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Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

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Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

Postby rj5156 » Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:07 pm

I am closing in on the techie stuff. Got all our devices talking bluetooth except the iphone, which will not do that. At least I can get the photos off the phone and onto a computer. Got most of the accounts I need for all the google play and istore and so on set up. Not managed to get an itunes account set up yet and we probably need to set up a shared account at some point.

Think I have all my usual sites with login and password info going again. Not gotten the cloud stuff going but I think it's on the list. I DO have google drive, we've got some dropbox and airdrop stuff that would help us share data and info between our phones and computers that neither of us has set up yet but it's on the list. Still trying to get processed to go ad-free with photobucket. Hacking up hairballs over that one but surely if I persist I can get there.

Ordered a micro USB to standard USB adapter. Should let me use a thumb drive in almost all our devices. I am learning to save things to the thumb dive each time for backup. Lot faster than trying to remember which device I used to do something and find a file on it later. Saves time doing backups too.

Got a bluetooth keyboard. Works great. Happy with that. Evaluating book readers. Kindle is pretty darned nosy about what it wants access to. Of course I have NO data on the device I want to put the reader on so it's only a matter of principle. Still.

Brian has discovered itunes and apps. Think he finally got the topographical map of the ENTIRE United States downloaded. He's getting quite an eclectic music selection too. He sent the Syd bird into dancing and singing transports of joy with his new bluetooth speaker Sunday. Don't think he'd ever experienced the sing-along cockatoo. He's running on the three month free trial and didn't think to set it up for the family sharing. He gets frustrated with it fairly quickly too...

I am trying to warm up to the iphone. I may have figured out how to send a text to my Mother on my iphone without having to set up an email address today. THAT has been driving me nuts.

Found the iHandy Carpenter apps and now own the set, ruler, protractor, carpenter's level, surface level and plum bob. Brian will be jealous. Syd is right. That DOES make it better! Starting to shop me some tunes for the first time since DRM started. I used to buy music online.

See if I can get a propitiatory cords and for jacking the audio out. Looking more seriously at bluetooth speakers myself because the small one Brian got so he can hear his phone for GPS directions and such really impressed me a lot. Like some BIG ones, at least a pair of them. And some mid-size and some smaller ones, and high shelves around the house to put them on. I grew up with a real house-shaking, neighbor irritating sound system and I can sure enjoy me some LOUD!!!

Wondering if anything I've got will talk with the new gadgets.
I've been right there on computer sound for a lot of years and only lost track of that in recent years when the music industry started with that Digital Rights Management nonsense and I could not transfer my music between devices without downgrading it.

Kicking and screaming into the modern day technology.
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Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

Postby rj5156 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:35 am

Feverfew
Tanacetum parthenium L.
Asteraceae

Feverfew is already getting big!

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It is a member of the aster family and allergies are fairly common. It should not be used by those taking aspirin or blood thinners. I took this, dried in capsules, three each day, for many years. I never had a migraine while taking it and had them often without it. Doesn’t seem to work for everyone. As a bonus it helped my arthritis and PMS. I finally outgrew migraines, mostly. I may have one once or twice a year now. I did stop taking it daily some years ago. It is said to help with migraines even in the acute phase. Next time I have one I will try that and let you know how it works for me. Number of other uses listed on this site:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3210009/

I will save seeds to share this year. Post about what I get collected when I get it done.
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Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

Postby rj5156 » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:37 am

What’s up at our place.

Squaw root
Conopholis americana
Orobanchaceae (Broomrape Family)

Mushroom hunters probably recognize this one. It grows as a parasite on oak roots, does not photosynthesize. It is reported to be edible, and used for women’s troubles, hence the common name.

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Lots more info here:

http://www.psu.edu/dept/nkbiology/natur ... wroot.html
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Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

Postby rj5156 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:17 pm

Thought we were losing our Gabby dog a couple weeks ago. She slept for days, we actually had to pick her up to move her and she slept through it. We thought she was just shutting down. She IS ancient. She got back up. Tom was an unexpected ally and helped coax her to eat. Now she is back to her usual self! Amazing.

