Friday, November 27, 2009

Wow, I've Been Gone a LONG Time!

Things have been crazy recently. Since the beginning of October, to be exact. That's when my dad died (heart attack). Meanwhile, my mother and stepfather's marriage is going down the drain and he blames me. And now we're moving, but to who knows my posts will probably be very sporadic for awhile until things settle down again.

On a brighter note, I'm ordering some books off of Amazon.

One is "Your Green Home: A Guide to Planning a Healthy, Environmentally Friendly New Home" by Alex Wilson because someday I want to build my own house (whether I actually build it or hire a contractor or some combination of the two...) and I want it to be healthy and made of natural stuff and as chemical free as possible.

I'm also ordering "Rural Renaissance: Renewing the Quest for the Good Life" by John Ivanko. I really like reading about how other people do this homesteading which is one reason I do the blogging thing. Partly because I like to offer my opinion on everything and also because I want to hear how other people do it.

I already have "Storey's Basic Country Skills," "The Encyclopedia of Country Living" by Carla Emery, "The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It" by John Seymour, and "Country Wisdom and Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land."

Anywayz, so I'm excited to get lovely new books :)

P.S. I put a Christmas music player at the bottom of the page.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So I Googled Myself...

First I did just my first and last name, in quotes of course. None of the results on the first page were of me. I didn't look through all 6,440 results, or even any of the pages past the first one to see if any of them were talking about me. I decided I'd better become famous so that ALL of the results on the first page would be about me.

So then I Googled my first name, middle name, and last name all in quotes. Every one of the 92 results was about me. Mostly MySpace, Elfwood, and FreedomGen stuff. Then I searched the images for myself. All of the images were related to me. One was actually of me, the others were pictures I'd commented on at Elfwood.

I thought it was pretty cool. :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

*Shudder* *Shudder*

There are only a very few animals I wish either did not exist or would be extinct already. Snakes are not on the list. As much as they creep me out, they have their uses and generally don't bother you if you don't bother them. And then there are mice. I don't much mind them and anyways the cats keep them away. Flies are annoying and I consider them totally useless, but they don't really hurt anything. And so on.

At the moment, scorpions are on the top of my list of Creatures That Should be Exterminated. Why, you ask? Well, I was just sitting here minding my own business when I felt something scuttle up the front of my leg, so naturally I grabbed it (I'm wearing jeans, so I couldn't see what it was), then I twisted my pant leg around it and with the other hand lifted up my pant leg to see what I had. I saw a little stinger sticking out so I thought maybe it was a wasp and I was worried that when I dropped it out, it would try to come back and sting me, so I squished it as much as I could and then dropped it out...and it was a scorpion.

I had managed to squish it enough that it couldn't walk so it laid there with legs on the side moving. And I just sat and stared at it, until my mother came in and I pointed it out and she finished the squishing and wiped it off the floor. Uck.

Now all I can think is "How did it get inside my pant leg?" (since I lean back in the chair so that my feet don't touch the floor--or barely brush it--when I'm sitting in it) and "Please don't let that ever happen again!" and "At least it didn't sting me."

I'm still shuddering and every time a fly lands on my shoulder, I twitch. D:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Where This All Began

I woke up early this morning! I went to bed at about 1:30 am and then this morning at about 5:15 am I woke up. I considered going back to sleep but decided I wanted to stay awake. And now here I am an hour later, blogging.

When I was little, we lived on a ranch in Southeastern Arizona. Originally we lived in the antique-pioneer house. It was adobe and the ceiling in the living room was gone. My dad has always been a pack rat so one of my earlier memories are of a little trail through the living room to the woodstove in the back corner. My mother tried many times while they were still married to de-junk it and make more space for living. She also tried to make it more livable and prettier since it is, and always has, been falling apart.

My dad still dreams of buying the ranch (he owns a small share of it) and renovating what we now call "the old house," but he has never really done anything and probably never will.

When I was a few months shy of my second birthday, we moved to Salt Lake City for awhile where my sister was born (exactly one week after my birthday, ironically). Then we went and lived with my grandma for awhile. My mother refused to move back unless my dad got something better to live in. He found a trailer. The house was bigger (but not really living standard without some work and money that we didn't have), but the trailer was better.

I liked living on that ranch. We had a garden, dogs, goats, and horses. The neighbors (the only other inhabitants of the ranch) had the same as well as cattle and chickens. My best friend (she was born a few weeks before I was and was the daughter/granddaughter of said neighbors) roamed everywhere. We played in the creek when it ran in early spring (from off of Graham Mountain) and in the hot summer we would run barefoot from shade spot to shade spot (since we went barefoot almost year round due to the short, mild winters).

There was an outhouse off to the side and back of the yard which we never used because for some reason bees lived there (no idea why...). My dad's kids from his second marriage would come to visit and of course my best friend and I would follow my older sister and her friend (my friend's aunt) everywhere which of course annoyed them no end.

I loved it when we got to bring the baby goats in the house (for whatever reason) and feed them milk from calf bottles and following my dad around as he did the "chores." (Feeding the animals, watering the garden, milking, straining the milk, etc.) When there was a day when we butchered, I would go inside and sit under the cooler where I couldn't hear anything. Then when it was over, I would come out and watch my dad chop up the goat (hung from an obliging mesquite tree) into tasty bits of chevron.

I remember one night when I was three or four, my dad was going to go out to the outhouse to get honey from the bees and I wanted to come with. He didn't want to take me, so he told me that the bogeyman would get me. I knew he was teasing, but even if I hadn't I wouldn't have been afraid (my idea of the bogeyman: man in all black wearing a ladybug suit). I insisted so he took me with him (the bees were all asleep, I think), so he finally gave in and we came back with lots of tasty honey.

When I was almost seven, my mom decided she was fed up with my dad and moved out. We moved to a less secluded (the ranch was miles from any kind of neighbor and I loved it) place with two acres and a trailer. From then on out, all the places we've lived, we've never had much more than a garden, a few cats and the occasional dog. So I would pretend. When I was younger I would go out to bring home the (imaginary) cows with my imaginary older siblings (I'm the oldest of my mom's kids) and ride my bike pretending it was a horse. My sister wanted to play Barbies. I wanted to play Farm.

When I got older, we moved to Northern Arizona and when it snowed, I'd go and check on my pretend farm animals to make sure they were safe from the snow. I wanted to plant a garden but I never could remember to water anything I planted and when I wanted to do more than plant a seed and water it once or twice, I had no idea where to start anyways. I devoured the Mother's Children section of the Mother Earth News (we have years of back issues).

