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Friday, November 27, 2009

Big John's Radio Show

I have some exciting news, I am going to be a guest on Big John Libscomb's radio show. The date and time are December 14th (Monday) at 7pm central time.  We will be discussing homesteading, our life as lived 100% off grid in the high desert mountains of far west Texas. It's a call in show too, so call in if you want to ask me anything.

I feel so honored that Big John wants me on his show, I "found" Big John just after his last radio show went off air, I was disappointed that he was going away, but figured he had good reasons for it. Now it seems that Big John is ready to start that back up again, I am thrilled that this is happening and that I will be a part of this too.

Thanks Big John! :)




All written text and audio podcast from this blog are copyrighted and owned by Wretha unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved, You may download or copy for your own personal enjoyment., but please do not distribute (text or audio) without written permission.

Wretha,
properly pronounced wreetha (included for the text reader),

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I Am Thankful

This is going to be a short list, culled from the long list of things I am thankful for.

In no particular order

I am thankful for my relationship with God,
I am thankful that I met Bob and he is in my life,
I am thankful that most of my family is alive and well,
I am thankful for my little dog, Pekoe,
I am thankful that I am getting to live the life I want to live,
I am thankful that I have everything I need,
I am thankful that I (generally) have everything I want,
I am thankful that Bob and I are healthy and generally happy,
I am thankful that we have enough food to eat,
I am thankful that we have really great friends (both cyber and real),
I am thankful that I am able to find more than enough work and still have time to do the other things I want/need to do,
I am thankful that, in spite of how screwed up this country may be getting, that I still live in the best country in the world (JMHO),

I am also thankful for each and everyone of you who take time out of your day to visit this blog and read about my life, I appreciate each and every one of you. :)

Of course there is more to be thankful for, so what are you thankful for???

Happy ThanksGiving, Turkey Day, T-Day, TG-Day and all that.




All written text and audio podcast from this blog are copyrighted and owned by Wretha unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved, You may download or copy for your own personal enjoyment., but please do not distribute (text or audio) without written permission.

Wretha,
properly pronounced wreetha (included for the text reader),

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A "Real" Job?

I have to say that I LOVE my little bug, there is nothing like driving someone elses car for a day to make me realize how great my rattly, bone jarring, bouncy little bug is. :)

Yesterday I had to go into town, something I don't do very often. I usually bum a ride with someone when I have to go into town, right now my bug is not street legal, no tags, no inspection so I can't drive it outside the neighborhood (all the roads where I live are private roads so one can drive anything in any condition, legal or not)... I was loaned a truck to go into town.

Now as to why I had to go into town... I actually had a job interview, gasp!. The interview and paperwork were merely a formality, I was hired before I ever got there. One of the ladies who lives nearby is going in for back surgery, she will need someone to come in for a couple of hours a day to do the things that she will not be able to do until she is healed up, She asked me if I wanted to do it, she said I would get paid an hourly wage, I said "sure". All it will entail is cooking meals, dishes, laundry, general straightening up, and any physical help she may need.

She loaned me her truck to drive into town to do the interview and paperwork with the home care agency she uses. She told me that I could do any shopping I needed while in town, so I did. I hit several stores, the dollar store, the grocery store and the hardware store. Stocked up on some essentials and came home. It was dark when I got home so I kept the truck at my house overnight, it's not a good idea to drive around where I live after it gets dark, it's rare to find any of the locals driving around either once the sun goes down. The reason is because of the animals, deer, donkeys and other critters that move around in the dark, if you hit one, it will tear your car up, not to mention if something goes wrong, you break down, it's going to be a long, dark, cold walk home, not something I relish doing.

I just got back from taking the truck back and getting my bug. Again I say, I love my bug, it works so well out here on these mountainous dirt roads, I am sitting much closer to the ground (I used to drive a mid-sized and a full sized truck, so I don't mind sitting up high), plus feeling like I have more control for turning and stopping makes me feel so much more secure while driving.

