Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Happy Birthday USA!

09:56 – It was 64.4F (18C) when I took Colin out at 0640, partly cloudy. We’re mostly taking the day off for Independence Day, although Barbara is volunteering at the Historical Society museum from 1000 to 1330 and I’m making up some chemicals for forensic science kits.

I suppose it’s human nature, but I always put off the most obnoxious ones until last. One of those is Kastle-Meyer reagent, which is a concentrated hydroxide solution that needs to be refluxed (simmered) for an hour or so, until the metallic zinc in the flask reduces the bright magenta alkaline solution of phenolphthalein to a colorless (or straw yellow) solution of phenolphthalin (note the different spelling).

The other obnoxious one, for a different reason, is the gentian violet solution used for detecting fingerprints on sticky tape. That one’s obnoxious because it turns everything purple. It’s a very fine powder that wants to go everywhere, and even the tiniest grain–literally one one-thousandth of a grain of sand–is enough to make large purple stains on everything: our skin, the sink, anything it comes into contact with. Fortunately the stain is fugitive. It wears off skin pretty quickly, and any oxidizer (like dilute chlorine bleach) renders it colorless.

As long as we’re making up stuff, I think we’ll make up a test batch of caramel/butterscotch sauce. Barbara used to buy it at the supermarket, but we haven’t had any in the refrigerator for quite a while. Here’s the recipe I intend to try, which was provided by a reader:

⊕ 6 ounces water (0.75 cup; 178 g)
⊕ 12 ounces white sugar (1.75 cups; 347 g)
⊕ 0.75 teaspoons salt (4.3 g)
⊕ 12 ounces evaporated milk (1.5 cup; 192 g)
⊕ 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract (7.5 g)

1. Combine water, sugar, and salt in a 3-quart pan over medium heat. Stir until syrup comes to a boil, about 3 to 4 minutes, then simmer without stirring until syrup is honey-colored, about 6 minutes, swirling to ensure even caramelization. Continue cooking until syrup is light to medium amber, a minute more.

2. Add evaporated milk and reduce heat to medium-low.

3. Stir constantly to eliminate foaming, and simmer until syrup reaches 225F, or for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla extract, transfer to a canning jar or similar container, and set aside to cool. Syrup will be thin and runny while hot, but thickens as it cools. Refrigerate the container for storage.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

10:02 – It was 57F (14C) when I took Colin out at 0645 this morning, gray, damp, and foggy. We’re to have rain on and off over the next several days. Barbara is volunteering this afternoon at the historical society museum.

When Barbara was down in Elkin a couple weeks ago with Frances and Al, she bought some fudge at the general store. I’ve been wanting to try making fudge ourselves, but was put off by the memory of the last time I made it, probably 40 years ago. Back then, I used a double boiler (which we don’t have) and a candy thermometer. Temperature was critical, and the procedure was pretty involved.

But I came across various “easy fudge” recipes on the internet, and decided to give one a try this afternoon. It’s indeed pretty easy, calling only for semi-sweet chocolate chips, a can of sweetened condensed milk, and part of a stick of butter. The procedure consists of putting everything in a microwave-safe bowl and zapping it several times on medium until the chocolate is just melted.

I’m making one change. Instead of sweetened condensed milk, I’ll use evaporated milk with sugar added. The materials are pretty straightforward:

4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 12-ounce can of evaporated milk
1/3 cup of butter

And the directions are equally straightforward:

  1. Combine ingredients in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on medium until chocolate is just melted (5 – 7 minutes), stirring occasionally to mix.
  2. Pour mixture into a greased 9×9-inch glass baking dish and refrigerate until set.

All of the ingredients except butter are suitable for long-term storage, and that can be substituted for with a third of a cup of oil (or even water) and four tablespoons of butter powder. We’ll cheat and use the microwave, but in an emergency we could easily use a pan on the cooktop instead. I’ll post tomorrow about how our fudge turned out.

* * * * *

Saturday, 4 March 2017

09:50 – It was 21.3F (-6C) when when I took Colin out this morning, with light winds. Email overnight from Jane, with the subject line “I copied you again”. She and Tom didn’t have any powdered eggs in their pantry, so she ordered six #10 cans of them, which is about 35 dozen worth.