After I got to be 12 or 13, I kind of forgot about it all until just before my sixteenth birthday when I started looking at our old Mother Earth News issues. That's when I decided "that's what I want to do." And when I ran out of issues, I decided I wanted to see if there was anything on the internet. I googled all sorts of phrases containing the words "country," "farm" and "rural," but I never found anything until I googled "homesteading." That's when I found and A Homesteading Neophyte. I was so excited when I discovered people still do this and that, even better, they blog about it.

And after reading through two or three blogs, I discoverd that no one ever really started blogging until after they'd been doing what they were doing for awhile or they bought property. I wanted to know about it from before all that. So I decided to write my own blog. And here it is. :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

How to Make Pasta/Pizza Sauce

I frequently make pasta and pizza. It's very good although no one else in my family has quite the same taste for it as I. They'll eat the spaghetti and they're fans of homemade pizza, but the only thing Italian-food-wise that they like as much as I do is Lasagna (due to the rarity because of how much more work it is) and macaroni or penne or rotini and cheese melted in and then topped with the sauce I make (rather than pasta and sauce topped with cheese like most people do).

I have tried many different recipes in my search for so-called perfection (I'm a great deal pickier about my cooking than anyone else). Finally, after plenty of experience, I invented my own recipe. It's dreadfully simple, once I ironed out the "wrinkles."

  • 40 fluid ounces of tomato sauce
  • 29.5 fluid ounces tomatos in puree
  • 3 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • salt to taste (1/8- 1/4 teaspoon)
  • onion to taste (one medium onion or 1/8-1/4 cup dried)
  • and garlic to taste (as few as 3-5 cloves, as many as an entire head, or 1/8 cup dried)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.
  2. Simmer, stirring frequently, until the flavors "blend" together.
  3. I usually just turn the burner on high and figure it's done when it boils. If I need it to stay warm longer, I'll just turn the heat all the way down and leave it until I need it. As a general rule, you can simmer it from 30 minutes to 2 hours. Be careful; you can cook it so long the flavor disappears.
Makes enough for one pound of pasta and up to two pizzas.

High Mountain Musing

Generally when I go looking for a new blog to read, I either use a previously bookmarked blog or else start at one person's blog and then go through their blogrolls until something catches my eye. I found this one the first time in that way, but then there was this thing where the computer got turned off before I could get a chance to read it or bookmark it or anything. But I didn't care much since it was one of many blogs I had been looking through and although I planned to find it again someday (because of how she lives in Colorado--where I want to live), I was just whatever about it.

Then I was reading some articles on and came across this article and this one, both written by the same author. I thought "maybe she has more writing somewhere else on the internet." So naturally I googled her name to see. And that's when I found her blog for the second time. When I saw the faintly familiar page loading in my browser, I was sooo surprised. I figured this meant I had to read it this time. No excuses.

So I did.

Even though I'd sworn off reading Wordpress blogs because their archives seemed senseless to me.

Somehow I managed to figure out how to navigate her archives and I was very happy with what I found. Gin Getz's blog is amazing. She and her husband and son live high in the Rockies of Southwestern Colorado at an altitude of over 10,000 feet (that's about two miles above sea level; imagine standing there and looking down two miles to the sea!) where people normally only visit in the summer because of the heavy snows. Their mild summer lasts only a few weeks in the middle of the year. They run a guest ranch among other things. They have lots of horses, some Highland Cattle, chickens, a few cats, a dog and I'm not sure what all else.

They have solar power, gas power and a wood cookstove because they're too far away for normal electricity. Their water is gravity-fed.

She's a poet in several ways: Her blog posts are interspersed with freestyle poems she and her son write. She always includes plenty of pictures so we, too, can share the beauty of her mountain home. And I love her writing style. Even when she's not posting poetry, her blog entries are written in poetic form, celebrating the beauty she lives in the middle of.

I think that if John Denver's song (which my blog is named after) "Rocky Mountain High" had a blog that defined what he was trying to say, "High Mountain Musing" would be it.

If you don't already read it, go and read it now. It's great!

P.S. She also writes another blog that is strictly horse stories that I haven't yet read through yet. But feel free to beat me to it and read "High Mountain Horse Blog."

My Garden is Coming Along Nicely

So my mothers camera (aka high megapixel camera) is still "missing." BUT my sister's red one was available. So I took some pictures of the plants in my garden.

This is my melon. I forget what kind of melon it is. I had three or four kinds, planted two, and one survived. But which of the four did I plant and which of the two survived?
These are my onions. Some were red onions and some were walking onions. I just can't tell which are which is all. But hey tasty onions are tasty onions, no?
This is my parsley plant. The picture is blurry because the wind was blowing when I took it and the camera is not good at taking non-blurry pics unless the subject and the camera are held very still before, during, and for a few seconds after you press the button to take the picture. So I took two pictures. Neither is particularly clear, but hey, I tried.
This is the larger of my two Calendulas. I have decided that Calendulas are one of my favorites to grow because they grow fast. When I started the various plants inside, they were the biggest of the baby plants. Of course now the beans are bigger....
These are some of my bush beans. I have a huge amount. I didn't expect them to grow when I threw a bunch of beans out into my garden, but they grew anyways. Only problem? My mother (who gave me the beans to plant) has no idea what kind she gave me. Thus, more mystery plants. :)
There aren't any pictures of the mint because mint like cool and wet and the temporary drought (due to my whole forgetting-to-water-thing) didn't do them any favors. So one of the nine or seven or however many I planted is still alive, but very yellow-and-crinkly-like-to-die

I didn't get any pictures of the cake, either (due to the MIA cameras), so we just ate it. It isn't hard to picture it. A 13x9 inch Devil's Food Cake with thick chocolate frosting all over it and then in green gel frosting, it said "Happy 17th Birthday, Froggy!" He was very pleased we remembered his birthday.

It's really stormy out now (my preferred gardening weather), so I'm thinking I'll go out to weed. I usually only pull up the prickly/thorny weeds (tumbleweed and such) and then any of the others I leave there, so long as they're not crowding out anything I planted.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Uh Oh, I'm Waxing Philosophical! Jon always said I was a sage with mad chicken-cooking skills...

My sister lost the camera. No pictures of my lovely garden (that I have now nearly killed twice due to neglecting to water, but that's a tale for another day). :*(

I've been feeling very philosophical today. You see, way back when I was a freshman (did I ever bother to mention that I graduated in May?), I had a wonderful science teacher. That year we did Physical Science, and during one of the lectures, he talked about time, what it was, if it was, how it related to science, etc. As I did every other afternoon, I thought about that day's science class. And that was when I decided I didn't believe in time as anything more than an idea that helps us to make sense of our world.

