Thursday, August 26, 2010


Something occurred to me yesterday afternoon...

I tend to suffer from mild seasonal affective disorder. It's actually worse this time of year when the daylight begins to change and the days grow shorter.

Even during the summer, I would usually suffer from it and get depressed and moody. The Architect would always know the problem and make sure I went to the tanning bed.

I have to admit; I am a bit of a recluse, a homebody. I go to work, I come home, I cook dinner and go to bed. I don't typically spend much time out doors, especially during the sweltering heat of the Georgia summer.

However, I think the last time I went to the tanning bed was in March. The past few years, I'd go to the tanning bed about once or twice a month to stave off my S.A.D.

...but I haven't had to go ONCE over the course of this whole summer.

Having a garden to care for and fret over has FORCED me to spend time outside, even if it's only 5-10 minutes a day.

So thank you, Mother Nature, my garden, and that big ol' sphere of burning gas way up out there for keeping me happy and healthy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Going raw.

On Thursday, I took Logan to have his teeth cleaned, as they were badly in need. His breath smelled like poop and fish, and his teeth were quite tartar-laden.

Logan's had two dental cleanings before, and he loves having his teeth brushed, but he has not-so-great teeth.

In the previous two cleanings, Logan didn't slow down in the least after returning home after being under anesthesia. This time... well, I was honestly afraid I wouldn't be able to get him out of my car by myself, as The Architect was still on his way home from work at the time.

Logan's just not as young as he used to be...

Logan is since doing great, and his teeth are pearly white, and his breath no longer causes small children to run crying to their mothers.

However, Akitas are large dogs, and are therefore not very long-lived (11-12 years), and become "seniors" at a younger age than most other breeds. Between Logan's age (he's 6), and the fact that I don't like putting an animal under anesthesia if I don't have to, I've decided to switch the dogs from a kibble diet to a raw/BARF (biologically appropriate raw foods) diet. Chewing on raw bones scrapes their teeth and helps keep them clean.

I've tried it with Logan when he was much younger, but I didn't research it well, and though Logan did well on the raw diet, I don't think I ever truly got the hang of it.

Blaze and Logan both occasionally get raw beef bones or hamburger as a treat, but I think they'd do much better on a mostly-raw food diet.

Aside from it being better for them, in the case of SHTF, the only thing available for dogs to eat will be raw meat and anything else that can be scavenged.

So, I ordered

to better prepare myself to try the BARF diet again and to make sure I do it properly.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I am pretty new to this whole baking-bread-from-scratch thing, but I absolutely love to bake bread when I have time to spare.

I got this great recipe from Mother Earth News, and the magazine is pretty tattered at this point from me referring to it. I use this recipe for both bread and for pizza dough.

Rather than use the full recipe*, I cut it down to 1 cup of water, 1/2 tablespoon (1.5 teaspoons) each of yeast and salt, and two cups of flour.

I've found that special-ordering yeast is a better option than buying packets at the grocery store, since the stuff at the store tends to be really stale. The Bread Beckers are of reasonable driving distance from my house (and they do internet orders, too), and I got a pound of yeast for like $5. I keep it in my fridge, and even though it's a year old, it's still quite viable.

This is a no-knead recipe, so you just add the ingredients together, then stir/smoosh it together with a spatula or spoon.

Let the dough rise for about two hours... I cover the dough with a moist towel to keep it from drying out.

Pop in a hot oven for half an hour, and viola!

*also: The REASON I don't use the full recipe is that I don't have a big enough bowl to contain it. I did not know this the first time I attempted making bread, and without prior knowledge to how much bread dough actually rises. When I returned to the dough two hours later, it had crawled up and out of the bowl, across the table, and was beginning to drip down onto the floor. It was like something out of a horror movie.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My ripe-melon sniffing dog..., uhm... a little too good at her job.

I was wondering where she got the random beige football that she was kicking around.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Just a pic...

...of Ms. Blaze-dog.

....who is still blowing coat like you wouldn't believe.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A harvest!

At left is the produce I brought in today from my OWN garden.

I have to say, this is a huge, vast, amazing, spectacular improvement over what I did with my garden last year (er... one edible tomato).

Part of me doesn't even want to eat any of this; I want to frame it.

That cantaloupe? Is the size of my head.

