"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority ... the Constitution was made to guard against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." - Noah Webster

"There is no worse tyranny than forcing a man to pay for what he does not want just because you think it would be good for him."
-- Robert A. Heinlein

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Miss Him

Unfortunately, I did not appreciate Ronald Reagan as much as I should have when he was president.  I was too young and didn't understand how dangerous and evil the rabid leftists were, even though some of them were supposedly friends of mine at the time.  They hated the man.

This is part of his farewell speech that makes me swell with pride.  This is the kind of oratory that makes politicians want to compare themselves to Reagan.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Real Hope for Change

I'm sure that Kevin Baker at The Smallest Minority will not mind if I post this quote directly from his site.  Stuff like this that I find on his site is why I check it every day.

This one comes from HillBuzz, An Open Letter to Rush Limbaugh and His Listeners — With Notes on the Democrat Civil War Already In Progress:
...even if you called yourself a Democrat for 32 years, the way I did, because everyone you grew up with and everyone in your family was a Democrat, that in 2010 it's time to ask yourselves what that really means.

Do you want to be in a party that calls people racists for stepping out of line and voicing opposition to the socialist lurch of the current administration?

Do you condone voter fraud and the shameless, undemocratic tactics employed by Democrats?

Do you wish to associate with the likes of ACORN, the SEIU, the Black Panthers, and all the other thugs, goons, and degenerates the Obama campaign and White House employ as the DNC's muscle on the ground?

It is crystal clear that being a patriotic American who loves this country is intellectually incompatible with being a Democrat. If you love America and want it to prosper, the Democrat Party is at absolute odds with everything we need for a thriving, successful economy.
(Emphasis added.)

Take a look at the whole letter.  In that letter he also makes it clear that he knows that the dominant media will NEVER let this information be known.  This guy spells out why Dennis Prager is right when he says that Obama has become a gift to the Republican party.  

 But remember, wearing the Republican label doesn't make one a conservative.  With members like McCain, Bush, Karl Rove, Scott Brown and the like; the Republican party needs a serious overhaul to get back to some decent values.

They Admit It

Those of us who have been defending the Second Amendment for all these years have always said it wasn't about hunting, and it was more than just self defense.  It is about defending against a tyrannical government that wants to control every aspect of your life in the name of "Progress."   Progressive, Socialist, Democrat; it's all the same thing.  And every once in a while, like Obama did with Joe the plumber, they slip up and tell you what they really believe.

Hat tip to Eternity Road and the Curmudgeon Emeritus for this delicious tidbit:

There's a new slander in town, and it's likely to find favor among the enemies of freedom:
Recognize Insurrectionism as a threat to the entire progressive movement. Too many political progressives assume that the gun rights movement can be co-opted or simply ignored. Progressives fail to understand that the Insurrectionist idea is part and parcel of a broader reactionary worldview. Unless progressives recognize that the Insurrectionist premise of the modern gun rights movement is fundamentally hostile to the progressive project and its values, the "conservative" movement will use gun rights as a building block for organizing and propagandizing.
Applause to the esteemed PolyKahr for the citation. He comments as follows:
So, finally, after eight decades of this stuff, they finally admit it. Gun control has been framed as a crime control method. When that didn't work, we were told that we needed more of it. When that didn't work, we were told that it was because other States hadn't implemented sufficiently restrictive laws. When some States passed shall issue concealed carry, and crime rates went down, they fought similar laws in other States tooth and nail. Now the gun grabbers are left with no real arguments, their ideas having been defeated on both principled and practical grounds. Now, the truth finally comes out-our guns do help us prevent tyranny from taking hold, thus interfering with the Progressive agenda.
Indeed. The Founding Fathers knew that full well. It's one of the pitiful few of their insights that a large majority of Americans have managed to retain.
But don't misunderstand your Curmudgeon: That a leftist author should have admitted it in print is ammunition for us, and not merely in arguing for the retention of our right to keep and bear arms. It makes plain the root of their hostility to an armed -- and therefore self-sufficient and free -- populace.
Please spread this around...and keep your powder dry.        

Thank you, Professor Poretto

Quoted Again

Whaddya know!  I was quoted again by Kevin Baker over at Smallest Minority

Here it is:

It's one thing to live among a populace that sees someone across an ocean as your enemy, it's another thing entirely to know that there's a 50% chance that every person you see day to day would be more than happy to use the government to crush you and take your stuff and give it to them, and are too damned stupid to realize that such action will eventually crush them as well.

Unfortunately it is true.  We have gotten this way through the indoctrination of the government schools and universities.  People tend toward laziness and politicians love taking advantage of that.  But let me give you another quote from the great Samuel Adams, a founding father who spoke eloquently to persuade his fellow colonists of the necessity of breaking away from the English tyranny.  This is just part of what he said in Congress while arguing for the independence of these United States.

"If you love wealth more than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, depart from us in peace. We ask not your counsel nor your arms.  Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you.  May your chains rest lightly upon you and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen." 

Friday, October 29, 2010

We Got Chicks

Left to right: Bo-Peep, Peep, and Blondie
After the previous post, we return to the "Awww, How CUTE!"  stuff.

We just can't help ourselves.  We like the idea of having more chickens and more eggs in the future.  Since we are pretty convinced that there are at least two more roosters in this brood, we figure we'll be hatching more chicks to become dinner down the road.  The three little chicks you see in the first pic are still being mothered by Pretty Face.  It is fascinating to see the daily changes in color and growth.

Since Pretty Face wouldn't adopt six of the seven newbies, we listen to a lot of cheep, cheep, cheep in the morning and in the evening, or when the weather isn't suitable for the chicks to be out on the front deck.  As I said before, we put the cage on a card table in the office/computer room, and when the chicks get loud, wanting attention, we take them out and hold them.

Fluffy, Sophia, Goldie, Cogburn
It's funny how these little birds have imprinted on us.  If we are elsewhere in the house and they hear us talking, they get REALLY loud with the chirping. As if to say, "Hey, we are in here. You've lost track of us!"   Which makes sense to a little chick mind.  When we watch Pretty Face being a broody hen this makes sense.  Her whole purpose for existence during this time is to be a mommy and constantly fret over her chicks.  This in turn allows them to run about the cage being happy-go-lucky, without a care in the world. The chicks seem relatively happy during time we can sit in the office doing stuff on the computers and they just do that happy, quiet little chirping noise.

Sophia checking out my desk
The times when they are most happy and content to the point of silence is when we hold them.

