News and things from the edge of the world.
I have collected a few other plants of Yellow Winter Sorrel and gotten Dad to think about not mowing them down if he can help it. And I have transplanted another plant whose name escapes me right now, Dad knew of it right off hand, it has seed pods that have a slight pepper taste and was used as pepper in the old days. I seem to have stirred Dad's memories of gathering wild greens, for food when he grew up. As he was the one who taught me how to cook, having been a trained Chef before I was born, it goes a long way for my continual learning process. But as children grow up they teach their parents more and more things, as each person in the family can learn from another, no matter their ages.
I have started to try to learn more about the life of my Dad and Mom thinking that I can still learn from their history, and my own younger days, stories are important to learn from people, and it adds to your collective knowledge base to have heard them. My Dad has been given the gift of a knack for fixing things, he does not know when it started, but the way he was able to fix things from an early age, is evident in his stories about those times. I know first hand how his mind works. See a pile of anything and know 20 things that pile can become, including the thing it was originally. See a mess someone else made and be able to juggle it all into a working item to the amazement of the person who made the mess in the first place.
I can remember him getting my help to take apart things, and to sort out piles of bits and pieces of things, usually sorting through jungles of nuts, bolts, screws, washers, this and that and a few other things like space alien space ship parts and even a few pink tree tall seeds and things. His ability to look out the window and say, "Look the pink mushroom tree is growing again," and head off into a small trip down a rabbit hole of odd things that can't possibly be what is actually happening in the back yard. It is the off the wall comments the humorous runs down a mental path that leads into a land of wonder and light that is so amazing to listen to when I was a kid, and even now. As my brother and I have picked it up, Though my brother has a more logical twist to his off the wall world, me and dad can just play off one another in the odd fantasy world's that we create, flavored with each of ours point of view and knowledge base. It is something that my Mom can also do, but she likes to listen, as every mom should be, she is a good listener. My dad likes to tell her about his day, and has for as long as I have known them, told her just about everything that is on his mind, at least in the end. I have seen them go through their own troubles, but all in all they love to talk to each other.
That family spirit of togetherness is something that impressed mine and my brother's friends when we were growing up and even to this day. We had several of them want to join the family, with several of them stating that they wished their own families were like ours. Until I heard that from them, I thought every one's family was just like ours. It is odd when you look out into the real world and find out that your families togetherness nature and loving support no matter what happened and happy go lucky joy, is not the norm. I started to realize that I had a hold of something special. I have known for a while that the ability for me and my dad to work together was a special bond that not many other father and sons had, my brother and my Dad have their bond, and me and him have our own. I was first born, so I have been around him longer, and have worked with him a lot, at several of his for pay jobs. James my brother has a more planned detail mind, being an engineer like mental workings, from way back when. While I am more fluid jumbled spark of idea and flare of hot gases and fizzle of pink trees into the night sky kind of thinking, with a twist for the paradox of things. But each mind is different and each mind is the same, there is that subtle flavor of change and strangeness that makes life such a joy to behold.
We got a two barrel rain catchment system set up on the side of the big red shed. It should hold over 100 gallons when full. Dad is planning when we get enough money set aside and he can put fresh paint on the shed, another one for the other side. We have about 160 gallons of catchment off the eaves of the house, but still no guttering, which is a cost we can't afford right now.
Tuesday about noonish I noticed the air getting hot in here and the temp gauge was up to 82 and I knew something was up, I felt the vent and it was warm air. "Dad we have a problem," I intoned as I headed to the kitchen door and told him I thought the AC had quit. Sure enough the compressor was not working and Dad said he better go see Mr. Ellis. Mr. Ellis and his family, wife, two adult children and daughter's son had moved into the last vacant house on the block about 2.5 years ago. He had his own HACV company, and helped us right nicely.
