December 22, 2010

Joy - Merry Christmas - translation: peace and happiness for all!

it is
what is is

what is is

it is

I don't think Jesus would be too impressed that we go into debt or run ourselves ragged trying to impress our friends and family in his name.

I celebrate Christmas because the spirit of Jesus Christ reawakened me to my connection with the divine. With honor and love, I celebrate his birth on earth like a Buddhist would celebrate Buddha's. We share a great meal and have a fun and happy day.

Generosity, peace and love should be for everyday and, of course, birthdays should be to celebrate how wonderful life is. Merry Christmas everyone!


December 19, 2010

Freedom - Real LIfe Calling

My heart goes out to you - your real life it calling - shouting even
i pulled my kid from school - i have to drive 45 minutes to get groceries - i haven't been to a job for 15 years now - i don't eat out - i don't have many friends here - my house is not fancy - my housework is never done - my clothes are never immaculate - i don't travel - money never flows easily


my kid thrives on homeschooling at a level of education that exceptionally high,
he is so happy and productive and feels in charge of his destiny - he teaches me - nature teaches us

my husband and i are a team without pretense - we both do what we do to the best of our abilities - we have time for each other - we plan our dreams everyday - holding hands loving each other fighting to be free each day we are

i am me - no pretense, i love my dirt, my plants, my critters, each day i go from chore to chore with total appreciation that i survive on the earth by my own labor, my own hands and not by the hands of another

don't give up, some things take time to come together, knowing what you want and expressing it - even having a tantrum - gets you closer

you have to give up - you have to give up keeping up with the jones, the dream vacations, the new lipstick, pleasing other people

do these things first, then when the time comes, and it will, you will be completely ready for the transformation

you are building your cocoon now, practice your skills and dream

dreams do come true


December 17, 2010

Salvation - Comfort - Pictures of the Front Garden

These are last pictures of my front garden after the snow.

They are posted here for John who thinks my posts have been too solemn of late.

An attempt at a panoramic view!

Not sad and disheartened by the changing tides
prepared and secure and ready to face any challenge


Extreme Weather - Global Food Shortage - This is no longer a warning!

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only.

Extreme weather sparks global commodities rally

Wed, Dec 15 2010

By Jim Regan

SYDNEY/LONDON (Reuters) - Around the globe, the weather has turned extreme, driving up prices for commodities running the gamut from sugar and wheat to heating oil and orange juice.

Australia, for instance, is suffering from both extremes -- with drought in the west and deluges in the east. Heavy snow in Europe and sub-freezing temperatures in the United States are likewise fuelling the weather rally in commodities.

Nicknamed the Land Down Under, Australia typically ranks as second in the league of global sugar exporters after Brazil, but rains have forced its top sugar exporter Queensland Sugar Ltd (QSL) to consider buying raw sugar from its South American rival and from Thailand to keep up with its export commitments to sugar buyers.

Brazil too has felt the effects of harsh weather on its sugar. Dryness has hurt yields and cut the volume of cane its crushers expect to process.

ICE sugar futures eased Wednesday after India said it would allow some 500,000 tonnes of unrestricted exports, but were still hovering near a 30-year high.

Farmers across eastern Australia are assessing the effect of the wettest spring on record. The quality of the waterlogged wheat crop is suffering, and much of what is expected to be a record harvest has been downgraded from high-quality wheat used to make noodles in Asia and flat bread in the Middle East to grain fit for animal feed.

And in the western part of the continent, drought has cut the annual wheat yield by two-thirds.

"Some sellers believe the global supply picture will remain tight in the near future and that the impact of the weather damage to the Australian crop will again become a central issue soon," said a grains trader in Germany.

In China, dry late fall weather may have affected pre-winter development of wheat in some areas.

"This crop will depend on favourable early spring rains to meet current yield prospects," commercial weather forecaster Meteorlogix said.

In Europe, snowfall has helped young wheat plants withstand a spell of freezing weather in the European Union's top two producers, France and Germany, but is contributing to sowing delays that threaten Italy's next crop.

Forecasters are expecting farmers to sow more wheat in the EU for 2011, encouraged by a rally in world prices this year after a severe drought curbed supply from the Black Sea region.

