Thursday, December 30, 2010

Windows Update

Having gotten the windows done just in time for the snowstorm last weekend, I'm happy to say they work wonders. The entire house felt warmer, and the chill that used to stay in the air (even with the heat at 70'f) is gone. The heat is turned down a bit and we're still more comfortable. In the evenings we sometimes use the fireplace for supplemental heat in the main area. It gets toasty warm and even the cat curls up to watch the fire dance.

I'm now planning on getting a window film for the patio window. It's too large for the shrink wrap. the film has the bonus of helping block heat gain in the summer, plus a smaller-but-still-there effect with keeping the heat inside in the summer. Since we are in the South and this is largest window in the house, blocking heat gain is a good thing. I just need to find out when it goes on (while it's warm out?) and what it's going to cost.

Related Links:
Gila Residential Film - this page lets you see what they look like as well.
3M Residential Film - they also have security films.

Both also have privacy film options.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Independance Day Challenge - 29 Dec. 2010

I've shortened this list a bit, to reflect that it's winter and there is no food coming in right now. We got a rare, good snow (east coast blizzard) and we're enjoying the effects - the way it changes the play of the light and the colors of everything around.

Want not: I bought a snow shovel, and cleared the front steps Monday. We didn't need to run to the store for anything before the snow hit. Yay!

Waste not: We've eaten lots of leftovers, and I'm made meals from whatever is to hand.

Build community: I'm playing hermit, staying home.

Eat the food:
I made a delicious toss-together soup with roots, barley, lentils, and dried greens cooked in elk broth and 'tomato drippings' (from canning) that I had frozen. Homemade pumpkin pie with homemade whole wheat crust. Lots of leftovers.

Crafting: I've done a bit of sewing. All yarny crafts (knit, crochet, spin) are on break till the first of the year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Windy Windows - not anymore!

I've finally finished the windows.

Wow. I can't believe the difference it's making. We may not need those insulated/blackout curtains for our room after all. The room got warmer with the plastic up, before I picked up the hairdryer. It's windy out today, and I could see the plastic moving...

I watched this video before I did it. That did help. I learned that part of the reason you leave the extra is so that if it pulls off the tape (or pulls the tape off the frame) as it shrinks, you can re-stick it. My hair dryer is several years old - I can aim it straight at my hand without burning my skin, which the one before could do. So I learned that after the initial "make sure the edges really did seal to the tape" phase, to aim the dryer directly at the plastic from about 3 inches away. That got results.

All told I spent an hour or so on one window. Please measure each window before you go to buy the supplies. When the package says "Enough for three 46x62 inch windows!" it means 3 pieces of plastic. Our bedroom window used half of a package meant for a patio door. At least I have a piece to apply next winter - or possibly next summer, to keep the A/C costs down....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Another Step Warmer

Foam Switch InsulationThe outlets & switches are done. I use foam insulators from the hardware store - $2.16 for a six-pack, and I bought 3 each for outlets & switches. I have leftovers, but I will simply put those into my toolbox and use them when we move again.

Before & After:
Switch, with and without insulation
If there is too much open space on one side, I cut the edge of a switch cover and taped it on the insulation. I learned that North walls need to be done first, then the rest of the exterior walls, then the interior walls. There have been one or two that had actual breezes coming through the outlets.

For the cable hookups, I used a switch cover and cut a slit from the bottom to the center opening. Worked great.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Airlock is up

We could feel a difference within five minutes of this being hung. We've also learned that we can't hear the neighbors as well as before (bonus!).

I used two 7ft+ lengths of 54" flannel-backed white vinyl. The backing is thicker that what they called 'tablecloth vinyl' and it cost a bit more., but I feel the thicker backing will help insulate more. The pieces are hung flannel sides together, held by the clips. The hall is 42" wide, so the extra 12" allows for better contact on the sides, to keep the colder air out of the living area. The vinyl means that any water that gets on the fabric will just slide right off without me having to wash it.

The bar & clips are a bit sturdier than needed - we had done this before, using a thick blanket, and needed the strength then.

Vinyl: approx. 14 feet (4.6 yards) at $9.99 a yard, with 50% off coupons. Cost: $25
Closet bar: $15?
Curtain clips: $15? These are one of the sturdier options.

Total cost: $55.

Pretty good, especially when all the items can be re-used without damage for other projects when they aren't needed here any longer. We will probably keep this up year-round at this apartment.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Independance Days - 20 December 2010

The spinning rests between Mother's Night and the beginning of the New Year. Solstice is coming, and the days will once again grow longer.

Plant/Harvest something: Nothing; the ground is frozen - we got an early snow! I did get out there and clean things up, though.

Preserved something: nothing.

Waste not: apple desserts made with apples that are good but interesting. Soups made with homemade broths and lonely root veggies.

Want not:Still getting the things we need to insulate the house. Thankfully Home Depot and Joann's shouldn't have the crowds the mall does.

Build community: Nothing much. I'm being a homebody, and staying away from the insanity of the area we live in - so close to Christmas, so close to the malls and so much retail, I'm staying home whenever I can!

Eat the food: Finding all kinds of ways to eat eggs, since I ended up with extra. We're eating out of the pantry as much as we can. Leftovers, planned overs, interesting combination.

Crafting: I finished our niece's blanket, and haven't picked up anything since. Until the New Year I'm taking a break from yarn and spinning. I want to work on my love's cross-stitch stocking sometime this week, and do some sewing.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cleaning the House, on the Cheap

As I've changed the way we do things, I've become more sensitive to the chemical smells in so many things. The last time I went down the cleaning products isle, I held my breath because it was so strong.Cleaning supplies - baking soda, vinegar, and cotton rags

Now, I clean with baking soda and vinegar. My cleaning tote has a spray bottle of 50/50 water/vinegar, a tub of baking soda, and lots of rags made from worm-out bath towels. I also keep on hand paste toothpaste (not gel), borax, and lemon juice. This is also quite a bit cheaper; I seem to remember that a full re-stock of cleaning agents once cost me $150 about 10 years ago (memory could be foggy, I'll admit). Now? $20. Maybe.

The spray cleans any surface I can wipe down. The baking soda is for anything needing scrubbed. Combining the two gives fizzies for hard-to-clean stuff, including pipes.

I've used these techniques in two apartments, one 40 years old with ceramic & tile, the other 20 years old with a plastic tub/shower insert thing (yuck!). It works well on both.

