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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Artificial Sweetener In Milk

Do you want unlabeled sweetener in your milk?  That is, the milk will not have the new ingredient on the label.Milk profits are falling, so there has to be a way to raise profits! Are you trying to avoid aspartame? If the powers that be have their way, you will be consuming aspartame (or another artificial sweetener) and you will be feeding this to your children.

Read this to learn more. How enraged are you?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hunger and Hard Times II


Read Hunger and Hard Time I.

But, boundaries are made to be pushed and broken. Mom had her own ways, too. . . not enough coupon for food?  She would simply go to the neighborhood restaurant and buy from the head waiter--meat and vegetables--and, the quadruple price did not really matter. We had enough food, even the exotic oranges and clementines were to be found at Christmas time. And bananas?  I do not remember. They must have been so rare that I don’t remember or my memory is letting me down (They say that is the second thing to go. Want to know what is first? Ask a woman. They know everything.)

Mom, who was a fairly good cook until she turned 40, rebelled. She decided she spent too much time of her life on this not-so-important matter. She started leaving me the prepared, stewed pot of peas and chicken, pork and beans, or beef goulash. It was not too much, but sometimes enough to feed me for a day and sometimes for the next. Being the generous kid on the block or because my playing buddies caught on that we had meat almost every day, I had lunch company lots of time.
We were brotherly sharing the stew pot, barely heating it on the stove and never putting it on the plates. It was too much work to wash the dishes, and the soccer ball could not wait that much longer. When the portion was kind of small for even two of us and in order to deter the other to keep on eating, we started spitting on the other’s portion and side of the pot. Of course, reprisal did not take too long to come; soon both were spitting. Because nobody was giving up his portion, we had to end the friendly duel, we turned around the pot and finished eating before we took off happy and almost full to the playgrounds.

There is a natural break in the subject matter as times become so much more harsh, unbearable by my standards. His mother had a good job, so she could afford to buy more. I just know this from innumerable times I talked with her on other subjects. His fairly normal childhood is disrupted by his mother's escape without him. Her life was in danger. His was not.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hunger and Hard Times I

Johan, at Berkley Bob's

Do you want to hear about hunger and hard times in the not-so-distant past? Johan (Ioan) is from Romania. I met him and his mother when he moved here from Canada.  She is a delightful woman, a writer of original fairy tales. Johan is on his way back to Romania today because Florica is ill. She no longer writes stories. I asked Johan to write about the hunger he experienced. The piece following is the first portion of what her wrote. I will correct his work and publish it in three parts. His writing needs very little corrections. Johan is 60. His mother is 81.

.Johan speaks:

I got up around 9 am on another beautiful Florida morning. I have been here for two months in a winter escape from Romania, a little insane thing to do given my available finances and my precarious business situation back in Romania. Then again, what is sane or insane. We are all relating the definitions of society norms from educated psychologists, psychiatrists, communication specialists. They are the ones that define the sanity, what the surrounding community allows. Once in awhile they try to push those boundaries, finding sane excuses for insane behaviors.

I am curious if they had been born in an Amazonian- or Borneo-man-eating tribe how would they define hunger. For most of the Western world this is limited to “Oh, shit! My fridge is half empty. I must go to the store to get eggs, milk, butter, ham, bacon and another two-dozen necessary items that will make me feel happy and secure the next three days or so.”

Come on, you educated readers of this insane dissertation, how often were you really hungry? How often have you gotten up and your first and only thought was, “How, where, and what am I going to eat today?”

That strange sensation tickling my stomach makes me go the fridge, and after a quick inspection, I am reassured that for at least one more day I have enough to eat, so no reason to panic. I can keep putting on paper those thoughts and childhood memories of hunger.

When I was twelve- or thirteen-years-old, I was living with my mom in Bucharest, Romania, and going to junior high. Things were simple and easy. Mom was divorced from dad for five-years already. She worked hard on her career as a folklorist, ethnographer, and great mom. (Florica, his mother, has a PhD in Linguistic Anthropology.)  She worked six days each week. The communist party was making sure that Sunday, one rest day per week, was more than enough for everybody. They also told and directed everyone where they could work, how much bread, butter or meat they were allowed and issued each family coupons for rations.

