Changes in Chickenville

Hello, Frank here.

Hope everyone is hopping right along. There have been some changes in the chicken house. As I mentioned last time, the Easter egg chickens were going to be leaving, and they are now gone. You don’t have to use your creative imagination to figure out where they went, because I am going to tell you. A neighbor of mine is a chicken dealer. Well, I’ve never really known much about chicken dealers. I have known some cattle dealers. So, I guess a chicken dealer is in the same category, just less weight involved. I called him up, he said he would take them to a chicken sale. He loaned me the cages. After dark, on a Thursday night, Fern and I loaded them into the cages, about four birds per cage so they had some room. The next morning, they were off to the chicken market. I really didn’t know that there was a chicken sale, but after the sale, he brought me a computerized printout of the transactions that occurred, and the girls actually brought $7.00 a bird. I gave him $3.00 a bird for his trouble and I kept $4.00. So, the girls are gone. And, their rooster buddy, he is gone too. Here is where you have to use your imagination.


Now, our big birds are the black Australorps that are about six months old. They’re just starting to lay. There are 15 of the black girls and we are just starting to see about 3 brown eggs a day. But, to our amazement, we got a green egg the other day. One of these black girls is a half and half from

the eggs we hatched at the same time. So, I guess technically, we have 14 black Australorp hens, one cross breed hen and two Barred Rock roosters. These two roosters we traded three black hens for. So, these are our big birds now. There is no cannibalism, they are a much, much more docile bird than the Araucanas were. 

 
We now have a dilemma. My new baby birds that were 25 mixed heavy brown egg layers are getting to be about 10 weeks old. Of the 25 about 10 of them are white, which could be an Orpington, a Rock, or a Giant, of the white variety. Here is the dilemma: Fern doesn’t like white chickens. So, all toll, 15 + 25 = 40. I will keep 15 of the now young birds, but I only need about 20 chickens, so I will keep 5 of the black Australorps. Which means I have 10 black Australorps, that are six months old, and 10 white hens that are 10 weeks old that need to go to a new home. This doesn’t need to happen immediately. So, here in a couple of weeks when the babies are 12 weeks old, I will turn them in with the older black Australorps and let everybody live happily ever after. For a while anyway.

 
A side note here. When it comes time to catch birds, for whatever the reason being, transporting, butchering or other, it’s much easier to take a bird off of the roost after dark, than it is to try to catch one in the corner of a pen during daylight. Especially if you’re older and have just had back surgery.

Of the 40 birds I have right now, I have a couple with some minor issues. I will cull these from the flock. In our decision making process of which birds to keep, we’ll take into consideration size, feather pattern and color, demeanor and we have some birds that have curled toes that we will not be keeping. 

With this last batch of baby birds, it was during a time frame when it was pretty warm at night and adequately warm during the day. We have normally kept chickens in the brooder for three to four weeks or longer, depending on outside temperature. Well, these birds we kept inside in the brooder for about five days. It was plenty warm outside, so we put them in a corner of the chicken house with a long extension cord and a heat lamp. Worked great. The little guys got to stretch their legs and flap their wings and become baby chickens a whole lot sooner than any other bird we had ever raised. Hopefully, this will affect the overall outcome of these guys. We’re hoping that they will be more mentally adjusted, if that’s capable with a chicken. 

Another topic. We didn’t hatch any meat birds this year. Well, actually we did, that was the cannibal group. All of those birds are gone, but the issue here is, we don’t have any fryers in the freezer, and we also didn’t can any chicken meat this year. The reason, mostly due to my back problems, which, by the way, are on a nice recovery path. So, the point here. We decided to order 25 meat birds. Not the big, white hybrid birds, but instead, 25 mixed heavy roosters. They’ll be here in a couple of weeks at about the same time the baby girls will be 12 weeks and going out in the pen with the big girls, and I’ll have pen space for the new babies. About 12 weeks after their arrival, I will butcher them. If there happens to be a stunning looking rooster among the group, I will keep him. If not, I’ll fry him.

In one of the other posts I mentioned that there appears to be no logic, or consistency in my chicken patterns. And, as I stated then, that may be true. But, I enjoy mixing and matching different breeds, seeing what the outcomes look like when I hatch them. It’s just something I find to be enjoyable and satisfying. We tried the Araucanas (Easter egg), and for me, it just didn’t work out. Maybe a flock of 20 with one or two Easter egg birds, maybe, maybe not. Because my chicken house is much quieter now than it was two weeks ago. Much quieter. Less ruckus, less chasing and stirring, more peaceful.

