The Road Home

The Road Home
There is no place like home.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

When You're Sick & Down

What are you going to do when you're sick and down and out? Who is going to do your work for you if you're so sick you can't? My first thought is, well, I just can't be that sick. But I don't think we will always have control over that, will we? Or the weather, or the economy, or the actions of others, or bugs in the garden, or...or....or....

We were amazed by the pictures and stories of everyone trapped out on the highways and in stores and schools during the severe weather in the south. It really warmed my heart to see businesses open their doors to these stranded folks. It reminds us how important it is to have some things prepared and with us all the time. Mom With a Prep just did a post about her husband's emergency pack that he keeps in his vehicle, so that if something happens, he can get home. I keep my vehicle emergency pack with me wherever I go. I work 25 miles from home and want to be able to get home if some type of disaster or collapse happens, or if my car breaks down. I wonder how many stranded people had
emergency supplies with them. I also wonder how many people will
now start carrying emergency supplies with them because of this weather event. Maybe God is sending out a few more messages trying to get a few more people to see how important it is to be ready, to be even a little prepared. The people in the south had a few days to prepare for this storm. They knew it was coming. We all know a storm is coming. Are we going to be prepared when it comes? We all have storms in our lives of one type or another. Sometimes it's a tornado, sometimes it's a hurricane, sometimes it's the flu or, heaven forbid, the death of the family bread winner. We all have storms.

And speaking of weather. We have all been the recipients of wave after wave of unusually cold weather this winter. There are many people, businesses and organizations that can't get the propane or heating fuel they need. There is a major drought in the west affecting the farmers ability to grow the crops we have all come to depend upon for part of our daily bread. Frank and I were talking about it the other day and also wondered how this severe cold will affect the 'bread basket' states and the winter wheat crops. There are many things occurring now that may have a devastating impact upon our food supply in the near future. 

You know what else I noticed yesterday? The 'brick' of tissue we buy at the warehouse market that holds about 10 boxes now gives us about 160 less pieces of tissue. Just another way of buying smaller packages of things for the same amount of money. It really bugs me that we are being tricked into thinking things aren't so bad, when we are getting less and less product for the same amount of money. But we are told, there is no inflation and things are getting better everyday. Just wait and see.

Frank has been sick for a week and will be for a while yet. I have been down for a few days. It really makes us stop and think about how we might manage if we were on our own. Do we have what we need for daily sustenance? Yes. Can we do our chores and take care of the animals? Yes. We're not that sick. But what if we were? We have been able to get the medical attention we need, for now. What if we couldn't? Then what? It really gives us food for thought.

So, now we challenge you to put yourself in the shoes of the folks that were caught in this recent storm. How would you do in that situation? Now put yourself in the shoes of the folks that can't get enough propane to heat their house or cook. How would you manage? Or even if the propane was available, what if the prices had doubled or tripled and you just couldn't afford it, then what? What if you or your family member was really sick and you couldn't get any medical attention? Then what?

Don't be fooled by what you are fed by the mainstream media. Really take a good look at what is happening around you. Did you know that more and more big banks, you know, too big to fail, are limiting how much money you can withdraw from your bank account? Some of them are even requiring a reason for the withdrawal, and if it doesn't seem like a good enough reason to them, they are denying access to the account. I find this to be unbelievable. But it is just one example of many. Don't be fooled into thinking, "All is well." It is not.

Sometimes when you are sick things look a little more gloomy than they really are, and Frank and I have been sick. But this is one instance that our illnesses are not the reason for our outlook on what is happening in our country. It has just given us more time to ponder. We hope that you will do the same. What can you do for yourself or your family today, not tomorrow or the next day, that will prepare them for the challenges of the near future? Think about it. Then get to work. Time is short.

Until next time - Fern

P.S. A family asked if we would provide this link for you to view.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Under The Weather

Frank and I are both a bit under the weather. We're reading a lot but not writing much, so I wanted to share a few things we have run across.

Over at small farm girl there is a good recipe for a sore throat remedy that works. You will need to go over there and check out the ingredients. It also appears to be somewhat effective for a cough. So, thanks, small farm girl, I appreciate your timely post.

Patrice Lewis, at Rural Revolution, has had a couple of thought provoking posts recently that I would encourage everyone to read. They both gave me something to ponder. The ways of the world are changing quickly. So quickly, in fact, it is difficult to keep up with it all.

More Big Brother

What does Matt know?

Everyone out there in the deep freeze from Old Man Winter is in our thoughts and prayers. We hope you can stay safe and warm, and with the cold weather in mind, here is a little sunshine for you.

Until next time - Fern

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Chicken Pie

This is a recipe I got from Leigh over at 5 Acres and a Dream. I have seen many recipes like this before, but I have never tried one. It seems like it's time. Leigh uses some ingredients I don't have, so you will have to go visit her site to see the differences. Here is what we tried for dinner. 

