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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Charlie Browniest Christmas





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Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, December 23, 2011

4 Years and Still Going Strong

I can't believe I almost missed our 4 year anniversary (living off grid), it was yesterday and I didn't think about it until late last night, oh well, I have excuses, really I do:
  1. Our life, living off grid, we don't pay attention to dates and times, honestly, I have to use email and Google calendar to remind myself about important dates I have to remember, such as doctor appointments for the ladies I take care of...
  2. I've never been one to pay attention to dates and times, I just don't play well with numbers... I think it has to do with 3rd grade math class, oh I won't go into that, it's much too boring, but suffice it to say that's when I began to give up on math and anything having to do with numbers. ;p
  3. Lastly, I don't have my computer at the moment... I'm using my old laptop and it doesn't have all of my stuff on it anymore... more about that later.
Soooo, it's been officially 4 years now, well 4 years and 1 day to be exact. I love our life and can hardly remember life before this, I'll tell you this, it wasn't nearly as rich as it is now, I'm not talking $$$ rich, I'm talking life rich, before I was working 2 jobs, commuting at least an hour each way, the only outdoor time I spent was the time I took to go from my house to my car and from my car to my jobs. I was surrounded by people but had few friends, and no sense of community...

Now I live on just a hair under 6 acres, on the side of a mountain, in the high desert of far west Texas, in a tiny community of between 150-200 people, I might see only a couple of people a day, or maybe none, but I'm part of this community, mainly through getting to know everyone when I worked at the Country Store, then when I joined our church, I met that many more people and really got involved with the community.

I can hardly go in to town these days without running into at least one person I know, it's usually more like 3 or 4 people, it's funny, on the rare times I'm in town and don't run into anyone I know, I complain about it, I'm so used to having that social contact now, I never had that before, I'll not blame anyone but myself, I chose to keep myself isolated, it was easy to do. When we moved out here, we assumed we would become hermits, but the community wouldn't allow us to do that, they not only opened their arms to welcome us, they pulled us into the activities and other goings on. In fact, my biggest problem is not getting pulled into too many things out here that I don't have enough time to do the things I need to do for myself and PB.

This past week has been so busy that I didn't go to our volunteer fire department's annual Christmas dinner, I hated missing it but I just didn't have the energy to go. I've seen pictures of those who attended and now I wish I had gone, I know it would have been lots of fun, but I can't worry about it now, what's done is done, I'll just hope to be able to plan better next year and try to go no matter how tired I feel at the time.

Oh yeah, my laptop, I finally got it sent off on Wednesday, the fan inside started making a loud noise when it first booted up, this began happening less than a month after getting it, I recognize that sound as a bad fan, one that will be failing soon, it sounded just like the original fans in the inverters I have after they had been in daily use for over 3 years, the laptop fan shouldn't have been in that shape so soon no matter how dusty it is out here. I contacted Toshiba and tried to get them to send the fan out and let me install it, it's just a fan for gosh sakes! Oh they would send me one and I could install it, BUT that would void my warranty, if I had been closer to the end of my warranty, I would have done it, but it's only a couple of months old, so I grudgingly agreed to ship it off. I immediately began feeling withdrawals when I dropped it off at the UPS drop off site on Wednesday, I've been tracking it via UPS, it hasn't even gotten to Toshiba yet, I figure it will be after the first of the year before I get it back.

Well, that's about all for now, oh except for one last thing, PB grabbed the camera the other day and captured a picture of the rare and elusive off grid mountain girl in her natural habitat, it can be very dangerous to get too close, they have been known to attack without provocation or warning, they are very shy and tend to hide whenever anyone comes around with a camera...
This one is surrounded by the necessities within arms reach, one laptop computer (complete with high speed internet connection), pretzels, hot tea (in the pink glass), Kleenex, crochet stuff and stash (in the grey tote), books (including my Bible), reading glasses, a light (low wattage LED light), the piano keyboard in back, and one warm robe. Who needs anything else???

If I don't write anything else before Christmas, I wish everyone a very merry Christmas, and a safe & prosperous New Year!




All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Blinking, Winking and Nod...

Today is a light day, in a couple of ways, the only place I have to go is to church class (Francis Chan, Crazy Love), I need to study the chapter we are in, the other way things are light is we finally have some SUNSHINE, it's been 2 weeks since I had more than one blink on my charge controller, as of right now, there are 5 blinks, that's 75% charged, after that it goes to a solid green light and I have full batteries. It's been pretty solid overcast skies for 2 weeks now, a couple of times during that week, the sun came out for short periods of time, maybe an hour at most, not enough to really do much, we have needed the moisture, what little it rained and snowed, woke up this morning to a dusting of snow, but that melted off pretty quickly.

One of our part time neighbors (hoping to be full time soon) came by yesterday, Z, he has property around the corner from us, he is clearing parts of his land, mainly to have a place to plant his home, PB went to visit him after church and he came over later after that. It was a very nice visit, he gave us a bunch of firewood, which was very nice to do, it was cut and ready to go, PB loaded up the larger part of the truck bed with wood, and there is more to collect on Z's property. Thanks Z!!!