Today, I have returned to those thoughts. Occasionally, I will stop being in my head and come out and be. I just sit or stand or whatever and I clear my head of all my thoughts and just think about the moment. There's a poem I remember:
I have only just a minute,
Only sixty seconds in it,
Forced upon me, can't refuse it,
Didn't seek it, didn't choose it,
But it's up to me to use it;
I must suffer if I lose it,
Give account if I abuse it;
Just a tiny little minute
But eternity is in it.
--Author Unknown
Nothing sums up a moment of just sitting a being who or what you are better than that. Because for real, all we have is ourselves, our choices, and now. There isn't really a past or a future, or at least not one we can actually get to from here. We must learn from the past and prepare for the future, but we can only live well if we live now.

It's kind of hard for me to wrap my mind around what I'm trying to say because when you're here and now and not thinking of anything else, it's hard to be there. We keep trying to jump into what we should be doing and what we shouldn't have done that now is the furthest thing from our minds.

But now is all we have to work with.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Oh, and One More Thing...

So my mom came back from town with my tickets. One of my guy friends and I are going to a Lady Antebellum concert on the 22nd, and I'm excited. I'm not sure who else is coming with us. I think one other friend for sure, but that's all I know of.

When I water the garden I half expect the ground to start sizzling like a frying pan does when you flick water on it. It wasn't hot at all until mid-July (about a week ago). We just used the cooler for the first time three or four days ago.

Can I just say that having 75F weather here is incredibly strange? So now that it's getting into the 100F's it's much more normal if incredibly HOT.

I finished the cake. I'll post pictures later when I get some. It's beautiful ha ha. I wanted to draw a frog, but I didn't have enough of the green gel frosting stuff. Not that there was much room for it, but still...

I'll also post pictures of some of what is growing in my little garden later.

This Time I Really Did Want to Blog

I was on my normal don't-feel-like-blogging but then the keyboard just stopped working. Again. So there was a week or so when I wanted to blog but couldn't because of the whole thing where keys "U," "Y," "M," "W," "C," "J," and a few mutinous others were refusing to do their job. That is, put a letter down when they were pressed. I still managed to chat with friends on Facebook between our two broken keyboards and the on-screen keyboard. But it was slow going and now that we have a new keyboard, I'm reminded that now I can write my thoughts almost as fast as they come.

On of my friends is turning seventeen on Sunday, so I'm baking a tasty chocolate cake for him that I'll bring to tonight's movie night. It's all chocolate chocolate chocolate, luckily when I asked him if he liked chocolate cake (AFTER buying the ingredients, mind you) he said "duh," so I was relieved. He doesn't like green, but the letters are still going to be green because green is like frogs (and also looks good with brown), and his nickname is "Froggy."

Hopefully this cake will survive to be eaten. In January my group of friends threw me (and another guy whose birthday is three days before mine) a birthday party. One of the cakes never got to be eaten. Instead, Frank started a cake fight and then we ended up sticking candles into a stick of butter and decorating the butter with sprinkles and then having him blow those candles out (along with mine since I kind of disappeared when they decided to sing happy birthday).

But Frank isn't coming so she won't have the opportunity to throw cake and I don't think it will occur to anyone else. :P

Next, I'm going out to the garden to water, weed, and take pictures (okay so it's 100F in the shade and 85F indoors...still...) :P

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Simple Life

I've been on a blogging kick lately, but fear not! After a bit I won't feel like blogging and you won't hear from me for weeks, and just when you think I've died, I'll post three entries an hour for a week straight! :P

Anyways, so I found another blog, worthy of mention in this lovely jabber-fest that is my blog LOL. It's called "The Simple Life" and it is written by a lady named ~Tonia (ever wonder why all the blogs I read are written by women? I actually don't know if it's a man or a woman who posts on ehagart, but that doesn't count).

When I read blogs, I generally start from Entry #1, and then read my way forward, a month at a time. When I first start reading The Simple Life, they were living on a farm they managed. Now, though, they're moving to a place of their own that (acreage-wise) is a bit smaller. In the family there's Tonia, her hubby, her three daughters (the younger two are twins). They mainly have goats and chickens.

My favorite thing about the blog are all the pictures she posts.

NAIS Petition

I dug up a petition on the web that's against NAIS. If you want to sign it, you can find it here.

I'm number 3,022.

Leave your signature number in the comment section below, if you like.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thusday Thirteen: Things I Like

1. Dark Green. Like forest, alive green.

2. Stormy weather. There's just something about overcast days that are just magical.

3. Animals. Fuzzballs and featherballs alike. They're so adorable...and amusing.

4. Plants. They're so alive and comforting and nourishing...and extremely good company.

5. Cooking. I like to cook. I don't know why. I mean, we all need to eat, but I don't cook to eat, I cook to cook.

6. Ever After. It's a movie starring Drew Barrymore. I've watched it over and over and over dozens of times. I like that she's not a helpless Damsel-In-Distress like other Cinderellas. I like that she can stand on her own two feet. And I like best the scenes of her doing different farm chores at the Manor: slopping the pigs, getting honey from the bee skeps, gathering apples, truffle-hunting, etc...and the scene where she goes swimming in the lake.

7. Holidays. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, the Solstices and Equinoxes, my birthday. Christmas is so magical. I love Christmas lights.

8. The seasons. I love the flower sprouting and the new life of spring, the green and business of summer, the leaves changing and the harvest of fall, and I love the snow and the magic of winter.

9. New Age Music. The haunting melodies of Enya and Loreena McKennit in particular. (I also really like Blackmore's Night and Josh Groban, but I don't think they're considered New Age at all.)

10. Woodstoves and Fireplaces. There is something about heating with wood and building fires that mesmerizes me.

11. Clothing from the Past. Specifically dresses like those Candice Night wears when performing and these (which are costumes, I know):

12. Books. You can read about any subject, learn anything, visit any world.

13. Mountains. Specifically the wild ones. Trees everywhere, wildlife on your doorstep, miles without a single human soul -- this is my idea of paradise.

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American Way Farm

I found yet another blog. I have found a bunch of blogs that are only a few months older than mine. Because of that, I have under a year's worth of blog entries and I can catch up in a day. Of course if I wanted, I could just read the ones on the front page, but I think that you miss so much that way.

This new one is called American Way Farm. It's written by Sandy, who lives in New Hampshire with her husband and grandson and a menagerie of animals. The main reason I started reading was because they use LGDs (Livestock Guardian Dogs) and the other blogs I read don't have any of that. But that's not the only reason I read it. It's also very interesting.

Mexican Sugar Cookies

So way back in January-ish February, I discovered a recipe for "Mexican Sugar Cookies." They were very good so I made a batch and carefully took pictures. Then there was a huge mess with the camera and I didn't want to post the recipe until I could get the pictures. Well, I finally have the pictures. Yay!