Over the next couple of months, I hope to start getting lots of brown eggs, and an occasional green one. All of the white birds will be going. And eventually, some of the other birds will be, too. So, I wanted to keep you up to date and give you an example, that it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to do whatever you want to do. Because outside of your family, the only other person you have to answer to is your Creator. If you want chickens, go back and read the previous chicken posts. Or, if you’d like to see the antics of a small time chicken farmer, enjoy the posts. I’ll let you know in a couple of months how things are going with the new baby roosters, and any other changes we make.

We’ll talk more later.  Frank
 

The Nutrition of Green Beans & Some Pondering

Green beans are one of those All American foods, right? We all grew up knowing that we needed to eat our green beans because they are good for us. We had to eat them so we could have dessert, or some other preferable food. So, for all of these years we have continued to grow and eat them.


Recently, Frank and I were talking about this year’s green bean crop, how they taste and such. We came to the conclusion that green beans are okay, but not something we really enjoy. If there is another vegetable option, we will normally choose something else besides green beans, or corn either, for that matter. It’s an interesting revelation to come to after all of these years. 

Green beans are easy to grow and easy to can. Corn, on the other hand, takes up a lot of room and nutrients before it produces much. Most of the open pollinated corn we grow only produces one ear per stalk. We have decided that we won’t grow corn or green beans in the garden next year. The corn we will just do without. We may try growing some field corn for the animals and to grind into corn meal, but the sweet corn we will forgo for a time. What we will plant are pinto beans. We have grown them once before and they are just as easy as pole beans.  A friend of mine grew pinto beans and initially picked them young and tender, to cook like green beans. We can do that, as well as let them mature and cook as pinto beans. Then, we will also be able to can them as pintos, or let them dry and store them to cook later. So, this is the result of our garden pondering lately. 

With all that being said, I still wanted to see what nutrition green beans provide, after all, we all know they are good for you. From one cup of snap green beans, boiled with salt we get the following nutrients.

  • calories 44
  • carbohydrates 9.8g 
  • protein 2.4g
  • vitamins A, C, K
  • folate
  • choline
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • phosphorus
  • potassium
  • sodium
  • Omega-3 & Omega-6 fatty acids

Our mother’s were right, they are very good for you. There are many different varieties to choose from, both bush and pole beans. In our location, they don’t have many pests. The grasshoppers like to eat the leaves, but it doesn’t seem to deter the plants, even when they look rather dismal. Green beans and other legumes are great for fixing nitrogen in the soil and rebuilding an area that grew a heavy feeder, like corn, the previous year.

When we have moved from place to place over the years, corn and green beans are always one of the first things we stock up on. They are the old standards, easy to fix and have a dependable flavor. But after we get set up and have a variety of things to choose from, the corn and green beans kind of go to the back of the shelf. And now, they are going to be left out of the garden. We still have quite a few green beans left that we canned last year, which will eventually get eaten, or not. It’s good to learn what works best, and what works best for us, will not necessarily work best with you and yours. It’s something we all have to figure out for ourselves. So, happy pondering.

Until next time – Fern

Life As We Know It…….

You are probably all aware of the phrases: Life turns on a dime. Things can change in a heart beat. Life as we know it, ended today, is a line out of a song. Well, on Tuesday life started out pretty normal.

Frank went back to his neurosurgeon for a check up. It’s been eight weeks since his back surgery and he got a great report. Everything is healing up as expected and some of the restrictions he had can now be gradually removed. He can even start brush hogging the pastures again in a month. When Frank asked the doctor if he could go on any long trips, the doctor said no, it was too early for that. Just short trips for now. Our doctor’s office is 60 miles from where we live, and for now, those trips are plenty long for Frank’s comfort. So by the time we headed home, at about 6:00 pm, Frank was ready to be home and lay down to relax his back for a while.

But…….we got a phone call, and life changed quickly. My sister-in-law was calling to tell us that my brother had been in a serious motorcycle accident and was being flown by medivac to Tulsa. Needless to say, that is one of those heart stopping phone calls, none of us ever wants to receive. So, instead of going home to rest, we rushed home and flew through the chores, picked up my mom and headed to Tulsa. At this point we didn’t have any idea how my brother was doing. About midway there we received word that he was awake and alert and joking with the hospital staff. This was unbelievably good news.

