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Wednesday, April 27, 2022

What Will Be, Will Be

 Hello dear friends!  Well, first the weather report, because I like to look back on older posts and see what the weather was like on that day:  more snow!  It was warm enough on Sunday for the asparagus to peep out, so when we heard the forecast for snow we ran out and picked it before it was ruined.  Got about a pound.  The first vegetables from the garden are so exciting!

We have a weekly koffee-klatch with our neighbor, Anna, where we discuss current events and hash out all the worlds woes. Ha!  Of late there's been plenty of fodder.  Are we really having inflation?  Are all the shortages for real?  Will we really have a war?  How much is too much prepared? 

My attitude is whether the issues are real or just perceived, you can bet that stores will take advantage of them.  Two things I personally witnessed are the cost of our 12-12-12 fertilizer cost $12.99 last year and the same size bag this year cost $24.99.  Fortunately, because our  governor has acted so crazily in the past, we had stocked up last year when we could purchase some, under the advice of "better safe than sorry". But whether there was an actual shortage of that fertilizer or the store saw an opportunity to make a bigger profit, that I cannot say.  

And our firewood man told us that people are charging $1100 for ten cords, up from $700 last year.   The cost of gasoline to haul it and fuel for the chainsaws hasn't gone up that much!  But oh well, the laborer has to make ends meet also. So yeah, I think inflation is real.  I wouldn't say you have to clean out your bank account or spend your mortgage payment, but what would it hurt to have a little extra of the essentials  you use often stored away for a hedge against inflation?

On the other hand, just before Easter, I bought butter for $1.79/lb!  Haven't seen those prices in ages.  As I always do when I find a fantastic deal on a staple, I try to figure out how much I need for an entire year and buy accordingly.  For me, that meant buying twelve pounds.  This is something I've been doing ever since I had a few dimes to spare, figuring out what was the lowest price and buying a year's worth.  

That's the thing, there's always something on sale.  I bought Honeysuckle White ground turkey for $1.50/lb. last week, which I made into taco meat and canned.  The clerk at the checkout asked me what I was going to do with it.  When I told her, she made a face and said she hated tacos made from ground turkey.  Well, there might come a day when she would be grateful to have that ground turkey.  As a history buff,  I can tell you, people have eaten a lot of worse things than ground turkey to stay alive.

Which reminds me of the people that always say "God will provide".  Maybe His way of providing  for you is by giving you the hint to stock up now.  "Oh, He won't let His people suffer".  Perhaps those Christians aren't familiar with the book of Job?  The life of His Only Begotten Son?  All the martyrs ?  This  very day there are Christians being martyred in China and other countries.  Sometimes He blesses  us with a soft and easy life and sometimes He blesses us even more by giving us trials to strengthen us.  Personally, I have been very poor  in the past and know what it is like to go to bed hungry and no prospects of a meal in the future.  And yes, at the time I kind of felt angry at God and thought it was unfair that I didn't have nice family that cared  and provided for me.  But you know what?   I found Someone that cared and provided more. He did carry me through those times and now I live without fear of the future.  That old saying, "there are no atheists in foxholes", when times are tough, it draws you nearer to Him.  Always remember,  your hard times are not a reflection on His love for you. Bad things do happen to good people.

The other day I was watching some YouTubers and they were all in a panic.  One lady was in tears over the fact that she couldn't find toilet paper and paper towels in the store.  Are we back to that again?  She was working herself into such a state, she was more likely to die from a heart attack than any of the scenarios  she was cooking up in her mind.  About a month ago, a neighbor came over, all upset because they were limiting the food at the grocery store and shelves were empty!  Ran and I had to see for ourselves.  We wandered around the store looking.  Looked well-stocked to us!  Then we found one aisle, the pasta and spaghetti sauce aisle, that had stickers on the shelves limiting two per person.  And the canned soup aisle was sparse. There was an empty spot where the pasta was.  Hardly anything to get in a tizzy about.  There was plenty of vegetable in both the produce and the canned vegetable aisle to make those things from scratch.  Sigh!  Some people have led soft lives!

Another YouTuber was all agitated that today was the day the big war would start.  Will it happen?  I don't know. I do know a few things, though.  Rumors of wars and actual wars have always been with us.  As a child of the cold war I've been hearing it all my life.  My friend Matty, had to wear a dog tag with her name on it at school during the Cuban missile crisis, so the could identify her body in case the school was nuked. (she lived near Cape Canaveral).  And secondly, we have very little control over any of those going-ons.  What benefit is it to work yourself up into a panic over it?  

There was a prayer that was popular in the 70s, the serenity prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen!