The two that we believe to be roosters are Cogburn and Blackburn.  Cogburn is demonstrating the most dominance by far.  Twyla named the one with the prettiest eyes Sophia.  She is just about as adventurous, if not more, than Cogburn.  When we are lying on the floor watching "24," she will often be the first one to decide to fly from Twyla to me, or vice-versa.  Yep, they've got enough flight feathers to do that now.  In fact, for a few of the oldest ones (two days makes a huge difference) flying three to five feet is not that difficult.  Cogburn, Sophia, and Blackburn will fly between Twyla and myself when we are sitting at our respective keyboards, which is no easy thing since we sit at right angles facing adjacent walls.  I don't just mean to the desks, either, I mean from arm to arm.

Cogburn and his flight feathers
If you are wondering why we are convinced so early on about which chicks are male, let me explain. When we got the second set of six chicks back in March, Twyla had done research on the web, and discovered that among the Black Sexlinks breed, a white crown on the top of the head usually signified a male.  Now, even though the feed store folk's supplier prides themselves on selling only hens for laying, someone is bound to make a mistake in sexing the chicks.  Although, I have to tell you, the people who do that stuff for a living fascinate me.  In case you didn't know, there is only about a 24 -36 hour window when it is easiest to detect the sex of a newly hatched chick.  The pro's who do it are usually latino immigrants who only get paid about $10 an hour.  You pick up a chick, turn it upside down and squeeze the cloaca so that it distends out, identify the male appendage or lack thereof, and toss the chick into the appropriate bin.  Examining each chick takes only 1 - 2 seconds max.

This is how we watch "24" on Netflix
Moxie loves her "chickie babies"
Even with chicks barely a week old, there are other signs that indicate sex, and of course, they are behavioral.  Cogburn immediately displayed such behavior.  Much more fearless than the others.  Wants to be up high as much as possible. Much noisier.  He doesn't make so much of the softer cheeping noises.  It's the same kind of behavior that we saw in Brewster, only more so.  Because these chicks came from other free-range chickens, they are not so pure-bred.  But we like that. Trying to maintain pure breed lines for maximum egg production is what leads to deteriorating genetic stock.  I'd rather have a little less egg production but have healthier chickens.  I look forward to the day when we no longer have to buy any more chickens from the supermarket.

Twyla recently posted on her blog about Moxie the Wonderdog.  If you haven't read it yet, be sure to do so. Perhaps Moxie's happiest time is when she is laying between us on the office floor while we watch Netflix and  have the chicks there.  She acts like any bitch that I've ever seen with puppies.  She just wants to nuzzle them and lick them.  The chicks show no fear at all.  When the sun is out and it's over 60° F outside, I put the chicks on the picnic table on the front deck. Moxie has to jump up there and act like the grand protector of the realm.  By the time these chickens are fully grown, they will be thinking of Moxie as just an odd four-legged sister.

I don't really have that much patience for staging photos.  I have always thought the best pictures happen naturally.  I didn't know, until we started raising chickens, that baby chicks love to hop up on their mother's back.  I've seen the three little ones outside do it with Pretty Face quite a bit.  Last night as I'm focusing on the finale to season eight of "24," Twyla softly says, "Do you still have the camera?"
Goldie on Moxie's head

And I look over to see that Goldie has decided to hop onto Moxie's head, and she stayed there long enough for me to get the picture.  Actually about six or seven pictures, but this is the best one.

I think when I get the third coup built outside, I'm going to miss them a little bit.  I know I won't miss the little chick turds and having to have plastic sheeting on the card table, and hearing them cheep loudly when I leave the room.  The great thing about farm life is that it's always changing and it's never boring.  Nothing worth having is ever really easy.

Shalom,   Moshe

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chicken Man

I wasn't looking for something that would make me laugh so hard, but I found this video at Nicki's place: The Liberty Zone.

This guy should get a contract with Church's.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Think on This

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences.

- C.S. Lewis

Sunday, October 24, 2010

No Comment

I am not going to comment on Twyla's blog.

I'm not even going to link to it.

Good grief!

Misquote and Obfuscate

Before I return to posting about some agrarian project in the works for the day, I can't help but pass on what I found early this morning from the folks at Hands Off Texas!  This comes via the Barking Moonbat Early Warning System.  Please note my comments at the end.

On Wednesday during a speech in Parma, Ohio, President Obama decided to quote a former President to help justify his policy initiatives:
“But in the words of the first Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, I also believe that government should do for the people what they cannot do better for themselves”.
I assume he was paraphrasing this actual quote from President Lincoln, but unfortunately he left out the most important part:
“The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves in their separate, and individual capacities. In all that the people can individually do as well for themselves, government ought not to interfere.”
Obama doesn’t get it. And he clearly doesn’t get Abraham Lincoln.
Mr. President, while we’re all encouraged that you look to President Lincoln for guidance, let me share with you some other words of wisdom from our 16th President:
“You cannot build character and courage by taking away a man's initiative and independence.”
“Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.”
“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”
“No man is good enough to govern another man without that other's consent.” 
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.” 
“This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.”
“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”
And, Mr. President, you might want to read The Ten Cannots written in 1916 by William J. H. Boetcker, often misattributed to Abraham Lincoln:
  • You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
  • You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
  • You cannot help little men by tearing down big men.
  • You cannot lift the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
  • You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
  • You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
  • You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.
  • You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
  • You cannot build character and courage by destroying men's initiative and independence.
  • And you cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they can and should do for themselves.
And while we’re at it, Mr. President, PLEASE share this quote from Abraham Lincoln with Biden:
“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt.”
I know that many in this country revere Abraham Lincoln.  I do not.  I read DiLorenzo's "The Real Lincoln".  Lincoln violated the very things he said he believed in, in several of those quotes above.  He imprisoned congressmen and publishers who criticized him and agreed that the sovereign States of the Union in the South had every right under the Constitution to sever their ties.  And don't even try to say it had anything to do with slavery until well after the war had begun.  If you can read DiLorenzo's meticulously researched and footnoted book and still think that Lincoln was a great president, I feel sorry for you.  Lincoln, more than any other president, did the greatest damage to the Constitution.  For some people, that's a tough pill to swallow, but it's the truth.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I'm not.  Which is why I haven't posted since Tuesday.  Since then, I've installed shelves in a hall closet, re-routed the exhaust duct for the dryer into the hallway, did some yard work, did some major re-organizing in the shed, turned the front porch into a greenhouse, and I'm still behind on a couple of other projects.  I need to build a new chicken coop from old materials from the neighbor across the road.

