Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Another Aspect of Preparedness

As I mentioned in our last post, we were without power Christmas Day.
Being without power isn't surprising to us as it goes out on a semi-regular basis,
and during any time of the year.
You might say we are prepared for it.
(Sorry for the poor pix, but this was taken by flashlight.)
We keep a generator and fuel for it.
We have a wood stove for heat and can cook on it if we need to (or want to.)
We have a barbecuer that we can cook on as well.
The thing is, even with the generator, we end up with extension cords going from hither to yon.
As we age, dragging those cords around might become more difficult rather than just a nuisance.
They are also a tripping hazard at any age.
As folks were getting ready to leave Christmas Day,
I caught my father-in-law in the utility room.
He had spied the breaker box.
He couldn't reach it since it's above the dryer so asked if I could open it.
I grabbed a flashlight and reached from the side to open it.
(He was trying to be polite and not move anything.)
He is a retired electrician and stays up on codes and such 
so he can help various friends and family.
This time it was our turn.
He asked if I'd like to just flip a switch to change the load to the generator.
Well, I'm not a complete dummy head.
Of course I'd like that.
So he picked up the required parts, and they returned this weekend.
Mother-in-law and I chatted while I fixed lunch, and the guys worked 
one outside and one inside to get wires where they needed to be.
Did you know that it's a challenge to cook 
when someone keeps turning the breakers off­čśé
Within an hour or so we had an alternate power source.
It will power our water pump, living room, and kitchen.
Father-in-law was surprised at how little "the pull" was.
He said we weren't using much power.
Mr. LB laughed and told him, "Sweetie's all over that."
F-I-L said we could probably have powered the whole house.
As is, the only thing in the living room and kitchen that won't run on the generator is the oven.
Once our ground defrosts (spring,) I might poor a concrete pad 
where the generator hooks up.
For now we will move it back and forth with the hand truck.
If it makes its home on the side of the house permanently, 
we will want it covered and bolted down.
We are not "preppers" by today's definition.  We are not militant. 
 We don't foresee a zombie apocalypse.
 But we do like to be prepared for those situations we know we'll face.
This will just make our "power's out" routine a little easier.
Since we are thinking about retirement and what we will need as we age,
I suppose we are truly "middle-aged" and no longer have any claim on youth.
Bummer!
We've already decided that if we ever move, we will have a single level home
at ground level with wide doorways to accommodate walkers or wheelchairs.
Mr. LB's sister is in a wheelchair 
so it gives us a good feel for designing around it
(not only the doorways but the space needed to turn etc.)
It might sound odd, but thinking of these little nuances now 
might just make life easier at a time in life when we won't have the energy or physical strength to make the changes.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Serendipitous Butter ???

I hope you all had a joyful holiday season. 
It's kinda like a vacation to me-
enjoyable but thankful to be home or in this case back to normal. 
Christmas was at our house this year. 
About 11:30 our power went out - oh yay!
Just in case you ever need to know~
a turkey in a terra-cotta roaster fits on the BBQ,
and if you set a diffuser on the wood stove,
 a ham in the same kind of roaster will still cook evenly.
It all worked out fine really.
I'm not sure if I've shared in the past,
But we have desert first about 11:30-12:00,
then dinner about 1:30-2:00.
I had just finished making whipped cream for pie when the power went out.
I actually made waaay too much whipped cream.
At the end of the day, I tried to send it home with someone,
 but nobody would take it.
Neither Mr. LB nor myself eat it.
I left it in the fridge for a day hoping he would "help" and eat some but no luck.
The following day I decided I couldn't just let it go to waste without 
trying to make it useful.
I decided I would just put it in the mixer and see if it would churn to butter.
It did!
The only thing is -
I forgot I had added vanilla to the whipped cream so I made vanilla butter.
It would be superb over French toast ~which we don't eat:-(
There is a special cookie recipe I want to try making for Mr. LB 
so will use it for that.
I've used it for my eggs but it seems I like plain eggs.
If you enjoy toast, French toast, crepes or other breakfasts that use butter,
this is the butter you've been looking for all your life!
I have a feeling it will do well in cookies.

If you've never made butter, you can see more here.
That's the real way, but I actually just did this in my kitchen aide,
and it made a splashy mess when it turned to butter.
(I really thought after almost 2 days in the fridge, I was wasting my time but had to try.)
Isn't the definition of serendipity "a fortunate accident?"
In which case, this is definitely Serendipitous Butter.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Oh, It's You . . .

Well hello there January.
Where on earth did you come from.  I thought you were still December.
My, my, you brought a thick blanket with you.
Your temperature looks dreadful.

Here, let's stoke the fire and see if we can warm you up a bit.
Perhaps the smell of Six Bean Soup with ham
will comfort you while you settle in.
You are welcome old friend.
You always seem to admire our woolen sweaters and cozy quilts.
We serve hot drinks in your honor.
I know you won't be here long before your neighbor February crowds you out not to return for another year.

A very Happy New Year to you all.

Friday, December 22, 2017

In This Mountain Home~ All is Calm

I was off work early today which was a surprise from my boss.
It's a wonderful treat, because
this is what I drove home in.
It's kinda funny really,
my mom is stressed to where she was almost in tears the other day.
I of course eased her mind and lightened the mood by telling her
it was okay not to clean the bathroom.
That drain monster is a family pet.
The slime in the shower proves you have a "green" home.
And the toilet water only goes down so it doesn't count.
She had certain projects to finish, 3 batches of cookies to make,
and regular house cleaning to do.
What actually makes this funny is that Christmas is at our house this year.
They will have no company etc.
Silly Mom.
Meanwhile up the mountain~
at our house where people will actually be visiting,
there is laundry on the couch,
a wicker love-seat in the kitchen/dining area (yes, like on the porch- long story)
plastic totes from decorations are still near the front door
(but the tree is decorated!)
our family pet drain monster is alive and well in our bathroom,
the floors are coated with debris from boots and firewood,
the table has a partially finished craft project on it,
and I'm not worried.
I still have two days ~ plenty of time.
I remembered to take the turkey out of the freezer so all is well.
We never seem to have a shortage of food.
The snow is absolutely beautiful and creates a hush in the forest.
It's kinda like Someone is whispering,
 "Shhh, pay attention.  You won't want to miss this."
And for that, I am so grateful.

As our family comes together and reunites beneath the snowy sky,
near a cozy fire, and around a crowded table (especially if I don't get the love-seat out of there!) let's remember why we've gathered.

From our home to yours a very blessed and merry Christmas to you.