By the time we arrived at the hospital, at about 11:00 pm, my brother was in surgery and they had amputated his left leg just above the knee. He had lost a lot of blood and they were still working on getting him stable. The loss of the leg was initially a jolt for us, but there were still other concerns about his brain and internal organs. Miraculously, the only other injuries he sustained were some road rash and a pretty big cut on his head. No, he was not wearing a helmet.

After everything there was stable, and another brother arrived, around 3:00 am we decided to head home to care for Frank’s back and the animals. Frank was definitely in need of some good rest, and we still had another three hour drive to get back home. When we finally arrived around 6:00 am, I sat down at my computer to try and unwind. I couldn’t read or do much since I was so tired, so I thought I would glance down the blogroll and see what was new. It was then when I noticed a post from Patrice Lewis at Rural Revolution. It seems that SciFiChick at Bacon and Eggs, passed away last week. I have enjoyed her humor and determination to grow and preserve food, despite the challenges she and her husband faced. I will miss her. That was enough reading for me. That day ended for us at about 7:00 am Wednesday, when we were finally able to lay down to get some sleep. 

Our rest didn’t last long though, because around 10:30 am my mother calls and puts my injured brother on the phone. He sounded totally normal, “Hi, Sis. What are you doing?” I hear, much to my shock. Life as we know it did end on Tuesday and a new one has taken it’s place. My brother has now had a second surgery to close up the amputation site, and will begin physical therapy. He hopes to be transferred to a rehab center closer to home next week, and before long, he will be fitted with a prosthesis. Then we will see. 

We have received many phone calls and emails from family and friends expressing love and concern for our family. This is one of those experiences that reminds us how fragile and fleeting life can be. My brother has a long road in front of him, but he is starting out on a good foot, the right one. He has a good attitude about what has happened. He even told the hospital staff upon his arrival that he was allergic to Jeeps. That’s what hit him. Your thoughts and prayers on his behalf would be greatly appreciated. Hold your family close. 

May the Lord bless and keep you.

Fern

$40.00 Radio

Hello, Frank here.

Hope everybody is well. In my last radio post, when I gave you the new Romanchik Technician manual, I told you that you could get into ham radio for around $40.00. The radio I’m going to talk about is the Baofeng UV-5R Plus. But I’ve also seen that the company is changing it’s name, it is now called Pofung UV-5R Plus. It is the same radio.

This radio is an HT or handy talky. It operates on UHF and VHF. It puts out about 5 watts on VHF and 4 watts on UHF. It comes with a charging cradle, a battery, antenna, manual and occasionally they will have packages that include other assorted gizmos. At the site that is provided, this radio retails for about one penny short of $39.00. 

This radio comes blank, no frequencies programmed into it at all. This radio is not a ham radio, per se. It is a commercial radio. This means the frequencies on UHF and VHF are much wider than your traditional ham radio. Okay, you can program this radio to operate on all of the ham VHF/UHF frequencies. It will transmit simplex, which is radio to radio, or duplex, which is radio to repeater, back to another radio. It will do offset, PL tones, CTCSS and everything that your basic ham radio will do.

Okay. Follow me now. Being a commercial radio, you can also program other frequencies, which include police department, fire department, Wal-Mart, and many other frequencies that you should not transmit on. But, if you do search and rescue and you have the authority and permission to operate on, let’s say, the fire department, then these little radios will perform that function also. They will function on MURS, GMRS/FRS. So, as you can see, they can be handy little radios. They also have a scan feature. But, remember, this is a transceiver that will scan. It is a slow scan. It’s not like some scanners that will do 300 channels per second.

You will need to program this radio yourself. You can do it by hand manually, or you can buy the programming cable for a few dollars more and use the provided downloadable program on your computer. There is also a computer program called Chirp, which is free. There is also a programming system called RT Systems. It is not free, and for about $45.00 to $50.00, you get the programming disc and their programming cable.

There are some things this little radio will not do. It will not cross band repeat, but then most HTs don’t, but some do. You cannot listen on one frequency and transmit on another at the same time, and it does not have the greatest transmit and receive qualities. But it is more than adequate. This is a $40.00 radio, not a $150.00 radio, or $300.00 radio. If you are wanting to get your Technician license and transmit and receive on VHF and UHF, this radio will do the job.

