Carrie’s Veggie Corner 11/22/17

Featured

  by: Gobbi L. Turkey

Vegetables and Tofu are really good……

So, Carrie’s out this week, as she’s busy with some kind of horrific display of whimsical madness in her kitchen. I’m assuming it’s for this up-coming holiday you humans call ‘Thanksgiving’. Me? I’m typing this from a dark corner in her pantry, trying to save myself from the slaughter. So far, only her dog has picked up my scent, and, much to my relief, the dog (unlike the cats) can’t manage to open this door…yet. If this holiday of giving thanks is to be followed by us turkeys, then I’m going to add my list of things that I am thankful for. It’s a short list. OK, there are only 2 things on that list. Vegetarians, and Vegans. I’m extremely thankful for them. Sadly, those types of humans do not live in this house, and I fear that I will soon be discovered.

Speaking of which, this pantry really isn’t all that bad, as far as pantries go. I mean, there are house plants, and tons of baking supplies. Oh, and a LOT of reading material. Mostly cook books, but there are a few handy mechanic journals, and some random book about a human named ‘Churchill’. I haven’t yet figured out why that would be next to the cook books, but at this point, I’m sure it really doesn’t matter. This solitude, however, has left me with much ado about nothing, so I’ve taken to perusing the cook books. One night, as I was browsing through some soup recipes, I over heard the humans talking about this stuff they call ‘brine’. They said it was good for turkeys. A bath perhaps? A massage? I’m not sure, but I looked it up, and sure enough, I found a recipe for brine. So, I’m going to share it with you.

So, apparently, it’s fairly simple. You have 1 gallon of water, 2 cups of Kosher salt (I’ve never heard of a Kosher ocean, but whatever), 1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar, 12 whole cloves, 3 bay leaves, 1 Tbls. Whole black peppercorns, 1 1/2 tsp. Dried rosemary and 2 1/2 tsp dried thyme. So, it looks like you bring the water to a boil, stir in the salt and sugar (until it’s dissolved), bring to a boil again (good gravy there’s a lot of boiling to this), add the rest of the stuff into the water, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for about 20 minutes. Then, throw it into the fridge until it’s completely cooled. Oh wait, it says here that the container you place this brine stuff in should be large enough to hold your turkey, and ‘non-reactive’. Good idea there, as I think the turkey will be reacting enough as it is. So, you put a thawed turkey (OMG they deep freeze us first!?) into the brine, and add enough cool water to cover the turkey with liquid. Refrigerate over night. Remove from brine, and let it sit awhile before roasting.

OK, well, um, it looks like I won’t be brining myself any time soon. Not if I have to be defrosted beforehand. I don’t want to be frosted to begin with. That’s the snowman’s job, not mine, and it’s not even December yet! Oh no! I think one of the cats heard me. I need to hide. Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Carrie’s Gobble Corner 11/22/17

Featured

 by: Gobbi L. Turkey

So, Carrie’s out this week, as she’s busy with some kind of horrific display of whimsical madness in her kitchen. I’m assuming it’s for this up-coming holiday you humans call ‘Thanksgiving’. Me? I’m typing this from a dark corner in her pantry, trying to save myself from the slaughter. So far, only her dog has picked up my scent, and, much to my relief, the dog (unlike the cats) can’t manage to open this door…yet. If this holiday of giving thanks is to be followed by us turkeys, then I’m going to add my list of things that I am thankful for. It’s a short list. OK, there are only 2 things on that list. Vegetarians, and Vegans. I’m extremely thankful for them. Sadly, those types of humans do not live in this house, and I fear that I will soon be discovered.

Speaking of which, this pantry really isn’t all that bad, as far as pantries go. I mean, there are house plants, and tons of baking supplies. Oh, and a LOT of reading material. Mostly cook books, but there are a few handy mechanic journals, and some random book about a human named ‘Churchill’. I haven’t yet figured out why that would be next to the cook books, but at this point, I’m sure it really doesn’t matter. This solitude, however, has left me with much ado about nothing, so I’ve taken to perusing the cook books. One night, as I was browsing through some soup recipes, I over heard the humans talking about this stuff they call ‘brine’. They said it was good for turkeys. A bath perhaps? A massage? I’m not sure, but I looked it up, and sure enough, I found a recipe for brine. So, I’m going to share it with you.