Windows: Use the 50/50 spray and newspaper. I've heard that a drop or two of liquid soap in the mix is also helpful, but I haven't tried it.

Tub & Sinks: I scrub them with backing soda and enough water to make a paste, and rinse with full-strength vinegar if it’s bad. That cleaned out the mini-scratches on a 40-year-old bathtub that nothing else touched. If it’s a ‘maintenance’ clean (i.e., barely dirty) I’ll rinse with water.

Also, this same treatment works on the tub walls. Use the spray bottle for the initial rinse, for easy application - it will still fizz. Just rinse everything with water at the end.

Faucets: Use baking soda like you do for the sink. If it has heavy soap scum on it, scrub well and rinse with vinegar, then with water, and then polish with a clean, dry cloth.

Toilet: Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into the bowl, and pour 1/2 cup vinegar onto it. Close the lid and walk away for half an hour. Come back, give it a quick scrub, and flush. If it's really bad, scrub before & after. I've also poured some vinegar in the (clean) bowl just before bed and let it sit all night if I think it needs it.

Pipes: In the drain, pour 1/3 cup baking soda, followed by 1/2 cup undiluted vinegar. I try to get the baking soda into the pipe, and kind of drizzle the vinegar it. I want it to clean the pipes, not the sink! When it's done I rinse with very hot water from the faucet.

What's the toothpaste for? If (ok, when) I get a watermark on wood, I rub the paste toothpaste on it, just thick enough that I can't see through it, and wait. Usually for a couple hours. It will pull up the watermark, and you'll never know it was there. Buy this when you see it; at least near me it's a bit hard to find.

Borax I'm still learning to use, but it is very useful and a laundry booster as well.

Lemon juice will help brighten whites, and remove stains. Especially if you apply it and put the item in the sunshine. Wash again afterwards, as the lemon juice is acidic and may damage the item if left on too long.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Insulating an Apartment

I've spent three days watching trees dance in cold, whipping winds, and we had actual snow accumulation yesterday, along with icy rain. In this area, that's usually a month or two away - this is early! And next month will be colder. The Old Farmer's Almanac says we're in for a bit of a cold winter this year, and January will be the coldest. I don't want to pay as much as we did for last year's bills.

So, I'm doing more research on how to insulate our apartment. I've bought insulated curtains for DD's room, and picked up some socket/switch insulators. We've got a towel at the base of the front door until maintenance gets the door sweep fixed, and I plan on getting vinyl fabric to make a waterproof airlock curtain for the front hall. We've turned the heat down and eat more soup.

Putting a blanket on the water heater and insulating the pipes from it wouldn't hurt, either, but it's lower on the list. It's inside, so it's at least room temperature, but this will still help.

Related Links:
5 Ways to Insulate Your Windows for Winter at Apartment Therapy - a great site for anyone living in apartments!
Weatherizing Your Home: Weatherstripping
Resealable (Cat Proof) Magnetic Window Insulation Tutorial
Applying Temporary Insulation (video)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Independance Day Challenge - 28 November 2010

It's been a very quiet week. I've been enjoying the rest, and getting ready for Yule.

1. Plant something:

2. Harvest something: nothing

3. Preserved something: Dried lots of kale and turnip greens.

4. Waste not: I failed here; threw out a lot of food that got lost in the fridge.

5. Want not: Went shopping. Realized I didn't want or need anything there. Left.

6. Build community: Spent a day with one of My Farmers, who has become a Friend as well. I learned I really do like the sounds the hens make - they almost seemed to be purring (hensong!) All the items purchased that day were locally produced - mohair for spinning, handmade soap for DD, a beeswax candle, hand-blown beads to make mother's gift.

7. Eat the food: Sampled Bourbon Red turkey yumminess. Brussells Sprouts with Sausage. Kale and sausage soup. Ended up not cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner... for all two of us.

8. Crafting: Working on niece's afghan. Spinning.

Turkey Tasting

I was recently given just a bit of leftover turkey to try. Not a big deal on the surface, but this was pastured Bourbon Red turkey.

Oh my yum.

Bourbon Reds are a heritage breed, and they are on the Slow Food Ark of Taste. All of this is great, but it doesn't inspire me to pay something in the $100+ range for one turkey. Tasting it, on the other hand, worked great. Remember turkey flavor? Remember dark meat? I haven't run into either in years. Dear Fiance can have the breast meat - which has actual Turkey Flavor - and I'll have the dark meat. Works great.

Now, the challenge: To find, and budget for, a Bourbon Red turkey for Yule. Right after Thanksgiving, which will be the hardest part! And yes, they are good enough to pay the $100ish for, plus drive a couple hours to pick one up. Yum.

Dark meat and breast meat (leftovers, not fresh from the oven) from a Bourbon Red turkey:

Bourbon Red turkey meat

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Independace Days, 21 November 2010

1. Plant something: nothing yet

2. Harvest something: a bit of chard

3. Preserved something: dried lots of greens; cooked & froze pumpkin & extra potpie filling.

4. Waste not: veggie scraps into a freezer bag, to make into stock.

5. Want not: nothing this week

6. Build community: Making plans to visit local farms - does that count?

7. Eat the food: Rubber chicken, greens, turnips and potatoes and eggs.

8. Crafting: Finished the mittens, working on the afghan again.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Anyway, November edition

Sharon's Anyway Project

My goals for November (anything in italics is Sharon's):

Domestic Infrastructure - Finish decluttering the storage. I've inventoried the food, craft supplies & projects-in-progress will be next.

Household Economy: Paying cash for this Yule. Refilling the BEF (basic emergency fund). Not going over budget this month!

Resource Consumption: Trying to stay out of the stores as much as possible.

Cottage Industry and Subsistence:

  • Subsistence: learning to knit mittens & socks.
  • Cottage Industry: Still researching, looking at possibilities.

Family and Community: "Pretty much what it sounds like. How do we enable those to take the place of collapsing infrastructure?"

Outside Work: "Finding a balance, doing good work, serving the larger community as much as we can, within our need to make a living."

Time and Happiness: I need to learn to not over-schedule my weekends. I hardly get to rest even one day a week.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Independance Days 16 November 2010

The weather is finally turning cold, and the sun sets while I'm a work. Winter is cozening up to us.

