8 of a cup). I put both jars of stuff into a jar, quart or pint or whatever they will fit in. SHAKE, shake it like a macarana and hope you got the lid on well. then I put 1/8 cup of this over Thor's food. Each of the other dogs get about a tablespoon, don't want them to feel left out. And viola, that was all it took to get Thor to start eating his kibble again.

Since this seems to be all about dogs more than doing special things specifically, I thought I would toss in here the new training regime we are using on Freya too. Starting yesterday afternoon we are doing the school of treats for her. She comes when called, she gets a treat, she sits when told, she gets a treat and so on and so forth. EVERYTIME she does something she is told, she gets a treat. Kind of like giving a kid an allowance for doing their chores. lol. So far in the 4 times we have taken her out since starting this new school theory, she hasn't even TRIED to run off. I guess she'll put on some weight, but we'll see. Maybe part of this new regime will include her and dad taking up jogging. :D It'll be a great bonding experience for them since she is HIS girl after all. hehe.

Off to coax Thor in, he's laying at the bottom of our front steps in the sun and when I called him in a few minutes ago he looked at me like I had grown a second head. hehe. The ground is still at about 28 degrees though, and I don't want him to get all stiff and sore from the cold on his arthritis.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Critter Decisions

Yesterday we went into the local small town and filled our propane and our gas cans. It's not cheap, but this should last us at least another week or more. While we were there we hit the internet and I uploaded blogs, and did email. Whew...

We were going to buy a propane frigerator from our trader friend, but he didn't want to wait a month for the payment, so he sold it to someone else. That means we are going to have to stick with our little dorm room, electric fridge for a while. No blame to our trader friend, all things happen for a reason. We'll just use that money for something else. More food or something... Definitely need more food around here.. lol. I know we need another battery, a charge controller, a bigger inverter, and a few solar panels. Most of these are big ticket items. Of course we'll purchase one here and one there.. We can't afford to do it all at once. Sure wish I COULD do it all at once and just get it all here. Oh well.

Our trader friend has about 100 eggs incubating. Well, our plan was to get bunnies first. but that isn't happening apparently. lol. I spoke up for 5 - 6 chicks. Wheee! Now hubby HAS to get me a chicken cage built for sure. They are all mix breed eggs, so I don't know if they will lay white or brown or green or blue eggs, which is fine with me. And of course they will be straight run chicks, which means I'll probably end up with more than one rooster (roast chicken for dinner!). but what the heck! I'm pretty excited. I'll keep them in a box here next to the heater until their feathers come in, by then hubby and I'll have something built for them outdoors. Then I'll have eggs in 6 months to a year and by then it'll be Spring again and they can start hatching their own chicks!

This means the order of our critter getting has changed. Chickens first, then rabbits, then bees then goats. I really want the goats this next spring, so I am pretty excited about that.

There is a critter auction in the Big City near us and so we'll have to go and check that out some time. I guess it's NOT just critters, as they also auction off farm implements and other stuff. My friend went the other day, but she said that it was mostly just "junk" they were auctioning off. But I guess they did have a few animals, so, it may be worth it to look at least.

Tomorrow is one of hubby's appointments in the big city so we have to make the run in there. Lookie me, I'm excited! NOT! But I did find out from my friend yesterday that there is a huge patch of wild celery ready to pluck between us and the big city, so I am going to make hubby leave early tomorrow and we'll stop and I'll get some of that to dry. I tried some that my friend had dried and it tastes pretty good. Kind of like a celery with a little walnut flavor to it. She looked at me like I was crazy when I said that, so maybe it's just me tasting it that way. lol. But I liked it, which means that I have to get some. :D And free anything is a good thing.

As good ol' Tom Peterson used to say.. "And FREE is a VERY good price".

Hubby's finger is improving. Seems I didn't do anything to help it rot off. lol. It's a little discolored, but it's definitely bruising, and not gangrene, even though it looks ugly there is feeling in all the injured area, and there is blood flow to the entire finger.

