Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pics to Ponder - Chain Link

Be advised, not all materials shown are what is needed for this project, but alternatives are shown just for representative purposes.

I am posting these pictures as a favor to those that wanted to see what I was talking about.

It's a HANDy little thing that can connect to large chains together. You may need to get a larger size if your "chain" is too big to fit in this link.

You can replace the yarn with rubber tubing and the denim with leather to make a field tourniquet to help control bleeding. The link can be placed over a feminine pad over the wound and the tubing wraps around the body part involved.

The pouch is to put the stick through to tighten or loosen so the tubing does not get damaged.
Nod your head now because you understand!

Thank you for stopping by. It's been a treat. I really enjoy our little visits.
Dee Dee

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Got a Great Deal on Yarn and Picked Up Free Patterns

We just had to go shopping this evening so I picked a location that had a Michael's craft store since their yarn selection is much better than what you would find at stores like Walmart now a days, and nearly equal, if not better,  to what stores like JoAnn Fabrics carries. It does depend on your location thought. Stores far from larger cities can really have some great selections. However, you will find many specialty yarn stores in the bigger cities that have a selection that is very impressive. The problem with many specialty stores is that the people that work there seem as if they are a above everyone that walks into the store.  They really don't seem geared toward customer service. And finally, their prices are MUCH higher to the point of questionable affordability.

As I entered Michael's the first thing I found was a clearance section. I spotted some brown yarn that was marked down from $5.99 per skein to $1.99 per skein. It had some sequins in it. I saw that there was 5 skeins but because I didn't really see a use for it I passed.
They also had some larger knitting needles (sizes 13 and 17) made of plastic that were marked down from $6.99 and $5.99 to $2.49 and $1.49 so I put those in my basket.

Then I went straight back to the yarn section looking for my wool yarn.
As I was back there I was grabbing all of the free patterns that they hang on the yarn racks. I found 14 free patterns that interested me. One of them was by some of the same yarn (different color though) that was in the clearance bin. Looking at the supplies needed made me think again about passing up that discount bin. The needles needed are US 17 and the amount of yarn needed is 5 skeins.
I grabbed the pattern and went back up front to get the yarn, hoping it would still be there, and yes ma'am it was! 

When I got to the register the yarn rang up at $.99 per skein, half of what I had expected and the needles were less as well. I saved $25 on the yarn alone!

Another wonderful thing about the free patterns at Michael's is that they are on a heavier paper than most free patterns, they give you a difficulty level and a completion time so you know about how long your project will take. There is no purchase required for the patterns, which is very generous of them, but after how much I spent there this evening I think they are doing just fine!

When I finish this project I will share the results with you.

I am planning on trying to find local people near me that have animals and spin their own fibers to see what their yarns are like to use, but that will have to be after I use up more of what I have.

Thank you for stopping by!
Dee Dee

Wool Socks Using "Patons" Yarn

I want to have at least 2 pairs of wool socks for every member of my family's emergency packs.
. I used "Patons" Classic Wool which is 100% pure new wool that is made in Canada and a set of size 4 double pointed needles.

 I started with my daughter's pair first. I proceeded to make a custom pair to fit her feet. I asked her how high up on her leg she want the cuff and then measured that. I also measured around her ankle and then it was time to work a gauge sample. I figured with her skinny little ankles that I could add a couple extra stitches for a little room for growth. I cast on 40 stitches for this sock and worked in ribbing pattern. I used the eye of partridge stitch for the heal flap. I brought the ribbing down throughout the gusset work to ensure a snug fit. Then I changed color for the rest of the foot and toe. I kept checking it to her as I was working to be sure I got the right size. I now have one done and I have most of the cuff done on the other. 

This wool is easy to work with and not as scratchy as the wool that I remembered from long ago. When I unraveled the gauge sample it came apart very easy and I did not lose any yarn in the process. The yarn I used for this pair of socks, I had received free and although I do feel a need to try out other yarns, I was compelled to buy more of this brand. I bought more of the denim color and added purple, black and camo for other pairs. I do recommend this yarn.
My daughter says the socks are a little loose but she likes them. Hopefully they will keep she feet warm and cozy when the weather turns cold.

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Boats Are More Than You Think

It is really nice to be able to get out on the lake and enjoy nice weather, do some fishing or just take in the air. I don't have a boat yet but I am considering getting one. Hopefully a sturdy row boat.
A row boat, though they can be quite heavy, can also provide shelter.
If placed upside down over a small dug out area that is wind protected by hills, supported with dirt or rocks, it can help protect you from wind and hail that other structures, like a tent, won't provide.
Use the anchor to help hold it down and also secure it at other points.

What got me thinking about this ( I know I can be a bit much, excuse me) was the possibility of a polar shift and the possible effects of the comet that we will be seeing from Sept. to Nov. this year. I have read some very alarming views on this, so in my head, instead of panicking, I look at how to solve the problem. Since not everyone can build an appropriate high tech shelter, this might be an option. The poor man's shelter. Besides, if it floods you can turn the boat over and row out of there.
 If you have a larger group you could opt for a pontoon as long as it has a metal floor, but the curved surface of a row boat is better.

Don't shelter near anything that can become a debris hazard like trees and loose rocks.

And if that mean old comet does cause problems, try to help others. We will all be in the same boat. And in the meantime, hiding under a secured boat during a storm can save you some welts. Just don't be touching the metal as I can tell you from first hand experience lightning does not feel good.

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Camp Bread Recipe

Before you head out to camp mix the dry ingredients together, fill and label bags. I like to use the gallon sized bags even though this will fit in a quart size bag.
The gallon is big enough to mix the dough and after kneading it you can use the bag for raising the dough in.

