No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 25, 2017 rj5156 0

I do not seem to have sense enough to stop lately. Soon be time to start work in the herb and vegetable garden and I am so close to finished with the pantry project that I may actually finish the closet too if I keep moving.

It is interesting and a little frightening to see how badly we dealt with our normally well-organized food storage in the past couple years. We had never lost any food to expiration but I have found a fair amount of stuff we moved in when the house was mostly habitable after the fire. Toted out a couple good-size boxes of badly expired canned goods and condiments just now. Depressing. Given the circumstances it is hardly surprising though.

It turned out to be a MUCH bigger job than I anticipated. I hate chaos. I have planned ahead and worked to keep the place as tidy as possible through the project. Drag out all the stuff after Brian leaves and try to have it all stowed when he gets home. Plenty going on otherwise too so I hit a lick whenever I can. The organization is the hardest part and I have at least a full day sorting when I am done packaging.

I had been avoiding thinking about where to put it all when I got it done. Been searching some online and looking at pictures of other people’s pantrys! I happened to look up in discouragement one day, and noticed those 2 X 6 joists in the ceiling where the loft is. EUREKA moment! Since we have realized that dry goods in jars store fine on their side and started looking for smaller plastic totes to put vacuum bagged dry goods in the space between those joists looks a lot more interesting. Be next winter before that project goes very far but we have a solid plan for cabinets and dry goods storage at this point.

Back on top of the rotation again. I read someplace about learning to eat and enjoy what can be stored, rather than trying to store the sad stuff most folks eat. Thinking about what we can most easily grow from that perspective too. We’ve used a lot of convenience foods through the past few years and that is not normal for us. Some folks seem to think we have a lot of food. We know that one adult eats roughly a ton of food a year and we know we do not have a year supply on hand yet. Starting the rotaton over from scratch really set us back. We can see it from where we are now and we are adding interesting foods instead of just loading up on corn, pasta, beans and rice.

We had just started getting serious exploring South American traditional foods and started looking at traditional Asian food when we had the fire. Makes beans and rice and corn a lot more fun to eat. Went to the Patel Brothers Indian grocery recently. Found a whole new world of spices, lentils, pulses, grains and vegetables! Ordered “India The Cookbook” and we are off and running making our own healthy Indian food from scratch! Naturally we will try the junk food too;) Saving seeds from vegetables as we try them. See what will grow here. The prices for bulk dry goods are quite reasonable and we have added a sampling to our pantry. Be going back for more!

The workload for builds has hit high gear. Living on standby is nothing new for me but it makes everything more interesting!! I’ll be putting in some quality time in there but everything else will stop when I get my medicinal herb order. It has to go in the ground as soon as I can get it there! Brian had a few days off before this round hit and managed to get the heavier yard work done for his Mom. He even got our grass mowed! I will be putting in some time with my Mom, getting her yard work done in the next week or so. Think I will volunteer to do some for Brian’s Mom too. We all enjoy it and it is more fun working together.

Brian reminded me yesterday that I need to take a break sometimes, said he needs me in good shape. I agreed and here it is 4 o’clock and I have not had lunch yet… Sure did get a lot done today though;)

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:19 pm


No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 21, 2017 rj5156 0

Got all my technical problems taken care of. I am totally portable and fully functional – and running on almost nothing for power!!! Doesn’t get much better in my world:) Had to accept the cloud storage to get there. The tablet does not support a flash drive. I looked pretty hard at “rooting” it, which would allow me to use the external storage but also void my warrenty. If I had understood all that BEFORE I picked up the tablet for cheap I might have shopped harder and paid more for it but this is working for me. All I do is photos and text for the most part. I synced a gamail account and installed the photobucket app on the android devices. Off and running!

I even installed the kindle and nook apps in the end. No info on this device and it is about the size of a book. Not used it much yet but I am seeing I will love it! I’ve resisted the ebook thing for a long time but I am there now.

I think it was worth it. I can keep email up for Mom, it’s her preferred communication. She never learned to love texting or chatting. She can sure enjoy a few hours on the phone too, and I think we’ve got that in good working order at last.

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:09 am


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 21, 2017 rj5156 0

Fermenting asparagus. Found it cheap at Sam’s Club, that membership has really paid off for us. We got two pounds. Steamed one and ate it up. Found a recipe we liked for the rest of it. Usual brine, one tablespoon of kosher salt (non-iodized) per quart of filtered water. Half a dozen crushed garlic cloves and about as many whole peppercorns (to taste) in the bottom of the jar. Recipe said to wash and dry it first. Drying it seemed strange but we did it.

Image

Looks kind of murky but it sure smelled good!