It seems while we were not looking that the EPA had phased out R22 freon AC systems and forced the makers to build R410-a Pruon AC systems, better for the ozone hole. But that is an added cost to almost everyone out there now, the switch over to the new units means a lot of changes inside and out and it'll start biting home repairs and older R22 units when they need to be fixed. The cost is double to begin with, and the cost of changing the inside coils even more in labor and time. Well Mr Ellis was telling us that it was good that it had happened now instead of later, because the R22 units were about all gone. He called around and found 2 left, in all of central Arkansas, when he got there, they had one left. We have the last R22 unit from the warehouse shelves period. At least in our area, there might be a few left in other places, but not for long. We all said that God works in mysterious ways. I had just the other day made a comment to myself that I needed to get to know Mr. Ellis better. And now I do.
I have made connections with several people concerning my BioWebScape design project, and have a few more people wanting help. I am trying to connect to fellow gardeners and reading their own writings about their gardens and issues where they live. I have a friend Kevin Pride who wants me to help him design this neat shaped house he came up with in a phone conversation yesterday, water catchment is all part of the design. I can't take credit for it, it was amazing to see how fast his mind worked to a new concept.
It has finally gone mainstream, the End of the World prepare for it movement, Costco is now selling at least via their website Up to one year supplies of emergency food systems. Some at low costs compared to other systems. As well as mix and match add on packs, like tropical fruit, and regular fruit, and real meats, and grains. Some freeze dried and others dehydrated. If I can swing it I want to try the tropical fruit blend, 6 #10 cans( they hold 128 ounces of volume/231 cubic inches of space/ a gallon) of contents. I have been trying to figure out how much a serving size of freeze dried fruit is, and what it feels like to have in your hand, and how much volume wise it is. I used to have access to the old per-gulf war I, MREs and they had in them freeze dried pears, peaches, and fruit cocktail. The squares were about half an inch thick, and 3 to 4 by the same square. They got soft and chewy fast if exposed to the air for very long. So if you have freeze dried foods, you have to be careful to maintain dryness or else you will have spongy foods that could start to spoil faster. It is one of the things that I worry about buying a big #10 can, and having to remember to put the lid back on for months while you try to eat everything in there.
That in mind I also came across a company called Wise that had their system set up in 5 gallon buckets, and the meals were in 4 serving packs, inside the bucket. But again you might be only one person, so how much do you make up and how do you keep the rest from going bad, and will you be forced to eat all that kind before you can vary the diet.
My Dad was telling about his time in Vietnam working with a Forward Air Control unit, He was the Radio Guy, Each radio had codes built in and though you could not repair them yourself, you had to maintain them and their power generation units. One of things that happened was that he started fixing the C rations into better meals, and soon was cooking for the whole camp, and he was telling me how he was able to get Tomatoes and Lettuce and Rice and Beef all for free. It is a long process and I can't remember all of it right now, maybe I'll get him to write it down for me so he can tell you in his own words. But it was his skill at being a chef that allowed him to become the unit's cook, there were Pilots that would land in time for dinner, knowing where the food was better. Lots of neat war time stories, that were a part of building my father into a better person. he said that he was not scared much when he was there, but when he left, he found out him and his unit had been living with a price tag on their heads. Which could scare anyone.
It is summer time in Arkansas and my stored water is about 3 days left of watering. I'll have to use city water after then, unless it rains here. We get some afternoon heating showers, but not nearly enough. I'll have to work on better management of the water collection, and maybe get some use issues under control. Like more use of waste water from the sinks to use in the yard. In this house that means using buckets. In designs it means, piping to the places of grey water for other uses. Got to work with what you got, but you can always change things as you see them, God will handle the things you can't handle if you ask him.
So now the family is up two or three new members, the local help network group that I am involved with, people with needs, that can help you here and you can help them there. It is something that was almost the norm a long time ago, it seems but somewhere along the way the ties that bound people together got pulled apart, and now we have to rejoin them. That is an on going work, not easy to get some people to trust you at face value, and when you make new connections, it brings a smile to someones face.
Hugs to everyone,
Your brother in Christ,