Finally got to that solid blink, changed the cables over to charge the single (backup) battery, it's the one we use if I drain the other 3 batteries surfing the internet all night long, and yeah, I do that... I almost miss the days before we got our chest freezer/fridge conversion, if I ran the power down, I just shut everything off and went to bed, now that we have food in the electric chiller, I have to make sure I leave enough power for that thing, fortunately it doesn't draw too much juice, it runs once or twice an hour, a couple of minutes each time, with the cold temps we have been experiencing, it barely even runs, I'd like to take the whole unit outside so that it will run even less, but I have to admit, it's convenient to have inside... I have 5 blinks on the backup battery, soon will have a solid green which means a full charge, then I'll change the cables back to the 3 batteries to keep them charged.




All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

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Chinese Home Remedies-book review

Part of being more self sufficient is being able to take care of minor medical issues yourself. It can become rather expensive to run to the doctor or hospital (or clinic) for every little sniffle or scratch. Like so many people, health insurance just isn’t an option, so I try to live in a healthy manner and I read up on how to take care of my own minor health issues.

One book I received last summer is called Chinese Home Remedies, Harnessing Ancient Wisdom for Self-Healing, by Lihua Wang, L.Ac., I am drawn to alternative medicine, but might have passed this book on the shelf, I would have thought from the cover that this book was full of strange sounding herbs and such that I would have little or no access to. There is so much more to this book, I am so glad I gave it a second chance, this book is laid out in a most helpful manner.

In the upper right hand corner of this book, it says “A to Z”, it is laid out in an alphabetical order of health issues, from acne to yeast infections (there doesn’t seem to be any health issues starting with the letter Z listed in this book). Under each health issue, it gives you some information about that health issue, what causes it, when you should go to a doctor (you shouldn’t ALWAYS try to treat yourself), what you should AND shouldn’t do if you have this particular health issue, then it comes to my favorite part, how you can treat said health issues. You should  be able to do most anything in this book along with any treatment you may receive from a doctor, I don’t recall reading anything that would conflict with any western medical treatment, of course if you aren’t sure, you can always talk to your doctor about it.

They give you several different ways to treat yourself for each health issue, first there are the “folk remedies”, these are tried and true traditional folk remedies that have been used down through the generations, I saw some that my family used when I was growing up, I’ll bet you will recognize some of them too. Next are the food therapies, what you should and shouldn’t eat to treat yourself, I expected to find some of those strange ingredients here, but most of what I read were normal everyday foods, like spinach and walnuts, there are more exotic foods listed there too, but you should be able to find these foods in most larger towns, especially if you go to the Asian markets that are more abundant now days.

It also explains about Chinese massage, and tells you exactly how to do it, you don’t have to find a Chinese masseuse, you can do this yourself or find a friend or partner to help if necessary. There are diagrams of where to rub, press or massage, this is like acupuncture without the needles, otherwise known as acupressure.

You will also learn about what Chinese herbs can help, now this is where things start sounding very foreign to me, but again, with the internet, and with most larger towns having an Asian population living somewhere within, meaning there will be Asian markets nearby, you should be able to find what you need.

I spent a couple of days thumbing through this book, stopping to read the ailments that most interested me, I found this book to be pretty complete, covering nearly everything you can take care of yourself, it’s an easy read, no complicated language here, and well laid out, you should be able to go to this book and quickly find what is bothering you (or someone else), you can pick the remedies you want to try, it’s not necessary to do all parts, you can choose to try the folk remedy and massage, but not the herbs.

I will be keeping this book handy and referring to it as needed. I recommend this, even if you don’t think you are interested in Chinese medicine, this book is so much more, and the remedies aren’t going to cost you an arm and a leg, you should be able to do part of the therapies in this book without having to spend any extra money, much of the other therapies are inexpensive.

Here is what is written on Amazon.com about this book:
Chinese Home Remedies is a book that offers an intriguing blend of traditional Chinese medicine-as practiced today-and a wide variety of ancient Chinese folk remedies. It contains more than 1,000 effective remedies, a treasure trove of information you can use every day. You’ll often be surprised how easily a problem that has lingered for weeks or months can be cured. Making moderate lifestyle changes and following the easy-to-use instructions on how to prepare home remedies, you will see how easy it is to end long-term suffering and experience healthier living.
This book is a distillation of Ms. Wang’s thirty years of clinical experiences, as both a physician in China and an acupuncturist and herbalist in the United States. It explains in simple-to-understand language how to treat yourself or a family member using a variety of techniques, including Chinese massage, Eastern food therapy, Chinese herbal formulas, as well as some heretofore unrevealed folk remedies, many of which have been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years.
Did you know, for example, that: * Apple slices can ease itching skin? * Hooking your middle fingers together can stop a nosebleed? * Sunflower seeds can ease trigeminal pain? * Eating peanuts can lower your blood pressure? These are only a few of the more than 1,000 effective remedies that you will find in Chinese Home Remedies. By following just some of this book’s advice, you will find yourself on a healthier life path.
Lihua Wang began her career as a cardiologist in the China Academy of Traditional Medicine, in Bejing, China, where she practiced integrative medicine, combining both Western and Traditional Chinese medical techniques. In 1982 she was invited by Kaiser Permenante Research Center as a visiting scholar. She was later selected by the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine to teach acupuncture and Chinese herbology to American students for four years. She has been in private practice, specializing in traditional Chinese medicine, since 1992 in Portland, OR.

Read other book reviews here:
http://wretha.blogspot.com/search/label/book%20review

Legal stuff here, I am not a doctor, nor do I have any medical training, I am not giving medical advice, you must use your own common sense to decide if you need to go see a doctor, I am not responsible for anything you do or don’t do as a result of anything written here or anything you do or don’t do as a result of reading this book
I received a copy of this book for doing a review, my review is honest and as accurate as possible.