Image

The recipe said to put the asparagus in the jar tip down for best results. It called for a sprig of fresh dill. Didn’t get a shot but we tied that in cheesecloth and tucked it on top, then weighted it with a baggie of salt water and put another baggie over it as usual. Recipe promised we didn’t need any pickle crisp to keep them crunchy so we did not use any. They ARE crunchy too! Think I already posted a shot of the finished asparagus. I could have liked it with some hot pepper in it too but it is yummy as it is! The asparagus taste shines through, the garlic and dill are surprisingly good with it. Couldn’t taste the pepper really but it surely added something? Might crush them a little next time?

Image

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:56 am


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 21, 2017 rj5156 0

Found some frozen tamales at Sam’s Club. Cooked us up a nice mexican dinner!

Image

Image

Product review. We love cilantro! Hard to keep it fresh. May try fermenting some, it does not dry well either. Meantime, keeping a tube of this stuff in the fridge is a great compromise. It tastes wonderful!

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:47 am


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 19, 2017 rj5156 0

The dry goods business is not very interesting… When I got started on the spices I got a nasty surprise. Brand new bottle of mace I found on sale, never been used. The new cardboard seals on the new and improved flip-top jars have not been sealed very well. I am underwhelmed and irritated. We have just about finished replacing our spice collection and to have something go bad before we can even use it is a major bummer!

Image

Tried to get a shot showing the clumped mess in the bottle. Very sad.

Image

This arrangement is not going to work. We do fight some with humidity and I am not planning to lose any more spices. Individually they may not cost much (though some sure do!) but the collection is pretty expensive overall!

Image

It took me another day but I got them ALL sealed in jars under just light vacuum. Won’t be finding rocks of tomato powder, garlic powder, etc. now! We might not own every spice and herb known yet, but we are closing in on it. We really love to use them too.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:20 pm


No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 19, 2017 rj5156 0

The dry goods business is not very interesting… When I got started on the spices I got a nasty surprise. Brand new bottle of mace I found on sale, never been used. The new cardboard seals on the new and improved flip-top jars have not been sealed very well. I am underwhelmed and irritated. We have just about finished replacing our spice collection and to have something go bad before we can even use it is a major bummer!

Image

Tried to get a shot showing the clumped mess in the bottle. Very sad.

Image

This arrangement is not going to work. We do fight some with humidity and I am not planning to lose any more spices. Individually they may not cost much (though some sure do!) but the collection is pretty expensive overall!

Image

It took me another day but I got them ALL sealed in jars under just light vacuum. Won’t be finding rocks of tomato powder, garlic powder, etc. now! We might not own every spice and herb known yet, but we are closing in on it. We really love to use them too.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:20 pm


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 19, 2017 rj5156 0

It took Gabby a couple weeks to get back up to speed. She was not even interested in food at first. Tom does not especially like dogfood but he is helping Gabby be interested here.

Image

And being company with her while she eats it. He has come a long ways since he arrived here. He is not just tolerating the dogs, now they are friends. I was thankful. We had not been able to coax her to eat anything ourselves.

Image

She finally tucked in like she liked it, and Tom left her to it.

Image

Everyone was worried about Gabby. Rambo is just touching her with his paw here, that’s about as much as she can stand. They would all love to get her down and wallow her but she does NOT think that is fun!

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:19 pm


No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 19, 2017 rj5156 0

It took Gabby a couple weeks to get back up to speed. She was not even interested in food at first. Tom does not especially like dogfood but he is helping Gabby be interested here.

Image

And being company with her while she eats it. He has come a long ways since he arrived here. He is not just tolerating the dogs, now they are friends. I was thankful. We had not been able to coax her to eat anything ourselves.

Image

She finally tucked in like she liked it, and Tom left her to it.

Image

Everyone was worried about Gabby. Rambo is just touching her with his paw here, that’s about as much as she can stand. They would all love to get her down and wallow her but she does NOT think that is fun!

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:19 pm


No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 19, 2017 rj5156 0

Thought we were losing our Gabby dog a couple weeks ago. She slept for days, we actually had to pick her up to move her and she slept through it. We thought she was just shutting down. She IS ancient. She got back up. Tom was an unexpected ally and helped coax her to eat. Now she is back to her usual self! Amazing.

Image

Hanging out with her friends.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:17 pm


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 19, 2017 rj5156 0

Thought we were losing our Gabby dog a couple weeks ago. She slept for days, we actually had to pick her up to move her and she slept through it. We thought she was just shutting down. She IS ancient. She got back up. Tom was an unexpected ally and helped coax her to eat. Now she is back to her usual self! Amazing.

Image

Hanging out with her friends.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:17 pm


No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 12, 2017 rj5156 0

What’s up at our place.

Squaw root
Conopholis americana
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Mushroom hunters probably recognize this one. It grows as a parasite on oak roots, does not photosynthesize. It is reported to be edible, and used for women’s troubles, hence the common name.

Image

Image

Lots more info here:

http://www.psu.edu/dept/nkbiology/natur … wroot.html

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:37 am


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 12, 2017 rj5156 0

What’s up at our place.