Don’t you love it when some Big Brother looks after you?  Did it matter that it was almost impossible to travel outside the country or that you could not speak your mind freely for fear of ending up hungry and beaten up in a dark prison cell. After all, they gave anyone who stayed in line the right to work, inexpensive apartment rentals and survival food coupons.

More tomorrow on the abject hunger he endured under Communist rule. I wonder if you could do the things he had to do to eat. I wonder if I could!

If you are enjoying this so far, it gets better. If you are enjoying this, please leave encouraging words for Johan. He doubts if this would be interesting or relevant. Is there anything about hard times you would like for him to write about in the future?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Tax Free Holiday This Weekend for Severe Weather Preparedness Supplies

If you live in Alabama or know someone who does, the weekend is tax free weekend for emergency preparedness items.  Every thing from batteries to generators will be sold without the benefit of our paying sales tax. There is a list of eligible items on the site.

There may not be anyone living in Alabama who reads my blog. But, you can alert anyone you know who might be able to use the information.

Does your state have a tax-free weekend for emergency preparedness?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Look what I Found!! and a recipe

Two jars of tomatoes I canned. . .
In 2009
Since I have trouble bending, I did not see these two on the bottom shelf as far back as they could be. Exbf rushed to see why I was squealing so. I hate to waste money, but I hate to waste canned tomatoes, too. 

I have to sit on a footstool to be able to clear the bottom three shelves. So, exbf takes the items where they go or puts them on a different shelf as I take them out. As I put items in the bottom shelf, he sat and wrote the inventory for this shelf. Now, no matter what I put down there, I will have a list of what is where. We will continue to inventory next week.

I probably would not want to eat commercially canned food with a use by date of 2009. These two jars may be devoid of nutrition, but they have not been in a jar, and they will be delicious in a pot of soup. Oh, they have been in dark about 99% of the time. The other 1% has just been low light on the top of the tall jar.

Here is a loose recipe I will use:

part or all of one lb of lean ground beef
canned corn
dried lima beans
fresh potatoes
dehydrated carrots
dehydrated green beans
Shredded fresh cabbage
celery for seasoning
Bell pepper for seasoning
1/4 cup brown rice, uncooked
pint and quart of home canned tomatoes above
summer savory
bare shake of cayenne pepper I grew, dried and ground
NO salt

If I am missing an ingredient, I just leave it out.

I will make a pan of cornbread. Oh, yum! I will have my usual glass of unsweetened iced tea. I may be Southern, but I have not had sweet tea since I was seven-years-old. I like the taste of tea, not sweeteners.

Your turn
Would you eat canned goods this old, food you canned yourself that still has a seal? Is it soup weather at your place like it is here in the chilly, damp South?


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The First One

Bloomed February 10, 2013

The daffodil above is the first flower of the year. Daffodils are so cheery! Do you have flowers blooming in your yard yet? When you comment, tell us generally where you live. I am in N AL. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Wondrous Sight

No, not Thelma
Maybe I am into cheap thrills. But, today I saw something that thrilled me to my core. I began to consider that I saw something that relatively few people in the US and other developed countries have seen. Probably many of the people who read my ramblings have seen the same thing. Maybe not.

As I went to feed Thelma and Lucy, I stopped to look in the pen for Thelma. She was on the nest. I bent forward and she turned her head away as if to say, "Don't bother me; I am concentrating."

There was an egg under her chest, so I slipped my hand slowly into the nest to get it. As I touched the egg, Thelma stood up. I stood still, waiting for what I wanted to see again. She dropped an egg onto the pine straw. I picked up a very wet egg and thanked her. She flapped her wings in my face as she jumped down for broccoli and carrots and the last of salad greens.

I suppose it is silly to get all excited about seeing a hen lay an egg, but this is only the third or fourth time in four years that I have been there at just the right time.