1. Plant something:

2. Harvest something: a bit of chard

3. Preserved something: dried chard, kale, turnip greens

4. Waste not: saved veggie trimmings for broth - I've actually never done that before. Checked the freezer, ate saved leftovers. Use frozen bananas to make muffins for breakfast.

5. Want not: Small bag of donations in the car for the thrift store.

6. Build community: did some research for one of my farmers. Found another farmer who has free-range chicken and pork, and will be raising lamb - and might be selling fiber!

7. Eat the food: Roast chicken, cooked kale, root stew, tomato-and-lettuce sandwich, apple muffins, yumminess.

8. Crafting: Making convertible mitten-gloves for DFH.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Saturday Afternoon

Saturday projects
Peanut brittle from the farmer's market, mittens for my love, homemade banana muffins, first harvest of Swiss chard, and cotton fabric for a new project underneath all.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Pair of Pillowcases

We use king size pillows, but we only have full size pillow cases. I decided to extend those to the needed length, and so went out and picked up quilt fabric to add to the pillow cases. I chose 'fat quarters' that JoAnn's has for sale and simply matched them to the pillow case I'd brought with me.

First I ironed the pillowcases inside out, making sure the seams were flat. Then I cut off the seam on the narrow end, where I will add my fabric.

Trimming the Seam

I get the fabric and make sure it's folded so that I have enough length (it works one way, but not the other, due to the way it's cut). I iron it that way and then use my quilting supplies to trim it square.

I'm using french seams on this project, as I don't have a serger.

I hem one short end of the quilt fabric, creating a finished seam, and then turn it inside out.

Sewing the SeamThe pillow I have right side out. The quilt fabric goes inside the pillow, right side facing in. I match up the seams - the side seam on the pillow with the short one on the quilt fabric. Next, sew down both long sides, starting from the seams and going down. Don't finish them, just stitch the pieces together. I leave the bottom (the long seam) open while I do these sides.

Once both sides are done, pull the quilt fabric out of the pillow and sew shut the open end of the quilt fabric. You want to make this seam just a bit longer, say 5/8", than the outside edge of the pillow. This is your seam allowance to finish the seam and hide the fabric edges.

Trim the extra fabric on all the seams down to about 1/8".

Turn the pillowcase inside out, and tuck the fabric quilt back inside the original pillowcase. Sew the seams from this side to create the french seam on the inside. The frayed edge of the fabric should be completely hidden inside the seam. When the side seams are done, pull the quilt fabric out again and finish the last seam.

Enjoy your new pillowcases!

Finished Pillowcases
Two pillowcase pairs I made this way. The crochet afghan was made for us by my mother.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Late-season canning

We canned up the last of the late tomatoes yesterday. I say 'last,' because this time I totaled three jars of diced tomatoes. She's had a bit less every week, highs now are in the low 60's, and she is north of me. Tomatoes like heat; this isn't it. Total, we did two batches of whole tomatoes and just over a batch of diced tomatoes. Two pints of something strongly resembling tomato sauce are put up and there are extra diced tomatoes in the fridge and freezer. I'm thinking about pureeing the bunch of them and seeing if I can get soup out of it.

I'm still not done canning for the winter. I want to can up our own pinto beans, chickpeas, and blackeye peas. We need more homemade convenience foods (we ate them all!). I want to put up canned carrots, plain and sugared, and sweet potatoes the same way. All of this, thank heavens, can be done when I'm ready; all but the potatoes will come fresh or dried from the grocer. The pumpkins I want to put up are sitting on the floor behind me.

The winds are blustering outside, the air is crisp and wonderful. I love this weather, and the comfort of having food and fiber put up to care for my family over the winter.

Fiber, here, being blankets, sweaters, socks, yarn...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Independance Days - 8 November 2010

I got a lot done this weekend. Hallow'een is put up, the candy is gone, and the house is dressed for fall. Warm clothes and blankets are out, and water stays ready for tea. We've turned the heat on, barely, with temps outside getting down to the 30's but not much over 50 - the house won't stay warm enough without the heat on.

1. Plant something: sigh...

2. Harvest something: ... still nothing. It may be too late for outdoor planting until spring.

3. Preserved something: More tomatoes! Pumpkins are lining up for their turn.

4. Waste not: Lots of leftovers this week. The fridge & freezer were bursting...

5. Want not: More repairs to items we have. Winter clothes and extra blankets came home from the off-site storage. I did a massive-for-me clean Saturday and the house feels & looks much better. Some piles seemed to disappear on their own while I did this, which is a nice bonus. I'm working on the remaining, much smaller piles.

6. Build community: nothing. It seems like everyone nested this week.

7. Eat the food: Chevon slow-cooked in homemade Barbeque sauce; mashed potatoes, turnip greens with bacon. Apple muffins with last fall's canned apples. Breakfast tortillas with local eggs & yellow tomatoes.

8. Crafting: Mittens for my love. Just that one project because he needs them!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Applesauce, compared

This post was started last fall, when we got that 120lbs of apples. I thought it was posted until recently; it seemed appropriate to post it during (or at least near) the current apple season.


Mott's Unsweetened Organics, 8oz:
100 cal, 28 carb, 0 protein, 2 fiber, 0 Vitamin A, 2.4mg Vitamin C, 0 Calcium, 200mg potassium.

My home-canned applesauce, via recipe entered into CalorieCount:
236 cal, 63 carb, 1.2 protein, 10.9 fiber, 245 IU Vitamin A, 21mg Vitamin C, 28mg Calcium, 485mg potassium.

I'm not sure what the canning process might change here, but just off this... wow.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Independance Days 1 November 2010

The weather has been varied - highs in mid 80's to mid 50's. The cool, crisp weather is what I like best. I need to do a pantry inventory and some meal planning, then make sure I'll have at least most of what I'll need.

1. Plant something: nothing, still need to get planters up. I really need to get better about this.

2. Harvest something: nada

3. Preserved something: 14 lbs of tomatoes, canned whole. My fiance helped and enjoyed working on it with me. Yay! We now have all the whole tomatoes done, and I found a store with tomato paste in glass jars. Next up is diced tomatoes, then soup & ketchup. I also have pumpkins and dried beans waiting to be canned, and I'm stocking up on jars again. Current plans will use all I currently have.

4. Waste not: Juice from the tomatoes we canned will go in the freezer for later use in soups as kind of a one-veggie stock. I'm thinking it would be good in the crockpot with beef?