We had dinner last night again from long-term storage; Keystone beef chunks in barbecue sauce over rolls. Actually, the rolls were store-bought, but we have everything we need in LTS to make them ourselves.

In a prepping fail that turned into a prepping win, it turned out that we didn’t have any bottled barbecue sauce in the pantry. No problem, we just made it up ourselves from an old family recipe that we just made up:

1-1/2 cups white sugar + 1-1/2 Tbsp molasses (or substitute brown sugar)
1-1/2 cups ketchup
1/2 cup prepared mustard (or substitute 2-1/2 Tbsp dry mustard)
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp liquid smoke hickory sauce
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp salt
1-1/2 tsp black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat on medium until it just begins to bubble. Yields about one quart/liter.

We reheated the pound or so of frozen leftover Keystone beef chunks in a smaller pan, poured about a pint of the sauce over them, and then served the beef and sauce over rolls and froze the excess sauce.

I was expecting our sauce to be at least okay, but it turned out better than that. Barbara and I agreed that it was better than all of the name-brand barbecue sauces we’d tried. Yet another advantage to cooking with LTS foods. Homemade tastes better.

* * * * *

10:43 – I just finished getting Barbara’s Dell notebook up and running under Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon. It was harder than it should have been. The first time, I installed from DVD, told it to restart, and removed the DVD. It came up normally, but was missing some drivers, including the one for the Broadcom Wifi chip. I fired up Driver Manager and told it to install from the DVD. When I came back a little while later, it hadn’t installed the WiFi driver, and the DVD drive was just sitting there making seeking noises. I suspect the drive itself rather than the disc, but I’ll check that out.

So, without a DVD drive, presumably, I used USB image writer on my own system to create a bootable flash drive image of Linux Mint 18.1, and installed that on Barbara’s notebook. Everything worked normally, and I now had WiFi connectivity. The next step was to restore Barbara’s Firefox and Mozilla profiles. As I’d done in the past, I simply deleted the default profiles for both and copied over her old profiles from her Windows system backup. But when I tried to fire up Firefox and Thunderbird, both failed with an error message about profile errors.

No problem, I thought. I’ll simply remove Firefox and Thunderbird in Software Manager and then immediately tell it to reinstall them. SM refused to delete either of them. So I went in and manually deleted the .mozilla and .thunderbird directories and then fired up SM again. It thought they were both still installed, and refused to do anything about it. So I fired up apt-get to try uninstalling/reinstalling them from the command line, but with no joy.

At that point, it seemed the easiest course was simply to blow away the contents of the SSD and reinstall. I did that just before dinner yesterday and then bagged it for the day. This morning, I fired up her system, copied the contents of the new default profile directories to backup directories, and then copied the contents of her Windows backup profile directories to the new default directories. When I fired up Firefox and Thunderbird, both came up and worked normally. The only minor issue was that I had to reinstall Adblock Plus on Firefox, but that took only 30 seconds.

Barbara’s system is now fully functional except that I still have to recopy her spreadsheet and other data from the backup flash drive onto her new SSD. And, yes, the notebook is now noticeably faster running from the SSD than it was running from a 5,400 RPM hard drive. I’ll stick the old hard drive in a box and put it on the shelf to cover the remote possibility that I’ll ever want to run Windows on her system again.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

10:02 – It was 48F (9C) again when I took Colin out this morning. It’s to reach a high of 66F (19C) today, with colder temperatures and snow moving in this evening. Tomorrow the high is to be 34F (1C) and the low 18F (-8C).

A bit of excitement this morning. A couple of minutes after she left for the gym, my phone rang. It was Barbara. She was sitting up at the intersection of our road and US21, and said there’d been a minor accident. Her car wasn’t hit, but a guy trying to make the sharp turn off of US21 onto our road had almost hit her and then steered away from her and run down the stop sign.

She asked me to walk up to the corner. The other driver was an elderly guy with disabled veteran plates. He was unhurt and there was only minor damage to his car’s bumper and fender where it had hit the stop sign. Barbara had already called 911, so we stood around and waited for the cops to show up. While we were waiting, a guy driving a tractor with a hay fork came up our road and pulled over to make sure everyone was okay.

