Saturday, August 31, 2013

Lazy, Dirty Losers

I have to admit - I find human nature endlessly fascinating.  Often, I write blog posts that I am certain will offend everyone who happens to read them.  More often than not, the comments I receive on my most "shocking" posts are nothing short of positive.  And then, out of the blue, I will receive a scathing, hate-filled comment on a post that I thought was completely benign.  Go figure!

Recently, I wrote about Master Hand Grenade returning to the nest.  I wrote of his achievements and how proud Sir Knight and I were that he was not only well thought of but that he had the wisdom to discern between the wheat and the chaff of life.  Pretty unobtrusive, huh?  Well, apparently not.  In response to that post, I received the following comment (anonymously, of course).  I chose not to publish it on the post, but rather save it for another day.

Why don't you get Mr. Dumb Ass, er, I mean, Mr. Hand Grenade into a college so that Mr. H.G. won't be yet another loser walking around armed waiting to go postal when the world, which he is not prepared for, overwhelms him and he realizes that he is a working class cog and will never get ahead or have anything on a butchers wages. 

Stupid asses. 

Wow!  So much hatred in such a small package.  The night this comment came through, I began praying for the writer.  I woke up praying for them the next morning, as well.  You can be sure that I will continue to pray.  I am certain that whomever wrote that comment hates themselves.  With a passion.

Anyway, I digress.  The comment made me think of a blog post that I had read recently, that summed up my personal thoughts regarding higher education.  The writer, Matt Walsh, made more than enough valid points to make any parent (or child, for that matter) rethink their higher education position.  He said:

Hi kids! Hey, let’s discuss college! Actually, this is not a discussion. You WILL go. You MUST go. Only lazy, dirty losers don’t go to college. You aren’t a lazy, dirty loser, are you? ARE YOU?
Good. I didn’t think so.
This week, the President has been making his pitch to “fundamentally rethink and reshape” the higher education system, and so the conversation has once again turned to the importance of cramming as many warm bodies as possible into colleges and universities — at any expense to themselves, their parents, and the taxpayers. Over 70 percent of college students are already on some form of federal aid, and damned if we can’t get that number to an even 100 percent. Meanwhile, outstanding student loan debt has long since surpassed a trillion dollars with no signs of slowing down. If you had a math degree you’d know that a trillion dollars is, like, a lot.
You see, kids, as executives at the academic and banking institutions make billions from this setup, a bunch of 20-something’s with no assets, little to no income, and no work experience, are left with an accrued debt many times higher than the GDP of a small European nation. Millions of college graduates haven’t been able to find a job, with even more either moving back in with their parents or refusing to leave the nest in the first place. We are now faced with legions of young adults who have sacrificed their financial future — and whittled away several years of potential life and work experience — all for the sake of a piece of paper and a severely damaged liver.
Clearly there just isn’t any conceivable reason why any rational person would want to miss out on all of this!
That is just the beginning.  To read his entire post, click here - it will be worth your time. 

And so, we will be encouraging Master Hand Grenade to pursue his desired career path.  We will encourage him to value a good name over riches and wisdom over status.  We will be thankful that he is growing in favor with God and men.  But mostly, we will be praying for the unhappy writer of that comment.  God has plans for him, too.   

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Terror Nation

Terrorism:  n  
The calculated use of violence (or the threat of violence) against civilians in order to attain goals that are political or religious or ideological in nature; this is done through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear.

Have you noticed the not-so-subtle national change of perception regarding terrorists?  Once upon a time we believed that terrorists were wild-eyed crazies with bombs strapped to their bodies wreaking massive destruction on a cowering populace - in far-away third-world countries.  Silly us.  Thankfully, our government has re-educated us.  We now know that the real terror threats are much more insidious and difficult to detect.  Homegrown terrorists - the real threat to the safety of our nation - can be found right in our own backyard.   They are in our churches, our military and in the local Cabela's store.  Terrorists are especially prevalent down lonely dirt roads and in isolated pockets of rural America.  Heck, our very country was framed by radical terrorists!  Can you believe how misguided we have been?  Now, thanks to our government, we know that terrorism doesn't require any physical action at all but rather is simply present in "seditious thought".