Squaw root
Conopholis americana
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Mushroom hunters probably recognize this one. It grows as a parasite on oak roots, does not photosynthesize. It is reported to be edible, and used for women’s troubles, hence the common name.

Image

Image

Lots more info here:

http://www.psu.edu/dept/nkbiology/natur … wroot.html

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:37 am


No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 12, 2017 rj5156 0

Feverfew
Tanacetum parthenium L.
Asteraceae

Feverfew is already getting big!

Image

It is a member of the aster family and allergies are fairly common. It should not be used by those taking aspirin or blood thinners. I took this, dried in capsules, three each day, for many years. I never had a migraine while taking it and had them often without it. Doesn’t seem to work for everyone. As a bonus it helped my arthritis and PMS. I finally outgrew migraines, mostly. I may have one once or twice a year now. I did stop taking it daily some years ago. It is said to help with migraines even in the acute phase. Next time I have one I will try that and let you know how it works for me. Number of other uses listed on this site:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210009/

I will save seeds to share this year. Post about what I get collected when I get it done.

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:35 am


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 12, 2017 rj5156 0

Feverfew
Tanacetum parthenium L.
Asteraceae

Feverfew is already getting big!

Image

It is a member of the aster family and allergies are fairly common. It should not be used by those taking aspirin or blood thinners. I took this, dried in capsules, three each day, for many years. I never had a migraine while taking it and had them often without it. Doesn’t seem to work for everyone. As a bonus it helped my arthritis and PMS. I finally outgrew migraines, mostly. I may have one once or twice a year now. I did stop taking it daily some years ago. It is said to help with migraines even in the acute phase. Next time I have one I will try that and let you know how it works for me. Number of other uses listed on this site:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210009/

I will save seeds to share this year. Post about what I get collected when I get it done.

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:35 am


No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 11, 2017 rj5156 0

I am closing in on the techie stuff. Got all our devices talking bluetooth except the iphone, which will not do that. At least I can get the photos off the phone and onto a computer. Got most of the accounts I need for all the google play and istore and so on set up. Not managed to get an itunes account set up yet and we probably need to set up a shared account at some point.

Think I have all my usual sites with login and password info going again. Not gotten the cloud stuff going but I think it’s on the list. I DO have google drive, we’ve got some dropbox and airdrop stuff that would help us share data and info between our phones and computers that neither of us has set up yet but it’s on the list. Still trying to get processed to go ad-free with photobucket. Hacking up hairballs over that one but surely if I persist I can get there.

Ordered a micro USB to standard USB adapter. Should let me use a thumb drive in almost all our devices. I am learning to save things to the thumb dive each time for backup. Lot faster than trying to remember which device I used to do something and find a file on it later. Saves time doing backups too.

Got a bluetooth keyboard. Works great. Happy with that. Evaluating book readers. Kindle is pretty darned nosy about what it wants access to. Of course I have NO data on the device I want to put the reader on so it’s only a matter of principle. Still.

Brian has discovered itunes and apps. Think he finally got the topographical map of the ENTIRE United States downloaded. He’s getting quite an eclectic music selection too. He sent the Syd bird into dancing and singing transports of joy with his new bluetooth speaker Sunday. Don’t think he’d ever experienced the sing-along cockatoo. He’s running on the three month free trial and didn’t think to set it up for the family sharing. He gets frustrated with it fairly quickly too…

I am trying to warm up to the iphone. I may have figured out how to send a text to my Mother on my iphone without having to set up an email address today. THAT has been driving me nuts.

Found the iHandy Carpenter apps and now own the set, ruler, protractor, carpenter’s level, surface level and plum bob. Brian will be jealous. Syd is right. That DOES make it better! Starting to shop me some tunes for the first time since DRM started. I used to buy music online.

See if I can get a propitiatory cords and for jacking the audio out. Looking more seriously at bluetooth speakers myself because the small one Brian got so he can hear his phone for GPS directions and such really impressed me a lot. Like some BIG ones, at least a pair of them. And some mid-size and some smaller ones, and high shelves around the house to put them on. I grew up with a real house-shaking, neighbor irritating sound system and I can sure enjoy me some LOUD!!!

Wondering if anything I’ve got will talk with the new gadgets.
I’ve been right there on computer sound for a lot of years and only lost track of that in recent years when the music industry started with that Digital Rights Management nonsense and I could not transfer my music between devices without downgrading it.

Kicking and screaming into the modern day technology.

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:07 pm


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 11, 2017 rj5156 0

The catnip is up. I have had plenty of “help” as I work outside! Smoky is working on it here.

Image

Fidget is not usually interested in outside projects, beyond laying comfortably in the shade. She’s a big fan of catnip though!