The body can only stand so much work, and I have to say I truly appreciate God's command to observe Shabbat so that we can lay down and enjoy some rest.   The picture on the right is me laying on the floor in the office. We live stream "24" from Netflix and it's our second time of the day to mother the chicks.  They can be pretty loud when the don't get enough attention.

When I was a kid, sometime before my teen years (It's been so long since then, how am I supposed to remember?), I once complained of being bored to my mother.  She was hearing none of that.

"Get out and do something."

It might help to know that I grew up in what most today would say was abject poverty.  My parents were hillbillies from the western mountains of West Virginia, or as they say there, "West-By-God-Virginia".  My dad worked in the coal mines and then for the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad as a fireman, which means that he was the guy shoveling coal into the firebox on a steam locomotive before the diesel engines came along.  To this day I can still see in my minds eye that upside down, horseshoe shaped scar over his right eyebrow from where a brake handle broke off that he was pulling on with all his might to try to slow down the train on a grade in the winter.  It knocked him out cold and blinded him in that eye permanently.

That was back in the day when you didn't get huge legal settlements from companies.  Almost all jobs carried risks and everyone knew that.  Stuff happens.  He felt lucky to have had a job at all.  Both my parents lived through the Great Depression.  My dad was born in 1914.  At age 25 he was the only member of a family of nine who was bringing home a paycheck, working as a mechanic for a Chevrolet dealer.  Even his father had lost his job as a conductor on the railroad.

Becoming an orphan at age 13 when my mom died, growing up in an institution known as the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch, (a great place, BTW), I've never had much. Oh, I don't blame my circumstances that much.  A lot of it has to do with my personality and the choices I've made.  I hate the corporate mentality.  I hate lemmings and rigid procedures and doing things because some bean counter has decided that's how it should be done.  What I have always known from an early age is that you don't get something for nothing.  Which is why I loathe welfare.  Even more, I loathe the people who endorse it and promote it, because they don't realize or don't care about the damage they do to society and especially the people they provide the welfare to.  At the Boys Ranch, you were expected to do some chores just because they needed to be done.  Then you had to have a job somewhere on the Ranch that paid .25 to .75 cents an hour in order to have spending money and you were required to save at least ten percent.

I've never really been hungry or lived in squalor.  Both my parents have known what that was like.  But they never instilled in me any kind of resentment toward those who had more.  They told me to work hard for what I wanted.  My mother knew it was possible.  She was the oldest of nine children. One of her younger brothers went on to become a multi-millionaire, although I don't know the details.  There's always been a lot of bad blood throughout both sides of my ancestry.  I think I would be an orphan by choice had it not been thrust upon me.

How funny.  I got a bit off track.  My mom told me that only boring people are bored.  I didn't get that as a kid.  It is so true.  God blessed me with a tremendous intellect.  I don't take credit for it, it is a gift, and a curse.  "To whom much has been given, much will be required."  Mom taught me to read by the age of four, and they didn't have Kindergarten when I was five, or pre-school or any of that other socialist crap.  By the time I had to enroll in the first grade, I could read the most of the newspaper.  I remember making the teacher crazy and being bored out of my skull.  I began to hate school very early.  And it wouldn't be until after I graduated High School that I would discover how much I loved learning.  Now I know how much government, or "public" school is sheer child abuse.  Especially for children with potential.

There is always something to learn and do.  Today, I can fairly navigate around in a computer.  I have quite a bit of skill when it comes to carpentry, plumbing, electrical, drywall, tilework, and pretty much anything to do with building or remodeling. I've done major repair work on car engines, brakes, air-conditioning, car electrical systems.  I've maintained a factory full of complicated sewing and manufacturing equipment.  But today there are lots of people like me out of work in the corporate world.  Right now I just work on the farm.

I think the leftists who want to bring about a socialist utopia are not going to get the message until Atlas Shrugs.  I've shrugged.  I may be working the farm, but I'll be damned if I'm going to work on George Orwell's Animal Farm.  How about you?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pretty Face Counts to Three

Who woulda thunk that a chicken could count.  At least to three.

You have to read the last post to understand the rest of this.  Last night, well after dark, we went out to slip the seven new chicks under Pretty Face.  It seemed like a successful insertion.

Pretty Face and her three chicks: Peep, Bo-Peep, and Blondie
If you've been keeping up with this blog, you know that I originally put three eggs under Pretty Face.  Two of them hatched.

We went down to the broody coop this morning at about 07:00, just as the sky was hinting of dawn over the southeastern  mountain ridge.  We opened the coop to find Pretty Face had huddled the two original chicks and the one blonde chick at her side and the rest of the chicks were huddled by themselves over in the corner.

I raced up to the house with the ceramic dishes in hand to quickly mix up some chick feed and get it back down to them.  When I got back and put the dish down in the coop, Pretty Face and "her" chicks began feeding, but if one of the other chicks tried to approach the dish, she would peck them hard and make a ferocious chicken noise that I can only describe as a low growl.

We knew right then that the other six chicks had been rejected.  She picked one, the "Blondie" who looks like a smaller clone of Bo-Peep.  But she only picked one.  As if to say, "I started with three eggs, and anything else just isn't working for me."

Twyla was wearing this big old winter coat and so we put three chicks in each waist pocket and walked back up to the house, brought the cage back into the warm bathroom and put them all back in.  But that wouldn't work for more than a few hours, so I cleared space on a table in the office/work room and set up the cage in there.

Moxie is really going crazy wishing she could mother them.  We've had them out, holding them and making them feel safe.  They really do act like they need some mothering.  A bottle of hot water in a towel, plenty of food and water is available, but if they hear our voices, they chirp like crazy and only settle down when we talk to them or hold them.

I really have to wonder if I'm ever going to get to eat my own home grown, free-range chicken for Channukah.

Eventful Day on A Tiny Farm

In our little spot on the mountain, things that probably seem "ho-hum, *yawn*" to others, make us laugh, shake our heads, and be thankful for such a seemingly mundane life.  We like it that way.  We've had enough drama in our life.  When we want more drama, we can go to Netflix.com and watch "24."

We prefer to have days like yesterday, when we marvel at the little things Adonai does in our life.  It's the things and even the timing.  I don't believe in coincidences.  I have a lifetime of events to convince me otherwise.

Yesterday, we cleaned out the storage shed again.  This was a little more painful for Twyla than most.  The things we were getting rid of represent thousands of hours of painting and care.  You see, becoming true disciples of the Messiah can mean having to make very difficult choices. Choosing to live according to God's appointed calendar and observing His appointed celebrations, rather than going along with man-made traditions is not easy. These are choices that friends and family may not understand.  Giving up the pagan holiday of Christmas is just such a thing.  Maybe when we get to Channukah, I'll take the time to post more in depth on why we just can't celebrate Christmas anymore.  But I digress.