Well, I for one am grateful to be armed with this new, revolutionary information.  Knowledge is power, you know.  Next time I see a news cast televising the destruction of lives and property at the hands of crazy-eyed folks with bombs strapped to their person, I will know they are just exercising their "religious freedom" and all is well.  But you can be certain that now that I have been made aware of the real threat, I will be on high alert - ready to intercept "seditious thoughts" at every turn.  With a new awareness of what constitutes terrorism, I can plug my children's ears when confronted with such life-destroying ideas as individual liberty!  We can run screaming if we have the misfortune to come face to face with a returning military veteran.  And don't even get me started about the so-called "Patriot Movement"!

In an effort to win the battle on the War on Terror, we must be educated.  We must be on high alert, especially around:

And the list goes on and on.  Please make sure to read the full text here!  You don't want to miss a thing - your very survival could depend upon it!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A Good Name.....

Master Hand Grenade is home!  He has finished his summer job just in time to begin his senior year of High School.  Never to remain static for long, Master Hand Grenade has plans to put an application in at the local grocer in hopes of securing a position as an apprentice butcher.  He hopes to work through the school year and beyond in an effort to gain enough experience to become a butcher in his own right.

After getting settled in his room, Hand Grenade came downstairs and we spent the afternoon talking about his summer.  We talked about the lessons he had learned and the faith that had grown in him as he sought to know God.  We talked about the difficult situations he had found himself in and the fun excursions he had enjoyed.  After hours of laughing and reconnecting, Master Hand Grenade offered to show me what he treasured most from his summer away.  Reaching into his pocket, I expected him to produce a fat check or a wad of cash - the fruits of his hard work.  Instead, he pulled out an envelope containing one, thin letter.  "Mom", he said, "this is worth more to me than all of the money I made this summer".

And this is what I read:

August 22, 2013

To Whom it May Concern:

I would like you to know that Master Hand Grenade worked for us this summer of 2013...

Master Hand Grenade...

  • Is a fine young man...honest and caring and can be left to work alone and continues to work
  • Came to work on time and worked the hours and days he committed himself to
  • Was very courteous and respectful to everyone he came in contact with on the job
  • Had a very positive attitude
  • Had a variety of jobs to do, while employed...
    • mowing with riding lawnmower
    • weed eating
    • raking
    • tearing down rock wall
    • cutting rebar
    • steam cleaning
    • assisting with engine rebuild
    • splitting wood with wood splitter
    • stacking wood in woodshed
    • helping with any 'odd jobs' that we had around the estate and home
  • Master Hand Grenade is welcome back to work for us next year, if he so chooses and we would highly recommend him to other employers as a very good employee
  • Please feel free to call us with any questions you may have...
Although Hand Grenade was well paid, even earning an end-of-season bonus, he considered this letter of recommendation to be the greatest achievement of his time spent away.  

As parents, we always raise our children with fear and trepidation.  Are we being too hard on them?  Not hard enough?  Have we instilled good character qualities?  Have we prepared them to take their place in society and still maintain their integrity?  Will they figure out what's really important and treasure those things?  And then we have moments like these....moments when we are given a glimpse of the people our children are becoming - and it is good.

A GOOD name is rather to be chosen than great riches 
and loving favor rather than silver and gold.
Proverbs 22:1

Monday, August 26, 2013

An Overwhelming THANK YOU!

As most of you know, yesterday was the Book Bomb day for The Prepared Family Cookbook.  It was an overwhelming, nerve-racking, faith-building experience.  So much time and energy has been poured into that book, along with our family stories and years of hard-won experience.  Thank you - from the bottom of my heart, for your generous reception to my cookbook.  In the end, it did wonderfully for an "indie" book - ranking 145 for all of the books being sold on Amazon, 11th in the Cookbook, Food & Wine section and 3rd in the Cookbook, Food & Wine "Hot New Releases" section.  Of course the numbers have slowed today - but, whew, what a ride!

For those of you that have enquired, yes, I will be selling some of these books from home.  I haven't ordered them yet, so I won't be able to ship for a couple of weeks.  They will be the same price from me as they are from Amazon ($24.99), however, I would be happy to sign them.  When I am ready to ship I will let you all know.

Again, thank you all.  I hope you find my book worthy of your library.


Enola Gay

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ready, Set........Go!

We are almost there!  The Prepared Family Cookbook is done.  I'm sure it will never be done to my satisfaction, but I think that is the case with most anything I undertake.  Looking at in now, there are so many more recipes that I would like to add, more information, more....everything.   However, I have to admit - I smile from ear to ear every time I open the cover of this book.  In it, I see the stories of my life.  I see the recipes that have been passed down from one generation to the next.  I see the hard-won knowledge I have learned over many years of living off-grid all boiled down to chapters in a book.  This is it!