Image

We ALWAYS have a cat on “patrol”. It is like they take turns napping so someone is always on lookout. They do not miss a squirrel cracking a twig or a bird rustling a leaf either. Most of them actually puff up like a basketball, growl and carry on if anything they disapprove of – like cars driving on the road – is going on. Smoky has not been approved for guard duty to this point but she might be included this year?

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:40 pm


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 11, 2017 rj5156 0

Since it is officially spring, and I cannot resist a great clearance sale… I was not going to plant much of anything this year, beyond the medicinal herbs. The scope of that project is still really huge. Been saving my pennies and working on what I think we really need and I think I’ll still have something near a $500 order (including shipping from Canada). Going to grow a good number of them from seeds, or try to.

I do have a special place in my heart for the traditional spring bloomers though. I had quit trying because Rambo dug them up and brought the bulbs to me for several years. I have always planted them where we can see them out the window. Syd monitors them and seems to enjoy reporting to us about them. She is watching for the hummingbirds now. Won’t be long! She tells us right away when she spots them too. Usually at high volume…

Image

He’s too old and lazy for that now so I put them in a tub to enjoy now and will move them out with the sedums (planted behind and to the right of where the tub of flowers is actually sitting) when they are done for the spring. Something to look forward to next spring!

Image

It sure is cheery to sit here looking out the window with traditional spring blooming bulbs, the dobwood and redbud blooming down the ravine, green leaves just coming on the trees and our clear view of the green valley below still open enough to enjoy. See if I can get a shot of that before it fills in for summer.

A close up. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:31 pm


No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 11, 2017 rj5156 0

It is officially spring!!! We do spoil our toads. Most of them like to be held and petted. Especially when it’s still cool out! All the creatures love Brian. He reported that these guys didn’t even pee on him!

Image

Wondering if this is a Solomon’s Seal, or a false one? Watch it and see.

Image

Close-up of the blooms. Pretty!

Image

Applemint we planted in a big pot last year. It’s the first one up and if I remember to cut it I may get several harvests from it this year.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:19 pm


No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 11, 2017 rj5156 0

We found asparagus cheap, cheap. Got two pounds. Steamed one and ate it right away! Found a recipe to ferment the rest. Tips down, 1 tablespoon of non-iodized salt per quart of filtered water, think we used 10 or 12 cloves of smashed garlic and an entire pack of fresh dill from walmart. Added the dill several days into it, put it in a piece of cheesecloth and shoved it in the top, covered it all back up and let it run another week.

Here it is a couple days ago. Just about suits us. Let it go a couple more days, I’ll take the weight bag out, remove the dill and tuck it in the fridge today or tomorrow. Wonderful crunch! Classic garlic / dill flavor! Gotta get an asparagus bed in for sure!

Image

This is why stetting up a desktop computer is a problem right now. I have pretty much filled the prep table in front of the windows with the desktop and accessories today and there just has not been room for that with what I’ve been doing. I work in stages, rotate around through the day. Asking a lot of my poor, sore hands, with prepping the ground for the Richter’s herb order and hand-sealing jars with the brake bleeder. Our chamber type sealer doesn’t really adjust for lower vacuums. It has not done anything pretty with powdered stuff either, no matter what I try.

I am only pulling maybe 8 inches of mercury on the small jars and I increase it as the jar size goes up but for short-term I’m not going for anything over 20. The vacuum sealer pulls 28. I cannot remove the lids reasonably at that and do not think it is necessary for what I’m doing now. I want something that is easy to use and reseal. Once this is done it will be a walk in the park to keep it up. Meantime, it is an unbelievable mess! Closing in on it. Once I see how big the pile is in various categories we’ll be on our way to figuring out what we need for a place to put it!

Here I’m working on our bulk herbs. Most of those came double bagged, clear plastic inside mylar. Very durable storage but not very usable. I am filling quarter pint jars of things we’ll use everyday, quarts and half gallons for things like herb teas and longer-term storage of bulk herbs.

Image

It takes a while. Some fun and games with “will it fit?” entertain the cockatoo.

Image

I am decent at the game but still lose sometimes. Object is to get the jars as full as possible – without having anything left over. I already sealed a quarter pint jar of white pepper and the rest of the pack went into a pint and a half jar. Just.

Image

Buying herbs by the pound and storing them by volume has been a crapshoot. A pound of ground pepper is not nearly so much volume as a pound of whole peppercorns. We do try to shop accordingly but when it is only a couple dollars more to get a pound than a smaller amount, we tend to cave and get the better value.

We are using half-gallon, quart, pint and a half, half pint and quarter pint jar sizes. All of them in other words. Half-gallon is quite big enough. We can use bags and buckets for larger volumes. Looking at that but we are not ready for that phase yet.

I am starting to think about inventorying it. We never got that collected before but it is looking like it might help us buy in bulk, much less often.

Thinking three jars on their side is a good use of a cabinet division. We can slot the cabinets so we can move shelves and dividers of course, and it will be a lot easier to do from the start than it would have to go back and change it later.