So, apparently, it’s fairly simple. You have 1 gallon of water, 2 cups of Kosher salt (I’ve never heard of a Kosher ocean, but whatever), 1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar, 12 whole cloves, 3 bay leaves, 1 Tbls. Whole black peppercorns, 1 1/2 tsp. Dried rosemary and 2 1/2 tsp dried thyme. So, it looks like you bring the water to a boil, stir in the salt and sugar (until it’s dissolved), bring to a boil again (good gravy there’s a lot of boiling to this), add the rest of the stuff into the water, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for about 20 minutes. Then, throw it into the fridge until it’s completely cooled. Oh wait, it says here that the container you place this brine stuff in should be large enough to hold your turkey, and ‘non-reactive’. Good idea there, as I think the turkey will be reacting enough as it is. So, you put a thawed turkey (OMG they deep freeze us first!?) into the brine, and add enough cool water to cover the turkey with liquid. Refrigerate over night. Remove from brine, and let it sit awhile before roasting.

OK, well, um, it looks like I won’t be brining myself any time soon. Not if I have to be defrosted beforehand. I don’t want to be frosted to begin with. That’s the snowman’s job, not mine, and it’s not even December yet! Oh no! I think one of the cats heard me. I need to hide. Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Carrie’s Wintry Corner 11/15/17

– by: Carrie A. Blakley

With the cold Winter months upon us (yes, I used the W word), we need to really start taking stock of our stocks. Food, wood, emergency and pet stocks. While many folks up here have become used to the power going out every time the wind sneezes the wrong way, or when ever the local squirrels have a tree party that involves power lines (on any level), most folks get the town’s generator power relatively soon (read that as: ‘before Hell freezes over, and we can float Noah’s Ark down Main St’). That being said, even with power, we still have mud slides, land slides, mountains sliding into the river, hills sliding into the ravines and the over all laziness of the boulders, which tend to take naps in the middle of the highway whenever it suits them to do so.

If you haven’t already, prepare for these power outages, and other such problems, now. First, and foremost, play it safe. Make sure you have a good escape route you, and your family members, can take in case it becomes necessary. We have very active bears right now (no kidding, right?) in the area, but be rest assured, they are not the only native members of this local tribe of ours that are active. At this point in the year, every living creature (including humans) is preparing for the long winter months ahead. They too are stocking up, so be aware of this when you think about keeping coolers handy to store your cold items outside. If you have no choice but to take that route, make sure the coolers are locked and anchored to something a large animal can not move, even with a back hoe and a lot of leverage.

Keep a land line phone handy (if you don’t already use one regularly), in cases of emergency, or to contact friends and relatives to let them know your situation. Keep a phone book, and an address book, near the land line phone. No power means that your cell phones, cordless phones and computer systems will not be able to recharge that quickly, even if you’re able to use a car battery for charging purposes. Be safe at all times. Do not risk illness, just for a can of soup. Check the expiration dates on your food items, especially canned meats. If they’re beyond the expiration date, do not take chances…throw the items out, and replace them with new items. You’ll also want to be sure your pets are well taken care of. Add extra blankets to the dog/cat beds. If they have medical conditions that require daily treatment, stock up if possible on these treatments. If it’s a snow storm that knocks out the power, that also means that you might not be able to easily get out of your home. Also make sure that your own medical needs are met (if you have an). Talk to your doctor about the possibility of a power outage, and see if there is an alternative treatment that you can use during those outages. This especially holds true if your medication requires cooling/refrigeration (as is the case with some Diabetics).

Finally, keep a running list of the items you will need to keep on hand. Batteries, lamp oil, candles, working flashlights, matches, fire starters, wood, kindling…whatever it is that you will need, make a list, check it twice and when you buy them, buy them thrice. Remember, during power outages, our emergency services are stretched beyond their capacity. You will need to be able to keep yourselves as healthy, and warm, as possible during the outages. When an outage occurs, unplug anything possible, so that a potential power surge can not damage your electronics. This is also true for a brown out condition. So, be prepared, and don’t wait to start stocking up. You can do it! Have a warm, and safe, week everyone!