My recipe makes a half sized loaf. I am still working on this recipe. I have made some breads, adding powdered eggs, honey (honey in condiment packages is great for this), and have tried a few that I liked with tomato powder and basil flakes. I really wish that I would have written those down. You can basically adapt any recipe to suit your tastes.

1 1/4 Cup Flour (I used All-purpose for this)
2 1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/8 teaspoon dry yeast
2 teaspoons powdered milk

The label on this should read "Bread Dough". For your own good label that
Bring an extra quart sized bag with a few cups of flour in case you should need more during kneading and for other cooking projects.

Once you get to camp start your fire and boil some water. Pour 1/2 Cup of that water into a cup with 2 teaspoons of butter or shortening.
Right now I have to tell you that I forgot that step before kneading and had to add in 1 teaspoon of olive oil as I was kneading. Then before I put it into the plastic bag to raise I smothered butter all over it. If you mess up, improvise!
Let that cool to just warm and pour right into the bag. I prefer to mix with one hand and hold the bag with the other in case I need a clean hand to grab more flour. Try to get in the habit of mixing and kneaded with your non-dominate hand. There is a very good reason for that.
Once you have a good ball going in there you can take it out and knead it on a clean smooth surface, floured if necessary.
Once the dough is smooth and elastic it is ready to put back in the bag to raise.
It took me a long time to understand what smooth and elastic felt like, because I never really kneaded it long enough to get to that point. 15 minutes of kneading or more may just be what it takes. Kneading the dough does all kinds of magical things to it that you can learn about elsewhere if you desire. If you want to get good at it, close your eyes and feel it.

Dough needs a still and warm place to rest. You won't have much success with it if you put it in your back pack and start hiking. However, if you have to be on the move, you can make a "bun in the oven" pack to hold it in next to your belly. For the guys out there you can call it your "beer belly bag".

When the dough has risen to twice it's size it is ready to bake or slow roast over a campfire as with bread twists. Then there are some of us that also like to deep fry it.

You can use powdered eggs to make an egg wash for it.
Roll it in flour to ash bake it.
Brush melted butter on it.

There really is so much variety that you can do with breads.
If you are low on flour there are many wild plants that can help you stretch your flour supply.
I will do a post on that later.

Being at camp you will not have the ability to watch the temperature while you are baking your bread so you will have to eye and ear it. Golden brown crust and a hollow sound when tapped on and it is done. You can also check with a toothpick as you would a cake.

You can also take your own bread recipes and divide them by 1/4th as most recipes I have come across are for 2 loaves. For recipes with eggs in them, the powdered eggs are much easier to divide.
I have not tried powdered butter with this yet, but that is on the to do list.

I hope I have given you enough ideas to help you be more cozy at camp.

Thank you for stopping by.
Please feel free to comment.
Dee Dee

What We Don't Remember

Most people can't remember when you dialed a phone that a local number was 5 digits, or that there were party lines and if someone was using the line you had to wait and others could listen to your conversations. I have had young people ask me how to use a rotary phone. Yes I still have one!

Fewer people remember a time when there was no indoor plumbing and you had to use a hand pump outside to fill buckets to bring in for drinking, cooking and cleaning, and had to walk out in the middle of the night to the outhouse.

Fewer yet remember that turning on the light meant lighting an oil lamp or candle.

Oh this magical thing called electricity! Look what it has done to us.
We travel faster. We talk faster. We live faster.
Is this really a good thing?

Yes, as I sit here using electricity talking to you now, and you use electricity reading this, it makes us all hypocrites if we think it is a bad thing. But let us look at how it has affected us for a moment both good and bad.

The good.
We can learn more faster with a keystroke, finding solutions to problems that we may not have been able to come up with on our own.
We can stay up as late as we need to and not worry about the oil running out in the lamp and not being able to see through the darkness.
We can talk to loved ones whenever we want to by pushing a few buttons.
Our lives can be extended by machines.
Our food can be brought to us from farther away, faster than ever, and taste fresh.
We can listen to music without having a musician anywhere near us.
We can have clean clothes faster and easier than before.
We can preserve food easier and keep leftovers longer.
Water comes to us, in our homes, to drink, cook and flush away what we discard.
Speaking of discarding, our garbage just goes away.
Travel is much faster.
We can see sights around the world without even being there.
We get our news instantly.
Even our food  is planted, harvested, processed and put on our table with little effort to us.

But what exactly have we sacrificed?
What kind of changes would we see if it all stopped?
Well, things would be far from cozy and you know it!
However, we would find some things would happen that we might not expect.

The bad.
All of this technology has actually driven a wedge within families. Everyone is so wrapped up in their own little electronic world that the people that should matter the most to us are being pushed aside. We don't talk to each other like we used to. We don't use our creativity and push our talents. We don't spend as much energy on really learning things. Literally the list of what we have lost is endless. We just don't remember it.

Without TV, computers, ipods, phones, stereos, lights, running water, flushing toilets, stores, ATMs, credit cards, checks, automobiles, stoves/microwaves, AC/furnaces and the many other things we enjoy, what happens?
Well, for those that have never lived without, I guess you would be crying a lot. Most would not have jobs to go to. So you sit at home (if you are lucky enough to be home) and do what?

Just because you no longer have an employer it does not mean you won't have work to do. It will just be a different kind of work than what you are used to, and most likely harder.

If there was an EMP event you would see large groups of mostly young people (we are now seeing as "flash mobs") start looting stores. Foolishly grabbing up those high end electronic devices which are never going to work even when the power comes back on.

Some that are a little brighter, will hit the grocery stores and clean out the shelves there.

