Dear Southwest Airlines,
I have long been a loyal customer, choosing your airline even when flights are a bit more because it is just less stressful to be around cheerful flight attendants, not worry about my bags costing money, and to not constantly feel like I am being "upsold" along my journey. Less stressful that is until last November. On a trip to lay my grandmother to rest that month, the TSA screeners gave me such a vigorous pat down of my genital area with the fronts of their hands, and with such a negative attitude, that I made a decision: If I can drive I will.
You see, while the federal government does control the TSA, so do the airlines. Now, I know it is much easier for a business to blame a federal law for why you need us to stay in our seats and off our computers on takeoff and landing. And yes, it is nice that we don't have to listen to folks on cellphones loudly share the intimate details of their private lives for long flights due to a federal law rather than airline policy. I get it - you need to make money and I support your efforts to do this by choosing you each year as my primary provider.
But truly, if airlines demanded changes in how passengers are treated at the security checkpoints, or of they pressured airports to privatize screenings as has been done in Orange County, I believe we could be both safer and less molested.
It is not in my control to change the TSA, but it IS in my control to not fly. So today, I thought I would share how much money you did not make off of my flight to Dallas this coming week: $731.
That' right. I am driving to Dallas and back to avoid being molested by the TSA again. And you know what? I feel much less anxious about this trip than my last one where I could not avoid flying.
I will continue to share how much I do not spend this year as it progresses so that there is documentation of the loss of business from just one of your clients because of this issue. I have spoken with multiple frequent fliers and they share my frustration. Indeed, you may not be aware that you are losing business, but I am confident that others are also choosing to drive rather than go through the airport theater.
Don't worry. A few times a year I must go so far that a flight is unavoidable and when this is true, I will use you when I can.
But for now, I just wanted to pass along that I did not spend $731 on a ticket to ride the friendly skies with you.
Venison Braised Cabbage
- 1 head cabbage
- ½ cup butter
- 1 diced onion
- ⅔ fancy vinegar of some sort, balsamic, red wine, etc
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 chopped chili
- 2 TBSP Fresh diced rosemary
- 1 chopped apple
- 1 # browned ground venison and any other meats you feel like adding
S&P to taste
Slice the cabbage, remove the tough stem and thinly slice. Place in a large pot with all the other ingredients but the meats and add 1 cup water. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat, cover and gently cook for 1½ hrs, stirring frequently. Add water if needed - the fresher the cabbage the less this is needed. Add the meats to the cabbage gently simmer for 10 mins. Remove the lid and cook for 10 mins.
The weekly overview of our homestead this week
Went into the gentle beehive and found:
- the hole in the lid over which we had a screen had been filled with propelis
- I removed the screen to allow for airflow because the bees have been bearding at night
- The top hive has about two frames that the bees have been working which is not much different from two weeks ago.
- The baby squash plants in the garden looked a little sad so we added fish fertilizer
- The kiwis are climbing the walls of the greenhouse - need male plants!!
- The raspberries are ripe!
- The garlic needs to be harvested - and I did, but the elephant garlic has not toothed out yet so we are giving it another week.
- Sweet potato slips were transplanted and we put a new round of cucumber seeds out on Thursday - cukes have germinated so I am watering it and the transplanted peppers while they acclimate to outdoor life
- Getting yellow squash from the volunteer and plan to choose one fruit to keep and tie a ribbon on it
- Let the weed fight begin!
- They look like they are trying to fly and they enjoy hanging out under the truck on the blacktop for some reason
- They went in easily last night at about 8pm. The rest of the week we've been chasing them in earlier and it has been a struggle
- Duck coop is finished but the ducks seem uncomfortable in there. They formerly have had a lower roof over their heads so I plan to move a smaller duckhouse in there to hopefully give them added feelings of security.