Carrie’s Breath Corner 11/8/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley
Rain, sleet, snow, wind, Daylight Savings Time, political unrest, cold, more rain, road construction and work. Those things alone are enough to cause many people to go into a full blown ‘leave me alone’ mode. Top that mess off with the upcoming holidays, and it can be a recipe for disaster. Stop. Breathe. Learn that it’s perfectly alright to crave solitude. Know that you are not going to be loathed if you tell someone ‘no, I’m really not up to doing that (going there, seeing them…w/e) today’. It’s also completely acceptable to tell someone that you’re not up to dealing with people that particular moment, and require some alone time. That’s fine! No one’s feelings are going to get all blown out of whack because you can’t handle people for awhile. Everyone needs time to unwind, chill and totally relax. Furthermore, if someone’s feelings do get blown all out of whack, understand that it’s their problem, not yours, and they can just deal with it for awhile until you recharge, and are ready to face the world again.

Not everyone recharges in the same fashion. For some people, they draw their energy from large crowds, and almost seem to bask in the surroundings of the noises from a city, rock concerts or large gatherings. For some, this can be the ultimate nightmare. Others prefer sitting in a softly lit room, perhaps with a glass of fine wine, a good book, and some soothing music. Others still, turn to their electronic gadgets for awhile, focussing on games, browsing the Internet, ‘window shopping’ on Amazon…or just meandering about on a news web site. Some like to watch television. Some like to just go for a good walk, or just read a good book. Whatever it is that you do to recharge yourself, do it. With the holiday season approaching, stress levels will be higher than usual.

Finding the perfect tree. Having the perfectly wrapped presents. Cooking the perfect meal. Wearing the perfect clothing. Stop. You do not have to have everything perfect for any holiday, much less Thanksgiving and Christmas (or, Yule, or Hanukkah, or Kwanza..or whatever holiday(s) you celebrate during this time of the year). So what if the pie is a bit more brown around the edges? It doesn’t ruin the entire pie. Who cares if that bow is slightly off centered on the gift? It doesn’t take away from the gift inside. So you can’t fashion a pine tree out of a cloth napkin, no matter how hard you try. It’s a napkin. No one is going to care one bit how a piece of cloth that’s used to wipe food remnants off of your face looks on a dinner table. YOU might care, but that itself is something entirely different. It’s called ‘being too hard on yourself’, and ‘not learning to let go of the little things that truly don’t matter’. Learn to relax. Learn to recharge, and please, learn to slow down and enjoy life a bit. Also, learn to take care of yourself above all else. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not going to be able to take care of anyone else either. So, go out there and relax all over the place, and enjoy life. Oh, and have a great week everyone. 🙂

Carrie’s Time Corner 11/1/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley

With All Hallow’s E’en, and All Saints Day having passed, we now head in to the time that’s even far more creepy than any celebrated/recognized day of the Autumn season. The three-worded day, which strikes more fear into the hearts of many, than waking up to a house full of bears. Daylight Savings Time. By now, we’re probably all fairly well aware of the person responsible for incorporating this madness into our lives, George Hudson. To be fair, Benjamin Franklin did propose that the French ration their candle use by turning in to bed earlier, and rising earlier, in order to use the Sunlight more efficiently. Mr. Franklin did not, however, ‘invent’ Daylight Savings Time. Nope. We can thank a New Zealand entomologist for proposing this Daylight Savings Time nonsense to the world. I mean, truly think about the reaction our French neighbors must have had when an American made the suggestion of rationing candle use, even if it was done for purposes of satire.

Oddly enough, yet another holiday from across the pond, also takes place on the same day as Daylight Savings Time. Guy Fawkes Day. Modern society was made aware of this odd day through the movie, V is for Vendetta. Remember! Remember, the fifth of November! The Gunpowder Treason and Plot. I cannot find reason that the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot! This oh so lovely holiday firmly took its place in history back on November 5th, 1605, when Guy Fawkes’ attempt at blowing up the entirety of Parliament, as well as King James himself, was foiled. Mind you, this attempt was religiously charged, whereas the wretched Daylight Savings Time suggestion was based solely on hobby and work related ideas.

Thus, my theory is, that somewhere between Daylight Savings Time, and Guy Fawkes Day, the truth lies. I’m fairly certain that we’ve all found said truth at some point in our lives, but none the less, we continue to endow ourselves with the glorious search for our own personal truths, even though we’ve likely discovered them years ago. We just keep looking anyway. As for me, well….I keep myself firmly planted within the realm of mediocrity, and strive to continue my search for the perfect cup of coffee. After all, what may hold true for one, may not hold true for another. Have a safe week everyone, and may the odds be ever in your favor on Sunday.

