Preppers. That’s the term for those of us who (wherever we are in the process) wish to increase our ability to purchase or grow, harvest and preserve food for future use.  The last week or so, we have tried a few new things I’d like to share.

We strung up some peppers and are hanging them in the window to dry, so far, no signs of mold.  Since the first photo, they have turned almost completely red and are more wrinkled.  Next time, I want to use quilting thread or carpet thread (both available at the thread display in the fabric section of Wal-Mart or your Fabric store.  This will be MUCH more durable.  I had just grabbed regular thread to get it over with but you need something that will last at least a year and regular thread might not, additionally, it I doubt it will bear the weight of the peppers, which are heavy with water at first.Peppers resized

 We’ve also picked some wild onions (or is it wild garlic?  We’re not sure but because the tiny stalks are hollow, they may be garlic).  To avoid poisonous lookalikes make sure they smell like onions or garlic.  We’re also hoping to find some local rants, which are bigger and have much bigger green leaves.  We just picked the stems on these, which is simple.  One site advised to make sure you avoid any area sprayed with chemicals and also stay 100 feet from any roadway.  If the bulbs are not dug up, they should produce for a few weeks in the spring each year.  We are still in the middle of drying but I will say it takes A LOT of fresh onions to make a little in the dried form.  My dryer has 6 tiers and that made 2 cups or less in dried form.

Wild onions in hand

Wild onions resized


Our most interesting project was canning grape juice using an easy method.  Add one cup of seedless (or seeded) grapes and 1/3-1 Cup Sugar to the cleaned, hot canning jar, seal and process for 20 minutes in a water bath canner.  You will have to strain the juice later and I’d expect just over 3 cups of juice but at the time, I had lots of grapes so we made use of them!  We also froze them, to be eaten while frozen or blended into smoothies.  My daughter enjoyed helping and learning.

Canning jars resized

Grapejuice jars



We had already juiced part of the grapes and found something interesting.  The leftover pulp was delicious and as juicy as applesauce.  So, I coined the term “grapesauce” and we canned a quart which was leftover from our previous snack.

Grapesauce resized


Published in: on April 8, 2013 at 11:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

John and chick

John and chick

Published in: on March 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

Grace with Americauna hen and leghorn chick

Grace with Americauna hen and leghorn chick

The Americauna (variety of spellings and names) lays eggs that are bluish, greenish or, I’m told sometimes “pink” giving them their nickname, “The Easter Egg Chicken”. Our eggs are light blue. She is the survivor as our neighbors dogs have killed two batches of them. We will get some new ones soon and I will try to do a better job on their cages.

Published in: on March 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

4 White Leghorn Chicks

4 White Leghorn Chicks

Published in: on March 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment  


Some days that’s what I think this blog should be called.  I started this blog a few years ago then decided it wasn’t for me.  I was too complicated to write on mainly one subject.  My life isn’t one subject and I wasn’t interested in a purely academic blog.  But, I’m going to start again.  In part, because I have so enjoyed and learned from some other blogs.  Our Own Road is one that I have learned a lot from in the last 6 months.  Someone different from me, yet, similar.


At present, I am sitting at my computer looking out of my living room window.  It’s by far the best living room window I’ve ever had.  That’s because most of the tall, wide space is filled up with mountains.  A view of the mountains and valley of the little town I live in, Edneyville.  We are in the so-called Western North Carolina mountains.  I can see spots of fog, spots of smoke coming out of people’s wood-heated homes on this unusually cold late March morning.  In the lower part of the window, a red-headed woodpecker and some other smaller birds are enjoying breakfast on one of our bird feeders.  My kids are asleep, the dog is moving around in her crate and four yellow, chirping, White Leghorn chicks are fluttering around in a lighted aquarium sitting on top of a bookcase not far from me.  Ham and beans cooked all night in the crockpot and the house is full of the smell. 


