Thursday, September 22, 2016

Traditions by Any Other Name

It's just a way, a way of living.
We move about tending animals, foliage, and soil alike
while the seasons change around us.
It's what so many generations before us did in some fashion or other.
Putting-by in order to keep ourselves and our families
 through the cold months of winter ahead.
For centuries, this was just referred to as living.
In recent years however, there seems to be an infatuation with names.
Like members of an elite club, members proclaim that they are preppers, homesteaders, locavores, etc.
There are of course good qualities to each and all of these; however,
if we look a little deeper, there is a word that encompasses all of them.
That word is tradition.
It's not a name, just a word.
Traditionally, people worked from their homes, providing for themselves and making do with what was available to them either by their own doing or by procuring necessities through trading/bartering with neighbors for goods and services.  Doesn't that sound familiar?
Those of us who partake in such ventures today are considered by some to be anomalies, rebels, or outcasts.
But those of us who are doing the partaking know better.
We know with a knowledge greater than that portrayed by the consumer society that what we are doing is right.
How do we know?
We are following Mother Nature's example and in return, 
she usually helps us out.
When we plant the seeds, she waters.
When she provides the sun and warmth, we provide the water.
When she forgets to take care of the animals, we step up.
When we aren't there during the birthing of a lamb, calf, or kid, she usually handles it just fine.
It's a partnership, working together in tandem and taking turns.
In return for working with her, we are rewarded.
We are rewarded not only with clean nutritious foods and physical well being, but with that knowledge as well.
As the summer heat begins to ebb, the heat in our kitchens and around our homes is turned up.
The sound of the pressure cooker hisses, the knife claps against the wooden cutting board, canning jars and lids clank and chime, and the dehydrator hums along all joining in chorus to create a commotional hymn.
Meanwhile, out back, baskets and bowls are being filled.
There are now fewer animals to feed during the cold up-coming months.
And there is a woody scent and a slight haze trailing from the smoker or smokehouse if you are so fortunate.
We are those who know how many quarts and pints of veggies, how many pounds of meat, and how much feed for the stock we need to last us through the year.
We plan, work, prepare, and preserve accordingly.
We carry on, keeping alive and honoring the ways of so many 
who have gone before us.
And it's with gratitude and great reverence that we pass these skills and this knowledge on to the next generation.
It's not for any kind of monetary pay or prideful glory.
It's because, it's just the right thing to do.
This is tradition and indeed,
this is living.  


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Why Harvest Mullein?

Have you harvested your mullein yet?
I can hear you through your computer~
Harvested my mullein? Huh? What?
You didn't misread that.
I usually keep a few leaves of dehydrated mullein on the shelf.
Some time back, I ran across it and figured since I haven't even had a cold in over three years, it was safe to get rid of it.
It grows plentifully around these parts and is also affectionately referred to as fisherman's toilet paper due to it's soft "furry" leaves.

Shortly after Mr. LB returned from Alaska,
he came down with what I call the post-flying crud.
It's that cold you get from breathing recirculated germs on the plane.
And of course, I had pitched the mullein.
I did make him some tea from the fresh leaves,
but the dried leaves seem to work better.
Mullein (according to my research - see disclosure) is a natural expectorant.
Mullein tea consumed 2-3 times per day helps break up
the phlegm and mucus that clog the system when fighting a cold.
It is important to strain it through a coffee filter or cotton cloth
to remove the 'hairs' since they can cause further irritation to the throat if consumed.
I am now dehydrating more mullein to keep on the shelf.
I suppose it's one of those things that is easier to have and not need
than to need and not have.


And now for the fancy disclosure:
It's actually sad that this is even necessary.
I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or medical professional of any kind.  What we do in our household is based on the research we have done and what we deem appropriate.  We are not suggesting that you do the same.  You are responsible for the decisions regarding your health and wellness.  We are not responsible for any decision you make.  So to clarify, I am responsible for me.  You are responsible for you.  
Whew, glad that's over with.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Friday Quick Tip ~ Scrubbers

For biodegradable pot scrubbers
make them out of jute or sisal.
I love these little scrubbers - even the nylon ones to be honest.
But in trying to limit what ends up in the landfill, 
I felt guilty that I liked them so much.
I tried making them with jute first. (darker one)
They work great, but wet jute has a distinct odor.
I use these for scrubbing the car, BBQ, etc.
I love that these get bugs off the bumper without scratching the paint.
For dishes, I use sisal (lighter one,) which is much more difficult to work with,
but doesn't sport the pungent odor.
Either way, when they are worn out,
just toss them in the compost pile.