Mexican Sugar Cookies

  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl combine oil, eggs, and vanilla. Beat together until well blended:
Add 1 cup sugar. Beat until smooth:
In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix it all together (In this batch I used half whole wheat flour and half white flour. You can make the cookies with all white or all wheat. If it's all white, then you don't cook them as long and they get bigger than if there's wheat flour in it or if it's all wheat):
Add flour mixture to oil mixture. Stir until a soft dough forms:
In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon:
Take teaspoonfuls of dough and roll into balls. Roll balls in cinnamon mixture:
Grease a cookie sheet. Place balls on cookie sheet.
Flatten cookies with the bottom of a glass dipped in cinnamon mixture. Bake until bottoms are lightly browned (4-6 min if all white flour. Longer if you use any whole wheat flour).
Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Store in a cookie tin. It's supposed to make about 4 1/2 dozen cookies.

Enjoy with hot chocolate and a good book!

Sucking Eggs

I found the strangest thing in my garden yesterday afternoon. It's a tiny little egg, not much bigger than a quarter. There's a tiny little crack thing in it and it appears that the insides have been sucked out. I found it near this hole in my garden that I think is from some sort of animal. I'm just not sure what kind of animal it is. I wonder if the animal is an egg-sucker of some sort? What kind of animals suck eggs anyways?

This is a picture. It's kind of fuzzy because the camera doesn't do close-ups very well ever since the flash broke, but it's okay. The round, flat, gray object is a quarter to show the size. And fuzz or no fuzz, the little dent where the egg got sucked out is a little bit visible. It's on the right half of the egg; kind of at the top.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rant. No Need to Read.

Warning: Rant follows

There is really very little that pisses me off, but those things that do are big. I have always heard that we don't own the world, we borrow it from our children. I'm down with that. It makes a lot of sense. I try to live my life so as to leave an inheritance to my children and grandchildren that includes a clean world, a government in its proper role, and every other good thing that I can leave them.....well, at least the things that matter.

What bothers me are those who forget about the future and live their lives in such a way that there will be nothing left for future generations. The worst is, I'm not sure there will be anything left when I come of age. How am I supposed to use my lifetime to improve the world if I have to fix it because of the terrible things my parents' and grandparents' generations have done to it? I'm not trying to blame anyone, it just makes me so mad that people are tearing the world apart without a second thought to their children and grandchildren who will have to lie in the bed their forefathers made?

Lets take this issue a bit at a time. First there is the environment in general. Where I live, people dump their garbage, not at the landfill (which is bad enough), but on BLM and privately owned land that has been kept wild. The roads are littered with garbage, mainly beer cans and plastic...although I once found poker chips. Some of us try to clean the roads near our homes, but as long as others continue to throw trash out their windows, there will be no solutions.

We, as a nation, continue to live narrow-minded consumer life with consumer tunnel vision. I can rant all day about this, but I have found other places that say it better. The first is The Story of Stuff. It's a documentary about where our stuff comes and where it goes when we have finished with it. It's a bit on the long side (around twenty minutes, if I remember correctly), but worth every minute. You can click on the link in the sidebar, or you can find it here. The other source is an article by Sherri Dixon called "Drawing a Circle in the Sand." You can find it here.

The next item on the agenda for this rant is NAIS. I have been reading blogs on her for awhile, and I have heard it mentioned on many of the different blogger communities I frequent. On one such blog, I found this article. It just makes me mad all over again. The worst is, I won't be old enough to vote until January because I'm only seventeen. I can raise awareness by talking about it and I can sign petitions, but should a law ever come around in the next few months needing voting on, I can't and it makes me feel helpless. At the very least, the article did cheer me up a little when it mentioned that Arizona, Missouri, Nebraska and Kentucky have already made some laws to hinder/outlaw it on a state level. That leaves only forty-six states that need to follow suit. :\ Here are some helpful sites on the subject:
And then there's government. We are a republic. The purpose of a republic is to guarantee the basic rights. We seem to have forgotten the proper role of government. Couldn't we have learned anything from Rome? This video explains everything better than I can:

And this video kinda sums up the political rant:

The thing that bothers me most, I guess, is that on one side we have the people who want to live better, preserve freedom, take care of the earth, etc, and on the other side we have the people who don't know or care what happens to those left behind after they die.

That's all I have to say for the moment

Snowbound Farms

I have found another wonderful blog. It hasn't been up for long, but I'm definitely hooked. It's called "Snowbound Farms Blog" and it's written by Christina. She lives in Northern Maine with her two boys, baby girl, and husband. They're just starting out with the homesteading project (they bought their 165 acre farm in March of last year). So far they have chickens, and they have a garden. Due to the chillycoldness of their climate, it's a constant battle to keep their plants alive and kicking. But they manage quite well.

They also have a website, Snowbound Farms. It tells about who they are, what they're doing, etc. My favorite part is the Photo Gallery page. Especially the chicken album (and quite possibly all the others, too lol).

I Made Bread

I haven't been on in ages. But maybe that's a good thing. It means I have more to tell.

My garden this year has turned out to be kind of small. I have 2 Calendulas, 1 Parsley, 8 (0r was it 9?) onions, a plant that is either a melon of some kind or Armenian Cucumber, and a huge patch of beans. Yesterday I also planted nine mint starts. They're not exactly edible mint (they're eau de parfum kinda thing), but my reasons for planting them were a) mint is invasive so it should crowd out the other, prickly, thorny, sticker-y weeds; b) to till under at the end of the growing season to compost during winter and improve the soil; c) to add more green to my patch of ground.

We haven't had a full day of sun since March/April -ish. The temperature never hits above the late seventies. I'm not complaining. It's more pleasant to weed with rain sprinkling on your head than the sun beating down on your back and making you sweat for it.

It's very strange, though. We usually never have temperatures under 90-95 -ish.

I made bread for the first time on my own the other day. As usually occurs with my cooking, my family loved it and gobbled it down, but I was more picky. It had a nice taste, but it was too heavy and I'm pretty sure yeast hates me. I nearly never get it to rise right. The only time I ever got it to work like it should was with a Swedish sweetbread I made one Christmas season; Swedish Kardemummakrans (the main problem with the Swedish bread is how fast it get stale. It has to be eaten within a day or two of baking).

I think the main problem with my bread I just made was in the rising. It calls for letting it rise once and then putting it into the loaf pans to let it rise one more time before baking. I was thinking I would try either letting it rise longer or else having it rise twice before I put it into the pans to rise. The other thing is, it called for hot water to mix with the flour before adding the yeast, and I use boiling water. So maybe cooler water, as well. I also plan on using that trick where you put a wet dishtowel over the bowl of dough while it rises.