In the United States, ice on key grain shipping waterways has slowed the flow of corn and soybean barges from elevators in the U.S. Midwest to export terminals at the Gulf Coast. The thickening ice may close northern sections of the Illinois River later this week.

U.S. orange juice futures rallied to a 3-1/2 year peak early this week amid fears that frigid weather would damage the orange crop in the top producing state Florida.

And earlier today citrus growers in Florida said their groves got mauled by sub-freezing weather overnight.


U.S. heating oil futures hovered near 26-month highs as bitter cold descended on the heavily populated U.S. Northeast, the world's biggest consumer of the wintertime fuel.

Energy demand peaks annually during the northern hemisphere winter and early winter cold snaps helped push U.S. crude futures to a 26-month high earlier this month.

New snowfalls and frost are expected across Europe from Thursday. French power usage hit an all-time high of 94,200 MW Tuesday as temperatures dipped below zero, forcing households to turn up their heating.

European spot power prices doubled over the past days with Germany's spot day-ahead prices reaching a year-high, exceeding last January which was one of the coldest months on record.

In France, a new power usage peak was expected Wednesday although spare import capacity and a restart of a number of nuclear reactors would help meet demand.

In Britain, where the majority of heaters are fuelled by gas, prices were still not far off the peaks observed during the supply crisis this summer.

The cold spell has also boosted demand for heating fuels on both sides of the Atlantic but plentiful stocks and fuel substitution could prevent price spikes in the European oil products market this winter, analysts said.

"The Germans don't care about the cold -- they bought back in September and don't need to buy again until February or March," said one London-based distillates trader.

In China, some parts of the country could run short of coal, oil, power or gas at times during the next few winter months, China's top economic planning body said in a statement Wednesday.

Australia and Indonesia's coal miners have lost production due to flooded mines, and rain has also hampered transportation.

The La Nina weather anomaly, which is raising concerns over Argentina's corn and soy crops, could hit the South American country again next season and cause even worse damage to yields, a climate specialist said.

(Additional reporting by Inae Riveras in SAO PAULO, Robert Gibbons in NEW YORK, Karl Plume in CHICAGO, Valerie Parent and Gus Trompiz in PARIS, Nicolas Misculin in BUENOS AIRES, Rebekah Kebede in PERTH and Manolo Serapio in SINGAPORE; editing by John Picinich)

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Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only.

December 15, 2010

Solar Eruptions

Global Eruption Rocks the Sun

Dec. 13, 2010: On August 1, 2010, an entire hemisphere of the sun erupted. Filaments of magnetism snapped and exploded, shock waves raced across the stellar surface, billion-ton clouds of hot gas billowed into space. Astronomers knew they had witnessed something big.

It was so big, it may have shattered old ideas about solar activity.

"The August 1st event really opened our eyes," says Karel Schrijver of Lockheed Martin's Solar and Astrophysics Lab in Palo Alto, CA. "We see that solar storms can be global events, playing out on scales we scarcely imagined before."

For the past three months, Schrijver has been working with fellow Lockheed-Martin solar physicist Alan Title to understand what happened during the "Great Eruption." They had plenty of data: The event was recorded in unprecedented detail by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and twin STEREO spacecraft. With several colleagues present to offer commentary, they outlined their findings at a press conference today at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

Explosions on the sun are not localized or isolated events, they announced. Instead, solar activity is interconnected by magnetism over breathtaking distances. Solar flares, tsunamis, coronal mass ejections--they can go off all at once, hundreds of thousands of miles apart, in a dizzyingly-complex concert of mayhem.

"To predict eruptions we can no longer focus on the magnetic fields of isolated active regions," says Title, "we have to know the surface magnetic field of practically the entire sun."

This revelation increases the work load for space weather forecasters, but it also increases the potential accuracy of their forecasts.

"The whole-sun approach could lead to breakthroughs in predicting solar activity," commented Rodney Viereck of NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, CO. "This in turn would provide improved forecasts to our customers such as electric power grid operators and commercial airlines, who could take action to protect their systems and ensure the safety of passengers and crew."

