Monday, September 20, 2010

Canning Summary for 2010

Summary entry for my own records

2010 Canning Records:

Sep 19: 12 c frozen tomatoes,
     1/2 peck dried apples (Jonathans)
     dried peppers
     1/4 bushel dried peaches
     dried onions
     dried potatoes

Aug 22: 7 qt, 6 pt tomatoes
Aug 14: 14 qt peaches
Aug 7: 14 qt peaches
Aug 7: 7 quarts pickles

Jul 24: 14 qt pickles
Jul 5: 5 qt pickles
Jul 5: 2 qt pickled beets

By product:

Apples: 1/2 peck dried
Onions, dried
Peaches: 28 qt, 1/4 bushel dried
Peppers, dried
Pickled beets: 2qt
Pickles: 26 qt
Potatoes, dried
Tomatoes: 7 qt, 6 pt, 12 c frozen

Monday, September 13, 2010

The king has no clothes, or the Keynesians are about to be proved wickedly wrong.

The Keynesians are running scared, chief among them, President Barak Obama.  The economy is not turning around like it should be.

For those who are unfamiliar with the term, Keynesian Economic theory has been the backbone of the government’s plan to “make things better” in the economy for about a hundred years.  The problem is, the theory has never been especially accurate, or useful at predicting what’s going to happen in the next few years in the economy.  Neither has it been especially useful at designing public policy to “stimulate” the economy when things slow down into a recession or depression.

In fact, if we look with cold, dispassionate logic, it’s been a horrendous failure.  In the past, the Keynesians have explained this away with much hand waving and loud protestations that, we just didn’t spend quite enough tax money to REALLY stimulate the economy “properly”.  Of course, this time, our fearless leaders have spent more money than anyone has ever spent in the history of the universe to "stimulate" the economy.  If it doesn’t work this time, the theory is just wrong.  Here’s a link that shows just how much we have spent in the last 19 months:

By the way, Bush wasn't much better, so don't think I'm just bashing Mr. Obama.

For our purposes, the Keynesians think that if private sector spending goes down for whatever reason, the government can compensate for that by spending tax money or borrowed money, and get the economic engines churning again.

But what if they are just plain old wrong?  Is there some other economic model that does a better job of predicting what the economy will do in the next few years?  Is there some other theory that would give us and our government leaders a more effective toolbox to shorten recessions and stave off depressions?

I’m glad you asked.  There is such a theory.  It is called the Austrian School of Economics, as championed by the Mises Institute.  The genesis of the Austrian School of Economics reads like a thriller novel, including stolen academic papers, hidden by the Nazis because they were so unfavorable to socialism.  Here’s a small quote about two of the founders, Hayek and Mises:

“In the late 1930s, after suffering from the worldwide depression, Austria was threatened by a Nazi takeover. Hayek had already left for London in 1931 at Mises's urging, and in 1934, Mises himself moved to Geneva to teach and write at the International Institute for Graduate Studies, later emigrating to the United States. Knowing Mises as the sworn enemy of national socialism, the Nazis confiscated Mises's papers from his apartment and hid them for the duration of the war. Ironically, it was Mises's ideas, filtered through the work of Roepke and the statesmanship of Ludwig Erhard, that led to Germany's postwar economic reforms and rebuilt the country. Then, in 1992, Austrian archivists discovered Mises's stolen Vienna papers in a reopened archive in Moscow.”

Here’s the link to the full story about how this alternate school of economic theory got its start, with a strong foundation in the followers of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Now fast forward 80 years.  Barak Obama is a dyed-in-the-wool Keynesian.  He has decided to borrow and spend our way out of this recession, no matter what.  He is going to do it like no Keynesian has ever done it before.  Unfortunately, he is dreadfully wrong and will cause almost measureless pain and suffering because of his flawed ideology.  This will affect you and your kids and grandkids, and badly.   Unless you are on the short list of people getting truckloads of free money from the government.  I just thought you’d like to know who is responsible.

Despite being actively suppressed, ignored for decades and scoffed at by the mainstream media, Austrian Economics is making a big come back.  You may even hear about them on the TV box.  But remember, you heard it here first.

