Monday, August 25, 2014

Sweet Cornmeal Mush- Crockpot Recipe

Have you ever just made a mistake and stumbled onto something really good? That is what happened here. But first the recipe:

2 quarts of milk
2/3 cups of sugar
1 cup of cornmeal

Cook in the crockpot a 2-3 hours until the cornmeal thickens. Cool and eat! It is so good! And I never would have know if I didn't have my dry milk in the same plastic containers as my cornmeal....because this is the same recipe I used to make yogurt only there is no cornmeal, it needs dry you see my mistake. I put it all in the frig and I am eating it for breakfasts.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Poor Man's Meal

The idea for this meal came from Clara. If you have never seen Clara and her Meals from the Depression on Youtube you really must go see them. Here is a link to the one I got this recipe from:
She is a wonderful lady in her 90's with, as you can imagine, lots of cooking experience. The Poor Man's Meal really intrigued me. My version is slightly different because I don't have Clara's sauce to add to it but it was still pretty good (there is a video for Clara's sauce too, I just haven't gotten to it yet).
It is a very basic meal:  potatoes, onions and smoked sausage (Clara used hotdogs). You cut up the potatoes in small chunks, then the sausage into small slices and add a cut up onion. I used a Vidalia onion because I happened to have some Vidalias which are nice and sweet (not all Vidalia onions are, even though they are all supposed to be sweet). You add oil, salt and pepper and fry all of it until the potatoes are done. When I tried it I felt it was a little bland (missing Clara's sauce perhaps) so I added a few sprinklings of hot sauce and thought it was much better. I think next time maybe a chili pepper or some hot pepper flakes? But you could add any spice or herb you want.
Anyway it is a ridiculously cheap meal especially if you have your own potatoes or get some on sale.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Phinizy Swamp Nature Park

Another day trip! But this one was even more special because my oldest son was down to visit. He had a three day weekend and came with his wife to see us! I hadn't seen him since before he went to Afghanistan. He is still in the Army and, of course, doesn't get much time off when he can come.
It was too hot by the time we got going to the swamp and we probably should have just not gone...but we went anyway. It turned out to be 97 degrees today. I hoped that the park would involve too much walking but it was all walking, nothing but trails and we went all the way around it.
Here is the start of the trial and really the most wonderful part. They have these boardwalks right across the swamp at the beginning.

They twist and turn all through it.

We went down to that little covered area first but saw no animals. The foliage is nice though, it looks like small elephant ears all over the swamp but they bloom.

This spider was in one corner of the covered area. Elizabeth (my son's wife) was not real fond of it but we see these black and yellow spiders all the time here.

Then we went on.

The trees with the hanging moss are really spectacular...when you see them in real life anyway.

We saw no otters, or beaver, or alligators like the park boasts about but we did see this big turtle and a couple of baby turtles and we saw a really long snake skin.

I was getting really hot by this time but that bench was in the sun and we had a lot farther to go.

By this time I was SO hot and dying to stop. We got to this covered viewing area and stopped for a little while trying to cool down some. We had been off the boardwalk for a while by now and just walking the trail.

This pond was surrounded by a fence. I am not sure what it was keeping in or out but we only saw the white birds in it. I think they are snowy egrets.

We then went through a very long trail through the woods where we really didn't see anything interesting. I was just glad to be in the shade and trying to get through and back to the car. We ran into one detour at nearly the end where the nice quick trail was "closed" and we had to take the longer one around which really wasn't appreciated at the time. We were all very glad to make it back to the car. I think it was still a nice trip but one I wouldn't want to take again until it is a lot cooler.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Ocmulgee Indian Mounds and Museum

Today I woke up and started asking Phil, "Where are we going to go today?" I am trying to get us out more to see things. He didn't know and I didn't know so we got online and I found these Indian mounds in Macon, GA. Macon is just a couple hours from us. So we went. The trip was fairly nice until we got to Milledgeville where Phil tried to kill us pulling out of the gas station on the wrong side of the street (there was a grassy divider between the lanes so we ended up on the wrong side of the street...going the wrong way and a truck who was on the right side almost hit us when we got to the intersection.
Other than that one life threatening moment :) the trip was good.
When we got to Ocmulgee State Park we found they also had a really nice museum!

Lots of tools and arrowheads.

And examples of pottery where they took shards and recreated the pots from them.

Some were quite nice.

This showed you what a lodge might have looked like.

Another recreation. This showed the seating the lodge. There are hollowed out place in front of each seat that they really aren't sure what they were used for.

This is a bench with turtle rattles on it. I wish the picture had come out better.

We then went outside to see the real ceremonial mound. It has been reconstructed and only the floor is the original because the structure had been burned sometime in its past possibly when the Indians abandoned it. Here is it from the outside. I mistakenly thought this was all we would have to walk today...I didn't know there were other mounds but this one is the only one you can go inside.

Here we are at the entrance. It took me a couple tries to go in as the walkway in it is real claustrophobic but then they have an air conditioned room and glass around you so you can't actually walk on the original floor.