Now, I am not getting too many comments, considering the hundreds of people who read my blog every day. This is a question that everyone can answer. I need some strokes in the form of a comment or a dozen in the form of a "yes" or "no." Pretty Please, even if you came over from a prepper site.

Your turn
Have you ever seen a chicken stand and lay an egg? I read that was how it happened, but I usually get there too late and the hen had exited the nest. Or, the hen was just broody and sitting on one or more eggs. If you have seen the egg drop from a hen, do you still have a sense of wonder?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Barter Me!

American family Scales

After my friend ran into my car on Saturday, I stopped by Shawn's antique shop. I rarely buy, just talk and look. It was that or eat chocolate. He is between my son and daughter in age and is one of my good friends. I have dropped by the shop several times this month when he was home, ill.
As we were talking, I looked up and saw this American Family Scale far above my head. Shawn took it down and as he did so, I knew it was going to be mine, somehow! It was marked $28, about $28 beyond my capacity to pay. He has had a $40 lamp of mine on consignment for a year or more. I asked if he would trade scale for lamp. He put my scales in a bag.
It is almost accurate, even when adjusted. I bought a new Taylor scale for $8 several months ago. So, now I have two. This pretty one is not so accurate. I will weigh known objects and see how far off it is before I use it when absolute accuracy is important. I have to readjust it every time I weigh anything.
My Taylor scale is plastic and weigh less than a 1 pound. The antique one above weighs about 4 pounds, maybe more.
I really don't need anything else decorative and not useful, so this will have to be useful.
After the day I had with the controversy over the car and truck collision, this was just what I needed.
Your turn
What has been your best barter? Latest barter? Any barter gone wrong? Today, I need good barter stories. Or, maybe I will just eat chocolate!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Social Life--You Ran into my CAR!

Remember this?

She ran into my car in a parking lot and is upset I am turning it over to insurance. My motor was turned off.  She said she was hurt more than my car. One of the witnesses told me later she got out of her truck and the truck rolled into me. This guy was putting something in my front seat and actually had head and shoulders in my car when her truck hit my car, sort of tipping my car up. When I got out of  my car, she started screaming and yelling at me! ???

Somebody, promise me you will hurt me if I go near her again. Thanks.

Obviously, I cannot handle the stress of  a spoiled woman with Asperger's. I have tried to be kind. She threw away a $200 gift card that cannot be replaced,  knocked the radio knob off while she threw a holy fit in the front seat because she did not like the air direction, speed, or temperature. It took me four months to find the radio control!

She had followed me to where we were going, tailgating me about 80% of the time. Everytime I stopped, she stood her huge, full-size truck on its nose. I was terrified. Then, she hit my car. I will be the one on medication if I am around her anymore.

Actually, we were both going to the same place. She asked should she ride with me or follow. I told her if she wanted to help with gas, she could ride with me. Otherwise, she could use twice or three times that much and follow. She opted to follow.

Neither my conscience nor my training and profession will allow me to put her in her place.

Sorry this is a Debbie Downer subject, but I am really trying to pull my social life to an acceptable level.

Your turn
Who is volunteering to give me lashes if I set myself up again?

Friday, February 15, 2013

You Only Need 14 Calendars for the Rest of Your Life

Which years can you reuse this calendar towel?

Do you want to save money, save trees, save sending calendars to the landfill? You can. This is my parsimony talking here about reusing calendars. My highly conservative self has never paid for a wall calendar or any calendar. Okay, I just use free calendars from the drugstore. However, I don't even have to use a newly minted calendar.
We are not talking about using calendars for crafts. That is noble, but not the subject today.

We can  reuse calendars and never buy new ones.We only need a few calendars for the rest of our lives. Hey, this is one hand-me-down that the kids can use when we are gone. The link shows calendars from the 20th century and the 21st century. However, you can use a mixture of calendars from both centuries for your collection of 14 calendars.
 Here is more information to reuse the calendar towel above::

Calendars repeat themselves. Yes, any calendar can be reused for another year. This calendar above can be reused in 1987, 1998, 2009, 2015, 2026, 2037, 2054, and other years. Check out the other information for dates on this page in the link above. You can enter a year and find all calendars that can be used for any year.