This is the recipe I used:

Whole-Wheat Bread

  • 3 Tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 5 cups hot water
  • 7 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup creamed honey
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 6 cups whole wheat flour
  1. In small bowl dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine hot water and 7 cups whole wheat flour. Beat vigorously with a wooden spoon (or mixer) until smooth. Add 4 cups whole-wheat flour. Mix well. Let stand for 15 minutes; then turn dough out onto a floured board and knead in 1 to 2 cups wheat flour--enough to form a smiith, elastic dough.
  2. Put dough into a greased bowl; cover. Let stand in a warm place for at least 30 minutes or until double in bulk. Turn onto a greased board and divide into 4 equal portions. FOrm loaves and place in greased loaf pans. Let rise until double in bulk. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Bake 15 minutes longer if you like your bread crusty.
I have also found the camera cord for the better (read: twice as many megapixels) camera. Now I can start posting pictures! :)

ETA: The texture and flavor (aside from the heaviness) is quite good. The bread is soft just like the store bought stuff and I have had no such problems with it being too crumbly. If I can get the rising part right, this recipe's a keeper.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

How to Make No-Bake Cookies

Last summer, my mother and stepfather went back east for a vacation. He is originally from New Hampshire, so they went to visit his children as well as see all sorts of sights. They started here and went through Utah, Colorado, Kansas, and Ohio on their way there. In Deer Trail, Colorado, they picked up a cookbook. I was feeling like cookies one day, but I didn't want to bake them. I wanted them NOW! So I used that recipe and amended it.

You will need:
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
Directions: In a saucepan, combine butter, sugar, and milk. Bring to a boil. Boil for a minute or two. remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon onto waxed paper. Let cool. Enjoy!

I didn't add 1/2 a banana or 2 Tablespoons cocoa because we didn't have either one. And then I put a dozen onto wax paper and decided to eat it out of the pan. I didn't eat all of it, so some of it cooled in the pan. It was good warm, better after having been cooled...but if you let it cool and then eat it in cookie form, it's best of all.

Another time I added the banana but it made the cookies squishy longer, so I'm not going to do that anymore. It makes 2 and 1/2 dozen cookies if you don't eat the dough first! (It's very tasty, but if you wait for them to cool, it's so worth it, I promise!)

How to Make Tamales

You will need:
  • 7 pound pork roast with bone
  • 2 heads of garlic
  • 9 cups water
  • 1/3 cup pules 1/4 cup chili powder, divided
  • 4 teaspoons cumin seed
  • 3 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 1 package (8 oz) dried corn shucks
  • 1 package (4.4 pounds) masa harina (about 16 cups)
  • 2 pounds (4 cups) shortening or lard
  • 1 can (14.5 oz) beef broth
At 8:30 p.m. bone the pork shoulder roast. Cut the pork into 3-inch pieces. Put the meat and bone 6 qt saucepan. Pour the water in. It will fill it up to the very brim. Realize that even if you didn't still have to add the garlic that you need a bigger pan. Ask your mother if she has one. She will direct you to her closet where you will need to retrieve this:
Switch the meat, bone and water to the stockpot. Then separate the heads of garlic into cloves and peel them. Put the garlic into the pot. Make sure the water covers the meat. If not, add more water. Bring the whole pot to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to mediium low. Cover the pot and simmer it for about 2 hours (or until meat is tender). While you're waiting, get on the computer so you'll stay awake. By the time the meat it done, it's at least 11:30 pm. You're supposed to place the meat and liquid in separate containers. So you get these out:
Then you try to strain the meat without splashing yourself with the scalding broth. It only splashes once or twice and you jump out of the way just in time. Then you "discard" the bone. You're supposed to shred the meat with either your fingers or a food processor. Then you put the shredded meat in here:
But it has never been used before, so first you wash it with hot water (no soap!) and then you dry thoroughly. Then you spray it with cooking oil. And, finally, you get to use it. So you put the shredded meat in, along with 1/3 cup chill powder, the cumin seed, and a teaspoon of salt. Stir it all up and add 3 cups of the "reserved liquid." Simmer the mixture over low heat for an hour and be sure to stir it a lot. If necessary, add more of the broth to keep the meat from sticking to the pan. Then you put the lid on the bowl of "reserved liquid" and and stick it in the refrigerator.

Transfer the flavored meat into the six quart saucepan you originally tried to use and since it doesn't have a lid, cover it with a dinner plate. Put it in the refrigerator, too. Clean the dutch oven right away. Rinse it in hot water (do NOT use soap) and dry it with a dish towel. It's still plenty seasoned, so go ahead and store it away with a dish towel folded up inside between the lid and oven as shown in the above photo so that the air can circulate. Make sure some of the towel is inside as well, to soak up any moisture, so it doesn't rust.

Then fill up the stock pot with hot water to soak until you bother cleaning it (spilling the water all over your jeans is optional). By now it's 1 am, so go to sleep since the broth and meat filling need to be left in the fridge overnight anyway.

The next day, soak the corn husks for 30 minutes to soften. Clean and separate the shucks. While that going on, mix up the dough. In a big bowl (one the size of the one shown above), combine the remaining 1/4 cup chili powder and 2 teaspoons of salt. Then get out the lard. You asked for 2 pounds, but your mother when she bought the ingredients didn't realize that and bought 4 pounds. You don't want to cut it down the middle and use half because that is inexact and you're a bit of a perfectionist. You ignore the part in the recipe where it says "4 cups" as an alternate measurement and do it the hard way. There are 139 Tablespoons in 4 lbs of lard (or so the Nutrition facts on the bucket say) and there are 16 tablespoons in a cup. So you do some math.

139 / 16 = 8.69 cups
8 x 16 = 128 tablespoons
139 - 128 = 11 tablespoons
4 lbs of lard = 8 cups +11 tablespoons
2 lbs of lard = 4 cups + 5 tablespoons +1 1/2 teaspoons

So you cut 4 cups + 5 tablespoons +1 1/2 teaspoons of lard into the masa mixture until it "resembles course corn meal." Skim the fat off of the broth (which is now jelly-like from being refrigerated). If you don't have 8 cups, then add the beef broth to make 8 cups. If you added more than nine cups of water when you were boiling the pork and then only added 3 cups of broth when you were simmering the meat in the dutch oven, you have 9 cups of broth. So be sure and measure. Add the liquid to the masa mixture and stir until you have a soft dough that will stick together.

