House cleaning is like stringing beads with no knot at the end of the thread.

"Usually the Lord gives us the overall objectives to be accomplished and some guidelines to follow, but he expects us to work out most of the details and methods." -Ezra Taft Benson-

Monday, January 30, 2012

January 2012 FLOODING

Dear River,

I know that when I last wrote you I said, "I miss you." BUT I did not say I missed only you. I am appalled that you have come running across my yard to my door to see me. When I said I missed you, it wasn't you alone. I said, "I miss you and the warm and hot sun." I also said, "I also miss seeing salmon and trout in your waters." Now I know there are not any large salmon or trout in your waters, I know I won't find their precious eggs on my beach when you get the cold shoulder from me and realize I am happily married! I promise to visit you as a friend with my husband, children and dogs during summer. Now please leave..

Your not so distant friend,


Yes a little humor to deal with the stress of our first flood of winter. Honestly I was expecting this last year, but I guess things have changed and we now flood in January instead of November. So far the river has slightly jumped the bank, my sump pump has been on all stupid night, so I haven't slept in two nights.

So here is our/my next natural disaster.. are you prepared for flooding? We are supposed to have a lot of flooding this year. I am almost afraid to go to work today, why???? Well, first off the Issaquah river is trying to find me, and second of all the Snoqualmie river isn't far from my clinic, infact we have not flooded at our clinic, nor will we as when they rebuilt they put us up on stilts, BUT, that isn't to say that the river wasn't lapping at the building! I remember doing helping hands in Snoqualmie a couple of years ago, and I am sure we will be doing that again this February. I'll try to get over to the Snoqualmie and take a picture and send it out for you all to see, but yes, I am sure it will be high. Right now as of 5:15 am the Issaquah creek is at phase 3 flooding in town, and at my house at phase 1. I know more is coming... Snoqualmie river is at phase 1 but was at phase 2 a little bit ago... So yes, flooding could be imminent.

How shall we prepare?? BOB.. what? BOB.. WHAT?! Bug Out Bags ... yes I even have one for the dogs and cats and chickens. Although I now have more poultry so I will have to use a couple more boxes to move them. Where would I go?? Normally I would say high ground, but my mom's house is empty so we could go there, although it would be really hard on Amber. We would take over her basement ;) literally.. So what is in my BOB? Ya know a lot of preppers call them BOB, but that is the name my brother goes by and it just sounds wierd.. ha HA... ok,

water bottle
water filter
rocket stove (scout ones)
mess kit
2 pairs underwear
2 pairs socks
flash light
sweat suit
small first aid kit
sleeping bag (grab pillow off bed along with snuggly)
100 hour candle (in select bags)
pocket knife
zip loc of food: instant oats, peanut butter or nuts, gum, homemade hard candy (when I have it), ramen (gross), hot chocolate, lots of raspberry zinger tea and peppermint tea, granola bars

No it isn't as much as the emergency ones we made a couple of years ago. Remember you need to rotate clothing so it fits, and rotate food so it isn't .. icky. Rotate your matches as they can get moist (hello this is western WA).

Dogs BOB:
Cats BOB:

Chickens BOB:

The other things I grab:
camp gear (totes with all my camping stuff in them, including tent and stovetec rocket stove)
thermal pads for sleeping on
saratoga jack thermal cooker
hand grain mill

And if time permits: MORE FOOD including wheat, beans, salt and sometimes some spices or herbs, dried fruit, candy (sugar can be a comfort in times of distress), redmond clay (for when diarrhea hits), muck boots or extra shoes, more blankets, two larger first aid kits

Now this is our FLOOD season BOB, if we are evacuating for other reasons, depending on what it is, I would pack my trailer with as much food as I could, along with my second stovetec rocket stove and fuel for the gas stoves and stovetec stoves.

I am not sure how high the water will get... one of those two edged swords as we paid an arm and a leg for flood insurance (kind of want it to have not been in vain as it was required by mortgage company!!) and at the same time, I don't want the stress of a flooded house! We saw how hard it was on my BIL and SIL, and right now I don't know how well I would handle it.

Guess I will deal with it when if it happens.  Stay safe, stay dry, and pack your BOB..

Power Outage January 2012

My goodness it has been a crazy couple of weeks. So much going on. Let's list them:

Cold outside
Freezing outside
Freezing outside
Freezing outside
Power Outage
Communications lines down too!!!
Freezing rain

How long was your power out? How about your communications lines (phone, email, cell phone)? Did you have a source of heat? A way to cook? A way to boil water? A water source? A generator and plenty of food?