If you want to get more educated about how the economy actually works, the Mises Institute has a lot of resources:

I would encourage everyone to become educated in these matters to minimize the future economic hardships in their own households.

Finest regards,


Thursday, September 09, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Wedding day, Sep 9, 2000
I have to say it feels like just yesterday I was posting about the big 9 years on 9-9 of 09, but already it's been another year! I just reread that post, and even though that was a pretty low-key anniversary, I think today's may have hit an all-time low of least romantic. (I'm sorry, I dare say even beating Julie and Joel who celebrated their last one at a small group meeting.)

First, I scheduled a knitting class tonight without realizing the significance of the date. And Troy worked til 8. So that already was not a promising beginning.

When I got done my knitting class, I went out and discovered my car battery was completely dead. I hadn't left anything on and that about exhausted my diagnostic skills so I just called Troy at work and waited. (Of course, having just come from knitting class, I had not one, and not two, but three projects to work on while waiting!)

Troy came about 50 minutes later and diagnosed a dead battery. Like not drained, but completely useless dead. We boosted it twice but it wouldn't support the lights. So we abandoned the car, went and bought a new battery and then came back so Troy could change it out right there in the parking lot. He figures it was the factory battery and the car's a '98. So I guess I shouldn't feel bad about getting 12 years' use out of a factory battery.

We were home by 10:30 and now I'm writing a blog post.

Didn't I tell you it was a romantic anniversary? Hmm...I meant that sarcastically, but read a different way, this is the story of a knight in shining armour rescuing his damsel in distress. Very romantic, actually!

We'll celebrate in a more traditional manner on Saturday with dinner at my favourite restaurant.

Hope your honey takes care of you at least half as well as mine takes care of me!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Moods of my Sunflowers

Sad and crying


and dancing

It's been fun watching them change as fall is coming on.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Second Floor Layout

Ready yourself for some information overload. If you don't have a lot of time, come back when you do!

I've got four layouts to show you of the second floor. This is the sort of thing that's been clamouring for attention and not letting me sleep at night. And I subscribe to the theory that you may as well start this early because you never get it right the first time. Things take time to percolate and build on each other.

What I'm doing: trying to design a layout for the second floor that includes a master bedroom (sorry for the term, but it's the one going right now), 2 spare bedrooms for guests (by the time we do this even Isaac will be a visitor) and at least one bathroom.

I first wanted a separate half bath for the guests to use, but really couldn’t get that to work out. So as a second option, I’d like the guests to have access to the master bath from a public area. (There’s no need to be walking through my bedroom! And no need to make guests walk all the way downstairs.)

For the bathroom, I'm planning on 2 separate [stock] vanities (his and hers--and I think it’s cheaper than getting a special custom long vanity), and a tub separate from the shower.

In all the plans you will notice that there has been 12" marked off from the outside walls. This is to allow for the extra thick walls that Troy will be putting up. The one exception is along the stairway/hallway where that is impossible. The 12” there will have to be added to the outside (somehow).

How it is now:
Clockwise from the top left, we have the bathroom (with closet), Isaac's room (with 2 closets), master bedroom (with closet) and spare room (with closet) and a small closet accessible from the hall way. The stairs are an L shape with a small hallway area giving access to all rooms.

The north two windows will have to be removed because they're only 3 inches from the wall and won't allow for that 12" of insulation. Good-bye windows! There are more windows in the bottom two rooms but I didn't mark them for some odd reason. I think we will be keeping all of them except the central window on the south wall.

I also failed to mark two chimneys along the central wall which will become significant in a Support walls are highly over-rated.minute. I was thinking I just needed a rough draft of the layout, but of course you always need all the information. Silly me. Good thing I live here and can measure it whenever I want and find the time.

Troy will have to do some exploratory demolition before we know for sure which walls can be eliminated, but for now I am assuming at least the walls which appear to only separate a room from a closet can be taken out. I have a strong belief that those were not original, thinking that this house probably didn’t have closets originally. I think this is a pretty safe assumption; Troy says, “We’ll see.”

(Of course from what we’ve seen so far, 2 of 2 structural elements have been doing nothing to hold up the house for quite some time, and we still seem to be standing. So perhaps support walls are highly over-rated.)