In a paper they prepared for the Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR), Schrijver and Title broke down the Great Eruption into more than a dozen significant shock waves, flares, filament eruptions, and CMEs spanning 180 degrees of solar longitude and 28 hours of time. At first it seemed to be a cacophony of disorder until they plotted the events on a map of the sun's magnetic field.

Title describes the Eureka! moment: "We saw that all the events of substantial coronal activity were connected by a wide-ranging system of separatrices, separators, and quasi-separatrix layers." A "separatrix" is a magnetic fault zone where small changes in surrounding plasma currents can set off big electromagnetic storms.

Researchers have long suspected this kind of magnetic connection was possible. "The notion of 'sympathetic' flares goes back at least three quarters of a century," they wrote in their JGR paper. Sometimes observers would see flares going off one after another--like popcorn--but it was impossible to prove a link between them. Arguments in favor of cause and effect were statistical and often full of doubt.

"For this kind of work, SDO and STEREO are game-changers," says Lika Guhathakurta, NASA's Living with a Star Program Scientist. "Together, the three spacecraft monitor 97% of the sun, allowing researchers to see connections that they could only guess at in the past."

To wit, barely two-thirds of the August event was visible from Earth, yet all of it could be seen by the SDO-STEREO fleet. Moreover, SDO's measurements of the sun's magnetic field revealed direct connections between the various components of the Great Eruption—no statistics required.

Much remains to be done. "We're still sorting out cause and effect," says Schrijver. "Was the event one big chain reaction, in which one eruption triggered another--bang, bang, bang--in sequence? Or did everything go off together as a consequence of some greater change in the sun's global magnetic field?"

Further analysis may yet reveal the underlying trigger; for now, the team is still wrapping their minds around the global character of solar activity. One commentator recalled the old adage of three blind men describing an elephant--one by feeling the trunk, one by holding the tail, and another by sniffing a toenail. Studying the sun one sunspot at a time may be just as limiting.

"Not all eruptions are going to be global," notes Guhathakurta. "But the global character of solar activity can no longer be ignored."

As if the sun wasn't big enough already….

Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

December 13, 2010


Hi there - thought I would answer here. Grapes are really a no brainer crop. They need full sun, and little to no fertilizer each season. They do not need to be pruned, although I do cut them back as they are picked. The trick with grapes is finding the right variety for the length of summer you have. There are 9 varieties here and 1 never ripens fully. I am in zone 6. They really do grow and live as easily as trees. My green seedless grapes are called Himrod. I did find this link, but will post more to my blog this winter for you. I take hardwood cuttings in the winter and end up with many, many starts, too bad I can't send them over the border. Peace

Coffee Benefits

Please forgive my forewardness here, but I won't mince words about this with you. The pesticides used on coffee and cocoa plants are deadly to everything. If you do not drink organic coffee you are drinking little more than poison.

Coffee, tea, and chocolate are very, very nutritious foods. The fact that your body desires them, and the caffeine, is a akin to eating protein because that is what your body needs at the time.

Aside, purchase "fairtrade" organic products, knowing your luxury is not produced from slave labor. I have included some links, and while not from medical papers (can't find the proper links now) they confirm what I say.

December 11, 2010

Free Food - Preserving Food - Save Money - Eat Local - Frugal - Medicinal Herbs

Our first year was so lean, with 2 extra mouths to feed, that it was necessary to learn about the wild food available. I would search for them then put them in paper lunch bags and staple it to the wall of our shack to dry. I was amazed over 50 different plants we identified and preserved to the winter. I truly believe that the medicinal properties of these plants and mushrooms help sustain us through the tough winter.

It is not natural to buy nutrition from countries far away.
I bought some cinnamon the other day, it was such a bargain. I threw it out as soon as I got home, compared to my other cinnamon, it was cut without a light coloured substance. I am not a paranoid person, but I wonder if a country can put white poison in baby formula, what is stopping them from slipping it into food destined for unknown privileged tables.