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Hanging out with her friends.

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Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

Postby rj5156 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:19 pm

It took Gabby a couple weeks to get back up to speed. She was not even interested in food at first. Tom does not especially like dogfood but he is helping Gabby be interested here.

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And being company with her while she eats it. He has come a long ways since he arrived here. He is not just tolerating the dogs, now they are friends. I was thankful. We had not been able to coax her to eat anything ourselves.

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She finally tucked in like she liked it, and Tom left her to it.

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Everyone was worried about Gabby. Rambo is just touching her with his paw here, that's about as much as she can stand. They would all love to get her down and wallow her but she does NOT think that is fun!

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Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

Postby rj5156 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:20 pm

The dry goods business is not very interesting... When I got started on the spices I got a nasty surprise. Brand new bottle of mace I found on sale, never been used. The new cardboard seals on the new and improved flip-top jars have not been sealed very well. I am underwhelmed and irritated. We have just about finished replacing our spice collection and to have something go bad before we can even use it is a major bummer!

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Tried to get a shot showing the clumped mess in the bottle. Very sad.

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This arrangement is not going to work. We do fight some with humidity and I am not planning to lose any more spices. Individually they may not cost much (though some sure do!) but the collection is pretty expensive overall!

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It took me another day but I got them ALL sealed in jars under just light vacuum. Won't be finding rocks of tomato powder, garlic powder, etc. now! We might not own every spice and herb known yet, but we are closing in on it. We really love to use them too.

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Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

Postby rj5156 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:47 am

Found some frozen tamales at Sam's Club. Cooked us up a nice mexican dinner!

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Product review. We love cilantro! Hard to keep it fresh. May try fermenting some, it does not dry well either. Meantime, keeping a tube of this stuff in the fridge is a great compromise. It tastes wonderful!

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Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

Postby rj5156 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:56 am

Fermenting asparagus. Found it cheap at Sam's Club, that membership has really paid off for us. We got two pounds. Steamed one and ate it up. Found a recipe we liked for the rest of it. Usual brine, one tablespoon of kosher salt (non-iodized) per quart of filtered water. Half a dozen crushed garlic cloves and about as many whole peppercorns (to taste) in the bottom of the jar. Recipe said to wash and dry it first. Drying it seemed strange but we did it.


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Looks kind of murky but it sure smelled good!

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The recipe said to put the asparagus in the jar tip down for best results. It called for a sprig of fresh dill. Didn't get a shot but we tied that in cheesecloth and tucked it on top, then weighted it with a baggie of salt water and put another baggie over it as usual. Recipe promised we didn't need any pickle crisp to keep them crunchy so we did not use any. They ARE crunchy too! Think I already posted a shot of the finished asparagus. I could have liked it with some hot pepper in it too but it is yummy as it is! The asparagus taste shines through, the garlic and dill are surprisingly good with it. Couldn't taste the pepper really but it surely added something? Might crush them a little next time?

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Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

Postby rj5156 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 8:09 am

Got all my technical problems taken care of. I am totally portable and fully functional - and running on almost nothing for power!!! Doesn't get much better in my world:) Had to accept the cloud storage to get there. The tablet does not support a flash drive. I looked pretty hard at "rooting" it, which would allow me to use the external storage but also void my warrenty. If I had understood all that BEFORE I picked up the tablet for cheap I might have shopped harder and paid more for it but this is working for me. All I do is photos and text for the most part. I synced a gamail account and installed the photobucket app on the android devices. Off and running!

I even installed the kindle and nook apps in the end. No info on this device and it is about the size of a book. Not used it much yet but I am seeing I will love it! I've resisted the ebook thing for a long time but I am there now.