Key to pros and cons list:
* noteworthy but not important
** important
*** very important

Ok, here's plan 1:

Go ahead: take some time. Absorb it.

It’s the most similar to what we have now. Master bedroom is the same; the north bedroom and washroom have swapped.

(Note: one of the chimneys is in the way of the door at A so it would swap with the shower. So the picture's not quite right, but it’s in the ball park.)

gain a lot of closet space ***
bathroom access for one spare room **
minimal rearranging of walls *
I like the privacy half-wall to screen the view of the toilet * (We’ll make it with storage for toilet paper and so-called feminine products and nice sliding doors—how come I’ve never seen this? It’s what every bathroom needs.)

Our bedroom is still on the south side of the house next to the noisy road **
Second spare room doesn't have direct access to the bathroom *

And now plan 2:

Now we’ve got the master bedroom in the north half of the house.

master bedroom gains closet space (not quite as much) **
bathroom has public access **
privacy half-wall toilet screen *
master bdrm in back where it's quieter **
security: two exits from bedroom give you a possible escape route from intruders *

master bdrm is quite small *** we may not have room for our bed and our desks in there. We don’t really want our desks in a spare room.
spare room 2 is quite large—too large? *
It also needs a closet—perhaps somehow in conjunction with a surround for the stove pipe.
You can see I have a wall right into a window in the closet, so we may have to lose that window too? *

Plan 3:
I just noticed there's an error on the design: there should not be an extra door by the shower. (The bathroom already has a door.) It would just be open from the tub area to the rest of the bathroom. Sorry, that's a little confusing.

public access to bathroom **
plenty of closet space for master bdrm **
office space is separate from bedroom *
there's room for an office **
master bedroom in back where it's quieter **
security: two exits from bedroom give you an escape route from intruders *

messy door area by the spare bedrooms and bathroom *
very small master bedroom (will our bed even fit?) *

Then I realized that the master bedroom was so small in the last few plans because the stairway eats up the north part of the house. Why not flip the stairs? Troy wasn't so eager at first because that is some major reconstruction, but it turns out it solves his insulation problem. Flipping the stairs to the south puts them into the front part of the house which is wider. Voila! Room for insulation!

So I give you Plan 4:
We're not sure if the wall at A (running through the middle of the master bedroom can be removed. If not, the south portion would probably become a separate office off of the bedroom. That would make it a "feature" not a drawback. ;-)

public access to bathroom **
security: you can hear people come up the stairs, but are the very farthest from them. It gives you time to react or flee *
bigger master bedroom than previous 2 plans * (even if it is long and skinny)
large master bdrm closet area **
linen closet right in the bathroom (instead of in the hall) *

very small spare room 1 *
very long trip around to master bedroom * (unless a door is put in at B)
small master bedroom ** but after putting the office and clothes storage into other rooms, maybe it's all we need.
security: if no door at B you can be trapped by intruders *

Then Troy had a thought of a Modified Plan 4: he wondered if there would be an advantage to take out the wall separating Room 1 from the Hallway. This would make that room more like a loft. I thought I could hang a curtain across the room for guest privacy, but when we have no guests (which is like 350 days out of 365 at least) we could have it open. We're still thinking about whether that would offer a lot of advantage or not.

Please let us know what you think about this issue and all the other plans. Some say adversity makes you stronger, and I say opposing opinions can do the same with plans and designs. So fire away! (You can let us know what you like too though.)

PS: Troy is really fired up about the kitchen. Every day I come home to a big change. Last night was the floors being taken out (Goodbye horrible nasty linoleum tiles!) and we carried out the counter top. This morning he's taking the lower cabinets to the shop. They are horribly water damaged on the bottom (as was a good portion of the under floor). Troy had figured fixing them up would be cheaper and quicker than buying new ones for the shop. (And we all know that even cheap cabinets are $$$.) Oh no...he just came up and told me they are falling apart. So much for reusing...

Revealing all that nastiness has really let a repulsive odor into the kitchen. It's amazing the house in general didn't smell worse than it did. It's nasty work but it sure is satisfying to take that grossness out!! Thank you, garbage man!

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