Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Preparedness

 

Coreopsis Lanceolata

Enjoying the beauty of nature is important to mental health. It's also tied to physical health because it often reduces stress in people, and we all know how critical dealing well with stress is.

The photo above of the lance-leaf tickseed above (from the garden bed by my house) really has nothing to do with the subject of preparedness, but it is pretty and, therefore, I want to include it in this post.

This year, as in the past thirty some years, I have grown food in order to "prepare" for the coming winters. In the case of those of us in the north, there's also spring and fall in which to rely upon harvest. We can never be too prepared, can we? 

Every year, I stock up on essentials just in case we get a blizzard and end up stuck in the house for days on end. I also grow as much of my own food (herbs, some berries, and vegetables - I have to buy most fruit). I love trekking to the woods and finding wild blackberries and mushrooms. I have just this year discovered wood sorrel and other delectable salad fixings. Putting food away in the forms of canned, dehydrated, and frozen goods has been therapeutic - and necessary for our family.

I have watched some great online videos and read books and articles concerning the importance of making "prepping" more of a priority than ever before. For the most part, I would have to agree. I don't know if you have noticed, but grocery products have soared in price over the last few months. So have gas prices - both automobile gasoline and heating gas (lp and natural gas). Then there are lumber prices. That's the one everyone talks about these days. And have you thought about purchasing a home? Forget it unless you want to make an offer above and beyond the listed price of whatever property you can actually find available.

No matter what the cause of the rising prices (I have my own theories, but do not wish to elaborate), times are getting tougher for most of us and they are probably going to get a whole lot tougher in the coming days ahead.

The question remains, though. Can we be too prepared? Is there such a thing?

In my own opinion, I would have to say that we can surely overdo it. The reason I think that way is because I know that, as a Christian, I must rely upon God. He said in the Gospel of Matthew that He cares for the lillies and the birds - how much more does He care for us? He has promised to take care of our needs (not our wants - don't confuse them). 

I do believe that part of that providing comes through opportunities to grow and harvest, and then preserve the harvest. I do believe that the Lord expects us to be prepared. Proverbs 6:6-8 says, "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provideth her meat in the summer and gathereth her food in the harvest." (KJV)

Proverbs 31 says in verses 10-31:

"A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate."

 So, God does expect us to make the best use of our resources and be ready. Yet, we can become so focused on our efforts to provide for ourselves that we forget the One who is the real provider. We can do nothing good apart from Him.

And that leads in to which we really need to prepare. Yes, we need to prepare for difficult "moments" in time. But there is certainly something far more important that should grab our attentions and help us to become even more "prepared". 

ETERNITY

I believe, by drawing heavily upon what the Bible says about the future, this world is moving rapidly toward that which Ezekiel and the Book of  Revelation speak about. And not just those two Biblical books. Daniel speaks of the great tribulation. 

1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 says, "Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, 'Peace and safety,' destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape." (NIV) 

Obviously, we are to be ready for the Lord Jesus Christ's return. It could happen today, next month, next year, whenever. We don't know the "day nor the hour". But we can discern the times. Things are unsteady in the middle east. Things are unsteady in the United States. Things are unsteady in the Church - yes, the (collective) Church has been moving away from the Church in Philadelphia and becoming more and more the Church in Laodicea. I don't know about you, but I really do NOT want the Lord to spit me out of HIs mouth. 

So, my conclusion concerning preparedness is that to prepare for the physical needs of our families is good. It affects mental and physical health. It's what we should do as Proverbs 31 women. But to prepare for the coming "taking away" (or rapture) of Christ's Church is even more important. This affects our spiritual state - which Jesus said is more important than the body (Matthew 10:28).

* I know that not everyone agrees concerning a pre-tribulation rapture. Some believe it will happen mid-tribulation or even post-tribulation. I don't think that's the crux of the matter. Christ is coming for HIs bride. We are told to be watching and be ready. I look up every morning and wonder, is this day? Personally speaking, I can't wait.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Menu Plan Monday - June 7, 2021

 


I have taken a break from blogging for a short while, mostly due to busyness, but also due to just feeling as if nothing matters in this world, least of all homemaking. However, while I am still busy, I also believe that having a voice about conservative things - and homemaking as well - matters. The United States of America, as well as the rest of the world, is in a bit of *Ahem* disarray. Everyone is looking for something or someone to solve their problems. But the fact of the matter is, there is nobody or no thing that will do the job other than Jesus Christ. Today I can continue blogging and talking about what matters to me - faith. We still have that freedom and I refuse to take it for granted.

I also believe that planning is important, but I don't hold too tightly to it. I plan with the knowledge that tomorrow is not guaranteed. I plan while keeping in mind that "God willing" I will be able to complete a task or a trip or whatever. And menu planning is at the top of my list. It helps me stay organized and I never have to waste time wondering what's for supper. I only have to look at the list on my refrigerator.

My garden is hopping right along and that means fresh vegetables for the table and maybe a full freezer and pantry for the winter months later on.

