Sunday, October 28, 2012

Change, Change, Change Again

Yesterday I did my duty and took Monster Girl shopping. After trying on a good 20 or so pairs we were able to find one that fit. The perils of shopping at Goodwill, sometimes you have to shift through a ton of not quite right to find the one that fits. We went to the big box store and acquired socks, drawers and her first foundation garments, which she found both embarrassing and thrilling. We went to the Chinese buffet for lunch, and then home to start the laundry and get ready for the good stuff.

Aside: Monster Girl was teasing her big brother about how fast she was growing up and how soon she will be dating and he said nope, you won’t be dating. She sassed “Why not?” at him and he replied “because if you had a date that would mean my aim was off.” Well then.

We arrived home to find that Cave had done the dump run so I gave my buddy a call to ask if we could borrow his back road. Unfortunately there’s a couple of wild sows in heat there and a boar chasing after them who is not at all afraid of people. They’ve found a few spring piglets and one of their wether goats that got in his way and suffered for it. They’ve asked that we wait until they get the chance to get him out of there and let the hormones die down so no roller coaster roads or puddle splashing for us anytime soon. Instead we’re cleaning out the office to see if we can find more room for our food storage. We took advantage of the Hurricane Sandy related sale to pick up five or six more cases of gallons of water so Cave’s playing tetris with the stores again. I don’t mind, it’s helpful to get in there and move things around, check on the condition and shake the dust off. We’re also trying to sort through and get the non-food items moved upstairs to the attic. I want to put some of the water up there too but Cave is concerned that it may not be able to support the weight. Unfortunately we’re running out of room, the sheds outside are full, we don’t have a garage or a basement and a solution needs to be found. I’m starting to seriously think the water might survive just fine under the house.

So, what do you do with your stores when you’re limited to keeping them in your living space?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Change of Plans

Cave treated us to doughnuts this morning, and as I finished my second and was eyeing a third Monster Girl piped up with “We need to go get dressed now and get busy.” My own words, reflecting back at me. I went off into the bedroom and started the ritual, the whole time trying to remember what I had planned for today. Seeds….it’s going to rain later and I like planting just before a rain, I feel as though the seeds are happier and it sets the tone for their lives. I reappeared a minute or so later, and started going through my seed envelopes. My daughter emerged from her room ten minutes later dressed and brushing her hair and squealed “Mommy! You aren’t going dressed like THAT are you?!?” I looked down at my tank top and cut offs, feet bare and with seeds in hand, all ready to go stick some in the ground, and looked back at her, in her newest pair of jeans and a cutest glittery t-shirt, hair shiny and under control for once. Oh. I forgot. I’d promised to take her shopping. *sigh* so I trudged back to the bedroom and started digging through the closet for something appropriate. Would have helped if I’d remembered last night and done some of my own laundry.

I tease her, offering to drive us in our latest acquisition, an elderly truck (‘86 f150 4x2 1/2 ton 4 speed with the sturdy and enduring 300 inline six) that is still wearing it’s inches thick coating of farm with a dusting of bark and sawdust from hauling wood last week. It’s not a Dodge, but I think it’ll do. I can see her hesitate briefly, weighing the fun of riding in the truck against her more princessly duties. She has not yet had the opportunity to ride in it as it was so newly acquired that it only got it’s plates yesterday. The draw is mighty, but she decides no, it’s ugly and dirty and loud and not the way a proper little girl should be chauffeured to her shopping. We’re looking for two pairs of jeans, socks, some drawers and lunch. I don’t anticipate it will take that long so I think once we’re home we’ll shed the duds, climb back into those oh so comfy cut-offs, and take a cruise to the local dump with some recycling in the back of the beast. She’ll get a kick out of that too, especially since I happen to know of a backwoods gravel road that gets a few scant inches of runoff when it rains, nothing that the truck can’t easily handle on a bad day but just enough that a girl might catch a few drops of it as we splash through with the window open, and the road rolls enough that she should have a few giggles shaken out of her as she jiggles this way and that. If she asks I’ll even see if we can’t park for a bit and dabble our toes off the tailgate.