Ok, I'm out of excitement, and am off to find something to do... By The Way... We watched a movie called "Crooked" last night by Lionsgate.. Don't bother, it's boring and slow, and has no plot to it. lol.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'll make my stand on Wounded... Finger?

Well, the bread didn't get made and dinner wasn't enchiladas, it was sloppy joes. the incedents of h1n1 are still climbing too. last time I saw them we were over 600 cases. But since I am going to the library today, maybe I'll have to look for an update.

We had our first major wound since moving to the wilderness.

Hubby and I had taken the dogs for a walk on Sunday the 10th, and Freya and Nubis were VERY interested in a fallen log. We have critters around here that look like miniature prairie dogs. For all I know they ARE prairie dogs. Anyway, they are scientifically named "whistle dogs". They make this little peepy whistle like a bird when they are calling and it drives the dogs bananas. Freya and Nubis had one of these little guys (girls?) cornered in this log. hubby drug Freya off and I went to investigate the log. What can I say, I'm a bit houndish myself. Hubby snapped the leash on Freya and at some point she lunged, not liking that Nubis and I were still investigating her log. I hear cuss word, and "get me home now" and look back and hubby is holding his hand. I thought he had gotten it tangled in leash and broke the little finger on his right hand. We still aren't sure what happened, but it involved the leash and his finger. Anyway, what happened is that a dime sized flap of skin and meat had been peeled open on his finger, and you could see bone and tendon through it. So I got him home and used some alcohol prep pads to clean up my hands and his finger, which was bleeding freely at this point. The flap of meat/skin was trying to close on his own, so I put some neosporin in it and over it, and bandaged it up. Because it's on a knuckle, I split his finger so he wouldn't bend it and break the healing of it open.

Opened the bandages yesterday and it's looking better, still bruised looking and obviously a bad wound, but no dead skin or necrotic looking spots. Kudo's to the hubbys nutant healing powers I think we may be ok on this one. I cleaned up some of the dried blood that was around the wound with an iodine wash and put some more neosporin on it and rebandaged it. I'll take another look at it this afternoon.

I beleive that this wound would techically have needed at least one stitch if not two if we lived closer to a hospital/clinic he probably would have recieved them too. But since we live over an hour and half from any of the closest hospitals, let alone clinics, I did what I could. :) Nurse Emily. I don't think I'm up for appendix removals or anything like that though.

The splint will probably stay on for another day or so just to be sure that the flesh is knitting nicely, then I'll remove it and just use bandages to keep it clean and safe.

He has complete feeling in the end of the finger, and in the flap of skin that was torn free. So I am pretty sure that it's still getting blood flow.

ugh. Yesterday we pretty much just hung out and did nothing, it was just one of those days.... OH! We had a visitor to our humble abode. Ellie, (the supervisor from the mobile home move) came to visit. Hubby had let Pan out and then a little later heard a scratch at the door. Beleiving it was Pan come home after doing his business he went and opened the door. Lo and behold it wasn't our little black dog, but a boisterous, happy-to-see-us, brown dog. I laughed so hard I thought I was going to piddle myself. Nubis of course was beside himself over it as he sees Ellie as "his girl". So they played and played for a long time, both inside and outside. She hung out for about an hour then headed back home. We'll probably see her in another week or so. Even if we don't go back up to her place in that timeframe, I am sure she'll be back to pay a call on her "beau" Nubis.

Dinner last night was pig in a poke, or pigs in a blanket whatever you like to call them.. I made biscuits, and rolled them very thin, then I cut up a can of treet into julienne like strips and some cheese too. then I wrapped the treet and cheese just like you would if I had been using hot dogs. Baked them at 350 degrees until done, served them with mustard and ketchup. Hubby liked them and I thought they were a fun change of pace. Something different from soup/stew/rice/stuffs... the recipe made so many that not only was there dinner last night, but breakfast this morning for both of us. I think I may make a vegetable pie tonight for dinner. We need some veggies as it's been a day or so since we had any. I don't think that the fried taters we had yesterday for breakfast counts as a veggie, and we had chicken and dumplings for lunch.

