Independence Days Week V

Planted:  sunchokes, onion sets, 1 trombocino squash (two came up, one didn’t), pickling cucumbers.

Transplanted:  Harvest Gold rasberry bush, two rhubarb plants, 3 marconi red peppers, moved all the poblano peppers that did sprout into one bed.

Reduce Waste/Manage stores:  well, it rained two days so I didn’t need to water…and my plants are very happy.  Used rice from stores, beans from stores, pasta from stores (even though I really wanted fresh home made), potatoes from stores, meats from freezer.

Eat the food:  eggs, lettuce, bean soup from stored beans, frozen red peppers, frozen tomatoes (the last of last year’s). Corned beef with the last of the stored potatoes, pak choi from the garden, onion from the garden.

I lost one potato plant, I think we’ve been overwatering that pot.  We have made cages from garden fencing and black plastic so we can keep adding dirt to the potatoes.  We still need to finish, it’s surprisingly hard work and takes a lot of time to complete even with both of us working at it.

I’m so glad that Mr. Tin Foil is taking an interest.  He was an integral part of the freezer choice; he is even helping me with a project I’m doing for possible publication.  I can whip out wooden awnings like nobody’s business, but he suggested I use pvc.  Well, I’ve gone through about 4 full pieces now and still can’t get it right — I want it to look nice in addition to lasting and being inexpensive and easy to make — until Mr. Tin Foil figured out why I can’t get it right, spent 15 minutes on the internet, and ordered many of the piece I’m missing.  So, soon I’ll be posting on how to make attractive and inexpensive do it yourself awnings (redneck awnings as I call them).  My wooden ones look good, but in the Arizona sun they only last about three seasons.  I’m hoping the pvc will last longer.

Things heard at work.

“You know, working here really makes me hate people.”  — an ED RN.

Seriously, days like yesterday make me remember why I originally went to school for microbiology and immunology…so I wouldn’t have to deal with people.  And yesterday, it wasn’t even the patients.  It was the charge nurse and the doctors that made me want to tear my hair out and have a temper tantrum.

The originator of the above quote shall remain nameless but after a day like yesterday it sticks in my mind.  I don’t *actually* hate people, but I get sick of never being able to meet people’s expectations…..

I live for the day my bills are paid off other than maybe the mortgage so I can drop to part time.  I like my job much, much better when I don’t have to be there 3 – 5 days a week.

Am I the only one who feels this way?????

Overtime and Spending my pay

Overtime in the last two weeks: nearly 30 hours. I’m exhausted and sick of my job. But I am putting the money to good use: new 15 cubic foot freezer and an electric rototiller I bought from a coworker.

Next purchase next payday with my overtime: pergola for the back patio area; I was going to build one but I found one at Sears that is similar dimensions to what I was going to build for just about what I would spend in materials. Yes, it will be slightly less sturdy, but I am OK with that vs. possibly not getting around to building one at all this year.

I agonized over the freezer purchase but I do plan to buy a small solar array and have the freezer ultimately run off that exclusively. That way I can be assured that even with power outages or shutoffs (Gods forbid) we will have our food supply secured.

The rototiller is for getting rid of all the bermuda; I’m planning to sow red clover in the side yard before I till it under and plant amaranth for the chickens next year. I could just let them loose and let them pick it down to the ground this year as well.

Next big purchase after the pergola/arbor: wood stove, one of the 85% efficient ones that we can get a tax rebate for. And the permit. And the installation. As soon as I call our insurance company and make sure they won’t cancel our homeowner’s insurance if we get one (we live in a modular/mobile on a foundation).

Grain mill update:  love love LOVE my new nutrimill grain mill…7 cups of flour in about 5 minutes.  My only gripe is that it is LOUD.  Like have to wear earplugs kind of loud.

Independence Days IV


One of my coworkers is on leave, and another is no longer working with us…so I’m getting overtime.  This is good because I can pay cash for my new freezer to hold my meat and my preserves (some of them anyway) but this is bad because I’m only getting one day off in between working 2-4 days straight.  I’m one of those people who like my job — as long as I don’t have to spend a lot of time doing it.  I’m going to be in serious need of time off after this much overtime!