The ones that are a little smarter will have their packs on and will be on their way out of the city, some with no clue where they are going.

Some will have made arrangements with others out in the country to have a place to go to.

I know that there will be many people in remote locations that will be well stocked and very well armed (at least in the USA) that will most likely have ambush plans in place for intruders.
There will be several smaller towns and cities that will be organized and send out many armed citizens to help protect their area farmers against raiders, and also to work the fields.

The mobs will not be tolerated and strangers will not be trusted.
So I recommend that if you are in a bigger city, to make friends with your neighbors and the farmers that are farther out from you and make a plan to go there to help defend the farms or offer some other service to them (such as spinning fibers or churning butter) in exchange for food and a place to set up shelter, and to do that soon! Don't wait.

Children and Teens would soon get bored out of their minds without their little electronic baby-sitters.
If there is no one to guide them we will see a whole new kind of "rat" as we see with the "flash mobs". If you value your child please grab them now and get them under control, otherwise you are just raising worm bait.

I just can not stress enough that if you value your children, family or even yourself, you owe it to them and yourself to show them the importance of being compassionate, trustworthy, self-reliant and a hard worker. To find ways to solve problems through thinking. To learn how to not make matters worse.
Tough times do not demand tough talk. Just action.

We may have to rely on technology of the past that we no longer remember and it will be a hard adjustment for everyone. Even for those that have studied and lived it, because we will have to factor in those that do not know these things and only have the ways of the streets to fall back on as they will either need to be turned from those ways or be "left by the wayside".

 Even if it isn't an EMP it could be a social or financial collapse (as was seen in Argentina) that can do the same thing to us. We must be prepared to share our knowledge to help others and bring people together, and also to be ready to defend our families and communities against those that are a threat to us, and to try to distinguish who is that threat.

We must not let ourselves be divided by petty differences. That only makes us weaker.
Your beliefs, thoughts, feelings, skin color and preferences can be different from mine, but at the end of the day, if we work together in peace, we all go home and live in peace.

So work on being a peacemaker. There is much more to gain from that. I felt at this time that this is a very important topic. Some of you may not understand, others will. If not  now I hope it is not too late.

I am off now to work on more projects. I can't wait until the camera comes home but more so that sweet one that is using it.
You all stay cozy and thank you for stopping by!
Dee Dee

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cooking Camp Bread

Few things are more satisfying than eating freshly baked bread when you are out camping.

I like to mix all the dry ingredients together and put in plastic bags to be able to have a couple of loaves or bread sticks. You can add your water right into the bag and mix the dough in the bag.
We have made stone ovens to bake in, which can be a lot of work, and the bread turns out much like what a brick oven makes. Good stuff!
You can tote in a camp oven, which is a heavy and bulky addition to a backpack. These can be nice as they have a temperature gauge.

But let's get primitive for a moment.

I am talking bread sticks with a twist, literally.
The way to make bread sticks for over a fire is to wrap your bread dough around a stick that has had the bark stripped off (make sure you use a good wood for this as some woods can be poisonous) and then you can roast if over hot coals.
I like to use Y shaped branches stuck into the ground on each side of the fire to cradle the bread stick stick on. It makes it easy to turn the stick for even heating and lets me work on the other foods for the meal.

And then there is Ash bread.
Ash bread is where you start a fire on a fairly flat rock and once that goes to coals you move the coals aside, place the dough (well floured) on the rock, put a layer of hot ashes on the dough and then hot coals on top of the ashes. Once it is done you just brush off the coals and ashes. You can even cook roasts this way. Ash gives a wonderful flavor.

Most campers like to bring bannock for bread making. Bannock is quite wonderful and less complicated than my camp bread recipe, and quite possibly more versatile. There are several recipes for bannock out there or you can use Bisquick.

It is good to bring extra plain flour and some salt when you go primitive. Don't forget the butter, cooking oil/grease and a fry pan for the fried fish fillets to go with your bread!

I will update this post later with pictures and put my bread recipe on another post.

Thank you for stopping by.
Grab a warm slice and be cozy!
Dee Dee

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Knitting Socks Using Math

This is for the intermediate knitter that has had a little experience knitting in the round and knitting a few socks.
As I am writing this post I have been working on trying to figure out the mathematics in making a sock template that will help anyone make their own sock patterns. I think I have got it.
Not every one has all of the different sizes of double pointed needles or the same thickness of yarn, I know I don't. So here are the beginning pointers for you.
If you like thinner socks you will want smaller needles (#1 through #3) and a thinner yarn (such as sport weight). For thicker socks you will want from a size 4 through a size 9 set of needles and a worsted weight yarn.
Once you have acquired those get a tape measure out and measure around your ankle. If you are planning on making knee high socks measure around just below your knee above the calf. Write both of those numbers down. Measure from knee to ankle for knee high socks.
Knee high socks should have a decrease in stitches nearing the ankle. It depends on your width.

Now take your needles and yarn and do a gauge! I prefer to make a gauge using the stockinette stitch. Cast on 20 and work 10 rows. Measure how wide this gauge is. This will help you to find out what you need to start your socks. If your gauge is 2 inches divide that to your ankle circumference making sure you have an even number. If you need add one more stitch.

Example: (convert to your metric measurements for outside US) if you are using a size 4 needle and worsted weight yarn and 10 stitches equal 1 1/2 inches, your tension in knitting shows you that you will need to cast on 40 stitches to fit an ankle that is 5 to 7 1/2 inches with the stretch of a rib stitch. Your tension and needle size may show that you need more or less.