Oops, gotta take the dogs out! Hugs!g

Mother's Day

Last nights dinner was a do over. Homemade sloppy joes over bread (no mix from a can for the Joe sauce!) and we ate while we watched a classic movie called Robin & Marion with Sean Connery and Katherine Hepburn. It was depressing. I mean, we all know that Robin died, but in this version he died because Marion poisoned him. I mean, what love would it take to poison someone and not fight for their life? Oh well, sometimes the meaning and reason behind stories is unfathonable.

Yesterday We put up a few more shelves and I unpacked some more food. But I still have three totes full of food in the storeroom that needs to go on shelves so I can see what I have, as well as 4 more boxes of food in the cabin and many, many containers of dried food that we need to move in here. Not in a rush to move them into the store room, they are pretty safe in the cabin and it's all stuff that it won't hurt if it freezes.

We also caught up on most of the dishes. Kind of had to in order to be able to make dinner. lol.

Today is mother's day. So far I have sent a phone text to my sister wishing her happy mother's day, then I went and emptied the porta potty, and have a peach cobbler in the oven since the husband has made his wish known he wanted peach cobbler. Pshaw. No problem. Off I went to go and bake it for his breakfast. I think he wanted it yesterday, but I just didn't feel like baking.

After breakfast I have some more dishes to do. A never ending chore that. oh well, some day I'll be rich and famous and have someone else to do the dishes and dump the toilet. lol.

Then! I'll try my hand at some BREAD! I love the idea of homemade bread again. We used to make it all the time when we lived in Eugene. But we had a bread maker, so it was pretty easy. Just toss in all the ingredients, plug in the machine, set what crust color and type of bread you were making and let'er rip! I, of course nothing easy for me, would take it one step further and proof my yeast before doing the bread. It made the whole wheat bread rise so much nicer and plumper. I think todays recipe will be oatmeal wheat. It just sounded good and I want as much nutrition as possible in the food we eat.

Dinner tonight will either be beef or chicken enchiladas. That means I'll be making the tortillas and the sauce again. Hubby liked it though so it's worth it. I'll probably end up using the last of our cheese on them. But like I said, it's worth it. Maybe I'll break down and pick up some more cheese when we go into town, we'll be going in this Thursday. But we don't have a lot of cash to last us until the end of the month and we will need gas and propane a few more times between now and then.

Today, if I have time between all the cooking, I plan on dragging some pieces of log back to the homesite. This is some chunks that we had to cut to get the mobile into position. I think hubby can use them to remake the stairs, and a ramp up to the door of the house. That will be easier for Thor to get in and out of the house and be easier on his arthritis. AND if I still have time, I am going to make a curtain for one of the windows in the house. When we watch movies the sun comes in and makes it hard to see, so if I can get something over that window for movie time it will improve that situation 100%. :D Thankfully I have a curtain rod I can use (it came with the house and badly needs replacing), and I have a beautiful piece of fabric I can use for the curtain.

Hummm, maybe I'll leave the logs for another day, I have a lot I want to get done today. lol.

Hubby had a bad night last night with his tummy so having a curtain and watching a movie tonight I think may cheer him. lol. I'll be sure he goes to bed early tonight... To SLEEP! Get your minds out of the gutter.

Ugh, it's never ending around here. :D But I wouldn't change it for the world.

We got a letter on Friday from the Social Security office, Hubby's claim is being processed and we should hear back from them sometime in the next 160 days. I hate waiting, I'll admit I am one of the most impatient people I know, AND I know a lot of people.

Other than that things just continue as normal around here.

Off to take the cobbler out!

Busy Queen Bee of Treehaven

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dreams and stuffs

The rain in our storage tanks is really starting to add up. I think we are looking at about 120 gallons in the tanks total now. Whoot! That really is a great thing. For us this is about 3 weeks of water. This a real comfort to myself and to the hubby as you can well imagine.

