Saturday, August 28, 2010

Harvest Cookies

Our friend "Old Cowboy" refers to these as "old timey cookies".  They are soft, moist and full of spices.  They are one of our favorite fall cookies.  You can just feel the nip in the air when the aroma of these cookies fill the house.  I always have to adjust the amount of flour, depending on the humidity.  I end up adding a cup or cup and a half more flour - just enough for them to hold their shape.  They should be sticky, but not messy sticky.  Here is the recipe:

1/2 C Shortening
1 1/2 C packed brown Sugar
1 teaspoon baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground Cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1 egg
1 C chopped peeled Apples
1 C chopped Walnuts (I use Pecans)
1/4 C milk (or apple juice)
2 C all-purpose Flour

Vanilla Glaze:
1 1/2 C confectioners' Sugar
1 T butter
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/8 teaspoon Salt
2 1/2 T Milk

In a large mixing bowl, cream shortening, sugar, baking soda, salt, spices and egg.  Stir in apples, nuts, milk and half of the flour;  mix well.  Blend in remaining flour.  Drop by heaping tablespoons onto greased baking sheets.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes.  Remove to wire racks.  Combine glaze ingredients and spread over cookies while warm.  Yield: about 3 dozen.

I always double this recipe - one batch is never enough!

Getting ready to peel apples
Princess Dragon Snap helping
Apples diced and ready to go
Full of all kinds of yummy things
Ready for tea and company

Friday, August 27, 2010

From the archives....

For you newer readers, I thought I would pull some older posts from the past 8 months and re-post them.  Let me know what you think!  Enola Gay

Child-care or Prostitution?

At first glance, those two subjects seem to be worlds apart. However, I was talking to a  pastor's wife the other day and it got me thinking....

I am a converted career woman. When our oldest daughter was little, I dropped her off at daycare every day and headed to my "fulfilling" job as a paralegal. I was miserable. When I was at home with my family, I felt guilty about not being at work. When I was at work, I felt guilty about not being at home. I knew there had to be more than this, I just didn't know what that might be. When our daughter was about four, God, in His sovereignty, made some amazing changes in our family. He showed me the value of Proverbs 31, but even better, He gave me an older woman to guide me toward my husband, my home and my children, in a very Titus 2 sort of way. I quit my job, started homeschooling, became a homesteader, started having babies and generally did an about face.

Back to the pastor's wife. She provides child care for many families. She and her husband have two children of their own, but she loves little ones, so rather than have more children, she watches other peoples kids. She is a wonderful, caring lady, who wants to serve the Lord in all that she does, but as I sat visiting with her, watching these little ones play and seek her attention and approval, I was grieved.

Proverbs, along with many other sections of scripture, guide women toward our high calling. We have myriad duties in our families. Wife, mother, teacher, cook, housekeeper, organizer to name a few. Each of those duties require time, effort, sacrifice and most of all, love, to accomplish. We have a tough job! But, what if we want to shift some of those responsibilities to someone else? Some jobs are temporal, so parceling them out is neither here nor there. Cleaning can be delegated. Someone can come in to help cook. But what about our wifely duties toward our husbands? That certainly can't be hired out! That would be called prostitution. What wife would ever say "well, I'm tired tonight - I wounder if Jenny down the road could use a few extra dollars?" I don't think so. The relationship between husband and wife is sacred. Can you imagine a pastor standing in the pulpit announcing that the church had started up a program for the husbands in the church to be "cared for"? It would be an all Christian service, so wouldn't that be great? Of course, that would be ludicrous. But we do it all of the time. We do it with our children. Our relationship with our children is eternal. We cannot "prostitute" that duty out to some "daytime caregiver"! And our churches openly advertise from the pulpit - "we now offer christian daytime childcare so that you know your little ones are well cared for while you go off to work". What are we thinking?!?

Our children are precious. They could never do this in daycare....

and definitely not THIS.....

They would miss out on being with their parents and their brothers and sisters....

Please know that I understand that there are some circumstances that make staying home with your children impossible. However, for most of us, it means choosing a different lifestyle. That choice has eternal consequences. Our churches need to be sounding the trumpet. They need to be encouraging mothers to love their husbands and children. They need to encourage fathers to the priests, providers, prophets and protectors of their homes. If we do these things our children will rise up and call us blessed!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Camouflage at its best
When you think of camouflage, do you think of military BDU's (Battle Dress Uniforms) or hunting pattern camouflage?  In reality, camouflage is neither of those.  Camouflage it is the art of blending into your environment.

When you are in an office setting, the perfect camouflage is a business suit.  If you want to fit in in the inner city, you would wear baggy pants and hoodie sweatshirts.  On a farm you would wear Carharts and a cowboy hat.  You blend, you fit in, you are camouflaged.

Survivalist/Preppers have a need, maybe more so than the average Joe, to be camouflaged.  Although most of the things that a prepper does are offensive (preparing for what will be), camouflage is defensive (actively protecting identity and operational security or OPSEC).