Recall we were just about ready to take on some finish work in our home, including building kitchen cabinets, when we had the fire. Perhaps it is better we did not get that done. Think we’ll be happier with what we get in the end? We will just live with what we have for a while and see how it shakes out. Get an idea for what we use most often and how much of it we go through.

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:12 pm


No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 11, 2017 rj5156 0

Rambo is the beloved kitty dog. We have no idea why. Cleo crept up on him when he was sleeping soundly. She wriggled in and got all comfy between his legs with her furry little butt tucked snugly against his chest.

Rambo does not love quite that much closeness which is why Cleo just waits until he is asleep. I thought I was going to get a picture but Rambo heard me and woke up. He lifted one leg off Cleo and scooted away some. Cleo wasn’t giving it up easily. She scooted right along with him!

Image

Still working on pictures with Syd bird. Gave her a piece of chicken to keep her busy, thought I’d snap a quick picture.

Image

Syd has not dropped the chicken, but she’s moving in on the camera.

Image

She’s still got the chicken. And she is licking the camera. Sigh.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:50 pm


No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 11, 2017 rj5156 0

Brian found a harness that fits Tom better. We have been practicing with him, trying it on, making over him some, taking it off. He had his maiden outing Sunday! We got him all gussied up and carried him out the door, around to the window we leave open for the cats when it is nice out. He needs to know how to get back IN if he does decide to go outside. Rambo came along to be company. Sheba, Cleo and Fidget hopped in and out the window while he watched.

Image

Honestly Tom was not excited about going out. Nor was he thrilled to be out. It was just ok. Mostly he wanted back in. He’s lived pretty rough in his earlier years, he arrived as a young adult cat and skulked around the barn until Brian’s Dad befriended him. He never liked being shut in. He showed up for catfood and social hour but he ran pretty hard. Maybe the beating he took slowed him down. He says he is a house cat now! I think he will change his mind when we are cooking something wonderful on the grill and eating out in the yard. We’ll see.

Image

Don’t think I’ve done a Checkers update in a while. Checkers inspects EVERYTHING! Here he is checking out the open tube frame of a good-size build.

Image

He went all the way through of course. No one was fast enough to get a shot of him coming out the other end. Another way to clean out the inside of stuff?

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:44 pm


No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 11, 2017 rj5156 0

Tom is still creeping up on Smoky. This is as close as he has EVER gotten to her without Smoky having hysterics. Recall Tom is ORANGE and Velcro, our orange tomcat, has been pretty strict with Smoky’s bad attitude and manners. Smoky HATES to be looked at. She fuzzes up and wails at us if we look at her! Tom is fascinated with her.

Image

He has figured out she hates to be looked at though. He looks politely away pretty quickly. Smoky just leaves if he doesn’t.

Image

Tom keeps walking just a little bit closer past Smoky. He lays as close as he can, without spooking her. He is just dying to play with her of course.

Image

She’s having none of THAT! So he looks away and pretends he does not notice her.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:36 pm


No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 7, 2017 rj5156 0

Using 1\2 and 1\4 pint jars for herb and spices. Pulling 6-8 inches of mercury. Dry herbs keep a long time in optimum conditions. See if a light vacuum extends shelf life. I can get a spoon in the jars and they fit nicely in space we have. They make clips that hold jars by the top ring. A shelf with a rail to keep them in place would work too.

Image

Got room for a couple rows all along. Need to look at under cabinet lighting before we invest much effort in it. Make sure we keep it all accessible.

Image

Got 3 1\8 inches here. Found some hardwood narrow rolling shelves that will fit with a little modification. Could tuck a lot of spices in that!

Image

Got 6 3\4 inches here. Again I found some narrow rolling shelves that would work. Face them with stainless or wood to match the cabinets and it should be chipmunk proof!

Image

This is largely still in rough planning stages. Thoughts and ideas are most welcome and appreciated!

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:51 pm


No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 7, 2017 rj5156 0

Making real progress but it sure feels slow. Vacuum sealer sure is handy where it is. Towel covering it was destined for laundry that day. Thought I had it all tidied up for the shot too!

Image

Loving the stainless toolboxes for base cabinets! Peek in a couple drawers.

Image

Works well for all the baggies and wraps and such.

Image

Again this was taken a few days ago. I have made considerable progress since then.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:29 pm


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 7, 2017 rj5156 0

The “before” shot. We never got our food storage organized again after the fire, largely because we felt it was better to replace it in stages over time. I still think it was the way to do it but we got bugs in the pantry, first time that ever happened to me. Last time too. That’s why the vacuum sealed jars. It has been a dreadful mess. This is the last of the job. Our deep pantry storage was sealed as we got it, so we did not lose much overall.

Image

Haven’t been able to find boxes to fit under our bed for canned and dry good storage so I cut some down. Not willing to invest much in it because we are looking for a bed frame with built-in drawers. Bet we will have a hard time finding one that will take the load we want to put in it but we still hope!