5. Want not: The thrift pile is slowly growing. Clothing had sewing repairs done.

6. Build community: Spoke with a lady at the store about local foods, gave her one of my farmer's cards and websites to find more food.

7. Eat the food: Root stew. I've barely cooked this week, and I can feel it - more tired, more bleh feeling. Tonight is Tacos and most of that is local (meat, lettuce, tomatoes)

8. Crafting: Fixed 4 items from the sewing pile. Two easy items left; the remainder will take a bit more work. I'm doing easy crochet projects while we watch TV.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

going BPA-free

I've set myself a challenge of removing, gradually, all the plastic from our kitchen. Trash bags are ok, but I'm looking to replace all the plastic storage containers and utensils. We don't really use plastic cups, so as those die they just won't be replaced. The utensils are being gradually switched out, as opportunity arises.

BPA is a consideration for this as well. It's found in plastic bottles, thermal receipts, and as a liner in cans - including soda cans. Yuck. I checked, and it seems that the only vegetables locally available in glass are sauerkraut and pickled beets, not quite what I had in mind... For this, and to avoid the embedded energy of frozen foods (embedded in freezing it, keeping it frozen, transporting it, and making the plastic bags), I turn to canning our food or purchasing it fresh.

So far, I've gotten each of us two metal water bottles, have picked up glass storage containers with glass lids, and have started using canning jars for storage as well. World Market has some larger clamp-top containers available, as well. We have two already, and will be going back for more. One 3-liter container is much easier for bulk dried-food storage than several 1-quarts!

Related Links:

BPA - Wikipedia article

How to Avoid BPA Exposure in Receipts

No Silver Lining - An Investigation into Bisphenol A in Canned Foods. Includes link to a 29-page report (pdf). Cost and brand of the food had no relation to the BPA levels.

Book: Make your own Root Beer and Soda Pop at Lehman's

BPA in the Headlines - blog post at Easy Being Greener.

BPA in Cans - has a list of companies without BPA, and those who do use it. The information is a year or so old, but it's also the best list I have been able to find.

BPA Danger may be greater from tin cans than water bottles- at Treehugger.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Independance Days - 25 October 2010

Moving home-canned food to the main pantry has really helped us eat it. We are now out of chili and nearly out of beef stew. I'll count that as a good thing!


Planted: Nothing.

Harvested: Nothing.

Preserved: 20 pints whole or diced tomatoes. Froze tomato sauce & 1 pint diced tomatoes.

Waste Not: Roast beef, into stew, into pot pies. I could have done better had I frozen half the roast after the first meal; that would have given me probably 5 meals or 10 to 12 servings total, from the base of a 3lb roast.

Want Not: no thrift drop off this week.

Eat the Food: Tomatoes, cookies, goat milk, turnip greens, sauerkraut.

Community Food Solutions: just the usual.

Crafting: I made various hotpads and washcloths for farmer gifts - very nice to have something so quick to work on, after big projects. I'm also working my way through my sewing repairs pile.

Late Tomatoes

One of my farmers planted a late crop of tomatoes, and I'm canning some for the winter. All of my help comes from books and the internet, so it can get interesting.

I bought 55lbs on Wednesday. I have lost about 10 lbs of tomatoes from waiting too long, and nearly had a ginormous mess on my hands.

The weekend's goal was some whole tomatoes, and the remainder in diced tomatoes. I let the food tell me the amounts; it just depends on the condition of the food. I have learned to core the tomatoes before skinning them - they maintain their shape better. Also, if one or two have split skins the rest should be about ready. It's better to think "loosen the skin" rather than "split the skin." The learning process means I have tomato juice to freeze - I've heard that freezing it means the water will rise to the top, making it so there is less to boil down later. If I could remember the rest of that piece of information, I'd be doing even better!

I canned whole tomatoes on Saturday, diced ones on Sunday. One day's experience cut my time spent in half.

Final Totals:
  • 10 lbs of waste
  • 11 pints of whole tomatoes from roughly 18lbs of small tomatoes
  • 9 pints of diced tomatoes plus one in the freezer (it wasn't quite full)
  • a pot of tomato - soup? sauce? - in the freezer. I already reduced it by half, and will see if I can make it into tomato soup for one night's dinner.
  • enough tomatoes to make tomato & macaroni for lunch today =)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Independance Days - 18 October 2010

The storage unit is dried out, finally. It took over a week. The wall may be OK after all, once it's washed with bleach to kill the molds. Nothing will go close to it since this is now a reoccurring problem. I've gone through all the seasonal decorations and gotten them to reasonable amounts. I added one stack of plastic bins and it's on 1x6 boards (found items) so they are off the floor for air flow. I say 'stack,' even though it's only two bins right now. OTOH, the off-site storage is still half full. Stuff is still going back, as well. I've got to spend some effort on that this weekend; I want to empty it before the end of the year (this month, if I can!).

I have moved some of the home-canned food from the storage pantry to the one I actually look in when I'm planning dinner. That should help with eating stored food. Now, what to cook with dried turnip greens?...


Planted: Nothing. The new planters aren't up yet, and all the others are still occupied.

Harvested: Nothing.

Preserved: Nothing, but planned out what I'd like to put up for tomatoes.

Waste Not: Another box to thrift, plus an old lamp.

Want Not: DFH found me a couple more Yule tins for the storage pantry. I keep dried beans and the like in them, and they make me smile =)

Eat the Food: Grass-finished roast beef, veggies, winter squash. I have been cooking more from the pantry, I just can't always remember what I made.

Community Food Solutions: Does it count that I'm now a year-round customer for my three favorite farmers? Two are continuing to come down, even though the market is officially closed; the other can deliver her soaps to my area.

Crafting: Finished DD's shrug, finished a cozy for my coffee mug - the mug is thin, and too hot to hold when it has coffee in it. This will take care of that, and hopefully the coffee will stay warmer longer to boot.

Disaster Prep: Water

During a hurricane, the public water is likely to become contaminated due to flooding. Since we are on the second floor, we may be protected against our home flooding, but if the power is out there is no guarantee that the pumps will work to push water "uphill" to our home. Thus we need water storage and purification. The minimum needs are two gallons per person, per day, with additional for pets. The two gallons are for sanitation, cooking, and drinking. While they do distribute water & ice in these situations, you have to find out about it and get there before they run out.