For a nice elastic fit use a rib stitch of knit 2 pearl 2 in the round.
Usually stitches are divided evenly between three needles, since you can't divide 40 by 3 you can go 10-20-10, but you need to be careful when you have to first pearl on any of your needles, to make sure that you bring the yarn forward so that it will be under your free needle when you start that row.

To start the heel flap you will need to have half of your stitches on one needle. Most patterns will have you use the first needle as the middle of the back of the sock, so if you have 40 stitches 20 will be half and that is easy enough to do. If you have a pattern which calls for 48 stitches, that gives you 24. To get those stitches on to one needle, you can will need to knit to where the half way mark is. If you have 60 stitches that are equally spread out 20-20-20 you need to get 30 on the top of the foot needle and 30 for the heel flap.

The length heel flap will depend on the measurement of the heel and the length of your gauge. Make sure that you slip the first stitch of every row on your heel flap. You will need this to pick up the stitches for the gusset.

I do like the "slip, knit, slip, knit across and slip one (as to pearl), pearl across" method for a reinforce heel.

This is where the math can get intimidating.
When you have reached the length of the heel you need to end with the Slip-knit row.
For turning the heal you will Slip one (as to pearl) then pearl to one more than half of the stitches, pearl 2 together, pearl one and turn. Count remaining stitches. If you have (as an example) 7 remaining you will slip (as to knit) one, then knit until you are 10 from the other end, do a SSK (slip, knit, pass over slipped stitch) then knit one, leaving the remaining 7 unworked.

For thinner socks with a finer yarn (needle size 2-3) this will have to be adjusted, as it will make the heal too pointy. Instead of knitting to one beyond the center you will go to one before 2/3 of the row. The turned heel should have a rounded look, if you have to back your work up go ahead, just keep track of your changes so that you can make another sock to match it.

I am trusting that you have made socks in the past and know how to finish the heel, work the gusset, foot and toe, as these are pretty much standard in all patterns. It is all about measuring and doing the math. The gusset is finished when the top of the foot has the same number of stitches as the bottom.
You can add your own personal stitches and patterns into this to create your very own socks or you can keep it basic for function. All you need is one basic sock pattern, a set of double pointed needles, some yarn, find your gauge, do the math and find your size.

I will post pictures to this when the camera comes home.
(I miss her so much already! But I hope she is having a great time!)

I would like to thank so many of my friends that sent me links and patterns of over 650 socks that I skimmed through to get the mathematics on this. Sorry it took so long to go through those!
If you find any errors please let me know so I can correct this. It is really late here now and I have math brain now.
Please pass this post on to people that may want or need it.

Thank you for stopping by.
Please feel free to comment!
Dee Dee

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Camera went to Summer Camp

For the next 2 weeks I will be without a camera to post pictures to my blog. It makes it hard for me to want to post this way. I just love to give visuals.
So here are some verbal previews of what is to come.

Knitting Socks Using Math
I will be figuring out the math for making socks so that anyone can make their own patterns with any size yarn and needles with the most basic math skills and I will try to make it as easy to understand as I can. I guess I don't need a camera for this.

A New Pop Can Solar Heating Idea
If you have not heard of Pop Can Solar Heaters I urge you to look at this video
I am currently working on an idea from this to test a different style to see what is more efficient. His may end up better, but if we don't try to reach farther we will never know.

Refinishing that old Park Bench
I picked up an old park bench cheap at a garage sale and it was in need of some TLC. I will have to wait until the camera comes home from camp to show you how this ends up.

Re-upholstery Baby Steps
I have some kitchen chairs I got free that almost match my kitchen table. They are cherry stained and the table is closer to oak. The seats on the chairs are horribly stained and some of the wood needs to be touched up. I will be prepping everything so that when the camera comes home from summer camp I can give you photo details on how it gets done.

Oh, and that camera. It is with my precious one. Well, one of my precious ones. I have 3 that I adore, all for different reasons because they are all special in their own ways. I truly hope that you have someone in your life that you hold precious as I do, with all of your heart. That is what makes us the most cozy.

The next couple of weeks will be slower for me. If you are enjoying my work please share with others.
Your comments are always welcome.
Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Fake Fireplace

My husband amazes me. We both wanted a fireplace, however we don't have a chimney for one, so for our second winter season we decided that we should make a fake one for ambiance.
I had the perfect thing for the frame. A bookcase headboard for a twin bed!
Now it has a double function.

We bought some faux brick paneling and some wire nails for the project and we had some scrap molding pieces for the other parts.
A little black paint on the inside.
Some logs and a "fire light with fan".
All that is need now is a hearth which we will be working on soon.
We placed a real fireplace screen in front of it and the cleaning tools next to it and some people have thought we have a real fireplace in our living room.

We are planning on putting a free standing fireplace in before winter so this will have to go.
It was cozy while it lasted.
The next one will be even nicer!
Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Bucket Mouse Trap - Free info

It would be one thing if mice only ate a little bit of food, but the fact is that they carry parasites and diseases that can harm people. The truth is I value my daughter's life over a mouse's life and anyone that thinks differently either has never had a child or shouldn't be a parent.
For those that think a cat or mouser dog is a more humane solution than a trap, you have obviously never seen a cat play with a mouse before it kills it.

The trap I came up with was an accidental finding. I have caught more mice this way than with snap traps.
I use a 2 to 5 gallon bucket and fill half full with water. Smear peanut butter an inch above the water line and pour some old honey in the water.
Place the bucket near a box of the same height to give the mice a way into the bucket. They fall in and drown. Rotate the location you place the bucket and alternate between the buckets and other traps. I have never caught a mouse with a sticky trap, plenty of bugs but no mice.

I discovered this way of trapping years ago by leaving a bucket next to my front steps half full of water with no bait and finding 2 mice in there the next day. I am pretty sure that other people had discovered this way before me and put it to use so I won't say this is my invention, I had just never heard of it before.