Image

We got our first microwave recently. Thinking about where we might want it permanently. It is perfect for Brian on top of the little RV fridge. May leave it there. Just grouping like items in the milk crates on the shelves now. Kitchen towels and linens get to live in a drawer eventually.

Once we get through it all and see what we have we will be able to think about how to lay out upper cabinets to store it most efficiently and effectively. Looking at Rev-a-Shelf products. Since we know we have to build it to get what we want we might as well have exactly what we want!

Image

Found industrial food service shelves to replace the white plastic set. Some lazy susan’s will make the bottom shelves useful. Webstaurant’s online store is actually far cheaper than any other place even with shipping and they carry sizes we could not find otherwise too. When we see what we need we will have them shipped to the shop, business addresses get a nice break on shipping costs.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:16 pm


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 7, 2017 rj5156 0

The “before” shot. We never got our food storage organized again after the fire, largely because we felt it was better to replace it in stages over time. I still think it was the way to do it but we got bugs in the pantry, first time that ever happened to me. Last time too. That’s why the vacuum sealed jars. It has been a dreadful mess. This is the last of the job. Our deep pantry storage was sealed as we got it, so we did not lose much overall.

Image

Haven’t been able to find boxes to fit under our bed for canned and dry good storage so I cut some down. Not willing to invest much in it because we are looking for a bed frame with built-in drawers. Bet we will have a hard time finding one that will take the load we want to put in it but we still hope!

Image

We got our first microwave recently. Thinking about where we might want it permanently. It is perfect for Brian on top of the little RV fridge. May leave it there. Just grouping like items in the milk crates on the shelves now. Kitchen towels and linens get to live in a drawer eventually.

Once we get through it all and see what we have we will be able to think about how to lay out upper cabinets to store it most efficiently and effectively. Looking at Rev-a-Shelf products. Since we know we have to build it to get what we want we might as well have exactly what we want!

Image

Found industrial food service shelves to replace the white plastic set. Some lazy susan’s will make the bottom shelves useful. Webstaurant’s online store is actually far cheaper than any other place even with shipping and they carry sizes we could not find otherwise too. When we see what we need we will have them shipped to the shop, business addresses get a nice break on shipping costs.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Fri Apr 07, 2017 6:16 pm


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 7, 2017 rj5156 0

This is all from the three top stainless boxes on the left of the wood stove. Peek in a few drawers. Recall the bases are in the kitchen, pics of work there coming next. Got all the coffee, hot chocolate and such in here.

Image

Cups and hot pads in a shallower drawer beside the one shown above.

Image

Baking pans.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:43 pm


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 7, 2017 rj5156 0

This is all from the three top stainless boxes on the left of the wood stove. Peek in a few drawers. Recall the bases are in the kitchen, pics of work there coming next. Got all the coffee, hot chocolate and such in here.

Image

Cups and hot pads in a shallower drawer beside the one shown above.

Image

Baking pans.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:43 pm


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 7, 2017 rj5156 0

Plugging along with the kitchen again. Got a stack of materials to build cabinets if we can decide what we want. Found wire food service shelving that will fit in between the two shelves above the wood stove. Want a place to keep our cast iron and this looks promising. It is available in several heights, 14″ X 24″ shelves. Need to spread out the collection and make sure we do not overload the weight limit. Probably should leave some room to grow? Might find another piece or two we think we need yet.

Also found an industrial food service corner shelf that might be helpful in the corner to the left of the wood stove, beside the toolboxes. Thinking about that. Using a smaller set to organize dry goods in Mason jars as I get them vacuum sealed. Once that is finished we will evaluate the corner. Folding table in the corner needs to live in the laundry area but it has seen a lot of use in the kitchen as we’re working. The folding step-stool gives me easy access to all the top shelves and the loft area too. It needs to live in the kitchen area permanently!

Planning to leave open shelves here. May change our minds later? Sure is handy as it is.

Image

This was last week. I have gotten more done here since but you get the idea.

Image

Using painters tape for labels. This is mostly fairly short-term storage stuff, dry pantry goods and spices. Refills for the in-use dry goods already stowed in the prep area. More on that shortly.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:29 pm


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 7, 2017 rj5156 0

Plugging along with the kitchen again. Got a stack of materials to build cabinets if we can decide what we want. Found wire food service shelving that will fit in between the two shelves above the wood stove. Want a place to keep our cast iron and this looks promising. It is available in several heights, 14″ X 24″ shelves. Need to spread out the collection and make sure we do not overload the weight limit. Probably should leave some room to grow? Might find another piece or two we think we need yet.