For water storage, we currently have empty Gatorade bottles and four trays of 16.9oz water bottles. I know we need to improve this. I'd like to get water purification tablets, as well as a larger water purifier. For purification, the Berkeys are apparently the best on the market. Here are directions on how to make one at home - don't skimp on the filters, either. They'll help keep you healthy, and anything that just promises 'better flavor' won't work for what you need in this situation.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Independance Days - 4 October 2010

I'm starting the Independance Days posts again - I'm much more aware of how we're doing when I make these. We've had rain all week - five days straight, some of it "the sky is falling!" downpours. Our attached storage unit has developed a leaky ceiling and will need a wall replaced again (same one, too). I'm very glad I had just straightened it - I rented an off-site unit, moved a pile to that one, and put a shelving unit in the attached one. With that, and consistently moving to using plastic (aka waterproof) bins, all we lost was some empty cardboard boxes. Yay!

I very much have to figure out a better way to utilize my pantries; I feel like I don't know where anything is. And I have no ideas how to improve it, yet. We really need to start eating the stuff I've put up. That is more my fault, as I'm the cook. That's a goal this week - at least one meal from storage.

Planted: Nothing.

Harvested: Nothing. The basil isn't tall enough yet, and I'm not even sure on the other herbs to be honest.

Preserved: Canned a dozen jars of local green beans.

Waste Not: Donating to thrift as I clear out storage. I had ordered an extra dehydrating book on accident, and gave it to one of my farmers. She was delighted!

Want Not: An umbrella. A formal outfit for DD, who will need it this year. Thank heavens for sales! Also ordered the yarn to make a shrug to go with the outfit. She has good taste; merino/silk blend in a nice, deep black.

Eat the Food: Apple cider. Chevon (goat) sausage. Root stew.

Community Food Solutions: Does it count that I'm now a year-round customer for my three favorite farmers? Two are continuing to come down, even though the market is officially closed; the other can deliver her soaps to my area.

Crafting: Finishing afghan squares that are part of a group project.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Independance Days through 7/18/2010

It's staying in the 90's to low 100's. We woke this morning to the power off but are glad it was back on at noon. The water did stay on throughout, but we made sure we'd have been ok if it hadn't.

This is two week's worth of updates, since I missed last week.

1. Plant something: Nothing, it's just too hot. I am careful to make sure the plants get enough water to help them deal with the heat.

2. Harvest something: Nothing - letting the plants grow some more, first.

3. Preserved something: Basil, a bit of mint, a dozen red/green peppers, all from the local market.

4. Waste not: recycling, leftovers,

5. Want not: One bag waiting to get to the thrift, and another to the local SPCA (they accept donations of items they can use or sell; you can get cat carriers there for ex.)

6. Build community: went to farmers market.

7. Eat the food: Good so far.

8. Crafting: Still a bit to do on the afghan, and the leaf-heart squares. I'm doing sewing repairs and trying to hold off on my cross-stitch. I want to do it, and yet all this other stuff is here, and ... Also, I re-arranged the stashes (yes, plural) yesterday. Easier access and the spaces look bigger. Win!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Just In Case, and Pet Evacuation Planning

I bought Kathy Harrison's Just In Case, and it's been very useful. It's the best one I've read as far as realistic support and information for someone trying to be prepared while living in an urban apartment in hurricane country.

The only weakness I could find, for us, was that I'd have liked more information on evacuating with pets. We have two cats, so I've been planning for them, and have needed to do a bit more than what she mentioned.

If we need to evacuate, we will bring the cats. We would rather not board them while we're out of area (even in the new area), but I'm not certain my family members would be willing to let the cats visit =). So, the plans are to get both cats up-to-date on shots. My criteria for needed shots is the minimum requirements for boarding at a kennel, so I will be calling kennels in both our bug-out locations and checking what they need, as well as keeping their information (the health records, and the kennel information) in an easy-to-reach location so we can get it on the way out.

Also, I'm making sure that we have enough food and litter for the both of them. I have a puppy-training crate that I will un-bury, and they can fit (tightly, but they'll fit) in that while we are staying with someone. I'd like a larger cage, with more space for their comfort, but can't afford that right now. There is a food bowl that bolts to the side, and a hamster-type water bottle as well. They sell disposable litter boxes that can be used in it, and I have extra fleece for them to curl in.The carry-bag is out where it will smell 'normal' and they can become used to it - Daemon has taken to sleeping in it :) I still need to get harnesses or collars and train them to those, as well.

For the record, I have no affiliation with Kathy Harrison. I simply bought her book, and find both it and her blog useful and enjoyable.

Just In Case Book Blog (Kathy's blog)
Just In Case (site for the book)
American Veterinary Medical Association: Disaster Preparedness Pet Items: page and PDF file

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Independance Day Challenge - 6 July 2010

Another heat wave, with a few days of high 80's in between. I'm keeping cool as best I can, not doing much in the heat of the day.

1. Plant something: Repotted the oregano and aloe.

2. Harvest something: The first snippets of herbs...

3. Preserved something: ... dried for winter.

4. Waste not: recycling, leftovers,

5. Want not: nothing here.

6. Build community: went to farmers market.

7. Eat the food: We've not done so well this week; one melon lost uneaten, the other needs snacking in the fridge. All the squash is still in the fridge needing eaten (tonight?).

8. Crafting: I think the afghan is done - I'll know when I find the remaining squares (I finished them and put them "aside." I wonder where that is?). Making progress on the leaf-heart squares. I also made crochet stitch markers with copper wire and shell pieces from the beading section at the craft store. So far, so good.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Independance Day - 27 June 2010

The heat is worse this week; upper 90's to low 100's and humid. Not fun. I'm keeping an eye on the balcony to make sure they don't get heat-stressed.

1. Plant something: Nothing.

2. Harvest something: nothing.

3. Preserved something:nothing.

4. Waste not:recycling, leftovers. Does thrift shopping count? I found more indigo glass clamp-top jars, a 1947 book of folk songs with the music, and a Whirlypop to make popcorn with.