Now, things to consider. If it is pouring down rain outside, then you may not be able to reach that repeater that you can on a nice pretty, sunshiny day. But this is true of all handhelds. If you are inside of a metal building, or inside your car, then you might have trouble reaching that same repeater. But these are standard characteristics of any handy talky. There are things you can do to increase your transmitting range, and I covered these in detail in other posts, but I will mention them briefly here.

If you want to put a mag-mount antenna on your car, with the appropriate adapter you can connect your radio to this antenna. You can attach a handheld microphone, and for power, you can use a battery eliminator. All this does is replace the normal battery in the radio, and it plugs into your 12 volt outlet. So, what you have now is an external antenna, your power is now supplied by your vehicle, and you can use your microphone instead of having to hold the radio up to your face. This will extend your range dramatically. There are many people that use this type of setup. 

But, this article is about a $40.00 radio. The basic radio comes with a battery, an antenna and a way to charge that battery. This is all you need. $15.00 to take your Technician’s test. So, for right around $55.00, you can play with ham radio. Or, you can help search and

rescue. Or, if you really want to show your friends and neighbors how really stupid you are, you can transmit on the police and fire frequencies. Don’t do that. They can find you, and they will. Because if you get on your radio and you interfere with fire department transmissions, and a fireman dies because you were trying to prove how stupid you are, then you might go to jail. Do not do it. Now, if you are a volunteer fireman in little town America, and you have permission to transmit on these frequencies, then good for you. If you don’t, then don’t. You can program the radio to receive only on the frequencies that you shouldn’t be on. 

By the way, this little radio will transmit and receive on the marine band frequencies. You can also receive weather transmissions from the National Weather Service. These are handy, handy radios. They are not illegal, they are 100% legal on the ham frequencies, and they are legal to transmit on any frequency that you have permission. Remember, it is legal to listen to any radio transmission, so you don’t have to worry about getting into trouble listening. 

Go back and read the posts about GMRS and MURS under Frank’s Radio Communications. Pay attention to safety. Safety is always first. These radios don’t put out enough power to do damage. If you want to put one in your car with an added mag-mount, great. If you want to get your

Technician license, all of the information is provided under Frank’s Radio Communications. You’re going to hear people in the ham world criticize these little $40.00 radios. But I know lots and lots of ham radio operators that have these little radios, especially if they’re going to be out doing a dirty job. $40.00, and they work. Some small town fire departments use them, because sometimes fire fighting can be a nasty job. You’d rather lose a $40.00 radio than a $400.00 radio. These little radios are changing the ways people see the world. If you’re interested give one of them a try. The site I provided here shows all of the options sold with these little radios, just scroll down. They also come in pretty colors, too. 

Here’s an example. You know those little GMRS and FRS radios you use during hunting season? These radios will do the same thing. Make sure you read up on the rules and regulations, and of course I’ve got to put this in here, do not transmit on frequencies that you are not licensed to transmit on. Take care.

We’ll talk more later. 73, Frank

Survival Reading

We like to read, and the books we like to read are the kind we can learn from, even if they are novels. For the past few years we have read many novels that fall into the collapse, apocalyptic, survival, self-sufficiency genre. Even though these books are fiction, we find in each of them something that broadens our view and/or points out some facet of living without the benefits of our current civilization, that we can incorporate into our scheme of future living. We also have many, many reference books that we use as the need arises. But this article will focus on books that help us prepare for the collapse of society that we see coming. They are presented roughly in the order in which we discovered and read them.

  • James Howard Kunstler is the author of The Long Emergency and World Made By Hand.  We first read The Long Emergency which is not a novel, but a basic outline of

    what happens as the oil supply continues to gradually diminish. This book was one of the first that helped us to begin to formulate our plans for a future without electricity or modern conveniences. Kunstler puts together years of research from respected scientists and engineers in the petroleum field. Some of the data at this particular time, is five or six years old. But the concept that oil is going to, or has peaked, is real. His novel World Made By Hand is centered around an upstate New York community. This little town exhibits the effects of how life will be when the gears grind to a halt. He also has a few other books following World Made By Hand that are the same general theme and with some of the same characters. We enjoyed his books. They have an adult theme.


