Next week I will have been here at my “new” job for a year. I noticed that my postings dropped drastically over the past year. I used to post between 200-300 per year, but this year, not even close to 100. There were a few reasons for it, some I’ve whined about in past posts…
Most of my prepping at home has come to a halt, at least when I compare it to what I’ve done over the past few years. I just don’t have time to do much of anything. When the job was four long days at least I had all day Friday to work uninterrupted on things. Now I’m gone five semi-long days. On the weekend we only have one day to play catch-up with all the chores and the other day we are in town for much of the day. In a way it’s good to be stretched too thin. If TSHTF we would be pulled in so many different directions that something would have to get put onto the back burner. This is a good test to see what can be pushed aside that at one time was thought to be high priority.
Well, I say it’s halted but it hasn’t really. The pastures are planted in the different grains, and I’m hoping that they rooted enough before we got the freezing weather. I guess spring will tell. The sheep are still eating leaves off the mulberry trees. Probably only one more good rain and the rest of the leaves will fall. I do feel sorry for them and give them a flake of hay every few days but that’s my brain, they really don’t need it.
The chickens are on scratch only. Their egg laying is over until spring. I have more chickens than we need for egg production and there's no reason to keep feeding them. I am going to pick out about 1/3 of the chickens and butcher them.
Last winter I put up plastic sheeting at the front porch and also in front of the family room area. While it did keep those spaces a little warmer, I didn’t like the overall effect of not being able to see out those windows. I would like to enclose that one space in front of the family room but my money priority isn’t that. I’m still trying to figure out how to keep the house warmer during the winter. The ceilings are insulated as are the walls. Years ago in another house I put plastic on the inside of the windows to make an air space. I am going to try that again to see if it works. Same thing with my bedroom. It’s always at least 10 degrees colder than the rest of the house if I am not running the central heat. Those windows I will cover with plastic this week.
Bugs got into some of the rice. When I buy rice in the 25 pound bag I put it into the freezer before it ever makes it into the house. After a week or two or a month (depending on if I need the freezer space) I take it out and put it into plastic buckets. Normally I pour the rice into mylar bags, but for some reason I just put these store sacks into the bucket. Perhaps I had extra rice that didn’t fit into the mylar bags, or I had filled my rice can in the kitchen, or something. I just can’t remember why the rice was stored this way. I’m assuming the little larva that was crawling around in the sacks of rice found their way into this bucket with a flimsy lid. It just makes me wonder what else has bugs crawling around in it. I am going to open a bucket of rice with the rice stored in mylar. Hopefully that won’t have any bugs.
I’ve also realized that I can’t store crackers so I no longer buy those in bulk. The grandkids like one kind, then another, then another. My normal is to buy for a year or so at a time. Unfortunately, the oil, shortening, fat, or whatever they use in crackers goes bad quickly. They end up tasting horrible and nobody wants to eat them. Instead I have stocked up on cracker recipes and can make batches if necessary. I still buy crackers but only a box or two at a time and they are usually gone before my next shopping trip. I still have over a year worth of food stored and other supplies. But I am changing my tactics. I am going to purchase more freeze dried foods for the future and not concentrate on as much of a variety of everyday items. No more having 10 varieties of crackers. No more having 20 varieties of soup. We don’t need that much variety.
I also keep trying to reduce the stuff in the house. I know other people make money on Craigslist or E-bay. The only thing I’ve had much luck with is selling sheep. Nothing else seems to sell so I am making a lot of donations rather than making some extra money.
We had fun at Thanksgiving. We ended up going down to San Diego sister’s house. I brought an extra grandkid (the 6 year old). We went on a cruise around the San Diego harbor. On the way home we stopped off at the Nixon Presidential Library. The kids liked walking through Army 1. We also went to Knott’s Berry Farm. Girl loved the scary rides. Boy wasn’t quite there yet but did go on a couple of rides that roll you upside down. The six year old was quite happy with Camp Snoopy rides. I did get him onto the tower that’s like the Space Needle. You could see downtown LA. He wasn’t really comfortable with it because it went up high. He loved the baby roller coaster so I thought to myself, “why not try a big one?” For our last family ride, (yes I did get Girl and Boy to go on the baby rides) we choose a roller coaster that the six year old was tall enough for. I kept telling him that he would have fun. Boy and Girl sat together and little Boy and I sat together. In the middle of the ride, little one screamed so I said “isn’t this fun?” His response, “I HATE THIS RIDE!” Well he survived. He repeated his statement several more times. I thought I ruined his experience. No. After he got over that, several times he thanked me for bringing him. “It was so much fun!”
One of the things I like about Knott’s Berry Farm is the shootout. The sheriff always shoots the Bank Robber. Yes, real looking guns and loud bangs with every shot. I also like some of the old-time craft demonstrations that the kids can watch. Normally I don’t buy much, but we did indulge in one item. They had a bucket filled with snow and a pot filled with heated maple syrup. The person poured a stream of maple syrup across the snow (about one foot in length) then put a large Popsicle stick on one end and rolled it up into a frozen maple syrup sucker. Not having lived in the snow ever or even spending much time in it (other than now working in it) I had never seen this done. It was delicious and of course it was a race to see if you could eat it before it all melted back into gooey maple syrup. I wonder if you can do it with fake maple syrup, aka known as Log Cabin or cheap store brand, or homemade syrup with Mapleine flavoring and sugar water. If so, it’s a good treat to be added to our preps.