Last nights dinner was very simple and yet very good. I chopped up some potatoes, and fried them in olive oil and butter with some season salt. I grated some cheese, and I warmed up a can of chili. Tada! chili-cheese fried taters. I know, simple, and corney, but it filled all the major food groups except vegetables and fruit.

Breakfast this morning will be baked pears, and dinner tonight will be ham casserole (Same as tuna casserole, with the tuna replaced with pork. hubby won't eat tuna unless it is 100% disguised, he doesn't like "fish" taste.) For lunch I think I may do roast beef sandwiches, but I haven't decided on that yet.

I found a new recipe to re-attempt the hummus, so I may toss some of that together tonight as a snack for movie watching. I'll make some tortillas at some point today, and we'll use those to dip into the hummus. yummm. That will give us some more veggies in the diet too. I'll put peas in the ham casserole for some veggies there. It isn't hard to get good meals every day. It is hard to get BALANCED food throughout the day. I try to make sure we get at least a few veggies, fruit, meat, starch, carbs, and a sweet each day but I know that I am still lacking in some things. At least hubby's craving for butter and other fats has let off. hehe.

Yesterday hubby took down shelves and such from the cabin and we moved them over here into the house, and put some up. I have this cute little blue shelf that is now by the living room door and has books we haven't read yet on it. The top shelf on it is devoted to books we need to take back for trade to the used bookstore. And we'll keep adding to that as time goes on before we go back again the end of this month. Hubby has another appointment on the 14th, but we'll be broke and can't afford to go to the bookstore then. So I'll save them up and we'll go the end of the month. That way we'll be able to afford a lot more books to see us through the month. We read about 12 - 20 books a month each. lol. And thats just with reading in the evening and first thing in the morning.

Reading in the morning will change once we get critters of course. Then it'll be: get up, get dressed, care for the critters, come in, make and eat breakfast, then read. lol. In the evening it'll be, care for the critters, fix and eat dinner, then read. I know we'll still get alot of reading done, it'll just be different schedule is all.

One of the reasons we picked the critters we picked is that they are low maintenance. I wanted critters that would give us the most return, for the least amount of work. Rabbits, chickens, goats, and bees, all fit that criteria. In the hot season water will have to be checked several times a day, but other than that they are almost maintenance free compared to a lot of other livestock. Although, I am flirting with the thought of a sheep or two, we don't have a lot of room. Only 1.91 acres. So sheep may be just too much on the land. I don't know. 2 - 3 goats, 6 or so rabbits, 6 or so chickens and as many bee hives as we can support.

Today's schedule will be putting up more shelves, showers, dishes, and, if I feel like it, some more laundry. Gotta keep up on that and since we don't have the cash to go out to do the laundry at a laundromat, I'll have to do it by hand here at the house. Not that I don't mind doing laundry by hand (secret: I love doing laundry by hand!) but it's very water intensive, and my water heater is only about 6 gallons. hehe.

When we go into town the end of this month, I'll be taking the big stuff with me. Jeans and heavy shirts and jackets and the like and doing them at the laundromat. It's hard to wring these items out by hand, so I will do them in town. But the lighter stuff I'll continue to do here at home.

hummmm... tummy is rumbling so I guess I better run off and do some food.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Prodigal Glove

It continues to rain here in the wild woods. We put another 20 gallons in the storage tanks yesterday from the 3 rain totes, and as of 6:40am this morning, will put ANOTHER 20 gallons in. At this rate, we'll be full before the end of the week. Whoot!

Plans are in the works to put gutters up on the new home, and that would do 2 things. #1. automate the entire process so that hubby isn't having to go do it. No more back breaking work hauling the container up a ladder to the top of the storage tank, and no more slopping for him. for the 20 gallons that was put into the storage container yesterday, 2 gallons went on the ground. #2. It would become a much more efficient system and yeild much more water. by putting gutters on the roof we would be able to collect ALL the water that falls on the roof, not just some that comes down in stratigic places. As well as eliminate waste water where it just falls off since we don't have a rain tote under it.