So we all stood around talking while we waited. It turns out the elderly guy served in Korea during the Korean War, and then in Viet Nam. He left Sparta at age 17 and finally got back when he was 38. I stuck around because I was concerned the shock of the incident might cause him to have a heart attack, but he seemed perfectly okay. He said there was no one we needed to call for him, and he didn’t even want to sit down.

As is the norm up here in Sparta among all us Deplorables, Barbara and I both thanked him for his service. So did the guy on the tractor when he showed up.

* * * * *

Barbara mentioned the other day that the next time she went down to Winston she could ask Al to take her to Sam’s Club. We were Sam’s members for a year back a couple years ago, but we ended up dropping that membership because we just weren’t using it often enough to make it worthwhile. Sam’s does carry some stuff that Costco doesn’t, and Frances and Al have often offered to take us  as their guests anytime we like.

So I was putting together a Sam’s Club list for Barbara. One of the things we use a lot that our Costco doesn’t carry is Campbell’s Cream of * soups. Between casseroles and skillet dinners, we probably go through 100 or more cans of this stuff a year. So I was going to add four or five 10-packs of the cream of mushroom and another two or three 10-packs of the cream of chicken. I may still do that, because canned soups are convenient. They require no preparation, and can be stacked in minimal space.

But it’s also easy enough to make cream of * soups from scratch, at the cost of a few minutes work and another dirty pan. The bulk of it is simply a standard white sauce, with whatever the name ingredient is added in relatively small amounts.

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or substitute 1 tsp of dry garlic flakes)
  • 1/3 cup onion, diced (or substitute 2 Tbsp of dry onion flakes)
  • 1/2 cup main ingredient, diced or chopped (mushrooms, chicken, celery, etc.; fresh or rehydrated)
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup butter (or substitute 1 Tbsp of butter power in 2 oz. oil)
  • 1/4 cup flour (or substitute cornstarch or dried potato flakes)
  • 1 cup milk (fresh or reconstituted dry)
  • 3/4 cup broth or bouillon (chicken, beef, or vegetable)

Saute the garlic, onion and main ingredient (mushrooms, chicken, celery, broccoli, etc.) in the vegetable oil and set aside. Melt butter over medium heat, whisk in flour, and cook for two minutes. Add milk and broth, followed by the sauteed items. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring regularly, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it thickens. Season to taste with salt and pepper and use as you canned condensed cream soup in any recipe.

* * * * *

Until two or three years ago, Barbara refused to watch any TV series that we’d seen before, even if it had been 20 or 30 years since we’d watched it. Nowadays, because of the dearth of recent series worth watching, we’re mostly re-watching series that we really liked the first or even second time around.

Neither of us has any interest in watching zombies or serial killers or cartoons or progressive propaganda, which seem to make up the bulk of recent series. My strong preference is for peaceful series set in small towns or rural areas, stuff like Heartland, Everwood, Gilmore Girls (the original series, NOT the crappy four-episode follow-on that Netflix made), and even Jericho.

We’re just finishing up re-watching Lark Rise to Candleford, alternating with Jeeves and Wooster, so I pulled out the Everwood discs. I love watching Emily Vancamp as a 15-year-old cutie.

One thing I’ve noticed about the series I prefer is that with minor exceptions the young women main cast members keep their clothes on, not just in the series I watch, but period. You won’t find nude images, for example, of Heartland’s Amber Marshall or Everwood’s Emily Vancamp or Jericho’s Sprague Grayden. They simply turn down roles that require them to disrobe on camera.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

10:45 – Barbara cooked dinner on her new propane cooktop last night. A pound of pasta, a pound of ground beef, a pound can of chili beans, a 6-oz. can of tomato paste, 1.5 cups of water, one tsp. of chili powder, and one Tbsp. of onion flakes. It turned out pretty well, although I’d boost the onion to 2 Tbsp and add a tsp. of garlic powder.

Barbara really likes her new propane cooktop, although she’s having to get used to the burners. There are four: 15,000, 12,000, 9,100, and 5,000 BTUs. Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Tweenie Bear, and Baby Bear.

