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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Why NOT to Live Next to a Highway

About 90% through the fence line
Just thought I'd share a little of our morning fun here at the new rental property. While returning home from morning errands, Wifey called asking if I was in an accident. A few returned questions and she explained that she heard what sounded like an accident on the highway behind us and she was afraid it was me.

Coming around the last corner, it came into view...a minivan careened through our back fence and came to rest in our backyard. Of course this occurred right during our busy morning and now our schedules were delayed. I investigated and collected report numbers for the landlord. I had to pin up Lucky because being the six month old puppy that he is, he's sure to go running straight out onto old Route 66.

I briefly chatted with Police and Fire. The firemen knew us from the house fire a few months ago. "Seems like a black cloud is following us," I told one fireman. He remarked that this was about the tenth call he had been on in the last couple of years for this exact problem in this exact area. Cars crashing through fences was commonplace. He pointed out that it was usually early morning hours and usually right here on this stretch of road after a curve.

No one was harmed, in case you're thinking I'm not being human about the whole thing. Quite frankly, I'm a bit numb these days.





Hope this post isn't too "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie" for you Brian Buckman.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Daily Rituals: What Are Yours?

Since the house fire, I've had to re-evaluate a lot of things: possessions, family's mental and physical status, living location, turning on and off utilities, establishing a neutral location to send and receive mail, building portable workshops and craftrooms that can be moved if needed etc.

High on the list of evaluations is mental stability. Obviously it is something to grapple with every day, as the head of a large household, so if I'm not feeling 100% it can be a major roadblock to our family's progress. One of the first things I recognized after the chaos of moving to Northern Arizona is that I had yet to establish a daily routine. Daily routines allow us to maximize our time therefore completing many tasks. Without a routine, I was wasting time looking for things I needed on a regular basis: car keys, tools, cookbooks, etc. Needless to say, it is VERY frustrating to be out of a routine. Added to that frustration was the fact that we live in a new town and don't know how to find anything. Luckily, smart phone GPS has come a long way or I would be driving around endlessly.

Now that we've begun to settle into our fourth home in five months (burned house, neighbor's house for two weeks, another neighbor's house for one week and now our newest rental), I've started to BEGIN to establish a routine. My desire for a routine was verified after a chat with my boss. I had expressed irritation at not having a "place" to put my things when I get ready for bed. He continued to tell me the routine he follows which brings him comfort on a nightly basis; where he sets his attache bag, keys, shoes kicked under the bar, and so on. He even emitted a warm smile as he described it. That is when I leapfrogged my goal of setting a routine to the top of my to-do list.

Routines are interestingly quirky. Which made me begin to wonder about routines of other people. As I lumbered around the internet, I came across a joyful read which segued perfectly to my current quest. It is a book titled Daily Rituals: How Artists Work. It is recommended by Tim Ferriss whom I find endlessly fascinating but we'll save that for another day.  Here is a description from the Amazon page for the book:

"Currey (the author) set out to amass as much information as he could find about the routines (of ) “brilliant and successful” creators adopted and followed, and the result is a zestful survey of the working habits of “some of the greatest minds of the last four hundred years.” Currey outs the habits of nearly 200 choreographers, comedians, composers, caricaturists, filmmakers, philosophers, playwrights, painters, poets, scientists, sculptors, and writers in a dizzying array that includes Benjamin Franklin, Henri Matisse, Nikola Tesla, Stephen King, Twyla Tharp, Federico Fellini, Ann Beattie, Gustav Mahler, and Toni Morrison. Here are early birds and night owls, the phenomenally rigorous and the nearly dysfunctional."

It is a terrific read and I highly recommend it. Your purchase via my Amazon link below garners me a few pennies as well. So if you might buy it, would you mind using my link?


It has certainly given me great ideas on constructing my own daily routine. It inspired me to the point of sitting down during my busy Saturday schedule to write this post even! I hope you give it a try. I should note that I bought the audible version to listen as I drive to work and do chores around the house. But I honestly had more that one occasion where I wished I had the physical book so that I could make notes and "dog-ear" a page or two.