Sunday is our Book Bomb day on Amazon.  Please hold off on ordering the book until then, but on Sunday, I would love it if you ordered one, or two, or even three!  And then, I would love to hear what you think!

Within the next few weeks, I will have copies for sale that I can ship directly to you, if you would rather not order through Amazon.  I will keep you posted.

Did I mention that I was excited?!?

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Death of Natural Consequences

When our oldest children were little, Sir Knight and I participated in a bible study aimed at helping young parents wade through the early years of parenthood.  One of the key principles that stuck with me was the principle of Natural Consequences.  Basically, natural consequences were the end result of poor, rebellious or disobedient behavior.  We never disciplined our children after they had suffered natural consequences - their suffering was usually more than enough punishment to get them back on track.  Only when our children didn't encounter natural consequences were we compelled to enforce alternate consequences.  It was a really good system.  Our children learned through experience and generally didn't make the same mistake twice (well, most of the time anyway!).

Our society has experienced the death of natural consequences.  In our quest to tolerate all behavior, whether beneficial or not, we have erased natural consequences.  It used to be that if you soiled a young ladies honor, you had a shotgun wedding.  If you broke into a man's home, you were shot.  If you didn't hold down a job, you didn't eat.  You get the picture.  There were consequences for your behavior.  You knew the rules of society and you chose to obey them....or not.  But you knew if you didn't live according to the laws of the land your life would be on the line, or at the very least your reputation.

We no longer have such natural consequences.  Now, if you soil a young ladies honor, you can just live with her until you find a new honey.  The State will pay the medical bills to deliver your baby.  The State will issue WIC checks and food stamps and take over what is supposed to be your responsibility.  Now, if you break into a man's home, not only will he face repercussions if he shoots you, but you could sue him for injuring yourself on his property during your break-in attempt!  Now, if you don't feel the need to hold down a steady job, you can just tell the government and they will provide for your needs.   Now, there are no consequences for poor behavior, just encouragement and incentives.

And, in a feel-good, liberal society, our reversal of fortunes is complete.  Good has become bad and bad has become good.  We can't expect unmarried parents to provide for their own children - they simply don't have the means.  We can't protect our own homes and lives with deadly force - those poor people wouldn't be stealing if society had treated them better.  In these hard economic times, how can we expect anyone to hold down a job?  Scrubbing toilets, digging ditches or holding down more than one job to support yourself?  Well, that's just demeaning - especially when you can make more on food stamps and unemployment.  Anyone who tells you different - well, they just want to starve the children, the elderly and all of those other "at risk" folks.  Heartless cruelty, I tell you!

Are we proud of ourselves?  We have effectively taken away the consequences for the multitudes.  We are supporting those that consistently make poor decisions and in order to do that, we are taking from those that consistently make responsible decisions.  Can you imagine doing that with your children?  One child breaks his bike again and again, going over the same jump that you told him not to go over, so you take the bike from your other child (a bike that he has cared for meticulously) and give it to the rebel?  Seriously?  If that's the case - you are a bad parent.  Really.

Society needs natural consequences if it is going to prosper.  Without them, society ceases to function in any cohesive way.  When natural consequences are removed, society becomes a bubbling cauldron of chaos.  And that is no way to live.  We, our children and our nation needs natural consequences.  We need to get out of the way and allow people to experience the consequences of poor decisions, only then will be begin to make our way of the pit we have dug for ourselves.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Here we go a-Berrying

Blackberries are in season in our fair part of the world.  Although we don't have any berries in our immediate area, we do have plentiful berries growing wild just an hour south of our location.

Both Sir Knight and I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, where blackberries grow in abundant profusion.  In fact, the blackberry brambles are so aggressive that they are treated as nuisance weeds and routinely hacked to the ground.  Not here.  We treat our blackberries with great respect, eagerly anticipating plump, juicy berries every summer.

Having our "spies" to the south of us keep an eye on the ripening berries, and report every week as to their progress, we knew just the right time to hit the berry patch.  Yesterday was the day!