Now it's time to assemble the tamales. Take a corn shuck and lay it out like this:
Spread about 1/4 cup of dough two-thirds of the way across the straight end and about 4 1/2 inches down, like so:
Now spread a heaping tablespoon of meat down the center of the dough:
Fold the edge closest to you over the meat, while still leaving a small bit of dough exposed:
Fold the far side all the way over until the dough edges overlap. Wrap the shuck all the way around the tamale. Fold the tail under, across the seam.
Stand the tamales in a container, or tie them shut with string. You can freeze them for later or cook them now.

To cook: Stand the tamales in a steamer basket with the open ends pointing up. Place the basket over hot water in a stockpot. Cover and steam 1-1.5 hours. Serve warm.

Supposedly it makes 5 1/2 dozen tamales, but I have yet to finish making them all. I made thirty, ate two, and still have a lot of dough and corn husks left.

Edited to Add: Don't steam the tamales. It makes them mushier and it's nasty. Cook them at a low heat for about an hour, maybe an hour and a half.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thursday Thirteen: What's On My Mind

Thirteen Things on My Mind:

1. A storm is brewing outside

2. I need to make tamales

3. The dishwasher needs emptying

4. The weather is making the internet sporadic

5. I need to put up the new shower curtain

6. What will I post next?

7. I would like to go on a road trip through Western Colorado

8. Are the no-bake cookies cool enough to eat?

9. Will we have pizza for dinner?

10. I wonder who I'll be in five years...

11. I should not have had so much to eat

12. I love the overcast weather, but I wanted to sleep outside on the trampoline again tonight (like I did last night and the night before that).

13. Why don't I like being around people 'just to have fun'?

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Carbon Footprint

I'm on a blogging extravaganza! I just feel really chatty round about now. I also decided to do one of those carbon footprint calculators. So I did. I put in the information for a family of four since my stepfather isn't here often enough to count for anything (I did count his plane trip, though). I used this one, although this one is also good.

This is the other one that I said was also good (my family's results).

It's not too great, but it's not too shabby, either.

No More Second-Hand?

While I'm on a roll with all this lawmaking fun, let's talk about consignment and secondhand stores. There's this marvelous new law that says those NO ONE is allowed to sell any products meant for those age 12 or younger if they contains lead or phthalates. Check out these links:
P.S. If you want to back up your blog online (in case you accidentally delete your blog, or worse), try this site. And if you use Blogger and want a copy saved to the computer, then go to "Settings>Basic>Blog Tools>Export blog."

Exasperated at the Entire Nation

The thing that most bothers me about his country is how high our laziness quotient is. We're too lazy to exercise, so we're the ninth fattest nation in the world (74.1% of those over age 15 are overweight) and moving right up. We're too lazy to eat right, so every 34 seconds, somebody dies of heart disease and every 20 seconds, somebody has a heart attack (see statistics). We eat food loaded with pesticides because it's cheap and wonder why disease is so rampant. We mechanize our lives and neglect nature (pretending she is inefficient) and then wonder why we are all so emotionally messed up. We're too lazy to care what our government is doing and so they pass laws that infringe on our rights. And then we're too lazy to do anything. We're too lazy to care about our planet, so we pollute our land with landfills, chop down our forests, build factories that release all kinds of air pollutions, pour our wastes into water sources...and the list goes on.

Some people try to live in such a way that there will still be natural beauty and wilderness left in our country fifty years from now. And that is great. Keep up the good work, but this is a rant (in case you hadn't already noticed lol) and so that's all I'm going to say about you.

I'm going to end with a quote:
Your land is a spiritual responsibility: Whoever you are, whatever your faith, the land you live on is a spiritual responsibility. With privilege comes responsibility!

We all have to become political activists, fighting the sources of pollution wherever we find them! If we don't fight it will keep on happening...the moral person takes responsibility for his or her entire life, and afterlife, and the lives of those given to us as a responsibility--and the tomorrow of this great gift of a planet! This is one of those times in history when everybody has to stand up and be counted. You're either for planetary death by poison or you're or a responsible, protective stewardship that will recover and maintain healthy soil, air, and water. There's no in between. At the rate we're going, the next 10, 20, or, at the most, 50 years, will decisively tip the balance one way or the other...there can never be a letting up of this vigilence, this policing and regulation of government and industry's tendency to pollute.

There is change, good change, coming...When we're awakened and aroused to the point at which people do what's needed without legislation to force them, that's the best of all possible systems...It can happen. It has to. Industry and government have to be willing, or forced, to..avoid irreparable environmental damage.

--"The Encyclopedia of Country Living" by Carla Emery, pages 13-14 (9th edition)

HR 5122, the Insurrection Act, & other handy tidbits

Those striving for self-sufficiency generally grow food and then store it for winter use when there are limited growing opportunities (I sound like an Agriculture lecture, eek!). And Mormons have their year supply/food storage thing going on. Now, have you ever heard of "food hoarding?" "Martial Law?" "The Insurrection Act?"

Let's take it from the top. The Insurrection Act is a set of laws that serves just one purpose: preventing the President from using the military to control the people in our country as Monarchy and other such government systems do. It doesn't totally prevent him from using the military on American soil, but it is supposed to severely cripple him in that respect. On October 17, 2006, our now ex-President (is there another, official, term for that?) Bush signed into law a bill that seeks to overcome that limitation. HR 5122, Subtitle H, Section 1076 amends Section 333 of Title 10, United States Code. Section 333's original text can be found here, while a copy of the HR 5122 and, more specifically, the amendment to Section 333 can be found here (after clicking "continue on to the bill," you will be taken straight to the part you are looking for: section 1076; it's a long bill and so it might take a minute or two to load). I'll give you a few minutes to read and maybe drown a little in legal jargon.

Done? Great. Basically what the bill is doing is allowing the President to declare martial law on an area without the permission of the local authorities and to take any troops from any state to accomplish that. And there are no limits on what situations martial law is acceptable in:
"the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable ..."
And that could mean anything. This article discusses what exactly this bill is and why it's so "disturbing" (for lack of a more powerful word).

Okay, so now we know that the Prez can declare martial law on any one of us at any time for any reason. So what is martial law? (And how come if you switch the 'i' and 't' t becomes marital law?) Quite simply it's the set of laws that are put in place when the military is doing the police and court's job of enforcing the law. And instead of our judicial system, they have a military tribunal they call a "court martial." Most likely the writ of habeas corpus will be suspended. And there is generally a curfew. This "martial law" is normally only put in place during war when there isn't a government. See this page for more details.

In order to prevent the misuse of the power of military law, there is (or was) this thing, Posse Comitatus, which basically says "the military isn't allowed to be involved in enforcing domestic laws without going through lots of trouble with Congress." But then HR 5122 came along and so it isn't really in effect anymore.