The best way for a prepper to be camouflaged is to fit in to their environment.  If you live in a small farming community, you should look like a farmer.  You should stop by the coffee shop from time to time and have a cup of joe with the locals.  Become one of them.  That way, if someone comes knocking, looking for subversives, your name is not the first one that pops into everybody's mind.

Keep a low profile.  Don't be the guy standing up on the bandstand during a political rally calling for the next American Revolution.  Go to the Library, rent movies at the local store, attend church.  If you are hospitable and generally a nice guy, no one would ever suspect you to be one of "them".

He will definitely be picked out as subversive
One of the biggest problems with camouflage, is actually wearing it.  If you go to town dress right dress, with a side-arm attached to your hip, you will be shouting "someone take notice - I am an anti-social, militia member who is making bombs in my basement!"  When the black boots come, they will be making a beeline for your house.

Camouflage is one of creations greatest defense mechanisms.  The Camelion stays alive only because he can blend in to his surroundings.  When push comes to shove, our best defense will be that of camouflage.

Just a regular guy

No reasonable expectation of privacy

"We're from the Government, we're here to help"

I just read an incredibly ponderous article on the Drudge Report.  It is in the online version of Time Magazine.  Apparently, the only time you have a reasonable expectation of privacy, is if you are wealthy and live behind a gate - otherwise, the government is perfectly within their right to plant a GPS on your vehicle (in your driveway - on your private property - without a warrant) and track you (without a warrant)!   And we live in a free country that values personal property rights?

In reality, maybe we shouldn't be to surprised or upset that the courts have ruled that we have no reasonable expectation of privacy on our personal property.  After all doesn't the landlord have the right to enter his property any time he sees fit?  Can't a landlord do with his property as he will?  We are just peasants serving our king after all.

The importance of using and rotating your preparedness supplies

 I went shopping the other day, and, as usual picked up a couple of things here and there to put in our bulk supplies.  As I wrote the month and year on all of our new stock and rotated the supplies on the shelves so that the oldest came to the front and the newest went to the back, I realized food/supply rotation was something that I have not yet discussed.

When a grocery store receives new stock (usually about once a week), the stockers always pull the cans/produce/boxes from the back of the shelf to the front.  When they restock, the new stock always goes behind the old stock.  The reasoning for this stocking technique is to ensure that the store stock is always fresh. 

It is equally important for we prepper types to rotate our stored food stock.  I know that I would rather go to the end of the world with fresh supplies rather than old, tasteless, nutrition less rations.  It may be even more important to keep supplies of medications, vitamins and supplements fresh.  The freshness of some medications could be the difference between life and death.  It could be the difference between a cure and a poison.

The simplest way to keep your stored foods and supplies fresh is by dating them when you bring them home and using what you have stored.  It is tempting to put things into to storage and then buy new for your daily use, however, this plan is shortsighted, for numerous reasons.  When you pack things away and don't use them, you may not know how to use them when it really counts.  If you store beans, rice, dehydrated field corn and egg powder but have no idea how to soak beans, cook rice that isn't minute rice, rehydrate vegetables or substitute egg powder for real eggs, you will be up a creek without a paddle.  An emergency is not the time to learn new skills.  It is a time to put into practice skills that are old friends.

If you have put food into storage, but haven't rotated or used your stored foods, you may be in for a big surprise when you open your barrels, buckets and cans.  Things can happen to food in storage.  Bugs can invade, cans can be damaged and spoil the contents, food can go rancid in buckets.  If you are regularly using and rotating your stock, you will be less likely to have costly damage.  If you encounter a problem, you can take care of it before you lose all of your food or supplies. 

By rotating your food you will also ensure better quality, fresher food.  Things that don't have a super long shelf life, like oil, will be used up and replenished, long before it has a chance to spoil.  Wheat has been know to last for centuries, but I think I would prefer mine a little less aged.

The easiest way for us to keep our food fresh it to date all of our food before we put it into storage.  I simply write the month and the year that I bought the food right on its container and put it on the back of my shelf behind the food that it will be replacing.  Simple.  For foods that go into buckets or barrels, we use sticky labels to mark the contents of the bucket or barrel.  We write what is in the bucket and the month and year we put it into storage.  Typically, we have at least two buckets of any one item.  This makes it simple to be using food from one bucket while filling the other bucket with new food.  The same goes for barrels.  We will be using one barrel of wheat all the while we are filling a second barrel.  That way we are never without quite a good stock, but we are using what we have and keeping our food fresh.

We use the same tecnique when storing medical supplies, medicines and supplements and vitamins.  On the box or bottle, I will write the month and year I put it into storage and put it into the appropriate bucket.  I also keep a laminated sheet with data regarding the length of storage for each medication in the bucket with the meds - that way, anyone accessing those medications will be able to look at the date on the box, check that with the data on the laminated sheet, and know whether that medication is safe for use.

