why you need portable power

Having a “solar generator” is the next big thing!  And I had one, a Goal Zero Yeti 150 (which I’ve just sold, another story).  Basically, this is just a portable power pack that can be recharged via a solar array. Also, via your car and your home 110v electrical system.  BUT it can be charged via solar panels so it is not just portable, but allows for Glamping.

Today had a flat tire.  Fortunately, made it to a gas station, tried pumping in air, it leaked out about as fast as I pumped it in. Time for a tire change.  This is a fancy dancy new car, modern technology.  Friend and I, two women in our mid-60’s, neither of whom have ever changed a tire. First, read the manual which was so Germanically over technical it was difficult to understand.  Got out the parts, blocked the wheels, read the next stage.

Gentleman comes over to help.  Takes one look at the jack and says I’ve never seen one like that. and off he goes.

Fortunately, about then, my knight in shining pick up truck shows up and takes over the task of the tire change.

Now comes the fun part, we have to pump up the space saver spare.  The car even comes with an air compressor.  Can we figure out how to get to the battery to hook the damn thing up.  NO.  The women couldn’t figure out how to access the battery. The men couldn’t figure out how to access the battery.  We couldn’t figure out how to get power to the damn compressor!

Fortunately, we were at the gas station, they did have an air device that took credit cards!  Yes, it costs that much money to pump a tire with air.

the fun of figuring out how this tire worked is another story.  BUT the moral is, if we had been on the side of the road we would have been SOL because we couldn’t have used the air compressor, unless we had PORTABLE POWER!


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preserving dried foods

using the slow cooker, 2lbs of white beans, with bacon and left over pulled pork, other seasonings.  Measured out enough to fill one pint canning jar.  that was laid out on one drying sheet.  Then did 3 other sheets and one can for the fridge.  One pint jar is enough for sides for 2 people, or a big meal for one person.

IMG_0714 (1024x767)wet, straight out of the pot

IMG_0715 (1024x766)when one side was dried, or pretty much so, flipped and continued drying

IMG_0753 (1024x768) when completely dry, measured how much one sheet equaled as a dry cup.  since I know this was a wet pint, know I need one cup water (maybe a little more) to rehydrate one cup dry.

IMG_0755 (767x1024) all four cups of dried beans in a canning jar with lid.  Oven canned this; let it sit open in the oven while heating to temp, put the lid in for a while for the sealing compound to soften. then top on and screwed down the ring.  This pic taken before it was cool. when completely cool, lid sealed.  jar labeled and put away!

Posted in canning, dehydrating, homesteading, legumes, prepping, preserving, recipes, self-reliance, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

releasing the queen

The instructions with this package were to wait five days then remove the cork from the queen cage and replace with a marshmallow.  Its only been 4 (hived the package late Sunday and today is Thursday), but when I pulled out the cork, the queen walked right out of the cage, so into the hive she went.  Was unable to see any mark on her, so finding her may be a bit of a problem later on.

In other news, the bees have been busy building comb.  Found two that were set off at right angles to the top bars and pulled them right off. The bees were busiest right around where the queen cage had been hanging, so am taking that as a sign they were accepting her.  Hope I’m right!

Will leave them alone now for awhile.  Have been in there too much the last 4 days between the hiving of the package, moving the feeder and this morning.  We’re going away this weekend, so will stay out of the hive until we come back.

Did not get to take pictures this AM as only have two hands, so am going to get one of our employees his own bee net so he can be my photographer.  He’s fascinated with the bees, so doubt that he’ll mind. and Yes, I’ll ask him first!

Posted in bees, homesteading, organic, prepping, self-reliance, top bar hive, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

busy days in the garden


IMG_0741 (1024x768)installed the package of bees last night.  Opened it this AM to make sure they were there, and see how they are doing.  The skinny spacer slats are over the queen’s cage and the bees are all huddled around them.  Only a cork in the queen’s cage and the instructions are to wait 5 days, remove cork and replace with a marshmallow.  Think I may wait a bit less than the 5 days.