I’m trying to decide whether to put my dream property on the market to sell or not.  And whether I should be afraid that N.C. voters as a whole will make to many risky decisions and ruin our economy and, whether I should move to a state that will be more conservative.  I’ve often wished God would communicate more clearly with me.  Like, a short directive in skywriting, for example.  “Do this, do that”.  Since I can’t have that, I have to read, think, wait, consult and pray.


I didn’t get married until late in life.  Seems like everything has either come early or late for me.  Now, not ideal, I’ve been separated for a long time and am waiting on my divorce to be completed.  Not on the agenda, not part of my plan.  But “it is what it is”. 


I’m starting a business to teach people about personal security, gun safety, gun shooting skills and the online sale of gun accessories.  I’d honestly rather not work outside the home in any form because I believe my place is here, being with my children and teaching them life’s most important lessons.  Now is the time for that.  But, if I have to try to make money, I want to make those responsibilities as compatible with my life’s priorities as possible.  There will probably be other teaching or other counseling roles intermingled with the security classes. 


God seems to work things out in the end.  Sometimes the working out involves great sacrifice or suffering, that’s the hard part.  But sometimes it works out to have unexpected joy.  Sometimes both.


I have other responsibilities too.  I run a website that lists local, kid-friendly events, and I have a private e-mail list for The Henderson County 9-12 Project.  Haven’t written much there lately.  At this point, you have to aim your energies at the most effective tasks.  The situation in our country is so discouraging.  You need to tell yourself the truth.  You need to live in reality.  The reality is that we are failing as a nation.  We are failing to uphold the principles that our country was founded on and we can’t survive that way.  And, people are very apathetic.  Even people who believe we are in trouble are often not willing to inconvenience themselves to do the hard work of holding government accountable, communicating with officials and taking a stand against the things we know are wrong.  And then, it takes manpower to run an organization.  Computer work, writing, appointments, phone calls, research.  It takes willing workers and there aren’t many these days.  Discouraging. 


But as I look out my wonderful window and listen to the sounds of my happy 6 year old son now enjoying the movie, “Beverly Hills Chihuahua”, part of our on-going household dog-movie marathon, I remember what I remember every day.  His mercies are new, every morning, His mercies are new.  There is hope and we have a new day today. 

Published in: on March 23, 2013 at 1:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sexuality is one of the greatest and mysterious experiences a human can have.  Undeniably, it is one of the most potentially gratifying of life’s activities.  Part of the passage is that we are sometimes not aware of the role and impact our sexual activity has on ourselves and others.  A fear of sexual experiences or a quest to have sexual experiences can be life-defining. 

Judeo-Christian beliefs mandate that our sexuality be expressed within marraige, but no one can deny that the motives and behavior of our sexuality is as complicated as the struggle for good an evil itself. 

As with everything else in our life, sex is governed by our intentions, beliefs and impulses.  So is marraige.  One can look at sex, marraige and both together.  To make marraiges work  in any society there is a certain amount of education and some would say “indoctrination” necessary from a young age.  If marraige is a fusion of the sexes, a harmony between the very different genders, the engineering must start at the beginning.  The son is told, “Your sister is different than you”.  “When you want to play with your sister, tell her, don’t just run up and hit her, she doesn’t understand that like your (male) friend does”.  When they are older, you tell your son, ” a girl appreciates a thoughtful gift”.  There is a molding which is a preparation for future marital harmony. 

And yes, it is politically incorrect.  The robotic mantra still goes, “men and women are the same…”, which unfortunately came out of men and women not being appreciated for their sometimes very different gifts being used at home and in the workplace. 

The great golfer Tiger Woods is now more like a Tiger LOST in the woods.  At this moment, his numerous infidelities revealed, tales of nude photos and now an unknown, unconscious woman taken from his home on life-support.  Not only will this not have a good ending, whatever good beginning was present, will have to be dug up at some point, if ever. 