Carrie’s Critter Corner 10/25/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley

While we all know that the recent fires in California have displaced thousands of animals, we tend to forget that it is also this time of the year that these animals are preparing for the cold months ahead. Hoarding food stuffs, when you’re a human, is relatively easy. When you’re a member of the wildlife kingdom, hoarding said food stuffs becomes more, and more difficult, as the colder months creep in. What makes it even worse, is when the bulk of your food is burnt down to nothing but ash. Animals can’t eat ash, soot and burnt wood bits. As a result, the wildlife creatures will migrate, in order to find a suitable food supply. Guess what? We live in their ‘suitable food supply’ realm.

It just so happens that this is also the time of year that us human members of the animal kingdom tend to decorate our homes with Autumn decor. The good side is that the decor looks amazing. The bad side, is that the decor smells amazing….to the members of the wildlife society. Therefore, one ought not be too shocked when they step out of the home, and find that their amazing Autumn decor has turned into an amazing Autumn buffet line. That being said, it’s best to remember that our Autumn decor is best eaten in its pure form. In other words, without paints, colorings, dyes, candles, plastic attachments (I’ve seen more than 1 Mr. Potato Head Pumpkin in my life) and ribbons. We may tend to think that these will somehow deter the animals from snacking on the decor. I’m sorry to tell you that you are sadly mistaken.

If you are set on decorating the exterior of your humans nesting spots, try to do so in a manner that will make the nest’s curb appeal more natural. Larger pumpkins (and I mean much larger) will last longer, but will be eventually eaten. Colored corn is also a treat for the wildlife residents, as are smaller gourds, pumpkins and nuts. Pine cones, for the record, will be swiftly munched to bits by smaller rodents (usually squirrels). So if you’re wanting to add larger pine cones to your nest’s external decor, don’t be shocked if you see nothing but a pine cone core left on your door step the next morning. Finally, play it safe. You don’t want to decorate your nest so thoroughly that you become unintentionally trapped inside, or have to run through a pumpkin-colored gauntlet as you head out the door. Don’t want your decor to be ruined before Halloween? Keep it inside. That’s about the only way your decor will last. Be safe. Have a great week, and keep an eye out for those critters.

Carrie’s Foody Corner 10/18/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley

With the up-coming holidays upon us, now is probably a good time to come to the realization that eventually, there will be so much food being prepared in your homes, that you’ll swear you’re feeding people living there, that you haven’t met yet. Same concept as laundry, only there are far too many left overs to think of sensibly. This is also the time when we tend to sneak tid-bits of human foods to our pets. Sometimes, this can be an incredibly bad thing, especially if you’re not familiar with the ingredients of said enormous meals. While both dogs, and cats, can obviously eat meats (of almost any type), it doesn’t necessarily mean that they should. During the huge pet food recall a decade ago, our veterinarian wrote a column regarding safe alternative foods for pets that do not have specific dietary, and/or medical, needs. His advice? Give them a hot dog, cooked beef, cooked chicken, pork, fish, turkey…all are safe for both dogs and cats.

This doesn’t mean that you should run out and get your ‘fur-babies’ jars of black caviar, or the latest in goose liver pate. It also doesn’t mean that you can just throw fido, or fluffy, a nice slab of meat loaf, especially if it contains any other ingredient besides ground meat. I know you can get all of the ‘don’t feed dogs’ food lists, as well as the, ‘dog safe’ food lists, on the Internet. What’s a bit more difficult to locate are the feline friendly food lists. Yes, we all know that chocolate is bad (on all levels) for both dogs an cats. Raccoons, and humans, love it…cats and dogs die from it. So, what are some feline friendly human foods?

Salmon, spinach, cantaloupe, eggs, watermelon, fish oil, chicken, bananas, oatmeal, pumpkin, cheese, bread, apples, blueberries, peas, turkey, pork, beef, sausage, venison. These are the ‘top 20’ foods for felines. Obviously, considering these cats have no issue, eating a freshly killed rodent, bird or snake, the meat you serve them merely has to be properly cleaned, and in the case of venison, properly cured. Milk for cats? Makes for a nice story, and it does contain a lot of nutrients. However, giving a cat milk can wreak havoc on their digestive system. Which, makes for a very unpleasant trip to the cat box for them. So, do some research before the onslaught of food starts arriving in your kitchens. Be sure to keep all dangerous foods away from your pets, and if they accidentally ingest bad foods, call the vet immediately. Have a safe week everyone!

