Thursday, December 29, 2011

Buttermilk on a Shelf

Repackaging for mid-term storage 1-4 years.
Along the lines of converting to a more pantry based menu I ordered Saco Powdered Buttermilk, 12-Ounce Cans (Pack of 6) after testing the powdered buttermilk we had bought last February from Niblack Foods in Rochester. Since I already bake bake & cook with powdered milk instead of fresh it's a nice alternative to having a cultured buttermilk product on the shelf.
Saco Foods, Inc. Middleton, Wisconsin.
Amazon worked out to be the better price even before I factor in that I bought the product with Amazon gift cards earned on Swagbucks (yeah me I've earned just over $400 this year).

Most if not all the bulk food orders are broken down for long term storage. The buttermilk powder was repackaged into pint mason jars that were sterilized for 10 minutes in boiling hot water, then air dried by the wood stove. Added one O2 absorber (bought last year from LDS website) per jar then vacuum sealed. The original expiration date is May 2015 but I'm sure with the air vacuumed, glass containers, and cool temps the buttermilk will be good for a year past that. I also froze the powder for a full week before repackaging to kill any an foreign matter much as I do when I repackage flour for extended term storage.
Cut out the directions from the manufactures containers to tape on each jar as a handy reference guide.

I left two in original packaging for immediate use, one went to a barter deal, the rest are sitting repackaged on a cellar shelf. Piece by piece I'm adding to our pantry and extend term food preps.

So far I've used this product to make Rye Bread, Buckwheat Pancakes, and of course sing it with me ...

Y'all ready to get busy? (huh huh!)

Now, buttermilk biscuits here we go

SIFT the flour roll the dough
Clap your hands and stomp your feet
Move your butt to the funky beat (huh huh)

This boy reminds me so much of my son and his dance routines back in the day. 
I miss those days my son.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Nut in my Coffee

A reader who read my post about coffee creamer on a syndicated news site that I'm linked to reminded me that my choice in creamers was an unhealthy one. And we homesteaders are nothing if not always striving to be healthy, right ?
One of the advantages of grocery shopping on Amazon is the expanded organic and hopefully healthy selection of items that due to both cost & local selection isn't always available to me.  So I wandered outside of my comfort zone (read addiction alley) and went with  MimicCreme Almond and Cashew Cream-Unsweetened, 16-Ounce (Pack of 6) Six 16 oz. cartons = $14.52 which included a promo code for a $2.56 discount. Today it's a few dollar's cheaper along with different package graphics. No shipping & handling because I ordered this as a subscribe & save.
Made in Albany, New York.

Would I order this again ?
I would despite the fact that I really prefer powdered fake coffee creamer, oh how I prefer it.
Product was as described and with enough Stevia good (ordered unsweetened due to diabetes).
I really enjoy that the other 5 cartons can be stored on a cellar shelf with out refrigeration. Right next to what is left of my order of artificial coffee creamer.

Raises a mug "Here's to drinking better", all the while thinking of the other creamer. 

~~ pelenaka ~~

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hung Out to Dry

There's been way too much drama going on here lately which is why the simple act of "doing laundry" felt so good these past few days. The wash wasn't done as old as school as I have in the past with a homemade rapid washer and a couple of plastic pails nor did I use the wringer . 
I also don't or rather haven't had a mechanical clothes dryer in over 7 years. I do have a swing arm wall mount clothes dryer that I adore even though it's been missing an arm for years. 

Thinking of painting the rack to match the walls perhaps after hubby replaces the missing arm. 
We bought this wooden clothes drying rack in Pennsylvania when Woodsrunner & I were on our honeymoon five years ago for $10. Since then I've bought another for $25 which I have yet to hang.
One drawback to small homes is lack of wall space. Which is why the drying rack is located here in the front room for all the world to see when they enter my home. That & there's a furnace duct directly underneath. The rack predates the wood stove by 3 years. Generally took a full 24 hours for clothes to dry when we ran the furnace.
Before buying this rack @ an antique store I used a floor model or as an old roommate who was British always referred to a clothes horse. There are several modern wall mount racksavailable on Amazon that have caught my eye. One or two styles would fit easily over a large picture window mounted on the wall.

Can't help myself but when the rack is open I always think of Mary Poppins
Usually when people stop by their comments range from what is it even if it is covered with damp clothes to my grandmother had one on her back porch.

Then for whatever reason, many feel the need to make the statement that they would just get a normal clothes drier (I'm not normal so why would I have a normal clothes drier).  By comparison I don't get such off comments when people stop by & I'm hanging laundry on the line. Most tell me they wish they had a place to hang a clothes line.
I smile, then casually mention our electric bill is never above $40.
Sometimes I discuss how clothes last longer when you don't subject them to extreme temps or the tumble factor.
Mostly I just am thankful that on that day, there were no stoppenfloppers or drawers hanging out to dry.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Packets of Hope on Sale (Giveaway Winner)

Thank you to everyone who gave a shout out about their gardening style and to those of you are new to following my urban homesteading blog.
I didn't use a random numbers generator to pick the winner, instead I simply wrote everyone's name down on a packet of seeds in pencil. I decided against marker in case I wanted to use them for a barter this Spring. I reached in & picked one from the bottom of the pile.

