Thursday, June 2, 2011

Top 25 annoying Army Deployment Questions and Comments

Rakkasan  Deployment 2007
Booger 11, Bubble7, Beeda 5
     This morning I was reading a post over at Caffeinated Catholic Mama of how people have lost all sense of personal-space and privacy, either because of our over sharing techno culture or maybe just a general lack of manners. She gives her wonderful list of Top annoying and prying questions from absolute strangers, Here.
Mid-tour leave Deployment 2000
 Booger 4yrs, Bubble 2weeks
     While writing in her comments I was thinking that for me, being such a Counter-Culture Mama, the lists of random rude questions and offending comments from those that it just does not concern, could go on and infinitum. So, I thought for fun, I would make a small project out of several lists of obscenely annoying Questions and Comments that I have gotten from strangers, all neatly compiled into categories. :)
     What follows is a list of my TOP 25 way too personal, yet oh so popular questions and all to common comments, that I have received during my husband's Deployments.
    Beeda's Birth
  1. Oh, is your Husband Deployed ?
  2. Do you Miss Him ?
  3. Is it Hard ?
  4. Will they send Him home for the Birth ?
  5. Is it your Husband's Baby or Jody's ?
  6. Does your Husband know you're pregnant ?
  7. Do you know who the Father is ?
  8. What will you do / How will you have a Baby by yourself ?
  9. Why do you have / keep having kids if he is gonna be gone so much ?
  10. Your children are so young, If he gets killed, they won't remember him.
  11. Why do you have kids when, He could get killed anytime ?
  12. Your so Lucky you live off the government, the rest of us have to work.
  13. If you didn't live off the government you wouldn't be able to afford all those kids.
  14. Maybe your husband will die and you'll get all that money.
  15. You should take out some more insurance on your husband, because he has a good chance of being killed.
  16. But, just think of all that extra money at Tax time.
  17. I don't know how you could do that, I could never let my Husband do that.
  18. (My Sister-in-laws fave way of relating to me)...I know just how you feel, my Husband was out of Town, on the road, for two weeks last month !
  19. How can you be Faithful for 15 months ?
     Deployment 2003
     Bubble 2yrs
    Deployment 2003
    Beeda 1yr
  21. Do you worry about your Husband cheating on you ?
  22. You don't think your Husband will wait a whole year do you ?
  23. Don't you all just sleep around with each others Husbands anyway ?
  24. So, has your Husband Killed anybody yet ?
  25. You could have gotten out / why would he stay in / It's his fault he is Deploying / So he's getting out after this right ?
  26. ... Using up my time by going on a long rant about how you feel about the war and whether or not we should be "Over-There"
                        ....and the  ***** Extra Credit Bonus*****
                 So Wow, it is Just like Army Wives on The    T.V. Show

More Top Lists to Come
Our Wounded Warrior comes Home 2008

Saturday, May 7, 2011


     It is the time for "Peeps"
      No, not those fluffy sugar-coated marshmallow kind, But the fluffy-feathered kind.
     As my Mother found out when she took several of her Grandchildren to the Co-Op to look at garden seeds. Of course what Grandmother would be able to say "No" to such sweet little things?
     So, she now has six new "Bitties", one of which I am sure is a rooster. We have nicknamed him "Preacher", for his need to climb atop the feeder and peep loudly at his flock.
     Chickens are super ease to care for, a basic set-up for chicks is a box with a little hay, clean water, feed, chick-grit; placed somewhere warm and dry.
     We worried about what reaction the older hens would have to the little-chicks, that they might trample, peck, or otherwise harm them; But, they were afraid and ran from them. I guess that's what makes them "chickens".

Buff Orpington  (left)
      Common knowledge says that young Pullets ( that is female chickens less than a year old) begin laying anytime between 18 to 20 weeks of age and then lay continually until they molt, at about a year later. My older ladies didn't molt until the beginning of their third year and their egg production didn't fully stop while they molted, only slowed down. That ability probably has a lot to do with their breeds: Buff Orpingtons Black Australorps, Barred-Rock-Cross  ; are all heavy and dual purpose breeds.


Black Australorp

      A "good" layer will lay an egg every 26th hour ( a hour later each day) until her laying time runs into the dark hours. She will then take the night off and start again in the morning light. Hens will also announce they are laying or have laid with an individual "Cackle Song", that won't take long to recognize. Hens will lay steadily for five to ten years or more, then they are ready for the stew pot.
     Chickens make wonderful companions and pets, and there is no better way to get Organic free range eggs and meat.

Organic home layed eggs surround a grade A store egg
Bottom left corner is double yoked

Friday, April 1, 2011

Homemade Yogurt

      This weeks self imposed challenge has been, learning to make homemade yogurt. I know there are three groups of thought on this one: (1) Come on, "learning", yogurt is soo easy. (2) Why? It comes in perfectly good little pots from the store. (3) Yogurt?!? Eeeew Gross!
      First off, my family eats a crazy amount of yogurt. I buy several large 2lb. tubs a week. We don't do snack foods, puddings or junk foods, but we do "do" a lot of yogurt. Yogurt is very versatile and can be turned from a breakfast food to a dessert smoothie, to any stop in between in just a few minutes. While I can get the large plain tubs in organic, I have to flavor them myself or settle for the non-organic little single-serving tubs which I am sure are full of rBGH/rBST, not to mention the other ingredients which are just not needed.
     Secondly, I used to get quarts of wonderful homemade yogurt, as a gift, from my Amish neighbor Lizzie Stoltzfus and I can tell you the store bought kind, like most things can not compare to homemade. Besides, what kind a Food Renegade would I be if I didn't reclaim this bit of domesticity for my family and myself. 
      The making of homemade yogurt is so simple, especially compared with the making of cheese, I am a bit embarrassed that I have just now learned how to do it. It really is just a few simple steps that even my kids could follow.