The horrible truth for us all is that in some part of life, and for some, during a great deal of life, you will not be getting your sexual needs met.  And, you will make conscious decisions over and over as to what price you and others will pay to have your needs met.  It appears the path of Woods leaves a door open for sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.  Meanwhile, a presumably faithful wife is overwhelmed with grief and anger and two little babies are unaware that their destinies have been forever changed. 

One has to wonder if the turn of events would be the same if Tiger’s Dad was alive.  The same Dad that held the little arms straight on the toy golf club set and helped the body sway the right way, molding.  The Dad who supervised every practice session and bought the “good clubs” so his son could have an advantage. 

While we’ll never know the answer to that question, we do know that for Tiger, like us, sexual conduct does not occur in a vacuum.  Whatever happens in a “dark place” often finds itself later, squinting from the flood of light it has created, in our minds, bodies, other relationships and in our communities. 

Choose carefully.

Published in: on December 8, 2009 at 1:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

The beginning…

Meet The Duggars
The Duggar family was going to be at Biltmore Baptist Church.
Though my own television didn’t receive their weekly cable show,
I had followed them on the internet.  Pictures of their huge house,
beautiful, beaming children and recopies including massive amounts
of homemade liquid laundry soap and Dad’s favorite casserole made
with ubiquitous tater tots.  I immediately made plans to attend.
I wanted to get to meet this unique family who’d sparked the
nation’s curiosity.
Jim-Bob and Michelle Duggar and 17 of their 18 biological children
stood on the stage at Biltmore Baptist Church, 15 of the children
in two rows, each holding a violin.  The six youngest boys stood in
the front row with matching suits and ties with a little sister who
the smallest violin.  Grandma and Daddy held the youngest girls who
made a brief but equally adorable appearance.  The two youngest
players entertained the crowd with antics expected of little ones
on stage in front of a thousand people, the youngest brother poking
sister in the ribs with his bow, wanting her to play her violin
more often than she was.  In response, the sister frowned slightly
and yawned a long, crowd-pleasing yawn.
The family’s oldest son and daughter-in-law recently had their
first baby and was back in Arkansas while the rest of the family
reportedly had a fun-fest in Pigeon Forge and at The Biltmore House,
film crew in tow.
After being treated to several tunes by the group, the parents
presented an hour-long testimony about their lives.  Michelle,
who is in her 40’s and expecting their 19th child in March, spoke
in a soft voice about her childhood conversion to Christ and meeting
Jim-Bob during high school.  Like her teen daughters, she had waist
long hair and a glowing smile.
In words uncharacteristic for our times, Jim-Bob spoke openly about
their use of the birth-control pill after the arrival of their first
son and how they didn’t know “the pill” can allow a pregnancy to
occur but not allow your body to keep the pregnancy.  This situation
led to the miscarriage of their second pregnancy and the emotional
devastation that followed.  After that, the couple prayed for God to
give them a special love for children.  They abandoned birth control
and became pregnant with twins.
They frankly stated they didn’t have a perfect family, nor were they
perfect parents.  Jim-Bob stated he hadn’t had a bad temper until after
they’d had children.  Then he’d struggled to avoid anger, asking the
children to let him know when it seemed he was reacting too harshly.
The couple, married for 25 years, demonstrated a happy affection for
each other as they spoke.  They advised not to allow “broadcast
television” in their home as they’d been told by Mentor, Pastor and
Author Ed Wheat.  Both emphasized the good life of listening to God’s
“still small voice” and being faithful to God and his Word.   

The family has operated a number of businesses over the years
including Real Estate, Towing and Used Cars.  Jim-Bob was once a
State Representative and ran unsuccessfully for Congress.  Michelle
home schools the children and does not work outside the home.  The
family appears to demonstrate financial self-sufficiency and
adheres to a “debt-free” lifestyle. After the presentation,
they held a book signing for their book, “18 and Counting”.

Published in: on November 12, 2009 at 2:50 am  Comments (1)