So where does "food hoarding" come in? (you: food hoarding? what has that got to do with anything? you haven't said anything about it in this whole post or even... me: cool your jets, sweetie pie. I mentioned it at the beginning. you: the beginning? yeah right. you've been yammering so long I can't even remember that far. I probably wasn't even born then me: just sit down and listen. leave your complaints in the comments section okay, m'dear? you (sulkily): fine) Food hoarding is what most people call the behavior of those who store food (like homesteaders and Mormons). Most states have some kind of "anti-hoarding" law which usually says something like "you can store a week's worth of food, but if you have any more than that, then we can take it the extra and do what we please with it." This article discusses so-called food hoarding as well as Executive Orders. They say it better than I can, so please read it. Also, under martial law, they can seize your goods and belongings without permission. The ultimate edict amounts to bad BAD BAD.

Hot Belly Mama

I have a new blog to add to the mix. It goes by the name of "Hot Belly Mama" and it's about a lady who calls herself "Mount Belly Mama" at the moment. She lives in the "Pacific Northwest, USA" (read: Washington, Oregon area). She lives on eight acres with her husband, Bo, eight (or was it seven? nine?) cats, and a lot of chickens. They are expecting a new baby (their first) very soon (like next month-ish). She's interested in plenty of different "alternative lifestyles" like babywearing, cloth diapering, sustainable living...good stuff we are all into lol.

She has an interesting writing style that I enjoy. She's sometimes poetic, other times humorous, but generally an interesting mix of the two.

MBM also co-authors "The KISS Journals" which I have yet to read. ('KISS' is an acronym for "Keep it Simple Sisterhood.") It's a simple living blog all about sustainable life (gardening, getting out of debt, raising chickens, knitting, baking from scratch, getting off grid, whatever) and there are about twenty different people posting there.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood

I just caught up on a new blog. This one is called "Adventures in the 100 Acre Wood" and is written by Stephanie. She is a Christian mother of five. She and her husband live in West Virginia with four of her children: Kellen (10), Lydia (7), Nolan (5), and Vivian (3). She has a garden and menagerie of animals including chickens, ducks, sheep, pigs, cows, horses and goats.

Her blog is an interesting read as she homeschools her children and lives in 100 acres of wood. I've enjoyed the read so far and hope for more adventures to come.

She also has another blog that I have not yet read. It's called "Stop the Ride" and it's about "living a simple and frugal life in a world that isn't."

More Meaningless Chatter

I have a dilemma. I don't like spiders (except Daddy Long Legs). But I don't want to hurt spiders. And I don't want them to hurt me. And there's a huge one on the wall a few yards away. And I am squeamish. This is one of the things I hate about summer. The insect population goes crazy! Last summer there was an excess of moths. You'd drive down the road at night in the middle of July and you'd swear it was snowing. Please don't ever let there be an excess of spiders!

I have been listening to the new age station of an online radio site. I really love new age music. My favorites artists are probably Enya and Loreena McKennit. I recently bought "Ever After" on DVD. We've owned it as a family, but as one of my favorite movies (or maybe the favorite), I wanted it for my own. Funny thing. The family's is rated "PG" and mine is rated "PG-13"...why? Anyways, so as a "special feature," it has the theatrical trailer. I watched it and lets just say that they did a spectacular job. And you know what pleased me the most? The trailer is accompanied by two songs. The first is a haunting melody: "The Mummers' Dance" by Loreena McKennit. The second is more 'freeflying' and adventurous: "Fable" by Robert Miles. This is the trailer; tell me if it doesn't make you want to watch the movie (whether for the first time or the hundredth):

Our Bookmobile

I was going to plant flowers in this one spot in my garden, but instead I planted beans. :)

We don't have a library, but recently the county bookmobile started coming every other Wednesday. Not only can I check out as many books as I please, I can go on their website and request books from different libraries in our county be placed on hold and reserved for me. Today I went on and put these books on hold:
  • "I Can Lick Thirty Tigers Today and Other Stories" by Dr. Seuss
  • "Wild Mind" by Natalie Goldberg
  • "Thunder and Lightening" by Natalie Goldberg
  • "The Power of Myth" by Joseph Campbell
  • "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!" by Richard P. Feynman
  • Three books from the "Foxfire" series
  • "Utopia" by Thomas More
I also wanted "Of Wolves and Men" by Barry Lopez and "Women and Nature" by Susan Griffin but I guess I'll have to try either interlibrary loan or else buy it since they don't have it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nothing Specific

I found the camera. I can't find the bloody cord. So it doesn't do much good.

I did finally get some things done. I planted most of my little seedlings. None of the catnip did anything. And I only have one jalapeno. The soil desperately needs improvement, but although I know of a great deal of different things that can be used for such a purpose, I can't find seem to be able to obtain them. So I have tilled my garden by hand, all the while cursing the stupid clay and reminding myself how much I loathe red dirt.

My mother and stepfather are at church and the batteries in the mouse are getting low and I have no idea where the replacement batteries or the mouse-with-a-cord is because my mother doesn't put anything in a logical place and, even worse, she never remembers where she put it. Let's just hope that the mouse lasts another hour and a half until they get back so that I can keep doing the computer thing.

I wonder what I want for breakfast.

Friday, May 8, 2009

More Censored Book Fun

"Don't Read This Book" written and performed by Keith "Rockerbob" Lewis:

200 Banned (& Challenged) Books

Arranged alphabetically by title. Bold the books you have read, italicize the books you want to read. Place a checkmark (√) next to the books you own. In the comments, place a link to your 200 Banned, tell how many you've read, and/or list the titles and authors of any other books that qualify for this list (that generally means anything written for audiences under eighteen that includes one or more of the following: sex, violence, addresses serious issues, addresses the darker side or humanity, contains ideas that are not 'politically correct,' contains ideas that aren't conservative, et cetera).