Thursday, Miss Serenity and I spent the day in the kitchen, preparing all sorts of wonderful picnic food to take along on our berry picking expedition.  Knowing that we would be leaving long before the sun peaked over the horizon, we planned for a breakfast on the road, as well as a picnic lunch.  For breakfast, we made Scotch Eggs.  They are wonderful cold and pack a lot of protein in a small package.  They are perfect for a bunch of hard-working berry pickers in the wee morning hours.  After the Scotch Eggs were wrapped and cooling the refrigerator, we went to work on the rest of our picnic fare.  We mixed up a large batch of chicken salad (for sandwiches), made a large pan of brownies and last, but best of all, we made a batch of scones.  Our plan was perfect.  After picking berries all morning, we would find a nice spot for a picnic, and while we were eating our hearty lunch, we would heat our scones under the windshield of our car. Dessert was our crowning moment.  Fresh, warm scones with FRESHLY picked blackberries topped with whipped cream (packed in the cooler)!  Life just can't get any better!
Miss Serenity & Master Calvin making breadcrumbs

Making Scotch Eggs

Packaged and ready for the refrigerator

A panful of brownies
Our plan for picking berries was to get there early, pick quickly and get out of the patch by the time the wasps overtook the berries.  The wasps came out in force by about 9 o'clock in the morning, however we were able to keep picking for quite some time on the shady side of the patch.  We did have one encounter with a rattle snake, however, when confronted, it went one way and we went the other.  Finally, the wasps overtook us and berry picking became a dangerous prospect.

Miss Serenity's friend Princess Leah

Beautiful berries!

Playing on the railroad tracks

Done for the morning
We plan on picking one more time before the season is finished, but we made quite a haul the first time around.  We ended up with 6 gallons of big, beautiful blackberries.  They have been cleaned and packaged and are in our freezer (located at an accommodating neighbor) awaiting blackberry pies, cobblers or any other delight I can think of.

Pies waiting for crusts!
Oh, long days of summer!  They are best used to prepare for the cold, uncompromising winter months.  How much better can it get than to spend time with your family and prepare for the future all at one time?!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

King and Esther

They were as old as the very mountains themselves.  Or at least that's the way they appeared to my 8 year-old self.  King and Esther.  Even their names sounded ancient.

King was a poet and storyteller - the consummate mountain bard.  Esther was weathered, bent and looked as though she had been born of the hills she called home.  We came to be their closest neighbors (about 1 1/2 miles away) when I was almost 8.  Wary of newcomers, they quietly watched us from a distance until finally deciding that we were a special gift sent from heaven to amuse them in their golden years.

King and Esther homesteaded the land that we now called home.  King remembered logging our piece of property with a team of horses when he was a young man.  In fact, a number of corduroy roads* still stood in the low spots that had been too muddy for the horses to drag logs through.  King showed us a shallow, wide hole behind our outhouse that had served as the garbage dump for the horse-loggers some 75 years before.  We kids found it a never ending source of treasure, always yielding at least one more artifact to add to our collection.

Our barn originally stood near King and Esther's home.  It had been King's parents barn, housing work-horses, cattle and the family milk cow.  The barn had been standing empty for years, gathering wasp nests and spiders.  Needing a dry place to store hay, along with a place for our horses to get in out of the weather, my dad struck a deal with King and the barn became ours.  It had been built on skids, so moving it, although a huge project, was do-able.  Inch by inch, that barn was pulled up our driveway, to find a new home in our field.  The first obstacle was our front creek, with a wooden bridge that King, himself, had built many moons before.  Passing that hurdle, the barn wound around our "sledding" hill, was pulled through our only low-spot and finally came to rest on a small knoll not far from our hand-dug spring.

Although we lived out in the middle of nowhere with no discernible growing season, Esther's garden never failed to be less than spectacular.  Fenced to keep the deer out, Esther's garden was full to overflowing with every good thing.  She had all of the cold-weather crops in abundance, along with tomatoes, peppers and even the occasional crop of corn.  It wasn't until years later that I discovered Esther's secret for extreme cold-weather gardening - she started EVERYTHING in her south-facing living room in February.  As a child, I never once took a seat in her living room.  I couldn't!  Every square inch of flat surface was covered with growing things popping out of small plastic containers.  She nurtured those plants through the cold, long winter months, coaxing them into a cacophony of splendor bursting with goodness by the time harvest rolled around.

Esther understood the ways of the mountains and the ways of the human heart.  She was abrupt and straightforward, peppering her sentences with her most oft used phrase, "for such a matter".  She knew the bone-wearying work that was required to carve out a life in the mountains and the soul-numbing loneliness that can overwhelm young mothers struggling to gain their bearings.  One early October day, after a short visit in the warmth of Esther's kitchen, my mother gathered my brother and I and readied for the cold walk home.  Eyeing her through steel gray eyes, Esther asked my mom when she had last been out of the house.  Surprised, Mom said that she hadn't left home in over a month.  She fed the animals, took care of us kids and had dinner waiting for Dad when he got home, but, other than that, she had no human interaction.  Esther promptly informed my mother that she would be coming to her house at least once a week and Esther would teach her how to make a quilt.  Mom politely made excuses, however, Esther quickly dismissed them and told her to be there the following week.