So after my friend has her surgery, I'll be "employed" for a while, making a real paycheck with taxes being taken out and everything. The taxes coming out will be a good thing, I do claim my "barter" that I get from the Country Store, with the changes in the tax laws, I don't know if I would have to pay in this year, so having taxes coming out night offset that.

I don't know how long I'll be doing this "job", for now it's 21.5 hours a week, so it will not interfere with working at the Country Store. My friend told me that she qualifies for home care now, and would continue to qualify after the surgery, so it seems that I can do this for as long as I want to, so we will play it by ear for now.

Did I mention that I love my bug?




All written text and audio podcast from this blog are copyrighted and owned by Wretha unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved, You may download or copy for your own personal enjoyment., but please do not distribute (text or audio) without written permission.

Wretha,
properly pronounced wreetha (included for the text reader),

Thanks for visiting!

Warning - Politics Ahead

I do not want FORCED health care coverage, I do not want nationalized health care, especially if we are all forced to take it under penalty of fines and jail time, I don't care what they call it, I call it wrong to make me a criminal because I choose not to participate in this folly, The funny thing is I would be in the lowest financial group and would probably get my coverage subsidized, I would benefit from this, but I don't want it, I don't want to be forced to take it.

It would seem that the congress is exempt from this "wonderful" coverage, they get to keep their own cushy health care, one congressman thought that was wrong. If this nationalized health care is so great for all Americans, then the congress should also have to take this coverage. The following I received from Bruce Hopkins from http://www.internet-grocer.net

HR 615
On Tuesday, the Senate health committee voted 12-11 in favor of a two-page amendment, courtesy of Republican Tom Coburn which would require all Members of Congress and their staff members to enroll in any new government-run health plan.
 

Congressman John Fleming has proposed an amendment that would require Congressmen and Senators to take the same health care plan that they would force on us. (Under current proposed legislation, they are exempt.)
 

Congressman Fleming is encouraging people to go to his Website and sign his petition.  The process is very simple.  I have done just that at:
     http://fleming.house.gov/index.html .

Senator Coburn and Congressman Fleming are both physicians.  Regardless of your political beliefs, it sure seems reasonable that Congress should have exactly the same medical coverage that they impose on the rest of us.

Please urge as many people as you can to do the same!


I signed it, no matter what your political affiliation is, don't you think this is a good idea? Thank you Congressman Fleming.



All written text and audio podcast from this blog are copyrighted and owned by Wretha unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved, You may download or copy for your own personal enjoyment., but please do not distribute (text or audio) without written permission.

Wretha,
properly pronounced wreetha (included for the text reader),

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Great (Pinto) Bean Experiment

Tuesday
I ground about 6 pounds of dry, uncooked pinto beans. The idea is to cut down the cooking time. I ground them using a heavy, cast iron corn grinder. So I ground the beans in batches, first I picked the beans, if you have never cooked beans like this, you'd be shocked at what ends up in the package with the beans... rocks, dirt clods, mystery beans, corn, bug eaten beans, mystery seeds, bits of this and that, and the occasional non-organic item, I have no idea what the white, plastic thing is that I found in the beans.

After I picked the beans, I would place a handful of beans in a barely dampened towel and shake the beans around in the towel. Beans tend to come covered in grit, dirty, one should wash them, but since I was about to grind them, I didn't want to run the risk of grinding moistened dry beans, they might not store as well.

I ran them through the mill on a medium setting, enough to break them into smaller pieces, then I ran it through again on a tighter setting to grind it to nearly a powder, about the consistency of cornmeal. Now, what to put the bean meal in... I thought about zip-lock bags, then decided against it. Mountain Man Bob drinks lots of coffee with creamer, I try to buy the largest and cheapest creamer in the store. We have LOTS of empty (large) creamer containers, so I grabbed one of them. It worked perfectly! Each container holds about 1 and a half bags of bean meal. I filled 3 of them.