Living with mice in your house is not only far from cozy, it can be a hazard.
Please be careful with small children around these traps.

Thank you for dropping by.
Dee Dee

Stinging Nettle, Yes, Food

Stinging Nettle, which is also referred to a itch weed, started out to me on the same scale as poison ivy. I was wrong. Not only is it a good weed to grow just outside of windows to detour windows from being used as entry and exits, it turns out that it has a place in the kitchen as well.

The first time I tried Nettle I steamed it and ate it much like you would spinach. I found the texture was hard to get over.
I had no interest in trying it again.

After doing some research I have found recipes for Nettle pesto, soups and even making a pasta with it and I will be testing some of those when I can. There are hundreds of recipes for this plant.

It is said that Nettles are very healthy for you. I have heard differing reports on the benefits.

A word of warning. It is called itch weed for a reason. Use gloves until you blanch the leaves and eat a small amount to make sure you have no allergies to it. Blanching is best done in salted boiling water.

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Survival Storage 2

Part of what you store should be portable by vehicle or trailer.
By trailer, that could be either one that pulls behind your vehicle, one that you hitch to a bicycle or four wheeler, or it could be something you pull like a wagon or garden cart.
This would be something that you could grab if you have 15 minutes to evacuate. You want to be sure you first get your important documents, your BOBs, your family and some "tools".

It is best if you have them stored where is won't get too warm and put them out of sight. Some people will have a box under their bed, but I believe in putting them in other places. I use the same type of boxes to store some yarns and fabrics and other misc. items as a diversion. If you are a fan of labeling boxes put a misleading label on it like "Stuffed Animals".

The boxes you see are filled with freeze-dried foods, water, MREs (meals ready to eat), and drink mixes. But you can also store other types of food as well and if you do, try to do so as a meal planning thing. Not just a cans of meat, veggies and fruits, but a plan of what to make out of them. Add a bag of rice, some dried beans, seasoning, a bottle of cooking oil and you are well on your way to a more comfortable meal. Unless, of course, you forget to pack a can opener. You will also want to make sure you have a mess kit with you so you have something to boil water in.

I am a firm believer of never having to go to a shelter of any kind for any reason. I can make my own shelter. That's another story.

Thank you for stopping by,
Dee Dee

Spice of Life

Spices and herbs play such an important part of our lives.
Beyond just seasoning our foods, some have medicinal values which I will not go into since making any claims of health benefits will get you in trouble with the FDA, sad but true, so I just want you to look into them on your own and see how beneficial herbs are.
I will try to stick with flavors here even though I would love to direct you to sites like and
which will bare disclaimers as they should.

I started cooking with herbs more after I started growing them in my garden and because of my garden I became a better cook. Tarragon is chicken's friend! Basil, parsley, lemon balm, mint, dill, oregano, rosemary, thyme and sage fresh from the garden can be a culinary dream.

Baking Soda (is better than toothpaste) and vinegar are great cleaners.
Having a big selection of spices, herbs, cooking wines, vinegars, sauces and oils will provide you with what you need to make small wild game lose a bit of that "gaminess" that turns people away so often. Raw, organic apple cider vinegar is a good thing to have on hand.

There has been so much negative talk about salt that many people are staying away from it even when they shouldn't. The truth is we need salt. I choose sea salt. Soon most people will look at salt as they do raw milk.

Garlic has medicinal properties but since I would prefer it not to be regulated by the FDA as one I can't tell you how to use it for healing .
Like Garlic, onions also have a use in the medical world. If you accidentally put a freshly cut slice of onion on a bee sting you will see what I mean, but stay away from chopped onions at a buffet style salad bar. Never let a sick person near chopped onions that you intend to eat. Do feed a sick person foods with raw onions and/or garlic.
Why? I wish I could tell you. Please try to learn about these things while you still can.

I came back to this post this morning hoping to finish it right, but I honestly can not.

I am sorry that I feel I can not freely give you information on these things that may lead you to better health, but I don't live in a land of free speech anymore. A major food contaminator (GMO) is in deep with the FDA and has been working to silence those with natural knowledge to keep their drug (pharmaceutical) making friends happy.

Okay, now I can't even talk about flavors because thinking about the restrictions has left a bad taste in my mouth. Yes, there are those that want to steal what keeps us cozy. That is why I push to learn how to make things and cook things that are so easily gotten from a store. It may take longer to do and that is fine. I take pride in what I can do and they can't take that away.

Thanks for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Survival Storage 1

When storing foods you want to make sure the climate is best to prolong the shelf life of what you are storing.
I store a great deal of foods in my basement where the temperature stays below 65 degrees F most of the year. Sometimes as low as 45. I have a dehumidifier down there because we live in swampy forest land where mushrooms could sprout without spores.
In the first picture on the top shelf I have a non-electric water distiller (which I am not very fond of the fact that it was made in China as they have a different standard of stainless steel and it show signs of rust), it can be used on a woodstove, campfire or grill and supposedly can distill up to 16 gallons per day.
Next to that is a Wonder-clean laundry washer which worked fine until the plastic screw parts stripped and I had to deal with that and the rubber gasket didn't last long either. I bought a plunger type of washer and a washboard and found they do a better job.