First, cut up and layer some chicken in the bottom of a baking dish. This is chicken we canned.


Then add a layer of carrots. These are from last summer. Next, add a layer of peas. I like the descriptions in this recipe. It doesn't say how many, so I put a few in, looked at it, put in a few more, then a few more. I decided this looked just right.
The gravy calls for:
2 tbsp. fat (I used shortening)
2 tbsp. flour
2 c. chicken broth (I used ours)


Lightly brown the flour in the melted fat, slowly add the broth and cook until thick. I used my jar of broth, but I also added the broth that was in the jar of chicken. I figured I would need more flour to thicken it, and I did. If you need 
something to be thicker, make a rue. This is just some flour in a little cold water. The flour will mix much smoother if you use cold water instead of warm or hot. Stir the rue until it is smooth, then slowly pour it into your gravy, stirring it in constantly. Let this new flour cook for a while to see how much it will thicken. If it's still not thick enough, add a little more. You have to guard against making your gravy too flour-y. It will taste too much like flour and not enough like broth. 
I also added salt, pepper, and some parsley to the gravy. To see why I add parsley to just about everything, read here.


 After the gravy is ready, pour it over the chicken and vegetables.


This didn't look very appetizing at this point.

Next, mix up the biscuit dough. 

1 1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Cut in 1/3 c. fat or shortening
Mix in 1/2 c. milk with a fork

Drop by the spoonful onto the gravy, chicken and vegetables.

Bake at 400* for about 20 minutes or until the biscuits are brown and the gravy is bubbling.

At this stage, Frank walked over and looked in the pot, then gave me that look that said, "You really expect me to eat that?" I just laughed and thought, "I sure hope this is edible...." 

After I got everything in this pan, I realized I could use one that isn't this deep and it would work fine, and may even work better.

Guess what?? He liked it! He even asked for seconds. Ladies, you know exactly what I mean. Frank and I agreed this is one recipe I will add to an index card and put the box with my other favorites. With our canned ingredients, this is a great homegrown, homemade meal that is quick to fix, nutritious and great tasting. In this meal I used our canned chicken, broth and carrots. Now, this summer I need to can some peas, as well. The more meals we can make with a variety of basic ingredients, the more independent we become in providing for ourselves.

Until next time - Fern

Monday, January 27, 2014

Garden Update, January 27

Is everyone gardening yet? I want to give you an update on the 'garden' I planted December 29th

The perennial tomatoes I tried to grow, that have suffered through aphids and spider mites, have died. I am not surprised. I will be starting new tomato seedlings in a few weeks along with some peppers.

The sweet potatoes are growing, but are still infested with spider mites, so I am going to throw them out. One of the reasons for this decision is because when I was checking our stored sweet potatoes, I found a few that were sprouting. This gives me another source of sweet potato slips for planting, so I am not going to keep doing chemical treatments to try to get rid of the bugs.

Many of our regular potatoes we dug last summer are also sprouting. I am going to put them in the garage, where it is cooler, and cover them with newspaper and see if I can slow down the sprouts. Then I will try planting these around March 1st for our first crop of potatoes for the summer.

The Walla Walla onions are doing pretty good in the window. It was time to give them a haircut. After onion seedlings get to be about three inches tall, I trim them back to about an inch and a half. This promotes growth of the onion bulb along with the greens. 

The cabbage is doing well and is ready to be thinned out. I used to try pulling up the smaller, weaker seedlings, but invariably either pulled up or broke off some of the plants I was trying to save. So now, I cut the extras down with scissors. It works much better.



I also used the same technique to thin out the spinach and broccoli. 

There was only one kale plant that came up and it is very small. That tells me that kale seeds do not remain viable as long as cabbage, broccoli and spinach. But, that is okay I guess, because the three mystery plants that came up in the onion tub turned out to be kale. Isn't it funny how some things work?

Small planted kale

Mystery plant kale in the onion tub

In the next few weeks I will be starting quite a few more seedlings. I'll keep you updated on what and when. By March 1st I will start putting things out in the garden if everything goes according to plan. You know, sometimes plans work and sometimes they don't. It's always important to have a back up plan, just in case. Do you have one?

Until next time - Fern

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Times, They Are A Changin'

An announcement: Frank's usual weekend post has been postponed because he is under the weather. He will be back with you soon.

The times, they are a changin'. There are so many things happening in the world, and especially in our country now that it is hard to keep up with them. I will only list a few here, since to address them all would take a book, and by the time the first few pages were written, there would be many more to take their place. Many of these events I feel are distractions, simply a means to constantly engage the populace in meaningless drivel, so that they can be surrounded and devoured when the time comes. That sounds harsh, I know, but I see this happening everyday. Let me explain.