5. Want not: Dropped items at thrift store.

6. Build community: went to farmers market.

7. Eat the food: Tomato sandwich, bean salad (new recipe trial; failed), more chard. I didn't cook much this week.

8. Crafting: I washed all of last week's fabric and started sewing my linen dress pants. I'm being very careful with ripping out seams sewn wrong (I'm learning as I go). I've read a lot this week, rather than much crafting.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

As I was drinking my morning coffee, my mind wandered back over the things we've begun, and the things we'd still like to do. We eat (mostly) locally, cook most of our meals, use homemade cleaners, and try to keep down the electric bill (try, only because I'm not happy yet with the progress). The lights that aren't on dimmers are all CFL, and we use natural light as much as possible. We recycle, buy many items second-hand (reuse), and only buy what we need. I fix clothes, rather than replace them, and re-use the fabrics when repairing is no longer possible.

We are saving as much as we can, getting out of debt, and working on being prepared for emergencies. Last year, we weren't. I'm glad it wasn't a bad storm year.

We'd like to preserve more local foods for the winter. I'm also interested in possibly switching to homemade laundry detergent. My skin is fairly sensitive, so I have to be careful what I wash fabrics with. We want to restore the Singer 66, and get an old handcrank as well. We have more plans, as well, for farther on.

What are you looking forward to doing?

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you'll land among the stars."

Monday, June 21, 2010

Independance Day Challenge - 21 June 2010

The cicadas (appropriately enough, the name translates to "buzzer") have started to sing. Even the sound means 'heat' to me, and the weekend was 90's and humid. I tried to get errands done before the heat kicked in until I realized no one is open that early :( I originally wanted to be done and home at 10am. On the other hand, I got lots done around the house!

1. Plant something: Lobelia and white impatiens. I re-arranged and cleaned the patio Saturday morning, and Sunday picked up these cool-white trailing flowers for prettys. I also potted the lemon balm outside and gave everything some fertilizer and cool drinks.

2. Harvest something: A bit of basil.

3. Preserved something:nothing.

4. Waste not:recycling, leftovers.

5. Want not: Another bag is slowly being filled for donating.

6. Build community: went to farmers market.

7. Eat the food: Making more Tabbouleh - it went over very well. Swiss chard, and fried yellow squash; fried mushrooms and eggs. I'm practicing a bit more scavenge-cooking: I scavenge the fridge and make a meal from what I find there. This is different from direct eating of leftovers, at least in my mind, in that I aim to end up with a Meal, versus eating re-heated foods.

8. Crafting:I'm working on my Hedgerow Sock, and the two leaf-heart afghan squares. I also picked up a sewing book that covers adjusting patterns, making your own, and modifying a one-size tailor's dummy to fit a specific person. Since I need to do that, it was an extra bonus. JoAnn's had a sale, so I picked up fabric for tops and a couple of small bags.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Independance Day - June 16, 2010

We've taken apart the Singer 66 table, for repairs. Except that after closer examination, it's getting refinished. It won't hurt the value - someone already refinished these - and the disparate pieces will match. And, I'll have a gorgeous table to show off :)

1. Plant something: nothing.

2. Harvest something: Nothing. The chard looks good, and the orange mint looks happy.

3. Preserved something: Chicken broth.

4. Waste not: recycling, leftovers.

6. Build community: went to farmers market.

7. Eat the food: Tabbouleh - new recipe for us. Ingredients were from the farmers market and the nearest Indian store. Also tacos with a lot of local food in there. I'm making an effort not use commercial canned food this summer, and also learning new recipes. The tabbouleh is served cold, which is wonderful when it's mid-90's and sticky outside.
8. Crafting: I've started a new sock pattern, and am still working on the afghan. I need to make time to sew and cross-stitch, somehow; I have so much in my head that I'd like to see get made!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

missing pictures and computer surgery

I haven't been able to post any pictures for a while because the computer that can read the camera's memory card is down. As it also has all my old pics saved on it, I can't borrow any of those, either. After that computer is fixed I'll be able to do more.

If the repair is replacing a worn out power box like I think it is, then I'll know to replace those after 6 years. This will be the second computer to have that problem at that age. Nice to know!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Independance Days Challenge - 9 June

I managed to declutter the front closet, and found a few things to donate. Progress is being made...

1. Plant something: nothing.

2. Harvest something: I pulled up the straight-to-seed broccoli. I really ought to plant those a couple months earlier.... Also, checked and noted when to plant cool-season crops for fall/winter harvest. I also picked up lemon balm (live plant) this week.

3. Preserved something: Made calendula salve over the weekend.

4. Waste not: the usual

6. Build community: went to farmers market. Attempting to get coworkers to buy more from there - local honey, sweets, breads, seasoning mixes, meats, eggs, baking mixes, sewn items, soaps, jewelry, plus the fruits & veggies :-)

7. Eat the food: Local meats for dinner, with local squash. Local turnip greens with local onions and bacon. Local egg salad sandwiches for lunches.
8. Crafting: I worked on the yule afghan while playing my computer games, and avoiding going out into the sauna - I mean, going outside. I was *so* happy to see rain Sunday night, and feel things cool off for a bit :)

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Different Point of View

Perhaps I have an unusual point of view. Prepping, to me, does not involve lots of cans and boxes of commercial foods, specially sealed seeds, and such things. It's always been more of an 'older' point of view, of having enough food that I have put up to get through the next year or two (ideally) with minimum estimated food incoming. That way one bad year in the garden wouldn't leave a family in a bind.

My guiding thought for prepping and homesteading is, and has been, "What can I produce on our farm?" Now, that farm is all in my head - I'm limited in what I can grow on the balcony. In place of an actual farm I used my mental image of a New England farm of the late 1700's. I chose this based on my own curiosity of both the time and the place, along with already having some very basic knowledge and knowing that they tended to be maintained mostly by the family living there and not a lot of hired hands.

For food, that means thinking in terms of what is fresh, and when; and what keeps in the root cellar and for about how long. What can I make from what the farm produces, and what would need to be bought? Snickerdoodle cookies, for example. Cinnamon needs to be bought. Granulated sweetener can be made from boiled down maple syrup, and honey or maple syrup used in the dough. Flour can be grown in the area; baking soda would have to be bought. Salt would be another purchase, but perhaps could come from the Atlantic shore.

In winter we eat more chicken - think of thinning the flock over the winter. In summer I eat more eggs - egg salad, fried eggs, etc., as I would to keep up with the flood of eggs this time of year. The farmer's market provides us with a great deal of fresh, local food, and I attempt to keep up. Fresh veggies for most meals, salads, and putting up for winter's needs as well. Learning to cook meals that don't need meats to be filling and nutritious.