I think it was worth it. I can keep email up for Mom, it's her preferred communication. She never learned to love texting or chatting. She can sure enjoy a few hours on the phone too, and I think we've got that in good working order at last.
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Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

Postby rj5156 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:19 pm

I do not seem to have sense enough to stop lately. Soon be time to start work in the herb and vegetable garden and I am so close to finished with the pantry project that I may actually finish the closet too if I keep moving.

It is interesting and a little frightening to see how badly we dealt with our normally well-organized food storage in the past couple years. We had never lost any food to expiration but I have found a fair amount of stuff we moved in when the house was mostly habitable after the fire. Toted out a couple good-size boxes of badly expired canned goods and condiments just now. Depressing. Given the circumstances it is hardly surprising though.

It turned out to be a MUCH bigger job than I anticipated. I hate chaos. I have planned ahead and worked to keep the place as tidy as possible through the project. Drag out all the stuff after Brian leaves and try to have it all stowed when he gets home. Plenty going on otherwise too so I hit a lick whenever I can. The organization is the hardest part and I have at least a full day sorting when I am done packaging.

I had been avoiding thinking about where to put it all when I got it done. Been searching some online and looking at pictures of other people's pantrys! I happened to look up in discouragement one day, and noticed those 2 X 6 joists in the ceiling where the loft is. EUREKA moment! Since we have realized that dry goods in jars store fine on their side and started looking for smaller plastic totes to put vacuum bagged dry goods in the space between those joists looks a lot more interesting. Be next winter before that project goes very far but we have a solid plan for cabinets and dry goods storage at this point.



Back on top of the rotation again. I read someplace about learning to eat and enjoy what can be stored, rather than trying to store the sad stuff most folks eat. Thinking about what we can most easily grow from that perspective too. We've used a lot of convenience foods through the past few years and that is not normal for us. Some folks seem to think we have a lot of food. We know that one adult eats roughly a ton of food a year and we know we do not have a year supply on hand yet. Starting the rotaton over from scratch really set us back. We can see it from where we are now and we are adding interesting foods instead of just loading up on corn, pasta, beans and rice.

We had just started getting serious exploring South American traditional foods and started looking at traditional Asian food when we had the fire. Makes beans and rice and corn a lot more fun to eat. Went to the Patel Brothers Indian grocery recently. Found a whole new world of spices, lentils, pulses, grains and vegetables! Ordered "India The Cookbook" and we are off and running making our own healthy Indian food from scratch! Naturally we will try the junk food too;) Saving seeds from vegetables as we try them. See what will grow here. The prices for bulk dry goods are quite reasonable and we have added a sampling to our pantry. Be going back for more!

The workload for builds has hit high gear. Living on standby is nothing new for me but it makes everything more interesting!! I'll be putting in some quality time in there but everything else will stop when I get my medicinal herb order. It has to go in the ground as soon as I can get it there! Brian had a few days off before this round hit and managed to get the heavier yard work done for his Mom. He even got our grass mowed! I will be putting in some time with my Mom, getting her yard work done in the next week or so. Think I will volunteer to do some for Brian's Mom too. We all enjoy it and it is more fun working together.

Brian reminded me yesterday that I need to take a break sometimes, said he needs me in good shape. I agreed and here it is 4 o'clock and I have not had lunch yet... Sure did get a lot done today though;)
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Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

Postby rj5156 » Wed May 10, 2017 11:24 am

Been fairly boring lately. Not sure why but I sort of feel like I "should" have really interesting things to post about though I know it IS the everyday stuff of life that's the good stuff. I think the most important topics we have to share about are not things at all though, so I'll start back up with that.

We noticed a week or so ago that we were laughing about a story Brian told about his Dad. That it felt good to laugh. Brian has been taking the chicken house and pen his Dad built down so it is easier for his Mom to deal with mowing and yard work. His Mom is not particularly interested in dealing with chickens though she enjoyed them a great deal when his Dad had them and cared for them. It was a big concern when Brian's Dad was in the hospital so much, and then unable to care for the chickens. They said they did not know US. They informed us they had no intention of minding us. It was another layer of frustration and upset for everyone and I think the chicken setup is a visible reminder of that?

