Friday, August 31, 2012

Blue Moon August 2012

Hail Mani*
Watcher of the night
May your gentle cool light
Guide us through the darkness
Ever mindful of the wolf at our heels.

Don't forget to step outside tonight and marvel at our beautiful Blue Moon. :)
*Mani is the god of the moon and a son of Mundilfari and Glaur. Mani pulled the moon through the sky every night, pursued by the wolf Hati (Hatred). Lunar eclipses were caused by Hati coming close to catching Mani; children banged pots together and made great noise, hoping to scare Hati away from the moon. Monday is named after him (Moon day).
Mani is unusual because lunar deities tend to be female, nearly universally, probably because of the connection between Menstruation and the phases of the moon. See also Vidfinn for a hypothesis about the source of the nursery rhyme called Jack and Jill.
The Moon is always masculine in Germanic language and culture, just as the Sun is always feminine. Traces of this concept survive even today in the English "the Man in the Moon". The Moon is the brother of the Sun: and like her he is seen as driving a wagon drawn by a horse called Hrimfaxi (Ice-Mane) and chased by a troll in wolf-shape who will devour him at Ragnarok. He drives the wagon which carries the Moon across the sky of Night, and is considered to be the embodiment of its Holy might.


My Garden: A Work in Progress

OK, more than a work in progress.  It's really a disaster zone.  Obviously, it has not been touched by human hands this year.  This is going to change. 

Over the next week, I'm going to weed, add more soil mix, re-string, and plant kale, garlic and lettuce. 

During the cool fall weather, I'm going to build more raised beds so that next spring, there will be a plethora of delicious veggies and flowers growing. 

What I dream my garden looks like:
What my garden really looks like:

Homemade BBQ Sauce

I love me some bbq.  I mean, really.  I love bbq.  Actually, I love bbq sauce.  Thick, sticky, sweet bbq sauce.  For years my favorite has been K.C. Masterpiece.  I've strayed and tried other brands but I always come back to my old tried and true.
For years, I've been searching for a copycat recipe to make my own at home.  I like to make my own condiments.  The stuff you buy at the store is full of preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, artificial dyes and colors.  Nothing I want to feed my family.  BLECK!
I found a recipe today.  I saw the same one repeated over and over so I really don't know the exact origin.  It claims to be an almost perfect taste alike.  After reading over the ingredients, I realized I had every single one in my pantry.  Finally!  The search is over.  I have triumphed!  I can make gallons of sauce at home!  WOOHOO!
With great anticipation, I gathered my supplies.  Molasses?  Check.  Garlic powder?  Check.  Liquid smoke? Check.  I measured and mixed and soon had a pot of liquid gold (or I guess red) bubbling happily on the stove.  Of course, I tasted it in the beginning.  It was ok but nothing spectacular.  I figured the hour-plus cooking time required would blend and mellow all the flavors. 
It's intoxicating smell filled the house and I dreamed of racks of ribs and grilled chickens.  I went to stir the pot occasionally (laughing as I've been accused of this before), taking a small taste.  Hmmm...ok...but still not quite right but I figured it wasn't quite ready.  I continued to let it simmer until it was rich and thick.  The time had come.  I grabbed a spoon and dug in. 
Nope, no triumph.  No gallons.  This was not it.  Although the sauce was decent, it definitely did not taste like K.C.Masterpiece.  The search continues. 
Still the best!
For you who are interested, here is the recipe I followed:
2 cups water
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Mix all ingredients.  Bring to a boil then simmer for approximate an hour until sauce is thick.   

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Why We Eat Organic

Well, most of the time anyway.  I've been known to buy Velveeta from time to time. ;)

Smart little girl! :)

Thankful Thursday

I'm sure there are plenty of Thankful Thursday posts out there.  This one, however, has a real history.

You see, my Hubs & I met on a Thursday, we got engaged on a Thursday, and we got married on a Thursday.  Since the time we met four years ago, we commemorate Thursdays as sort of 'our' day.  We will write a little note or email or do something special for each other. Of course, we always give a huge hug and say how thankful we are to have this beautiful life together.

I've also gotten into the habit of not only taking time to be thankful for my sweet Hubs, but also to take time to be thankful for other people and things in my life.  I sorta keep mindful throughout the day, taking notice of small things for which I am thankful. 

Things we take for granted.  Like not having to walk for miles for water just to brush my teeth.  All I have to do is turn on the faucet.  Flipping a switch for light.  Turning the thermostat up or down to make my home comfortable. Simple things we do a hundred times without realizing how so many in our world don't share this luxury.  It's so easy to forget how easy my life is sometimes.

Today, I am thankful for my Hubs (of course) but not just because he's a great husband but because he's so thoughtful.  I've had some back issues lately and one problem was my bed is just old and worn out.  So Hubs took me bed shopping last weekend.  The new bed is so luscious!  Sleeping on it is like sleeping on a cloud and I haven't woken up one day this week with a backache. 