Trauma supplies are treated in a like manner.  Over time the sticky on band aides degrades as does medical tape.  Vaseline dressings dry out and so do burn bandages.  We put these things into storage with a date on the box or package and use the oldest first. 

Our home canned goods are mostly used up every year, but when they aren't, we put all of the fresh canning behind last years canning on the shelf in the kitchen.  We always like to use up last years canning before we break into the fresher canned goods.  It is easy to either write the date and year on the lids (providing you are using disposable lids) or put a label with the contents, date and year on the front of the jars.

When things get rough, and they will, I want to be able to trust that I have been a good steward of what God has provided for us.  I will know how to use what we have and I will know that it is as fresh as possible. 

I was sticking my tongue out at Sir Knight - he was taking my picture, again!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Resistance is futile

A "global community"? Really?  Is that what we are working for in this enlightened age?  Whatever happened to rugged individualism, personal responsibility and personal property rights?  Aren't those the tenets that made our country unique - not to mention great?

We were not designed to be part of a hive.  We were designed to be fully functioning, well-rounded, complete human beings, not dependent upon another group of people for our happiness or our survival.  We have, within each of us, the ability to prosper and thrive in any number of situations.  We adapt and we overcome.

Early in the history of our country, we tried communal living.  The Plymouth Colony was designed to be a utopia of civilized living.  Neighbor helping neighbor, everyone getting an equal share.  Widows who were unable to work would receive the same portion as the family whose members all toiled under the harsh conditions in the new country.  Families with small children would receive the same allotment as families made up of young, strong healthy men.  Everyone was equal.  It was a true socialist utopia.  It failed.  Miserably.

The first winter, nearly half of their number died.  Their social experiment is described thusly;The experience that was had in this common course and condition, tried sundry years and that amongst godly and sober men, may well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato's and other ancients applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of property and bringing in community into a commonwealth would make them happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent and retard much employment that would have been to their benefit and comfort.

They began to reconsider their social experiment.  After much consideration, they came to embrace private property and individual responsibility...So they began to think how they might raise as much corn as they could, and obtain a better crop than they had done, that they might not still thus languish in misery. At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advise of the chiefest among them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of the number, for that end, only for present use (but made no division for inheritance) and ranged all boys and youth under some family. This had very good success, for it made all hands industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been by any means the Governor or any other could use, and saved him a great deal of trouble, and gave far better content. The women now went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn; which before would allege weakness and inability; whom to have compelled would have been thought great tyranny and oppression.
All around, we hear the call to globalism.  Our children are called to be "Global Citizens".  We are obsessed with "Global Warming".  Our legislators encourage our admittance and adherence to "International Courts".    Our every day responsibilities are being usurped by state agencies under the guise of the "common good".  We are forced to comply with emission standards for the "common good".  Homes and business are seized under the auspices of eminent domain for the "common good".  Our children are educated by the state for the state, so they will be good "hive" members rather than rugged individuals.

Socialism has been tried.  Many times.  It has failed.  Many times.  People were not designed to be part of a collective.  We were designed to be unique, individual.  When we take that individual responsibility away, we take away the part of the man that makes him good.  Without being responsible for ourselves and without the necessity to provide for ourselves we become lazy and indolent.  When our personal property is stripped from us we no longer have the incentive to be good stewards.  If it is not ours, we have no vested interest in how it is cared for.  That goes for our homes, our jobs, our children.

We are racing toward destruction.  We are destroying our families, our communities, our country and our world.  We have to take back property and responsibility - they are interwoven and cannot be separated.  We cannot have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness without property and responsibility.

I don't want to be a good little "Global Citizen".  I want to be a "Rugged Individual".  I believe that resistance is not futile.  We can resist.  We must resist.

The BEST Sliver Tweezers!

Princess Dragon Snack was running around barefoot (as usual) and got a whopper of a sliver in her foot.  Unfortunately, the sliver was from rotten wood, so it came out in multiple pieces rather than in one piece.  That's a terrible thing when you are five!

One of the most used object in our first aid kit is our sliver pullers.  They are perfect for extracting just about any small foreign object from tender places.  They are a needle point tweezer head so you can get down into the hole where the sliver entered, get ahold of the end of the sliver, and pull it out. 

We keep these tweezers in all of our first aid kits, plus a couple of sets in the house - for just in case.  The least expensive place to buy them on the Internet is here

Poor Dragon Snack!

One man's junk....

I found this treasure at, if you can believe it, the local dump!  It was just sitting outside the dumpster waiting to find a new home.  I brought it home, washed it up and found a place on my counter for it to live.  I love it!  It is perfect for my creamer and sugar bowl and a nice pot of honey. 

One man's junk truly can be another man's treasure!

Chinese Bakery Almond Cookies

Last week the kids and I met my folks in town for a little shopping and to have lunch together.  They took us out to a little family owned Chinese buffet that they like.  It was wonderful food and a good atmosphere - a very enjoyable meal spent with my parents.