That winter, my mother made her first, and only, quilt.  She found out that "cabin fever" was real and that neighbors really NEEDED each other to make it through the long winters.  As Esther and mom stitched and talked and laughed, an unlikely friendship formed.  The weathered, gnarled pioneer woman found hope and energy in the greenhorn and the greenhorn found companionship and wisdom in the pioneer woman.

Those friendships, formed in the heart of the mountains, lasted a lifetime.  King and Esther are both gone now.  Our days of playing pinochle at the kitchen table and sharing Thanksgiving dinner are alive in our memories only.  But in my mind's eye, I can still see King directing the building of our "new" bridge, when the old one (that he had built years before) disintegrated.  I can see him bent over with laughter after he taught my mother how to put on snowshoes (backwards) and watched her do a face-plant in three feet of snow.  I can see Esther, face weathered to leather, smiling with a near toothless grin.

King and Esther were building blocks of my childhood.  They taught me that wisdom comes in unexpected packages.  They taught me that neighbors are to be treasured. They taught my family country wisdom that transcends the ages.  The very thought of them brings a smile to my face.  I hope that every one of you have had an opportunity to know a "King and Esther".  They are true treasures.

*A corduroy road is a road built of logs laid horizontally, one butted right up next to the other.  Horse loggers built small sections of corduroy road in low spots or muddy sections of road so that the wagons didn't get stuck and mired in mud.  Most of our corduroy roads are gone now, although I have had the opportunity to show small sections of disintegrating corduroy road to my children.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Rural Revolution is Up and Running

For those of you looking for Patrice Lewis' Rural Revolution, she is up and running at an alternate domain location.  She is is the process of dealing with domain issues, but until then, please find her blog at

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Back to my First Love

Maid Elizabeth warming up Master Calvin
It is finished.  Naturally Cozy has been successfully transferred to its new owners.  Our final orders are out the door, the sewing machine is quiet and bolts of fabric no longer fill our "shouse".  I have ceased to be haunted by looming orders, deadlines or mechanical malfunctions.  I don't wake up in the morning with the weight of the world on my shoulders, organizing my schedule before my feet even hit the floor.  Once again, I am but a wife and mother, seeking nothing more than to serve my family.  I am back to my first love.

Siblings at play
Before Naturally Cozy, I spent my time caring for my husband, nurturing my children and managing my home.  As my business grew, my time was no longer my own and I longed to return to my first love.  And now, 4 1/2 years since I took my first Naturally Cozy order, I am once again free to be "only" a wife and a mother.  I can hardly contain my excitement!

Miss Serenity doing a handstand
What did we do with our first free day in years?  Sir Knight and I packed up the children and headed to the lake!  We spent hour after glorious hour splashing in the tide created by passing speedboats, playing "King of the Hill" on the top of a driftwood log and chasing each other to our hearts content.  Oh, wonderful, sweet days of summer!

King of the driftwood
I am so grateful for the blessing of Naturally Cozy, but I am thankful beyond belief to once again resume my rightful role of wife and mother and return to my first love.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Technical Difficulties at Rural Revolution

A number of readers have mentioned that they have been unable to log onto Patrice Lewis' Rural Revolution.  Not to worry!  Patrice is experiencing technical difficulties with her domain.  She and her husband are in the process of working out the kinks and will be back online as quickly as possible.  They may end up with a whole blog and a whole new domain name - but all of her archives have been backed up and she will be back with her wealth of information.

Rural Revolution is experiencing technical difficulties, but will soon return to previously scheduled programming.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Pimp Daddy Sam

I'm thinking that we should change the pet name for our government from "Uncle Sam" to "Pimp Daddy Sam".  Just think about it - pimps convince naive, desperate people that they are incapable of caring for themselves.  They convince their victims that they need a "strong arm" to provide for them and protect them.  Slowly, they establish their control.  They begin by providing basic necessities - food, clothing, shelter.  And then, little by little, they infuse their prey with mind-killing substances, effectively chaining them in bonds of slavery.  And, having effected complete control, the pimp becomes the master.

For well over a hundred years, our government, our "pimp", has been positioning us for the ultimate slavery.  While speaking of the evils of slavery, even waging a war in the name of freedom for all men, they quietly, discreetly assumed the role of supreme slave-owner.  Convincing us they were battling for the soul of the nation, they were actually putting their competition to the sword.