Herbs and seeds dried for spices, are the perfect example of how easy and free preserving food can be. Parsley, sage, thyme, oregano, and mint should be grown and dried in every household. They grow like weeds and pound per pound more nutritious than vegetables. Their flavors enhance any recipe. More about this in my book, Life Through the Cracks: A Place to Start

It is my job to save money and I do it at all costs. This time of year money is particularly tight as winter stores of rice, coffee, sugar, flour and the like are purchased. We buy in bulk at wholesale saving 80% of store prices. We also buy a beef and pork from other farmers in the fall. At just over $2 a pound for both steak and hamburger, clean meat is a bargain. Mostly we grow the only vegetables and fruit consumed during the summer for the winter. All our meals our whole foods as fresh as possible, cooked at home.

After 10 years, the farm produces without needing money or bringing money in. Of course one could argue that it is part of my mortgage cost. Money was also used to pay for the infrastructure and upgrades here. Fencing, pens, raised beds, soil, energy efficiency upgrades costs eventually pay for themselves in returned savings.

I could tell you we have 10 mature nut trees, 30 mature fruit trees, 12 mature grape vines, a large raised garden and all the food they provide and you could be all impressed. I wouldn't tell you of the hazelnut orchard with 100s of trees growing wild on the hill (no doubt the work of squirrels), or how easy it is to grow a new grape from a cutting, or how one of the biggest jobs in the orchard is to keep the self-seeded saplings cut down. Packed away is 5 pounds of seed saved for planting. We have vinegar and too much wine. Wild herb and mushrooms fill my apothecary cabinet. This time of year clean lake fish fill the smoker. The wood grows here that heats our home. The cats get the rodents and the dog the predators. There is enough weed seeds and worms to feed enough chickens to keep us in eggs and crispy fried all winter. I haven't bought a chick in 7 years. This year alone more than 30 chicks were born and raised without intervention from me. (No really, free ranged in the yard with the mom I didn't even need to feed or water them.) All this is available every year, with variance but without fail.

We used to raise our own pigs and goats too. It is impossible to do this for only one family. A family will eat a couple of pigs a year. A mother pig can have a dozen piglets 3 times a year! A good goat will present over 2 litres of milk twice a day. Even if one makes cheese it is far more milk than can be used in one kitchen. The goat only has milk after pregnant. To maintain these animals you must keep a male and female. They are herd animals and thrive best if you can keep a little herd. They must be fenced always and monitored to protect them from predators. They must have fresh feed available all year all year and their health maintained daily. You can see where the expense of time and money would make total sustainability prohibitive for a single family. I don't have the time or the money to feed, raise, process and market this many animals.

You can see this patch of nature we've nurtured for years can produce enough for 3 or 4 families. Nature certainly does her part and I do mine by reaping what was sown.
I am shocked to finally realize, without a doubt, what is missing to make this farm self-sufficient is people. If only I had the seed to grow a community, hmmm . . . . .

December 08, 2010

Who am I really?

I am fiercely moving my life through time to satisfy a covenant to create heaven on earth. Caught in the rapture of nature's powerful forces as they dictate what is to be done each day. Each day secret silent blessings, each day secret silent losses, lessons learned and taught, quietly filling me with joy.

I used to pray to have my way. Now I only pray to be shown the way. No thought of what others think, no attachment to how things look, no mandate for the future. Total submission to trust good will prevail and everything is always as it should be is the key.

It has been 20 years now.
With nothing but each other, we left the other world behind us. Not one day without what we needed, not one day without suffering a little, not one day life didn't have meaning.
Everyone could live like this. Nature takes care of us, it is the natural order of things.


Selling Jewellery in the Market - Jewelry too

This post was originally wordless. However, due to the large amount of traffic to this post I will tell me secrets to success in selling jewellery at the market.

Know your market!!

Rich people want to brag about how much they spent on something. They don't like to purchase reduced or "old" stock. If you are selling to these people, use only gold and silver high end merchandise and let them pay full price.

People with little money want to brag about the bargain they found. They like sales. This is my market. I would rather sell many inexpensive things to lots of people rather than a few to the rich.

I keep my prices under $20 with a selection under $10 for the younger people. At this time of year everyone wants to be able to find something nice for someone else that is lovely but not too expensive. My customers appreciate that I am not trying to gouge them, they have told me so.

Older people have lots of jewellery and usually only buy for gifts. Younger people are trying different styles and are excellent repeat customers.

