Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Response to a comment... Don't trash that grinder!

If only it stuffed sausage...

Today I got a comment from Sophia.  It didn't seem like it was in response to my article, but more like fishing for traffic to her blog (I reserve the right to be wrong for myself!)... well I took the bait and read a few of her articles and couldn't help but comment on something she said.

"1 year or so for a moderately well-used grinder is more than sufficient. Or, easily purchase some replacement blades. They can generally be had for several bucks."

Having tried sharpening my blades in the past (the last time was the most successful, thanks to a tool maker I know) and met with mixed results.  But I did learn a few things that are worth noting here...

You should keep in mind when buying new blades and grinder plate, or die as you called it, is that over time, as the these parts wear, they will wear into each other.  It's the same as changing the brakes on your car... if the rotors are worn, your brakes won't work as well if you only replace the pads.  As you you use your grinder, if you are wanting to buy a new grinder plate and use it with an old cutter, you may need to have all your cutters and plates trued (made to have the same flatness so they will all worth together more effectively).  A good blade sharpening service should be able to do this, but a local machine shop may be willing to tackle this for you too!  So if you are getting mush coming out of your grinder, don't throw it out... sharpen it!

The grinder knife, prior to the grinder plate installation.

The grinder plate installed.  (Make sure you line up the notch in the plate with the pin in the grinder!)
At the end of the day, take care of your tools and they will take care of you!  Periodic maintenance is required though, just like changing the brakes on your car.  Keep things clean, keep things lubed and whatever you do, don't throw your grinder in the trash because it's not working right! 

(I'll gladly help to find it a new home.)


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

America, a nation of freedoms and liberties!

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness...

I was taught at an early age, although I can't remember how, that we as Americans are special.  Why, might you ask?  Because we live in a land of freedom and liberty, for all!  (Maybe it was the pledge of allegiance?)  Well anyway, these days there are lot of things to love about our country, a lot of freedoms and liberties still exist.  Some people like them, some don't... one of those liberties is the freedom of travel and the freedom to move.  I kinda wish the people who don't like all those liberties would go to one state of the fifty (surely one of the fifty to choose from would work) and set up their own little utopia of rules and regulations that would strip the people of those freedoms and liberties and see how long the people would be happy... but I digress.

At the end of the day, it is what it is.  There are laws and regulations I don't like, but I have to live with them... why do I have to live with them?  Well if I don't, a man (I'm sure he's normally a very nice man) will come and threaten me with violence.  You don't believe me?  Refuse to file a tax return and see what happens... if you wait long enough, a man with a gun will come take you to jail.

In short, I'd like to put together a list of liberties we don't have in America... a list of things we can't do!  Citizens of other countries have these liberties, but not us!  If you can think of any that I missed, please share it in the comments section.

Liberties and freedoms American's don't have... and things we don't have the freedom not to do!

1) Purchase raw milk 

(Without jumping through hoops)

2) Purchase meat

From a facility that is not USDA/FDA/State inspected and approved (your own quality inspection is not sufficient)

3) Freedom of speech?  

Even if you don't believe it, stand up on a crowded street corner and say that it's wrong to be gay...

4) The right to bear arms

(1)To do something that does not obey or follow (a rule, law, etc.) ( chiefly US )
(2) To encroach or trespass (usually followed by on or upon)
I wouldn't recommend you travel through Illinois with a firearm... but you can try it if you want to...

5) File a tax return

Skip that one and see how it works out for you!

6) Go to school

Tell me a place where children have the freedom to not get an education.  I'm not even talking about homeschooling here!

7) Freedom of religion

I'm glad it's illegal for Muslims to go Jihadi on us infidels... but those Christians had better keep their views and opinions to themselves!  In fact, that there Bible is probably hate speech... 

8) Property taxes

I'm all about paying back the debt I have on my house... but you don't own the land if the mafia, er, government can take it away from you for not paying your taxes!

9) You, little girl, must have a business license to sell cupcakes!

Goodness, I did not expect to get so many results on this search, but do a quick one for the following:
girl +told+to+stop+selling+cupcakes
Yea, tell me all those little girls are free... and that's just one example!  Here's another example...

10) Health insurance!
Well this one almost slipped by... you don't have a choice, now you are required by law to obtain medical insurance... OR PAY THE FINE!

Well that's all I have time for... hey, chime in and I'll add to the list!

Coming soon, Lacto-fermenting Pickles!

Monday, December 21, 2015

All quiet...

Well with the coming of colder weather things have slowed down, allowing for some time to relax... too bad I'm not good at that!  Instead I've been in full gear hunting mode since the first couple weeks of October.  This year has gone particularly bad for me, as I had some issues with a bow not correctly sighted in mixed with "Hey, where did all the deer go?"  It's been taking a toll on the family as well, as 3 kids under the age of 5 can be a lot of work for one mom!  Especially on a weird diet...

(I started writing this a few weeks back, so if it seems out of place, keep that in mind!)

A Weird Diet


I have written a decent amount on our efforts to make sauerkraut in the past, with some explanation as to why.  But let's go a little deeper this time...