Plant something:  bush beans, Purple Queen pole beans, more Marconi Red peppers, more Hopi Black Dye sunflowers, cilantro, okra, more pickling cucumbers.  Bought two Black Beauty eggplants and transplanted them.

Harvested:  Lettuce.  Onion.  Eggs.

Reduce waste:  not so much.  I need to spend time at home to be conservationally minded/abled.

Food Prep/Storage:  I broke down and bought a Nutrimill grain mill…it’s great to have the Lehman’s Best hand crank one but if it never gets used because we all HATE taking 3 hours to make 7 cups of flour, it’s not a good purchase.  I put the Lehman’s on Craigslist but no takers, so I’ll be keeping it for possible emergency use, and to grind stuff for the chickens.  That Nutrimill is LOUD but amazing.  We ground 3 cups of flour in about that many minutes.  Even Mr. Tin Foil is excited about making our own flour for bread now.  I would really like to have a Country Living mill, but the price is prohibitive right now.  And I’m certain it will only become more so, unfortunately.

Build community food systems/security:  nada.  Just talking with people about the reality of industrial production — some of my coworkers were shocked that ‘free range’ eggs really aren’t.  And were disgusted at the conditions the birds live in due to the massive crowding.  Introduced many of my coworkers to the knowledge that it is legal to have chickens (well, hens at least) in their area and that they’re easy to raise.  Hopefully there will be a few new chicken owners soon!

Eat the food:  lettuce.  Cabbage to the birds.  Onions.  Eggs.  Home canned spaghetti sauce for Mother’s Day.  Preserved red peppers and onions in the sauce.

–We’ve had to have the AC on two days in a row now; we keep it at 83 but it’s over 100 outside and mucho miserable in the house without the ac.  The cats vomit if it’s hotter than 85 and that’s yucky to walk into let me tell you!

Carnival carrots sprouting; I have two mystery plants in the containers I planted marconi red pepper seeds in…I’ll just have to let them grow and see what they end up being!

Two volunteer cantaloupe seedlings in my asparagus bed left from last year.


I started a post about what one is not entitled to.  This thought led to some very interesting conversations, both before I started my draft and after, when people at work were on the same thought wave.  We have been inundated with – well, Mexicans (by nationality not necessarily ethnicity) – at work, and many many lower income lower socieoeconomic strata people lately.  They, many of them, seem to think that we ‘owe’ them something and take offense at the least appearance of slight.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that I’m discriminating against someone because of their insurance, race, sex, perceived sexual orientation recently.  Now, along with the pressures that I’ve been facing with the disintegration of my marriage, the destabilization of my job, and worry about the future, I simply don’t have the mental reserves or general optimism I used to have to be able to take the time to really think about what the motivations were for these peoples’ anger and dissatisfaction.

It finally dawned on me that it comes from resentment.  People have been fed this bullshit lie that they are entitled to the newest car, the best clothes, the nicest and biggest house, the most money, and probably most importantly, happiness as a 24/7 proposition.  No wonder they’re so resentful!  They come to the emergency room expecting the TV version of what happens — you get seen right away, you get whatever you want in the cleanest room, with the nicest and handsomest doctor, and the most pleasant nurse who attends to your every need.  And they are naturally demanding, because they have been led to expect that they will be treated as customers who are always right and whose every desire (note desire, not medical need) will be catered to.

Of course, this is not the reality.  When expectations don’t meet with reality, things go downhill.