That all happening yesterday, I'm not as sore as I thought I might be, especially my right arm, my grinding arm. My hands are a bit sore, but all in all, it's not bad at all.

Last night I wanted to test how this bean meal cooks up. I put about a cup and a half of bean meal in a pan, added twice as much water and gave it a stir (no salt yet, it toughens the beans), I started them on high until it boiled then dropped it to low. I covered the pan and let it go. It really went through the water, about every 15 minutes, I would add another half cup of water and stir. About 2 hours later, the beans still had a raw bean taste and were gritty. I added a pinch of baking soda and continued cooking and adding water.

Well, it ended up taking nearly 4 hours to cook, that is far too long for me. The idea is to cut down on the cooking time, therefore using less propane. Once the beans were done, I seasoned them, salt, pepper, ground coriander seeds, filé powder... they were pretty tasty.

I decided to go ahead and try dehydrating the cooked bean paste. I poured the bean paste into sheet pan lined with parchment paper, I made sure the layer was thin. I placed this in a small (microwave sized) convection oven, propped the door open about a half inch using a butter knife, then turned on the oven on low. It took a few hours to completely dry. I had to stir the bean paste around, break it up to allow it to fully dry. Then I took the dry bean paste and ran it through the food processor to grind it into small pieces. It looks like coffee.

The only thing I didn't do was rehydrate it and taste it. I'll do that later.

Since I determined that the bean meal doesn't cook any faster, I took about a cup and a half of bean meal, added water and covered, it was left to sit all night, the idea is that soaked beans cook faster. We will see today.

Thursday
OK, the soaked bean meal did cook faster, in about 2 hours, but it's still not any faster than cooking whole beans. So now I have decided the only way I am going to cook pinto beans faster is to use a pressure cooker. Fortunately we have 2 of them, a big one for canning and a smaller one for cooking. Just have to check the rubber gasket to make sure it's still OK, might do a test boil with just water to make sure it seals good.

BTW, dehydrating the cooked beans did work, I put some of the dehydrated beans in a pan, poured in quite a bit of water and heated it all up, They were pretty tasty.

Honestly, after all of this, I have decided that for now, I can and will continue buying instant refried beans, I can get them at the store in town, I can also get them from Sam's Club, they sell a 3 pound bag of instant refried beans for around $6, can't beat that for now. Unfortunately the only Sam's that carries them that I know of is in El Paso, at least 3 hours away. For now I know someone who goes out there several times a month (doctor visits), so I can stock up on them. At least I know that I can dehydrate refried beans for storage and eating later. :)




All written text and audio podcast from this blog are copyrighted and owned by Wretha unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved, You may download or copy for your own personal enjoyment., but please do not distribute (text or audio) without written permission.

Wretha,
properly pronounced wreetha (included for the text reader),

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Beans, Beans and More Beans

I am about to log off for the night, but wanted to tell you, no, tease you with an up and coming post I am working on about beans. Specifically pinto beans, I am working on a 2 part experiment with them. Thanks to a friend who loaned to me a piece of equipment that is making this experiment possible,

Beans plus corn grinder equals less cooking time
minus moisture (dehydrating) equals instant refried beans

My toes are getting cold, it's time to crawl in the warm bed... :)



All written text and audio podcast from this blog are copyrighted and owned by Wretha unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved, You may download or copy for your own personal enjoyment., but please do not distribute (text or audio) without written permission.

Wretha,
properly pronounced wreetha (included for the text reader),

Thanks for visiting!

Free eBooks

I found a good source of ebooks (pdf's), these are all out of print books, about homesteading, check it out, oh and they are free to download. I snagged a few myself. :)

http://www.soilandhealth.org/03sov/0302hsted/0302homested.html




All written text and audio podcast from this blog are copyrighted and owned by Wretha unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved, You may download or copy for your own personal enjoyment., but please do not distribute (text or audio) without written permission.