I’ve been building our collection of cast-iron cookware, which is particularly well suited to use on a gas cooktop with a heavy cast-iron grate. I just ordered a Lodge P14W3 Pro-Logic Cast Iron Wok. We’re doing stir-fry more often. We have a cast-steel wok that works fine, but I want to have a reasonably full set of cast-iron cookware.

If electric power goes down long-term, we’ll have to do all our cooking on the propane cooktop. I’ve never baked bread in a Dutch oven on a cooktop, but there are numerous pages on the web that describe how to do so. The next time we bake bread, I want to try baking at least one loaf in a Dutch oven on the gas cooktop.

Email overnight from Brittany, who’s been following our progress on getting propane installed for cooking. They currently have an electric cooktop and oven, and have decided to switch to a propane cooktop. Brittany ordered the same cooktop we have from Lowe’s, and has contacted their local propane supplier to have a tank installed and connected up to the cooktop. They’re going to move their current electric cooktop down to the food storage area in the basement and use it primarily for canning. I plan to do the same thing with our old electric cooktop.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

10:26 – I’m closing the month. Barring any orders that come in today, we’ve done about 80% of the revenue that we did last November. I’m not too concerned. Sales by month year-on-year bounce up and down. One month, we may do 60% of the prior year’s revenue. The next month, we may do 150%. Unless we have a monster December, we’ll finish 2017 behind 2016 revenues, but not hugely so.

It’s been warm and wet. It was 57F (~14C) when I took Colin out this morning, and that’ll probably be our high for the day. There’s a cold front moving in and we’ll be returning to seasonal temperatures, with cool days and nighttime lows near or below freezing. Fortunately, we’re getting our rain out of the way while it was still warm. From Monday night through this morning we had about 2.6 inches (6.6 cm) of rain, with maybe another inch forecast for this afternoon and evening before things clear up. This rain was badly needed, not just because the whole area was getting very dry, but to help put out the wildfires that have been ravaging several states in the Appalachians. The closest they’ve gotten to us is 30 miles or so, so the only effects we’ve seen have been smoke and haze. Our house sits in the middle of large cleared fields with not many trees nearby, so we should be safe from wildfires generally.

But it’s still a relief for the whole area to get three inches (7.6 cm) or so of rainfall. That’s most of a month’s worth of rain in a couple of days, and will go a long way toward extinguishing the wildfires to our south and west. Unfortunately, the rains came a bit too late to save many mountain communities, including Gatlinburg, TN, which is just over the NC border. Our thoughts are with the Gatlinburg residents, who had to evacuate on zero notice. Three dead and hundreds of homes destroyed. It must have been a shock for Gatlinburg residents. One moment, everything was normal. The next moment, cops were knocking on their doors, telling them to evacuate immediately. Obviously, people who had a grab-and-go bag packed and ready to go were the fortunate ones. Many people lost everything.

We did make peanut butter fudge yesterday, and it turned out pretty well. Barbara isn’t a big fan of fudge, but she tried it and said it was good. The recipe reminded me of Calvin & Hobbes’ chocolate-coated sugar bombs: combine a stick of butter and half a cup of milk or half-and-half in a medium size saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil and add 2.25 cups (16-7/8 ounces or 480 grams) of brown sugar. Stir and bring back to a rolling boil. Boil for two minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 3/4 cup (7-1/8 ounces or 203 grams) of peanut butter and one teaspoon of vanilla extract and blend thoroughly. Pour over 3-1/2 cups (14 ounces or 397 grams) of powdered sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat until smooth, and pour into an 8×8″ baking dish. Chill until firm and cut into squares.

I got email yesterday from a guy who’s facing a problem that many preppers encounter and asked for advice. Most preppers’ spouses think they’re at least slightly nuts, but sometimes it goes further than that. Some spouses are so affected by normalcy bias that they are actively hostile toward taking any prepping steps. I’ve been lucky in that Barbara is pretty much on-board with prepping, and gets more so each time she reads a news headline. Things are not normal in this country. Far from it. And they seem to get worse every week.