Carrie’s Bear Corner 10/4/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley

‘Oh man, really shouldn’t have had that coffee in June,’

Welcome to Sierra County, the Autumn Edition. As everyone has probably noticed by now, there is a lot of bear activity going on right now. I’ve heard everything from, ‘I can not believe how aggressive they are’, to, ‘Yeah, if someone could let the bears know that we need the garbage can lid returned to the front of the court house, that would be great’….and back again. By the way, the latter of that statement is just as true as the former of that statement. So if anyone happens to see a large, flat, black donut shaped piece of plastic laying around, please return it to the Sierra County Court House. One of the bears made off with it last week, and the rubbish bin just hasn’t felt quite the same since.

So let’s look into a few facts regarding Ursus arctos, more commonly known as ‘a brown bear’. Or, as local residents have been currently referring to it. ‘that damn bear got into the trash again’. First, and foremost, these animals are big. I mean really big. They can reach up to 9 feet in length (nose to tail), with a shoulder height of about 5 feet. While the average weight of a bear ranges between 350 – 425 pounds, there have been bears that have obviously been larger (such as the bear that likely weighs in around the 500 pound mark, that has been meandering around my yard as of late).

We all know their muscle power, proof of which can be seen throughout the towns as they put on their toppled dumpster displays – sometimes on a nightly basis. Keep in mind that those bear bars are not going to stop a bear from trying to turn a dumpster into a take away container. Nor are they going to prevent the bears from literally prying open the ‘secured’ lids of said dumpsters like a sardine can. As for their claws? Well, take a pen, and look at the size. The claws of a full grown bear are not much shorter than your writing pen, and are razor sharp. Great, so how big is a bear’s paw then? About the same size as your face. Literally.

Autumn is the time of year that people see the most wild life activity, and not just bears. I personally watched one of our CHP officers move a rather large (and rather fat) rattlesnake to the side of the road, with a shovel, on Saturday afternoon. I’ve seen 6 inch wide Mountain Lion paw prints in my driveway. The most recent of which appeared just last Wednesday. So yes, folks, there are many things in this county that can eat your feet – and will do so willingly, if given the chance. Be safe. Never, EVER try to ‘pet the cute little bear cub’, unless you’re truly wanting to sign your own funeral papers. Have a good week, and please be very aware of your surroundings at all times, especially if you’re camping, or out in the forest.

Carrie’s Maple Corner 9/27/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley

Tree Relief

Last week, I talked about how certain tastes really don’t go together all that well. So, this week, I’m going to talk about some things that may sound like they don’t taste good together, but they truly do. Maple Syrup, for example. We all know that it’s great for pancakes, waffles and French toast. However, did you also know that warm maple syrup tastes great over vanilla ice cream? Ironically, it does not taste that good over maple ice cream. Go figure. One treat I used to love as a kid (and, if I could get my hands on some real maple sugar candy, I’d do this again) was fresh vanilla ice cream, topped with a drizzle of warm maple syrup, and a small maple leaf shaped maple sugar candy on top. YUM!

Want a sweet zing to your morning oatmeal, without all of the artificial flavorings? Add 2 tsp of dark brown sugar, 1 pat of butter and a drizzle of maple syrup. To cut the sweetness of it, simply add a dash of cinnamon to the mix. One thing I need to make note of is the fact that real maple syrup can get to be rather expensive. I highly recommend that you do not buy the cheap stuff. The difference between the two is like night and day. Also, if you’re going to buy maple sugar candy, get the real stuff. Yes, I know, it’s expensive. I can’t even afford to buy it on a regular basis. These are items I reserve for the colder months, and I use these maple items sparingly, simply due to the expense. Is the additional cost worth it? Absolutely. Can you use a cheaper alternative? Yes, but it won’t taste even nearly as good.

Maple syrup can be used in many recipes, ranging from dinners to desserts, and back again. Just a quick Internet search will render you with hundreds of really good recipes for things that use Maple syrup in them. The key is to be sure that you use the real maple syrup. Have a sweet week!