After eating our way through the lunch items, it was time for dessert.  My mom loves the peanuts that are drenched in honey and rolled in sesame seeds.  They are a perfect after meal accompaniment.  My dad's favorite treat are the Almond Cookies.

Hoping to be able to make the Almond cookies for my dad next time he visits, I looked up a recipe on the internet.  They were perfect - I think I liked them better than the ones at the Chinese buffet!

If you like almond, these are the cookies for you.

Chinese Almond Cookies

1/2 C butter (I used half butter and half shortening)
1/2 C sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 C flour
1/2 C ground almonds
2 tsp. Almond extract

 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar, add egg, mix well.  Add flour, ground almonds and almond extract.  Mix well. 

Bake for 5 to 8 minutes or until lightly brown.

I doubled this recipe because it is small for a family of seven!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Being a Martha before you can be like Mary

As Christian women, we are called to have the attitude of Mary, Martha and Lazarus' sister.  Mary sat at the Saviors feet while Martha ran around and cleaned, cooked, served and fussed.  Martha was more than a little irritated!  She was doing all of the work while Mary sat and listened to Jesus.  Mary looked into Jesus' eyes and soaked in His very essence, all the while, Martha ran around busily working.

The girls and I were preparing for company the other day and as I was vacuuming, sweeping, setting tables and trying to do as much work ahead of time as possible, I was pondering the realities of the effort it takes to be hospitable.  As I was thinking on these things, I realized that in order to be Mary, whose attention was focused only on her guest, I must first be Martha.  I must prepare, clean, cook, arrange, all in preparation for and in expectation of guests.

Somehow, I think that we are called to be both Mary and Martha.  One of the things that Martha was chastised for was worrying and fretting over temporal things, things that already should have been taken care of - things, that when Jesus is in your home are no longer of any consequence.  Martha had not taken care to prepare her home ahead of time for guests, she waited until they were on her doorstep.  Rather than simply being able to welcome Jesus and his disciples into her home she had to hustle to provide for their needs.  Instead of encouraging a welcoming atmosphere of hospitality, she fostered an atmosphere of hostility.  She hadn't taken care of things ahead of time, so she was irritated with her sister for not helping her take care of things now.  By the time Jesus is on our doorstep, it is too late to worry about getting things ready - that should have been done before time.  When Jesus comes calling, our place is at his feet.  We are to be Martha before He comes and Mary after He arrives.

How does that relate to having guests?  By preparing for our guests before they arrive, we are able to "sit at their feet" when they cross our threshold.  If we have cooked, cleaned and attended to little details before we have company we are able to visit and enjoy them when they are here.  We won't be getting up every five minutes to peel potatoes and check on the roast if that has already been done.  We won't have to run into the bathroom ahead of someone to make sure that there is fresh toilet paper and that the dirty laundry is indeed inside the clothes hamper.  All of those details will have already been taken care of.

It is not just expected company that we can prepare for.  If we have an attitude of preparedness in our daily chores, we will always be ready to welcome visitors into our homes.  If we have cookies in the cookie jar, all we need to do is whip up a pot of tea and presto - immediate hospitality.  If we have menus planned and have all of the ingredients necessary to prepare our planned meals, we are ready to minister to our husbands with warm, delicious meals when they get home from a taxing day at work.  We can be Mary to our husbands and sit at their feet, because we have first been Martha and done the necessary work.

I am Martha, but I am learning to be Mary.  I am learning to organize my days so that my home is ordered and well run.  I am learning to make sure I always have a tidy home and a little something to serve whomever may grace my threshold.  I am learning that by first being Martha, I can more easily be Mary.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes....Loyalist or Patriot

I have been overwhelmed with the response to my blog post Loyalist or Patriot.  What an honor to "meet" all of you Patriots that this great country has birthed!    I am humbled in the presence of the Patriots who have left comments much wiser than the post itself.  I stand in awe of the knowledge of history that has poured forth in the pages of this blog.

This post, more than any other, has given me cause to hope.  I have hope for our future because it was out of the mouth of an 11 year old home schooled country girl that these thoughts first gained a voice.  I have hope because Patriots from every corner of the country (and out of the country, for that matter) rose up to proclaim that they have answered the call, and are willing to do whatever it takes to stand in the gap.  I have hope, because there are more of us than there are of them.

Thank you, dear Patriots, for loving your country and your countrymen and for being willing to proclaim evil as evil.  Thank you  for being willing to stand up to tyranny and expose it to the light of truth!

As said by a Patriot before me...

“It is the duty of every patriot to protect his country from its government.”
- Thomas Paine

Eating humble pie - Canning butter

I have to admit to a bit of a problem with my canned butter.  Although I have been canning it for a number of years, I have never kept it over the summer on a hot shelf.  This year, I had quite a lot of canned butter, and I wasn't going through it as quickly as I have in the past.  A few days ago, I opened a jar and sniffed and the butter was STRONG!  I was so surprised!  I have never had that happen before, but I can only imagine that it had to do with the temperature that I have been storing the butter at.  Generally, I can and use the butter in the winter - the storage temperature is very cool.  This year I canned in the winter but didn't use the butter.  It does not seem to be storing well over the summer.