Where we got 20 gallons yesterday, our neighbor up the road probably got 3 or 4 times that since he has full gutters on his roof. It doesn't take much in the way of gutters to really make your collection go up. And while we have around 100 gallons of water in the storage tanks that can go pretty quickly. 5 gallons per person for a shower, 10 gallons for a bunch of laundry, 5 gallons just to do dishes each day. And these numbers are even before you start getting into things like drinking or cooking with it.

We really have to have a reliable source of water of some sort before we can put a garden in. Rabbits, chickens, and bees don't drink much in the way of water, but goats drink more along the lines like we do. A gallon per day per animal is what we would be allowing. Even more during hot weather... or even during very cold weather, since we are so dry up here almost all the time even when there is ice on the ground.

Ok, I have to tell you something VERY funny that happened. Hubby has this pair of gloves. they are leather work gloves that are insulated with this fake fleece stuff. He's had them for about 6 months and uses them every day, sometimes he wears them most of the day it just depends on what he's doing and how cold it is.

Last week we went to town to use the internet. this is a primative way to get internet though. one of the stores in town has wireless, and they purposefully leave it unlocked so that anyone can park outside and use it. This is a great idea for them since they have a deli, and so people can go in and get pop, or a corndog, burrito or whatever. Anyway, it was TOTALLY bright outside when we went (Tuesday of last week, today is a tuesday too) and so hubby opened the door and put his coat in the window so that it would block the sun. We didn't notice until we got home that this action caused one of his beloved gloves to go MIA. It's a 20 minute drive from where we live back to the store, so hubby wrote the glove off as gone and that we would buy another pair when we went back to the hardware store.

Fast forward to yesterday. We went to go and fill the gas cans again, and upload/download email. We drove back into the parking lot and what appears? But the poor drenched glove laying exactly where hubby had dropped it. Paint on the fingers and all. TADA! I am so totally surprised that no one had picked it up. But then, I guess that if you aren't Michael Jackson, one glove isn't going to do you much good. :D hubby is practically doing the snoopy dance over it. I am absolutly releived as well. Still means that when we go to the hardware store again, I'll pick up another pair... Then I can hide it away for just such an emergency happens again.

Ok, off to make breakfast!

Have a great, and at least partly sunny day, and may your parade not be rained out!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Watering Treehaven (may 3rd addendum)

Wow... Well, Spring has arrived here in the wilderness, and it has hit Treehaven and we are all pretty happy. Today so far we have gathered 30 gallons of water to put into our big tanks! lol. I think Hubby has lost about 5 gallons of it when he transfers it from our gathering totes to the big holding tanks, which are now called A and B. :D It was pretty impressive when one rain squall that came through dumped about 10 gallons in EACH of the 3 totes we are using as collection barrels in less than 30 minutes.

With rain in our forecast for the next week (at least) I am thinking we may just be able to fill up both A and B sometime before Friday. This is a good thing! With these tanks full that takes our major items of consideration only gas and propane!

Next time we go into town we'll add another large propane tank... Or perhaps a few small ones. I am completely torn as to what to get. The small 25 lb tanks only last about 24 hours on our propane fireplace/heater. the 40 lb tank lasts almost 4 days. And the very large 80 lb tank lasts almost 12 days. But we can't use the two larger tanks on our cook stoves. When we switch over to a woodstove, then it will make it so we won't have anything to use the large tanks on and I'll just have those to trade off. Maybe I can find someone who will take these two large tanks in trade for a woodstove? It's a quandry that I just don't know what to do. but I DO KNOW that until we get the woodstove in that I'll have to get more propane here at the homesite.