So what’s a guy like him to do? His wife doesn’t just look at him funny or make snide remarks. She literally pitches a fit, screaming and yelling at him if he buys any long-term food or takes any other steps to prepare for bad times. She’s convinced that there’s nothing to worry about, that all of these terrorist attacks, targeted assassinations of cops, etc. etc. are just aberrations and that things are completely normal with no serious threats on the horizon.

At first, he was buying cases of canned goods and so on at Costco and stacking them on the garage shelves. He had several cases accumulated, and one day arrived home from work to find they’d all disappeared. His wife had loaded them into her vehicle and drove them down to the homeless shelter, where she donated them. She told him in no uncertain terms that she wouldn’t have him hoarding food in her house. So he replaced them and hauled them over to a friend’s house who offered to store them in his basement. Now he’s afraid that his wife is going to start checking their credit card statements and freak out if she sees big Costco charges.

He asked if I had any advice, and about the only thing I could suggest is that he tell his wife that he’s going to continue stocking up whether she likes it or not. I think he’s afraid that she’ll divorce him, literally. I told him that many of my readers/commenters were in similar situations, if not quite as extreme and that I’d ask all of you for your advice to him.

I’m thankful every day that Barbara is reasonable about prepping. She thinks I go overboard, particularly in terms of the quantities of food we’re putting up for LTS, but she goes along with it anyway. As I’ve told her, I don’t really expect anything catastrophic to happen but there is a small but significant chance of a real disaster, maybe 3% per year, and that adds up to a scarily high chance of something really bad happening over the next five or ten years.

I don’t know what I’d do if I were in this guy’s shoes.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

11:51 – We had a blizzard last night, except for the snow part. The low was about 23F (-5C), with winds gusting to 60 MPH (100 KPH). That made the wind chill not far above absolute zero.

We’d run out of homemade bread, so we decided to bake a couple of large loaves yesterday. Since we were messing up the kitchen and heating the oven anyway, we decided also to make a chocolate cake. As usual, my go-to source for any recipe involving flour and baking is King Arthur Flour. We decided on this recipe. Originally, I planned to make the optional icing as well, but Barbara suggested we try it without the icing first. I’m glad she mentioned that, because as it turned out the cake was fine without frosting.

Here are the ingredients we used, all from long-term storage:

□ Flour, 1.5 cups (6.25 oz., 177 grams)
□ Sugar, 1 cup (7 oz., 198 g)
□ Cocoa powder, 0.25 cup (0.75 oz., 21 g)
□ Salt, 0.5 tsp
□ Baking soda, 1 tsp
□ Vanilla extract, 1 tsp
□ Vinegar, 1 Tbsp (0.5 oz., 14 g)
□ Vegetable oil, 0.33 cup (2.625 oz., 74 g)
□ Water, 1 cup (8 oz., 227 g)

Making it up takes only a few minutes. Here’s what we did:

0. Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8″ square baking pan that’s at least 2″ deep.

1. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly.

2. Combine the vanilla extract, vinegar, vegetable oil, and water in a small bowl and mix thoroughly.

3. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir to mix thoroughly. Immediately pour the batter into the greased 8″ baking pan and place the pan in the 350F preheated oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

The original recipe used all-purpose flour. We used bread flour, which is the only kind we store. I was initially surprised by how little cocoa was called for. When we mixed the dry powders, the result was a light tan color rather than the dark brown of a typical chocolate cake. But when it came out of the oven, it had turned dark brown as expected, and had plenty of chocolate flavor.

I’d also wondered about using bread flour, which is much higher in protein (gluten) than all-purpose, let alone low-protein pastry flour. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the cake had turned out brick-like, but it was just as good as the one Barbara had bought at the supermarket a couple of days ago.

We had four 24-ounce (680 g) cannisters of cocoa powder in LTS. Looking at them, I figured we might get a half dozen chocolate cakes out of each. As it turns out, each cannister is enough for 32 of these pan cakes, so we have enough for 128 of them. Well, 127 now.