"Oh Daddy, can I keep them?!!?"
Twyla had decided last Christmas that it would be the last time to be a part of that.  Mixing the Holy and the profane was no longer an option for her or us.  Now came the time to get rid of the things that were a part of that, and so, we needed to take all of that stuff to the Humane Society Thrift Store and be done with it all.  This is where the fun really began.

Our neighbor across the street, our only full-time neighbor, happened to also be at the thrift store at the same time, and while I was unloading boxes of ornaments, the Christmas tree, and all of Twyla's winter village artistry, the neighbor was asking Twyla if we wanted the baby chicks she had discovered at her daughter's house.  She had seven of them.  "Of course," I said.

So, the neighbor brought them over a couple of hours later, took a tour of the house and spent a good while in friendly conversation with Twyla, while I worked hard to finish organizing and getting all the stuff back in the shed while I had daylight.  Of course, they talked about pets quite a bit, and the neighbor had Twyla just about ready to go over and adopt a little Siamese kitten.  Then Casspurr came up in the conversation, and Mary said that she'd seen Casspurr with the neighbor next to us.  In explanation; this neighbor has a small RV parked next door that he has visited maybe two weeks out of the year.

"Where's my tuna ceviche?"
You can go read Twyla's description of that event by clicking here. 

Now Casspurr is back. At first he was freaking out a little as I carried him inside.  He was doing that kind of meow that cats do when their stressed out, like going to the vet in a pet carrier.  The house must seem very different with all the changes, and the smell of a dog. (Don't get any ideas; Moxie gets a bath about every five days.  "Stinking dogs?!?  We don't need no stinking dogs!!!"  - Treasured Perros of the Sierra Madres.)  But after about five minutes he was acting like, "Oh, I remember this place."  He seemed to just settle in as though he had been here yesterday.

He seems completely unconcerned about Moxie.  He found his spot on the bed and everything is just hunky-dory.

As you can see from the picture above, Mary brought us the seven little chicks in a bird cage.  We needed to wait until well after dark, so that Pretty Face could settle into that trance-like sleep state that chickens go into so that we could insert the chicks under her.  In order to keep the chicks comfortable we put the cage on the bathroom counter and turned on a space heater to get the temperature in the room up sufficiently.

Twyla once suffered a broken neck from being rear-ended in her car, and so we have to make accommodations for that.  We do like to watch "24" through Netflix.  In case anyone forgot, we don't subscribe to cable or have an antenna and the vast majority of TV is a wasteland anyway.  But to watch a movie on Netflix without actually receiving a DVD in the mail, we have to watch it in the office on the computer.  I set up the flat panel screen at an angle facing the floor and we put down a blanket and pillows and watch that way.  Moxie thinks this is paradise, since she's not allowed on the bed.

But last night, the poor thing was so torn.  Every time the chicks would peep a bit loud, she would have to jump up and go check them out and make sure they were okay.  Back and forth.  And now there is this strange cat that hasn't been around for almost a month.  Casspurr came and climbed up on my chest to get some attention and Moxie got a bit too jealous and snapped at him, so I had to administer some swift correction.  This morning everything seems to be peaceful between them.

The new chicks seem to be at least three or four days younger than our own two.  I base that on the overall size and the size of the flight pinions.  One of the new chick just seems so obviously to be a male to both Twyla and myself.  He has the white crown common to male black sexlinks

The fun never stops.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Your Six Year Old is Driving

I try to believe that anyone who comes to my blog is of reasonable intelligence.  I've never had an I.Q. test and the vast majority of the most brilliant people in history have never had one.  You either get that, or you don't.  I've had people with immense intelligence and credentials and power ask me where I earned my degree.  As if it mattered.  I don't think so.

We have people in the government, as you read this, who believe that you can spend your way out of debt because some guy named Keynes won a Nobel prize in economics.  There are people who want to control every aspect of your life regarding the light bulbs you use and how much water goes through your toilet, because Albert Gore won a Nobel Prize.

There are people working very hard to retain their power to govern your life by telling you that you have a right to medical services,    whoops, er, excuse me, I think they call it "health care".  But at the same time they can't explain how they can make medical care a right without enslaving other people to provide you with that care.

The following comes from Kevin Baker's blog, The Smallest Minority:

Quite while back I quoted one Jeffery Gardener from an April 27, 2005 Albuquerque Journal column, "Save Us From Us". In it Gardener said:
During the 1992 presidential debates, there was a moment of absurdity that so defied the laws of absurdity that even today when I recall it, I just shake my head.

It was during the town hall "debate" in Richmond, Va., between the first President Bush and contenders Bill Clinton and Ross Perot.

A grown man - a baby boomer - took the microphone from the moderator, Carol Simpson of ABC News, and said, in a fashion: You're the president, so you're like our father, and we're your children.

See? My head's shaking already. Where did that come from? Would a grown man have told a president something like that 100 years ago - or 50?

We've got our wires crossed, and our ability to accept responsibility for our lives - once so ingrained in our American nature that President Kennedy felt comfortable telling us to "ask not what your country can do for you" - has been short-circuited. We've slouched en masse into an almost-childlike outlook: You're the president, so you're like our father.

The fact that an adult - on national television, no less - would say this and later be interviewed as though he'd spoken some profound truth struck me then, as now, as more than a little absurd. It was alarming.
Kevin said:
It's still alarming.

In today's USA Today was a letter from G. Bruce Hedlund of San Andreas, California. Mr. Hedlund said this:
Quote:   "Think of our country as a society made up of children and a government made up of adults. It is up to the adults to weigh all the options and provide services in the best interests of the children."
Kevin said:
There is so much wrong with this, I don't even know where to start, but I will say that this attitude is responsible for the US receiving the government we've voted for.

Thank you, Kevin.

Moshe says:

If you want to be a child taken care of by a nanny government, there are plenty of places you can try to sneak into.  Cuba, North Korea, Venezuela, Viet Nam, China, San Francisco, Chicago.

Tell you what.  You go find one of those places where the ideology of the Left is doing wonders for it's people.  Leave the rest of us alone.  

You see, I grew up.  If you want someone else to be responsible for you, to be your parent, make them pay for it.  But if you want me to pay for you and be responsible for your behavior, then I WILL be your parent and I WILL bring down a righteous hammer on your behavior.  

