Thursday, February 23, 2017

Motor Oil and Oat Rolls - A Day of Serenity

There are days that our lifestyle presents itself as a peculiar depiction of stark contrasts.  Take Miss Serenity for example.....

On an average day, Serenity can be found helping clean the house before she vigorously undertakes her academic workload.  In the afternoon she may be strapping on her saw chaps and cutting wood from the log deck, or perhaps she'll be curling her hair for an upcoming swing dance.  Her evening activities could be anything from reloading ammunition to teaching her little sister how to paint her fingernails.  Serenity fits into no mold - she is the epitome of the "Competent Man".....

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly.  Specialization is for insects."

Robert Heinlein

Not to long ago, my friend Lady Day was over for tea.  After Serenity had made tea and set the tea table, she joined us for a cuppa and some conversation.  Finishing her tea, she pulled on a pair of mechanics coveralls and headed outside to change the oil in her truck.  A little while later, she was back in the kitchen, oil covering her hands, washing up at the kitchen sink.  After tying the top of her soiled coveralls around her waist, she grabbed a bowl of oat roll dough that she had made earlier in the day and began forming dinner rolls.  Letting the rolls rise for a bit, she slid them into the oven, set the timer and headed back out to finish the maintenance work on her truck.  She finished the oil change, installed a new air filter, checked her power steering fluid and topped off the wiper fluid.  Washing up again, she slipped out of the coveralls, checked her rolls and sat back down for another cup of tea.  Soon, she was brushing her perfectly browned dinner rolls with melted butter and sliding them onto a cooling rack.  No specialization here - nothing but a well-rounded, competent young woman.

Sir Knight and I have always endeavored to give our children the tools to successfully navigate this thing called life.  We are convinced they need to be able to run a home, fight a war, be creators (and appreciators) of beauty and to build society rather than destroy it.  Their lives need to be a peculiar depiction of stark contrasts.  That is why motor oil and oat rolls equal a day of Serenity.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Prepper Mandate - Inventory and Organization

What's the difference between a prepper and a hoarder?  Inventory and organization of course!  A preparedness lifestyle requires copious amounts of "stuff", both inside and out.  Pantries overflow with foodstuffs, cupboards are packed to the brim with medical supplies, batteries and radio equipment.  Sheds, barns and garages are filled with tools, vehicles, fuel and every manner of odds and ends that may come in handy "when the balloon goes up". 

One problem that plagues most preppers is organization.  With so much stuff taking over their lives, they struggle to contain it all.  We have found the key to preparedness is painstaking organization.  I regularly inventory and organize everything we have so that in the event of an emergency I can lay my hands on whatever is needed  - immediately.  Really, if you can't find something, you may as well not have it.  

Glove in two sizes

PPE at the ready

Trays for quick access
Recently I inventoried and organized our medical supplies.  Because we live in a small "shouse", I use every square inch to the best of my ability.  In an ongoing attempt to make our shouse work for us I rearranged our bathroom and added a 4 x 6 foot shelving unit to hold all of our medical equipment and, for now, our radios and batteries.   

Our new shelving allows us to organize medical supplies in labeled tubs for easy access and also allows for larger bulk storage.  Within easy reach we have oral hygiene and fever reducers, along with allergy medicine and cough drops.  We have personal protection equipment (gloves, face shields and surgical masks), cold packs, elastic bandages and co-flex, in addition to betadine, alcohol and gauze.  All of the tubs are labeled and easily accessible.  

Tubs of necessities

Easily accessible for every member of the family

Larger bulk items

The shelves go on and on....

Newly rearranged space
As I organized, I also took an inventory of what we had and what we needed.  With young children, we still go through more medical supplies than I care to admit, and never seem to have enough band aides or co-flex.  I've found that taking inventory once a year generally maintains our standard of readiness.  Every spring I inventory medical supplies, followed by food stores in the summer and fuels in the fall.  Every winter I inventory seeds and gardening equipment.  This constant schedule of inventory and organization keeps us well supplied and ready for whatever may come our way.

We keep a trauma tray in the table in the living room.....

For everyday emergencies!
Ultimately, your preps are only as good as their location - if you can't find it, you may as well not have it.  Inventory and organization will not only save you time and money, it may well safe your life.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Homegrown Winter Fun

For a number of years I have wanted to build an ice skating rink in the back yard so the children could spend their winter gliding across the ice.  This year, after a little planning, a little building, a LOT of water and some seriously cold weather, Miss Serenity and I made our skating rink a reality!

The first thing we did to build our winter wonderland was buy a large tarp, about 25' x 25'.  After we scouted the backyard for a mostly level area, Serenity and I pulled pressure treated 4" x 4" posts off our lumber pile and built a frame to hold the tarp.  We screwed the lumber together to form a 20' x 20' box, arranged the tarp inside of the frame, making sure to push the tarp down to the ground inside of the frame.  After straightening the tarp and making sure it was pushed to the ground inside, we secured it to the frame with a staple gun, making sure there was enough slack so that the tarp didn't rip when we filled it with water.

Miss Serenity sweeping the rink

After a light snowfall
Once our frame was built, Serenity started the generator and we began the process of filling a 20' x 20' x 4" area with water.  That took some time!!!  We filled the rink to about an inch from the top, let the water freeze overnight and topped the rink off with water the next morning.  After freezing all day and all night, the skating rink was ready to use!  The ice was perfect - smooth and clear and solid, just right for pirouettes and speed skating alike!