Then I have a water filter that should be able to filter most any water, but I think I would first run it through a coffee filter, then through that and into the distiller.
Next to that is an Easy Bake oven (which I plan on turning into a dehydrator) and a food mill for processing some fruits and veggies.
On the second shelf is a non electric grain mill, meats, salad dressings, soups, bullion, misc. and some veggies.
The next shelf down is emergency candles meats, vegetables, and fruits.
Then fruit juices, coffee, condiments, oils and pickles. Below that is work gloves, pails of grains, and water.
In another area I have freeze-dried foods which include powdered milk, butter, sour cream, fruits, vegetables, meals, peanut butter and more. Water jugs filled with water for cleaning. I also have outdoor fuel lamps and fuel and some cooking stoves.
In another area I have more grains stored in canning jars, yeast, canning jars, lids and rims, instant potatoes, steamer and crock pot (not that those would work if we lose power). When the jars of grains get used up they can be used for canning other foods in.
This is just a part of my storage. I built this up slowly, usually in the summer when my energy bills are lower. I have a system to rotate what I store and I work on new recipes so that I use what I store.
I also have a smaller chest freezer that gets filled with garden goodies when things go well. This year won't be one of those years. Then again if we have a major power outage losing so much food with a larger freezer would really hurt.
I do have a fall back plan with wild foods and dehydrating/smoking foods. I have extra sugar and salt for preserving some things.
I started all of this with a very tight budget working with coupons and sales items and growing my own foods as well. 2 years ago I grew over 100 pounds of beans and 20 pounds of strawberries as well as an assortment of other foods.
I even grow foods that I don't eat but others will so that I can trade if need be.
The key is to buy what you can as cheap as you can and built your supplies as you go, keeping in mind what you use. The reason I have posted some recipes here is so that you will be encouraged to work with more items in your food storage.
Some things, like celery, are best to be purchased as freeze-dried so that they will last longer.
If you have any questions, please comment so that I can address them.
I will be adding more on storage items soon.
Believe it or not, these things can make you really cozy when the rest of the world does not feel that way.

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chicken Chimichangas from Home Storage Part 2

Finishing the chimichangas, you put the hot meat filling on the flour tortilla with a layer of sour cream and cheese (Monterey Jack is best but I used Co-Jack) and first fold the ends up and then fold up the sides. Secure with a toothpick and either put in a deep fryer or use a skillet with a few inches of oil, turn when golden brown.

Be careful you don't burn your finger like I just did. Oil spatters if you don't turn the food carefully, and sometimes even when you do.

If you store the meat mixture in the fridge, heat it before putting on the tortilla or it may not be hot enough after frying.

This is not a high end restaurant recipe, but it really is quite good for stored foods. I don't have a recipe for a topping sauce yet because they get eaten to fast to experiment with that, but there are sauces that you can put over it. I haven't felt a need for a sauce either.

I put the pictures on in reverse order so that the finished product would be seen first. I am sorry I couldn't show pictures of how to roll it up but that would require more hands than I have and there are youtube videos on how to wrap a chimichanga. I hope this helps to add to your use of stored foods.

I am going to go try to knit with my burned finger now.
You all take care and cook safely.
Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chicken Chimichangas from Home Storage Part 1

I start here with some very basic talk about preparedness for those of you who may not be storing foods and may think it is not necessary.We buy canned chicken by the cases to have in our storage pantry. I also buy the cans of Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles by the case as well.
It's best to have a years supply of food on hand of foods that you eat for many reasons. Gardens can fail, storms can wipe out nearly everything, jobs can be lost in a flash. Then there are reasons so frightful to think could happen like a disruption to the power grip by an EMP which would bring our current way of living to it's knees.
I hope none of these things happen, but if they should I will not be one of the people racing to the grocery store to clean out the shelves there.

So now we come to rotating the cans so they don't expire. When loading the shelves put new cans behind older cans. Learn to use your canned goods so that you don't just stare at the cans wondering what to do with them.
Here is the recipe I created for Chimichangas.

2 9.75oz Cans of White Chunk Chicken breast
1 10oz Can of Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles
1 teaspoon Dried Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Dried Minced Garlic
1 Tablespoon Dried Onion Flakes

You may substitute the canned white chicken with re-hydrated freeze dried chicken, though I am unsure of what the measurements would be. You would have to add more water as well.

Put all of the ingredients in a skillet, including the liquids from the meat and tomatoes. Add half a can of water (use tomato can as measure) mix well and bring to a boil. Turn temp down to simmer until meat is shredded and most all of the liquids are gone. This took nearly three hours on medium low heat.
It's ready to use for Chimichangas or for putting on Nachos.
I will have part 2 up shortly.

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My World of Weirdness 1

Every now and then I acquire an object that makes some strange connection that I am not sure how to describe it. I can't really say these things are exactly cozy. They fall in the category of "interesting".

I bought this rain lamp back in the late 1970s from an old boyfriend's mother because I just loved it. Through the years I have had to take it apart, replace the motor/plump, rewire it (we had a flashing blue light special that day), restring it and repaint the gold finish on the metal parts. I surprised myself that I could do it all by myself as I had no experience with any of those things at the time. It still works and though I rarely use it, I still find it charming.

Then there are these two sleeping bunnies that I picked up for a quarter at a garage sale. We have had twins in every generation of our family, I have a brother and sister that are twins and the list goes up from there, so I thought if I had twins they would each get one. It didn't turn out that way. But I kept the bunnies anyways.

Then there is this lamp.
There is a long story behind this lamp, but I will keep it short.
My father found this lamp at an estate sale in the mid-70s and brought it home. It has been an interesting part of our family since. I almost painted it's toenails pink.

And finally there is the music box that looks like a Vesicare pipe person at a piano that plays "the Entertainer". It raises the question, "Why?"

I know this post is way off of my usual posts and not at all informative, but some days you just have to look at things that are not related to anything stressful, breath, smile, ponder and move on.