But if you want some ideal life of voting for the parent of your choice who will then come and make me pay to provide things for you that YOU THINK are your rights, 

You have a whole 'nother thing coming.  I am so angry and seething at the idea that ANYBODY thinks that the purpose of government is to provide anything to anybody.

The rest of the people, in any society, do not owe you anything, except to be left alone to pursue your own life, liberty, and your own pursuit of happiness.

More on The Dehydrator

I previously posted about building a dehydrator/incubator here.  Turns out I didn't need to use it as an incubator because one of the hens went broody, and so now we have two new baby chicks.

Even yesterday, I placed a thermometer inside the box with just the acrylic cover on it, and the sun got the inside temperature up to over 120° F, even with the cool wind blowing around.  But until yesterday, I hadn't yet made the screen frames to make the box useful as a dehydrator.   That's what this post is all about.

Step one was to take several old scrap boards of 3/4" thickness and cut them into the pieces for the frames.  Precision cuts were not that important, so I simply used my left forefinger at the leading edge of the footplate on my DeWalt circular saw. (I hate when people don't use the proper names for tools, but that's the subject for another post.)  Now, I'm a firm believer in safety, and I like to wear gloves to prevent splinters.  Make sure that something like what you see in the first picture doesn't happen to you.

Anyway, trying to be efficient, I cut and assembled the first prototype frame and put it in the box to check my measurements and comfort in insertion and removal, and then I cut all the rest of the wood for the number of frames that I would assemble.  All of the long pieces are 20" and all the short pieces are 14".  More on that later.

 I had bought the 1/4" square hole screen at the same time that I bought the panel of foamboard.  I'm a little proud of myself for having calculated in my head to within a single square foot of how much screen I would need.  A 48" x 60" roll of screen (4' x 5') was just enough to make the 9 frames that comfortably fit in the box. I used angled tin snips to easily cut through the screen.  Then I realized that I wanted to fold over the short edges of the screens where they would be exposed to handling, thus preventing scratches.  This is most easily done before stapling the screen to the long members of the frames.

The gloves are really important for comfort here. Using one of the cut boards as a "brake" to start the fold, you crease the screen along the edge of the board as you see in the picture.  Once you've done this down the entire edge, then you can complete the fold without the board.

I used a standard manual staple gun to fasten the screens onto the long boards, trying to get each staple to straddle two strands of wire.  The staples were more than 1/2" deep, so I needed to tap them a little with a hammer to make them tight. This would be important when fastening the long boards over the short boards. You want the screen finish to be nice and taught.  In order to make sure of that, I didn't just drill my pilot holes straight down through the corners of the boards, but rather I drilled the holes at a slight angle, so that when the  screws drew tight, they would also pull the screen a little tighter.

It may look like I'm drilling straight down in the picture, but I'm not.  I used weather proof deck screws to fasten all the corners together.   The opening of the box is 24" x 16" x 16" deep.  So, I wanted the frames to use the most space but still be easy to move in and out of the box.  So the frames needed to be  20" x 14".  That gives me two inches of gap on each end of the short ends of the box and an inch on each side of the long sides of the box.  By overlapping the long boards on top of the short boards, a gap of about 1½" is created between each screen, which should allow sufficient air circulation between layers of food being dehydrated.  You can see the horizontal gaps well with the frames stacked out of the box.

This work on the frames took about four hours, and that's because I was figuring it out and making decisions as I went along.  Such is the nature of prototyping and pattern making.  I will also admit that I have yet to discover what the effect will be with 9 fully loaded screens of food inside the box.  I'm sure that the temperature will not get as high as it would with the empty box, what with the absorption of heat by the food itself.  I may have to put spacers between the frames and decrease the number.  It could also be that the temperature will simply rise much slower but still get up to a rather high level.  I will have to monitor it carefully and I'm sure that I can adjust the temperature by how much of an air gap under the clear acrylic sheet on top.  I'm chomping at the bit for Sunday, so I can slice up some apples and start the test drive. Can't do it today because it's Shabbat.  But I will try to remember to come back to this and let you know about the results.
Moxie did not appear too impressed seeing the finished products in the box.  She is too interested playing the grand protector of the chicken realm.

She proved herself quite well yesterday as Twyla reports over at Green Acres.

Oath Keepers

In the past, I've met young men who aspired to become law enforcement officers.  My first question to them was always this:  "If you were given an order to go house-to-house, confiscating weapons from people, would you follow it?"

If they answered in the affirmative, I would point out that the Constitution made that an illegal act.  I would further point out that people who join the military, both officers and enlisted take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution.  Not higher ranking officers or politicians. Further, that if the politicians were to "pass a law" that is in direct conflict with the Constitution, such a law would be null and void.

Sadly, I had three young men that still told me that they would obey any order given them.  This is why you need to know about this organization, Oath Keepers.  You need to go join them as a citizen associate.  You need to ask your local LEO if he/she is a member, and if not, why not.  If they tell you that they will obey any order given them, you need to explain to them about the Nazi's and the trial at Nuremberg.  Then you need to be afraid, and you need to keep an eye on that LEO.

How Do You Satirize This?

When logic and reason and the ability to think rationally becomes demonized by the left, it gets replaced by sheer idiocy.  Like the idea that inanimate objects have feelings or cognitive thought.

The Apostle Paul wrote about this in in the first chapter of his letter to the church in Rome, all the way back in the first century C.E.  When people reject the Creator and reason, they can begin to believe all kinds of weird and bizarre things.

Again, I borrow from my good friend Peter, this bit of moonbattery.  There was a time, maybe a few decades ago, that had you described such stuff, most people would say you were just being silly or crazy.  That nobody could possibly be that nutty outside of an insane asylum.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bread and Circuses

I've been saying this kind of thing for over 15 years now, but it is very hard to get the message across when so many people have attended the government indoctrination centers from K - 12 and then go on to universities that compound the problem.  The left of today somehow thinks that they can still make the ideals of socialism and communism work if we would just do it THEIR way.  Stalin and Mao and Castro and Pol Pot just didn't do it right. But if you let them have the reigns of power, they'll make everything all better.  Thomas Sowell explains it well with his "Vision of the Anointed."

Go read the few great quotes by my friend Peter, the Bayou Renaissance Man.

I hope I can find time later today to blog about something agricultural, like the great Jerusalem artichokes that we got from the farmer's market.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How Far Can They Go?

Imagine that you've worked hard all your life and made good decisions about your own retirement.  You've even contributed to various charities and tithed on your income, managing to do all of that while the government was taking anywhere from 25 to 70% of your income in the form of income tax, property tax, social security tax, excise taxes, licenses, and various other user fees.

