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The photo is my son and myself. Now days you can get a photo made to look old like this one. This photo was taken when this was the new look.

Harry S Truman was president when I was born and world war II had ended. I grew up in a time when lunch was put in a brown paper bag and a sandwich was wrapped with wax paper. There was no such thing as pantyhose, we wore stockings that attached to the rubbery clippy things that attached to the girdle. Convenience stores were not common and when we took a trip we packed a picnic basket because many places did not have fast food. Highways had places to pull over and stop, some with picnic tables. Read more ....

The Basics of Life

July 3, 2020

The other day we had a storm with quite a bit of lightening.  The week before our daughter called and said that their next door neighbors tree had been struck by lightening and it blew a hole in the ground and plants out of the ground and the lightening ran through her neighbors house, our daughters house, the other neighbors house on the other side of her neighbors and even across the street. 

They all had disruptions in telephones, answering machines, cable, their televisions, wall plugs, neighbors pool pumps, digital devices and such as that. A quite expensive strike that was.

Here at our house when it starts thundering I normally go around the house and unplug lamps, the computer and printer, fans, air conditioner, radio and anything that I value which is most everything. After what happened to our daughters neighbors house and her house I unplugged even the small things.   

If it is something that can be prevented we should do it.

I had not made the bed that day because it was a frequent lay down day with the ear disease that I have that affects my balance at times but mostly makes me feel unsteady and most all sounds are very loud, it can be quite debilitating.

I have determined that there is no doctor that truly understands this disease so I have just learned to live with it and adapt.

I was laying in bed noticing the quiet and how the house felt with everything unplugged. I remembered my past and those that I loved that did not have electricity.

I was listening to the thunderstorm rolling in and realized how much closer we are getting to those simple ways of life here at our house.

But truly the simple time is right here for us to take.  We do not have to live this modern hectic life as many of us do.  We can make it whatever it is we want right where we are because it is all about if we use it or buy it because we are in control of these things.

Life is like these handmade items.  a mixture of different threads...

Crochet can be done with yarn or thread.  Most often it is yarn and people make blankets or throws or most anything...

Then there is a small yarn or a thicker thread... there is quite a difference of the outcome in which is chosen.

Then there are the finer threads which were used often in the past. These threads can be worked with needles, bobbins, shuttles, hooks and such as that.  This bobbin and lace I am holding are called bobbin lace....

This edging is called tatting and made with a shuttle but can be also tatted with a long needle.

Modern day shuttles are made of plastic, wood or metal.  Tatting is soothing to do as it makes a soft clicking sound and is such a simple craft with only a tiny shuttle and thread.

I wanted to learn it all, I crave learning and understanding how things are made.  But there came a day when I realized that I could not do all of these things at once.  I had the knowledge and could make them when needed such as adding lace to fabric.

To be skilled it requires doing that one thing well before moving on to something else.

Just like gardening.  It helps to understand how plants grow, what they need, how long it takes to germinate, do they need bees to pollinate or are they self pollinating.  How to save the seeds so we can grow more.  What season does the plant grow best.  Knowledge is powerful and doing is the best way because the more we do it the better we get.

We cannot live basic very easily if we do not learn to do the things that help us to live basic.

I think this piece is beautiful... all the work, each stitch done one at a time..

But for me I think this mended dresser cloth is more beautiful.. as I finally found that I enjoy cloth and needlework the best. And the simpleness of it.

I had to try all things to find what I wanted because in today's world we have so many distractions and so many things that often it is difficult to know what we want.

Our lives change all the time and many people have a difficult time trying to figure out what they want all the while filling our lives with non useful things never thinking to clear the clutter to basic and maybe we will fine it was there all along. 

It became obvious to me that I was happy with simple cotton and lace. as I am working towards basic and simple.

We all know what a his and her sink looks like today in this modern world so pictured above is our old way version of His sink.

And the her sink shown above.

We fill our lavabo's with water and then we have running water. We have a enamel pitcher for washing up. 

If you have never taken a washbowl bath you should try it.  Get a pail or large bowl of warm water and some extra water for rinsing.  A bar of soap and a cloth. Have a rug or towel to stand on.  Close your bedroom door and bath yourself as your generations before you did. Wet and soap your cloth and wash your body with soap then put the soap away and rinse your cloth and wipe off the soap. Start at the top and work down. It is a different kind of clean.  You never understand things if you never try them.  There is a immediate connection to the past. 