Carrie’s Pumpkin Corner 9/20/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley

Ah yes, Autumn is arriving at the end of this week. Oh what a shock it is to see pumpkin spice everything suddenly hitting every possible shoppe around the nation. Social media is getting slammed with images of Autumn, pumpkin spice items and horror movies. While Autumn is my favorite season, I need to speak up about this sudden seasonal obsession with pumpkin spice everything. For those who are ‘not in the know’ about pumpkin spice, it does not mean that everything labeled ‘pumpkin spice’ is going to end up tasting like a pumpkin. Pumpkin Spice is actually a combination of other spices, that are blended together when you make a pumpkin pie. You can literally buy a jar of McGormick Pumpkin Spice in your local markets. Pro Tip: It’s available all year long. Not just during the Autumn season. Even more of a pro tip: You can make it yourself, and it usually tastes better this way.

Fine, but, how does someone go about making ‘pumpkins spice’? Get a small bowl. OK, let me rephrase that. Get whatever sized bowl you want to use, and stir the following ingredients together, in said whatever sized bowl you want to use: 3 Tbls. ground Cinnamon, 2 tsp. ground Ginger, 2 tsp. ground Nutmeg, 1 1/2 tsp. ground Allspice and 1 1/2 tsp. ground Cloves. Stir together. Really, that’s what’s in pumpkin spice. That being said, I see things that are labeled as being ‘pumpkin spice’, that are about as appetizing to me as intestinal flu. The biggest example of this is ‘Pumpkin Spice Latte’. Latte, is made with Espresso and steamed milk. Think about the ingredients in Pumpkin Spice, and ask yourself this question: Is there anyone on this planet that actually looks at their spice rack, and thinks, Gee, maybe I’ll add some Allspice and Ginger to my coffee today? Because that is exactly how you would go about making a Pumpkin Spice Latte. You’d add Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Allspice and Cloves….to your extremely concentrated coffee, with steamed milk stirred in.

The aroma of pumpkin spice is fantastic. It’s what gives a pumpkin pie it’s distinct scent, and flavor. It’s great in potpourri, sachets and even as a type of herbal air freshener. Even the color of the spice blend is pleasing to the eye. Basically, what I’m saying is: Before you go all nuts happy about pumpkin spice everything hitting the stores, make yourself a small batch of home made pumpkin spice, and use that to compare it with everything hitting the stores. Furthermore, keep in mind that if you want to drink something with a pumpkin spice flavor, tea would be the better choice. That is, unless you are rather fond of having a ginger/nutmeg/cinnamon blend after taste when you drink your espresso. Have a great week, and an amazing start to the 2017 Autumn season!

Carrie’s Jar Corner 8/30/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley

Some people collect figurines. Others collect antiques. Me? Jars, and plant containers….and enough books to constitute a mini-library. Odd, I know. However, there is a method to my madness, especially when it comes to the jars. While the reasons behind the collections of books, and plant containers, are obvious, the reasoning behind the jar collection may be a bit, well…not so obvious. One could reason that I save jars to put smaller items in, save left overs and/or keep for use as mini-starter containers for seeds. While all those reasons are true, let’s face facts…any plastic container would suffice just as well for those uses. So, why jars? Because jars are made from glass.

Yes, glass can break. Yes, the lids can get old, and a bit too warped to use Yes, sometimes the lids are missing all together, and I have to make do with replacement lids, and/or corks. The benefits, however, far out-weigh the pitfalls. First, and foremost, I don’t have to worry about out-dated plastic leeching into the contents of the jar. Second, glass can be sterilized easily. A few other benefits? Glass jars are formed through heat. This means that they are capable of handling higher temperatures than plastic, before the crack, break or become unusable. Glass can also handle far colder temperatures than many plastics can. The lids are usually air tight, which makes it nearly worry-free in regard to the contents becoming damaged through seepage. In other words….the cherries I’ve saved in a glass jar, can be kept right next to the pickled peppers in my fridge, and my cherries won’t end up smelling like pickled peppers, and my pickled peppers won’t end up smelling like cherries.