  • William R. Forstchen is the author of One Second After. It was one of the first collapse type books that we read, maybe not the first, but one of them. It’s basic concept is that there is a collapse that is the after effects of an EMP, electromagnetic pulse, which is the results of an explosion from a high level

    nuclear device that disables most, if not all, electronic components. EMP scenarios are easy to define, one second everything is good, one second after, things are not. I guess it being one of our first, I enjoyed it the most. It’s story line was based on a small community, what they needed to do to survive and how they did it. It’s good reading. It’s written on a higher quality level than a lot of the mass produced spin offs that occurred afterwards. It is an adult book, though. But then, I guess all of these books that we are getting ready to talk about are adult books with adult themes. 

  • James Wesley Rawles is the author of How to Survive the End of The World As We Know It which we would

    recommend that everyone have on their shelf. It is not a novel, but it is a well defined list of items that you will need to survive the end of the world as we know it. We have given this book as a gift many times. It is an excellent reference manual. To the best of my knowledge, Patriots is the first in his series of novels that supports this same general theme. He has published three or four good novels, well worth the read, about different scenarios where a handful of individuals try to get home or to their retreat. Again, well worth the read. Like the others mentioned above, his books are adult themed, but there is no language or sexual references. Jim Rawles is also the author of the highly successful SurvialBlog.



  • Laura Ingalls Wilder is the author of the Little House on the Prairie series. Her books are a collection of experiences about life as she and her family experienced. Most folks will remember the TV series named Little House on the Prairie. Her

    books are fun and easy to read, with multiple experiences about how her family survived, sometimes in extremely harsh and hostile conditions. You can learn a lot from these books, and you can also read these to your children, grandchildren and husband. These books can be read and enjoyed by even the youngest reader. I would recommend this set of books be on every homestead’s bookshelf. These books are not apocalyptic, they’re about life’s experiences that occurred during her life growing up. There is a chance many of us will experience these same conditions again. Appropriate for any age level.

  • Cormac McCarthy is the author of The Road. Most folks will think of The Road as a video, and it is, and it is a very good video, too. It is one of the few we have watched in the last six years. But if you like the video, read the book. This book is

    about collapse and how a father and son deal with day to day hardships. This is not a bright, sunshiny type novel or video for that matter. It deals with some of the darker sides of life, that, as a general rule, most of us don’t like to think about. I’m not talking about the devil or zombies, here. Just things that the human being is capable of doing to another. This book is unquestionably adult themed, as is the video. But, if you have the time, I would recommend you read it. It is very well written, but it deals with some very dark subjects.

 

  •  A. American is the author of Going Home and three more books in this series, and maybe more to come. The main character is traveling on business and is stranded away from home. This first book, Going Home, is about the encounters he

    has in his endeavors to get home. He meets some very interesting people along the way, and some of these characters carry through into his other books. These are easy to read, they are all adult themed. But his books are about how he, his family and friends survive. Having said that, we found his books to be some of the most realistic of the collapse type series that we have read. The reason the main character is walking home is because of an EMP. One second good, everything after that, not.

  • Glen Tate is the author of the 299 Days series. His series of books are based on how he, his family, friends and community survive a collapse. This collapse is not sudden and abrupt. He

    can see the changes occurring in society and the books discuss his preparations to deal with the collapse he sees coming. His is a very realistic type series also. His biggest issue is his wife who is not on board to the idea at all. We found this to be an easy read, enjoyable. It deals a lot with community, and I hope he comes out with more in his series. These books are adult themed. If you have the time, I would recommend this reading series.

  • Colonel Oliver North is the author of a series of books, including his newest book, Counterfeit Lies, which is the first one we read, but not the first in this series. He had a series of books before this, which we are reading now. As you can imagine, his books are military based, dealing with conflicts around the world. If

    you don’t remember Colonel Oliver North, but the name sounds familiar, he was the non-fiction character in the Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan administration. We are finding his books to be very enjoyable, highly interesting, and the excitement just never seems to stop coming. His books are not based on collapse, or survivalism, or preparedness. But his novels certainly provide you with food for thought about what could happen in our world at a moments notice. I’m surprised, but he is a very good writer. His books for the most part are adult themed, dealing with military type situations. If this is your forte, they are well worth the read. Not surprisingly, he writes with a feeling of authority and knowledge. This series is the first we have read entirely as ebooks on a Kindle.

  • Thomas A. Lewis is the author of Brace for Impact, Surviving

    the Crash of the Industrial Age. We found this book thanks to an email from one of our readers. So far we have only read the introduction, but it appears to be a promising read. This book is not a novel, but based on the author’s experiences over many years.