So to end a helpful note, here are some of the things I would stock up on to see you through some  very hard times.  If that doesn't happen, you can still eat them: flour, yeast (which can be made into a sourdough starter), cans of tuna or mackerel , oatmeal, some kind of sprouting mixture so you  always have greens , popcorn or rice (cheap good fill-you-upper) some sort of fat (oil, lard, shortening), beans, cornmeal and a few pounds of sugar (as discovered from the $20 challenge I did).  And I'd learn to recognize some foraged foods such as dandelions, lambs quarters, edible mushrooms, purslane., for example.   Perhaps you won't need them, but perhaps someone else will.  And to me one of the most sorrowful things is to say to someone is, I'm sorry I haven't any to give, because when I could have been stocking up, I was wasting my resources foolishly.  This I know from experience.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Always Experimenting

 Hello dear friends!  Did you have a nice holiday?  Look what the Easter Bunny brought us!

Snow!  But that's okay, it didn't last long and it reminded of my childhood.  Growing up in northern Michigan, most of the photographs of me in my Easter outfits were  taken while standing in a snowbank. Oh!  Speaking of Easter, I went to the grocery store to stock up on eggs, thinking they would be a lost leader like they usually are this time of year.  Was I in for a surprise!  I knew that eggs and poultry costs were higher because of the avian flu scare, but I had no idea!  The first store I went to actually did have a deal at $1.59/dozen, but since it has been ages since I bought eggs I thought that was  the regular price.  So I went to Wal-mart and the cheapest eggs they had were $2.29/dozen.  Yikes!  It's a pretty sad day when the Easter ham (79cents/lb) is cheaper than the eggs.   Better brush up on all the ways to substitute other things for eggs!  I always keep flax seeds in the freezer for this purpose, but next time I shop at the bulk food store, I will stock up on more.  I used some to bake a carrot cake.  The recipe called for four eggs, but I used one and substituted the flax seed for another, and skipped the remaining two.  I also used chicken fat for half of the oil and omitted some of the oil completely. Turned out great!  

I guess you could say that cake was a "make-do" cake.  Once you get into that mindset, it becomes easier.  Here's another example of making do:

I have a limit on how much I will spend on clothes, $1. I bought this LL Bean blouse at a church rummage sale for 75 cents.  It was your standard button-down  with a chest pocket and regular collar.  I loved the print, but didn't like the collar or the pocket.  So I removed the collar from the band  and removed the pocket.  Cut the sleeves to elbow length and added elastic.  With the remaining fabric from the sleeves I made a narrow ruffle and sewed it onto the collar band.  Much more my style!  I've been cottagecore  all my life.

Another little project from my needles:
 Just a little something to use up more oddball balls of yarn from my stash.  About halfway through the first mitt, I started to worry that I didn't have enough yarn to make the second, so Ran suggested I make them into fingerless gloves.  I'm glad I did because I barely had enough yarn to finish.  It was a happy day when I knit the last stitch.  Because I made up the pattern as I went, I had scribbled little notes here and there and kept mislaying them.  I wish I had more of that green and gray yarn.  Really like the color combination.  

A Recipe, Kind Of

Well, I couldn't write a post without a recipe could I?  This is something I make often when I need a quick meal.

Meat or Meatless Patties

Mince as much as you like of any leftover meat, or  use a can of tuna, or mash a can of beans (chickpeas are really good)

Add to it a glob of mayo, about 2 tablespoonfuls, and one egg (or egg substitute)

Stir in some goodies: relish, chopped eggs, finely minced onions, diced olives, diced peppers, grated cheese.  In any combinations you like or whatever you enjoy.

Stir in about a half cup of bread crumbs (or crushed up crackers, or for beans I like to use one of those Jiffy  cornbread mixes)

Stir in you favorite seasoning that compliment the other ingredients. (Cajun  seasoning is good with tuna and curry powder is good with the chickpeas)

Form into patties.  Coat with bread crumbs and lightly fry in a bit of oil ( or use some of your tallow, lard or chicken fat).  Serve on a bun made form the last posts refrigerator potato rolls  recipe.

Two Things, One Good, One Bad

First, the good;  while I was out the other day, a man tipped his hat at me.  Wasn't that a gentlemanly  thing to do?  When did tipping hats go out of style? And he wasn't elderly either, probably in his late 30s or early 40s.  It was a little thing, but it made my day.  Sometimes it's the littlest things that brings someone  else joy.

One the other side, one day I came home at an old pitcher that I had planted with hen and chicks was laying in the yard.  Someone must had thought it was valuable and decided to take it.  Only to discover that after they dug it up, the spout was broken and it had a crack (a lady had given it to me for free at her garage sale).  I was shocked that someone would just come into the yard, so close to the house and dig it up.  Are times getting that bad?  Anyway, to end on a happy note, since it was dug up, I brought it inside, washed it up,and used it to decorate with.  Just stuck some flowers  in to kind-of cover up the broken spout. 
And that little tale was an excuse to insert a picture of the decor, as I know there's a couple of you dear friends that look forward to the glimpses of our little house. Ha!

Well, I could go on forever, but I'm sure you all have better things to do than read my ramblings. So from the old Zempel boarding house,  hope you all have a lovely day and week!  