- Nothing to report - our buff orpington s four years old and beginning to look ratty
The garden would do better if I weeded it more and the raspberries have once again taken over the blueberries. I need to find a new place for the blueberries. We really have trouble keeping the yard trimmed and are thinking of adding goats. Flea bug pressure is heavy for us this year but the Japanese beetles have not yet located us. The gardens are staying fairly well hydrated below the surface this year, but I think adding a heavy layer of manure and much will be in order for the fall redo.
We still have not recovered from the heavy chicken tractor mistake. We had a friend make us a chicken tractor that is predator proof and it is so heavy that two of us can "sort of" move the thing. The ducks were in it until last night and now it is parked in a terrible location and I can't move it without a 4wd vehicle. Still looking for a solution for this - even dismantling the darn thing is about impossible. Burn it?
Several of our friends have passed away in the last week and it reminds me that you need to live for the now as much as you can, while laying the foundation for a good future for yourself -- or for your loved ones. While thinking about this, I found a nice tribute to our friend who passed away on Monday from Garth Brooks: https://www.facebook.com/GarthBrooks/videos/1078676248878474/
What we are eating and preserving this week:
- From that garden and local markets: beets, spinach, yellow squash, cabbage, potatoes, peppers and a surprise kale plant, wild raspberries and blackberries, peaches
- From the larder: sweet potatoes, frozen blueberries, venison, bacon
- Preserving: A do-over on pickled beets (when in doubt throw it out), It’s time to make pickles but we will talk about that next week with our special guest...
Three time-saving ideas for the homesteader who also works a full time job
Listen to Remy's Reaction to the Florida Shooting: How to react to tragedy:
Direct Download Link: http://traffic.libsyn.com/nicolesauce/NicoleSauce_Podcast_June_4_2016_-_6316_5.34_PM.mp3
What we are eating this week
- Elderflower Fritters: a recipe - do not use olive oil
- Items from the root cellar: Spaghetti squash and sweet potatoes
- Still getting lettuce galore but that is about to change
What we are preserving this week - and how
- Bee balm - finally about to bloom
- Sour Cherry Jam
- Blackberry leaves
- Pickled Beets - Recipe coming soon!
- The flea beetle
- Squash bugs
- Does the duct tape trick really work on squash bug eggs?
- Neem oil or Dawn
About the Root Cellar and Canned Food Storage
Final song: Every Way written by Nicole Sauce, performed by Sauce
While I was taking a shower, my phone rang three times:
2) Ex husband
3) Uncle Steve in New York
The last one was the first message I heard on September 11, 2001. Uncle Steve, unable to reach anyone locally decided to call me and let me know that he was OK, but that he'd appreciate it if I got the message out to everyone else in the family. What followed was a very long day for many Americans ending in some mourning lost family members.
At the time, I was in charge of training executives from Europe who ended up stranded in the states, was an ESL teacher for interns from Germany, and had family in both DC and New York. Many frantic calls were made that day to find housing for those stuck in the states, make sure everyone was OK in the family, and to cope with the feelings of anger that arise from terror attacks.
And it was quiet. SOOOO quiet. You don't realize how much sound comes to a city from the air until the planes are gone.
Kirk said at the next Sauce practice, "They awoke the hidden dragon."
I never could come up with words to communicate all the emotions of this time, but I did write a song - my only instrumental. I hope you enjoy it.
Some folks have said they can't view the player, so here is a link to the song: http://traffic.libsyn.com/nicolesauce/9-1-1.wav
Something strange happens when you disconnect from the tech world and spend regular time in nature. Plants begin to pop out of the forest. Often while taking an evening walk, one plant or another will capture my attention. I will become obsessed with it. I will wonder - is it edible or medicinal?
Like most things on the homestead, the best path toward knowledge is to learn a few things at a time so that they become habits. Rather than try to learn every plant in the area in one weekend, focus on a few plants over time based either on something you wish to find, or on the latest plant that has captured your attention.