~OJD

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Where Do I Get Maple Water?

Hoser maple water, eh?
I am a HUGE fan of coconut water. All natural with  no added ingredients. Curbs the appetite, quells the thirst and is very good for you. I have found a local store that carries it relatively cheap. Much cheaper than, say, the energy drinks out there.

Then I heard about Maple Water. It is being touted as the new coconut water. All natural and naturally sweet tasting. I immediately went looking for it and was sad to see it is only sold in Canada! No way, eh!? Those hosers are hogging all the good stuff, eh?! You can see it for sale on the Canada version of Amazon but they won't let me ship it to the States.

There are a few versions (here and here) out there for sale but none that I can get my American hands on.

So I thought I would put the question out on the blogosphere: Does anyone know where to buy some maple water in the states and get it shipped to Arizona?

~OJD

Monday, January 20, 2014

Update on the Girls (Daughters & Chickens)

Macky and Sis working together
Practicing the old saying "What once was old is new again,"Macky took it upon herself to sand down an old set of drawers to re-purpose them for her room. We've had this old set of drawers for several years (and several kids) so it had been covered much like an old graffiti bridge we used to have in Oklahoma City called the Graffiti Bridge. Several times each year students from numerous rival schools would converge on this old railroad bridge and paint their school colors on it. It stood five decades before the city tore it down.

Mack snatched my Jesse Stone hat
Macky wanted to paint the drawers a bright color. She mentioned red but wasn't happy with any of the color swatches at the local Home Depot paint supply department. Once I heard her say "red" and "shiny" I could think of only one color that fit that bill in my mind: Candy Apple Red. I had grown to associate that name with the fastest hotrods of the day when I was a kid. Whether it was a 1968 Corvette or 1967 Mustang, if it had a big block engine and was painted Candy Apple Red...it was bad ass. So I suggested it to Mack. She loves it.

Boo says: Cowgirl Up!
A few more coats of paint and she'll be all done. The drawers will be like new again and the girls will have just a little more space to organize their stuff. The red finish stands out against the rest of her furniture just like she wanted...and the candy coating shines like a glass lake on a windless day.

Boo is starting to build her wardrobe back up (post house fire.) She happily poses in her new cowgirl belt, boots and hat for a proud Daddy. We snuck out and picked up our favorite local treat: Sarsaparilla Rootbeer. She seems to be growing up faster than any of the girls right now. I guess it's her age. She'll be eight years old in April.

She really likes the new chicken coop. She's the only girl that enjoys chasing the chickens around trying to pick one up. She giggles as they hop and fly out of her grabbing hands. We spent a good 20 minutes yesterday just jumping around trying to corner a bird so she could hold it.

Sorry for the flash-washout
Our rooster has gotten so big, we've named him Rooster Cogburn. Sometimes I just call him Duke. He's not making much noise...yet. They're enjoying the nice expansion run I added for them this past weekend. Now they can take off running full bore without slamming into a wall or each other before the end of the runway (although that was kinda funny.)

What started out as ten chicks before the house fire turned out to be eight chicks and one rooster (one hen died) when we got them back from the generous neighbor who "chicken-sat" them while we were moving from neighbor to neighbor. They lived in our rental house for two weeks, the garage for two weeks and finally outside. I built them a small-ish coop (<==YouTube video for those on dial up) but it was enough to get them outside. The garage wasn't smelling so good.

The Queen got a new hairstyle and couldn't be happier. I'm so "old" that I had to ask her what the name of the style was called. "It's called Scene Dad." It should be called "hair is covering half your face" but whatever kiddo. She spends most of her time at home with earbuds in her ears listening to music. She doesn't know it but I can relate. Only my music came from a Ghetto Blaster and in those days, you could record songs off the radio station onto your cassette tape and nobody screamed Copyright Infringement! We didn't need The Pirate Bay...we had a Record button. You just had to sacrifice the beginning of your favorite song if you didn't hit the Record button fast enough.

Thumbs up from The Queen at 13.
Oh, and Sis is doing great. She's on the track team, choir and generally having a good time. She got her driver's permit (fair warning!) and we have begun the driver's training. Monster and Flower and just happy bouncing on our bed every night. The world is still pretty simple to them. Give them something sugary to drink and something soft to bounce up and down on and their good for hours.