Grace, congrats ! I hope that this book will offer you much guidance @ your new place. Look for my email.

I scored a great deal last Sept. @ a farm store - 2011 seeds for 15¢ each. It took me like over an hour to go through the whole bin. People wandered over to see why there was a woman kneeling on the floor surrounded by three galvanized wash tubs. Must be something good one woman muttered as she walked over. Oh seeds is what she told her man as she walked away. He shrugged.
I know that there's a lot of advice against not using old seeds but I figure it this way - if dandelions can spreads seeds into sidewalk cracks and be successful, then I can certainly put out a garden using last year's seeds.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Devil Knocks You Down

And God picks you up.

Friday was one of those days that makes you glad your higher power had your back, and that being a preparedness minded individual is worth all that effort.

Friday @ 0600 I got a call from the in laws that Woodsrunner's 94 y.o. grandmother was in a hospital in Rochester. By 9:30 he was on the road headed north. By 10:30 he was broke down on the side of the thruway. We had let AAA lapse since neither of us was leaving city limits on any regular basis. Unfortunately as anyone who has ever been in a financial jam knows if it can break it will, so despite doing our do diligence with our little car's routine maintaince the devil choose his best opportunity to to give a big shove.

Quick phone call to me (I happen to be in Rochester well Webster area working as a chauffeur ) I remind him there's the emergency bucket in the cargo area. Bucket has items such hand warmers, urinal, first air kit, water, snacks, and road flares. There's also a few fleece blankets in the back seat. He ended up not needing it but we both agreed it's good to know that it's there.

By 11 he'd made his way limping along to a garage - $270. Wait for it ... part needed not available til Monday. At that moment he said he did feel a hot breath on the back of his neck.

Then God steps in.
By Noon I'm headed back toward Buffalo and as I just come up to THE exit he rings me for a pick up. I'm two minutes away and my employer is delighted she's help in this drama. After a quick prayer over our car all three of us our on our way. Hubby shares the back seat with her but thankfully no one mentions the bad hair day that makes me resemble Morgan Freeman.

Within a few hours I've finished my gig, we've rented a car their last one for their cheapest rate - and are again traveling to Roc City.

Then about an hour after being in the hospital with one of the sweetest ladies I have ever known I get a phone call from BPD. Your daughter has been hit by a car while on her bike. She's in the ER.
Two phone calls later one to the ER for a status update - waiting on us to sign her out no injuries just sore and yes they did find the index card inside her coat with medical info (a prepardness thing).
By the second call out to start a prayer chain I've start to breath easier.

We're waiting on the final police report but per Po Po it seemed to be both driver & bicyclist's fault. He mentioned that she was in the crosswalk when the car struck her. I'm not sure what that really means. Thankfully this occurred @ an intersection where the car had been @ a stop (debatable) instead of traveling along the city street. I was assured that texting wasn't in play here.

Daughter is more receptive to bicycle lightening. Both of are looking into some unique alternatives in addition to head & tail lights for our bikes. She was wearing heavy mittens & her Winter parka which kept her from having road rash but if it was Summer she would have been bare handed & in a t-shit and shorts. Looking into options for riding gloves.

~~ pelenaka ~~

Thursday, December 1, 2011

We Think We Can

Locomotive on display @ the Great New York State Fair 
We hit a bit of uneven track, hubby has officially joined the ranks of the unemployed.
This change up was suppose to come the end of this week but yesterday husband walked in the door with the news. We had been expecting it since early October, even before corporate sent word. There were tell tale signs for those who choose to read them. Shoppers shopping but not really spending. No longer was it the guy down the street who was laid off now it was a brother, a sister-in-law, or a partner. Recession was moving into the hood and the burbs.

So we began planning, putting pencil to paper, taking inventory of debts & goods assigning them a spot on teams.
Black is good.
Red not so much.
Grey is the worst, a short list of luxuries that border must haves. Hard to make that call because well it's not black or red it is grey.

When news of the company closing this branch hit our own six degrees, acquaintances and friends all asked what we would do. For those who really know us their comments were spoken to the tune of if anyone can handle this you people can. Good to be known as you people, lol.
We aren't in a situation like most in our crowd so yes we are those people.
No car note, cheap mortgage, a hearth to cook on, a bit of land to till.
The drive to learn the old ways even if it's gathered in cyber space.

It's all good.
We put this in God's hands.
Besides, the light @ the end of the tunnel isn't a train.
The lamps not lit.

~~ pelenaka ~~