There are some other books we have read along the way that we just can’t recommend. Sometimes it’s hard to pick out a new author. You can’t help but wonder if it will be just another shoot em’ up zombie thriller, or something you can walk away from pondering. We hope you enjoy some of the titles we have recommended. If you have read some books and you think the audience here would enjoy them, please give the title, author and a brief description. We are always looking for new books to read.

Take care.

Frank and Fern
 

Preparing the Harvest

Hello, Fern here. I wanted to steal Frank’s line, just this once. Our garden is still providing us more than enough food, even though for a while it was sorely neglected and the weather has turned off very hot and humid.

Before, during and after Frank’s surgery the garden didn’t get hardly any attention at all and I was glad it really wasn’t producing much. I did wonder if it would produce at all this year, but didn’t really give it much thought. I was busy. But now, in the middle of August in the blistering heat, the green beans are finally producing and the tomatoes are just amazing. We would get a whole lot more okra if I would pick it more regularly, and the same goes for the purple hull peas. For the last couple of days the harvest has been good so I thought I would share it with you.

I have picked green beans all of four times this year. Isn’t that odd? We had a meal or two from the first mess, then I snapped, washed and stored the last picking. Now I have a bucket that’s almost 3/4 full from today’s harvest. Outside of those little green worms that like the mature beans and the grasshoppers working over the leaves some, the plants continue to bloom and bring forth beans. I told you a while back that I gave the beans some wood ashes for potassium after I gave them milk for calcium. I don’t know if that is what made the difference or if they were just told to wait until I had time to tend to them. I really think it is the latter.

The purple hull peas patiently await my arrival to pick them. If I don’t get there in time, they just dry on the vine and continue to wait for me. I planted a lot more this year with the intent of using some of them for animal feed, which is happening. When they are already dried on the vine, I feed them to the goats and chickens, both of which have come to clean them up quickly when they see what I have brought. We haven’t kept any to store for winter which was a goal, it just hasn’t happened this year. The plants have really vined out this summer. I don’t remember the vines being so long and intertwined last year or the year before. We have gotten more rain and had a cooler summer overall, but I don’t know if that is the reason. The way they have grown this year makes me think they would do better on a trellis.

The peppers are steadily producing, just not in large quantities. The first batch of jalapeno peppers I picked didn’t get processed, so I had to throw them out. Funny the animals don’t care for such hot peppers. The next batch got chopped up and frozen. I haven’t tried this before but know people that do, so I thought I would try it. I will do the same with some of the sweet peppers.

The okra is steadily producing, and we are freezing it up by the quart in freezer bags, if there is any left over after we have had some for dinner.

The tomatoes have surprised me. We have not canned anything since Frank’s back surgery in early July. Once the tomatoes started ripening, I knew I would have to do something with them or they would all end up being chicken feed. I had read about people freezing their tomatoes for later use. Then I talked to my friend Grace and she said she had done the same thing. One benefit of freezing the tomatoes is not having to blanch them when you thaw them out. That will save time and propane when I thaw them out to can or make salsa. This has given me yet another opportunity to learn something new. We now have about nine gallons of tomatoes in the freezer which I think is very interesting.

Wilson, aka Frank

  

I finally dug up all of the carrots except the one that is going to seed. It has fallen over the top is so heavy and the carrot is so small. It is almost time to pull it up, I think. Our harvest yielded about a gallon after I sliced them up. We would still like to have many more, but it is better than last year. There are more carrots and they aren’t all gnarled up.

I hope to start up the canner again tomorrow with the carrots and green beans. Maybe next week I will have enough purple hull peas to can up a batch. We have always canned our garden together, with Frank handling the heavy stuff, but he can’t do that just yet. He is recuperating well, but still has restrictions to follow until he is released for full activity. We have had a slow, peaceful summer and plan to keep it that way. I really believe our garden was told to slow down and wait until I could tend to it and the food it is producing. It is an odd feeling. I know we are blessed and cared for, and I am deeply grateful.

Until next time – Fern

Another Level of Control

Here a week or two back my mother-in-law’s washing machine decided to quit. Guy came and looked at it, told her what it needed. He didn’t charge her anything, and said he could replace the motor, but it’s still an old machine, and it will break down again. He recommended she buy a new one. So, a couple of days later, she had this new washing machine that had some electronic gizmos on it that I had never seen or, actually, never heard of. And, please forgive me here, but I just thought that my dear mother-in-law had been taken for a ride by the appliance store. 