I think, too, of seasonal chores. In the spring, to make more soap - I prefer goat's milk soap, and spring is when we'd have the extra milk for that. In spring, summer, and fall, to gather dye herbs and dye the spring shearing and last winter's spinning, and have the wools and flax ready to be spun on winter evenings by the fire.

Even if I'm not able to do all of these things, the awareness of the work helps my life be more mindful, and helps my mind prepare for things we'd like to do in the future.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Independance Days - 3 June

Still lots of reading. I'm slowly working on an afghan, and on straightening the house. It needs a declutter again, we'll have to do one over the summer.

1. Plant something: nothing.

2. Harvest something: nothing.

3. Preserved something: Nothing.

4. Waste not: the usual

6. Build community: went to farmers market. (yea, these first few are kinda basic most weeks)

7. Eat the food: Lettuce on everything. Lots of sandwiches, without using deli meats. Mashed turnip-potatoes. Local meats for dinner, with local squash. Hoping to get chard next week, as well.
8. Crafting: Um. Yea. Lazy this week, I was....

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Diaster Prep Update

Life, Rescheduled....

Well, we found another oil lamp at the thrift store. It's being cleaned now. That makes 4 table-style oil lamps. We need kits for them (extra wicks and such) but I think we may be ok with those now. I do want a Alladin lamp or two, and a reflective lantern.

Our next planned prep order is a multi-fuel camping stove. One of the reasons we chose that one is that we can use gathered fuel. We won't be dependent on what the stores have stocked, or if they are open in the first place! I want to see if I can cook on that when it's in the fireplace - that would give us a good place to cook with inclement weather. I do expect to use it more on the patio, though.

We've ordered the hand-powered washer and are waiting for it to arrive. We will need to do something for line-drying, but the retractable line was out of stock so I still need to get that. One collapsible rack doesn't hold as much as I'd like, although it will do the job.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Independence Day - 25 May

It's been a quiet week. Mostly I've just been catching up around the house with different projects and the piles of books that are always around.

1. Plant something: nothing.

2. Harvest something: nothing.

3. Preserved something: Nothing.

4. Waste not: the usual

6. Build community: went to farmers market.

7. Eat the food: Strawberries, roast beef, salads.
8. Crafting: Finished my mossy shawl. Nearly finished a tank top from the sewing basket, and picked up items to make a pair of linen dress pants.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Independance Day 17 May 2010

1. Plant something: Rosemary seedling from the farmer's market.

2. Harvest something: nothing big enough. The chard is growing decently, so I'm happy there.

3. Preserved something: Nothing.

4. Waste not: leftovers. Also, cleaning/re-organizing areas for ease of use and reducing what we keep. The knife drawer shrank by 2/3, my shoes by half, and I've just started.

6. Build community: went to farmers market, first one for the season. Reminded co-workers about it. Hugged my farmers =) Brought DFH this time, too, since he had the day off.

7. Eat the food: Salads, homemade cake & frosting, mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh strawberries in everything - Yum!

Re-organized the pantry and cleaned the fridge. Being less boxed in about meals, to better use food. And, admittedly, to make it less work for me to cook so much from scratch!

8. Crafting: Working on my mossy shawl. Went through the sewing-project basket.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Disaster Preperations

We live in hurricane country. We may not get a lot of big ones, but even Isabel, at Level 1, left me without power for 9 days and my mom for 14 days. The hurricane hit on Tuesday, and I went back to work Monday. Leaving work early the night before the hurricane, we were told, would result in immediate dismissal. I was unable to prep that night, so I had to have it all done in advance (didn't quite happen).

While I was able to stay at a place with a generator that time, I can't count on that again.

DFH and I were talking this past weekend about what we need to be prepared. Prepared right where we are, and using Isabel as one of the guidelines. I used basic Areas and we'll list what we'd need to fill those areas without electric:

Areas (no order):
Food, and the ability to cook it
Water, potable
Light source
First Aid

Now, the biggest needs are water, sanitation, first aid, shelter, food. You can live 3 days without water, 2 weeks without food, and lack of sanitation can really mess with you (infections & illness). Communications are important, and activities are sanity-saving. Especially if you have kids! Official recommendations were once to be able to take care of your family for three days; now it says 3-7 days. Two weeks may be better - remember Katrina!

I'll post later on what we discussed for those areas. Have you talked about it with your family? Have you made plans?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Independance Day - 4-19-10

1. Plant something: nothing this week.

2. Harvest something: nothing.

3. Preserved something: Nothing.

4. Waste not: leftovers.

6. Build community: nothing.

7. Eat the food: I'm learning to cook with sourdough. Still. Tonight I'll make new starter as I apparently destroyed the last one. Learning to eat from the pantry better - I think the last 2 weeks have been dairy-and-salad grocery lists.

8. Crafting: Worked on a gift afghan. Cleared out the 'repairs' sewing basket. Finished a lap blanket for me.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Independance Day 4-12-2010

1. Plant something: Radish, spinach, red chard. Germination on the previous planting wasn't as good as I'd like other than the lettuces.

2. Harvest something: nothing.

3. Preserved something: bone broths, chicken & ham.

4. Waste not: leftovers, broths. Made trail mix for DFH from items already in the pantry.

6. Build community: nothing.

7. Eat the food: I'm learning to cook with sourdough. Still. Tonight I'll see if that latest experiment produces edible bread.

8. Crafting: Nothing. Yesterday was spent outside, walking. Lovely weather and I survived the pollen.

Preparation: General disaster preparedness, especially given this year's hurricane forecast. Yesterday we brainstormed a list of items we don't have that we think we'd need. I'll do a separate post on the plan layout later.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Independance Day 3-30-2010

1. Plant something: nothing. However - I have seedlings!

I did, at least mentally, figure out which planting pots to keep and which to re-home. They aren't very useful when I don't have room to store them all, let alone use them.... and several are too small for the likely uses. I'll get it down to what will actually get used.

2. Harvest something: nothing.

3. Preserved something: nothing.

4. Waste not: Added meat pies to my skill set, for using of leftovers. Yum!

6. Build community: Monthly order from local farmer.

7. Eat the food: I'm learning to cook with sourdough. I'm also trying to quit going to the store so often; it's costing ALOT to do that. Getting "just one thing" has annihilated my grocery budget. Yes, it's that bad.