Also found an industrial food service corner shelf that might be helpful in the corner to the left of the wood stove, beside the toolboxes. Thinking about that. Using a smaller set to organize dry goods in Mason jars as I get them vacuum sealed. Once that is finished we will evaluate the corner. Folding table in the corner needs to live in the laundry area but it has seen a lot of use in the kitchen as we’re working. The folding step-stool gives me easy access to all the top shelves and the loft area too. It needs to live in the kitchen area permanently!

Planning to leave open shelves here. May change our minds later? Sure is handy as it is.

Image

This was last week. I have gotten more done here since but you get the idea.

Image

Using painters tape for labels. This is mostly fairly short-term storage stuff, dry pantry goods and spices. Refills for the in-use dry goods already stowed in the prep area. More on that shortly.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Fri Apr 07, 2017 5:29 pm


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 6, 2017 rj5156 0

Goji Berries. We disliked them. Might taste better in a dryer year? Jelly? Dried? If all else fails we can always make wine!

Image

St. John’s Wort is coming up! Used for herpes and depression in Europe.

Image

Nice variety of sedums. Many are medicinally useful. Not checked into that yet. Planted them where they will brighten the view out the north windows year round. Should be evergreen now they are well established?

Sedum

Image

Sedum

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:02 pm


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 6, 2017 rj5156 0

Goji Berries. We disliked them. Might taste better in a dryer year? Jelly? Dried? If all else fails we can always make wine!

Image

St. John’s Wort is coming up! Used for herpes and depression in Europe.

Image

Nice variety of sedums. Many are medicinally useful. Not checked into that yet. Planted them where they will brighten the view out the north windows year round. Should be evergreen now they are well established?

Sedum

Image

Sedum

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Thu Apr 06, 2017 6:02 pm


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 6, 2017 rj5156 0

Cilantro volunteering in a bucket. Actually got four buckets but I only took a picture of one. Might get enough to try stuff with it! May toss seeds out in places we will use for other things later. Cilantro is done by the time it is warm enough for tomatoes and peppers. Found a related plant that is heat loving. Think I’ll order seeds and see how it does. Said to taste like amped up cilantro. Sounds good to me!

Image

Wild Mint. Dug it up in the woods and planted it in a bucket last year. Just in case. Mint can get out of hand fast. Keeping it in pots stops that for us. Limits harvests too but we are fine with that trade-off.

Image

Catnip. It is in the sedum bed. Needs to move!

Image

Oregano in a tub.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:56 pm


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 6, 2017 rj5156 0

Cilantro volunteering in a bucket. Actually got four buckets but I only took a picture of one. Might get enough to try stuff with it! May toss seeds out in places we will use for other things later. Cilantro is done by the time it is warm enough for tomatoes and peppers. Found a related plant that is heat loving. Think I’ll order seeds and see how it does. Said to taste like amped up cilantro. Sounds good to me!

Image

Wild Mint. Dug it up in the woods and planted it in a bucket last year. Just in case. Mint can get out of hand fast. Keeping it in pots stops that for us. Limits harvests too but we are fine with that trade-off.

Image

Catnip. It is in the sedum bed. Needs to move!

Image

Oregano in a tub.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:56 pm


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 6, 2017 rj5156 0

Got photo editing / resizing going on everything maybe. Photobucket app is good. Think it might already be worth the ongoing nuisance and cussing.

What’s up at our house.

Mullein. Dried flowers traditionally infused in oil, later strained. Oil used for ear problems. Flower head dried and used for coughs.

Image

Mystery plant from last year. Gotta be a daisy

Image

Spring Beauty. Native wildflower. Root tubers are edible but it would be a lot of work to get many! We work around the native volunteers.

Image

French Sorrel. Tastes like sour clover. Used as lemon juice. Also the main ingredient in a famous french soup.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:31 pm


Image

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 6, 2017 rj5156 0

Got photo editing / resizing going on everything maybe. Photobucket app is good. Think it might already be worth the ongoing nuisance and cussing.

What’s up at our house.

Mullein. Dried flowers traditionally infused in oil, later strained. Oil used for ear problems. Flower head dried and used for coughs.

Image

Mystery plant from last year. Gotta be a daisy

Image

Spring Beauty. Native wildflower. Root tubers are edible but it would be a lot of work to get many! We work around the native volunteers.

Image

French Sorrel. Tastes like sour clover. Used as lemon juice. Also the main ingredient in a famous french soup.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Thu Apr 06, 2017 5:31 pm


No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 6, 2017 rj5156 0

640 x 480 resolution fails. As does the resizing program that only offers preset sizes. Trying again.

Storing herbs. Dry herbs keep a very long time when stored properly. Using a light vacuum to improve shelf life. We have been buying herbs and spices at the Mexican grocery, looking them up and trying them. We just search anything we do not recognize and find a wealth of information online. So far they are all good!

Some are clearly medicinal herbs and we have been looking those up too. I am trying to find books for reference of course. Pretty discouraging, especially hard to find books about medicinal herbs and even books about cooking herbs are not impressing me much.