All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Keeping Busy...

It's nearly Christmas and life is good. I've been busier than ever, working and volunteering.  I work for a company as a caretaker for a friend of mine, I go to her house 3 times a week and do things like light housework, cooking and running errands. The volunteering comes in when I drive her to town and to doctor's appointments, I can't claim that time on the hours, the company will not pay for driving, their insurance doesn't cover it.

I'm also a driver for another lady who lives out here in the neighborhood, she has lost her eyesight, or most of it, enough that it isn't safe for her to drive. We go to town once a week (sometimes more), mainly to go to the doctor (weekly allergy shots), we also do the grocery shopping and any other errands that need to be run. This also falls under volunteering, though I do get benefits from it, she buys lunch each week, we pick out a restaurant to go to and have a grand time trying each of them out, I also get to do my grocery shopping and any other errands I need to do in town.

This week is a very busy week, Monday was our Christian class at church, Tuesday I went to do my caretaker job, today I am working on getting my computer ready to be sent off to Toshiba for some warranty repair work, I'm also putting together the Christmas carol music for church, tomorrow (Thursday) is my driving day, after that I am the MC for the Christmas carols at church, after that the whole church goes to a friend's house to eat chili-dogs. Friday I am driving the lady who I am a caretaker for to her doctor, that is a 3 hour drive to get there, we spend the day in that town doing the sort of shopping we can't do here (WalMart, Sam's, Golden Corral...), Saturday is driving to town (locally) again, then our volunteer fire department is having our annual Christmas party, then Sunday is church and our monthly board meeting, I'm the secretary for the church board so I have to type out the minutes from the last meeting.

With all of this said, I am not complaining one little bit, I thoroughly love my life, busy or not, life is good. :) Since I don't have family nearby, it's good to have wonderful friends and neighbors.

My laptop has developed a problem, it's practically new, just a few months old, the fan inside is making a horrible noise, it is a defective fan, it sounds like the fans in the inverters that are 4 years old, it shouldn't sound like this so soon, I worry that it will fail soon. I contacted Toshiba about it and they were great, they sent me a shipping box via UPS, I am planning on shipping it off on Thursday, it is supposed to be gone a week or so, I will be going through computer withdrawals, I'll have my old laptop, but now that I'm used to my newer faster one... oh well, it could be worse. :)

Hope everyone has a wonderful Merry Christmas.



All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ohhh, It's Snowing!

Just had to post a quickie, it's snowing, can't tell how much yet, too dark, but there is enough that it is blanketing everything and it's sticking. :)



All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Two Bugs Are Better Than One

Grabbed some pix of the new (old) bug, as a good friend of mine likes to say, it's not as bad as it looks (LOL)... actually our current bug looked about like that when we first got it, PB says it's in better shape than our original one was...

PB putting on good tires...

Some rust, but not bad...

His n Her's


Kissing Cousins
Coming in for a landing...
 



Yeah, the tires are trashed, gotta get another 2 then we will be set...
Someone started to Baja it, they used fiberglass parts...
The nose, hood, fenders front and back are fiberglass...
The front windshield is cracked...



There is going to be a lot of work to get it really going, but once it is going, it will be a lot of fun putting around the neighborhood in our twin bugs. :)


All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This And That

Still working on the water pump, we use a Shurflo 12 volt water pump, a couple of winters ago, the plastic part of the pump head cracked, presumably caused by a super cold overnight temperature drop, we purchased just that part of the pump and was going to install it when PB decided the cracked head was working just fine, it didn't seem to leak and it was pumping water as it should, so we taped the new head (in its package) to the old unit for future use and it has worked just fine, until a few days ago.

Due to a miscalculation, we ended up pumping out all of the water from our small tank and the pump ran dry for quite some time, it was a rare day when both of us were gone, had one of us been home, we would have recognized the pump sounded different and it not shutting off. This pump is supposed to be able to run dry with no problems, it is also self priming, but apparently it was just on the verge of not working and running it dry and allowing it to run like that for a while caused its failure.

Today, PB disassembled the pump, he checked all of the parts, replaced the plastic head and will finish working on it either tonight or tomorrow, he has to find a new screw to replace one that had stripped out, once all of that is done, he will put everything back together and hopefully the water will be pumping again.

I am working on crochet stuff, my plan is to make some things to give as Christmas gifts, we'll see how far I get, I've been so busy, I still work 3 days a week as a caretaker for one of my friends M, and I drive another lady to town once or twice a week for doctor's appointments, shopping and such, D has lost most of her eyesight and can't drive safely anymore, she is one tough lady though, she lives out here in the wild, all by herself, well unless you count her 5 cats :)

I must say that there are several ladies who live on their own out here, they are all tough, resourceful and very smart, they manage to get along in a very rough place with a little help from their friends, we do help each other quite a bit. Right now, PB has gone to D's house to seal up a leaking chimney, we don't get much rain, but apparently it leaks when we do.

We had a great Thanksgiving, we invited 3 ladies to dine with us, M, D and S, they would have all been by themselves on TG and that was not acceptable to me, they all brought food and we had a feast fit for a king, I sent each of them home with a plate of leftovers and a plate of dessert.