Finally, they don’t have to be replaced umpteen times, and therefore are less likely to end up in a landfill somewhere, clogging up the already enormous pile of rubbish us humans create. While I understand that it is almost impossible to save every glass container that enters your home, it’s a heck of a better storage solution than plastic. Need larger spice jars? Make them out of old beer bottles. Bonus points for the fact that the colored glass bottles will help preserve your herbs, and spices, far longer than the clear glass containers. So, have a great week, start utilizing those glass jars….and if you run out of drinking glasses, start using pickle jars, mason jars and cheese spread jars. They’re perfect drinking glass sizes, for almost anything. Enjoy your week!

Carrie’s Handy List Corner 8/23/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley

In just about a month, it will be Autumn. We all know what this means. It means the temperatures are going to start bouncing between an Ice Monster’s paradise, and Hades’ oven, on a daily basis. It also means that now is the time to start preparing for our annual ‘next level of meteorological craziness’ – if you already haven’t started doing this. Make your check list, and get it done. Stock up on batteries, wood, kindling, lantern oil (and any necessary replacement parts), non-perishable food products, bottled water, pet supplies, OTC medical supplies and medications…etc. Y’all know the drill.

Make sure that you also have your handy duty list of emergency numbers close by your phones (land lines, people…not cells). Furthermore, make sure these numbers are written down someplace that you will not lose them. When the power goes out, you’re not going to be able to charge up your laptops, cell phones, iPads, Kindles and Tablets. If you keep numbers on those devices, transfer them onto paper before it’s too late, and you end up scrambling for the numbers in the dark. With a flash light that may, or may not, be low on battery power. Because y’all forgot to pick up those extra batteries 3 months before you needed them.

Going on to the non-perishable food supplies. Bottled water seems to be an issue with a lot of folks, so I’m going to spell it out for you. The expiration date on the bottles of water is for the bottles, not the water. Also, you will want to keep your water bottles in a cooler location, so the plastic does not reach a temperature of 90F, or higher. Some of the chemicals that are used to make plastic can start to seep into the water at higher temperatures, so just to be safe, keep the water bottles in a cool, dark location (next to the potatoes is a good place). Finally, the same rule applies for medication. Cool, dark locations (medicine cabinets, drawers, closed cabinets). Enjoy the week, and enjoy the rest of the nice weather while it lasts!

Carrie’s Camp Corner 8/9/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley

Ahhh, I just love the smell of campfire smoke in the morning. A campfire is something I’ve always enjoyed, no matter what time of year it is. That being said, during this particular time of the year, campfires also make me a bit uneasy. OK, they make me extremely uneasy. Especially when I wake up in the middle of the night, and can still smell the camp fires. Keep in mind, that where I live is at least 1/4 mile away from any camp site. Given all the fires that have been flaring up around the northern parts of the state lately, and the fact that Nevada’s monsoon season doesn’t really end until the end of this month, folks around here tend to get a bit uneasy. Also, the fact that we’re always reading about one town, or another, being evacuated due to lighting-caused fires, doesn’t exactly help to ease our worries when it comes to campfires.

Fire safety should be first, and foremost, on every camper’s list. So far as I know, this is true of our dear campers this year. Thankfully, many (if not most) of the camp sites in Sierra County are very close to (if not right next to) a large water source. One thing many new campers to this area find out (usually the hard way) is the fact that cell phones, GPS and other forms of new-fangled technologies, are usually rendered useless….unless someone happens upon a free wifi connection from a local’s house, or business. To give you an example of the GPS situation: I had a young man drive up to my work place and ask me where the Sheriff’s Office was. He said his GPS was working, but that it did not show the location of the Sheriff’s Office. Well, his GPS was in fact on, and it seemed to be working…with one little problem. The map that the GPS was showing, had the Sheriff’s Office located firmly at the bottom of the Yuba River, and the courthouse, as well as the forestry buildings, were non-existent.

Please prepare. These may seem like ‘no-brainer’ things when you go camping, but they are not. Relying too much on technology when you’re up in God’s Summer Kitchen is not something you want to be doing. Having a campfire is wonderful, so long as you’ve got a bucket of water handy to put it out completely when it’s time to go to sleep, or leave the camp site for the day. Exploring the area is a beautiful way to spend your day, but please do not go out there unprepared. Have a trail map, road map or something other than a GPS handy to help guide you at all times. This is a national forest, not a hiking trail at Disney Land. Have a safe, and happy, week everyone!