In the spring, one my children started to swell up, almost to the point that he couldn't see.  My wife took him in the doctor who did a blood test on him... I got a phone call shortly after telling me to come home so we could take our little one to the hospital, an hour away if I sped... his blood count was way low on white cells and all sorts of other issues; cancer?  We got admitted and spent the night.  The next morning we had to hold our little one down as they tried repeatedly to put an IV into his body, doing the only thing we knew to do to comfort him as he screamed in an effort to rid himself of the stabbing pain... we sang Amazing Grace. Oh boy, I'm going to need to get a tissue...

The procedure was a bone marrow sampling.  This is a procedure I am quite familiar with, as I had it done to myself when I was only in 2nd grade.  The difference this time is that they were trying to give him some type of anasthesia, something they didn't do when I was in his condition... thank God he didn't have to experience that pain.  The result from the bone marrow biopsy was that his bone marrow was not producing the blood cells like it should be... it was effectively shut down.  The next day we got more results from the doctor, bracing ourselves for the worst.

It's not cancer.


As the words hit me, I slowly felt myself relax, letting down my guard... it was a fraction of a second of peace and calm before "HEY, SNAP OUT OF IT!  WHAT'S WRONG WITH MY BOY!" came crashing into my moment of peace.  It was wonderful while it lasted, but that voice in my head was right, what was causing all of these problems?

Kidneys?  The Nephrologist (Kidney doctor) came in and talked to us at one point... the did some tests, but that wasn't it.

Digestive tract?  The Gastrointerologist (GI) doctor said there were some issues with his stool, enzymes, other words... eh, okay... so his liver is bad?

That's when things kicked into high gear...

Now, nearly 9 months later, neither the primary care physician, the GI doc, the Nephrologist nor the osteopathic physician can tell us why our son swelled up like a state puff marshmallow.  They couldn't tell us what caused it.  They can't tell us what to do to prevent it!  All they can do is send us bills, and boy-howdy haven't they done that!

At this point, I need to take a moment and praise God!  Last I checked, I'm still allowed to do that on my blog... if you don't like talking about God, just skip over this part.  So apparently there is a program in Ohio, paid for by our property tax, that covers everything your insurance won't cover* until it is determined what is wrong with your child.  *There are some limitations on this program, but I won't bore you with them.  Anyway, with our son in the hospital for three days and all the tests that were done, we blew through our deductible like lightning!  We would have been financially brought to our knees if it were not for this program.  God provided in an amazing way and we are grateful for it!  That said, there was a large number of individuals who also blessed us during this time with gift cards and other forms of support.  If that description fits you, thank you so much!

Now what do we do?

One of the interesting things what has been happening in our lives is the discovery of food sensitivities.  I currently am not a huge fan of what I discovered, as it means there are a lot of happy foods that I can no longer eat*, which is a not so happy thought!  *Let me explain for a moment... when you have a healthy digestive tract, there is a balance of bacteria, yeast and fungus that keeps you healthy.  When this is out of balance, you will not be as healthy as you could be.  There are lots of things that can cause this to be out of whack too, like stress and antibiotics... in the case of my family, there has been too much of both!  Anyway, when things are out of whack, holes develop in the walls of your digestive tract.  Depending on various factors, proteins from these foods start passing through those holes into your blood stream... proteins that normally wouldn't be there!  This causes a problem, as your immune system responds, thinking that these new proteins in your body represent an invading force, and the troops mobilize...

The simple story - When I eat things that came back with positive results on the blood work, I get a nasty painful blister in my nose... and I can get grouchy too!

Here's where we have ended up...

I've always trusted the doctors to take care of me and my children.  If they get hit with a rock and need stitches, I'll gladly take them to the ER.  But with all the things that my son has been through, with the doctors only shrugging and telling me what it could have been, we've begun to look elsewhere... we have begun to take a holistic approach here.  First it was essential oils and some books on herbal remedies.  One of my books helped my wife solve a nasty bout of mastitis, not antibiotics required!  (you can try it it you'd like... take a cabbage leaf, bruise it up - maybe roll it with a rolling pin? - and stick it inside your bra, up against your skin... change it out every 4-8 hours as needed)

As you may have noticed, we are now fermenting fools as well.  We've made nearly 100lbs of sauerkraut this fall along with 25lbs of dill pickles (they came out too salty, but still good)... and according to some research I've done, it's illegal to sell it in the good ole "Land of the brave and home of the free."  The founding fathers would have so many regrets if they could see our country today... but I digress.

But at the end of the day, we have now learned to appreciate a local holistic doctor... and at this point, she has seen all of us.  We're now eating pineapple and papaya for enzymes and learning about how to de-sensitize our bodies to our sensitivities...  Anyway, after we have all seen the doc the verdict came out to be...

Intestinal Parasites, Yay! (Heavy on the sarcasm)

Okay, at this point I've been writing this up for too long... maybe I'll come back and hit up the topic of parasites another time if there is any interest.  Our life right now is an exhausting cycle of buying groceries, cooking all of our meals at home, trying to get young'ns to eat with utensils vs their fingers... "No, don't wipe the squash in your hair, I just gave you a bath!" and cleaning up the disaster zone that is inevitably left behind after we put them to bed... wash, rinse, repeat..

I can't believe I'm thinking about putting in a garden or raising chickens (and possibly sheep) again this year!  On that note, anybody want to sign up to buy some pastured chickens raised on organic, GMO free feed?  I'm thinking about selling it for roughly $5/lb... which is less profit for me than you might think! 

I need more sleep...