In the last 2 days, I have developed a bit of a sore throat, I don't feel bad, well not much, I should be over it in a day or so, I typically do get over these thing pretty fast. Life is pretty good all in all, can't complain. :)



All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sink Bathing

Every now and again I think you need to be reminded of where you came from, I got one of those this afternoon. Because of circumstances beyond my control (you'll have to ask PB about that LOL), I had no water coming out of my faucets, we had water, it was just below the level that the pump hose can reach. I have class at church today and a very head full of dirty hair. So, in honor of how we lived when we first moved here, I grabbed a couple of 1 gallon pitchers, filled them with the water from the bottom of the water tank, I poured half of each pitcher into a big stock pot and heated it on the stove then poured it back into the pitchers, it didn't make it very warm, it was just enough to take the icy chill off of the water.

I poured some of the warmish water into a plastic bowl and added some shampoo, I poured that over my hair at the sink, I washed, rinsed, conditioned and rinsed with just a little less than a gallon and a half of water, nice to know I can still do it :)

Now I can go to class with fresh clean hair, and hopefully by this evening I'll be able to take a full on shower.


All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Talk of Another Bug

Primitive Bob, or PB as he is known in these parts, posted a new post about our new bug, see it here:

http://primitivebob.blogspot.com/2011/11/moma-bug-and-new-baby-beetle.html

We got it delivered right to our driveway on Friday by our good friends J and M from Odessa, thanks so much!




All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving day. Since we can't be with our family on this day, we are doing the next best thing, having good friends over to share this day, life is so good! :)




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Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Thrift Shop Deals

I am amazed at the items and deals I run across from time to time, yesterday I was in town, on the way home, my friend and I stopped at a local thrift shop to drop off some clothes, we drove to the back of the building and I spotted something that had a wringer attachment on the top, other than that, I had no idea what this thing was.

I hopped out to look at it, it appears to be some sort of washing machine, it's a Hoover and is clearly marketed for Mexico (based on the Mexican language on the label). It does plug up to electricity, apparently you fill it manually with water and laundry soap, it agitates the clothes, then it drains, I'm hoping it's a gravity drain and doesn't require the motor to pump the water out.

I went in the thrift shop and asked about it, they didn't know what it was except that it appears to be a washing machine, they hadn't brought it in yet and hadn't cleaned it up yet. First the lady quoted $12, I didn't respond to the dollar figure, we just kept talking about the machine, then she said how about $10? SOLD! Another couple of friends of mine were inside the shop, I asked D if he would load the machine into my friend's truck, I paid and just like that, it was mine.

I am still looking up info on this, it appears to be rather old, it does have wheels on the bottom, and other than needing a bit of cleanup, it appears to be in pretty good shape, if nothing else, I can use it just for the wringer, and I can use it inside the skycastle.

The knob on the front is a timer, I haven't been able to read the model number on the label very well, I think it says 4005.

Here are a few pix







 







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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Mosaic Scarf Pictures

For anyone who had trouble with the video or just want to see more of this crocheted scarf, here are a few pictures, I have misplaced my camera so I had to make do with the web cam on my laptop, I even went outside on the second and third picture to get better light :)





This is done with the mosaic crochet method, I used 2 colors in Caron Simply Soft, one is a soft gray, the other is a medium blue, this is done with a single crochet stitch, I did a long I drop on every 5th stitch, once I completed the main part of the body, I added a slightly ruffled border in the gray. On the first row, I didn't use a chain stitch, I used the chainless foundation, it makes the first row just as stretchy as the last, you can find chainless foundation on YouTube.

All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mosaic Crochet Scarf Video

OK, I decided to make a video of the scarf, sorry it's a bit dark, but it's the best I could do at the time.

Enjoy


Whew, could they have picked a worse spot to use as the beginning??? They do give options to choose from but believe it or not, this was the best of the 3. :p

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Wretha,

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's Time For Crocheting

I've started crocheting again, I've had the itch for a while now but didn't have the time all summer, now that I do have the time, I'm crocheting a scarf for a friend who is having a birthday at the end of this month, she doesn't have a computer so I don't worry about her reading this. :) She surprised me this summer with an entire set of crochet hooks for my birthday, they are nice hooks too, including all of the small steel ones, all in a nice zipper case, so when it started getting closer to her birthday, I decided I would crochet something for her.

I am learning how to do mosaic crochet with Mosaic Crochet with Lily Chin, it's quite complex looking but easy to do, I'm hoping to impress my friend with my new found crochet stitches :)

I started a scarf, did the chain then the first and second row, then started the mosaic part, I didn't like what was happening though, the scarf was curling around the original chain, what happens is the chain stitch doesn't have the same stretch properties as the following rows, I decided to pull out the whole thing and start over. I had heard about a chainless foundation for crochet that makes the beginning row just as stretchy as the following rows, Lily Chin also demonstrates that stitch in the beginning of this DVD. Here is a video of another crocheter demonstrating the chainless foundation:


I now have the initial row created with this stitch, it took some fiddling to get it right, but once I got the stitch down, it worked just fine, now I have to continue with the scarf.

After pulling the whole thing apart a couple of times, I finally got the scarf going well, I had to decide how to do the pattern for the mosaic crochet, now it's nearly finished, I just need to put a border on it and I'll be done, it looks really great, I'll post a picture of it when I'm finished.



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Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shower and Visit

Lots of things to report, my shower is finished, well it's finished enough to take a shower in, be sure to click "read more" below to see the entire post...




Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm Still Here...