Our Dads both built things to withstand a hundred year storm. Brian was telling me about how his Dad used six inch long lag screws with eyes on them to hang a gate. Hard to get lumber that size on a scrounge budget so his Dad had nailed a couple boards together to make a post thick enough to take all that lag screw. Brian was shaking his head some talking about taking it apart.

He said he was taking the last lag screw out and heard his Dad plain as day "Now you put that up someplace. It's about good as new and you might need it sometime." Brian could not even imagine a situation where he might need that much lag screw with an eye on it but he said he tucked them up and felt his Dad approved. And we laughed because we DO experience this and it does not matter if it is "real" or if we are "imagining" it in the end, really.

Then we realized it didn't hurt. That it was good and we were thankful.
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Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

Postby rj5156 » Wed May 10, 2017 11:43 am

We have both been working really hard for some time lately. The due dates have been pushed up on a couple of jobs, I have a long list of things I hope to accomplish this summer - and I live on standby, we signed on to make a go of this huge build process quite some years ago and we are committed. If they need my help I drop everything and go. It is keeping me a lot more collected in our lives. I am living pretty caught-up and keeping ahead on everything I can. Not making plans ahead much, and those are subject to change. That's fine with me.

I have talked some about how far this undertaking has come. Just learned that we're part of a growing business again. Be a larger facility needed to build the latest job and we're curious to see how that evolves. Be more jobs building, better jobs running the finished equipment and a lot of long, hard, days in a row getting to that. Guess this is our definition of happiness at some level. We ARE part of building the things we want most to contribute and that is pretty gratifying.

The food storage project is pretty much done and it IS easy to keep up with now that we have a handle on it. Still a few odd bits here and there but we're feeling really on top of it and enjoying the rewards of a well-stocked and organized pantry again. Got some pics to share about things I'm learning with all that.

I realized last week that I could not remember the last time I just did something for fun, by myself. Most of my life I have taken me places and done fun things and had a great time, left when I was ready and enjoyed it all completely. Even in relationships it is rare for any two people to enjoy ALL the same things so I've put in a lot of time doing and going on my own over my life. We reached a point pretty early where we just said "yes" if our partner invited us to do something. I've done most things with Brian and honestly he is one of the very few people I enjoy doing things with more than I enjoy them on my own. I did remember to tell him so.

Anyway, Brian had a couple of weeks of very long days and I had it all in good order at home so I decided to take me to a plant nursery about 40 miles away. I always shop locally before ordering online and we have not had time to do that together. I did think to call Mom to see if she would like to join me, though that is not her idea of a really fun time. She has a pretty full schedule and wasn't able to make it. Think she would have gone just because I asked otherwise. I am trying to be more social. Not very good at it. Not sure I am getting better either. So I asked a friend who DOES like plants if they would like to go. Glad to have a few people I can imagine spending a day with and enjoying. Probably should do that while we are all still young enough to make the most of it? Short notice is not very good for most people so I got to go by myself.

I gave me an "A for effort" and counted it as a good try. Had a wonderful day out. Found a fair amount of plants on my list. Made a note to do things like this more often. I do enjoy my own company a lot and shame on me for not getting me out more. I'm working on making a deal with me that if I make the effort to be more social I can reward me with outings on my own. I may never be a social butterfly but I expect I can keep doing a little better?

Got to go to another local plant nursery with Brian last weekend. He is a lot of help, he remembers everything, he loves to drive and it hurts my shoulders and hands to drive so that's a bonus. I do not ride with anyone but Mom and Brian because I've had some pretty hair-raising learning opportunities about people that I would have given a lot to never know. Couple of people are fine with consuming alcohol when they drive and that's a sticky wicket to get out of and get home safe. We found LOTS of plants on our list and had them packed in pretty tight on the way home. Stopped a couple places to see if we could find more and of course we did. The gardenia tree didn't make it over the winter and when Brian found another we figured we could get it in with us somehow. I finished the ride home with my nose in the blooming gardenia tree, closely surrounded by plants I've been looking for. About as good as it gets in my world and I noticed I was feeling great about that - and a little bit anxious too.