One of the triage nurses who has worked at the facility for over 30 years told me of a woman she triaged a while ago; this woman was Mexican and Spanish speaking only , so through an interpreter she had to get the information about the woman’s reason for being there to be seen.  Well, she had just gotten emergency state insurance and was at our facility to get breast implants; it seems that she was led to believe that if she could just get insurance she could have whatever plastic surgery she desired.  Even though the triage nurse and the interpreter both spent about 15 minutes explaining to her that even if she had private insurance that still would not be covered, she didn’t believe them.  So she went to a room, cost the state several hundred dollars in emergency room and doctor fees, only to have the physician explain to her the exact same thing.  This is more common than you might realize.  People get upset that we won’t give them their prescriptions, that we only give them a paper script they have to take to a pharmacy and fill themselves.  They get upset that we won’t call them in (if we did that we’d have to hire a nurse to do nothing but that 24/7).  They get upset that we won’t give them a voucher for over the counter medications or prescriptions that cost a whopping $4.

As the social safety nets continue to break down, the level of resentment will only increase.  We are seeing more and more people that are in the emergency room because they have lost their jobs, don’t have insurance, and although they have a doctor, the doctor will see them on a cash only basis.  So when they get sick, or need medication refills, they come to the emergency room because they know they have to be seen.  Between the people who expect us to treat every little thing like it is a doctor’s office, and the people who can’t see their doctor due to no money, we have five and six hour waits lately just to get to a room.  Now admittedly that is better than in many parts of the country, but for us at our facility that is simply unheard of.  And it creates a problem of its own:  LWOT.

Left WithOut Treatment.  Why would this be a problem you ask?  Well, for one thing we didn’t see them; we failed in our duty.  For another, usually it’s the people with actual private insurance who leave; they have other options and while most of the time the wait isn’t any less anywhere else, they simply can’t stand the waiting any more and leave.  This hurts the hospital financially because the private insurance actually pays the bills.  State insurance pays about 5% or so less on average than it costs the hospital to provide services for the patient.

This means that hospital costs go up, for those that actually DO have insurance, which means that premiums go up, which increases costs to businesses and subscribers, which bumps more people out of the market of affordability for insurance…do you see a trend here?  If you want to know why insurance costs are so high, why healthcare is unaffordable (aside from the obvious greed of turning a service to one’s fellow man into a profit making machine) you need look no farther than here:  the gap between insured and uninsured.

We no longer have the money for it, but we need nationalized health insurance.  Not the crap Obama is proposing, which still benifits only those who can afford insurance and those running insurance companies and big pharma, but true access to doctors in their offices for all — preventative healthcare, not emergency room focused treatment.

If this trend continues, there will be more and more emergency rooms across the nation closing down.  As well as labor and delivery facilities.  We already had one of each close in our metropolitan area due to the overwhelming numbers of illegals and uninsured vs. insured patients.  It simply became too costly for the hospital to continue.  Which is sad because it was, at one time, a very nice facility with state of the art equipment and staff.  I would hate to see that happen to ours, but I can see it eventually coming without some serious changes in how we view these things.

Independence Days Week III

Wow, is it the third week of this already??

Plant something:  Carnival carrots, california sweet peppers, buckthorn for the chickens, cosmos, salad burnet, swiss chard, chichiquelite (it’s supposed to reduce gas when cooking beans) cantaloupe, trombocino squash.  Transplanted:  roma seedlings (four of five died from the heat tho), an early girl cutting I rooted, bianchi eggplant seedlings (and one of them died when one of my hens dug it up), and two marconi red pepper plants as I’m hedging my bets for peppers this year.  Lots of zucchini moved to different boxes.

Harvest something:  we at our first salads from the garden this week.  Onions from the perennial bed.

Preserve:  no.

Reduce waste:  Mr. Tin Foil Hat put together the composter that fell apart so I can use it again.  It’s only May and my other two are already nearly full; now that it’s getting hotter they’ll compost down quickly though.

Preparation and Storage:  bought another 25 lbs of pastry berries to mix with the whole wheat in making breads. Got my canning jars back from my son so I can make more pickled beets and jams.  Bought a new (to me) dehydrator because mine started cooking things instead of drying them.

Building community food systems:  shared with neighbor/friend my research on water filtration systems, the pluses and minuses of each, and what we have/why.