In the future, I won't be storing canned butter over the summer, unless I have a root cellar, or somewhere equally cool in which to store it!

I hope my oversight hasn't caused a problem for any of you.  Please forgive flawed testing methods.


Enola Gay

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'm a peasant humbly serving the King

 Sir Knight and I were talking over our frustrations with property taxes and building permits when suddenly, a strange look came over his face.  He said "I get it, I understand now!".  Completely confused, I asked him what it was that seemed to make so much sense to him now.  "We don't own anything, we just rent it from the State - that is why they can tell us how much of our floor space has to be windows and how tall and wide our doors have to be, it's theirs.  That is why, if we don't pay our taxes, the county will give our property to someone else for the taxes owed, someone who will pay their "rent" - we don't own it, they do!".  Stunned, I looked at him in silence and let his statement sink in.  He was right.

I have never entered into an agreement with the state or county telling them that I would pay them to live in my home - it is an understood point of fact.  It is also understood that if I don't pay them to live here, they will sell it to someone who will pay them to live here.  If I manicure my lawn, paint my house or put a new roof on an outbuilding, I have increased the value of their investment, therefore, I owe them a higher rent payment.

It only makes sense, since they own my property, that I must obtain their permission to build a fence or add a bedroom.  Any improvements must be approved by the landlord, right?  So how would this possibly be any different?  It wouldn't.  I don't own my property, the landlord does.

I have railed against property taxes for years.  I have no problem paying taxes.  They are a necessary and integral part of any civilized society.  As a people, we must provide for basic infrastructure and the framework that holds our governing bodies together.  But, for the government to hold personal property as security for debt is an atrocity.  It puts the people back in the position of mere peasants serving Barons. In turn, Barons serve Lords and Lords serve Kings.  The King gave land to the Lords the Lords gave lands to the Barons and the Barons allowed peasants to live on their lands so long as they faithfully paid tribute.  In the enlightened 21st Century, we may not use the same titles but the effect is the same.  The Federal government grants land to the States, the States grant land to the Counties and the Counties allow we peasants to live on their land, so long as we faithfully pay tribute, in the form of property taxes.  Would a peasant dare to tell the Baron, Lord or King what he was going to do with "his" land?  Heavens no!  So, I might ask, why do we rail against our "Barons", "Lords" or "King" telling us what we can do with "our" land.

They are the landlords.  We are the peasants.  Since we have allowed the King to take his throne, perhaps we should pay our tribute gratefully and humbly thank our landlords for their allowing us the honor of serving them.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Give my regards to the Queen

A reader graced my blog with this comment in regards to my post Loyalist or Patriot.  She felt that she was wasting her time but  I thought that I would share it with all of you, so this she would not feel that she had commented in vain.  I left the comment in tact - spelling and all.

 I am sorry to have offended you and your ancestors, you might want to consider moving back to Mother England, and please. do give my regards to the Queen.

Very sincerely yours,

Enola Gay

Not to interfere, and in the full knowledge that I am wasting my time, but the post isn’t that wise at all. I mean, do you really think that Modern-Day Liberals are analogous to the Loyalists of 1776?

Think about it for a few minuets.

A Loyalist, of which I am actually descended from, and who I strongly Sympathise with being a Monarchist, is someone how is Loyal to their Legitimate Government, not necessarily someone who always agrees with it. They certainly aren’t in the end only Loyal to themselves.

Its also a bit silly to think that Loyalists aren’t Loyal to their Country or Countrymen. Of coruse the Loyalists were Loyal to their Country, that why they fought he Rebel Traitors who had abandoned the Rightful King and stood firm by their Laws and Traditions!

If someone tried to overthrow the US Government, would you say they are Patriots or Loyalists? In truth, by today’s Definitions they’d be both. One can deeply Love your Country and still be a Loyalist. In fact, one would have to Love your Country in order to be a Loyalist.

How is it that someone who is Loyal, by definition, to their Government and Proper Sovereign is classified in your mind as someone who doesn’t love their Country? That’s a Rather odd contradiction in terms. Its rather like saying that someone who refuses to obey the United States Constitution, the Sovereign Law of the Land, Loves the United States.

Revolutionaries are far less in love with their Country, and more with their own Agendas, aren’t they? They want to topple the existing Power so they can replace it with themselves.

Say what you will but, every single Revolution in History was always about grabbing power for oneself over someone else, not over Love of Country. That includes the Much storied American Revolt of 1776, which I may remind you was over Taxation without Representation, not Socialism and the Nanny State.

The Loyalists were not men of Cowardice who only loved themselves, or handouts they got form the King, but those who loved their Nation and Traditions, their people and way of life. They risked their lives by Donning the Red Uniform and fighting an Open Rebellion against their King and their Homes. Many of the Loyalists had their land seized, and were Tarred and Feathered, or Lynched. Many lost their lives even if they were Civilians.