Hi everyone, long time no post... I'm still here, just been busy with family, my dad and son came out for a visit at the beginning of the month, so I've been playing the host role and doing some tourist stuff... they are leaving tomorrow, so things (and posts) will return to their irregularly scheduled schedule... I have lots to report on, so stay tuned. :)



All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading-Book Review

Homesteading, it’s a buzzword that means different things to different people, back in the day, it meant getting land for free as long as you lived on it and improved it for x number of years. It was a way to get people to move west (in the USA), back when travel was slow and painful, even dangerous.


Today it usually refers to someone who is living more like our ancestors did, in a more self sufficient manner, on a plot of land, often raising livestock, growing their own food, living more independently. Most of us are more than one generation removed from those who lived on a farm or homestead, so we don’t benefit from the knowledge of our family members who lived in a more self sufficient manner. I know in my family, it was my great grand parents who had lived on a farm, my grandparents and parents lived in suburban neighborhoods with small yards and animals no bigger than a dog.

Because of this, those of us who want to live closer to the land have to resort to alternative methods of obtaining  knowledge. I continually scour the internet for books about living off grid, gardening and such, I found this book The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading: An Encyclopedia of Independent Living (The Ultimate Guides), actually I didn’t find it, I was offered an opportunity to review it and I jumped at the chance, it was a book I had been looking at previously and was more than happy to review it.

I keep getting distracted from writing because I keep finding more and more interesting things in this book to read, I just read about growing cotton, then picking it, cleaning it, and spinning it. Since I crochet, this is especially appealing to me, and something I think I can do with little trouble. For now, I’m not set up to raise wool bearing animals, but I can grow cotton and process it.

This book has a lot to offer, it doesn’t go into extreme detail on any one subject, but gives you enough information so that you can decide if that particular thing is something you really want to try.  Nicole Faires (don’t you just love her name?) the author, has certainly lived the life, she is not just spouting theory, she grew up on a hobby farm raising chickens and growing her own food among other things.
While not an exhaustive list of homesteading subjects, I believe it covers the majority of them quite nicely, such as:
  • land-buying, communities…
  • water-getting it, purifying it and such
  • food-finding it, growing it, preserving it…
  • animals-livestock, domestic…
  • shelter-various home styles, barns, fences…
  • financial-making money from your skills…
  • health-medicines, herbal medicines,
  • and lots more
There is a great  dictionary in the back so you will at least sound like you know what you are talking about when chatting with the old timers at the feed store, LOL, seriously, I have had a good time reading the terminology and their meanings. Such as “butt-up”, before reading this book, I would have said that is how one lands when tripping over a rock and doing a face plant, now I know that is a type of roof ridge made in thatching which forces the straw together from both sides of the roof to form a peak. “Flying change”, I would think it’s what happens when you lose control of your change purse, but it really has to do with horses.

Near the back of the book, just before the index, the author’s bio and several blank pages (perfect for adding your own notes), there is a great bibliography with tons of resources, mostly in the form of internet links. These will send you to more detailed resources for the subjects found in this book. This alone is worth the price of the book.

The book is easy to read, well made, with lots of color photographs and diagrams, nice thick glossy pages ensure this book will last for a long time, that’s a good thing because once you have this book, you will be referring to it over and over again throughout the years.

PB (my hubby) has been trying to steal this book from me ever since I received it, his comment on it was that it is a good all over resource, not detailed on each thing, but a good book and he’s glad we have it, he has also been going on and on about how well this book is physically put together, the binding, the paper quality and the pictures. Now that I’m finished with this review, I can safely give the book to him, I’ll not see it again for a while. :)


See my other book reviews here:
http://wretha.blogspot.com/search/label/book review


Honesty disclaimer:
I did receive this book free from the publisher for the expressed intent of giving a review, that in no way influenced my review, all of my reviews are honest and from the heart.



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Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Things are starting to slow down a bit for me, sort of... now I am working on a book review, and it's well overdue, this book looks like it's going to be a good one. It's called The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading: An Encyclopedia of Independent Living (The Ultimate Guides), at first glance I can you that it contains a plethora of great information, thumbing through it there are chapters on basics, shelter, animals, comforts, health, gardening, and more. It's a substantial book with lots of info.



Right now I have to get ready to go to church, did I mention that I am now on the board of my church? Newly voted in. I'm also the secretary of the board, all that means is I take the minutes during the meeting and read them at the next. This is also first Sunday, we have a wonderful dinner after church, next week is second Sunday, we share in the dinner at the other church in our neighborhood (they come to ours too).


All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bonus, sort of...

Have you ever heard the phrase "The Lord provides."? Well, I can tell you that He does, I had an extra paycheck show up this week, normally I have direct deposits, and I was paid on the 29th of July as normal, then a few days later I received a check in the mail from the company I work for, it was dated Aug 1, and the hours were slightly different from the one from last pay period, I was pretty weirded out about it, I have received random bonuses before, but never an entire pay period worth of pay. I initially thought they might have duplicated my paycheck, but since the hours were slightly different, I knew that wasn't the case. No matter how I tried to add things up, I couldn't figure out how or why they were giving me this check.

I went into town yesterday, I took the paycheck to the office where my supervisor works, I wanted to find out what it was all about before I deposited it, the company I work for has messed things up before (not in my favor though, and not my supervisor, she is an angel, so is the current office manager) and I didn't want to be accused of accepting a paycheck that I didn't have coming. When I walked through the door, the office manager smiled at me and asked if I had received a surprise... turns out that earlier in the year, I had turned in a bunch of time sheets at the same time, yeah I'm terrible at keeping up with those sorts of things, somehow one of them had gotten mishandled and I never got paid for it and I didn't catch it. They were doing an audit and found the time sheet that I hadn't gotten paid for and sent it in.

