ursulas_alcove: 19th century engraving of a woman using a drop spindle (Default)
[personal profile] ursulas_alcove
I feel exuberant and uplifted in a way that I can't really explain. I guess listening to Joel Salatin's closing remarks will do that. He does have several speeches on youtube. Here is just one. https://youtu.be/rjYG4vm7MZ4

It was wonderful to see so many people working and learning together. The classes were amazing. I took 15 different classes for all of $25. That is quite a deal. I learned just as much from the attendees as I did from the teachers. I found out why my mushrooms failed to produce. I know how to fix it now. I learned all about rocket mass heaters and cobb. I feel confident enough to try it at home. I learned more about solar energy, geothermal, and solar hot water. I fell in love with a chipper shredder. I got to meet vloggers in person. I am buying licorice root from the co-op to replace my toothbrush because I took an awesome class from Mountain Rose Herbals/Teas. All-in-all I had a great time and reaffirmed that what I do to mitigate my impact on the environment is on track. I am not a crazy person for giving a damn about what happens to the third rock from the sun.

The vendors were pretty good too. I picked up two plants that are hard to find. Also seed for the winter garden. There were two small organic seed growers there. Two plant booths, tool vendors, bee keeping supplies, mushroom spawn sellers, cheese makers, chicken equipment people, essential oils, honey, handspun alpaca, jewelry, grow lights, gutter helmuts, worm castings, etc. The Mother Earth News bookstore was fantastic. Everything you need to homestead. It was probably good I had a very limited budget. I found the discussions I had with other like minded people very fulfilling. So wishing you all great homegrown food, wonderful company and a beautiful day to enjoy them in.

I solemnly swear I am up to no good
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[personal profile] donutsweeper
Dark Matter, which I had just started watching, was not renewed for a fourth season but Killjoys got a fourth and fifth (and final) season which does make me happy. There's so much world building in Killjoys, especially things that you didn't even notice until later on when other stuff is explained which always impresses me. It also features canon f/f, m/m, many POCs and had a large storyline which featured disabled actors playing disabled characters which is the kind of all encompassing diversity I definitely think is a trend that needs to be seen more often in mainstream media.

Unfortunately Stitchers, which I posted about several times, was cancelled as well, and on a rather big cliffhanger. *sigh*

The Midnight Texas finale will air this Monday. It's been a decent enough watch, but I'm not sure I'll care if there's a second season or not. (It's also possible it won't make sense for their to be another season, it kind of looks like it might be more of a 'television event' kind of thing rather than seasonal tv show.)

Yuletide is ramping up (nominations close soonish). I made my noms and am crossing my fingers one thing I nommed gets in (it's weird and rare and whether or not it's considered a fandom could be up for debate). One of the best things about yuletide is seeing the tagset and reading letters and discovering all sorts of new or forgotten fandoms. I doubt I'll be able to match the output I made last year, but I'm hoping to at least write my average of 10 fics or so. *crosses fingers*

KiloWatts-Hours Explained

Sep. 13th, 2017 08:36 pm
ursulas_alcove: 19th century engraving of a woman using a drop spindle (Default)
[personal profile] ursulas_alcove
This is mostly to remind myself. How to use a Kill A Watt meter:
1. Plug your appliance into the meter.
2. Allow it to run for a couple of days or longer. Some folks like 12 hours. Note: Freezers and refridgerators use more power in the summer months.
3. What to do with your reading. We are looking for annual consumption. So a meter that ran for 355 hours, reading 26.24 kWh means (26.24/355)*24 hrs *365 days= 647.5 kWh
Which is what my 1992 GE refridgerator is drawing. The newer model uses 399 kWh for comparison. I could get that number down by replacing the seals or just buy a new one for around $575. Hmmm.

647.5 - 399 = 248.5 kWh annual savings * 10.5¢ per kwh = $26.09 saved annually. Includes both distribution and default service support fees. So $575/26.09 = 22 years to pay for itself. No. I will pass on replacing it. If it was under 10 years, I would probably do it. So a new rubber seal may be more cost effective and should last me another 20 years. Of course, that's unless I go with a DC model connected to a battery bank with PV cells.

