Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Indoor Garb - Winter

Blessings Darlings!

I'm sitting here in front of my computer, all cozy.  It's about 57 here in the basement, if I believe the thermometer on top if the CD stands. 

The thermostat - one floor above me - is set at 60 most of the day.  It's set warmer for 3 hours in the morning (showering/dressing time) and for 4 hours in the evening (dinner and family social time).  Yet, for the most part, we're comfortable.  How do we do this?

We dress appropriately for the weather.

You expected some more elaborate secret? Some spellcraft? Some magic potion?  Okay, we do drink some hot coffee and tea during the day, and have hot soup as part of lunch.

But mostly we just have layers of well-chosen clothes.

Chubby Hubby - undershorts and short-sleeved t-shirt.  Black crew socks, sometimes with wool socks over them, shoes.  Dockers or jeans most days, jeans lines with flannel in really cold weather.  Long sleeved button-down shirt, topped with sweater vest, topped with a light jacket. Colder weather and he can wear a thicker light jacket. The final touch - fingerless gloves.

Me - panties, bra, t-shirt.  Wool mix socks, shoes.  Jeans. Sweat shirt over the t-shirt, big Shaker-shawl cardigan over the sweat shirt.  Wish I had fingerless gloves that fit, but hoping to get those for Yule.

If we didn't have our offices in the basement, I'd have the heat set cooler.  Probably at 55.  One year, when we lived in the house with the adequate wood stove, we only ran the heat at all at night, at 55. 

Of course we're all middle age to young adults here.  No infants. No elderly.  My mother and my mother in law keep their places blazing hot - upper 70's to 80 degrees.  I bring shorts and nice t-shirts to wear in their houses summer and winter. 

Frondly, Fern

Monday, November 19, 2012

Long Term Food Storage

Blessings Darlings!

A few months back I wrote a post that was kind of  'intro to Fern's approach to long term food storage'.  Here's the link. As I said, it's an intro - my approach to long-term food storage is calorie based, that is, first I stored the minimum basic calories we'd need, and from there I round it out.

How I round it out is what this post is about.

Again, first I made sure we had a pound of grain per person per day for one year (plus a bit extra for sprouting) rounding THAT up to 400 pounds of grain per person per year.  But corn/wheat/rice aren't complete proteins, so relying on those ONLY would cause severe malnutrition.  That's what causes the distended bellies in the pictures of starving children.  And, obviously, they don't have all the other macro and micro nutrients that a person needs in their diet. 

So from that based I added things.  First, olive oil, to cover essential fatty acids.  Metal cans, stored in the cool basement.  It's also nice to fry some food with, adds lots of flavor.  Second, a basic supply of a daily vitamin/mineral supplement.  Third, covering the proteins.

Actually, I rotate the purchases of all of those.   Yes, I buy them in that order, but I don't get ALL of the first before moving on to buying the second or third item. 

I have a varied approach to the proteins.  As I noted in many other blog posts, I grab fresh meat when it's on sale and usually have a lot in my freezer. That, used sparingly, would kick up the protein in the diet very well, and the fats in it as well as the protein add to the calorie count.  After that, I have canned meats, and some freeze-dried meals that have reasonable protein levels.  But I don't count on them for the TRULY long-term. For that I have stored dried beans/peas and canned dry milk.  About 140 pounds, for the 3 of us, for a 6 month period. 

If you look at my approach, it's like a set of concentric circles - like a bull's eye pattern.  First circle is basic calories. Second circle are macro & micro nutrients, which I've just outlined.  After that there are other circles, like #3 - 'things that help me cook' with tea/coffee, sweeteners, herbs/spices, dried fruits, etc.  And #4 - bulk to fill plates/stomachs like dried veggies, etc. 

Clearly, no one in my household has either celiac disease or are diabetics.  My circles are what works for THIS family.  Your family may have different things in each circle. 

I've read of some people whose approach is to have oil, vitamins, and protein supplements as their first circle, saying that will prevent starvation, then go to all grains/fruits/vegetables in outer circles.  It's not my approach, but they looked at THEIR needs and made their best decisions.

