Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Hump Day, Babeeee.....


   Finally- snow.  North of us has had snow, south of us has had snow, and finally today we have snow too.  lol    Not that it's my favorite thing, but it sure is beautiful and it blankets everything in a soft quiet kind of tranquility.  It's much better retired of course... I don't have to go anywhere if I don't want to.  I'm still in my pajamas right now, and might just stay in them.  Getting dressed seems a little overrated on days like this.

  The pandemic has changed everything.  My once hectic life has slowed down a lot, just in time for  a heart attack and surgery which demanded slowing down.  I had an icky Achilles tendon surgery in February of last year which had me housebound and in a wheelchair for a good amount of time. Got out of the worst of that just in time for the Corona Virus.  So this has been a year of contemplation and quiet, of re-evaluating and reconsidering. Some of this, I'm sure, is my age. Some of this is the times. Weird times.  People are losing their minds. I seem to be finding mine.  lol

   The critters are napping all over the house. The dogs have been out and back in a couple of times.  The old girl doesn't like the cold, the baby keeps wanting to go out and check it out and then run back in.  The outside cat comes and goes.  She's been sleeping inside on the colder nights and will sometimes even stay inside during the day.  She has a little basket high on a table to sleep in where those  other horrid cats don't bother her so much.  She's old and cranky and has no tolerance for their shenanigans.  The twinlets are 2 years old and the Grey kitten is 1, and still very kitten-ish and playful.

  I've got some stew meat in the microwave thawing to make a nice pot of beef stew for supper.  Full of carrots, potatoes, onions and celery, it will be a nice with a loaf of fresh baked french bread.  Himself works outside parts of the day, so he comes home hungry and cold and grumpy.  A nice substantial supper puts him right. We usually eat around 6:30-7, depending on what time he rolls in.  This weather might slow him down some, or some days he works late.  Nice thing about a pot of stew is that it will be ready when he is. Our evenings are pretty quiet, and he is usually off to the shower and bed by 9:15 or so. He gets up around 4:45 AM and works 10 hour days M-TH, then [usually] an 8 hour OT day on Fridays.  Makes for a long week, and I try to do everything I can to make it easier for him.  

  Found a recipe for a DIY oven cleaner made with some pretty innocuous ingredients, so I may try to clean my oven this afternoon. before I get the bread going.  And then again...  lol  I have a hard time with commercial oven cleaners. Seems I react to something in them and wind up coughing and choking from the fumes.  So, I'll try this and see if it works.  My friend assures me that it does, but she doesn't cook like I do, and I'm pretty sure her oven never gets as trashed as mine.  lol  I'll let you know.

  I've been cooking and canning up a storm.  Hit a grand meat sale, and bought about 75 pounds of 80% lean ground beef, pork loin and bottom round roast for around $150.oo.  I froze 2 batches of pork loin chops, several packages of ground beef and a couple of bags of stew meat (plus cooked a roast for supper one of those canning days)  and canned all the rest of it.  My pantry is stocked. I've been buying some extras of basic staples like flour and sugar and oats and oil and rice.  Should be able to go without grocery shopping for a while. I have bought a few extras now and again of things like laundry supplies, dish soap and paper products.  My first aid kits are all stocked.  Pet foods are stocked (mostly) .  Playing with the idea of canning some dog food, but that may or may not happen. 

  That's about it from here on the Hill. Hanging out, staying in and trying to not be too worried about how crazy people are getting. I have high hopes again about the state of our nation with a new president, I pray that everything will work out without too much strife.  There does seem to be a faction of folks that  don't want to anything but cause strife.  It is worrisome...  Be well everyone

Monday, January 11, 2021

It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad World...


  This has been one crazy week. Crazy, scary, devastating.  I have no words.   On my birthday, Wednesday, Trump and his minions attempted to stage a coup to stop the certification of the election.  It didn't work. Lots of property damage, people damage and 5 deaths. These idiots were filming themselves as they terrorized Congress and destroyed property.  Now the FBI is asking for help identifying them FROM THEIR OWN PICTURES and rounding them up a few at a time and they are outraged. They brought weapons into the Capitol and threatened people, even threatened to hang Mike Pence because he was doing his job. And they are butthurt about being demonized and arrested now.  If it wasn't such a travesty it would be funny. Unbelievable.  Certainly a bd I will never forget.

  I have been staying home most of the time, going out now and then to do a curbside pickup of groceries.  I had to take my new glasses back to the eye place today, because I can't see with them.  I'm back to wearing my old ones, which frankly, are fine.  The nice man at the office finally figured out what the problem was and they will have to re-grind my lenses and they should be ready to p/u by the end of the week. He also said the new prescription was not very different at all. I wish they had told me that before I spent 250 dollars on them. (And that was my share- after insurance.)  While I was out, I stopped by a local discount grocery store and picked up a full case each of diced tomatoes and chickpeas. Then stopped to load up on pet food.  I got all put away, and even found jars for 20 of the 40 pounds of flour that came the other day and has been sitting on my dining room table, lol.  Today sesame seeds (2#) and wheat germ (1#)  came, so I jarred that up for storage too.  I use the wheat germ in my bread. I use the sesame seeds in lots of things. I've been cooking more Middle eastern and Mediterranean dishes, and many of those call for things like tamarind paste and fish sauce and sesame seeds.  I keep this stuff stocked up.  I love having the opportunity and ability to make and try lots of dishes from other cultures.  Last week I made a Muslim style rice noodles with beef that was out of this world !  I keep a nice stock of pastas, including rice noodles, cellophane noodles, soba noodles and regular old egg noodles and macaronis.  Also rice and quinoa and cous cous (which we don't eat very often, but it's nice to have).  Being able to buy things in bulk from Amazon is nice, especially during these crazy quarantine times. My husband hates that I'm on a first name basis with about 5 delivery drivers.  lol It's just a sign of the times. 

