Monthly Archives: December 2008

The Days After

I trust you all have had a nice Christmas, maybe gotten some things you wanted and seen some family.  I don’t have much to say really other than to just mention that I know I haven’t been posting much lately.  I’m not sure why.  Part of it, I think, is that I’ve spent so much time and energy trying to keep up with what all is going on in the world around us that I haven’t had the energy to put out any writings.  Part of it is making Christmas gifts.  Part of it is just laziness.  Some too can be placed at the feet of Facebook and my new attention in that direction.

(by the way, if you’re a member look me up.  I go by Matthew though.)

A commenter today asked how I felt about Obama’s appointments.  Well, disappointed.  I almost feel like it’s Clinton #2.  I have no doubt that Obama will do a better job of leading the administration than Hillary, or McCain, but if he choose the same messengers wont’ the messengers tell the same message?  I have been inspired by his list of objectives as he hits office running, although I disagree with him on how to accomplish some of his objectives.  Love it or hate it, the stimulas package seems to be coming.  At least he is not just tossing out money but directing it to some useful purposes.  Infrastrucure is good, as long as it’s used to say upgrade electric transmission lines, sewer lines or get some kind of green energy infrastructure up and running.  Not so good if it will be wasted on bridges and roads.  Trains, water ways, canals, etc would be great.

My big concern is debt, debt, debt.  The government keeps piling up more debt.  They are paying back debt with debt (and have been for a while).  That’s kind of scary.  Now they are talking about him being sent a bill for $800B – $1T for Obama’s stimulus.  What if it goes back to Congress?  Will they take on another $200B like they did with the TARP bill?  It sure seems possible.  While I initially thought an infrastructure bill would be good for the economy I’m not so sure now.  I would be all for this is we weren’t having to borrow so much.  But by having to do that we are really shooting ourselves in the foot.  Not so much now, but sometime in the near future we’ll feel it.  The Automatic Earth has been doing a great job following all this so make sure to check them out.

I don’t know about you all, but I didn’t think my stores had that much less business.  However, there was the same sales for the big retailers that other people were seeing, even though we aren’t having the layoffs like other areas, yet.  We did good with our spending although I did go overboard for my wife’s birthday.  Probably shouldn’t have, but this might be the last time for a decade or so.  We’re anxiously watching some of the store flyers for heavy discounts to pick up items we think we might need in the next few years.  Extra clothes, shoes, blankets, tools and other utility items.

That’s all for now.  I’m glad I forced myself to sit down and do this.  I’m going to try to figure out how to e-mail post and maybe then I’ll be able to get more things up.  I can just shoot them off from work!


Who throws a shoe? Really?

I’m assuming you’ve all seen the video of Bush ducking some thrown shoes.  One word: Hilarious.  Can’t believe that happened.  Reminds me of the assissin in Austin Powers that throws shoes to kill people (and was that a James Bond character before that?).

I understand that is a big insult in the Middle Eastern world, but how did that come about?

In other news on this side of the world, the chickens made it through the night last night when it was about 30 below zero with the wind chill.  I expected that I would see little chicken-cicles this morning but they were fine, and they each laid an egg too.  I did turn the lamp on this morning though so the coop has to be around 30 now.  I’m sure they are loving it…

My oldest one lost his first tooth.  Very exciting times in our house tonight.  Unfortunately he swallowed it so he had to make a note for the tooth fairy about the situation.

There’s been a lot of talk lately on this blog and others about food supplies and food shortages that may be coming up in the coming year.  In fact, you should go over to see Sharon’s predictions for 2009.  She was very accurate for this year (although past performance is no guarantee of future success) but it may give you some idea what to expect in this coming year.  Anyway, I’ve been storing some flour (white, I know, but it’s the most used one) around our house (I try to keep about 35 pounds on hand) as well as some whole wheat flour in the freezer.  What I really wanted to mention was my other method of storing calorie dense foods.


Pasta is a loss leader quite frequently in the supermarkets so each week when I go I buy 2 or 3 packages of whatever is on sale.  (Along with a few for the food banks)  This gives me the calories of bread, but stores without the same spoilage concerns.  Also, it pairs well with a lot of vegetables, so by default it helps us eat the necessary food items like tomatoes, celery, onions, garlic and carrots.  That means we’ll still be getting some decent nutrients whereas with bread we would mostly be eating butter with jam, if we end up eating nothing but pasta.  It also fits really well in soup.

Anyway, that’s my idea.

Seeds galore

Well, possibly not this season.  Check out Sharon’s post.  Apparantly Fedco is already out of some items, and people aren’t even ordering their seeds yet.  You may want to think about ordering your seeds soon if your a gardener.

Just what we need.  As food get more expensive, and more scarce the means to grow it yourself disappears because of incredible demand.  This really could be a catastrophe.

Things I’m Wondering

As I enjoy the chickens more and more I wonder more and more why people don’t have them in their backyards.  Hopefully as all of us bloggers talk about it more people will get interested and start doing it.  It’s a chore sure, but enjoying those eggs is so nice.