So, that's how we do it at Chez Fern.

Frondly, Fern

Monday, November 12, 2012

Home Made Bacon

Blessings Darlings!

Finances here are still miserable. We, however, are NOT miserable.

Yes, we're feeding 3 adults and two picky cats on what the three humans would get on food stamps.  Which we are of course not on, because our money problems are all around paying of debt from starting the business, not lack of income per year (not that the income in evenly spread out, but that's a different issue).

We keep getting showered with blessings.

Today, for instance.  I'm typing on Sunday afternoon.  Sunday mornings we have a family tradition of eggs with bacon or sausage for breakfast.  But we haven't bought any of that stuff in ages - since the price on both went up when our finances went down (back to that 'unevenly spread income' thing).  BUT - friend Suz gave me some pork bellies, after she and one of her other friends split an organic pastured hog some time back (I expect it was a heritage breed, too, but I am not sure).  Suz didn't know what to do with them, and she knows that I'm .... willing to experiment.  So when I last smoked a pork shoulder for pulled pork, I smoked the two slabs of side meat.  I didn't think to brine them, so I  just did one plain and one with rub.  Today we tried the plain one.

OMG Yummy!  I needed to salt the slices we cut before frying them - brining would have covered that - but this rich taste, so incredibly meaty, very smoky, was amazing.

I'll be bringing some of the sliced bacon over to Suz, who now has some soup bones from the last steer she split with others on hold for me.

Life is lovely.

Frondly, Fern

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Pagan Nut Cases

Blessings Darlings!

Due to ... well. Due to the actions of a clearly mentally ill person on Facebook, who currently is claiming to be called by the Morrighu, I got to wondering just how the Morrighu WOULD deal with someone who is severely mentally ill.  The best I can figure is that if the mentally ill person causes risk to the lives of others, She'd make sure they got shot down like a mad dog would be.  If they do not put lives at risk, She'd leave it to those whose job it is to handle them.  Maybe not Bridget for healing so much as to those around them to keep them locked in the attic or basement so they don't disrupt the community.

For those less severely mentally ill I expect that the Morrighu would do what She does with everyone else She handles - She makes them face what they would prefer to ignore about themselves, and then expects them to CHANGE IT. 

Thus, if the nutcase-with-100-names-and-1000-FB-groups is actually going to be called by the Morrighu, the nutter is going to be continually and repeatedly confronted by people and situations pointing out that she's a nutter, etc, and that won't end until the nutter gets into a treatment situation that works.  The pressure from the Morrighu will not end until real solutions are in place and being actively worked on.  Then the Morrighu will loosen the leash a bit, to see how a bit of freedom is handled. 

The Morrighu doesn't play. She doesn't fight your battles for you.  She doesn't 'give' you strength, She makes sure you are given situations in which you build your strength, and tells you to pull up your big girl panties and handle the situation.  Your sweat and your blood and your exhaustion are the offerings She seems to prefer. 

Frondly, Fern

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Holy Dark Chocolate, Batman!

Blessings Darlings!

I .... was just clued into this recipe from The Kitchen Whisperer via The Online Pastry Chef.  It's for Dark Chocolate Oatmeal.  I have not tried it yet - I mean I JUST found it.  But try it I must!


I'm going off to drool now (and chop dark baking chocolate, since I don't have dark chocolate chips right now).

Frondly, Fern

Monday, November 5, 2012


Blessings Darlings!

I'm sitting here eating a very healthy breakfast as I type.  Freshly made hummus and freshly sliced veggies that I'm dipping into it.  This is a change.

I've been eating very badly lately.  Like - yesterday, for example.  No fruit or whole grains with breakfast, just eggs/ham/white bread, a huge sugary coffee for lunch, and two slices of greasy pizza for dinner. So I'm trying to crawl back to eating ... better. More veggies. More whole grains. 

I'm less concerned with what I should NOT eat as much of.  If I make it a point to eat good tasting good stuff, I'm hoping that will crowd out the good tasting bad stuff. 

I sure wish that cucumbers weren't a dollar each right now.  Oh well.

Frondly, Fern