Carrie’s Cool Corner 8/2/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley

With the Downieville Mountain Classic just around the corner, I’d like to take this moment to remind everyone, especially the bicyclists, to keep themselves as cool as possible. The temperatures in this area are reaching the high 90’s, and triple digits. This also happens to be the temperature range that causes the human body to start getting over-heated. I’ve actually heard people say:”Oh heck, my bath water is hotter than that. I can handle it”. To this, I respond as follows: 1. Your bath water is likely hotter, but you are only exposed to that heat for a short period of time, before the water starts to naturally cool down to room temperature. 2. No, you can’t handle that for extended periods of time. You’re not a cactus.

Keeping yourself from becoming over heated in this type of weather can sometimes prove to be a challenge, especially when you have no choice but to be outside for extended periods of time. If you have a choice….don’t stay outside for extended periods of time. Keep yourself in a cool location as much as possible. While the human body can withstand some very serious damage, heat is something that is not to be looked upon as a challenge. Keep the fans on. Keep the A/C on (worry about the power bill later….because that A/C could possibly be the only the keeping you from having heat stroke). Keep your pets indoors!! If you see a cat panting….they’re over heated, and need to cool down – immediately. The same applies for excessive panting in dogs. Also, in humans. Although humans do not ‘pant’, our breathing can become labored when we get too hot. If you see someone having difficulty breathing, get them indoors, and help keep them cooled down.

Drink plenty of clear fluids. Water is best. Keep ice packs handy. Wear clothing made of materials that will help draw the sweat away from your body, and wear lighter colored clothing, white is always best during the heat. Learn the differences between Heat Exhaustion, and Heat Stroke. Pay close attention to the signals your body is sending you, and have the number of your doctor, clinic or hospital handy in cases of need/emergency. Stay cool. Stay safe, and have a great week!

Carrie’s Bike Corner 7/19/12 

by: Carrie A. Blakley

Every year I write a similar column, and again this year, I’m writing it again. This time, I’m just going to spit it right out, and not beat around the bush. If you’re going to ride your bicycle on the highway, please understand that 4 wheeled vehicles have just as much of a right to be on that road as your 2 wheeled, human-powered vehicles. By the way, because your bicycles are considered vehicles, that also means that all the road laws apply to you. That means drivers of 4-wheeled vehicles, expect you to obey those road laws, just like they’re expected to. In other words, those stop signs also apply to you. In-town speed limits, also apply to you. Parking laws, also apply to you. For those of you who drive motorized 2-wheeled vehicles, the out-of-town speed limits also apply to you, as do all other traffic laws. Like, double yellow lines, for example.

Just about every single time I travel from town, to my home, there is someone operating a 2-wheeled vehicle that seems to think that the posted speed limit signs don’t apply to them. Almost without fail, I get passed by someone riding a motorcycle, and it’s always the “crotch-rocket” variety. People can complain about the noise a larger Harley Davidson motorcycle makes, but the one thing that I have never heard anyone complain about is someone on a Harley passing them on a double yellow line, speeding, weaving in and out of traffic and acting like a general swine on the road. As a matter of fact, most of the people that ride those larger bikes, will be some of the first people to pull over, and help you, if they see you need help, or if there’s an accident, and help needs to be obtained. So, complain all you want about the noise, I have found nothing but good folks operating Harley Davidson motorcycles. Y’all with the Yakuza-level crotch rockets, on the other hand, many people take issue with, simply because of the way they’re driven.

So, motorized, or not, please, do yourselves, and everyone else on the road, a huge favor. Stop riding like you own the road, and 4-wheeled motorists owe you the courtesy of special space on the road. Yes, we keep our eyes out for you. Yes, we go around you. Yes, we will back off from going around you when there are blind curves, and we can’t see what might be coming towards us, that would put you, and us, in a tremendous amount of danger. NO, we will not break the laws, just so you have your special little space on the road. It doesn’t work that way. It’s called sharing the road, not giving it up. Oh, and the sharing part, also applies to you 2-wheeled, human-powered bicyclists. That being said, have a good, and safe, week everyone!

Editors Note: and when you are loading the shuttle or packing up your bikes, it is not nice to leave unfinished drinks, cups, bottles on the sidewalk or on the bench or atop a railing, there are trash cans all over town for your trash.

Page 1 of 14
1 2 3 14