Think about your family generations before you that lived without running water and electricity. It is a wonderful experience of history and not bad as we would think of how awful it must have been to live without the things of today.  You may be surprised at how we find maybe today is what is bad. 

A washstand is a good solution when there is only one bathroom in the house or living off grid.  It is the way to save on water, it is how people bathed before running water.  People did take baths before running water by hauling water but the washbowl bath was very common.

I moved our breakfast/lunch table to the opposite side of the room..  I moved our Cockatiel "Belle" to our bedroom because there is a double window in that room and plenty of light.  This room does not have a draft and she is away from the window which is better for thunderstorms which we are having at this time I am typing this.

I am still keeping a close eye on the pantry and working out simple meals. I am still dehydrating and canning seasonal food.  I am paying attention and listening to the God nudges of being careful through this increasingly growing coronavirus.  

This is an uncooked whole chicken I was preparing with a onion in the cavity, potatoes and carrots around it.  I wrapped it up and baked it in the oven for a few hours and it was a easy clean up meal.

I added some sauteed green beans to this meal because there was just enough on the vine for a small side dish.

Leftovers were used the next day for chicken and rice.  I boiled the leftover chicken and carcass and made broth.  I de-boned and removed the chicken and then strained the broth.  I made a roux using butter, flour and broth for a thin roux or gravy, added the chicken to the gravy and dipped on top of the rice. 

The other day I decided to get another sourdough starter going with flour and water.  This takes time, flour and water, that is all.  I started one ten years ago that I used for many years then went back to yeast.  I still have this starter that I dried and also froze but I wanted to get another one going so I could show you how to do this and I will once it is rising and falling properly. 

I did revive the old starter I call Pascal and it did rise up but I decided to only work on the new one so I did not waste flour.

I started off Leona with whole wheat flour.  The reason I am making a new starter is because of the yeast shortage and our daughter makes all her bread by scratch.  Our grandson has severe food allergies and I wanted to make one using the flour she uses so I can send her some to use if the yeast shortage does not improve.

Leona did well the first 3 days and even rose up the second day which surprised me.  Some starters take only 6 or seven days and some may take much longer.  I do not want to make a fruit starter but a simple flour water starter because this is what I did that did so well for many years.   

I have Leona in a jar wrapped in a baby blanket in the guest/sewing room. I am using the equal weight method and using a scale.  Same flour, water and starter weight.  I have a fail more often if I use measuring cups.  

If you want to try and make a starter before I get Leona going this is how I do it but I am sure there are many posts on the internet on how to do this.

I was doing a half cup of each before I gave up on non weighing.  The first start is the only time I use whole wheat flour.

To begin...  

I used a cup of whole wheat flour and enough water to make a very thick batter almost dough consistency to get the starter started.  Then the next day I discarded half the mixture and switched to organic all purpose flour for feeding.  I wanted to use bread flour but the stores have not had any.  Saying this... you can use all purpose flour.  I am trying to make one my grandson can consume. 

after first day,,,

To feed I first zero out the weight of the container I am using, then add what is left of the first day starter mixture after discarding half of it.  Then I write down the weight, for example I have 4 ounces. 

Put the 4 ounces of starter in a clean jar or container.  Add 4 ounces of filtered or spring water and 4 ounces of flour. If you feel it is too thin add a little more flour and stir.  I wipe down the inside of the jar if I have stirred it in the jar so I can mark the jar to watch for it to rise and fall.

Sometimes I mix it in a bowl and then add it to the jar.

I never put starter down the sink drain. Always in the trash.  Once the starter is a good starter you can save all discarded starter for making pancakes. Just keep it in the refrigerator.

Your starter may smell sour but never awful.  If it smells awful for three days then start over.  It should smell like fermented dough or a good smell by the time it is ready for using to make bread.  It normally takes about 7 days or more to get a really good starter going.

All things it take learning to get good at it and bread starter is a living thing, it must be fed.

After I get Leona going I may do a whole wheat starter just for making whole wheat bread.  We do not know what our situation is going to be with yeast so making a starter may be a good thing to do.

Here is a link to an much older post I did about how to feed and bake a loaf of sourdough bread using the starter.

I am posting less often now because of mental fatigue with this awful virus increasing.  I am considering taking a break for a bit until things get better so please read some of my old posts because there is a lot there about how to live like the past.  Love to all of you, Grandma Donna

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