Heating milk

     Step 1      Heat a quart of milk to 180* or boiling, careful not to scorch it. you know it's hot enough when it starts bubbling and climbing the sides of the pan. This step ensures that you only grow "safe" bacteria in your yogurt.

      Step 2      Let milk cool down to 112*, if you don't have a thermometer, this is when you can stick a finger in and keep it in for 10 seconds with out it burning, it will feel very warm.

      Step 3      Whisk in 5g. of freeze dried yogurt starter or 3 tbsp. Organic live-culture plain yogurt.  Directly after this step is also the time to add any other ingredients that you would like: 1/3 cup of milk powder for firmer yogurt or 1/3 cup of a natural sweetener like: agave nectar, simple syrup, honey, maple syrup. You can also add a flavoring at this time.


      Step 4      Incubation period : choose whatever heat proof jars you would like, making sure they are super-clean, and fill them leaving a bit of head space at the top. Place them where they can incubate in the correct temperature undisturbed for 8-10 hours. The correct temp is above 90* ( which is cold to grow the culture) and 120* (which will kill the culture) Just right is 112*. In the video below, they show how to use your oven. I used this little machine, the Euro-Cuisine-Automatic-Yogurt-Maker 

      Step 5      After the Incubation time, the yogurt must be chilled in the refrigerator for about 3 hours.

Booger, my oldest

     That's it, all done,  Yogurt!

Raspberry yogurt

      We made a simple Raspberry syrup for ours and it didn't last very long at all!

  Here's a video, showing how you can do this at home without any special equipment.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Gardening Fever

      This time of year gives me a particular kind of spring fever. I don't know what makes me susceptible; if it's because I have farming in my genes or just being sick of eating flavorless produce shipped in from countries where it is warm enough it can still grow. But, '"gardening Fever" has kicked in full force and there is nothing I can do about it; I have no yard. well that's no technically true, I have a yard, but it is only big enough for the dog to have a "potty" and I'm not digging in that dirt.
      While living at Genoa, though I had more than ample room to sow my seeds. Plus there was already an orchard full of fruit trees. There were: apple, pear, plum, cherry and peach trees. We also had raspberry, blackberry and grape vines, although those nasty Japanese beetles ate every last grape. The orchard trees and vines did all the work, while we reaped the benefits of organic fruits in pies, cobblers, jelly and jams.
      The vegetables were a different story. We started seeds in mini-green houses which sat on top of my washer and dryer, in the sunny laundry room. While the seeds did their "magic" by sprouting in to beautiful little plants the kids and I spent two weeks busting our buts preparing the soil, by tilling and hoeing in what would be our garden. By the way, if you ever pass a market stand and the farmer selling those "goodies" happens to be fat, don't trust him cause he didn't grow em' , I can tell you there are no fat gardeners in the south. ;)
We used a soil tester to see if we needed to add any missing nutrients, (besides I was counting this garden as science and health for our Homeschooling). We lucked out and our soil was very near perfect. I also found out that children will do a lot of work, as long as they don't know its work. They helped plan the garden, pick what went it it, plant it, water it, weed it, and ultimately harvest it.
Bubble hoeing down a thistle
      We planted cucumbers, radishes, zucchini, yellow squash,onions, okra, beans, onions, carrots, and tomatoes. We also planted a garden bed of kitchen herbs: parsley, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, and sage. Kitchen herbs nearly take care of themselves, you can buy the little plants at Lowe's, pop em' in the ground and water once or twice a week ( if it doesn't rain).  They are super useful in the kitchen and medicine cabinet.
      We ate ourselves full of fresh organic vegetables. I only had to go to the store for meat and grains. We were getting raw milk from some dear Amish neighbors, which we made into butter and cheese. It was something really wonderful to have a meal on the table that was made available by the work of your own hands.

Baby herb plants

freshly planted garden next to grape vine

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

     We had the luxury of living in an Old Plantation house in the middle of Kentucky Amish country. we lived there for one full, somewhat magical year, that begun April Fool's Day 2009.
     Genoa, was built in 1824, by Winston Jones Davie as a wedding present for his wife. She was in her grand 185th year, when we moved in. Davie was a Kentucky legislator and Kentucky's first Commmisioner of Agriculture. He was also founder of the Church-Hill Grange, a banker, an author and an innovative farmer.
     Genoa is the only Greek Revival home, in christian County, with a  "double-pile plan" ( meaning two rooms deep). Her current square footage is 4,700; which would have been larger if the ell had not been removed from the back of the house, which means it takes three days to clean.  ;)
     Genoa has a two-tiered portico that is original to the house, though the columns have been replaced at sometime. She also has eleven (11) fireplaces, as long as you count the three (3) in the basement, where the original kitchen was and where the house-slaves resided. there are three (3) full bathrooms, including one up-stairs, which was a very big "to-do" back in the day when most pottys were outside boxes with  a moon on the door and bathtubs were also tin laundry tubs.
     Genoa, also boasts the rights to the only pre-Civil War pocket doors in the state of Kentucky. She has finished stairs leading up to a fully planked third floor attic that runs the full span of the house and has full sized windows at both ends.
     Genoa has her own cave right in the back yard, which has been sealed off with cement and a  large bar-b-cue built over it, after an unfortunate accident in 1905, where a young boy died after getting lost inside, while exploring.
     Genoa is full of nearly Two-hundred years worth of history and stories and we were more than happy to add a few of our own to it. Now that we don't live there, I feel free to share a few of them.