Wishing you a blessed week and, God willing, I will post more often.

Monday

BBQ (smoke flavored) ribs in crock-pot

Baked potatoes in microwave

Green beans

Tuesday

Sicilian Supper

Garden salads

Birthday cake & ice-cream

Wednesday

Cauliflower Shepherd's Pie

Thursday

Left-overs

Friday

Pizza & pop

Saturday

Eating out with a gift from friends

Sunday

On your own

Monday, January 25, 2021

Menu Plan Monday - January 25, 2021

 

Our warm winter is coming to an end and the cold has begun in earnest. I guess that we people in the northern part of the country should expect that, but of course it throws us into a tizzy when it happens. December and January is not normally nearly as warm as it has been (sometimes days with temperatures well above freezing) so I will be grateful for what I had.

On Friday, I went to the barn to feed my two ewes when I took a peek into my daughter's goat stall. Standing there was a tiny buckling, dried off but shivering. We left him with his mother until Saturday morning, but noticed then that he was very cold and could not nurse. After some research, we determined that he was hypothermic and simply could not latch on enough to nurse. At that point, we had to bring him in the house and get him warm really quick. We did give him supplements along with colostrum from the mother goat. Well, long story short - when this happens you just have to keep the baby inside in the warmth until the cold snap ends or he's big enough to withstand the temperatures. 

So...we are keeping this little guy in the house and bringing him outside every two to three hours (with a doggie jacket on) to nurse from his mother. Then, we take a screaming baby from his screaming mother and bring him back inside, where he basks in the warmth on the hearth rug in front of the wood burner. No kidding. Lots of fun. By the way, this is a nigerian dwarf goat and he's really tiny. Right now he's 5 lbs. and gaining weight slowly. Lots of energy and pretty spunky when he's not sleeping.


For this week's menu plan, I decided to do some warming soups. Thursday has become our left-over night, but often I find we don't have left-overs. We do have grown boys that eat a lot 😃. On those days, I just search through the freezer and pantry and try to come up with something easy. Sometimes it's a package of hot dogs (which I loathe but they can come in handy) or a can of whatever. I do prefer to have a plan, though. Here's mine:

Monday

Cheeseburger Soup

Tuesday

Vegetable (with cabbage) Soup

Parmesan Chicken Strips with Salads

Baked Potatoes

Wednesday

One Pot Ham and Veggie Pasta

Thursday

Left-overs and Whatever Else

Friday

Pizza

Saturday

Brats

Warm Potato Salad with Capers

Baked Beans

Sunday

On Your Own


Monday, January 18, 2021

Menu Plan Monday - January 18, 2021

 

Many years later, and I'm still getting most of my recipes from my collection of cookbooks - real ones that I can hold and sift through. I took most of my menu plan this week from the three books below: The Ohio State Grange Cook Book, Conservation Officers Cooking T.I.P.S., and my mother's handwritten Favorite Recipes. In March of this year, my mom will have been in Heaven for five years. I still miss her dearly and making some of these dishes gives me comfort. After the plan I will share a recipe from that little book.



Monday

Pineapple Glazed Pork Loin Chops
Cornbread
Mixed Veggies

Tuesday

Turkey and Gravy
Baked Potatoes
Stir Fried Zucchini Slices (from freezer)

Wednesday

Goulash
Creole Beans (recipe below)

Thursday

Left-Overs

Friday

Pizza

Saturday

Tacos
Chips & Salsa

Sunday

On Your Own

Creole Beans

2 1/2 cups of green beans
1 TBSP chopped onions
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup chili sauce

Cook onions on medium low in oil until soft. Add beans and salt. Cook until heated through, stirring often. Then add chili sauce and heat well.

Monday, January 04, 2021

Menu Plan Monday - January 4, 2021

 


So, what to create for dinners (or as we Hoosiers always say, suppers) this first week in the year 2021. If I'm honest, I will admit that my heart isn't really in the menu plan this time, but that's the way it goes. When you are a planner and someone who likes to have everything structured, you continue to go ahead with the plans regardless of how you feel. Yesterday, I looked through my pantry and freezers before throwing together a plan. 

That's the best way to prepare a weekly menu, you know. The late planning is not ideal, but deciding what you want for meals by using ingredients that you already have on hand is. Being wise in all aspects of our lives is important and spending extra money at the grocery store to prepare whatever sounds good at the time is not the best thing. I want to save money, not spend it all needlessly.

Then, there's the whole thing about how I wanted a large garden and tons of canned (frozen and dried too) goods available in the winter. Now it's winter and I need to be using those foods to feed the family nourishing food. One vegetable that I grew a lot of this last summer is squash. I ran out of good storage places for squash, so I decided to put them under our bed. I read that this is a good idea. I'm happy to say it has been a fantastic place, as the squash are still in great shape and we have been enjoying them since harvest in September.

Happy New Year and may you be blessed in your own planning endeavors.