Like if I am too happy something bad will happen.

I know better of course but we WERE really happy with everything in our lives when we had the fire and it sure went downhill faster and longer and a lot farther than we could have begun to imagine and in a strange way it makes sense. Explains a lot about unhappy people I have known. Glad I caught me thinking that. I watch me closely and pay attention to what is going through my head and how my emotions are behaving as a result, check my body for signs of tension and so on. I am sure I miss a lot anyhow because it looks like that is the big joke in the human condition. Other folks issues are as plain as the nose on our face but our own are carefully hidden behind layers of our unwillingness to face them, even when we try to be willing.

I am still thinking about it. I wonder if we set these traps for ourselves such that if we can't have EVERYTHING we want, or some ONE thing we want badly, we focus on that instead of what we do have and allow this to steal the happiness we could be enjoying. I see me doing a little bit of that and I am choosing to stop. My happiness does not depend on helping my community. It is ok for it to depend on me trying to help my community but I do not have any control over how my overtures are received. I am choosing to be glad for what we CAN do and just keep trying with the rest. I am seeing that I might choose to stop trying at some point and perhaps that is ok too. As long as I know I did my personal best that has to be good enough.

I'll bring that up for discussion and consideration with Brian at some point. I will think about it and see if I can do better with it first.
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Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

Postby rj5156 » Wed May 10, 2017 11:49 am

Right before this round of really long days and hard work started Brian told me it was upon us. (We knew this of course. We ALWAYS seem to know crunch time is coming long before anyone involved in scheduling and planning a big job figures it out. One of life's many mysteries.) He said he was choosing to be thankful for the work and the income, the security and stability financially. He went on to say he was choosing not to feel tired about it, that he had decided to bring his best attitude and enjoy it!

Ya'll have kind of seen the cycles of our work. It isn't like it used to be when we were just building big components on our own in our shop and it was ALL our responsibility. The stress level is a lot lower when it is someone else's responsibility overall and THEIR problem if something does not go as planned. We are appreciating that. When it was just us, building our reputation, we worked all day and all night more than once, until something was done and done right. With others involved there is someone to say "That is enough. Go home and get some sleep." There have been a couple situations that rated all day and most of a night but not many and boy does it build appreciation that we are willing to do it if need be.

I got right on board of course. I can do it all here. I can keep making progress on the projects and goals we want for us at home too. Can't say I like doing it all by myself as much as I enjoy doing it with Brian but I can enjoy it more knowing we are on the brink of another big leap in growth in the overall build - which has nothing to do with the little metal trinkets we put together. It is hard for us to describe what we have worked so long to build but we'll just keep showing you as it develops and maybe that's the best way.
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Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

Postby rj5156 » Wed May 10, 2017 11:57 am

When it is this easy to make someone's day, we try to just do it!

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Re: Homeless? Life After a House Fire.

Postby rj5156 » Wed May 10, 2017 1:11 pm

Looked for a recipe to use ham and found this! Link to recipe below. We have been looking for a base recipe to make our own skillet meals using bulk ingredients. The ratio is the deal. 8 ounces of pasta to 2 cups liquid came out perfect! It got very thick because I forgot to turn it off.

This one used chicken stock and a little half and half. We substituted canned evaporated milk. We used a couple handfuls of dried minced onion instead of fresh onion sauteed in a little butter. Tossed in a handful of chunked velveeta and a generous dollop of sour cream at the end. Rich and filling! Fast too, about 20 minutes. We doubled the recipe. Lunches for tomorrow.

Fermented garlic / dill asparagus with. Syd pigged out on fresh snow peas. We were so busy shoveling it in we did not get plated pics...

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Lots of ideas for variations in the comments following the recipe:

http://www.kevinandamanda.com/peas-ham- ... ent-307324
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