During all this wonderful fun (and I don't mean that sarcastically, I love it when the power goes out.. honestly, ask my kids), I got to help hubby deliver oxygen tanks to powerless patients. Lots of them. It was crazy, having rehab and nursing facilites calling saying, we just lost power (on Friday!! days after we lost it). Generators that blew up.. it was nuts. Many people had to be moved to places with heat. I have not heard of any deaths from this storm we had, but of course, I had no communications so no tv, so I heard nothing.

Something else I got to do during the power outage was help move my clinic back to it's original site!! yeah, I love our new building.. Our first official day open we had so many patients we didn't have time to talk with the patients. Today I finally had a chance to ask patients how they did during the outage. It was heart breaking. A lot of people didn't have a heat or cooking source, so they ate crackers, and if they had it, cold campbell's soup (undiluted because they didn't have water). A few had pipes that burst in their houses from the cold. The farms were hit hard with orchards being devastated by the freezing rain and so main branches or even the whole tree fell.

How prepared were you? I know many say they are prepared or were fine. But honestly what could you have had or done that would have made things better? A generator is what I hear alot.. a wood stove or stove insert? More wood? Water? candles? certain tools (chain saw, hatchet, ax, tarps, ropes)...

BUT remember you have to store the fuel for a generator, and yes fuel does go bad. And you don't want to store a generator with fuel in it. Is the wood you have green (fresh) or is it seasoned? And just because you split it a year ago, did you keep it dry?

I actually went out on my back deck and filled my soap making pots with snow, and melted them by the fire, then heated them on the stove to wash dishes. I also melted snow by the fire so we could flush the toilet.

Light??? My goodness you don't really realize how early it gets dark until you don't have power and at 4:15pm you are in the dark! I have an aladdin lamp, but the smell of the lamp oil burning gives me a headache. I like the candles alot, but try finding candles here like you can in Utah.. for a decent price, get real.. not going to happen. Candles are pricey.. Have you heard of an oil lamp? Like the ones used in the bible? yes, they are easy to make and use, you just need some pomace oil (a type of olive oil) and some cotton string or fabric.

Entertainment: Well, with the freezing rain I was not about to let my kids go out, slip on the ice and need a hospital visit, so after I did the chickens, and the dogs were done, we played board games, hide and go seek, colored, figured out meals, and how we would cook them.

Food: Did you try to find something to make at home, or try to find a restaurant with power? We had fun cooking with the fire and with my Saratoga Jack Thermal cooker. We used the cold outside to keep fridge food cold. We ate what needed to be eaten first, and didn't make enough for leftovers because I didn't want to fuss with storing it.

If I didn't have a camp cookstove, a BBQ, a canning stove, or my gas range.. I would have had to only rely on my fireplace to cook food for my family. Well, I have decided I want to have a back up plan. What if the next thing to hit knocks out the gas lines? How will I cook? fire... well, yes, but it's a real pain to cook outside in the freezing temps with your dutch oven. It's even harder to keep it at the right temp. So what to do?? I have decided I am buying some Stove Tec rocket stoves. Actually, I am getting two. This way I have one for camping, and one for emergencies. And also this way I can boil water on one and cook something else on the other at the same time. Yes they are a little expensive, but you know what. It is small, light weight and easy to use.

By the way, my BBQ was out of propane, and I am not even sure where my coleman stove is. My canning stove take propane.. Glad I had my gas range, but using it meant I had to have windows open for ventilation.. I actually have a patient who never ever turns on his exhaust fan when using his gas stove, and never has! (Actually it kind of explains a lot about him..) but for safety sake, please ventilate when using your natural gas stove! One thing we found ironic is my sister gave us each an MRE with heat pak from the Army (courtesy of her hubby) as gag gifts (except Peaches, she got a game instead.. LUCKY!!). We decided to use them just before we found out about this storm. Yes you could survive on them, and you won't have to worry about a bathroom, because they plug you up for weeks!! bonus right?! HA HA, kids thought they were fun, but I remember them from my dad's navy days, yuck.. and I think it was even the same packaging from the navy camp out I remember from the 1970's !!!

Ok, I ask you again. If you couldn't use a generator.. What would you do with your freezer food? Obviously you'd have to figure out how to preserve the food another way, and quickly. What would you do? I would can the meat, dehydrate what I could, and an whatever else I could. I would also make meals around what thaws out first. Usually fish thaws first, then chicken and ground meats, then roasts.

What would you do with your freezer jam? fruit? veggies? beans? meats? breads? So much to think about.. ugh... information constipation.. but you can't let that happen! Just want you to think about it, and start making up a plan.

Ok, this was all just things running through my head this week. Seeing the less fortunate through work and hearing what they endured because they didn't have a plan.. it just killed me, and it could have been prevented!