Like starting over. When I was in my early teens I was buying all the books I could find about medicinal and edible uses of our native plants and they were sure few and far between. I was fortunate because my folks loved to read. They actually took us to bookstores, had a library card and took us regularly to use it, and ordered those little magazInes with listings of books for sale by mail order.

It was slim pickings though. Just wasn’t much out there. I hand printed every nugget I found into my native wildflower identification book and searched for years to find useful and edible wild plants.

This lifelong quest lured me to college when I was in my 30s. I devoured books I found in their library – and there were not many. I cross-referenced them with my wildflower identification book and hand printed more info into it. I ordered my own copies of every book on the topic that was useful to me.

As the internet took form and started to grow I found more reference books about plants as medicine with the scientific studies and chemical information I sought. I majored in science in hopes of a career in pharmacy because our medicine DOES come from plants and we were wiping out plants to make medicine. I took botany and a wildflower identification course so I could be SURE I had the right plant before I ate it.

I studied German too because they were leading the world in plant medicine research and their medicines have to prove out more effective than the plants they came from or they just use the plants. Medicine is available to all who need it in Germany too, not just those who can afford exorbitant costs, with those in most need left to die as we do in America.

I hoped to immigrate to Germany and was well on my way when Dad asked me if I would like to work with him. He offered to build a sheet metal shop if I would work it and the rest is history of course. We built and worked the shop together and I planted my medicinal herbs in the yard.

Today it feels like I am 12 again, searching for information that is not readily available. I have found a few useful things. An overview of traditional medicinal herbs used in Mexico on a grocery site lacks the chemical and scientific information I REALLY want but it is a good start and I think I will print it since I cannot find it to buy:

http://www.mexgrocer.com/home-remedies.html#

I also found a historic document on the topic has been reprinted. I want the hardback of course but it is out of stock and the review of the paperback is better:

https://www.amazon.com/Materia-Medica-Mexicana-Mexican-Medicinal/dp/1332021980

I am sure my Plants for a Future database will be much help. I bought the database on CD and paid the business rate to support the project but the info is free online. We also bought several books about edible landscaping and such from them and are very pleased with the works. Here is a link to their search page:

http://www.pfaf.org/user/plantsearch.aspx

What I have learned over the years is that no single work is going to answer all my questions and some of the work always has to be done the hard way, using multiple resources and combining the information into a useful field document. I do have wildflower and medicinal herbs identification books for every region of the US and hope to find some of the plants listed there.

Just getting the Latin names for South American traditional plants in English may be something of a challenge but at least it should be possible. I have a collection of herbal reference materials that puts any library I have ever visited to shame and some of it is only available in digital form. I may print it out but getting the plants growing in our yard is a much higher priority at the moment. May still get lucky and find what I want in print?

Most South American herbs will grow as annuals here. Many Chinese herbs are quite happy in our climate. I am come to realize this is a journey, not a destination. We strive to EAT the herbs in nutritious, delicious food dishes. We keep adding to our diet

We are working to find better ways to store and preserve herb medicines, this is what the wine business is all about. I still hope to live long enough to do some studies with comparative chemical analysis of preservation methods, soil bacteria and plant symbiosis, hydroponic growing on a small scale and perhaps selective breeding methods to improve medicinal qualities.

Brian is surprisingly knowledgeable about all levels of the concepts and has contributed much beyond just supporting my strange interests. He is my fellow food adventurer too. Lot of folks say “Eww! I’m not eating THAT!” Brian says “I’ve never tried that, we’d better get some!”

Edit to add: Found a more comprehensive listing of cooking herbs and uses:

http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/2187-a-culinary-guide-to-mexican-herbs-las-hierbas-de-cocina

Here we go!

https://www.amazon.com/Mexican-Kitchen-Garden-Ethnic-Hardcover/dp/B011W9GZBA

Left to right, top to bottom, like reading a book:

Tamarind, Hibiscus, Cuachalalate, Santa Leaves, Avocado Leaves, Gordolobo, Linden Flower, Arnica, Estafiate, Seven Blossoms, Rose Buds, Epazote, Boldo, Allspice, Guaje Beans.

Image

Sealed in the usual manner. Only pulled 8-12 inches of Mercury on the small jars though.

Image

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:06 pm


No Picture

Stories and Fiction • Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

April 6, 2017 rj5156 0

Oh yeah. The photo series shows building a lift arm for an inspection station. Honestly it is like making parts for anything. Parts is parts if they go on an old car, farm equipment or a new build. They go past so fast and we may or may not even see it all together. I do well to know what color it is or will be but have been asking on some stuff so I could tell you what it is!

Looks like I can get all this figured out. Bear with me, think it is worth all the frustration? I can carry ya’ll around in my pocket now, how cool is that!?

Statistics: Posted by rj5156 — Thu Apr 06, 2017 2:14 pm