. . . you can use the calendars of these recent years as a complete set: 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Alternatively, the following years in the near future will make a complete set: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2024, 2028, 2032 and 2036. 

No, moveable feasts are not the same.

The calendar pictured was from the Tin Top antique shop. I have two cloth calendar packed away somewhere, so I only need 12 more to complete a set. By the way, cloth calendars were meant to be dishcloths after the year ended. Several people over the years gave me calendars which I promptly used for drying dishes when the year was up.

Your turn
Do you have your set of 14 calendars? Do you have any cloth calendars? Did you, like I, just dry dishes with your calendar towels?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love in a Rock

A little girl gave this to me four years ago. I was touched. I cherish this token. I thought that love, like this rock, is never perfect or distributed evenly.

Who do you love?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Improve Social Life Fail....not a happy post

One of my goals for 2013 was to improve my social life. Basically, I feel like I have none. Since walking is a major source of my problems, things I normally participate in are sort of out of reach. Local festivals are just impossible. I made a list of things I could do without spending a ton of money or walking.

One goal was to go out to eat on the cheap with a friend each week. The target spending was under $5. There are food coupons. That mostly leaves fast food. I am okay with that. But, since losing weight is another of my goals, the two goals might not mesh. Arby's has a sandwich that actually fills the bill for under $5 and is healthy.

Arby's Grand Turkey Club is delicious and healthier than most fast food. I leave off the mayonnaise because it is nasty and am left with wheat roll, lots of lean turkey, token lettuce and tomato and a piece of white cheese. Arby's serves free water. I must admit I drank a Coke I sneaked in to pour over my ice.

I invited a friend who took 30 minutes and two days to decide. We got our meal and ate way in the far corner where I could pop my Coke and not be so obvious. They don't serve Diet Coke Caffeine Free, anyway. We ate and moved to a warmer part of the restaurant. As I struggled to get up and move, I needed to take my tray with me to discard my meal. My much younger female friend watched me struggle and ordered me to get my tray. I do not need a reminder. I was just slow. Most people volunteer to help me whether I think I need it or not. She watches and waits and never volunteers to help me at all.

When we moved to the warmer spot, I saw the daughter of a friend. I asked how her mother was doing since I heard her mother was in the hospital. Her mother died and the funeral was the next day. bummer

My friend and I sat and talked for about an hour and left. We were near Walmart, so part of my plan was to return something and use coupons that were expiring. The savings using coupons was going to be over 50%. The friend followed in her truck.

I went through coupons and discarded expired ones by wadding them and dropping into the electric cart basket. My intentions were to put them in a trash can before leaving the store. I did not. As I was at the car, struggling to get my foot off the platform of the electric cart, my friend ordered me to pick up the coupons and throw them away, NOT to leave a mess.

SHIT! I have one foot on the ground and cannot drag the other foot off the electric cart. I am freezing in the chill wind because I should have worn a different coat, plus a scarf. In the dark the death of a friend is looming in my head. All of a sudden the friend starts screaming, "You are rude!" Over and over, waving her arms and acting crazy. I turned and said once, "You are rude."

"OH, I am rude for telling you that you are rude?" I struggled and hobbled to get in the car and away from her screaming still into the darkness. I really hate public arguments and confrontations. I was shaking.

I had not thrown a loaded diaper into the cart. I had not deliberately made a mess. I was hurting too much to go back into the store and discard the wadded coupons. Besides, as I told her, the teen cart guys will get it. I had just figured I spent several hours of pleasantness and had nastiness thrown at me.

Sooo, she is never again a candidate for distraction.

Screaming at me to do something has me digging in my heels not obeying. She sort of does this to me all the time, but I ignore her to keep the peace.

FAIL! Big fat FAIL!

But, I will move on from this and really have some sort of social life.

Your turn
Sooo, ???