The difference between banned and challenged books: Challenged is when someone tries to restrict a book. A ban means it's been removed.
“[I]t's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.” — Judy Blume
195 Banned (& Challenged) Books:
  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  3. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
  4. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  5. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
  6. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  7. A Time To Kill by John Grisham
  8. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  9. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  10. All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
  11. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
  12. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  13. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
  14. Anastasia Again! by Lois Lowry
  15. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
  16. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
  17. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
  18. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
  19. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  20. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
  21. Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture by Michael Bellesiles
  22. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  23. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
  24. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
  25. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  26. Black Boy by Richard Wright
  27. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
  28. Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
  29. Blubber by Judy Blume
  30. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  31. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  32. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  33. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
  34. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
  35. Carrie by Stephen King
  36. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  37. Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut
  38. Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris
  39. Christine by Stephen King
  40. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
  41. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
  42. Cujo by Stephen King
  43. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
  44. Cut by Patricia McCormick
  45. Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
  46. Daughters of Eve by Lois Duncan
  47. Deal With It! by Esther Drill
  48. Deenie by Judy Blume
  49. Detour for Emmy by Marilyn Reynolds
  50. Draw Me A Star by Eric Carle
  51. Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
  52. Fade by Robert Cormier
  53. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  54. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  55. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
  56. Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going
  57. Fear Street (Series) R. L. Stine
  58. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
  59. Flashcards of My Life by Charise Mericle Harper
  60. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  61. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  62. Forever by Judy Blume
  63. Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
  64. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  65. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  66. Go Tell it on the Mountain by James Baldwin
  67. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  68. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
  69. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
  70. Grendel by John Gardner
  71. Growltiger's Last Stand by T.S. Eliot
  72. Guess What? by Mem Fox
  73. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
  74. Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen
  75. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
  76. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  77. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
  78. His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
  79. Holy Bible
  80. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  81. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  82. I Saw Esau by Iona Opte
  83. In a Dark, Dark Room by Alvin Schwartz
  84. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  85. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
  86. Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  87. Ironman by Chris Crutcher
  88. It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
  89. It’s So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families by Robie H. Harris
  90. Jack by A.M. Homes
  91. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  92. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
  93. Junie B. Jones (series) by Barbara Park
  94. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
  95. Jumper by Steven Gould
  96. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
  97. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
  98. King and King by Linda de Haan
  99. Lady Chatterley's Lover by DH Lawrence
  100. Life is Funny by E.R. Frank
  101. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
  102. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
  103. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  104. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  105. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov
  106. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  107. Mick Harte Was Here by Barbara Park
  108. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
  109. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
  110. Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
  111. Nathan’s Run by John Gilstrap
  112. Native Son by Richard Wright
  113. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  114. Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes
  115. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
  116. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  117. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
  118. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  119. Pinkerton, Behave! by Steven Kellog
  120. Private Parts by Howard Stern
  121. Rabbit, Run by John Updike
  122. Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez
  123. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
  124. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
  125. Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
  126. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
  127. Sex by Madonna
  128. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
  129. Shade’s Children by Garth Nix
  130. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  131. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
  132. Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
  133. So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Watkins
  134. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  135. Sons and Lovers by DH Lawrence
  136. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  137. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher
  138. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
  139. Taming the Star by Runner S.E. Hinton
  140. That Was Then, This is Now by S.E. Hinton
  141. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  142. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby by Dav Pilkey
  143. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  144. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
  145. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  146. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
  147. The Brimstone Journals by Ron Koertge
  148. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  149. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  150. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  151. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  152. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
  153. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
  154. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
  155. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
  156. The Facts Speak for Themselves by Brock Cole
  157. The Fighting Ground by Avi
  158. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  159. The Goats by Brock Cole
  160. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  161. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
  162. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  163. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  164. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
  165. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  166. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  167. The Lord of the Rings (series) by JRR Tolkien
  168. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  169. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
  170. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
  171. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  172. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  173. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
  174. The Shining by Stephen King
  175. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
  176. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  177. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
  178. The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
  179. The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss
  180. The Wish Giver by Bill Brittain
  181. The Witches by Roald Dahl
  182. Their Eyes were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  183. Then Again, Maybe I Won’t by Judy Blume
  184. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
  185. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  186. Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  187. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
  188. Uncle Bobby's Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen
  189. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
  190. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
  191. Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
  192. When Dad Killed Mom by Julius Lester
  193. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
  194. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
  195. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
  196. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
  197. Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
  198. Women in Love by DH Lawrence
  199. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday
  200. You Hear Me by Betsy Franco
This list is far from exhaustive. Some good books that aren't on here but qualify are "Boy Toy" by Barry Lyga, "Tender Morsels" by Margo Lanagan, "Rubyfruit Jungle" by Rita Mae Brown, "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues" by Tom Robbins, "Push" by Sapphire, "Leaving Brooklyn" by Lynne Sharon Schwartz....

P.S. This is post number 50!!!

Banned (& Challenged) Books

I am mucho annoyed. Only annoyed? you say. Well, perhaps it is more than that. A few different things I came across as I traversed the world wide web have sparked me to add my own voice to the others on a certain subject: banned and challenged books.
“If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”
— On Liberty, John Stuart Mill
Each year the ALA (American Library Association) sponsors Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read. This year it's September 26th-October 3rd (2009).
Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) is asked why the week is called “Banned Books Week” instead of “Challenged Books Week,” since the majority of the books featured during the week are not banned, but “merely” challenged. There are two reasons. One, ALA does not “own” the name Banned Books Week, but is just one of several cosponsors of BBW; therefore, ALA cannot change the name without all the cosponsors agreeing to a change. Two, none want to do so, primarily because a challenge is an attempt to ban or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A successful challenge would result in materials being banned or restricted.
Want to know which books are banned/challenged? The list might surprise you ("Freaky Friday" is on there?! WT*?). I have posted it here.

The most frequently challenged authors of 2008
1. Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
2. Philip Pullman
3. Lauren Myracle <--Gemini: Amazing author! Probably placed here because of her books "TTYL," "TTFN," and "L8R, G8R"
4. Jim Pipe
5. Alvin Schwartz
6. Chris Crutcher
7. Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
8. Rudolfo Anaya
9. Stephen Chbosky
10. Cecily Von Ziegesar <--Gemini: Another awesome author. Placed here because of her Gossip Girl series?

Top Ten Challenged Authors 1990-2004
1. Alvin Schwartz
2. Judy Blume <--Gemini: Yet another great author. She's probably on here because of "Forever" and maybe "Then Again, Maybe I Won't" as well as a few others.
3. Robert Cormier
4. J.K. Rowling <--Gemini: Obviously on here because of her Harry Potter books (there's nothing wrong with them!)
5. Michael Willhoite
6. Katherine Paterson
7. Stephen King <--Gemini: Three guesses why he's on here.
8. Maya Angelou <--Gemini: Author of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings"
9. R.L. Stine <--Gemini: I personally don't like very many of his books but that's just cuz I don't prefer the horror genre. There was one about vampires I really liked though. Fear Street or something. My sister, on the other hand, adores his books. But then again, horror is one of her favorite genres.
10. John Steinbeck <--Gemini: Authored "Of Mice and Men"

Out of 8,332 challenges reported to or recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, as compiled by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom does not claim comprehensiveness in recording challenges. Research suggests that for each challenge reported there are as many as four or five which go unreported.