Sunday, April 10, 2022

A Catch Up Post

 Hello dear friends!  It's been a long time since I have written that!  Well, aren't we in a crazy time in history?  The past few years I has taught me to just roll with the punches.  Since I last wrote a post, we have had quite a bit of "excitement"; struck by a solar flare that did thousands of dollars in damage (surge protectors didn't help), a fire, two tornadoes  touching down within 500 feet of our house, my husband breaking out in hives throughout his entire body that took months to go away.  AND that was just the minor things.  Even worse and stranger things happened that I dare not write about.  So you see, I have been preoccupied to say the least.  But the strangest thing is that all my live I have been a worrywart, but I have such a serenity these days, no news can phase me.  As the saying goes, I prepare for the worst and pray and hope for the best.  


Perhaps you have heard of Mike Adams, the Health Ranger?  He has some good health advice, but is a very excitable guy.  Just to say, that I take everything he says with a grain of salt.  Anyway, he and I might add many others are predicting major rises in the cost of wheat.  I think we can already see that in the rising prices of bread in the store..  So if I were you, I'd buy myself a 50 lb. bag of flour and learn to bake bread if you don't know how already.   We store ours in the food-grade buckets, but the last time we bought some, we didn't have one available, so we stuck the bag in one of those space saver bags (the ones that you suck the air out with your vacuum  cleaner that are made for storing clothes)  sealed it up and stowed it away in a lidded bin.   BTW, I just want to mention oven canning.  I hear a lot of people talking of oven canning their flour and beans.  To me it makes no sense, as right on the bag of flour it says to keep out of heat.  It's heat that releases the oils that make flour go rancid.  But I may be wrong.  Feel free to tell me otherwise.  We are a family of three adults and we usually don't need an entire loaf of bread so I've returned to make my refrigerator potato rolls again.  It's handy when we just want a few buns for dinner or sometimes a cinnamon roll for fikka.  It's truly the easiest bread recipe, with no kneading and the buns always turn out nice.  Sometimes I cut back a little on the sugar, but the recipe is good how it stands.  And you can use a bit here or there over several days. So that's my view on the wheat crisis.  Better to be safe than sorry.


I'm always working at saving money and finding ways to do it easier.  Here's a few things I discovered while I was away:

Last November turkeys were on sale for 39 cents a pound, so of course, I wasn't about to let that bargain pass me by.  Ended up canning around 40 pounds.  I used to roast the turkeys, remove the meat, make broth from the carcass, then can them.  But I was tired so I just threw two of the turkeys in my biggest roaster. poured water in half way up the side and let them stew in their own juices.  It made its own broth.  BTW, I never season my turkeys because I skim all the fat off the broth and use it for greasing my baking pans and even for baking.  It's used the same as shortening. As a matter of fact, people always ask me for the recipe for my brownies whenever I serve them, I've always been reluctant to tell them that the secret is chicken fat.  Guess the cat is out of the bag now!

Another discovery came via Three Rivers Homestead, a channel on YouTube.  Instead of browning  her hamburger in a frying pan before canning it, she just dumps it all in roasting pan and roasts it.  Again I don't season and save the grease (tallow) for greasing pans, frying onions, and for making soap.  Just strain it through several layers of cheesecloth.

Speaking of hamburger, remember when it was in the news that Taco Bell's meat wasn't "real" meat but an oat mixture?  That had me thinking.  I had about a half a pound of hamburger, so I add about two cups of oatmeal to it and some of my own taco seasoning. and let it simmer away in the pan for a few minutes.   And you know what?  It came out the exact same texture  as Taco Bell's meat and tasted like it too.  The guys thought it was great.  Sure is a meat stretcher!


For quite a while I have been working on using up what I already have.  I had lots of wool left over from making several woolen quilts but couldn't bear to just toss the remnants  so I braided this rug:

I will probably never braided another.  It's very hard on the knees and hips to sit on the floor and sew.

I challenged Ran to make me a cupboard from scrap wood he had in the garage.  He made me this:

We like primitves, which lends itself to those kind of constructions.  He enjoyed it so much, that he now goes around on the evening before garbage pick-up and salvages any  wood.  He's making me a chimney cupboard at the moment.  At the very least the extra wood goes into the outdoor firewood pile, or if untreated, the indoor one.

I've also made several scrap quilts, trying to use up the scrap bag.  It's getting down there!  Here's the latest one that I just finished quilting:

Since I make mine the old-fashioned way; making a template, tracing around them, hand cut and hand sewn and hand quilted.  I concentrate on smaller lap sized quilts.  

Well this has gone on for probably too long.  So I'll sign off from the old Zempel boarding house once again!



Tuesday, April 5, 2022

I Decided

 Hello! I decided to open up my blog to the public.   Considering the times, I thought some of you might find it useful.  I haven't decided if I will post any new content.