So there it is, I am doing an order for some Stove Tec Rocket Stoves. If you'd like to order with me, write me back and let me know. I am ordering the Deluxe Metal 1 Door Stove (it has a metal liner so it lasts longer.) We can save on shipping if I order a large order and have it sent to one address.

Also, the thermal cooker will work great with the stove tec. I am excited to use them together.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What is "green" mean to you?

Everyone over 35 should read this.. This was emailed to me by my son:

Checking out at the supermarket recently, the young cashier suggested I should bring my own bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. I apologized and explained, “We didn’t have this green thing back in my earlier days“.

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations“.

She was right about one thing–our generation didn’t have the green thing in “Our” day. So what did we have back then? After some reflection and soul-searching on “Our” day, here’s what I remembered we did have….

Back then, we returned milk bottles, pop bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles repeatedly. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s nappies because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 240 volts — wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right. We didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of Wales. In the kitchen, we blended & stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn petrol just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right. We didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a water fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their mums into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Back in the day (until I got married so prior to July 1991) I remember walking or riding my bike EVERYWHERE! School, the store, friends houses (even if they lived a few miles away), EVEN work (heaven forbid!!).. I remember having to shake the milk jug because the milk would separate or even better, the milk in the glass 2L bottles. I remember that my mom HATED margarine (originally called oleo) because it was not butter and didn't even taste like butter. I remember when the bakeries at the grocery stores actually baked bread and sliced it their (Mom, remember Buttries with Aunt Elaine, my class one year got a tour of the bakery and they were slicing the breads with a special wire cutter). I remember everyone had a garden, even if it was small.. Although my dads was a quarter of an acre (I also remember dragging a huge metal triangle thing behind our 1971 Malibu Chevelle to level out the back yard.. Then turning that triangle into a compost at first, then a garden). I remember the kitchens at the school actually COOKING lunch! You know, spinach with vinegar, real macaroni and cheese, real food.. not processed food, and if you tried to throw away your veggies you had to prove you had eaten some. I also remember pop bottles, not the small 12oz ones that Coke uses now but the nice 16 and 21 oz ones..we turned those back in to get the deposit back same as for milk bottles. As for our parents and grandparents not caring for the environment, it wasn't them, it was the companies that dumped chemicals, it's the companies harvesting petroleum and natural gas that don't care. Our parents and grandparents were the original greens. People today don't make things do or do without, they throw something away that could be fixed and buy a new one.. how green is that?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chili Casserole

I got this from the Taste of Home Casserole Cookbook, I did make some changes though. ALSO, I make this in my Saratoga Jack Thermal Cooker, and we love it. I double this for my thermal cooker sometimes.

Chili Casserole
1 pound bulk pork sausage or hamburger or ground poultry
2 cups water
1 can (15-1/2 oz) beans (pinto, black, chili, cannelini, white), undrained
1 can (14-1/2 oz) diced tomatoes undrained, or salsa
3/4 cup uncooked rice (long or short grain)
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 TBS chili powder (I only use 1 tsp.)
1 tsp. Bug juice (worcestershire sauce)
1 tsp. prepared mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder or a couple of cloves of garlic minced

Cheddar cheese

**In large pot for thermal cooker, brown the meat and onions over medium heat; add garlic when meat is half way done and continue to cook until not longer pink; drain. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the rice and cheese. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, then sprinkle in rice and stir. Bring it back to a boil, then cover and place in thermal cooker.

Stove directions: In a skillet, cooke the sausage over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Transfer to a slow cooker. Add the next 10 ingredients; stir well. Cover and cook on low for 7 hhours or until rice is tender. Stir in cheese; cook 10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.

Power Balls

I love these, my kids love these!  These are yummy and very good for you.

Power Balls
1 pound (16 oz.) pitted dates or figs
1 cup peanuts, raw or roasted (or whatever nut you like)
1/2 to 1 1/2 tsps. vanilla extract
1/4 - 1/2 cup flaked grains (oats, or barley, or wheat, or rye... whatever you have)
1/4 cup craisins or raisins (optional)
1 - 2 TBS rice protein powder (optional)

Toasted coconut (toast under broiler until golden, you will want to watch it closely and stir occasionally).

Check dates for pits. Pits will break your food processor  blade. They are very hard, and are sharp at both ends. I usually bend the dates in half to check for pits.

Place peanuts in processor and blend a little. Add dates and blend until smaller. Add any other dried fruit and mix until fine. Now add the vanilla, grains and protein powder. Mix until fine.

Roll into 1-inch FIRM balls, then roll firmly in the toasted coconut. Store tightly covered in fridge.