This may not sound like a big deal but it is.  I haven't been working for awhile and money is somewhat tight.  But Hubs insisted we do this.  He said my health was much more important than anything else.  That's why he bought me the bike as well.  It's all to help me heal.  What a guy, right?

So what are you thankful for today?

Yup, that's the guy I married in Vegas. :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Alternative Transportation

Okay, I will admit something.  I am a woman who loves to drive.  I got my driver's license the minute I turned 16 and never looked back.  My first car was a Mustang, I grew up with Corvettes, and my dad owned a dragster, so it kinda came naturally.  I even did a short stint as a semi driver.  Yup, I was a truckin' mama.

However, as much as I love my car (I now have a Mini), I realize no matter how fun I find it, driving does not really support my lifestyle.  Our dependence on foreign oil and the oil industry itself definitely do not support my lifestyle.  I know, blasphemy where I live right now.

Will I give my car?  Umm.  No.  I live in Oklahoma and between blistering hot summers and freezing winters, it is a nice luxury.  What I can do is decrease how often I use my car.

Enter my first 'driving' obsession...the bicycle!  I learned to ride on gravel roads and have the scars to prove it.  When I moved to 'the city' (population 365), I enjoyed blacktop roads and the company of a fellow bike-a-holic.  We rode for miles, exploring the surrounding countryside, visiting old, deserted graveyards, and generally having a ball.  To this day we still giggle over the grave marker that scared the dickens out of us.  It said 'absent but not dead', which our young minds took to mean UN-dead.  EEK! Zombies!  Yes, those bikes, and us, got around.

So remembering the fun of my youth, my Hubby (sweet guy that he is) took me shopping and I ended up with this:

My new wheels!  Nope, it's not fancy.  No extra gears.  No hand brakes.  Simple but definitely not plain.  There is a bell, a cup holder and a cargo rack.  It even has a bottle opener. 

My plan is to use this to make short trips.  Things like picking up a few things at the grocery store or heading to a friend's house.  Not only am I saving hard-earned money but I'm getting some exercise to boot, which I can absolutely use. 

I'm really curious to see how many miles I put on this baby.  Pedal power!

Tenderfoot Hearth Begins

[ten-der-foot] Show IPA
noun, plural ten·der·foots, ten·der·feet [-feet] Show IPA.
1. a raw, inexperienced person; novice.
2. a newcomer to the ranching and mining regions of the western U.S., unused to hardships.
3. one in the lowest rank of the Boy Scouts of America or Girl Scouts of America.
Yup, that about sums it up. I am definitely a novice when it comes to homesteading. Sorta.
I grew up in southwest Missouri. My grandparents owned an 80-acre farm for several years. Here a cow, there a pig, ei -ei-ohh! They really did have cattle, chickens, & an occasional pig.
My granddaddy milked a few cows by hand & sold some of it to a dairy. The rest was made into homemade butter and filtered for drinking. Dinner came from the backyard. The chickens were decapitated, plucked, and cooked. (Ever hear the old saying "running around like a chicken with it's head cut off"? I can speak from personal experience. NOT a pretty sight)! Pig fat was rendered into lard in the front yard and cracklin' bread was made from the leftovers in the bottom of the pot. Yum! Vegetables were picked fresh and seasonally and what wasn't eaten fresh was canned and preserved for the winter.
I got to go to old fashioned quilting bees, where I played Barbies under the quilt rack while listening to the country ladies share the local gossip. A couple of those quilts still warm my bed in the cold winter today. I occasionally attended a small country church where they had a lady preacher(!), who's rousing sermons left ya in no doubt of the wages of sin. I got to visit my grandparent's best friends, who lived 'over yonder'. I didn't find out until I was an adult that Mr. Tom was a WWI veteran. Amazing!
I picked wild blackberries and strawberries, made Queen Ann's Lace bouquets, used a real outhouse until they added indoor plumbing to the old farmhouse, played in the barn with the kittens, attempted to help bail hay (I was only 5 or 6), waded in the creek & avoided crawdads, drew water from a real well, went morel mushroom hunting, and rode my horse, Prince, to visit the neighbor farm kids.
Unfortunately, as happens, they sold the farm and moved to a house with five acres. Even then, we pastured my sweet Prince (who lived into his 30s), Grandaddy still raised American Fox Hounds and went 'fox hunting', and there was always the garden bursting with fresh veggies. I spent many happy years helping shell beans, picking pears off the trees in the front yard, and learning how to cook at my Mom-mommy's and Mom's aproned skirts.
Yeah, I may technically be a tenderfoot but my roots are deeply planted in the soil of my youth. Self-reliance, making-do, sharing ones blessings and seeing the joy in the everyday routines were my lessons. Perfect roots to plant and grow on my own small piece of earth.