Wifey doesn't have a sewing room up and running yet though. She's kinda bummed about that. We inspected some wood built sheds last weekend in hopes we could someday soon afford one and turn it into her craft room. She really misses the nice one I built her back in The Valley. It had a place for just about everything. She was constantly making the girls outfits for just about every holiday.

Wifey cowgirl'd up & my '81 Chevy
I'll have to figure out how to solve that problem. I turned our enclosed trailer into a man cave/ work shop so I could find my tools. Now I need to build her a girl cave. Although, she did get to cowgirl up the other day and get herself a pair of boots, belt and hat...and she looks might fine!

My new (new to me) 1981 Chevy pickup is giving me some trouble. After running for a while she'll die all of the sudden. Like she's not getting gas or something. I'll have to go through the fuel line next weekend and check the fuel filter, pump, etc. No telling what this old girl needs repaired but for $2k, I ain't complaining. She's no Orange Jeep but she's got a eight foot bed, big V8, 4x4 and a one ton axle.

~OJD




Saturday, January 18, 2014

Here's a fun post: Try Kingdomality

During a recent meeting, one of our VPs was ranting about the hilarity of an online personality test. By answering a few short questions (seven I believe), this world renown "vocational placement system" classifies you into one of several ancient job titles from the medievil (think Robin Hood) times. 

I took the test and it was hilarious. Dare I say, it was actually quite accurate as well. This thing has been around since 1990 and has grown to see visits from 20 million people on the internet since introduced in 1996.

From Wikipedia: "According to the Kindomality website: Many years ago there was a period of time that is often casually called "Medieval." It was a time, so the story tellers tell us, of tiny kingdoms, brave knights and ferocious dragons.

Transportation and travel were both crude and difficult, usually necessitating that each kingdom be as self-sufficient and self-reliant as possible. So it was very important that within each kingdom all the major crafts and professions of the day were ably represented to insure the survival of the kingdom. In the English language we still see remnants of some occupations in the familiar surnames such as Smith (as in blacksmith), Carpenter, Miller, and Baker to name just a few."


My result: The Dreamer-Minstrel

The Dreamer-Minstrel can always see the "Silver Lining" to every dark and dreary cloud. Look at the bright side is their motto and understanding why everything happens for the best is their goal. They are the positive optimists of the world who provide the hope for all humankind. There is nothing so terrible that they can not find some good within it. On the positive side, they're spontaneous, charismatic, idealistic and empathic. On the negative side, Dreamer-Minstrels may be sentimental dreamers who are emotionally impractical.

It's laughingly not too far off. Wifey was a White Knight.  What are you?

Other vocation titles:  Bishop, Benevolent Ruler, Shepherd, Black Knight, White Knight, Scientist, Discoverer, Merchant, Prime Minister, Engineer-Builder, Doctor.

~OJD

Friday, January 17, 2014

Homestead Reboot Series: Evaluating the Water Bill

Pipe fixed in front yard
Now that we've moved into our new rental home, I have to start re-evaluating everything all over again. We lived in OUR home in the Valley for over 13 years so I knew that house and all it's workings intimately. This rental house however, not a clue. I've already replaced the dryer and oven with my own. The dishwasher was replaced by the owner a few weeks ago...but I digress.

So I am systematically assessing every aspect of the property starting with the basic utilities: water, electric, sewage and gas. (I checked the fence line prior to move-in for the dogs' sake). Particularly right now, I'm assessing the water supply. There are pipes and valves in the front and back yards to evaluate. Pipes inside the house as well as leaky faucets in just about every room.

The master bath, for example, has a leaking sink faucet, leaking shower head and an ever-so-slightly running toilet. Usually you leave these issues for the Landlord to address but as a Git R Dun kinda fella, I don't like waiting for whenever the Landlord might have time to come investigate. Every day that slips by I'm spending more cash on lost utilities.