Nine years ago, when we made our big lifestyle move, I only knew that wild berries are dangerous, garden plants should be grown in tidy rows with lots of bare dirt around them, roses like a heavy pruning in the fall and require an antifungal spray, and lord help you if you nibble on a wild mushroom by accident. Unbeknownst to me, Mr. Kruse and the nearby forest had filled our yard with lots of wild edible plants ready for the forage so long as we did not hit them hard with a weed eater.
As the years have rolled by, things have changed. Bare dirt is almost impossible to find in the vegetable garden. What started as companion planting has evolved into a darwinian approach to seeding and hand cultivating beds. If it volunteers it stays where it is. Evening walks often yield the evening's salad. And the world is full of possibilities for new edible plants to learn about and more ways to avoid inflation at the grocery store.
- Watercress crowns
- Dryads Saddle Mushroom
- Baby kale leaves
- Baby lettuce leaves
- Hairy vetch
- Pea shoots
- Bee balm (to dry for winter tea)
- Dandelion (to make into a medicinal infusion)
Homestead 1, The System 0
Today, I was thinking so much about my 96 year old grandmother. She is still alive and fairly healthy for her age. I have always regretted that it was not until after my grandfather died that his song came to me. This is a recording of his song, My grandfather was a wonderful man, master gardener, and silent but stable mentor.
It is time to write a song for his companion in time for her to hear it because my grandmother IS a wonderful woman, caring about everyone, a great story teller and with the memory of an elephant.
It is nice to take some time to think about some of the good people who were there as I grew up and beyond.
Sauce first performed Grandpa's Song at the Rabbit Hole in SE Portland and Skip VonKuske jumped onstage to play cello with us. Grandma and her twin were there to hear it.
April 12, 2016 Update:
Several asked more about this song. I wrote it about our last days together with my grandfather after we found out he was terminally ill. It was a beautiful time where we were visited by family from all over, where Grandma told stories about the past we had never heard before, and when my grandfather taught me one last lesson: death is natural and beautiful, not scary. And he loved my grandma so much that the last word we heard from him was her name.
Grandpa's Song by Nicole Sauce Williams
Light Love Life Hope
Light in darkness -love eternal
Life you showed us - hope - it's hopeless
Look into your eyes, now there's nothing left to say
Feeling of your hand holding on to mine today
Inside Out Bound
In the final hours together
Longed to show you - you remember
Fire in your eyes looked across the room to her
Feeling in the air taking you forever
Showed us how to right through small deeds
Speak with silence, love in all things
Look into your eyes, now there's nothing left to say
Feeling of you hand holding on for one last day
It has become so pervasive in all we read. There is a constant scapegoating of others when anything bad happens, or when a reporter covers something about which they have a conflicting opinion. It happens so often that some big names have become shorthand for the root of all of society's evils.
This is not a Republican or Democrat thing. Not a left or right, man or woman, Christian or Muslim habit. It permeates much of our modern communication. Especially when something is newsy.
It is no longer good enough to explain, for example, how glyphosate was recently found in wine and why you should care without underlining that it is "Monsanto's Glyphosate."
All left-leaning politicos MUST be on the dole from Soros when they attack someone on the right. Conversely, ANYONE who dares to suggest that global warming science is not settled, is certain to be labelled as "Koch-funded." Donald Trump is at fault when some of his fans behave inappropriately (apparently no one can trap Donald into doing anything ridicule-worthy). All police are bad when one officer shoots an unarmed teen. This list is endless.
And it is the blame game that is killing us. Rather than look at and consider the facts of a situation, we focus instead on who is as fault, preferring to find a scapegoat than look at the underlying problem with an eye toward a solution.
It is killing us because rather than spend our passion, purpose and intelligence on creating a better world around us, we point our effort toward holding someone, anyone, accountable. We hide behind the blame game so we don't have to admit that we don't know all the answers.
It is so easy to blame a person, grouping of people, conspiracy, government, or corporation when something goes wrong -- or when someone has a valid-sounding opinion that we don't want to agree with. Yet even when there is someone at fault, the practice of focusing on blame rather than on learning from the facts presented leads us back in time rather than into the future.