Monday, February 11, 2013

Yummy Bowl of Soup

except for those red beans!
Remember these home-packed soup mixes? I finally cooked up a pot of bean soup. I just hate those red beans. So, it is packed in two pint freezer bags for exbf next time he comes to help me. The beans I picked out will go to the hens in the morning.

I have been told it does not look like soup. It was cold when I spooned it in the bowl. The directions said to add more water if it got thick. That can be done when it is reheated. In the meantime, this much fit nicely into a pint bag.

There were six bouillon cubes in the mix! I only put one cube because it would be too much sodium. The soup was room temperature when I transferred it to this bowl, so it sort of stands up. I decided to freeze it rather than save it until Friday when he comes here.

Your turn
Does it look good to you? Does anyone have the recipe for this mix? I suppose I could just throw things in the pot.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Rusty Food Cans and a Cure

"I keep up with dates on food. I watch the state of my cans. " Now, I have to eat crow. There are two shelves in my little food cabinet that I cannot reach. So, where do you think these cans were living?

I do watch out for potential problems. But, these rusty places where three cans sat are about knee high. My back and knee do not like to bend that far. It's easier to struggle to pick up something from the floor. Soooo...

One can started to rust and the other two followed. A swollen green bean can went straight to the trash I wrapped it in plastic and hurried out the side door. . A can of spaghetti barely has rust and has a year left on the use-by date. I forgot what the other can was but it was in date. 

While this is not long term food storage, I did read of a way to prevent rust on cans that I might try some day. The poster I don't remember suggested two things: oil or wax.
Take all the labels off first. Write the type of food and use-by date on can with a marker.

1)Paint melted wax on cans and let dry.
2)wipe food-grade mineral oil on and wipe with off with another cloth.

I often choose food from my shelves by label. Pictures are good or even color so I know that I am in the green vegetable or in the red tomato It is dark in there when I block the light. Plus, there is the ever-present cataract thing. However, oil on the can would be my choice. I would just oil both ends of the can with the label intact. Or, I would remove the label, mark the can, and re-tape the label on the can.

Thankfully, I caught this epidemic before I lost more food. I work a little bit at a time on the project of cleaning off all six shelves and reshuffling. I have been at it a week. Some days, I just get two cans off the shelf.

Your turn
Have you ever found rusty cans on your cabinet shelves? Were they out-of date? What methods do you employ to keep your can from rusting.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Factory Farms Use 80% of United State's Antibiotic Supply

My four hens I purchased in 2009 had few antibiotics. When I got them, they were about three days old. Until then, they had antibiotics for their whole life. I purchased about two cups of their feed so they would not have a drastic change in diet. There were 10 chicks to share this old feed. I mixed it with their cornmeal and oats for about a week to slowly withdraw them from the antibiotics. I only have Thelma left from the original four, but each new addition was older and was immediately withdrawn from antibiotics. I can eat eggs with no fear.

Sure, some have died, but that happens with hens. They die sometimes from unknown reasons even when they have been fed antibiotics.

Read here for the rest of the news about antibiotic use in Factory Farms where our meat is raised. Our health is at stake.

Wendy sent this site about the human consequences of unchecked animal antiobiotic use.

Are you raising your own meat, eggs, and milk? Or, do you forego eating meat, eggs, and milk products?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

New Tactic Against Raccoons

I cannot afford the cost of raccoon exterminators.  Between being broke and being parsimonious anyway, I struggle to deal with raccoon pests. If I poison the raccoon, it might die over my head since this is his preferred dwelling place. Getting rid of it would involve tearing out a ceiling. It's complicated to explain. Just imagine a 110-year-old house with many additions or attempts to modernize and the ensuing restorations.

Raccoons do not like noise or light, so that should be a good defense. However, these raccoons will sit in the light of a porch and eat right with the cats and not mind the homeowner peering out. In other words, they have been habituated to light and noise and people who supply food. My house is no threat. Besides, this is the warmest room in the house and the ceiling is low and thin. It is perfect for a litter of kits or whatever they are called.