Well, let’s jump ahead a couple of weeks. This Saturday my washing machine decided it was going to retire and it quit. I checked all of the usual. Yes, there was water pressure, it was not the circuit breaker and there was electricity at the outlet. Since it was a mechanical unit, I tried some thumping, poking and prodding here and there, but still no life. And, at this stage right now in my back recovery, I cannot bend over and do the research I would normally do on a piece of equipment. 

Having decided to join the realm of my classy neighbors, there is now a washing machine sitting out in the yard. Think it can be used as a giant planter? Oh well, that one will just have to wait for another time. This happened on a Saturday afternoon. Monday it was time to buy a brand new washing machine. And, do you know what? You can’t buy a regular old washing machine anymore, that doesn’t have multiple energy saving features, all those little electronic gizmos that I snickered at my mother-in-law about. Well, here is my apology. 

My question is, “Why can’t clothes be washed in cold water if I want to?” Now, I bought the bottom of the line that meets my need, but, it has a sensor that automatically adds warm water if my cold water is too cold. It will not allow the tub to be filled up and just wash one pair of jeans, even if you want to. And here is the one that really gets me. If you fill the machine up and let it sit for too long, it will automatically empty the machine. Now, this is not a water saving feature, so it has to be a safety feature. Can somebody in our government please explain why having a tub full of water is a safety problem? You might ask why I didn’t go to a different appliance dealer. Well, something strange happened that day. The person that sold us the washing machine, was extremely knowledgeable about the products she was selling. I’m not being facetious here, she was really very knowledgeable and competent. She assured me that any new machine available, would come with these types of features.

Now the government tells us how much water we can flush in our toilets. Tells us what kind of light bulbs we can’t use. Will not allow us, if we’re in New York City to buy a super large vessel of soda pop. Why is it any of their business how much water we use in our washing machines? Well, actually I can understand the cold water logic a little bit. Some detergents will not dissolve well in cold water. But, you know, I think I’m smart enough to add warm water to cold water and get my detergent to dissolve. I am sick and tired of government intrusion into my life. But it doesn’t make any difference what I think. I’m not trying to sound calloused or cold here, but it doesn’t make any difference what you think either. The government is going to do what it wants to, any time it wants to, and it doesn’t care one bit what you, I or my mother-in-law think. Did anybody ask any of you how you wanted your washing machine regulated? I don’t recall voting on that anywhere. Was that on some agenda I missed? That’s right, I forgot, it’s on the Socialist agenda. And again, I am not blaming the current administration for all of these problems, because I can feel the fingertips of an environmentalist, former Vice President of the United States all over this one. It’s just one more way to control. We have no vote and nobody cares one way or the other what anybody thinks. 

But I fooled them. I have a thirty year old toilet. I nicknamed it my Flush Master 2000. And when I feel really, really defiant, I get up, run in the bathroom, and flush that thing. Stand way back folks, cause you don’t want to get your tie caught in it. Gotta have a little humor, or we’re all going to go insane.

So, what’s it going to be next? I don’t know what’s going to be next. But we all know it’s not going to be good. When is the last time our government did something good for working, middle class America? I’ve been watching this come for years and years and years, and folks, we all know that it ain’t gonna get no better. Better be getting ready.

Go to some garage sale and find a Flush Master 2000. If the porcelain is not cracked, all the internal components are easily replaceable. It will give you the feeling of independence and power. Then when you get finished, go get a 64oz. Big Gulp, cause we don’t live in New York City. Well, I hope to feel better for at least a little while. 

If I were you, I would keep a real close eye on what’s happening in Ferguson, Missouri. The truth about that incident, which was tragic, is going to be real hard to come by. Summer is still hot. I would just be paying attention to that real close. Last year they tried to get the Trayvon Martin tragedy going and it just didn’t catch on. My compliments to the people. But if this one in Missouri catches on, and I’m sure they will pour every bit of fuel on this fire they can, it would be a good time to know where you are, and your loved ones are. Keep your gas tanks full and don’t be someplace where you shouldn’t be. All it

takes is one match and this thing could light up every major city in this country. And I don’t put it past our people in charge, to pull something off like this. It hurts me to see what our country has come to. Pay attention. Stay out of the Middle East. Avoid Africa and anybody just returning from there. Hug your kids, kiss your wife, or husband, and enjoy a Snickers on me.

We’ll talk more later. Frank