Master Calvin and Princess Dragon Snack

Getting their skating legs

Little brother is steadying big sister!

Taking a break

Up for more

Getting brave!

After school was finished, Miss Serenity and I started a fire in the fire pit, hauled a bench to the rink and called the kids to their new playground.  Oh the fun they had!  It took a bit for Princess Dragon Snack and Master Calvin to get their skating legs under them, but they were off and skating before they knew it!  They spent the first few days going around in circles and doing tricks and then out came the hockey gear (and the friends).

Skating with snow falling gently - and a fire glowing!

Practicing a dip

Really getting the hang of it!

Let the hockey begin!
The cold winter has been perfect for skating, and with a skating rink in the back yard, the children have spent hour upon hour gliding through the crisp air.  Perfect homegrown winter fun!

Miss Serenity and I have plans to perfect our skating rink before next winter.  We would like to build a frame that can be easily taken apart in the spring and put back together in the fall.  We would also like to buy a large hay tarp that will last for many years and provide a much larger skating platform.  I can see ice hockey in our future - for many years to come!!

I hope you too, have enjoyed your own version of homegrown winter fun!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Kitchen Update

By the time February arrives, I'm usually anxious to do something - anything!  I'm tired of being cooped up in the house and itching to get my fingers in the dirt, but of course I can't until the snow is gone.  And so, my house bears the brunt of my pent-up energy.  Nothing is safe.  I've gone through the children's rooms , the reloading room, the bathroom and the kitchen.  I've cleaned under the beds, in the cupboards and behind the stoves.  And still I'm a bundle of energy looking for another project!

The cupboards, well, they looked so plain.  And my children asked what was for dinner - again.  And there was that one verse I wanted to memorize - it would be nice if I could see it every day.   What to do?  Well, paint the cupboard doors with chalkboard paint of course!

Really, the job was pretty easy.  I scrubbed the doors with Whistle, an industrial cleaner Sir Knight brought home (I love it! - it works on everything) and taped them up to paint.  After cleaning and taping, I spray painted them with chalkboard paint.  I sprayed the doors twice,  allowing the paint to dry in-between coats and then I let them dry overnight.

That was it!!!  My cupboards had a face life and I had a place to keep the menu for the week and a new Bible verse every week as well.

It's fun, and fresh, and now I'm thinking of all kinds of home improvement projects that I can't wait to get my hands on!

And I truly can't wait for spring!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Modern Manifesto

I'm back, I'm back, I'm back!!!!!  I'm sorry to have been gone so long - technical difficulties - I'll tell you about it later, but for now, I thought I'd share the Communist Rules for Revolution, found in Dusseldorf, Germany, in May of 1919 by the Allied Forces.  Remarkably, these Rules for Revolution are no longer for card carrying Communists only,  but for modern American politicians!  Having forgotten our history, we are truly doomed to repeat it....

Communist Rules for Revolution

A.  Corrupt the young, get them away from religion, get them interested in sex.  Make them superficial, destroy their ruggedness.

B.  Get control of all means of publicity thereby:

  1. Get the people's minds off their government by focusing their attention on athletics, sexy books and plays and other trivialities.
  2. Divide the people into hostile groups by constantly harping on controversial matters of no importance.
  3. Destroy the people's faith in their natural leaders by holding the latter up to contempt, ridicule and obloquy.
  4. Always preach true democracy, but seize power as fast and as ruthlessly as possible.
  5. By encouraging government extravagance, destroy its credit, produce fear of inflation with rising prices and general discontent.
  6. Foment unnecessary strikes in vital industries, encourage civil disorders and foster a lenient and soft attitude on the part of government toward such disorders.
  7. By serious argument, cause the breakdown of the old moral virtues, honesty, sobriety, confidence, faith in the pledged word, ruggedness.
C.  Cause the registration of all firearms on some pretext, with a view toward confiscating them and leaving the population helpless. 

And that, my friends, has become our Modern Manifesto.  For shame!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Our Life in Pictures.....

Sometimes life seems to get away from me!  Each day is full of its own work and I often get caught up in the day to day operations of our family.  I spent the fall taking care of the garden and preserving the bounty.  As we've moved closer to winter, I've spent time buttoning up the shouse against the cold and making improvements to the driveway so that we can maneuver it when the snow has drifted, creating one big field of white.  I've rearranged furniture, creating a nook for Sir Knight's reloading bench so that he can reload any time he wants without moving all of the furniture in the living room. Master Hand Grenade butchered a hog for a neighbor, while Miss Serenity turned pork into pork sausage.  And so, life pictures.
Fall Bounty!

Peeling pears given to us by our neighbor Patrice

Soaking the pears in lemon water so they don't brown

I hung the pears on our clothes horse in the kitchen to dry

Loooong after a couple of days of drying!

Dried pears in a jar

Tomatoes and peppers out of the garden

Princess Dragon Snack stringing peppers for drying


Master Hand Grenade plying his craft

Miss Serenity grinding pork sausage

Miss Serenity and Sir Knight

Ready for the freezer


Boiling in water and baking soda

Sprinkled with salt

29 quarts of turkey stock, 2 quarts and 3 pints of meat

On the shelf

Make shift markers to keep people out of our ditch

New weather stripping for the front door

In the living room where the reloading bench used to be

The new reloading area in our bedroom

Our newly rearranged bedroom

Have a wonderful week meeting each new day as it comes and doing what needs to be done.