8. Crafting: Frogged two items. One didn't work, the other I used the wrong yarn and that killed the project. I'm working on spinning more often, and also re-starting DFH's wool mittens - amazing how one can screw up when one has put it down for a month. I put a massive dent in the sewing repair pile as well.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Waking up the Garden

I went out this weekend and checked on the garden.

The rosemary is OK, and I'll give it a bit of a trim later. One of the chives plants came up; the other has 3 leaves. We’ll see how it does. The parsley barely survived and was finally moved somewhere out of the wind where it will still get light. Somehow, I don't think it liked being in a 4" pot on the coldest, windiest corner of the balcony.

I planted Red Ruby Swiss Chard, overseeded with spinach, and put lettuce in another pot. Basil is started in the house, and everything else is on the balcony. I'll put out more lettuce & spinach in a week or two, try to keep those on continuous harvests. I know that the cool balcony let me keep harvesting lettuce into June or July.

I’m in zone 7b and keep forgetting I can start seed indoors in February here…

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Independance Day 3-16-2010

1. Plant something: Ruby Red chard, spinach, lettuce mix.

2. Harvest something: nothing

3. Preserved something: nothing.

4. Waste not: Eating of leftovers. Root stew.

6. Build community: nothing.

7. Eat the food: Apple pie. I made 'quick' white bread; I had forgotten how filling homemade bread is. Root stew, with foods bought at the market that are still good. Re-hydrating last summer's local tomatoes and enjoying them on my sandwiches.

8. Crafting: I'm working on a granny-square afghan for a Yule gift, a blanket of flowers for the bed. Most of the Yule gifts will be food; I'll do a bit of prep over the summer but the most will get done in November.

I'm also working on a kerchief for me, and DFH's cross-stitch Yule stocking. Those three are what is currently active. RAK's? Ohhh, different story...

Monday, March 15, 2010


... That I've changed. A bit at a time, and then you look things over and are surprised with what you accomplished :)
  • I use olive oil applied with a cooking "paintbrush" instead of cooking spray. Using seasoned cast-iron helps, too.
  • We use dish clothes and cotton towels instead of sponges and paper towels. I put out fresh ones last thing before bed each night.
  • We use fabric napkins. For the three of use, I have about a dozen napkins. I wash them with the towels (hot water) and as long as I keep on laundry we don't run out.
  • I make breakfast bars or muffins as take-along breakfasts.
  • All the cleaning is done with vinegar and baking soda.
  • I don't use dryer sheets. I air-dry the fabrics that cause the static, and have no problems. The fabrics in question all seem to be polyester, rayon, or another man-made material.
  • Clothing is repaired, then later re-purposed, whenever possible.
  • Food shopping is seasonal, local, and organic... in about that order. We feel the additional cost is off-set by the savings: we don't lose hours at work or pay the doctor.
  • My favorite place to shop (other than the bookstore!) is the local thrift store.
  • Gifts are handmade whenever possible.
What kind of changes have you made?

Are you "Brown"?

I've never heard of this before:
Browns as a group often share a set of beliefs that are catching on, much to the chagrin of global marketers. Browns take a moral or ethical stance toward these issues, and are often rooted in beliefs that are radically decentralized, local, and emphasize self-sufficiency. They don’t keep their houses cold and grow their own food as a publicity stunt. They are ambivalent, at best, about using mainstream media outlets to explain what they are doing, and why.

But, -yes. Very much, yes, this is how we think, my love and I.

(found via Peak Oil Blues)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Independance Days 3.3.2010

The Independance Days Challenge has restarted for the new year. Here's my first week's report:

1. Plant something: Sweet basil, indoors. I need to remember to start sprouting those commercial potatoes, or find some organic ones; I can’t plant enough to order seed potatoes so I plan on using slips. Root vegetables, herbs, and greens get along alright out there so that's what I plan on growing.

So far, it looks like the parsley and chives on the balcony have survived the winter.

2. Harvest something: nothing

3. Preserved something: nothing, but making plans and gathering recipes. We could use more home-canned convenience foods. I ordered another book, and visited Creative Canning for ideas.

4. Waste not: Eating of leftovers. Old dining set went to thrift and we bought a new one that’s far more useful for us. Old computers were scavenged for parts and now await a trip to the recycling. Also I created printable inventory sheets, to help with grocery shopping but also with what we preserve and when we eat it, since I plan on dating & keeping them.

6. Build community: ordering meat & eggs from a farmer that attends the local farm market during the summer, and makes drop-offs during the winter. All meat & eggs are purchased this way now.

7. Eat the food: chocolate cake with strawberry and raspberry preserves from last fall. Heavenly. Beef stew, home canned. Apple pie and applesauce. Dried fruit snacks. Starting to remember all the peppers I dried, and cook with them.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow update...

It snowed all day today, we got about 8" by 2pm when we went for a walk. We didn't go out otherwise -reports of accidents and people "driving" sideways across the overpass are sufficient to keep us home. We love this weather - the way the light looks, the quiet of the snow. Being out it, kicking it up, throwing it at each other (it wouldn't pack for snowballs), playing :-)

We've got to move somewhere with Winter, rather than a cold rainy season.....

Friday, January 29, 2010


I've been working, since the beginning of last summer, on expanding the pantry. The eventual goal is to have enough to get through the winter, with only occasional visits to the store. While I'm not there yet, we do have a fair stock. It's very reassuring to have.

Case in point:
Down here, snow is rare. At least, rare enough to cause seeming panic for most of the area - I've seen places close for 4" of snow, that wouldn't close when a hurricane was coming that night. Yesterday the weather started calling for 5-10 inches of snow, starting tonight around 9pm. We discussed it last night - we needed milk, Coke, and to fill the car with gas. I checked this morning, and we have plenty of milk. That's it. Today's update is 100% chance of snow, accumulation of 8-12 inches, starting around 7pm. I'll go at lunch, grab what we need, and just go straight home tonight. Dinner is already cooking - last night's leftover elk in it's own broth, with root veggies and barley. There's two other soups in the freezer, and homemade pumpkin pie in the fridge. We'll have a nice quiet evening, enjoy the snow, and avoid being on the roads - it doesn't bother me to drive on snow, but others? I don't want to find out the hard way.