Monday, December 30, 2013

Life on Purpose (part one)...

Years ago I heard this story via e-mail. Before FaceBook, YouTube, Pinterest & Instagram...
For The Man Who Hated Christmas... from Giving101 on Vimeo.
This true story was originally published in the December 14, 1982 issue of Woman's Day magazine. It was the first place winner out of thousands of entries in the magazine's "My Most Moving Holiday Tradition" contest in which readers were asked to share their favorite holiday tradition and the story behind it.

I sent the e-mail to my pastor and he did a sermon on it. I then nestled a white envelope in the Christmas tree at church & didn't say a word. He found and that led to another message. His hypothesis was that it was the women's group that placed the envelop in the tree, because of the many things listed. It made me smile. He never knew who placed that envelope in the tree.

This is just the beginning of trying to explain where I am going with "Life on Purpose". I want to start with a white envelope story shared by one of my readers. It really touched my heart... 
"I thought I would share an experience. I have been in prayer over my New Year's Resolution. God answered last night. I found out that my husband's friend tried to commit suicide. He is an elderly man and a veteran. His wife died around this time 3 years ago. He had to do a home repair in November. He used his food money to do the repair. He had no food and no one to celebrate Christmas with except his dog. The dog was out of food as well. He was too proud to ask for any help. He has taken eggs from my chickens before, some garden produce and some canned goods, but he always feels bad about it. I can tell. He always offers to pay, but I won't take any money. (of course)

We live in a very small area and we found out that the sheriff had done a welfare check, just when he was about to..... ya know. He doesn't know who called or when, neither do we. He says that when he answered the door, the police were so sad. They went and bought him and the dog food out of their own money. He was so embarrassed. I am heart broken. I didn't know and neither did my husband. He wouldn't ask for help. He hadn't talked to my husband in over a week, but we were too busy to notice. I'm so ashamed of that, honestly. I'm a solution person, so let's move on.

When he told the story, my thoughts went to my pantry. It's fully stocked and ready for anything. As a prepper, I have an abundance of resources. I have been shopping in my cabinets this morning for him. I'm not sure how I'm going to pull off my gift, but I'm going to give it and he's going to let me!

So I'm pledging to donate 3 homecooked meals a week to our elderly friend. We are going to check in on him. I'm going to share in my prepping skills and abundance. No one should go hungry in these times. We are in a rural area and elderly services are non existent. It will be the time spent as well that will become a valuable resource. I feel like the food is secondary
I know there are times when you share people's experiences, however in this case, if you decide to share, please leave my name anonymous. If not, I just wanted to share my experience with someone who would understand the way that God works. I do not want any recognition at all. I am actually saddened by my previous actions. I thought that it was a lesson in awareness, community and preparedness."

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Testing cigarette storage...

Whether it is for personal use or barter; the topic of storing cigarettes (tobacco products, etc) came up this week.
Doing what I do, I have decided to test out storing cigarettes.

One pack was simply vacuum sealed, the other (2 plus packs) was vacuum sealed in a canning jar. Obviously there are no results to share at this point in time. The first test will be in 3 months.
The next test will be longer. I have also purchased tobacco seeds. Honestly, I don't even know if these seeds are for smoking. We will see how that goes later.
It will be interesting to see if others start posting about this topic. I think  have read about growing tobacco (or maybe I was searching for it), but I haven't seen someone in the circles I follow store the product. We will see.
If you have stored tobacco products, please share your observations.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Controlling technology

Technology is a fantastic tool. The demographics of the people in my life has determined what I use technology wise. Honestly, the greatest amount of people I interact with in my world are under the age of 40. A lot are under 30. At work, everyone is under 25. 
I learned to text, because it is how my sons and their wives communicate.
I was an early adapter of Facebook, because that is where people were communicating.
How much time does it take from real life?
I am trying to remember what year we got our first computer. It was early enough that a dot matrix printer was hot. What I do remember is that in the beginning I spent about 6 hours one day, playing Solitaire. I realized then that I didn't want to be caught in that web. So, I won't play games. I have never played Angry Birds or even Candy Crush. I don't have time.