We listened to the siren song of our "pimp".  We believed him when he told us that he was fighting for us, providing for us.  We began to look to him to be our all - our everything.   The closer we drew, the more bound, dependent we became.  And now, a new slavery is upon us.  One of our own making.  And this slavery is more insidious than the the last.  The slavery we abolished chained only our bodies - this slavery chains our very souls.

Have you ever studied our nation's history of slavery?  It was undeniably horrific.  However the strength that came out of that adversity was unparalleled.  The slaves, with their shackled, torn bodies, saw beyond the present into eternity.  They sang love songs to their creator and turned to God for their sustenance.  While their bodies withered, their souls took flight.  The slaves, surviving in unprecedented wretchedness, lived lives of meek, unsurpassed beauty.

And look at us now.  We vehemently despise our slave-holding past while we actively encourage intellectual, financial and religious slavery.  Tell me that we are now better off than we were 150 years ago.  Tell me that plantation life was worse for slaves than our modern drug-laden inner-cities.  Tell me that the addicts, the welfare masses and the gang-bangers are free men.

We have been blinded to the truth.  The truth is that we are slaves pretending to be free men.  "Pimp Daddy Sam" has bound us with invisible shackles while proclaiming to be the great defender of freedom.  "Pimp Daddy Sam" is a liar.

As slaves, it is our duty to strive to be free men.  We must be free to fail.  We must be free to suffer.  We must be free to think, to act and to serve the master of our souls.  It's time to kick the pimp to the curb.  We must no longer live as slaves but as free men.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Highlights and Happenings

Obligatory Outhouse Photo
Thank you so much for bearing with me as I've been plowing my way through a crazy-busy summer.  I am about a week away from handing the reins of the business I started over to the new owners - so I have been working like a mad-woman trying to get all of the loose ends tied up.  I'm thrilled to pass Naturally Cozy on to its new owners - they will do nothing but good things for the business!  I'm pretty sure they will  immensely improve what I began.  Their entire family will be working at Naturally Cozy - I'm excited to see were it goes from here.

Piles of pads
Summer is my time to clean and organize, so in my spare moments I have been cleaning every nook and cranny around our place.  I tackled our container (a yearly, dreaded task) and mostly have it finished.  I would like to spend a little more time and do some really intensive organization, but that will have to wait until later in the month.  After the container, I cleaned out the horse trailer.  It had been full of boxes that I had packed when I was still hopeful that we were going to move.  I have determined that our moving is in God's timing, not mine, so I unpacked the trailer just in case we needed to use it for something.  It felt good to go through everything, toss what I found we could live without, and reintegrate everything else.  Once the horse trailer was finished, I went to work on the 55 gallon barrels in our shed.  Because we have so little storage space in the "shouse", I store a lot in the barrels.  Just like everything else, the barrels get messy - things are put in the wrong place, or things are stored that really need to be donated or thrown away.  The kids and I spent an afternoon putting everything to rights.  It is wonderful to have a handle on what we have and were it is!

"Operation Organization"

The horse trailer cleaned out and swept

Organizing and labeling 55 gallon barrels
I have been diligently working on getting my cookbook ready for our Book Bomb day (which is August 25th, by the way)!  I had 4 proofs, one of which I took my pen and a highlighter to and marked it up.  I have finished editing, ordered more proofs (some of which I will be sending out to be reviewed) and will have the book done and ready in time for Book Bomb day.

Cookbook in progress

We spent last weekend at the Patriot Rally at Farragut State Park.  It was awesome!  We met a ton of people, even some of the folks that read this blog!  There was really an air of camaraderie at the event.  There was a great exchange of information, feeling much more like a rendezvous than a rally.  The highlight, at least for the guys, was a mini-gun mounted to a 4-wheeler.  Sir Knight thinks we really have to have one, however, all I can think is that it shoots 4000 rounds a minute, which means, when you are shooting .308, it  translates into $4000 a minute!

Master Hand Grenade at the Helm

And Miss Serenity
Now that I have gotten a lot of the outside cleaning and organization done, I have turned my sights to the "shouse".  I started by finding a "pot rack" for my pots.  I'm thrilled to have them all in one place and easily accessible.  Next I have to tackle the pantry shelves and everything else!
My new pot rack is a repurposed military shelf
I haven't forgotten about you!  I'll be back - thanks for hanging in there!