  I have been thinking about canning some dog and cat food items...things I could mix with oats or rice in the event that I couldn't get dog and cat food.  I don't want to get crazy about the state of the world, but today the FBI is warning law enforcement across the US of possible  armed protests at 50 state capitols starting Saturday through the inauguration on Jan. 20th.   These people have lost their minds.  As far as I can see, it wouldn't be a surprise for the chain of supply to be interfered with. I like to think we are prepared for anything that happens, but I don't know.  I guess we can just do what we can do and trust that it will be enough. I've looked at my seed vault and thought about ordering some more garden seed, but I probably have enough.  Again-- I don't want to get too crazy. There's enough of that in the world. 

  I have skills.  We have survived some pretty scary things-- natural disasters (tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes)...a car accident 5 years ago that turned our world upside down for a while. Food shortages and rationing things, tho no one starved and it was minor compared to some places, it's not something we're used to dealing with in this country (or in this house).  I have been convinced that it was necessary to keep a stocked pantry because 1) We live out in the country and if it snows a lot, we can't get out and 2) You never know what might happen.  When himself was hurt in that accident and couldn't work for 3.5 months, we got a real exercise in what it could be like, just from having to pay bills and survive on my disability. And we did it.  And it was scary and eventually satisfying to know we could do it. And there you go.

  Alright, this old girl needs to hit the hay. I have plans for tomorrow...some things I really need to get done. Here's to democracy and level heads and crossing things off my list.  It could turn out to be a very productive day.


Monday, January 4, 2021

Monday Musings 2021


  Here we are... the first Monday of January in 2021. It even feels like a sci-fi thriller.  Covid is wreaking havoc with peoples lives,  supply chains are slowly being disrupted, and people are generally grumpy AF.  Someone was talking today about a Covid "syndrome"  and my two cents was that we're just scared shitless of dying.   Call that a syndrome if you want.  I call it fear.   And of course we are afraid.  The numbers keep climbing, the vaccines aren't available like they should be, and we don't even really know that they will work.  And the reality of the seriousness has finally sunk in, even to the people who called this a hoax and "just the flu" a year ago.  With over 350K dead and a confirmed minimum of almost 21M cases in the US alone, even the die hards now know someone who has had it or died from it. Scary times around this world of ours. 

  I am eating a bowl of leftover stew for my breakfast/lunch.   Life is going right along here on Honeysuckle Hill... made it through the Holidays and his 12 day vacation with no angst or bloodshed.  lol  He was starting to get a little restless, pacing and such, 12 days is a little much. He said last night he didn't want to go back to work, but I think secretly he did.  lol  

  Today I am doing a tiny bit of housekeeping, but I slept late and so kinda shot myself in the foot. I think that I am  making a meatless Monday meal, maybe a pasta with putanesca sauce and some home made french bread. And salad.  I'm hungry for a salad. Picked up a grocery order from Aldis yesterday and got most all of it separated into meal sized portions (the meat--chicken and ground beef).  Thought it was all put away (he helped) but I just found 2 bags sitting on the pantry floor.  If I get off my butt and put them away, I can still at least vacuum (and have supper ready) before he gets home at 6. lol  Had a thought to doing laundry today, but it can wait til tomorrow. Trying to pace myself. lol He went for a hike yesterday, and pulled in the driveway 5 minutes after I had unloaded all the groceries from the car...7 bags and a box.  I was plum tuckered out after that.  lol    The old grey mare just ain't what she used to be...

  So, as you can guess, I have been stocking and restocking my pantries. I am going to can some ground beef tomorrow or Wednesday. Freezer is full.  And all of it needs re-arranging probably and inventorying.  But the weather has been goofy and I have been lazy and it hasn't gotten done.  I did inventory the pantries, and am pretty happy with that.  I am waiting for pork loin to come up on sale again so I can CAN 10 or 12 jars to add to my meat stash.  I have chicken, roast beef, and a couple of jars of pork left.  I have store bought canned tuna and salmon. I have a case of shelf stable tofu, plus a couple of packages. All in all, I feel pretty ready  for any worst case scenarios, food and supply wise.  I still have a few things that I feel you can "never have too much of" that I will buy as I see them. One of those is chickpeas, or garbanzo beans. They are a great source of protein, and I have learned to make several Indian dishes with them for a base.  AND-- I secretly eat them right out of the can, heated up with a little butter and black pepper.  lol   Usually when I find myself either not wanting to eat at all, or craving protein.  I am awfully grateful that I have a broad palette and like most things, and that I love culinary adventures. I have made American (of course), Vietnamese, French, Thai, Indian, Mexican, Greek, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Moroccan, Native American, and heaven knows what else kinds of cooking. It helps that I have a man who is not too picky, and will try anything once, and loves to eat too. 

  That's pretty much it from the Hill.  No more dr appts unless I have a problem. Keeping a casual eye on my vitals, and doing what I am supposed to be doing. We have both been healthy and are so thankful for that.  The critters are all fat and sassy and make our lives better every day. Here's to 2021 --  may we all march to our drummers and keep our heads held high.