There are many of us that go out in the world everyday to make a living, visit friends and family, acquire the things needed for our daily sustenance, or for entertainment. More and more everyday I feel that there are two
colliding worlds, worlds that are becoming more polarized everyday. There are those that are aware that something evil this way comes, those that know something is amiss but don't want to know what it is or deal with it, and those that are totally oblivious. I guess that's three groups instead of two, but I think you know what I mean. The demands of life appear to be compressing into an avenue that is increasing the stress and ability of regular families to provide for their daily accustomed necessities and luxuries. And among these three groups, there is distrust and accusation that the view of reality the other holds is wrong and sometimes downright evil. Such as, Christians are now considered a possible terrorist? What? That veterans are somehow now to be considered dangerous instead of our heroes? How in the world could that possibly even be uttered let alone broadcast out as realistically true? Have people lost their minds? Sometimes I think so.

In our area, in a few short weeks propane has gone from under $2.00 a gallon to $5.50 a gallon. For the many older folks that use it, that is unsustainable. The cost of a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk continue to rise. The cost of everything continues to rise. And yet the misery index and true unemployment rates also continue to rise. Of course, there is no inflation, and all is well in the stock market and banking industries, so all is well. Right? Wrong. If you watch the markets, which Frank does, then all is not well. In fact, there are folks
watching the stock market very closely this weekend because of the quick, sharp drop it took on Friday. Do you know what a bank holiday is? If not, that is something I would recommend you educate yourself about. I pray that if it happens you will not be one of those that tries to use your debit card, ATM machine or checking account and find that you cannot access any of your money, buy food or fuel or pay your bills. This is just one aspect of our changing times.

I have grave concerns about those that have had, of a necessity, not by choice, come to depend on the government for unemployment, food stamps or welfare checks. I fear there will come a day, intentional or otherwise, that this money will cease or be reduced to the point that it will not be enough, or that the cost of food will increase to the point that it will not be enough.

I feel when I am out 'in the world' that I am a stranger in a strange land. All around I hear talk of the latest _______________. Fill in the blank. It could be the latest food item created for quick, easy, pleasure; the latest scores; the most recent behaviors of a media personality, be it movie, television, sports, whatever; the reckless spending of the government; clothing styles;
crimes; prices; and the list goes on and on. I see the stress on the faces of the parents and families I work with. This appears to be increasing more and more. I read about people fighting at stores over parking places and checkout lines. To me, this is all a sign of the times. We read about attacks on people for no apparent reason, accept maybe just for fun. And amazingly to me, the media no longer publishes basic information about the people that are the victims or the perpetrators. Somehow, basic everyday information has now been censored or deemed hateful. What? We are being divided by the very source that we used to depend upon for basic, unbiased, everyday information about our country and our world.

I fear most for the people that see nothing wrong with the way our world is changing. There are many, many places to find information about the signs of our times. But they have to be sought out, because the television and standard media outlets continue to put out the message that all is well. I see the quote, "Move along, there is nothing to see here." being used more and more and more. I
know from personal experience that there are people that have a gut instinct that all is not right with the world, but for whatever reason, they just can't or won't deal with it. They deny the fact that things are quickly changing for the worse. They deny the fact that our freedoms and rights are being stripped away even as I write this. They deny the fact that they will soon not be able to access their money, or even if they can, they will not be able to afford to heat their homes or buy a loaf of bread. I understand that there are some that just can't wrap their minds around such a drastic change in our world and I think it has ever been thus when great cataclysmic events have occurred. I mourn for them. But I understand. I do not condemn. 

The times are truly changing, of that I have no doubt. I wouldn't be surprised if some of you reading here get tired of my consistent encouragement to learn something new and do something to prepare for your family, but it is the message I have been given. I believe the sole purpose of our blog is to share what we have learned in the hopes that it may benefit someone, somewhere, that we will never meet or know, to prepare themselves for these changes. For they will come, whether we are ready or not. I have no idea what venue they will take or how devastating it may be. I only know they are coming. 

Please do everything in your power and within your means to prepare. This time has been given to us for this purpose. You too, may feel like a stranger in a strange land, but know that you are not alone.
There are many of us. We are just quiet. There are those that are being schooled to 'see something, say something' when they see things that they don't understand or make them uncomfortable. There are those that would happily bring us to ruin. There are many reasons for anonymity and a quiet, calm demeanor. Be diligent in your preparations. Be vigilant with everyone. Always remember, whenever possible, wolves will arrive in sheep's clothing. 

I don't know what our roles will be when the time comes, but if you have been given the time and means to prepare much, you may in a position to teach and share with many. It could mean life or death to them. Ponder what you should do, pray always, and with His guidance, act. Don't postpone or delay. Don't procrastinate. Times are changing and you need to be ready to flourish in the midst of that change. Don't be left behind. My prayers are with you all. May the Lord bless and keep you.