I really needed that extra check this time, I am so glad they caught the mistake and took care of it, I'm also glad that I checked it before depositing it, that makes me look good to them, honest, and being a caretaker I need to be seen as honest, too many caretakers steal from the people they take care of, I just found out about another lady I know whose family member received the same service from the same company, she discovered a bunch of money missing from her bedroom, she can't prove it was her caretaker or exactly when it happened, but that is the only other person who comes to her house. I am an honest person, to a fault, so anytime I can prove it to the company without a doubt is a good thing. And besides, if I hadn't talked to them and just sent the check in, I would have worried about it, worried that it might have been a mistake and eventually they might have caught it and thought badly of me for taking it. Now I have a clear conscience and a bigger bank account. :) I also keep up with my time sheets better, and turn them in on time.



All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Simple Question

Or maybe it's not so simple...


If you could change one thing about your life (or yourself), what would be it and why?

Leave your answer in the comments section. I'm very curious to see what will be written, I'll write my answer later, I have one but don't want to influence anyone's answer. :)

I'll temporarily remove restrictions on posting comments, anyone can comment, the comments will still be moderated though.  Sorry, had to put the restrictions back on for anonymous postings, thanks spammers, you ruin it for everyone.



All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Eggs & Scorpions

One has nothing to do with the other, but I'm writing about them in the same post, so here goes, LOL!

Yesterday after church, I went by a friend's house to buy some eggs, like many people who live in my neighborhood, they have far more laying chickens than they really need for just the 2 of them, so they almost always have a surplus of eggs. When I got there and asked about buying the eggs, I was informed that I couldn't buy any, but I could have some. She went into the kitchen and promptly brought out a dozen and a half, I offered to pay again but was again turned down, I have to say that I have the best neighbors! These are pretty eggs too, she has the kind of chickens that lay colored eggs, greens and such, they are almost too pretty to crack and eat, almost, they are very tasty too, so that makes it easier to use them.

I do recycle the egg shells, I rinse them out and allow them to dry, once dry I break them into small pieces then spread them in my garden. The calcium and other goodies are excellent for the garden, especially tomatoes, they require lots of calcium to prevent blossom end rot, I also understand it deters slugs and such, they don't like crawling across the broken shells, though I haven't seen even one slug out here.

Now to the scorpions. They are back, about a week ago, one fell on me inside the sky castle, fortunately I didn't get stung by that one, last summer we had a major rash of them, we were killing 2-3 ever night inside the house, I did get stung last year, I have to say, they HURT! Normally I'm a live and let live kind of gal, but in this case, I have to take action, I do not want to get stung again.

When the one fell on me the other day, that was the last straw, I decided it was time to go on the offense, I know that they fluoresce under UV light, so I purchased a 51 bulb UV LED flashlight. I received it on Friday and as soon as it got dark, I put it to work. I went around the sky castle out to about a 10 foot radius, I found and killed about a dozen of them. I don't really want to eradicate the population, I know they are beneficial, but dang it, they HURT when you get stung by one. If they would just stay outside, I wouldn't mind so much, but they manage to find their way inside, and they have a habit of crawling up to the ceiling and falling down on you.

The second night, I repeated the same thing, just after dark, I went around and didn't find as many, I killed about 5-6. This morning before daylight, I walked between my house and my neighbor's house, I killed 2 of them. I think I'm making a dent in the extreme local population. I understand they can live several years (5 is what I remember reading), I also understand that poisons do not work on them very well, and I don't want to poison everything around me, it's just better to kill them directly as I find them.

I also use the UV flashlight inside the sky castle, I look around to make sure there aren't any scorpions crawling around, since they are active at night, it's hard to spot them, but with the UV light, they glow quite brightly and are easy to spot. I keep it next to me at my computer, and when I go to bed, that way if I think there might be one nearby, I can grab the light and look around. It makes me feel much better.

This light works great, it does give off some visible light, that is not necessarily a good thing for the UV part, but for what I'm doing, it's great because I don't have to carry and use a separate flashlight, I can see just well enough to not trip over anything or run into something unpleasant. The flashlight lights up the scorpions quite nicely, they glow a bright green, they almost don't look real, but they are very real and become very squished as I find them. This uses 3 AA batteries, not so many that I mind using them, but it's enough juice to put out quite a bit of light, I have spotted scorpions at 8-10 feet away, though mostly I am finding them at about 4-5 feet. I like the LED part, it puts out good light without using much juice, so my batteries will last longer.

Happy Independence Day everyone! Have a safe 4th of July!



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Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Summer Days Before The Monsoon Season

Summer is in full swing, the garden is growing, the sky castle is growing, well sort of growing, it's being improved anyhow. PB has been working on the roof of the extra room on the end of the west deck. I like saying "west deck" because I hope to someday have other decks around the sky castle. It's been so blasted hot that PB only works in the mornings and the evenings. We are supposed to be getting some rain this weekend, though they keep pushing it back, we had 50% chance of rain on Saturday, now it's a 30% on Sunday, I just want it to RAIN!

I've been busier than ever, I am still a caretaker for a friend out here, I go to her house 3x a week and do whatever needs to be done, that usually means cooking, cleaning and such. I'm also driving another lady into town once a week, sometimes more often. She is losing her eyesight and isn't comfortable driving anymore, so I get to go into town at least once a week and do whatever shopping I need to do, we tend to go to the same places so it works out great for both of us, I help her with her shopping too. I bought some brightly colored t-shirts, hot pink, red, orange, safety yellow and purple, I wear one when I'm out with her so that when we are in the stores, she can spot me easily, she has some eyesight, and can still see color quite nicely, I don't have to stick to her like glue, this way she knows when I'm next to her and when I'm at the other end of the aisle.