A woodstove will run us $200.00 to $2,500.00 depending on if I can find one used or new and it also depends on the size of the woodstove. We have 840 SF (we found out our trailer is 14 feet wide, by 60 feet long. This measurement does not account for inner walls, cupboards, toilets or whatever that would detract from the measurement of square footage) so we would need a medium sized woodstove. A large woodstove would work too, we would just need to be sure not to load it with too much fuel or we would have to open windows. lol. Beleive me, I have no problem with putting in a used woodstove, so long as there were nothing wrong with the stove.

Gas is also still needed for charging Tim (the battery), the laptops, and other items we have that are rechargeable. So I am still pondering ways to safely (or more safely at least) keep some more gas here on the homesite. Currently we have 2 - 5 gallon containers and 2 - 2 gallon containers. Whenever we go out we fill up whatever we have empty and the truck. If we need it that way we can always siphon it from the truck and that would give us about 10 - 12 gallons of storage there. 10 gallons of gas get us about 7 days.

Anyway. I started writing to tell you about the rain and the water storage and I am kind of digressing. lol. We were told that there were LOTS of thunderstorms in the spring up here, so far (knock on wood) we haven't had any. But I am sure that we'll see them. Spring still isn't all that springy... yet! lol. We'll have to see what the future brings.

Later everyone!


Dinner last night was a smash success. beef enchiladas was the meal du jour. It was pretty good too. homemade sauce, browned ground beef, homemade tortillas, and grated cheddar cheese. The tortillas were made from the bakery mix I received from commodities. 2 cups of bakery mix, and 1/2 cup very warm water, mix with your hand, then let sit 15 minutes. Roll out into 8 tortillas and then fry up on a griddle with no fat on it. Set aside. Brown the meat (I didn't season it this time but next time I'll at least put some salt and pepper on it) and then set that aside. The enchilada sauce was special though. I called my sister, I know she makes enchilada's a lot. Come to find out she uses La Victoria sauce, and just dumps it... Well, that didn't help me any as I don't have that. So she hit the internet and found this recipe.

2 cups chicken Broth
4 TBSP. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 HEAPING tsp.garlic powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 pinch ground cinnamon (less than 1/16 tsp.)
1/3 tsp. sugar
5 TBSP. cold water
5 TBSP. flour

Add all except flour and water to a saucepan and whisk over medium high heat while it comes to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for 3 minutes. Whisk a lot so it doesn't stick and all those spices incorporate.

Mix the flour and water in a seperate bowl so that it's all blended and not lumpy.

While whisking the original chili powder stuff, slowly add the flour and water mix and bring briefly back to a heavy simmer/boil so that it cooks the flour.

Well... I followed this recipe, except I used ONE CAN of chicken broth which is just about 1 cup and 7/8 of another cup of broth. so it was a little less broth than the recipe called for.

I didn't like it. It tasted of nothing but chili powder and it was gross. Blah. but I had put all this work and stuff into it so I didn't just want to toss it... Besides, hubby decided he REALLY wanted enchiladas for dinner. hummm... ok. out comes my brain (ugh... Like I wanted to think last night). I looked around my kitchen, which is still a bit of a shambles from moving it, but starting to shape up nicely, to see what I could find. Long story short I added 2 more ingredients. The only downfall is that I didn't measure them. I just dumped them in.

1/2 to 1 cup brown sugar
1/4 to 1/3 cup ketchup

I stirred these items into the other finished sauce and it came out FANTASTIC!

Using the tortillas, I rolled up a few tablespoons of the ground beef into each one, stacking them neatly in a baking dish. when I ran out of tortillas, I sprinkled the rest of the meat in a layer on top. So I ended up with 8 little rolls of meat stuffed tortilla...

Here's the layers in my baking dish.

about 2 tbsp. sauce
tortillas with meat inside
tortillas with meat inside
last of the meat

There was still about 1 cup of sauce left over, which was good, as hubby dumped extra sauce over his servings (YES! He ate seconds!) of enchiladas. There were enough for both of us to have seconds and they were fantastic! Hubby has asked that I add this sauce to our recipe book, so I am. And we'll definitely make it again... and maybe more than one time again. lol. It had just enough heat to clear your sinus' too. Awesome bonus!