Don't be afraid to have an inexpensive ring, or the like, to pass out as gifts for the younger ones. This little gesture has stimulated many larger sales for me. Blue and pink sell fastest.

Keep your costs as low as possible. I used to buy inventory, now I buy findings to make my own jewellery. It is easy and fun and profitable. Peace

December 07, 2010

Coffee Benefits

Please forgive my forewardness here, but I won't mince words about this with you. The pesticides used on coffee and cocoa plants are deadly to everything. If you do not drink organic coffee you are drinking little more than poison.

Coffee, tea, and chocolate are very, very nutritious foods. The fact that your body desires them, and the caffine, is a akin to eating protein because that is what your body needs at the time.

Aside, purchase "fairtrade" organic products, knowing your luxury is not produced from slave labor. I have included some links, and while not from medical papers (can't find the proper links now) they confirm what I say.

November 29, 2010

Rest In Peace Mr. Nielsen - with deepest respect

The Canadian comedy world remembers Leslie Nielsen

The son of a Mountie and brother of a member of Parliament, Nielsen acted opposite such luminaries as Debbie Reynolds and Barbra Streisand and received stars on both the American and Canadian walks of fame.

Illustration by Steve Murray/National Post

The son of a Mountie and brother of a member of Parliament, Nielsen acted opposite such luminaries as Debbie Reynolds and Barbra Streisand and received stars on both the American and Canadian walks of fame.

Read more:

November 15, 2010

Grow Grapes Easy Wild Free Food

Grapes grow like weeds
Grapes are really a no brainer crop. They need full sun, and little to no fertilizer each season. They do not need to be pruned, although I do cut them back as they are picked. The trick with grapes is finding the right variety for the length of summer you have. There are 9 varieties here and 1 never ripens fully. I am in zone 6. They really do grow and live as easily as trees. This green seedless grapes are called Himrod. I take hardwood cuttings in the winter and end up with many, many starts, too bad I can't send them to you!  Peace

Outdoor Furnace - Hot Water Heating Wood Stove

Here are a few pictures of the unit in use:

The top thing is the water gauge, it looks like it should be filled.

The coil lever is for the dampener.

I have just put this new wood on after a 10 hour burn, see how the wood is black.

Can you see underneath where the log is still unburned, it is very efficient.

What to look for in a stove link here.
This is a good link for how it works to heat the house.

November 10, 2010

Outdoor Furnace

For years we had a little wood stove. It was in the dirt basement and we went up and down (what can loosely be called) steep steps 4 or 5 times a day to keep it stoked. I recon almost 2 hours a day was spent working on keeping a fire going down there. The last fire we had in it created a chimney fire which could easily have burned this old dry shack to the ground.

What is a chimney fire your may ask? Resins, creosote, flammable oils are created woods are burned, and over time, they build up and combust. It is worse with green or wet wood and a smoldering fire. Burning potato and orange peels helps reduce creosote. Unchecked, the chimney, up to the roof, is lined with creosote and when it burns you have a chimney fire. I can not tell you what it is like to watch the chimney in the center of your house shoot up flames and sit afraid that the walls will catch fire at any moment. There is nothing we could have done to stop it. By the grace of God, no harm came from it, but it was too close.

After this, and seeing the creosote dripping down the outside of the chimney we vowed never to have a fire in the house again. It was a really big investment for us, but we bought an outdoor furnace. Waterlines are hooked to the furnace, taking the heat to our house, running under the floor and with a little radiator keeping us very warm.

We fill the furnace box every 12 hours with 4 or 5 pieces of split log. This is 1/2 the amount of wood and 1/8 the amount of effort. It is very efficient, as it almost goes out (to conserve heat), then a fan comes on and starts it going again.

We grow the birch and larch, we burn to keep us warm, in our wood lot. It is very sustainable because birch comes back 6 fold when it is cut down, ie 6 saplings (approximately) grow up for each one cut down. The harder the wood the slower it burns, the more efficient it is. Cedar starts burning hot quickly, but too soon it is burned up. Birch bark also has a "flammable" component to the bark (paper) which makes it great fire starter too.