Yet they should somehow be seen as those who did not Love their Country and were Loyal only to themselves?

Because they refused to Rise up against their Rightful King?

Don’t you think this sort of post, which plays off of American Patriotic Love for the Founding of this Nation, is going a bit too Far? Why is it a popular Trend nowadays to think of our Struggle as Identical to that of 1776, and to pretend that the Tory’s would all vote Obama if alive today? I mean, the Tory’s were Conservatives, and Modern-Day Monarchists are typically a Highly Conservative Bunch.

I also know of o Monarchist then or now who endorsed Tyranny. King George the Third, by the way, was not really a Tyrant.

So why demonise my Ancestors and me personally with this sort of Dreary Hitpeice that basically takes advantage of a desire to see History as Clear Cut with plain good guys who lived their Country and Freedom and those evil Cowardly Redcoats who Loved Tyranny?

Its not really Fair at all.

The Sock Monster

If your family is anything like mine, you have a sock monster in your midst.  You know, the one that eats one out of every pair of socks that goes through the laundry.  Our sock monster is especially aggressive.  He sometimes eats whole pairs, not just one sock!  Every so often (about once a week) we go through all of our socks in hopes of finding some that match.  But today, we caught a glimpse of the elusive sock monster himself.  You will have to let me know if you have any sightings!

Pretty scary huh!

The Scarlet Thread

Maid Elizabeth has started a new blog to record her journey as she prepares for a midwife missions trip to the Philippines.  She is working at our local grocery store to earn the money she needs for airfare and accommodation's and a little extra for in-country expenses.

It is exciting, as her mum, to watch her begin the great adventures of her life.  I am proud of her.  I am thankful for her.  And, truth be told, I am a little anxious for her.

She would love to have you along for her journey.  Please enjoy her adventures. You can read about them at The Scarlet Thread.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My love/hate relationship with generators

I love our generator.  I hate our generator.  No, I am not bi-polar, I just have a love/hate relationship with these mechanical beasts.

Years ago, when we jumped off the cliff and went off-grid, we had a 5kw generator that we had bought at Costco prior to Y2K.  It didn't even live through the construction of our shouse.  Luckily, it was still under warranty so we took it back and were refunded our money.  We decided to buy what we thought would be a workhorse - literally.  It was a Workhorse China Diesel 10kw.  Our thoughts were that it was big enough to run our whole house plus charge our forklift batteries.  It was an interesting adventure right off the bat.  It didn't come with much of a manual and the booklet that did come with it had been translated (poorly) from Chinese - word for word.  After Sir Knight and my Dad filled all of the fluids, checked the belts and hoses and fired it up, it ran great - until they decided to shut it down.  Nowhere were there directions on shutting it off!  Nothing!  Both my husband and my father are mechanically inclined and neither one of them could figure it out.  Finally, after exhausting all other avenues, they unhooked the fuel lines and let it run out of diesel.  That, of course, wasn't the best option, because diesels don't like to be run dry, but, it was the only option at the time.

Eventually, after much fiddling, we had the china diesel up and running.  It had a Murphy Switch that was supposed to shut the generator down in case of low oil or high temperature, but it didn't work, so we just kept a close eye on the gages.

The china diesel kept us running for about two years.  It ran our well pump, our washing machine, our few lights and charged our batteries.  It leaked like a sieve and was fussy, at best, but it kept us chugging along.  After two years, it developed an oil leak in the main seal.  China diesels are designed to be worked on, but apparently not by Americans.  The access points are inaccessible, the components nearly impossible to find and if you do find a part and replace it, it will NEVER work correctly again.  The electrical panel shook so hard that it broke soldered wires off.  Sir Knight removed it, rewired it and mounted it to a wall.  He was never able to completely fix the leak in the main seal so for six months we put oil in it every time we started it.  Finally, one oil leak too many, and it threw a rod.  I think I was actually thankful.  No more putting up with that leaky, noisy, fussy contraption!

Our next generator adventure came in the form of a 1969 10kw Hercules Military Diesel.  It was military - it should hold up to anything, right?  We bought it from a dealer in Montana, and right away, Sir Knight had his suspicions.  He changed the oil before we cranked it up and noticed little silver specs.  We called the dealer that we had bought it from and he said to run it and see how it did.  It lasted about 3 months.  The silver specs in oil meant that the engine was shot.  It threw a rod.  I was doing laundry and heard it go.  I thought "no woman should know what an engine sounds like when it throws a rod", but I did.  When Sir Knight got home that evening, I delivered the cheery news.  We called the dealer and he arranged to send us another one and pick the dead one up.

On a cold, rainy, swampy day in late fall, our second 10kw Hercules generator rolled up our driveway on a delivery truck.  I was so excited.  We had been without power for almost two months and I had been hauling water and doing laundry by hand.  We had reverted back to Coleman lanterns and I was feeling positively pioneerish.  As the delivery driver was loading the new generator on his pallet jack we were chatting about how wonderful the new generator was going to be.  He slid the pallet with the generator onto the jack, mentioned that he hated that jack because it didn't have any brakes, and proceeded to drop the generator, jack and all, off the back of his truck.  I almost cried.  My beautiful new generator, was in a million pieces on the cold, wet ground.