And because I have NO idea how to determine a melon's ripeness, I kind of went by the fact that both the dogs made an absolute bee-line to the garden this afternoon when I let them out for a potty break after I got home from. They were both sniffing hungrily at this melon. They never go into the garden.

I took it as an omen.

I brought the melon inside, and Blaze absolutely would not stop following me around, trying to get to the melon.

So, uhm... I have to admit... I teared up a little bit after I cut open the cantaloupe. It WAS ripe. And beautiful. And I'm kind of humbled that I was a part of it. Planting, fretting, watering, transferring to the garden itself, weeding, fretting, more watering, fretting, encouraging (I might talk to my plants. What of it?), more fretting.

I cannot wait to expand my garden so that I can do more of the same.

I am sad, though- now that summer is drawing to a close, I have only one more melon to harvest and just a few more tomatoes. I wish I'd planted more.

I am, however, super-excited about having an autumn garden of broccoli and salad greens. This, coming from a girl who thought "stuff" only grew in the spring/summertime just a few months ago.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

In which I describe what others may call "paranoia..."

My survival/prepper journey began maybe two years ago or so. The Architect has always been kind of a zombie survival nerd, and I always kind of ignored him or occasionally made fun of him for it.

After having had enough of my prodding, I remember The Architect finally spinning around, and, exasperated, barked, "Don't you realize that this zombie stuff is a metaphor for real-life HUMAN survival situations?"

With a laugh, I asked, "What could POSSIBLY go wrong?"

The Architect then explained to me that grocery stores only keep about three days worth of food in stock, and if truck drivers went on strike, what then?

That's all it took for me to begin researching ways to keep us safe and well-fed. Through forums and articles, I learned of EMPs, financial collapse, mass illness, etc.

And then The Architect bought the book, "One Second After," a book about an EMP detonating over the US.

I was literally sickened and terrified as I read it.

It's quite true that civil society is held together quite loosely, and once people start missing meals, it kind of goes down the toilet on an epic scale.

And is the idea of an EMP over the United States really all that far-fetched? Iran hasn't been all that warm and squishy and friendly toward us, and now that they've vowed to send a man to space, it's even more feasible. If Iran can send a man to space, launching an EMP over the US should be a piece of cake.

At this point, financial collapse in this country seems more a matter of WHEN, not IF.

James Wesley Rawles illustrates a pretty likely senario in his book, "Patriots."

I actually highly reccommend Rawles' book, as it is as much a survival how-to as it is a work of fiction, despite his awkward and deliberate insertions in the book that remind you that, Yes, he is, in fact, a big ol' Christian.

In practice in "day-to-day" life as well as in theory, having a few days worth of food is a good idea for ANYONE.

A year ago, Atlanta and its surrounding areas were hit with torrential rainfall, causing substantial flooding.

Crash actually called me at work that day, telling me to drop what I was doing if I planned on getting home anytime in the next few days.

A ride home that normally takes half an hour took almost three hours as swollen creeks and rivers poured over onto the roads, cutting off all but one of my routes home.

I learned that not twenty minutes after returning home, the last detour to my house had been closed, as another bridge flooded.

Thankfully, even though a plethora of roads remained closed the next day, The Architect and I didn't have to even attempt to go out for food since there were plenty in the cupboards.

So truly, WHY do I prep and seek more survival skills? So I won't be a victim. So I won't have to rely on anyone else. I wish more people would take the same responsibility.

Monday, August 2, 2010

It has come to my attention that I Really, Truly, Honestly, FerReals need a compost heap.

This poses several obstacles.

First: where to put the darn thing. I cannot put it in my front yard, since being in Small Suburbia, that counts as Rather Unsightly. So the compost heap MUST go in the back yard.

Onto the subsequent obstacles...

Ideally, the thing needs to go toward the back of the property, since I am convinced it is going to smell, despite various websites telling me otherwise. Part of my brain is whining that it'd be so much easier to have by the back deck for easy disposal of table scraps and egg shells.

Another problem is BlazeDog tends to do things like roll in smelly things, tip stuff over, dig, flail, kick dirt around, etc. She's kind of a goofy kid.

Since I'm not doing a huge garden (yet), I figure the 65 gallon bin from Tractor Supply will probably suffice for my needs.

I'll have The Architect drive us up to the Tractor Supply to nab it.

...I'm sure I'll have tons of future stories about my dogs getting into more fights with possoms over this thing...