This is the inside. There is like a bird alter type thing and then the central fire pit.

With seating all around the outside edge of the lodge. The one bowl and shell are the only things they found on the original floor.

And then there were other mounds...WAY over there so we walked, and walked, and walked a whole lot more. It was very hot today! They don't look that big in this picture. But the big one is huge and has these handy steps for you to climb....

There was this pretty bridge to go over too.

One of my rest stops on the way up the mound steps. I wasn't doing so good by now. Heart skipping and not getting in nearly enough air but I was determined to make it to the top.

And here is the view from the very top of the mound. It was nice but I was really too tired to enjoy it. A cooler day might have made this a lot better for me.

We then went back down. I did not think I could walk all the way back through the hills in the sun so we decided to take the road which was more shaded although I think it was quite a bit longer. I made it about 2/3 of the way and they had this nice little bench in the shade and I had to stop by this little railroad bridge. A train went by while we were there.

 Phil went the rest of the way and got the car and said it was good thing I had stopped because it was up hill the rest of the way.  I felt better after I got cooler in the car and we had a nice, uneventful trip home (no near death experiences for the trip home).
It was really a wonderful trip and I hope we can find more things like this close by to visit!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Why Most Wouldn't Survive

I know, very unlike me to do a "gloom and doom" post and I really don't believe any major catastrophe would ever happen..however...just for the sake of argument (and I'm sure there will be some) I wanted to explore that topic a little bit since I see so many post about people who think they could survive one just because they have expanded out into the country and now have chickens...really?
This way of thinking is why most people wouldn't survive a major catastrophe. They think they know so much but having chickens that eat feed store food---already prepared for you--does not make you a survivalist.

You have to be more than that...and it isn't about what you have already done..although that helps. It helps if you have the knowledge on how to butcher animals and eat wild plants and tie knots...sure...if the catastrophe allows there to be wild animals and plants and rope still....but it might not.
Sure the more you know the better...that just makes sense. Learn everything you can!
However, I really think that the people who would make it through a major catastrophe are the ones who can make due with what they have. They are the people who can:

-fix a plumbing problem without calling the plumber
-make a fire without a match or a lighter or a store bought "fire stick" etc.
-gather wood without an ax
-make or find clean water without a filter
-find food
-find or make shelter
-take what they needed if necessary

The list could go on and on but basically, it is the people who can "Think".  Those who can make something out of nothing ...and you can't "teach" that.
Well, maybe you can. I grew up "doing without". I grew up "making due". It comes pretty naturally to not buy what I can make--to actually shun buying what I can make.

But that isn't would have to have the ability to take what you needed if all else failed and you couldn't get it yourself...and some people think they would never do it...and I think they wouldn't make it...or they don't really understand how the survival instinct in humans works because we can justify a lot of things..but humans have been justifying taking from others to survive for a long time now and in a catastrophic situation they would be justifying a LOT and if you couldn't do wouldn't make it.

Like I said, I don't believe in catastrophic occurrences...I think our society is pretty much beyond that now but if one did occur, I think we would be left with only the people who could "think and live with change".

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Nothing...Just Nothing...

I know it has been a month since I did a blog post but there just isn't any "self sufficiency" going on here. I am sure you all don't want to hear about the 10 tomatoes I have harvested or the 2 jalapeno peppers and several of the hot banana peppers which we don't even seem to use.
We did have another bad storm the other day. I was stuck in the car in the Wal-mart parking lot during the storm, Phil had come before me and I was supposed to meet him in the store. He finally bought an umbrella and came out to get me (he got soaked anyway and I told him that I was fine in the car but he made me go in). Michelle unfortunately was home alone. It is hard to describe to some people how afraid you get of storms here. When the wind started knocking everything off the trees Michelle (keep in mind she is 21) ended up in the bathroom sitting on the floor with all the cats and dogs in there with her, crying...sure she was going to die...and then the power went out on her.
We all lived. Phil and I got stuck in the store for a while but then got worried about Michelle and ran to the car anyway and drove home (45 mph all the way). We had LOTS of branches down in the yard and one big pine fell (after the storm) and the top of it just missed the shed but other than that everything was fine. Several large branches fell in the back yard the next day as well which I cleaned up today.
Mostly I have been working. We had some upheaval at work. Several staff are now gone which left what few of us who were left to try to make the best of it. But that is all over now. Camp is done for the year and we have started our after-school program. A decision was made to have registration all in one sounded good at the time but left the membership clerks (which I am one of) to put in all the children in two days...into two different of which has to have all their parents put in as well.  We got 121 children. I was done yesterday...4 days...I did good, really good...but I worked a lot of hours too and kept steadily at it.
Now we are back to our normal schedule where I go in from 12:00 to 7:00 p.m. I have so much time again that I don't know what to do with myself. I played my violin a good bit today and went out and raked up some of the sticks and leaves that fell in the back yard. I fed the few chickens I have left (6). They haven't laid an egg all summer or there is one big snake out there but I haven't found him yet if there is. Maybe I just need some new chickens next year.
So that is all from here. Just nothing going on.