Another call to the dealer yielded yet one more machine (he must have bought a lot of them at an auction).  This one was delivered with no mishaps and at least didn't have metal in the oil.  Sir Knight got it up and running and we were in business.  This generator even had a cold weather kit, so it started much easier in the cold weather.   The generator ran well, most of the time, but like any mechanical tool, it had it's moments.  It was with this third military generator that I became a diesel mechanic.  Not really, of course, but I can trouble shoot a diesel engine or an alternator with the best of them!  Finally, this generator too, succumbed to the fate of all generators that call this place home.  It died.  I was a little gleeful at it's funeral.  In fact, I even asked Sir Knight if I could put a couple of rounds through it with my shotgun.  He wouldn't let me.

We were once again generator-less, which meant power-less.  This time, my folks came to our rescue.  They loaned us their little Honda 5kw generator.  I loved that generator.  No, really.  It always ran.  Always.  It wasn't enough to power everything, but it worked it's little heart out.  I couldn't do laundry and run the industrial power charger at the same time, but I didn't care.  At least it ran.

We ran it to death.  Really, we did.  It lost it's muffler.  Sir Knight bolted it back on.  It fell off again.  We propped it up.  Finally we used a come-along to hold the muffler onto the engine.  Poor thing looked like a redneck generator.  Well, I guess it was.  It was the little generator that could.  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.  It always did.  And then, it gave up the ghost.  It was quiet about dying - no loud moaning or throwing rods through it's engine.  One day, it just wouldn't start.  I know I can't, I know I can't, I know I can't.  Mom and Dad didn't want it back.  Go figure.

An Onan Emerald caught our eye.  By this time, we had 2150 watts of solar, so we weren't quite so dependant on our generator.  The little Onan was a 5kw, but it had a huge generator head.  We thought we would give it a try.  It started right up, after not having been run in over two years, but it had a few pops and hiccups here and there.  We ran it for a while, loved the power that it generated and decided this might be the one.  Then it died.  Not really, it was just old and needed a little TLC.  In the meantime, our dear friends let us use their Honda 5kw.  I know, probably not a good idea, since they know what happened to the one my folks "loaned" us.  But they love us, and let us use it anyway.  It has been a good little beast, a little fussy, but dependable.

Sir Knight has been working on "Emerald".  He adjusted her points (she was way out of wack) and cleaned her carburetor and she is purring like a kitten.  He wants to give her all new fuel lines and a new battery - I think he's in love.

This weekend, we are going to see "Emerald's" competition.  It is another Onan Emerald, but it is a stationary unit rather than a portable.  Our goals is to have a stationary and a back-up.  The rule of threes.  Solar panels, generator and back-up generator.  We'll see how the new emerald looks.

I have a love/hate relationship with generators.  I love them when they work. I hate them when it is 10 below zero with a 15 mile an hour wind and I am trying to beat the starter into the right spot so it will start. I love them when the whole area is out of power and we don't even know it. I hate them when they force me to be a diesel mechanic just so I can have a glass of water or flush the toilet. I love them when they purr. 

Ah, it's just livin' the dream!

New Business Cards

Finally, the business cards I ordered a number of weeks ago came in!  I think they are beautiful and they are just what I wanted.  I love the cottage, because, after all, mine is a cottage business.

What do you think?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Where are all the mothers?

The other day, the kids and I were in town and a lovely young lady commented on the straw hat that I was wearing.  She told me that she would LOVE to wear straw hats, she had always wanted one, but she would looks silly in one - if only she could wear a straw hat.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing.  You would have had to see this girl to truly understand, but I will explain to the best of my ability.  She was young, cute, with dark hair and piercing blue eyes and multiple pieces of  "body art".  The most noticeable was a dangling flap of skin on her earlobe where a HUGE button type earring used to be.  There was nothing in the hole now, so it was just a big empty nothing.  Nothing, that is, but a huge flap of dangling earlobe.  She had a number of hoops and studs inserted in numerous places in her otherwise pretty face.  And she thought that a straw hat would make her look goofy!  All I could think was, where is her mother?  Who taught her what beauty was and how to best accentuate her best features.

I see a lack of mothers everywhere.  In the grocery store clerk that won't look up from their texting long enough to help a customer.  In the guy checker boarding traffic because he has to be in the front of the pack  In the gang of teenagers with music blasting so loudly from their car that it rumbles windows a block away.  In the President of the United State in his arrogance and prideful, childish temper tantrums.

