Thursday, November 25, 2010

Taking a trip to the bug out spot and Thanksgiving dinner prep.

On Friday, while the brother-in-law and son-in-law and a couple of grandsons are working on the electronic gate opener for my wrought iron gate (and I'm sure my son will be no where in sight), sister and I are going to take a drive up to my bug-out place.  This past week we've had about 2 inches of rain on the valley floor which means 3 or 4 inches at least up the hill.  I don't think the creek is running too high yet, but if it is, we may not be able to drive all the way out there.  We may have to stop at the creek, cross the foot bridge, and then walk the mile to the house.

Once there, we will take a tour of the place.  She will get to see the out buildings and also listen to the future plans I have for it.  I'm hoping she will give me some suggestions.  I'll visit my friends who are presently living in the house.  The male renter has been doing lots of clean up including cutting up brush and downed trees and putting up a good supply of fire wood.  They are heating the place with wood.  I think they are mainly using the downed wood on the property but it almost backs up to the National Forest (500 feet away going through a property that the owner shows up to about once a decade) and would be easy to collect fire wood there.

Sister made a comment that she's trying to talk her husband into moving closer this way but she doesn't think it will happen.  They just spent a lot of money adding to their house and yard.  It's a beautiful home, if you don't mind being in the middle of a million people or two.  I will let her know that if things ever get really bad down in Southern California that they are more than welcome to head this way.  They can stay either at the farm or "up the hill" as we like to call the bug-out place. 

Sister did take a step toward prepping.  On Wednesday, she decided to check out Winco.  It's a great grocery store where I do half of my food shopping.  The rest is done at Costco and Walmart.  I was showing her some of my spaghetti sauce cans.  I said that I bought these (a group of 36 cans) for 79 cents each.  I bought more when they went up to 88.  I have about 75 cans of spaghetti sauce. They are now going for 94 cents.  I remarked that I was glad that I bought them when I did.  She was excited to hear they were 94 cents because where she lives the sale price is a dollar.  I also told her the olives were 88 cents a can.  Costco has been selling them for over a dollar a can for the same size cans and the same brand.  She spent $162 dollars and bought 151 items.

I also had her help me make the rolls for Thanksgiving dinner.  She said that she tried it before but it didn't turn out right.  She thinks it was because the yeast was old.  Did it make bubbles?  She couldn't remember.  Anyway, she saw what the batter should look like, how to kneed the flour into the batter, and how to shape and bake the rolls.  She is going to try it again.  She was trying to figure out the cost savings and didn't think it was worth the price to make bread.  At Winco you can buy a one pound loaf of bread for 79 cents.  To make the bread it will cost 30 cents for a pound of flour, but you will use less than a pound of flour because the water adds weight to the flour, as does any other ingredients that are included.  So let's say it costs her 25 cents for the flour, another nickle for the yeast, and a couple cents for the salt.  It's still just over 30 cents a loaf rather than 80.  She said that her time is worth more than the 50 cents she would save.  On the other hand, if she wanted raisin bread, which costs almost $3.00 a loaf, then it would be worth making. OK, she's semi-converted.  At least she is learning the skills.

With all the people running around the house, I didn't think it was safe to run the wood stove.  The way the dining room is set up people would be getting too close to it and nobody that was coming for dinner, or the week, have any experience with being around a wood stove.  Instead we are running the propane heaters.  I've become this automated voice...every time the back door opens I call out "close the door".  I can hear the propane being slurped out of the 500 gallon tank and into the central heating system.  The kids aren't so bad.  They are trained to come in and out of the mudroom.  From that room they come into the laundry room.  Each room has a door that gets closed so there's two small rooms before they get into the main part of the house.  The outside air doesn't get very far in when they come in.  The adults on the other hand use the door off the dining room.  They will stand there with the door open, or worse yet, open the door and walk out and leave the door open since they are coming back in in just a minute.  Fine, you fill my propane tank!

We ended up with 21 people for dinner.  Everything went well.  The babies were all happy.  The children were all well behaved.  We even had an extra dog so six dogs had a great time playing.  None of the trees had damaging effects from the freeze on Wednesday night and I'm hoping that all will be well after tonight's freeze.

Can't wait for the morning to head up the hill.

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