Now imagine that they are going to confiscate your 401k and other pension plans in order to redistribute the funds more fairly to all the "right" people.

Oh, wait!  You don't have to imagine it.  The lame duck session of congress plans to make it happen between now and January.  Go read about it here.

How's that "Hope and Change" working out for you now?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It Sounds Like Him

Apparently Casspurr found another place he liked better, but somehow his new owner decided to flaunt the fact that this cat decided to take up residence with him.

The little traitor obviously didn't want us to know about this, given his comment at the end.

I mean, seriously, it sounds like him.

Greatest Line Ever

I saw this once before and was lucky enough to find it.

Quote of the Day: Freedom

Men fight for liberty and win it with hard knocks. Their children, brought up easy, let it slip away again, poor fools. And their grandchildren are once more slaves.
D.H. Lawrence

[Some say we are quickly approaching the slave state. Others say we have already arrived.—Joe]

Joe Huffman is a blogger in Idaho. Click on his name above to read some other interesting stuff.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Silent but Deadly

I had to post this after reading Twyla's blog.

We were exhausted last night, laying in the bed after a long day driving from visiting family down near Atlanta. We were watching Aladdin and waiting for sleep.  Yes, the food was tremendous and way too much of it.  The dog was stealthily taking advantage of the two young children in attendance during most of the day.

So, there we are laying in bed and I find myself sniffing the air with revulsion.

Me:  "Can you smell that?"

Her: "No."

--- Okay, it's a queen size bed and she keeps a fan blowing from the night stand in my direction.  Something about "white noise" and needing to keep the face cool.   Moxie has to lay down on the floor on the side of the pack leader, me, so everything is well downwind of Twyla.. ---

A while later.

Me: "Can't you smell that?"

Her: "No. What is it?"

Me:  "It's pretty nasty, and I've had enough experience with dogs to know that's a dog fart."

Maybe a half hour later.

Me: "I'm telling you, that is really nasty and it can't be coming from outside, the windows are all closed.  It's gotta be coming from the dog."

So, here it is the following day and Twyla reveals that she did catch the kids several times feeding Moxie all kinds of things from the table.  The joys of being the Alpha dog.  They will bring you dead animals and share their gaseous emissions with you as if they are gifts.

Just too cute.

Yep. It's official.  There's no way Twyla's going to let us eat these chickens come Channukah in December.  I have to admit that it makes a lot more sense to keep hatching out more baby chicks before we reach the point where we would need to eat any of them.

They are just too cute and there are only two of them.  She named them Peep and Bo-Peep.  She has this unexplainable hunch that the "blonde" is male.  I actually hope she is right.

After some thought, I realize that this would be a great thing.  A second rooster to fertilize more eggs. If you are a newcomer to this blog, you might not know that there are two arks of chickens but only one rooster.  Please go check the archive to see past postings on this subject.

If "Pretty Face" keeps her broody nature, we could have her sitting on a dozen or more eggs, hatching out both a supply of new laying hens and pullets for the dinner table.  May Adonai help me with my plans to build new shelters for them.

The only thing we need now is a pair of pygmy goats.  I'd love to have some homemade, fresh goat cheese and yogurt.  We are starting from modest beginnings and expand at a slow and careful pace.

I have to admit that I am a sucker for those cute little fuzzy critters.  I suppose I will need some time to get over the "aaawwwwwwwww-some" feelings.  Thank goodness I can look at the beauty and grace of a deer and have no problem sending a carbon fiber shaft with a razor broadhead downrange forthwith to provide some delicious venison to the table. Harvesting deer is something that demands responsibility and respect.  Use everything with gratitude and waste nothing.   I also hope some wild turkeys venture into my area this fall as well.

Over the years it has angered me tremendously that I have seen dozens and dozens of deer lay waste on the side of the highways because there are not enough hunters managing this resource.  There are too many people who have no clue about managing wildlife who think that hunting is bad.  I find it ironic that federal fish and wildlife officers who are out there monitoring the situation complain that we don't have enough hunters and that the deer populations are getting out of control.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Integrity In Science

More than fifteen years ago, I was calling BS on the idea that CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) could possibly be hurting, let alone destroying the ozone layer.  Most people who bought into that nonsense wouldn't know a triple oxygen molecule from dihydrogen monoxide.  By the way, there are tremendous amounts of dihydrogen monoxide in pretty much all of the tap water around the world.  This chemical is so deadly that if you inhale enough of it, you could die.

Today, I had the fortune of running into the post below.  All the necessary links are contained within.  I have to say that I am just a bit proud to have been on the cutting edge of reality and truth on this subject years ago.

Hal Lewis: My Resignation From The American Physical Society – an important moment in science history

Hal Lewis
We’ve previously covered the APS here, when I wrote:
While Copenhagen and its excesses rage, a quiet revolution is starting.
Indeed, not so quiet now. It looks like it is getting ugly inside with the public airing of the resignation of a very prominent member who writes:
I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.- Hal Lewis
Below is his resignation letter made public today, via the GWPF.
This is an important moment in science history. I would describe it as a letter on the scale of Martin Luther, nailing his 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door. It is worthy of repeating this letter in entirety on every blog that discusses science.
What I would really like to see though, is this public resignation letter given the same editorial space as Michael Mann in today’s Washington Post.
Readers, we can do this. Here’s the place at WaPo to ask for it.  For anyone writing to the WaPo, the  national@washpost.com, is the national news editorial desk. Spread the word on other blogs. Let’s see if they have enough integrity to provide a counterpoint. – Anthony
Sent: Friday, 08 October 2010 17:19 Hal Lewis
From: Hal Lewis, University of California, Santa Barbara
To: Curtis G. Callan, Jr., Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society
6 October 2010
Dear Curt:
When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago).
Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence—it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?
How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.
It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.
So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it. For example:
1. About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then President immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses. In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues, and indeed the Constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence debate
2. The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.) In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer “explanatory” screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.
3. In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.
4. So a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind—simply to bring the subject into the open.
5. To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members’ interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.
6. As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition.
APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?
I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it. Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club. Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise. As the old saying goes, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. Since I am no philosopher, I’m not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.
I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends.
Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense Science Board, chmn of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, President’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board; Served in US Navy in WW II; books: Technological Risk (about, surprise, technological risk) and Why Flip a Coin (about decision making) 

Warm Fuzzies

Bo-Peep only 24 hours old.
If you read my post below, you know that I was gone from before sunrise until well after sunset.  My wife called me yesterday sometime after sunrise while I was still about an hour away from my destination to tell me that one of the chicks had hatched.