Monday

Chili 

Muffins

Tuesday

Chicken and Rice

Brussels Sprouts

Wednesday

Sausage Stuffed Squash

Baked Potatoes

Salads

Thursday

Enchiladas

Salads

Friday

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

BBQ Ribs

Potatoes

Peas

Sunday

On Your Own

Monday, December 28, 2020

Menu Plan Monday - December 28, 2020

 


Happy Menu Plan Monday - the last in 2020.

If you're anything like me, I think you will agree that 2020 has been less than desirable and an end to it sounds grand. While our calendar changes to another year, however, please keep in mind that God's perfect timing does not include parameters such as the Gregorian calendar. That's sort of for us because we have such finite minds ....

I have slipped on posting my menu plans and hope to rectify that by being more consistent. I have, however, been very good at planning and posting my menu on our refrigerator for the family to see - and stop asking what's for supper.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and best wishes to the new year ahead. I don't think that things are going to look any different than they do now and probably won't be any better, but that doesn't mean that we can't celebrate the freedoms that we do still have. And we can still feast with whatever we have available.

Monday

Pork Roast

Baked Potatoes

Green Beans

Homemade White Bread

Tuesday

Spaghetti

Broccoli

Garden Salads

Wednesday

Beef Stew (minus barley)

Thursday

Cheesy Chicken and Noodle Casserole

Peas

Friday - New Year's Day

Pizza & Pop

Saturday

Burgers and Brats (Hopefully grilled - depends on weather)

Potato Salad

Chips & Dip

Sunday 

On Your Own

Monday, November 23, 2020

Making the Home a Little Better - One Day at a Time

 


As most of you know, we live in northern Michigan on a small plot of land where the sun seldom shines - quite literally. Our house sits in a "valley" with a large hill covered in trees (the hill used to be part of the first ski club in the state) to the East and a tremendous amount of trees to the West. By the time the sun gets over the ski hill, the clock has turned to noon. My garden is on a small hill on the east side of the property and it gets as much sun as it can get anywhere close. The sunniest place is in our yard (facing south) and that is where I chose to put my greenhouse last spring. That turned out to be a good choice.

I have struggled over the years we have lived in the northern woodlands to make the most of what I have been given. I do not like snow and what do I get? An average of 136 inches a year, give or take. The cold season lingers and I swear that we only get winter and summer, with winter taking the larger portion of the year. I count myself fortunate in those years that summer lasts more than two months. 

This year I had the greenhouse and what a blessing that was! I was able to start plants in the house in April, then move them to the greenhouse early May. It was still cold outside (in the 50 degree Fahrenheit range) with snow still lingering over the garden bed. Take the gloom and doom of everyone shouting COVID, and it was not a very fun time.

But here is the blessing. I was laid off work since libraries were not considered to be "essential" in Michigan. I had time on my hands to do that which really matters to me. I was able to start numerous plants and work to keep them warm in the greenhouse with the occasional aid of an electric heater. I was able to place those young plants outside in the garden toward the end of May, when they should be planted.

I was able to bless others. I had so many tomato plants that grew suckers that I clipped them, placed them in water, and waited for sprouting to occur. And it did. I gave away close to twenty tomato plants that were all started from suckers. I was told later that those plants were strong, healthy, and provided their owners with a whole lot of beautiful tomatoes.

My husband and I raise wild species of waterfowl and pheasants on our farm. We also raise sheep and goats along with chickens. How blessed we were to be able to spend more time with those animals, creating better and healthier environments for them. My husband was able to raise quite a few baby ducks and pheasants, as well as some quail, that we took to swap meets around Michigan and Indiana. We did a fairly good business and hope for an even better next summer.

Mandarin Duck

So, how did we make our home a little better this year? I think that maybe the best thing we did was to work on our home business and the farm. I had such a huge success with the tomatoes in my new greenhouse that I canned a lot of them. We now have a good stock of salsa, tomatoes, and sauce on hand for the winter. I found lots of beans (black beans, navy beans, and pinto beans) at great prices at the bulk food store in Shipshewana, Indiana while on a trip to the swap meet with our birds. Guess what is canned and ready for meals this winter? You guessed it - beans! And not only that. I have canned salsa verde (tomatillo overload in the garden this year), many varieties of jam, vegetable broth, sauerkraut, sweet pickles and also dills, and even elderberry syrup (my dad's recipe). 

The freezer is full too. 

I had meant to do a lot of spring cleaning in the house, but that never happened. Now, my plan is to fall clean, which may turn into winter clean. I have already got a good start on the living room. 

I'm back to work and our library remains open. Nothing looks the same and sometimes I panic. I wonder why Jesus hasn't come back yet. The news never reports anything good anymore. 

One thing I can do is my job as a wife and a mother. I can do my job as a Christian, being sure that I am faithful to spread the Good News of Salvation. 

The Bible says that God does not operate on our time scale. He knows when the moment is right and that is when Jesus will come and take us home - in the twinkling of an eye. Until then, it is my job to make my home - my piece of the world - a little better, one day at a time.