Cynthia Wilcox shared about our technology challenge: “So Friday night, I was ready to take the 24 hour technology challenge. I got up Saturday morning and my children's father texted me that my son's student profile had been updated. He sent me a link via e-mail. That was important because he has a project due. BEFORE NOON I used my PHONE for the following purposes: an alarm clock, a calculator, checked email, sent a document to my printer, checked my son's student profile, checked my student profile, a camera, checked my online study group for updates, sent photos to Walgreens photo center for a class project, Facebook, recipe lookup for a friend (emailed her the link) texted my study group, watched a YouTube video about the pharmaceutical effects of diuretics on the heart, texted a study mate about an assignment, paid a bill online and finally a phone to talk to my mom and Jeremy's mom. BEFORE NOON! and I had class from 9am to 11:30.
Reflection? I really rely on my phone for day to day life. I never leave without it. It's always charged. I have other things I longed to do, like crochet, read, study out of a book....nap. Unfortunately that was just my phone. I used a bunch of other technology as well. If I'm going to go dark, I need to do it on break from school. I think I would find it very peaceful. So I didn't do very well at the challenge, but I realize life will be a lot slower if I don't have my technology any longer.”

I really appreciate her honesty. I think the biggest lesson I learned (knew); is that we should control technology, not allow it to control us. But for me, I admit the internet & t.v. is a “time suck”.
I am working towards putting technology back in it's place in my life.

Then the biggie, what would we do if technology ceased? Are all your family photos on your phone or in your computer, or still on a disc in your camera? Are all your phone numbers in your cell phone? Are all our addresses in your GPS? Is all your information in your computer? How would it change our life?

Are you controlling technology?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

“All Purple” Sweet Potato Ice Cream (from storage)

While this isn't “true” ice cream, it's a short cut type of dessert for us. Usually I make it from frozen blueberries.
So, my lovely purple sweet potatoes came from my dear friends at the farm. They participated in a program at Virginia StateUniversity that works with farmers, to show them how to be profitable with limited resources and using organic gardening practice. 
I used one pint of pressure canned purple sweet potatoes & pureed them in the blender with about 2/3 cups sugar.

I divided this into two zip lock baggies, since that is about the right amount for two people.
Threw the bags in the freezer.

Took it out later, and broke up the pieces & put the pieces back into the blender.
Added enough ½ & ½ to barely cover the pieces (this time I used heavy whipping cream that I have canned).

Blended until smooth.

Yummy! DH and I agreed, it had a very "interesting" taste. But, we both like it and agreed we would definitely like to make it again! SUCCESS!

For those of you who want more information on the added nutritional value of of sweet potatoes in general here is a link to "The World's Healthiest Foods"

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Canning “All Purple” Sweet Potatoes

So, my lovely purple sweet potatoes came from a program at Virginia StateUniversity that works with farmers, to show them how to be profitable with limited resources and using organic gardening practice. 
They are actually called “All Purple” Sweet potatoes and I found a source, Sow True Seed (which is currently sold out) that sells the “slips”. I have not used them, but this link tells about their beliefs on non-GMO, non-hybrid, etc. Their slips are also organic. .SowTrue Seed 
Now, processing the sweet potatoes was pretty straight forward.
First, I had to wash them. These were straight from the ground. Funny thing, plants that come from the ground have a lot of dirt on them. :)
Then I boiled them until soft when pierced with a fork. They evidently need a little longer to cook. I had one orange sweet potato, that I am turning onto doggy treats.

I want you to note all the pictures. They are really very purple. The water was very purple. I was reading up on this particularly type of potato and there is some research being done to utilize the incredible purple color to be used a natural food dye coloring. I was thinking as I was working, that these could easily be used for dying. As careful as I was, my hands were slightly blue afterward.
Then I slipped the skins off. I had to do a little peeling, since they were new potatoes. Saved the skin to dehydrate into dog treats.

I simply cut them up into the sterilized canning jars (hot pack), adding boiling water with 1” headspace.
Wiped down the tops with a vinegar soaked paper towel, added sterilized lids and rings.
Processed them in the pressure canner (low acid food) at 10# pressure for 65 minutes.

There you have it. I am looking forward to using these and getting more. 
Then I made All Purple Sweet Potato ICE CREAM Yuminess!