November 09, 2010

Weather Patterns Permanently Change Jet Stream Split

This is an excerpt from Crystal's blog at Global Disaster Watch.

I have been reading her work for years now, even before she came to blogger. In fact I have passed on interesting weather tidbits from Canada to her. She always links and quotes her posts to reputable news sources and never sensationalizes, judges or predicts. Weather is only a small portion of the news item topics she collects and posts daily. Fascinating reading to be sure.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

UNITED KINGDOM - COLDEST WEATHER IN 30 YEARS marks the start of a series of extreme winters. Scientists are now warning that Britain can expect to endure a series of extreme winters - the like of which have NOT BEEN SEEN FOR MORE THAN 300 YEARS. Researchers have found that low solar activity - marked by a decrease in the sun's magnetic field - influences the weather conditions across northern Europe. The last time the sun showed similar behaviour, between 1650 and 1700, temperatures dropped so low that Londoners were able to skate and hold fairs on the iced-over River Thames. The latest winter marks the start of a Maunder minimum - when solar activity falls for a prolonged time. The sun's magnetic field is thought to influence the jet stream - a fast-moving, high altitude current of air which moves eastwards at 35,000ft over the Atlantic. During the famously cold winters of the late 1600s the mild westerly winds were blocked and replaced by much colder blasts from the north-east - bringing Arctic conditions with them.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Frozen jet stream links Pakistan floods, Russian fires - Raging wildfires in western Russia have reportedly doubled average daily death rates in Moscow. Diluvial rains over northern Pakistan are surging south – the UN reports that 6 million have been affected by the resulting floods. It now seems that these two apparently disconnected events have a common cause. They are linked to the heatwave that killed more than 60 in Japan, and the end of the warm spell in western Europe. The UNUSUAL WEATHER in the US and Canada last month also has a similar cause.
According to meteorologists monitoring the atmosphere above the northern hemisphere, UNUSUAL HOLDING PATTERNS IN THE JET STREAM are to blame. As a result, weather systems sat still. Temperatures rocketed and rainfall reached extremes. Renowned for its influence on European and Asian weather, the jet stream flows between 7 and 12 kilometres above ground. In its basic form it is a current of fast-moving air that bobs north and south as it rushes around the globe from west to east. Its wave-like shape is caused by Rossby waves – powerful spinning wind currents that push the jet stream alternately north and south like a giant game of pinball.
In recent weeks, meteorologists have noticed a change in the jet stream's normal pattern. It's waves normally shift east, dragging weather systems along with it. But in mid-July they ground to a halt over the UK. There was a similar pattern over the US in late June. Stationary patterns in the jet stream are called "blocking events". They are the consequence of strong Rossby waves, which push westward against the flow of the jet stream. They are normally overpowered by the jet stream's eastward flow, but they can match it if they get strong enough. When this happens, the jet stream's meanders hold steady, creating the perfect conditions for extreme weather.
A static jet stream freezes in place the weather systems that sit inside the peaks and troughs of its meanders. Warm air to the south of the jet stream gets sucked north into the "peaks". The "troughs" on the other hand, draw in cold, low-pressure air from the north. Normally, these systems are constantly on the move – but not during a blocking event. And so it was that Pakistan fell victim to torrents of rain. The blocking event coincided with the summer monsoon, bringing down additional rain on the mountains to the north of the country. It was the final straw for the Indus's congested river bed.
Similarly, as the static jet stream snaked north over Russia, it pulled in a constant stream of hot air from Africa. The resulting heatwave is responsible for extensive drought and nearly 800 wildfires at the latest count. The same effect is probably responsible for the heatwave in Japan, which killed over 60 people in late July. At the same time, the blocking event put an end to unusually warm weather in western Europe.
Blocking events are not the preserve of Europe and Asia. Back in June, a similar pattern developed over the US, allowing a high-pressure system to sit over the eastern seaboard and push up the mercury. Meanwhile, the Midwest was bombarded by air from the north, with chilly effects. Instead of moving on in a matter of days, "the pattern persisted for more than a week".
So what is the root cause of all of this? Meteorologists are unsure. Climate change models predict that rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere will drive up the number of extreme heat events. Whether this is because greenhouse gas concentrations are linked to blocking events or because of some other mechanism entirely is impossible to say. The resolution in climate models is too low to reproduce atmospheric patterns like blocking events. So they cannot say anything about whether or not their frequency will change.
There is some tentative evidence that the sun may be involved. Earlier this year an astrophysicist showed that winter blocking events were more likely to happen over Europe when solar activity is low – triggering freezing winters. Now he says he has evidence from 350 years of historical records to show that low solar activity is also associated with summer blocking events. "There's enough evidence to suspect that the jet stream behaviour is being modulated by the sun." Blocking events have been UNUSUALLY COMMON over the last three years, for instance, causing severe floods in the UK and heatwaves in eastern Europe in 2007. Solar activity has been low throughout.