I’ve been wondering lately why the so called experts didn’t see this financial collapse coming.  Some of us dismissed, less fortunate people did.  How?  We used common sense to ask if things smelled right.  It’s amazing how often common sense works for most things.

I always wonder why people get so freaky about the weather.  It is what it is.  You just have to deal with it.

I wonder if this spring will be the spring where gardening really takes off.  Last year seed orders were up from the previous year, but how much more will they be up this coming year?

Along those same lines why do all the food donation places let people be so helpless?  People come to you for food, which is OK if you give them immediate help, but show them how to grow some food for themselves.  Why continue to make people dependent on food donations?  Where is the sense in that?

Same deal with the people receiving the donations.  Why would you continue to take what is given rather than looking for another solution?

I read a news story recently wherein a mother was complaining about not being able to find work, except overnight workshifts.  Her husband was laid off and she was formerly a stay at home mom with 4 children.  It made me wonder.  Was her situation really that bad if she was turning down nightshift work because it was nightshift work?  My parents worked all kinds of crazy shifts when I was growing up to make sure they were providing.  Sure it puts a strain on everyone, but you deal with it.  I wonder how much differently this lady might feel in 6 months.

I wonder how long it will be until I am full up with more wonderings.

The Food Supply Challenge

Recently I mentioned that I was going to start making small purchases each week and donate them to the food bank, and a few of you were going to do it too.  I did that this week.  This week I bought and donated 2 boxes of spaghetti, 2 cans of tomatoes and 2 boxes of instant oatmeal.  Wendy also bought some things to donate.  How’d the rest of you do?

Wendy even gave this little initative a fun name.  ‘The Food Supply Challenge”.  Thanks Wendy!

The chickens have been laying eggs.  They taste so good!  I keep them in a special place in the fridge and we only eat them when we want eggs by themselves, so we can enjoy the flavor.  If they are to be an ingrediant I use the store bought ones.

Now, I just have to figure out how we can get more chickens.  Rachael doesn’t want anymore but now I want even more.  Two aren’t able to keep up with the demand here in the house!

That’s all for now.

Leftovers. Again?

If your a parent I’m sure you’ve heard that before.  But you have to use them right?  I’ve found a million ways to use up leftovers and not have them labeled as leftovers.  Somedays though, we do have leftovers.  (We call them Mustgo.  Everything in the fridge must go.  HA!)

Tonight, for example, I took some beef-vegetable soup, thickened it and dumped it into a pie shell.  I covered the top with mashed potatoes to make a sort of cottage pie.  Turns out the pie shell didn’t get cooked, but it was still good.  I didn’t hear a chorus of cries about having soup again because I modified it’s appearance slightly.  Not to mention that it was a quick and easy way to use up both the leftover soup and the leftover mashed potatoes, and it was much easier than making cottage pie from scratch, which I’ve done and it takes a while.

Other times I’ll make up extra to remake into things.  Potatoes are of course good for this.  I always make a ton of mashed potatoes when I make them because then I’ll fy them as potatoe pancakes for breakfast.  Same thing when I cook a pot roast in the crock pot.  I load it up with carrots and potatoes.  Then since they are already cooked they can make a quick hash for breakfast, or I can mash the potatoes and pan fry them as a side dish, and they take no time to cook.

Another thing I cook to use up leftovers is a frittata.  All the little bits of leftover veggies can be dumped into the skillet, covered with eggs and cheese and they take on a new life.  Nothing like it!  Of course you can keep a bag in the freezer to add these bits of vegetables to so you can make vegetable soup with them.

For me though, a stir fry has to be the best way to use up different bits and pieces.  The kids love it.  I love it.  It takes great and it’s flexible enough to take practically any leftover I might have in the fridge and repurpose it.

Anyway, what creative ways do you have to use up leftovers?

The Food Supply

(Sorry for all these rapid fire posts but I have things to say that aren’t of a mixed topic)

There’s been some news stories lately mentioned food scarcity.  Some of it from lack of money, or job loss or even in some cases food banks running out of funds.  A farmer in CO had 40K people show up to dig up their own veggies (although I wonder how many went to waste when people didn’t preserve them) and Daily Kos has this interesting (albeit a little sensational) article about problems in the heartland.

USA Today has had stories about food pantries and information about eating more cheaply.  I can say, this year is the first time I ever remember seeing corn in the fields this late in the year, and we’ve already had a 3 inch snow and some serious ice, with another 3-5 tonight possible.  (Not to mention a little flooding this summer)  This seems to be in line with what the Daily Kos article is saying.  Weather has played a big role in our food supply this year.  Will that lead to food supply problems?  I don’t honestly know, but things sure do seem to be stacking up in that direction.

I’ve decided to issue a little challenge, Crunchy Chicken style.  For the forseeable future every week when I go to the grocery store I’m going to spend a few bucks and buy some food to donate to the food bank.  Maybe some beef stew, mac and cheese or soup.  Cans of tomatoes or maybe a big bag of rice.  If I do a little bit each week it won’t be a lot to me but over time it will end up being a fair amount of food.

Is anyone else interested?