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Pineapple Weed

I went fishing this evening with one of my daughters. The weather was beautiful with just a few clouds streaming across the western sky. The wind was warm and just enough to keep the bugs down.

The lake was fairly calm with the exception of a group of children screaming and splashing nearby and throwing rocks near the fishing area. I knew there would be no fish to fry tonight. So we gathered up our gear and drove to the river.

We have had flooding here at the river since the snow melted and it is still over the banks. One look at how strong the current was and I knew I had no interest in trying but I did cast out a few times. Soon I found myself looking at the weeds.

The weed pictured here is a pineapple weed. Some call it wild Chamomile.
If you take the flowers after they turn more yellow and squeeze them a little, they smell a lot like pineapple.
You can make a tea with these flower heads that is much like regular Chamomile.
A few inches away I spotted a wild violet plant. No flowers yet but I had wondered what a tea made from the two would taste like.
I will have to try that when the violets begin to bloom.

As we drove home the sun was setting and bringing a beautiful bright pink to the clouds with deep insets of purple against a cobalt blue sky showcasing a sliver of a crescent moon and it just brought such a peace to the evening.

I hope you all had a wonderful day and if you didn't take advantage of natures beauty today, try to find it tomorrow.

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Hamlet, A Very Easy Recipe

Out of longing for a different and easier kind of omelet, I let my dyslexic tendencies emerge one day and I put the egg in it's place!
My youngest was always asking for cheese omelets and I have been trying to get her to eat eggs prepared differently but to no avail, until I did this.

Heat a fry pan on medium heat and melt a small amount of butter in it.
Lay a slice of honey ham or brown sugar ham flat on the bottom of the pan.
While this is heating, check your egg to be sure it is good by filling a cup of cold water and putting the egg in it. If it floats, throw it out! If it sinks it is good.
Then crack the egg and put it right on top of the ham.
Use your spatula/turner to break through some of the egg WHITES leaving the yolk intact.
As the whites turn white sprinkle some Colby/Jack cheese on top.
When the cheese starts to melt fold the ham in half over the egg. You may need to use another turn to hold it folded for a moment and then move it to the side of the pan to help hold it shut.
Let it cook for a few minutes and push the cheese back inside as is oozes out.
Flip it to the other side and cook for a few more minutes.
Sometimes you will have the yolk break when you flip it and that really isn't a problem.
You need to experiment with your stove and times for how you like your egg cooked. I can't stand any of the whites to be runny but I do like the yolks on that side. It may take until the ham browns slightly before it is done.
The egg in these pictures ended up to be medium soft cooked.

I make this expecting my husband to have this for breakfast and he had earlier grabbed a couple slices of cold pizza so he wasn't hungry, so I ate it and it was everything I dreamed it would be.
For a little more taste bud pleasure you can drizzle a little bit of Hollandaise sauce on it.

And that my friends, is a Hamlet!

Thank you for stopping by!
Check out the ads, leave a comment, share with friends and please come back soon!
Dee Dee

My First Recipe Creation from years ago

What drove me to be a better cook was my first real garden. I found this wonderful herb called French Tarragon. It has a flavor similar to anise or liquorice yet quite distinct.
I ordered a few plants for my garden and as it grew I would clip leaves here and there to try in different foods.
I was not much into measuring things at that point and still have a hard time with it now. I mainly put things in on sight measurement which won't help much but I will try to put it out here as best as I can, because when done right this is a really good meal.

On the bottom of a baking pan put a few tablespoons of butter and put in the oven at 350 degrees F until melted. Put boneless skinless chicken breasts in the pan. Let cook for 10 minutes and flip and add equal amounts of soy sauce and honey and half of that of sesame oil to coat and sprinkle ginger and tarragon (about a half teaspoon each depending on how much meat) over top. Turn meat every 10 to 15 minutes until done. Serve meat and sauce over a bed of rice with a side serving of broccoli with julienned carrots that have been steamed and served with butter and lightly salted.
It was a simple, fast and delicious dish that made me want to grow and learn more about herbs and spices.
Watch that you don't use a soy sauce that is high in sodium as it will end up too salty and remember that cooking is an experiment no matter how well you follow directions.

Thanks for stopping by.
Dee Dee

Friday, June 3, 2011

My Space Heater

A couple years ago I found this cast iron floor grate from an old house at a garage sale for $5 and I just couldn't pass it up.
I thought, "Now this would make a really cool table!"
It is very heavy so I needed a strong support for it. Well, it sat with many of my other projects waiting to be brought to life for quite some time.
Finally, I had a friend of mine, from Lineburg Manufacturing of Ham Lake, put a stand together for it. He did an amazing job! I plan on painting it this summer with a high heat paint.

Back to the heater.
My daughter had a science fair last fall and so I showed her some interesting things on alternative sources of heat and how to capture more of it.
I was directed by a friend to a site called where they have this brilliant candle heater!
Being that I live in a frozen forest half of the year I needed something a little bit bigger and warmer. So this is what I came up with. It is in no way suitable for a home with small unsupervised children or crazy animals.
The oil lamp here is usually in my wall mounted hanger and to get it closer to the pots I put it on a pet food bowl to raise it 3 inches.
This is not enough to heat a home on it's own but it adds a bit more warmth and some light. I would definitely use this if the power goes out in the winter.

My daughter did several timed tests with this and variations to it. Out of all of the trials we did this one produced the most heat and held it closer to the floor the longest. I may end up adding one more larger clay pot to it.

Thank you for stopping by.
Please practice caution with fire sources.
Dee Dee

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Bath Puff Pattern with Improvements

I showed a crocheted bath puff in one of my blogs and told you that you could get the instructions from the wiki-how site.
Well, I would like to give you an update on that pattern.
It called for a G size crochet hook and that is a big problem.
I tend to crochet and knit to proper tension and I can tell you that a G hook is too big.
Look at what happens after this gets wet and hangs to dry after one use.
It is no longer a tight puff.
It is barely a loose puff.