I'll pretend to be a manly man and say that I'm not going to post on this subject and instead direct your attention over to her blog, so you can read all about it.

As I write this, she has posted to her blog, and already called her parents.  I'm writing this without even knowing what she's said.  Yes. I'm the one who took the photos and transferred them to a jump drive for her computer.  But I'm going to write my own post and then go see what she had to say.

She's already named them.  Somehow I don't think I'm going to be eating some home grown chicken this December.  One of them better be a rooster.  There is still a third egg under Pretty Face, and I'm going to wait until Tuesday before deciding whether or not it needs to be removed.

I have so much more I could say about all this.  Have I mentioned that I feel extremely blessed to be where I am?

Glad To Be Home

I have a good friend who lives in a nice suburb of the northern Atlanta area.  He was nice enough to call me to come move some stuff for him yesterday.  He's one of those guys who you know you would be comfortable in a foxhole with, watching your back.  Such friends are few and far between, which is why I really don't have very many friends.  Actually, I like it that way.  I'd rather have just two or three friends who would take a bullet for me and me for them, than to have an entourage of people who will drop me like an empty soda can the moment things get difficult or they don't like my opinion about something.

It was the trip in to the big city of Atlanta that prompted this post.  Now, for the benefit of all possible readers, I want to explain how I view Atlanta as a big city.  I've looked at Sitemeter and it tells me I've got visitors from California and even New Zealand. Wow.  The only thing I really know about New Zealand is that they produce some wonderful lamb, they tend to be a bit more on the liberty side of things as compared to Australia or the rest of the world, and they have some of the most stunning landscape on the planet (If you've seen Lord of The Rings, you know what I'm talking about.).

Yesterday, I left the suburb of Dunwoody and got onto the infamous GA (Georgia) 400 highway.  Four lanes going north, full of commuters at 18:00 EDT trying to get about 10 to 15 miles north to the next suburban area where maybe they have more trees and a lack of zero lot lines.  For my country readers, that is shorthand for describing subdivisions where they build houses so close together that you can open your window and shake hands with your neighbor.  I love good neighbors, but at a minimum they need to be far enough away that they could stand out in their yard and scream at the top of their lungs and I'd have a hard time hearing them.  Preferably, walking to their property would be something you'd have to plan for in advance, such as taking a bottle of water and even some food for the journey.

I've lived in Tampa, Florida for 13 years; Costa Mesa, California for about a year. I've driven through most of the Los Angeles area and even down to San Diego.  I've driven the well known Pacific Coast Highway of California, from Los Angeles up to Santa Barbara.   I've traveled on Interstate 10 from Jacksonville, Florida to Santa Monica, California.  I lived in Miami, Florida for 3 years.  I've been in 27 States on the mainland.

Atlanta might seem like a big city to someone from Rome, Georgia, Oxnard, California, or Bartow, Florida, or Gassaway, West Virginia; but compared to what I've seen in my life, Atlanta is a wannabe big city.  It's really a piece of crap that became the major hub of commerce due to the railroads and it's central location in the southeast after Mr. Lincoln's war.  The Chattahoochee river isn't even a navigable water way, it's only contribution being water for irrigation and drinking. Atlanta's only other major attribute is it's airport, which is one of the worst places you could ever need to pass through. Downtown Atlanta merely serves as a petri dish for cultivating and maintaining the bloated parasitic entities of city, county, state and federal government.  The city government especially is trying very hard to be a clone of Chicago.  They are so leftist and corrupt that a city council member actually spoke against refurbishing the sewage system that dates to the 19th century because it might allow white people's sewage to pass under "their" city.  That's just a mild example.
We should resurrect Sherman and let him raze it again.

I am grateful for the trip into the area because it reminds me to be so grateful for where I live.
Helen, Georgia

By the time I got to Helen, it was dark.  Helen likes to fancy itself as a small German tourist trap.  They have this ideal spot where three rivers converge at the base of the mountains.  They seriously screwed up when they let Hardcore Biker Gear and two tattoo parlors open up.  They lost whatever charm they used to have.

I'm a firm believer in freedom.  If the people of a town want to become a Helen, Georgia or a Daytona, Florida, it's fine by me.  Don't expect me to live there.  I could easily adapt to living in Key West, Florida, but I couldn't stand to live in Miami ever again.

Did I mention that I am extremely grateful for where I live?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pimento Pleasure

Before I get started on today's post about DIY food goodness, I just have to share this view from the top of the pass on the way to Blairsville.  The sun was just barely kissing the tops of the mountains to our right, and the lower mountains to the southeast were still quite shaded. But we could see that it was going to be a clear and beautiful day.  It never got below 33° F at our house, but at the lower elevation, one of the bank signs told us that the temperature was 28° F and there was frost on some roofs and on some grass. We were on our way to the farmer's market.  The results of that trip are what prompted me to post this morning.

We got two locally grown watermelons, and I think it's safe to say that they are the last of the season. We were surprised to see them there. We got 26 ears of corn for $5. We got Winesap apples that were the size of small cantelope. (I need to take  a pic.) and we got a big bag of red bell peppers for .50¢ each.  I only had two good bell pepper plants this past season, but I vow to plant at least a dozen this spring.  I love my raw red bell pepper in salads and in other dishes.  In case I haven't made this clear, and since some people reading this blog might not know it, all bell pepper is pretty much the same. I don't know how they developed the varieties that only turn yellow or orange, but green bell pepper is really just the same as red, except that it hasn't been allowed to ripen.  While I don't mind the green bells in some things, especially when cooked, I will always prefer the red.  There's something in the green that makes it taste like a strange oil. I don't know what it is or how to describe it.  The red bell doesn't have it, and the sugars are more developed and so it has a distinct sweetness to it.  But red bells are often much more expensive than the green, which makes sense because when you grow them you find that the peppers get up to size pretty quickly, but it can take two or three weeks for them to fully ripen depending on the conditions.

I've seen red bells in the supermarket going as high as $4 a piece.  I think the most I've ever been willing to pay, because I was desperate to make a certain dish, was about $2.  One of my favorite ingredients for certain dishes is the fire roasted red bell packed in oil.  But, man, oh man, talk about expensive.  Next time you are in your local supermarket, go look in the pickle aisle and check out the price.  I think the last time I looked, an 8 ounce jar was almost $4.  So, what did I do yesterday?