There has been a raccoon shuffling around over my head for the last few weeks. It is a female getting ready to give birth or one who is making a nest for when she gets pregnant. I sit here, talking on the phone, watching TV, and walking around. Nothing seems to deter the shuffling menace. Usually, tapping my fingers on the wall like something walking or running gives me a moment of peace. Soon, the noise continues.

The other night, I threw a bottle of expired aspirin at the ceiling across the room. It stopped moving around for a few minutes. You know, I cannot just keep throwing things at the ceiling.

Then, I had a brilliant idea! I growled and growled, sort of a low hissing growl. Every time I heard it, I growled and growled. Growling makes me choke and cough. Maybe the raccoon will not catch on. I have done this for three or four nights and it appears I am raccoon free for the moment. My throat hurts.

I have used all sorts of growls. Some are a hiss-type growl. Others are throaty and deep and long. I could get a lion roar to play as exbf suggested as he laughed. I think he was serious. I am not eccentric as some say. Why would they say that?

So, growl at your raccoon pest. My interloper won't get in the cage for foil and strawberries. This is the longest I have ever taken to catch a raccoon. I keep up hope. It's a good thing I do not own a gun. I would have blasted this ceiling to smithereens.

I found a penny on the ground.

Your turn
Have you ever growled at a raccoon? Okay, do you think I have lost my mind?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Different Kind of Sink

cheap bathroom sink
This bathroom in the Tin Top Antique shop was intriguing. Or, you could say it was cheap, thrifty, or parsimonious. At any rate, Jane is very innovative. The whole bathroom was a delight in creative substitution and re-use. This old-timey washtub has been repurposed as a sink. She built a box as the stand and a place for the pipes to live.

regular drain
The drain in the tub is just like the drain in my kitchen sink. Or, maybe it is like the one in my bathtub. I did not really focus on which kind it was. Notice the faucet. It is made of two faucets. The little twist handle is so tiny and out of proportion to the rest of the faucet that I think it did not originally belong on the faucet. At any rate, I marvelled at the innovation in the bathroom.
right at hand
Have you ever been in a bathroom where you wonder where the toilet paper could be hiding? You have to stretch both ways, looking for the elusive holder. THEN, you sometimes have to risk falling off to reach the roll. Finally, after reaching, you discover it rolls to the back, causing you to have to stretch even farther? There is no need to wonder in the Tin Top bathroom. It is hanging right at hand. There is no back loaded toilet roll. This hung about chest high...yay.
The chain goes clear to the ceiling. As I sat on the commode, I only needed to reach out since this is located to the front and left of the commode. It does not hang in the way of being seated or rising. It is juuuust right.
I think the clamp holds the chain to itself for the loop.
The one thing I did not photograph was the handrail type thing for rising from the commode, sort of like grab bars. Galvanized pipe was attached to the floor. The configuration was like an inverted U with joints making the transition from vertical to horizontal and back to vertical, attached to the floor again. I did not test how sturdily the pipe grab bar was attached to the floor because I did not need it. I trust it is sturdy.
Your turn
Have you ever seen a wash tub plumbed in and used for a sink? I have seen wash tubs filled and dumped for hand washing and larger ones filled and dumped for bathing. But, was a first for me. Would your children use the toilet paper for fun and games? 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tin Top Antiques

Meet Jane, the owner
If you are looking for old-timey things, Tin Top Antiques, in Hartselle, AL is the place to go. The prices are not cheap, but she has items to justify the prices. There were affordable things, but I hurt too much to shop.

I asked Jane what some of the items on the stove were. She laughed and said she put thing there to resemble a still. The coiled copper wire is a dead giveaway.

The whole shop was cold except here in front of the stove. I was very pleased to find it cold because hot, stuffy shops are unbearable to me. I could keep on my coat and feel comfortable and breathe. Besides, I hate to peel off coat, scarf, and gloves and then have to carry them around. Jane has a huge shop, very long and worth every minute spent looking or shopping.

She converted a wheel barrow so she could carry wood easily.