IMG_0743 (1024x768)two varieties of Shallots.  One is from store bought so have no clue. The other was a box of “seed” shallots bought at the supermarket and have no clue.  The store bought have the same kind of round leaves as onions, the box has a flat leaf like garlic.

IMG_0744 (1024x768) The round leaf variety is producing a scape, similar to how my flat leaf garlic does!

IMG_0745 (1024x768)Egyptian walking onions, getting ready to start walking!  When the bulbils form, clip them off and root them in a pot. yes they get crowded. In the fall split them up and plant them for spring harvest.

IMG_0746 (1024x768)The lemon balm which lived in that little grow bag last year is now directly in the dirt.  next to that is the Kiwi coming back, next to that is Arugula. First time growing arugula and here its more for the bees than for eating – although we will probably do that too.

IMG_0747 (1024x767)finally finished filling these growing containers, far left is misc. peppers.  have never had much luck with peppers no matter how they have been grown.  This section of the garden gets less sun than the other, so we’ll see what happens.  Next to that is bush zucchini

IMG_0748 (1024x766)Roma tomatoes

IMG_0749 (1024x767)Still getting light frost, so protection is in order.  Our last frost date is officially May 15, but we can have under 40 nights right through the end of May.  Do not have the patience for wall o waters.

IMG_0750 (1024x587)The Ghost garden.  this surrounds the zucchini and peppers.

Posted in bees, container gardening, gardening, garlic/onions, grow bags, homesteading, organic, peppers, prepping, self-reliance, squash, tomatoes, top bar hive, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

waiting for the bees


IMG_0735Hive box set up and waiting.  Feeder inside in the back, hard to see, but water hanging from tree; glass bowl with corks.  Bees coming earlier than expected, have to pick up at 1 rather than 2 which is all the better

IMG_0736Broccoli Raab, in the greenhouse. Using a piece of frost blanket as shade cloth. seems to be working fine so far in keeping the greenhouse just a little cooler by the south windows.

IMG_0737hard to see them, 5 tomato seedlings.  These are an heirloom, striped Roma. Indeterminate.  Have grown them in the greenhouse before and they did fine, so trying them again for an early start on some plants

IMG_0738The first shade cloth is up on the main garden bed.  Peas at the far end, hence that portion a bit higher.  Like using a shade cloth over the hoops, cause if I need to use frost blanket too, the shade cloth supports the frost blanket if it snows or gets wet.  Works so well, that a few years ago the hoops were crushed by the weight of the snow, rather than the frost blanket dripping down and touching the plants and/or ripped.  Easy enough to push the cloth back to water or work.

IMG_0739 On the east side of the garden, using hardware cloth as shade cloth.  It also works and is sturdier than the material, though not as wide.  Also have a piece of the hardware cloth up on the side to help protect the plants from sun and wind.

Clothes pins work well for holding all this down. and are easy to move if I want to push this all back to plant more.  The hoops are high enough, and the cloth narrow enough that I can water under them.

Sun is intense here, even in April, as we are at 4500 feet.  Later a full size shade cloth will go up and over the entire bedding area.  These cloths stay on as much as possible though as they help protect the plants from wind as well as sun.

Posted in container gardening, gardening, homesteading, legumes, organic, prepping, self-reliance, top bar hive, Uncategorized, water | 1 Comment

pretty part of greenhouse


IMG_0722have a thing for geraniums and they pretty much bloom all winter in the greenhouse.  need to add some color this year though.

IMG_0723The columbine were a valentine’s gift, but the garden wasn’t ready for them. at least I get to enjoy them anyway

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the miracle of duct tape

Without a doubt, in the general world, women do not have the same reverence for duct tape that men do.  In the garden I use these metal pieces to create large hoops.  They originally came with little sleeves for this purpose, but that made too big a hoop, and singly, too small.  And in one of those magic DUH moments, I realized I could make them any size I want, and I do.  What wasn’t done, was to finish this project, attend to the last detail, which was to find a way to completely cover the sharp end pieces.  They have cut through shade cloths, frost blankets, and my skin.



And in another DUH moment, there was DUCT TAPE.

IMG_0717 ends covered and protected


IMG_0716 sealing the ends of the shade cloth that is unraveling.

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