While Twyla was shucking and processing the corn for the freezer, I was flame roasting the bells on the stove. I stick a fork in the stem end of the core and then let the flame lick it all over until the skin chars black.  Then I push them off on to a cutting mat to cool down to handling temperature.  By the time you get to the third one, the first one you did is usually just warm enough to handle.  Then I take a knife and scrape the charred skin off.  Yes, I use two hands to do this, but Twyla was busy with corn and couldn't take the pic, so I'm using my left hand to do this.  Now, maybe someone else has a way to skin a bell the same way you do a tomato, by scalding the skin in boiling water and then it peels easily, but that's never worked for me.  Besides, there is just something about the roasting off of the skin that gives the pepper a distinct flavor.  You just can't get that by boiling and then roasting.  This method is not meant to thoroughly cook the pepper anyway.

By the time I was finished doing all the roasting (ten large peppers), Twyla had finished the corn and had moved on to the jalapeños from our garden, preparing them for canning in plain water.   I cored the peppers by cutting around the stem and then pulled the peppers apart by their natural segments.  The segments then get packed pretty snugly into quart jars and regular olive oil is added to within a half inch of the top.  You have to make sure to wipe the edge of the jar carefully with a paper towel to make sure that no oil will interfere with the seal.  Then the jars go into the boiling water bath with the pint jars of jalapeños. After 20 minutes we have these beautiful things.

I estimate that to be about $32 worth of fire-roasted pimento.  I'm going to savor every bite and know that my efforts slaving over a hot stove will have been worth it.  Next fall, I'll probably do this over the outside fire pit, doing half a dozen at a time.

I'll leave you today with a photo of one of the winesap apples.  That's a standard coffee mug with a large Cortland apple in it and an 8 ounce jar of Jalapeño jelly for perspective.  Just imagine that apple cored and baked with some cinnamon and nutmeg.  Yummy.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Straight to Cold

Here in the mountains of Northern Georgia, there is no "Indian Summer."  That magical period that occurs in many parts of the country where after a brief cold spell comes through with the approach of fall, a week or two of warm up occurs.

Not here.   I'm looking at my electronic thermometer on the wall next to me at the desk here.  It's a $10 rig from Wally World, but I've calibrated it and it is accurate.  It has a remote sensor out on the deck to tell me the outside temperature on the right and it tells me the inside temperature on the left.  As I write this, it is 05:40 EDT.

To be precise, the sensor is located just below the top rail on the deck baluster which sits at least 16 feet above the sloping ground level below.  That can mean a couple of degrees difference, which is why I really need to build a little vented box that will protect the sensor, but allow me to place it down where my veggies are growing and give me a more accurate read at ground level.

Last night, I picked the last of the green tomatoes because there is no chance that they are going to turn red now.  The high yesterday was about 61° F.  I also picked all the remaining bell peppers; about 9 or so.

That reminds me; we went to Blairsville on Wednesday, to the Union County farmer's market and did some trading.  We took three dozen eggs and traded one of them for a huge butternut squash.  We traded two dozen and paid the difference for a quart jar of local sourwood honey with the beekeeper himself.  This is the good stuff.  Local, not pasteurized or factory processed. Good RAW honey. Which reminds me that I need to do a post someday on why pasteurization has it's place, but it's a bad idea to pasteurize everything; including milk. That's right, I said it and I mean it.   Anyway, we also got some great red bell peppers for just .33¢ each.  We also got some of the finest, fresh apples from right across the border in North Carolina.  Fresh sweet potatoes that had been dug up that morning.  We had a couple of them that same night, and there is just no comparing them to the crap you buy in the supermarket.  We came home with about 60 pounds of food and only spent about $20.  We can't wait to go back.

Baruch HaShem ("blessed is The Name") for how He spreads out the growing and blooming of the various plants.  The yard is full of various species of dandelion and the chickens are loving it.  Even though I move the arks over fresh ground every day, I still take some time when I can, to pick handfuls of dandelion leaves and feed them by hand.  Moxie is absolutely puzzled about why the chickens would like this green stuff.  The hens have gotten used to Moxie's presence now.  This was made very clear the other day, when, after it had rained, I needed to go out and clean out the chicken feeders that hang on the wire cage.  You see, the dry food turns to mush, but the chickens seem to like it even better that way, but it doesn't work in those gravity feeders.  So I scoop it all out and put it in a ceramic dish and set it just outside the ark so the chickens can stretch their necks out and eat it out of the dish.  Well, while I was tending the other ark, I looked over to find Moxie eating out of the same dish with four of the chickens eating with her, nose to beak.  Wish I could have gotten a picture of that!

Also last night, as I was pulling up the last of the tomato vines, Brewster the rooster decided to "take care of business" with one of the hens, which always involves some commotion and noise, to which Moxie runs over as if she needs to play the protector, and I have to yell at her to mind her own business.  It is nice to know that she sees the chickens as part of the pack and seems protective of them.  A couple of days before that, when I was collecting eggs, she stood up and put her paws on the threshold of the door to Ark I and three of the golden comets were up there to get petted.  She stuck her nose in to sniff and one of the hens pecked her on the nose and she backed off.  Moxie has turned out to be a wonderful adoptee.  I've had six dogs so far. My favorites were the beagles (mother and daughter) that were so different in personality you wouldn't have believed they were related.  But Moxie has been so quick to learn and is so appreciative of her new home.  When we took her to town in the Jeep ("Elvis"  Don't ask me; it's a Twyla thing.) It only took three times for her to understand, "Get in the back."  She walks almost perfectly on the leash.  She will lay quietly on the floor near the table while we eat and never begs.  She scratches a little to be let inside and knows not to bark at us.

When we are working at the computers in the office, she just wants to lay on her little blanket that Twyla put down for her in the corner.  When I am working out in the yard, she just wants to be my shadow.  We bought a 20 foot chain to restrain her in the yard, but so far, haven't had to use it.  She might wander a hundred yards out of the yard, but only briefly and doesn't get into any mischief.  We live almost to the end of a dead end road up here in the mountain so it's not likely she could get hit by a car.

We had a blast yesterday, going to take the photos to create the new header for Twyla's blog.  Here is the first picture I took to test the perspective and decide on the positioning of the camera. It's an unoccupied house on the road up to our mountain.  We'd been thinking about using it as a background for weeks now.

In the next few days I will need to intensify my efforts at getting the wood stove in place and then putting up plastic sheeting over the screen of the front porch to turn it into a green house for the winter.  The cold weather crops are doing well and we've had some delicious salad with swiss chard, spinach, romaine, buttercrunch lettuce and sheep sorrel.  Life is good.