Wretha,
properly pronounced wreetha (included for the text reader),

Thanks for visiting!
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thanks To You!

Woohoo! I received my first check from ClickBank! That's the hardest one to get, to keep down fraud, before you can get your first payment (as an affiliate) you have to get 5 unique sales with 2 different payment methods (and PayPal doesn't count for a payment method). Then you have to wait a bit after the last sale, just in case there is a refund given. After the first paycheck is earned, then you don't have to wait as long for payments.

It's taken a while, but I finally completed their requirements and they cut me a check. I want to thank everyone who purchased an ebook through my blog, this would not have happened without you.

If you are scratching your head about now wondering what I am talking about, assuming you are reading from my blog and not from a reader program, look to the right of the page, you might have to scroll down a bit, you will see "DIY Sponsors", this is where you will find the ebooks. These are all done through ClickBank, for those of you who have blogs, I highly recommend this company, you can make a few extra bucks by offering ebooks that relate to your blog.

I know that some of my readers do not like advertisements, and to those, I say sorry, but considering all of the FREE info and entertainment you are getting from this blog, I'd say quit yer b*tching, I say that with a smile on my face though. :) I am opening my private life to you, I am giving my time, all with no charge, the advertisements are one of the small ways I earn some money (it's not a lot, I'm not getting rich here) to keep this site going (internet access costs me dearly) and helps me to purchase those pesky little things we all need, food, supplies and such.

So again, I say thank you to everyone who has purchased ebooks through this blog, I do try my best to check out the ones I offer, don't want the garbage, there is a 60 day money back guarantee on all ebooks, so if you are on the fence about buying one, go for it, if you aren't happy you can get your money back, no questions asked.



All written text and audio podcast from this blog are copyrighted and owned by Wretha unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved, You may download or copy for your own personal enjoyment., but please do not distribute (text or audio) without written permission.

Wretha,
properly pronounced wreetha (included for the text reader),

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In Honor Of Those...

Veterans Day 2007 poster from the United State...
...who fought and continue to fight for all of us. In honor of all those who died for us. In honor of all of those who served and continue to serve.

My son in the Army, stationed in Iraq, I also have several friends and other family members who are war veterans, I thank each and every one of you who fought for this great Country, the United States of America.




Wretha

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Off grid updates

Now that the rainy season has ended, and the really hot days have passed us by, it's time to get back to work on the old, er make that relatively new homestead. This is the beginning of our third winter living out here. A friend asked me today if I liked it out here, my answer is, YES!!!! This is the place I have been trying to get to all of my life. Now that I am here, my main goal is to enjoy, thrive, and live.

It's time for more soilcrete pouring, more rock work, more building on the skycastle. We are going into our third winter in our off grid home, second full year. We have learned a lot, still have a lot to learn though. Don't really know if that ever stops, nor would I want it to.

The nights are really getting cold, at least for us, I know there are many places that get far colder than we do. It's been getting down into the upper 20s F and lower 30s F most nights. Fortunately it warms up into the 50s, 60s and even 70s F during the day, as long as the sun is shining. On the rare cloudy days, it will stay cold all day.

The wind has picked back up too, we have been going around picking up loose items that might blow around, picking up things that have already blown around and generally battening down the hatches. The other night, it was blowing pretty hard, the gusts were very hard. I heard the sound of something rather heavy sliding across the roof. Considering our solar panels are up there, that's not a sound I want to hear at all.

I grabbed a flashlight, went to the door, ready to brave the ladder if need be, it turned out that it WAS the ladder I had heard. It had slid from one side to the other and was leaning on another roof area. I was able to go back to bed and sleep better knowing our solar panels weren't trying to fall off the roof.

I took some video and some snapshots today, it's a beautiful day, perfect clear skies, very slight breeze, it's close to 50 degrees F outside, in the sun it's just perfect, not too hot, not too cold.

Enjoy the pix and vids.






Wretha

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