The shopping is necessary, and I do it gladly if not enthusiastically, but I’m really looking forward to the afterwards.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bounties abound

I promised a post on seasoning cast iron within the week of my last posting and here’s my next post, two weeks later, and it isn’t even about cast iron. *sigh* I decided that I wanted to wait and make the post with more new to me vintage pans, and I have two Favorite Piqua Ware skillets set aside just for the project. It’s unlikely that I’ll get to it until Monday at the earliest but I’ll do my best.
As you might imagine by all the game I’ve posted about processing, our freezers are quite full.
Believe it or not this makes me happy. The pile of meat on the shelf below it lifted the shelf when the door was closed and it popped out of it’s slot. The rack of ribs resting on the loose shelf was the culprit. Nothing was damaged although my feet took a beating from the meat avalanche when I opened the door. Since this was taken I’ve processed that buck and another hog.
While I had the most recent hog sitting on ice and milk in my coolers Lowe’s put their canning supplies on sale and I was able to visit three of my local stores and clean them out.
I scored some six hundred jars, 998 lids (the kids insisted on putting two lids I already had into the picture to make it an even thousand lol) a band tightening tool that I love was on sale for 1/3 the average price online so I bought several spares, and some mixes, pectin and other odds and ends that they had on sale, all for a minimum of 50% off. Having all of this stowed away in my attic is a huge relief to me. I was down to my last 5 empty jars!
The next morning I got busy with the hog and I canned pulled pork, cubed pork, made ribs for dinner and then sliced up one of the hams for jerky at Cave’s request. I don’t like the idea of hog jerky. All the jerky that we make is essentially raw meat soaked in a salty solution and then dehydrated, but for some reason the idea of pork jerky really bothered me so I did something that I don’t always do. I followed the guidelines. After it was dehydrated I put it in the oven at 200 f for an hour or so like the USDA suggests doing with all home made jerkies and I’m more comfortable with the idea of eating it now. I really can’t place a finger on what bothers me so much about the idea of pork jerky. I was really reluctant to taste it, but it tastes just like any other jerky, to be honest.
Since then I’ve been cleaning out the freezer and canning. It’s a good thing too, because a local grocery store had 8oz tubes of breakfast sausage on sale for $0.50 per tube this week, so we bought 40 or so pounds. I spent the day yesterday browning and canning sausage. I managed to get 14.5 pounds put away before I pooped out. I double stacked the canner, 7 wide mouth pints on the bottom and 1 wide mouth pint and 10 regular half pints on the top. It probably was a bit much as the tops of the jars were just a hair under the edge of the pot, when I put the lid on the canner I had to gently shake it to get the cover lock vent situated between the jars, and I had to do the same thing to get it to drop after it had cooled off. I can’t recommend that you stack your canner that full, but it worked for me and I’ll probably do it again.

Hog Jerky gets the Hag seal of approval. Here he is asking nicely for a piece. He’s 25 1/4 inches at the shoulder, 75+ pounds and just turned 8 months old. He’s still in the gawky stage and that tells me that he’s got a bit more growing to do before he starts filling out. The breeder says typically his dogs stop growing up and start growing out around 18 months, if Hag runs true to that timeline he’s going to be a lot bigger than either of us expected, especially after the months of setback he suffered as a small puppy.
I used Lowe’s pick up at the store online ordering system to make sure that they weren’t sold out of jars when I got there, and while I was picking up the order at the second store our gunsmith called and let me know that my IJ M-1 Carbine clone was ready to be picked up. I zipped on over there and decided to snap a picture of gratuitous prepper gun porn for posterity before I packed it away. That’s the birch stock that I finished for it. The gunsmith complimented me on it again, and I did do a nice job even if I say so myself. I’m thinking I’m going to strip and refinish the walnut stock on my 10/22 soon, along with the stock on my Mossberg 151, and possible the one on my mosin. I’m conflicted about the mosin, on the one hand I want to keep it the way it is, on the other hand I can scratch the lacquer off with my fingernails and it’s not doing much to protect the wood anymore. I thought about thinning out the lacquer that’s there to cover the scratches but there are some bare spots that are large enough that I believe the resulting coat would be too thin to protect. I don’t think I’d use stripper on the mosin, just lightly sand with fine grit paper until it’s cleaned off and then put on several layers of a hand rubbed oil finish. I prefer oil finishes, especially in the hot and humid climate where we live. In my experience oil expands and contracts with the wood and doesn’t discolor like other finishes do.
Since it will be months before it’s at the top of the list I have plenty of time to ponder and research, but I’m open to opinions and suggestions.
Hope y’all are hanging in and prepared to weather the interesting times coming up.

edited because my stock is made from birch and not beech. Sheesh, I should know better than to blog when I'm tired.