**If money is your hope for independence you will never have it.
The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience, and ability.**
Henry Ford

Friday, August 13, 2010

Turbo-charged monsoon confounds forecasters - Normally the jet stream is a giant loop of high speed winds that whip round the upper atmosphere. The jet stream isn't involved in day to day weather - it's too high up - but because it pushes the atmosphere around it's very important in steering large scale weather patterns below.
The stream has split in two. One arm has gone north, another south. The patch in the middle is Russia's drought. A circulating pattern of air has been sitting over Russia for far longer than normal, causing the extreme temperatures and wildfires they've had there. But what's happening over Pakistan is even stranger. The southern arm of the Jet stream has looped down so far it has crossed over the Himalayas into north western Pakistan. Experts at the Met Office say this is VERY UNUSUAL. And the result is that the fast moving jets stream winds high up have helped suck the warm, wet, monsoon air even faster and higher into the atmosphere - and that has caused rains like no one can remember. It has turbo charged the monsoon if you like. They're NOT SURE THAT'S EVER HAPPENED BEFORE.

**In my life nothing goes wrong.
When things seem to not meet my expectations,
I let go of how I think things should be.
It’s a matter of not having any attachment to any fixed outcome.
Deepak Chopra

November 07, 2010

Winds of Change

When you are able to follow the winds of change, you know you are at the right place at the right time. Peace

November 03, 2010

Frugal Cooking - Easy Recipe - Split Pea Soup

1 cup dried split peas
1 cup dried lentils
1 tbsp mustard (dry is best)
1 tsp paprika (or any other pepper you like)
1 tbsp molasses (brown sugar is ok)
2 carrots
1 onion
2 stalks celery
leftover ham preferably with bone
cover all with water 1/4 inch deep
salt and pepper to taste

bring to a boil on high, turn to low, stir, cover with lid let simmer on medium until tender, add salt and pepper (takes more salt than you would think)

As you can see, I used the frozen veggies put up for the winter.

Quick Cooking Tip: You don't have to soak peas or lentils before you cook them.

Best Mushroom Recipe - Can I eat this mushroom?

The every growing number of frosty nights has halted the search for pine mushrooms as they are all mush now. But there are many of these mushrooms, I think it is a Boletus spadiceus, as found here, mushroom identifying link. The cap is looks like rich brown suede, the underneath is yellow. Is this mushroom edible? How would you cook it?

Fried up my last batch of pines yesterday. This is a no fail, best tasting mushroom recipe. Cut the mushrooms into small pieces. Fry over low heat with a tablespoon or 2 of butter. Fry this way until all the moisture from the shrooms has evaporated and they start to brown. Add a tablespoon of 2 of soya sauce, a sprinkle of corn starch, salt and sugar. Stir as sauce thickens keeping on low heat. Here you will see someone could not wait for me to take the picture before digging in. Try it, you will like it.

October 27, 2010

Growing Mushrooms at Home - Growing Mushrooms on a Log

At one time pine mushrooms sold for $200 a pound here. This year they went for $2 a pound.

I have been thinking about the sustainability of mushrooms as a food source and have decided to cultivate the ones that don't grow here.