Eat the food:  spaghetti sauce from last year’s canning, with frozen peppers from last year and onions from the garden, the first home grown salads of the year, gave cherry jam to my son.

Plans for this week:  research new bigger freezer.  Make new awnings for more windows.  Put up better chicken fencing.  Plant more jerusalem artichokes.  Make firm plans with my friend Dana to share a beef with her in the fall (hence the new freezer).  Research wood stove options/installation.  Plant more stuff.


Between the chickens and the last frost we had, I just couldn’t seem to keep a zucchini plant alive…so I kept planting seeds thinking eventually I would get some good ones.

I now have Nine zucchini plants — I did have 10 but one died when I transplanted it…I only planned for 5 but I guess I’ll be putting up lots of zucchini!


When I first became a Pagan, as a conscious choice rather than a sort of subconscious philosophical belief system, I was very into “Pagan Unity” and uniting the various factions in my little community. I was looking for a solid group, with values and ethics, that was willing to mentor the new and challenge the mature. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one, and the one we ultimately spent a time in was um…well, not these things.  But we learned, and we put our energies into finding like minded people in our own area, attempting to create that haven where Pagans of all stripes could feel welcomed.

We started a group in our own area, we incorporated as a non profit, we worked our behinds off to try to create the group we had been looking for, knowing that there were others out there who also were looking for the same things.  And there were.  The problem is that everyone wants to run it for themselves. So now, seven years from that first searching, we have  a little group of friends and like minded people, a group less than half the size it was two years ago, that is probably in it for the long haul (barring moves to other parts of the country).  There is no point in being a nonprofit as we don’t have enough membership to bother with it, if indeed we ever did…we may have simply been entirely too ambitious and had too great expectations in that regard.  The idea was good, the timing was not.

I find that over the years, my interests have changed from ‘spirituality’ as something to be developed, something to be focused on in and of itself, to something that is integrated into my life.  Once upon a time, if I felt the need to meditate, I lit a candle, lit incense, and focused.  Now, I simply go into my garden and work.  If I want to work on spirituality, on connection with the Divine spirit, I also go into the garden or spend time watching my chickens.  If I want to work on fellowship, I call my friends, make plans, or simply think about how the food that I’m growing or my eggs nourish those that eat them.

I don’t know if this is a natural evolution but this is the path that I have ended up on.  Although I wish I lived closer to my friends, my fellow seekers, I am grateful to know them, grateful that I have ended up where I am.   And I am glad to realize that food is indeed most basic thing that knits us together, both in ourselves and to each other. The Egyptians have a word that means both ‘bread’ and life:  Aisha.  I think I’m beginning to understand the great spiritual message contained in that.

Independence Days Week II

Plant something:  Purple Queen Pole Beans (my bush beans got taken by a late frost).  Anaheim Chile seeds.  Yarrow.  Echinacea.  Sunflowers — Hopi Black Dye.  Transplanted Anaheim Chile starts, a flat of 6 because I am hedging my bets.

Harvest something:  not yet.

Preserve something:  also not yet.

Reduce Waste:  does not being home count?  Mentioned the amount of waste to one of the food service workers at the hospital where I work several weeks ago, now they are reducing their take away containers, and are going to be getting reusable cups for employees.  Asked at a local restaurant about their kitchen waste (both for compost and for my chickens), still waiting to hear if I can have it.

Preparation and Storage:  hmm…I don’t think so, other than buying yet MORE seeds…

Build Community Food Systems:  yes!  Got in touch with the woman who manages the community stables — now I have access to unlimited compost via horse and goat manure and moldy hay, and have volunteered my time and skill in helping to build the community garden she is starting!  Next Saturday will be my first morning there.  Unfortunately there’s a conflict as it’s also the big yearly get-together for my town, and there’s a parade, vendors, entertainment, and a rodeo so I’ll be going to support my community.

Eat the food:  onions from the garden, eggs from my girls.

I need to take photos of the new awnings I’m in the process of making so that I can email my submission to Groovy Green…yay!