Back at the sky castle, we hung up a second hummingbird feeder, and the hummers are quite happy about it, just having one means the most dominant hummer gets most of the food, now more of the hummers can get some, though they still fight over it. Right now it's not so bad, but when the Rufus hummer shows up, they are very aggressive and will not share at all, with the second feeder, this will give everyone a chance to feed, unless a second Rufus shows up...

Our west deck is nicely illuminated now, when my Dad came out to visit, he arrived bearing gifts (my Dad is the best!), one of those gifts was a package of those solar lights, this was meant to go on the trail between our house and our neighbor's house. PB had other ideas, he placed them outside around the deck, including the steps he made for the deck, the lights are subtle, they don't make so much light as to attract a myriad of night bugs, but they make a soft light so that you can walk outside on the deck at night and not fear tripping over something or taking a misstep on the steps. PB's Mom also sent a package to us, one of the items on this package was a solar light, this one is shaped like a decorative lantern, the light is green and is quite pretty. We placed it where we can see it from inside the sky castle, PB's Mom is also the best!

I received a printer last week, it's something I have wanted and somewhat needed since we moved here, it would seem that my old all in one printer/scanner/copier died a couple of weeks before moving out here, I had already quit working at Best Buy (bummer), money was real tight and I couldn't justify spending any money on another one when it wasn't a complete necessity. I was able to buy this with my Amazon.com credits from the clicks and sales from this site and the other sites where I write, thanks to everyone who made their purchases through my links, those pennies really do add up!

Here is the printer I purchased, it's a Canon PIXMA MG5220 Wireless Inkjet Photo All-In-One (4502B017), I wanted an all in one printer, I was very interested in the scanner part, since I do a lot of crochet now, it's much easier to scan the pattern (from a magazine or book) and take that with me, or printing off songs (lyrics) so I can use it at my music keyboard, I'm getting better and better at playing BTW, at church this Sunday a couple of people told me I was sounding very good.

Back to the printer, before I ordered it, I was concerned about it working on my off grid system, I knew that a laser printer would not work on a modified sine wave inverter, but I wasn't sure about this particular printer, I was mainly worried about the scanner part not working. I emailed Canon and asked them about it, apparently they don't get questions like that, they couldn't give me an answer, finally they just said "try it and see".  I even considered getting a battery backup (UPS) but then I remembered that even with those, they say not to hook up a printer on the battery side, so that wouldn't work either.

I am happy to state that it does work very well on my system, wow have printers changed in 3 years! It took about an hour to hook it up and get it running, it was mainly the software/driver side that took so long, but I was patient and followed all of the steps. I chose not to use one of the features on this one, it has a wireless printing feature, I can always access that later if I want, but for my needs, I just don't need it, but I'm glad it's available.

I'm being very frugal with it, I only ordered one package of paper, it also had free shipping so it didn't run my total bill up at all. I haven't gone crazy with printing and such, I want to save as much of the ink and paper as possible, even though this printer has separate ink tanks for each color, I still don't want to have to shell out more $$$ for more any time soon.

I have more to write, but I'll save it for another post. Oh, almost forgot to report, I have another book to review, I just received it, it looks very promising, more to come later! You can see my other book reviews here CLICK FOR BOOK REVIEWS, and in case you haven't noticed, I'm now offering ad space on this blog, the prices are very reasonable, I also limit the number of ads so your ad will not be lost in a sea of ads. Be sure to visit my newest advertiser, http://www.shedandshelter.com/, there's lots of great resources there about different ways to make/build/purchase conventional and unconventional homes, many are very inexpensive and ingenious.



All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

I know this is late in the day, but the day is still here, so I'll write

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY


to my Dad, who just happens to be the best Dad in the world!

I love my Dad so much, and I am so fortunate to still have him and he is in good health, and at almost 83 years of age, he still drives all over the place and is active.

I have learned so much from him, things like how to cook, how to fix things, how to be independent, how to be frugal, how to forgive and to always look to God no matter what.

Thanks Dad for being there for me. :)

All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Sad Days

If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you are aware of my baby girl Pekoe, my long hair chihuahua. I have had her since she was weaned, she was always a good dog, quiet, never a barkey or nippy dog, well maybe she was a nippy dog, especially to strangers (we just kept her at a safe distance, I was more worried about her hurting herself than hurting other people)... but she was still my sweet little baby,  I could go on but I won't.

About a month ago, she got pretty sick, I hoped she would spring back, but at 12+ years old, she just didn't bounce back like she used to. I took her to the vet and he said she had a heart murmur, by that time she had gotten pretty sick, the vet gave her a long acting antibiotic shot and said let's see how she does.

I took her home and watched as she got sicker and sicker each day, I took her back to the vet, he gave her another antibiotic shot and a cortisone shot. He prescribed a heart medicine for her and sent us home.

By this time, she had gotten so much sicker, she coughed constantly and had little strength, she wouldn't eat and had lost a half a pound over a long weekend, that's a lot for a little dog, I had always kept her weight around 5-6 pounds most of her life. When I took her to the vet the first time (on this illness) she was at 7.5, in the following week, she went down to 7.