So with left over yarn I decided to try again with a smaller hook. I used a size F. This multicolored puff is the tighter one yet I have not finished it. I ran out of the cotton yarn.

Chain 4 then slip stitch in first chain.
Chain 2 then do 6 single crochet stitches in the circle. Instead of doing a slip stitch to join the round do 2 single crochet stitches in the first chain up and then proceed with 2 single crochet stitches in each single crochet stitch putting your hook though both front to back of the top of each single crochet stitch. You will not be turning your work, you just keep going in the same direction. Keep going until you reach the size you want and tie off. Weave in the tail.
I used a size F hook for a tighter puff. I will let you know when I finish it and use it if it is still too loose.

You can see I've been busy and made five more of the wash cloths for my basket. The wash cloths go through the washer and dryer just fine and stay in pretty good condition. Maybe the first puff will shrink in the washer and get better. I will let you know.

Thanks for stopping by!
Dee Dee

UPDATE To make a loop to hang your bath puff, simply chain some yarn long enough for the loop plus extra to weave through first round of the puff. Tie the loop first after weaving to tighten the puff and then bring in the loose end of the chain to tie off at were the last knot was tied.

Some of What's In The Emergency Bag

My emergency pack is loaded with things to survive beyond the 3 day emergency kits that FEMA and other Government agencies recommend. What I have pictured here does not include my larger tools that I featured earlier.
Something unique that I have included in my pack is dishpans. Fully loaded they fit in 2 separate compartments, fairly easy to put in and zip up. There is room around the outsides of the dishpans for clothing.
All these items make a fairly heavy pack so some things will eventually be broken down into 3 packs for my family to share.
This list keeps getting longer as time goes by, as it should.
Some of these items I purchased over the years through Emergency Essentials, others from thrift stores and discount/drug stores. The Frontier Emergency Water Filter System, I won from "Survival Solutions" (Friend them on Facebook!).

Yes, this is a long list.

Emergency stove and 2 cans of Sterno/Cell heat
Mess kit = 2 sauce pans with lids, 1 fry pan, 2 cups (which have measuring lines).
Salt and pepper shaker, spice packets
Coffee samples courtesy of Taster's Choice
Cutting board
Water purifier and purification tables
Camp towel, hand towel, scrubber and one of my wash cloths
1 three day Emergency Food Ration Bar for each person
Oven Bags and ties.
Pre-moistened towelettes
Condiment packets and Bullion seasoning
Bar Soap and Camping Suds
Roll of Toilet Paper and wash wipes
Matches, all kinds of matches and a lighter
Stainless Steel Camp Cup
Sewing kit and Knitting needles
Tape measures
Laundry Soap sample
Hand lotions
Female pads - these should be included in all first aid kits as a way to help stop bleeding from a massive wound.
Bug nets
Bobby pins, hair binders, shower caps - to keep hair contained when cooking or dealing with a wound.
Black trash bags
Safety glasses
Fishing line and tackle
Bug lotion
Hand sanitizers
Mouth wash
Dental floss and filling kit
Q-tips and cotton balls
Elastic Bandage
American Red Cross First Aid and Safety Handbook
Travel First Aid Kit
Wilderness Book

Emergency Space Blankets - I recommend having the thin ones and a few good real ones.

Bulb syringe
Burn gel
EMT shears
IOSAT tablets.
Honing Stone and Oil and a few knives
and new to the pack is some garden seeds.

This is not complete by any measure so I will add more as I go. If you do not have a pack, you should really think about putting one together. If we have tornadoes in the area I will bring my packs down to the basement with me. That way I don't have to go to a shelter and be a burden to others if I come out of it without a house. Also, try to keep important documents in a firesafe that you can bring with you.

I worked hard to get my pack put together and to log it all down here for you just to repack it. If you appreciate this please share with others and check out some of the ads.
I thank you so much for stopping by and remember, if you have to leave home try to make it feel like a camping trip! Be cozy around that campfire!
Dee Dee

The Dandelion Dilemma

Do you remember going out into the yard and picking a handful of these to give them to the most beautiful woman in the world?
I used to bring my mom a dandelion bouquet all the time, and when I became a mom it was my turn. If I had known then what I know now, I would have made fritters out of them!

Now, as my yard has been turning into a weed bed (I don't like chemical weed killers) the dreaded dandelion is gaining ground on me.
I have tried using sugar prevent them, which seemed to work for a while, but sugar is not a practical solution.
I am not going to make a long post about this because there are so many other blogs that have gone into such detail that I feel if you don't search out more information you may miss out on a lot. So please seek knowledge on this little wonder of a plant.

The main highlights I want to share with you is that, yes the leaves tend to be a bit too bitter for most people, but mixed with milder greens it is a bit nicer. You can make fritters or wine with the flowers. The roots can be used for a coffee substitute and for other uses. That said there are also great health benefits from the entire plant, from root to blossom.
Dandelions may be used for a wide range of conditions needing a mild diuretic treatment such as poor digestion, liver disorders and high blood pressure.
The white milky sap is said to be effective in treating warts and to heal other skin afflictions.

Be aware that there has been drug interactions with dandelion consumption and there is the possibility of other reactions. Don't be afraid of them. Just do some research before you proceed.

The following link is to a friend's page which has some interesting recipes. Please visit her site. I will be throwing caution to the wind and frying up some of those flower fritters!
Thank you Brenda!

Thank you for stopping by.
Dee Dee