Maitake, blue oyster, yellow oyster, reishi and shitake mushrooms can be grown on hardwood logs in a shady, moist spot. Each one has slightly different needs and growing season, click on the name for links to instructions.
Maitake can form a 100 pound mushroom cluster, but it takes a couple of years to make any at all. The oysters are so prolific you can grow them in coffee grounds.
My husband cut me some fresh hardwood logs and I drilled holes in them for the spawn plugs. I cut up a pop bottle and used it to label the logs. As the spawn develops, it spreads the unseen mycelium through the log, saturating it until it produces mushrooms which spread spores to a new log to repeat the process. This makes them everbearing like perennial plants.

The general instructions for growing mushrooms on logs can be found here.

Another woman who is trying this, who also has an awesome food blog is agwh at
Grow Your Own , stop by for a visit she has an excellent blog.

Wild Mushrooms - Growing Mushrooms - Free Food

Free Food - well that conjures up a giggle for sure! All food is free until you liberate it.

It is the end of mushroom season here. Mushroom picking is so fun I am sorry to see it end. There is nothing sweeter than traipsing through the forest, over trunks and under brush, lured by the glimpse of fungi on the horizon. What a work out, what a thrill, and that is even before the eating starts.

The mushroom is not a plant, but rather the fruit of a "plant" that grows under ground all year long. Underground it can be huge. When you disturb soil in the forest you will see there are white strings all through it. This is the what the "plant" really looks like and can be miles large and hundreds of years old. As you can imagine there many of varieties of mushrooms, but strangely the same mushrooms grow on different continents. For example a maitake mushroom here is identical to one in Romania.

Both these uglies are supposed to be edible, but not choice. Would you eat them?

Mushrooms bring rare amino acids and valueable immune building protein to the diet. If we were to gorge on the foods available where we live, when they are available I am sure we would ward off seasonal viruses. Mushrooms are an excellent case in point, used in this way by Asian cultures for centuries. Nutritional information found here

This is a boletes, supposed to be excellent eating. I have lots of them and I pick a could every year, but as of yet haven't got the guts to try it.

These are pine mushrooms which were plentiful this year. I grate them fine so they can be slipped into dishes unnoticed by picky eaters, then off to the freezer.

I am new at mushroom picking and learn from others on the net. An excellent blog to follow for mushrooms is Fat of the Land. To learn about mushrooms

October 19, 2010

Frugal Fast Easy Way to Preserve Vegetables

This time of year most vegetables are at their best price. This is because they are ripe where you live and they don't have to be transported so far. It is the best time to purchase them in surplus and preserve them for the winter too.

You bring vegetables home and put them in the fridge with the best of intentions. . Maybe you are an inexperienced cook and fear of failure took over the best laid plans. Maybe your schedules changed and you just couldn't fix them in time. But they rot before you can use them. They really are only viable fresh for a few days after purchase. so knowing in advance how to preserve for another time can be very prudent.

Tips for storing vegetables:

Store squash, potatoes, onions, and garlic in a cool dry spot in the kitchen. Baskets or cardboard boxes are perfect for this. Don't Store them together in the same container. Anything that is not in perfect condition will not keep long and should be used right away. Otherwise these vegetables can keep up to a few months.

Celery, beets, chard, herbs, broccoli, cabbage, carrots and turnip must be stored in the refrigerator to preserve freshness.

1. remove them from the plastic bags, even the potatoes, as soon as possible
2. cut off tops from beets and carrots (otherwise they will become soft)
2. don't wash them, shake off any excess water (clean them before use)
3. line the fridge crisper drawer with newspaper or paper towel
4. store them in fridge for 3 or 4 days

To preserve them for the winter, cut them into small bits and freeze in freezer bags.

Using a food processor makes this chore very easy. Simply chop them, lay the pieces on cookie sheets, freeze, when frozen break into pieces and put in freezer bags, freeze. I have cabbage, beets, turnips, onions, summer squash, chard, kale, endive, carrots, ginger and mushrooms.

Tip: Push food in the corners of bags to keep air pockets out. Squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag, this makes for a nicer finished product.

I add them to soup, stirfries, or just in a pan with some butter (I love turnips and greens this way). It is like having the prep work done so meals can be made in a hurry. A little chicken stock (which you make by boiling a chicken in a big pot and freezing the liquid) and a few handfuls of these veggies and beans or rice or pasta make a soup in less than 20 minutes.