It was a good exercise. Thanks to Bill Osuch at the Self Reliant Homestead, http://selfreliantschool.com for the help with the watt meter.

Back to Basics

Sep. 11th, 2017 11:14 pm
ursulas_alcove: My favorite doctor (c is for civilized)
[personal profile] ursulas_alcove
I signed up for a week long summit called Back to Basics, http://backtobasicssummit.com It is half homesteading, half prepping. Some of it doesn't begin to fit our lifestyle while other sessions seem tailor made for us. And yes, I have seen many of the presenters before. Sunday I learned how to make jam with the powdered pectin. I have never used powdered before. Mostly we add currants when we need pectin. But the currants were dug up/moved and are still recovering. I've used the liquid pectin before but not the powdered. It was a bit intimidating because there were no instructions with the pectin. The presentor started with 4 cups blueberries, puréed. Then boil the fruit for a minute, add pectin. Boil for another minute and then add 4 cups of sugar. Bring to a boil for another minute. Use a paperplate to test for sheeting. Spoon jam onto the plate. Place plate into freezer for 30 seconds. Take it out and check for sheeting. Add a knob of butter to keep jam from foaming. She also added a vanilla bean somewhere in there and removed it when ladling out the jam. Pour into hot sterile jars. Process 10 minutes. I need to do this with some mulberries.

Today I got the most out of the bread baking session. I learned where all my mistakes were. I need to knead the dough longer to develop the gluten. To check if its done, use a walnut size chunk and start making a pancake as thin as you can stretch it. If it tears easily, keep working. This is part of why my dough lacks structural integrity. The second part is leaving it to proof too long. Using two fingers, poke the dough. If it springs back, it needs to proof longer. If your poke stays visible, the bread is just right. Generally, my dough when poked, pops and crashes like a soufflé gone cold. So off I went to practise. I used less energy and was done baking much sooner. Great loaf and has structural integrity.

Recipe from Confessions of a French Baker

We've had two days of absolutely clear sky. The pantry was getting a little low. While I was taking inventory, I found a large jar of great northern dried beans. And you know, we've all those tomatoes. Plus we just restocked the molasses. So I got out the solar oven and baked beans. I got a little carried away on the tomatoes and I forgot to add onions, so today I fixed that and made more beans and sauted onions to doctor it up. Not too bad. I made them for the freezer.

Solar Oven

One of the back-to-basics presenters is Paul Munsen. His solar oven (Sun Ovens International) is pretty neat. He also gives a good presentation. He reminded me that I can partially pop the lid, and dehydrate my tomatoes. I also have an alcohol based dye that I do not want anywhere near an open fire, so I've stuck that jar in the solar oven too. Our solar oven is starting to show its age. Its made by a different company, Solavore http://www.solavore.com/contact-us/ I wrote to the company about a replacement cover. We compared the two ovens when visiting Lehman's. Paul's oven is smaller and more portable. Ours is bigger, fitting two pots in it at the same time but it does not travel well. Replacement parts if available, will allow us to work on lowering our electric usage. I really can't afford a new oven. I picked this one up about ten years ago. It took a good tumble in the wind out at Estrella one year. The cover has been damaged ever since. I really didn't want to build one from scratch to replace it.

Another set of presenters today covered how much food to store. Apparently certain religious groups promote this concept and have food calculators to figure out how much extra to store per person. There are plug and play spreadsheets. While I like the concept, we are under too tight of money constraints to buy extra food.
http://foodstoragemadeeasy.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Basic-Plus-Calculator.xlsx

I quite enjoyed the Mississippi farmer who shared ideas/recipes for using all your canned foodstuffs. I think I'd like to try a pressure cooker. Potatoes, corn, meat, all preserve well this way. Despite glass being heavy and breakable, it would be so much easier to grab a few jars for traveling. I have too many allergies to eat out. This would solve a lot of problems. She also covered what to do with aging jellies and freeze drying as well.

I worked on hats today. Orders shipped. But no skeining. I need to get back to winding/skeining tomorrow and let a couple of clients know that their hats are ready. Dyebaths need to be run for Shenandoah Valley Fiber Fest. Too much to do!

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Dyeing fiber: all types, all kinds

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