Other than that I did some painting on the trim inside the house yesterday, while hubby recouped from Friday. He moved everything into the house and the cabin from the garage/tent as we were getting some rain Thursday night. As of today, I am very, very glad that he did this, and so is he. Today we are getting torrential downpours. Which we are absolutely taking advantage of. We have 18 gallon totes under three downspouts on the back of the house, and we are gathering this rain water up for use. We have already put 25 gallons in our big 325 gallon holding tanks (would have had more if we were going out regular, but we didn't go out in the middle of the night. lol!) and have filled 2 carboys in the house with water too. And the totes are still out there. In the hour that we have had them empty they have probably another 9 gallons in them total. Ack! lol. Very, very nice if you ask me. It means that we won't have to go anywhere for water for a bit.

Since we are going to have to move the big water holding tanks though, we can't put as much as we like in them. As soon as this spate of weather lets up we are going to go out, take apart the power station, move the water holding tanks to a spot where we can build a straw bale housing around them and put the power stuff in the cabin or under the house. If it doesn't go one place, it'll go another. hehe. THEN, once the water holding tanks are in place we'll fill them up. since we are to get rain for the next week, I am ABSOLUTELY sure we'll get them full before next Saturday! Whoot! No water worries. :D For a while at least.

Ok, off to find something to get into.

Soggy mistress of Treehaven Lake

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Day!

Blessed Beltane! Happy May Day!

Well, swine flu is continuing to make itself felt around the world. As of yesterday there were over 108 confirmed cases in different places. People are saying a lot of things about it. Some are saying it's no big deal, flu season comes every year and then it goes. Others are saying that it's going to turn into that epidemic/pandemic that the nervous nellies have all been waiting for years for. I don't know and I kind of am removed from it right now. I live out in the middle of the wilderness, so for it to hit me I would have come into contact with it when I go into the big city for supplies. Unfortunately, I still have to do that, so if this gets big who knows if I will be at risk or not.

For that matter, if it gets that big I don't think I'll be able to GET into town. The nearest large town to us has an military base in it. I would imagine that this means if the swine flu comes to town that these guys would do their best to shut down the town. This would mean no getting in and probably no getting out. So I would have to rely on the smaller towns to get what I can. And because THEY are supplied in the big town, then their stuff would be rationed or non-existant.

Hummm. Time to take stock of what I have and what I don't have. I have plenty of food, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, vitamins, medical equipment, clothes... I have 2 weeks worth of water, gas and propane. So I'll need to get more of these from the local smaller town soon. Don't want to run out of any of these before we have to. Especially the water. I need to get my big tanks filled up. then I'll have to run to town less times in a month I think. I am hoping tht 680 gallons total will last me a month. Even with showers, dishes, cleaning the floors occasionally, and some laundry. I guess We'll have to find out. of course this also means that we'll have to find someplace to put the water tanks where they won't freeze. Difficulties abound there. If I put one of them in the now empty cabin, then it would be a pain in the rump to fill. Not to mention that I question putting 2600 lbs on the flooring of the cabin. Last thing I want to do is break out the floor. This leaves me with building a shed like cover around them. I'll just have to see what I can do.

Gas and Propane is the next things. We can run for about 2 weeks on the propane tanks we have here for heat. and almost 3 months on the propane for the cookstove. Gas we can go for almost a week and half on. I just got the great idea last night of car tanks. Someone in the newspaper is selling a gas tank for a car. These tanks average about 12 - 15 gallons, so that would last me a bit longer too. Use a siphon to get it back out. not that I want to park a lot of derilect cars out here, but if I can get double duty out of one.. Like a dark colored SUV, one that I can use the gas tank on to store gas, and the interior of as a dehydrator. or maybe the mice will just get into it too. Who knows. :D Gotta think about this some more and see what I come up with.

Brainstorming at Treehaven