Tree from pieces of wood

She has another made from small branches. You may have seen these kinds of trees before, but I have not. It's clever.

edge of table
notice square nails
I was sitting at a table and noticed how old it was. She said this was a door made into a table.
end view of table/door
I was sitting in chair to right
tongue and groove construction with bead
To Be Continued Tomorrow

watch for
A Different Kind of Sink
Your turn
Do you love discovering neat antique shops?  Where is your latest discovery or your favorite?



Monday, February 4, 2013

A Food Project

I don't claim at this point in my life to be organized. Okay, some days that fact gets me down. When I feel I am wasting food, organizational skills kick in and I push through pain. Money can be a powerful incentive.

My camera has gone AWOL, so no pictures of before and after.

My cabinet for food was stuffed so full that I could not see beyond the first row of food. The cabinet is about 8 feet tall, 2 feet wide, and 18 inches deep. There are six shelves behind two doors. When the cabinets were installed in 1977, there was a little corner by the door where the wall was wider because the chimney built for the kitchen cook stove stood there. Now, all covered up, there was just a little corner place, good for nothing. So, I had this tall cabinet built. It hangs on the wall and matches the cabinets.

Today was the day I started to reorganize my canned (store and home) food, boxes, pouches, and jars of dehydrated food. I sat on a very short foot stool and made sure I could reach the doorknob so I could rise again.

One shelf was cleared and food replaced. I shared with exbf some of the cans. I organized several bags and boxes of food that I had put food into when there was no room on the shelves. Yes, this project is long overdue. Plus, I put the "use by" date on top and front of all cans I handled.

One horrifying fact--The backs of the shelves were one can high and the front two rows of cans were three high! The project "found" more space for me. I can barely lift my left arm, so I had been just getting by, placing things in the shelves where I could get them, apparently where I took off the last can.

What did I find?...a few cans with 2012 "best by" date on the bottom. No, I am not afraid of this food. Plus, I don't fear the loss of too many nutrients.  So, one section of one shelf has all the 2012 food. I will eat from this until it is used. All the things with 2013 will be in another section. I have cans that have 2017 on them. Okay, I have one can with 2017 on it!

I don't eat lots of canned food, so I will not finish this off soon. I found canned milk and canned pumpkin with 2012 dates. I will be having pumpkin pie minus the crust, baked in a casserole. Pumpkin pie is something I always make from canned milk and canned pumpkin.

The result of this project--one shelf down and five to go. I would never have gotten it done if exbf had not helped me. He put things where they needed to be as I sat and worked on dating and deciding.

This has been a wakeup call: be more careful and organized. Once upon a time, I was Miss Organization to a fault. What happened to me?

Your turn
Have you looked into your shelves of food and been convinced you had to organize all the food before you wasted food? Do you get behind on organization or leave it behind when something hurts or does not work right?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Converted Grocery Carts

Handy cart

When I cannot afford something, I try to figure out what else will work. I had already bought a cheap, little handtruck to move my lightweight boxes of wares into craft shows.  Someone assured me he could move it all in one load. Even though I objected, my cheap little handtruck/cart was loaded. It collapsed in the parking lot, irreparably damaged.
"I told you so!"
The same person delivered two broken shopping carts to me as a replacement for my new cart he broke. I took both to a welder and told him what I needed. The carts only had front wheels. He delivered this little cart. He explained me how he lined up the carts, cutting them exactly and welding them so that the wheels were in line. He welded the back wheels straight so only the front wheels turn. He was very proud of his handiwork. He only charged me $20.
The cart above ran smoothly. I cut a short piece of PVC pipe and put strapping through it, tying both ends to the front of the cart. It worked so well that I never replaced it as I planned in the beginning.
It is a little rusty now. The rubber wheels are cracking. The basement has not been kind. I will be sad if this excellent little cart dies. It is used little and only around the yard. ....except for the weeks I pulled gifted 50- and 70-lb rocks along the street to my yard.
For the last 30 years, my cart caused many double takes and even more conversation.
So, is this up cycling or down cycling?
Did you see the daffodils that came up before Christmas?
Your turn
What is your most bizarre remake? What is the remake that makes you sooo proud.