Also, there are so many little tips that are just good ideas,
I thought every-so-often to do a quick tip might be fun.
Let me know what you think~


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Other Big Project~(Vintage Trailer)

Mrs. Calabash?
Is that you?

Back here, I shared that we usually have a couple big projects
going at any one time.
The bricks still aren't finished, but they are getting closer.
The other "big project" has been to restore Mrs. Calabash.
You can see more about her here and here.
Once we got the necessities in order, we came to the point
where a decision needed to be made.
She needed to be re-sealed which involves removing all the windows, 
J-channel, eyebrows, trim, etc.
Did we want to go through all that just to have to do it again
in a year or two when we refurbished and painted her?
We chose to just do it all now.

We pulled Mr. LB's old project car out and tarped it.
Then Mrs. Calabash got the place of honor in the shop.

And we began the process. . .
At first it seemed like we just kept pulling her apart
and that nothing was being fixed,
which of course is part of the process.
Also at first, I was doing it myself, but it didn't take long for Mr. LB
to take pity and dig in too.
I started by removing the lower sections of skin (siding) 
to see what was under there.
Then, all the trim, windows, and J-channel came off.
I won't show every detail, but enough that hopefully 
you can see just what we've done.
From the first Aristocrat I saw, I was drawn to them.
I like their floor-plans and generous windows.
They do however, have a design flaw.
That bottom skirting board is exposed and sandwiches the paneling
so the water wicks right up and holds.
In researching ways to fix and prevent it from happening again,
I learned that deck sealants (and the sort) can react with the aluminum
so those were out.
The only thing that could possibly work was the black, smelly,
gooey, sticky, tar paint/sealer.
New skirting boards getting their icky coat of tar paint.
We had to take off more skin than I had initially thought,
up to the roof so everything could be "right."
More on that in a minute. 
One corner of interior paneling was damaged on the back passenger side corner
so I robbed the section from the front, behind the couch
leaving a nice big hole here.
Here's that minute, from a minute ago:)
At one point someone had tried to "fix" the bathroom corner
using incorrectly sized lumber and fencing staples!
so it had to come out in order to make it right.
At this point - right here - I almost cried.
She kept coming more and more apart.
Nothing was going back together yet.
This is the driver's side rear, and I couldn't make enough paneling for it,
so I did the next best thing.
We got white bead board and I antiqued it.
I was pleased with how well it turned out and how closely it matches.
(They had used a mauve and country blue floral el'cheapo paneling.)
I did the same with a piece of 1/4" plywood for the front 
where I robbed the real paneling.
Then finally, finally, finally, we got to start putting pieces back together
rather than tearing them apart.
You can see here, we also replaced several of the boards across the back that were not as sound as they could have been.
At this point, I actually went around her with the tar paint
and painted all the corners and any nook or cranny 
that I thought might be prone to moisture.
Also, the yellow batting that provided about as much insulation as a paper towel, was removed where we had to work but left where we didn't.
It really is that thin.
Over it or instead of it (depending upon where) we added rigid R5 insulation.
I can't even begin to express what a relief it was
to begin to see her starting to come back together.
Once all the insulation was in place, we began putting the skin back on.
That sounds easy enough, but getting it back on just right took time.
1/8 of an inch off in one spot can result in an inch off in another.
We were aware of this so made sure everything was right on as we worked.Luckily, that didn't go to terribly, though when we went to put the door back on, there was a bit of a bow in the wall as a result of having no additional support from doors or windows for the duration of the process.
Once we got the skin back on her, we got to sand and prepare for painting.
We were going to paint her ourselves.
My thought was that if someone else makes a run or does a sub-par job,
I would be pretty upset.
If I do it, I can only be mad at myself.
As it turns out, Mr. LB knows a fellow fisherman who does this for a living.
We talked about it and decided to let him paint her.
My comment was only, "Please let him know that this is advertising for his business - good or bad, it's up to him."
I think he told him something along the lines of, "This is my wife's baby, and I want to be able to walk again after it's painted."
Okay, not really, but he knows I want her done nicely.
I'm really not that mean (Well, most of the time.  Maybe don't ask my baby brother that question. :)
And here she is on her way to "the beauty parlor."
Sorry the picture is a little fuzzy.
This is about 5:30 AM, and it was barely light enough to get a picture.
We had to put the windows back in so that she could travel
the road to get her there.
We just put a half dozen screws in each and will pull them back out
in order to mask and paint.
She's on the docket to get the main body color Thursday,
then the accent color Friday.
Then, once she's back home, we'll get to seal her back up
with new putty-tape and all the trim, which I have been polishing
by hand all along in my spare time.