Friday, 28 October 2016

09:54 – We got more flour repackaged yesterday. Today we’ll finish up repackaging rice and oats. The oats will use the last of our 3-liter bottles. The rice will go into 2-liter bottles because rice flows very freely through the narrower mouths of the 2-liter bottles. Any additional fluffy stuff (flour, oats, etc.) we repackage will go into LDS 1-gallon foil/Mylar bags. We’ll continue to use 2-liter bottles for free-flowing stuff like sugar and rice.

When Lori, our USPS carrier, stopped by yesterday to pick up a shipment, I asked how she was doing on repackaging the bulk staples she’d picked up at Sam’s Club last weekend. She’d finished repackaging the sugar and rice, but was waiting for her brother to deliver more 2-liter bottles for the bagged flour. I told her we had plenty of empty 2-liter bottles and that she was welcome to a trash bag or two full of them, but she said she didn’t need them right now. I offered to lend her a flexible silicone funnel with a stem that’s a slip fit for the inside of a 2-liter bottle and makes it much easier to transfer flour. She accepted with thanks. I asked if she was using oxygen absorbers and she said she intended to order some on Amazon. I told her we had plenty and offered her some to use with her repackaged flour and rice. She insisted on paying me for them, although I told her that I bought them in packs of 100 from the LDS on-line store, and they only cost twelve cents each. I then gave her a small Mason jar of the oxygen absorbers and a one-minute tutorial on how to use them.

Barbara and I have been trying different main courses that can be made exclusively with LTS food. Last night, we made a skillet dinner with one pound of ground beef (we actually used frozen, but it would work just as well with the Keystone canned ground beef we keep in stock), one pound of macaroni, one can of green beans, two cups of Augason Farms cheesy broccoli soup in four cups of water, and three tablespoons of onion flakes. It was quick and easy to make, and turned out very well. In fact, we’re having the leftovers for dinner tonight and decided to add it to our main meal rotation. Barbara did suggest dropping the onion from three to two tablespoons, but she’s not a big fan of onion or garlic. These ingredients make sufficient to serve as a main meal for four to six people.

We’re spending some time today and tomorrow on inventorying kits and components. We’re at a comfortable level of finished goods inventory for this time of year, when we’re shipping an average of only one kit per day, but I want to get ready to build a lot more as kit sales ramp up in late November and through December and January.

Clinton and Obama’s wife made a campaign stop in Winston-Salem yesterday, at the Lawrence Joel Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum. The front-page article in the paper this morning said the crowd was estimated at 11,000, with a vast majority being women, but I have my doubts. The photograph they ran with the article showed Clinton and Obama on-stage with maybe a hundred people in the stands. There was a large section of empty seats visible, and a few populated rows of seats with a large curtain blocking off the seating behind them. My guess is that actual attendance was probably a few hundred people. Clinton rallies are notorious for being lightly attended, while Trump rallies are invariably standing room only.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

09:38 – Lori arrived with our mail at 0840 this morning, which is an hour or more earlier than her usual time. When I commented that she was running early, she said she was running only half her route today, with her sub running the other half for her. She has to get back to her farm today in time to put up hay for her cattle.

The KFC secret blend of 11 herbs and spices has been all over the web for the last few days. Someone actually tried it and reported that indeed it appears to be the genuine recipe. Here it is, for future reference:

KFC secret blend of 11 herbs and spices
Mix the following spices with two cups of white flour:

2/3 Tbsp salt
1/2 Tbsp thyme
1/2 Tbsp basil
1/3 Tbsp oregano
1 Tbsp celery salt
1 Tbsp black pepper
1 Tbsp dried mustard
4 Tbsp paprika
2 Tbsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp ground ginger
3 Tbsp white pepper

Barbara does fried chicken frequently. She coats the chicken with plain flour before frying it. I’m not sure what herbs and spices she adds to the flour, if any. I figured I’d make up a jar of this mix to try the next time she fries chicken.

I don’t even attempt to predict elections any more, but it looks to me like Trump has Clinton and the progs on the run. To say that Clinton is frail, sickly, and brain-damaged is only to state the obvious, but as usual the progs are furious at anyone who states the obvious.