She then started bloating, mainly her stomach, it really affected the way she walked and stood, so I called the vet again and he prescribed a diuretic. So now, on a heart pill and a diuretic, she still wasn't getting any better, in fact she was going downhill pretty fast. I had been debating if it was time to put her to sleep.

On Wednesday of last week, I was supposed to be going to town (3 hours away) with the lady I work for, but the day before, Pekoe's back legs swelled up 2x the normal size. That wasn't a good sign at all. She couldn't walk more than a few steps before falling down in exhaustion, I called my friend to tell her I wouldn't be going to town with her. I knew that I would be taking her to the vet for the final time. I spent the night in tears, praying to God, asking that He take her instead of letting her suffer. The following day, I spend the entire morning with Pekoe in my bed for the last time, we cuddled and napped together.

I'll not write out the rest of what happened in any detail, it's too sad, let's just say that I took her to the vet, what clenched it for me is when I let her on the ground outside the vet's office to let her take her last squat, she couldn't get back up. She passed peacefully, looking into my eyes while I talked to her, the vet and his staff were gentle and compassionate.

I am so glad I didn't have to drive either way, a good friend took me in and talked to me all the way home, it worked out the best way it could.

When I got home with Pekoe, PB had made her a proper casket, with little handles. We picked out a spot to bury her and PB dug the hole, he made it pretty deep, he was standing up to his waist in the hole. We put Pekoe in the casket, along with some food and water so she will never be hungry or thirsty, I also put in some Cheerios cereal, that was her favorite morning snack. I included a toy that PB's mom sent last Christmas. She is buried near the garden, under a stand of trees. PB is making a headstone for her.

This is very sad for me, for anyone who doesn't understand why or how someone can be so hurt by losing a pet, my reply is I feel sorry for you as it's clear that you never had a deep relationship with a pet, they have unconditional love, they are so trusting, to me she was part of my family and the pain I feel is a direct reflection of the love I felt for her, and she for me.

If you want to see the pictures of the casket, click on the "read more" below, if you do not wish to see the casket (with Pekoe in it, then don't click on it).


Friday, June 10, 2011

Giveaway

The contest is now over, congrats to the winner. :)

))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((

Here's another giveaway from Patriots Against The NWO, this one is for a book Five Acres and Independence: A Handbook for Small Farm Management, go here to enter:

http://patriotsagainstthenwo.blogspot.com/2011/05/giveaway-great-book.html

And stick around on the site, there is a lot of great info there. :)




All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fire Update

As you can imagine, I didn't get much sleep last night, though I was confident that if the fire began coming back, the firefighters would let us know, they stayed at my church all night watching the fire, you just don't fight fires in the brushy wilderness at night, God bless each and every one of them.

Around 3am, the wind shifted, it wasn't a strong wind, just a couple of miles an hour, that brought the smoke into the neighborhood, (I just heard 4 airplanes go over, I didn't get up to see them, I know they are fighting the fire), I read that last night the fire burned another 500 acres overnight. I went to bed shortly after that, but had a hard time going to sleep with all the smoke in the air.

This morning the wind shifted back in our favor, (here's another airplane going overhead, this time I went out and looked, it's the spotter plane circling around the fire). It's an odd thing to hear so much air traffic, we might have a small plane a couple of times a month, and the occasional helicopter, it's quite the sight (and sound). The firefighters started back up fighting the fires this morning, a few friends sent me some pictures, the pictures are big, click on them to see the full size. The last one, if you zoom in, you can see how close the fire is to a home. I believe we are going to be OK, there are lots of great firefighters and equipment fighting this fire, the winds are light and the humidity is up.






All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!

The Mountains Are Burning... Again

We had the promise of some rain, some much needed rain, but instead all we got was a lot of lightening, thunder and fires... that was a couple of days ago, and fortunately our wonderful volunteer fire departments were able to put those fires out before they got too bad.

Today I went into town with a friend, I was gone most of the day, we noticed that there were lots of vehicles with flashing lights passing us going the other way (toward where I live), we knew there was another fire but didn't know where it was... until we started coming home. It was easy to see the huge plume of smoke, we were hoping that it wasn't near our neighborhood.

As we were approaching the entrance to our neighborhood, we could see many vehicles parked around, mostly emergency vehicles, by then it was painfully clear that the smoke was very close by. Our first thought was that we wouldn't be allowed to enter the neighborhood, but it seemed that no one was there to stop us. I spoke to the deputy there who was watching the smoke, he said it was not in our neighborhood, yet, and the wind was in our favor (blowing it away) but they were there just in case, along with the sheriff and the deputy, there was a big truck with a trailer, on the trailer was a big bulldozer, there were a few other emergency vehicles there. We checked our mail and headed into the neighborhood.

Near my friend's house, we had a perfect view of the mountain ridge that was on fire, it looked very close, I later found out that the fire had indeed breached the boundaries of our neighborhood. Tonight I can see a glow over my mountaintop, I'm not too worried though, there are firefighters watching the fire all night, just in case things turn for the worse. I'm hoping there will be some rain tonight, but I'm not holding my breath.

I found some great pix of our fire on the internet, this might give you an idea of how difficult it is to fight fires out here.










We appreciate the hard work and dedication of our volunteer firefighters and all the volunteers who are flying the helicopters and airplanes who are helping us.

All written text 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 without written permission. You may post a portion of this (or any) message from this blog on another site as long as you include a link back to this site and the original message.

Wretha,

Thanks for visiting!