When I was growing up, my mother was a walking Book of Proverbs.  She had an answer for any situation that would come up.  "Mom - she doesn't like me and makes fun of me!", "well, tell her you don't know why she doesn't like you, because you sure like her".  "Mom, she said mean things to me so I told her where to get off", "you know better than that - you are not responsible for what she said, but you are responsible for how you behave".  "Mom, he made me so mad that I told everyone he can't swim", "Never return evil for evil, instead, be kind and heap burning coals upon his forehead".  See - she was a walking Book of Proverbs.  I now know that I was blessed beyond measure to have her for a mother.  She didn't let me take the easy way out, she didn't let me shirk my responsibility - she told me how to live then she showed me how to live.

In the Book of Ruth, Naomi instructed Ruth how to go about a courtship with Boaz.  She detailed how Ruth was to prepare herself and how she was to approach Boaz.  Just think how our young ladies would benefit in their relationships if their mothers were involved in teaching them appropriate behaviour and decorum when dealing with opposite sex.  We would have by far fewer teen pregnancies, venereal diseases and broken homes.

The entire chapter of Titus 2 is and admonition for older women (mothers) to teach younger women (daughters) to be sober, love their husbands, love their children, be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good and obedient to their own husbands.  Older women are to be teachers of good things.  They encourage young men to be sober minded, do good works and have sound speech.  When was the last time you met a young man with sound speech? Where are the mothers?  We need to be home teaching our children!  The entire society depends on us.  We are the ones that teach our children how to dress, how to deal with one another, how to manage relationships, how to be good employees and good employers.  We teach our children how to be good wives, good mothers, good people.

The most powerful way that I can effect my world is by being a mother.  A mother who is engaged with her children.  A mother who teaches and admonishes her children.  A mother who loves her children.

I want to be a walking Book of Proverbs.

I must be in business!

 UPS came trundling up our driveway today bearing gifts.  I am now buying fabric by the bolt which is so exciting!  No more making emergency trips to town to pick up some more fabric to get a set of pads out in a reasonable time - I will have what I need at my fingertips.  Now the only problem I have is were to put it!  Oh the joys and trials of having a small business.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Loyalist or Patriot?

Miss Calamity (our eleven year old daughter) stunned me the other day with an incredibly astute observation.  She informed me that ours is a family of Patriots.  Now that statement, in and of itself, may not seem earth shattering, but it got me thinking.  If we were patriots, what were the people who staunchly support the entrenched establishment?  After thinking long and hard, I came to the conclusion that the supporters of the status quo must be called "Loyalists".

Looking up the definitions of both Loyalist and Patriot, I made a startling discovery.  The definition of a loyalist is:   One who maintains loyalty to an established government, political party, or sovereign, especially during war or revolutionary change.   Conversely, here is the definition of a patriot:  One who loves and loyally or zealously supports one's own countryDo you see the difference?  One supports the established government and the other supports their country!  What a revolutionary idea!  Literally.

As I watch our State and Federal governments in action, I see a wholesale group of loyalists.  They are loyal to their programs, they are loyal to their pet projects and they are loyal to their pocket books.  Ultimately, they are loyal to themselves.  Nowhere do I see a loyalty to their country or their countrymen.

Patriots have become icons of terrorism.  They have been labeled as enemy combatants and dissidents.  They have been marginalized for their love of country and staunch support of the ideals on which this great country was built.  We, as Patriots have become the enemy.

We are a country divided.  The terms "Republican" and "Democrat" no longer apply.  We are either Patriots or Loyalists.  Lovers of government and tyranny or lovers of country and freedom.  We are being thrust into a new era, that is, in fact, but another chapter in the story of liberty.

As said by one of the Great Patriots:  Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

We stand on a precipice.  Patriot or Loyalist. Tyranny or Liberty.  Security (supposed) or Freedom.  We all make a choice, either consciously or passively.  Choose you this day who you will serve - the author of oppression or the Father of liberty.  Will you meekly serve your masters or are you willing to suffer and perhaps even die in the name of Liberty and Freedom.  Choose you this day.

A man who knows his mind

The kids and I were in town the other day and happened to spot this truck.  We were madly trying to read all of the bumper stickers and finally just pulled in behind him and asked if we could take some pictures.  He was more than willing to accommodate our request and, in fact, put down his garage door, so that we could see it as well!

Here is a closure picture - notice his license plate!

And just in case any of you don't know what an XD-45 is....

The gentleman's garage door....

 At least you know where he stands!

(For the record, I did ask this fellows' permission to post these pictures on this blog!)

Our Life in Pictures


I thought I would share some pictures of our family taken during this past week.  As you can see, we work hard, play hard and have a lot of fun together!

Miss Calamity getting berries ready for the freezer.....

A fresh batch of canned bacon.....

At work making "pads".....

A plate full of fresh honey comb (we had been devouring it).....

O.K. guys - we really need to sell the "shouse" - we have run out of room and are having to rack the children on shelving!

Master Calvin using his fashion sense to get himself ready for bed......

The sun room dressed for the evening.....

Master Calvin ready for battle.....

A day spent with friends at the lake.....

Our cute little frog friend...

Local teenagers being silly.....

Just a week in the life!