As I said in the comments the other day, we’re Normals, and we can’t allow the progs to define the narrative. We have to keep hammering on the fact that we’re Normals and they’re not. We have to mock and ridicule them at every opportunity, and we have to speak out to let other Normals, who are in the large majority, know that they’re in fact Normal, while the progs, BLMers, muslims, and so on are simply gangsters and terrorist scum. In other words, we need to do everything we can to make sure that other Normals are not embarrassed or ashamed to be Normals and to know that not only are they not alone, but they are part of a very large majority.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

09:38 – We had another monsoon yesterday afternoon. It dropped more than an inch (2.5 cm) of rain on us in about 20 minutes, accompanied by very high winds and lots of lightning where there was only a fraction of a second gap between the flash and the boom. Colin was beyond terrified. He’s a high-attention dog all the time, but heavy rain, high winds, and lightning/thunder scare the hell out of him. I finally went back and stretched out on the bed, where he went into four-paw drive and climbed up on top of me. I went out to my desk. He hid under the desk for about 30 seconds and then forced his way up between my legs and climbed up into my lap. I wouldn’t mind so much, except that he also claws me the whole time, demanding that I do something about the problem. After the rain, wind, and thunder slacked off, the sirens started. I suspect there was some significant property damage, and maybe some injuries. Every time he hears a siren, Colin heads for the front door or windows to bark at it. If it’s particularly close, he does synchronized howling.

Some people are unaware that one can actually starve to death even with an unlimited supply of wheat, rice, and corn or foods made from those grains. The problem is that the amino acid profile of grains is low in some essential amino acids (those that the human body cannot synthesize from other amino acids). The same is true of beans, but the essential amino acids that beans are short of are present in abundance in grains, and vice versa. That’s why all cultures, going back to prehistory, have eaten grains and beans in combination. Together, they provide complete protein.

Meats, eggs, milk, and other animal-based foods include complete protein, and may be used to “fill out” the protein profile of beans or, more commonly, grains. We store a lot of canned meats, but in a long-term emergency additional meat will be harder to come by than beans. Also, obviously, animal-based proteins are much more costly and difficult to store than are vegetable-based proteins.

The problem is that most citizens of the first world are used to getting their complete protein by combining grains and meat. Beans generally play a relatively minor role in our diets. People generally prefer to eat what they’re used to eating, so few people would regard a combination of grains and beans to be appetizing.

I mentioned this issue in passing to Jen, and told her that we aren’t storing any dry beans, although we have about 100 cans of Bush’s Best Baked Beans. We don’t store dry beans, because neither Barbara nor I knows how to make a bean-based dish appetizing. I got email from Jen yesterday with a recipe she suggested we try. She and her family felt much the same about eating beans as we do, but she said this recipe turned out extremely well. She says the herbs and spices are what makes this dish worth eating. This recipe makes enough to feed four to six people. We’ll probably halve it for our first test run.

Bean Gloppita (Feeds four to six)

2 cans (15-ounce each) black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups long-grain white rice, uncooked
6 cups of water
2 Tbsp of olive oil
1 cup of fresh chopped onion (or equivalent rehydrated dry onion)
1 cup of fresh bell peppers (or equivalent rehydrated dry bell peppers)
3 cloves of garlic, chopped (or equivalent rehydrated dry garlic flakes)
2 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of dried oregano
½ tsp of dried coriander
½ tsp of ground red pepper
¼ cup of shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

1. Bring five cups of water to a boil. Stir in rice, return to a boil, turn down heat, and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed.

2. Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add fresh or rehydrated bell peppers and onion. Cook until tender, about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and continue cooking for another minute or two. Add the remaining one cup of water and all of the remaining ingredients other than the cheese. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, or until rice is ready.

Serve bean gloppita over hot rice and sprinkle cheddar on top.

FedEx showed up yesterday with three more #10 cans of Augason Farms dehydrated potato shreds from Walmart. Those three cans are equivalent to about 10.4 30-ounce packages of the Ore-Ida frozen shredded hashbrowns, but at a total cost of $24.72 plus tax, versus $31.10 for 10.4 packages of the Ore-Ida frozen shreds. (Walmart has since increased the price from $8.24/can a week ago to $9.77 now; they bounce prices up and down regularly.)