The leaky Master Bath shower head (this is the new one!)
Luckily, and I use that term lightly, the county stopped by to check the valves in the front yard. They noticed an ice accumulation in a pipe that lead down to a water valve, most likely indicating a leak. Knowing this required digging, plumbing and potential for main pipe water damage, I actually DID notify the Landlord on this one. Several days later, a hole was dug and sure enough, I've been paying for water to slowly leak out of a pipe in the front yard.

Luckily, yet again, I had an old bicycle rubber inner tube and c-clamp with which the Landlord's husband performed a quick fix until the county could intervene and fix it properly. Several days later, most of the dirt was placed back into the hole and (hopefully) that problem is fixed. Haven't decided yet what to do with the excess dirt left in the front yard.

The leaky, corroded shower head was replaced including new plumbers tape to create a nice, tight seal. To our surprise, the new shower heads leaks as well (see above video.) This means there's a leak further up the line at the on/off shower valve.The running toilet was fixed by adjusting the plunger chain and all that remains is a new sink faucet coming next week.

The irrigation system has been blown out with air and shut off so there should be no problems there. 

Now to figure out the charges...

I just called and got the breakdown from the small town water company. I say "small town" because they don't have a way to pay the bill or see the bill online. You get a bill in the mail and have to mail a check back. I haven't done that in years.

Sympathizing with Tom Hanks in The Money Pit
Our current bill for three adults and six daughters is 10,400 gallons of usage. That usage includes all leaks so our next bill should be reduced. I'll keep an eye on the next few months bills to monitor usage and start working on our rain barrel runoff system. I brought at least ten of our 55 gallon water drums up from the Valley with us to catch rain. All that I'm waiting on is the time to build a rack to set them on and plumb them in-line. Having never stored rain water in cold climate before, I'm curious if my barrels will freeze.

After I make sure we have no leaky faucets or running toilets, I'll check the clothes washer, all other outside faucets and the central heat/air conditioner. Back home, we had a drip pan that was too small to catch all leaks and ended up doing some drywall repair until we could address the leak from the air conditioner. I hope there's no issue like that here. Once I get all the water sources shored up, I'll start evaluating the electrical system. I plan on using a Kill-a-Watt tool to gauge usage from each outlet and size up all our appliances since, as renters, I don't know just how well these major appliances are working.

~OJD

Monday, January 13, 2014

The End ALL Be ALL of Knife Sharpeners

EdgePro Apex: manual blade sharpener
This is going to be a rough post for me because I cling to "the old ways" on a lot of things.  There are few things more critical in performance than our knives and guns. These are two of man's basic tools for survival / homesteading / preparedness...etc. How successful will you be when the critical moment comes if your gun fails or your knife is too dull?

This post is about the art of knife sharpening. This age old skill is as important as hunting, skinning and processing that game you bagged. In fact, without that sharp blade, you're going to have a real hard time completing the task.

I learned a great deal watching a master of the craft named TheApostleP on YouTube. I'll link to a video of his here if you are interested in watching a 37 minute video on how to properly use the EdgePro sharpener. This video showed me the beauty and art of taking your time and concentrating on an accurate swing of the blade across a properly adjusted (manual sharpener) Edge Pro.

So let me make clear that I truly appreciate the art of blade sharpening. I had to say that because I'm laden with guilt over my new infatuation with an automatic sharpener. That's right. AUTOMATIC. Where's the skill in that? That's like taking your truck to Walmart for an oil change instead of doing it yourself, right?

Truth is, I've taken my truck to Walmart for an oil change. I finally determined one day that with Walmart doing my oil change for $19.95 (including filter), I was free to do something else with my time that I would rather do more. Now, we can debate that issue...but I won't bother. Just because I pay someone else to do my oil change doesn't mean I've forgotten how. It just means I'd rather do something else with my fleeting time.

And that is how I segue into my burning desire for a new toy I found at a local ranch store. It is an automatic blade sharpener that can sharpen virtually anything: axe, scissor, knife, straight blade, serrated blade or otherwise.  This thing does it all...and darn quick. It doesn't mean I've lost the respect for manually sharpening a blade.  It just means I've found a way to do it quicker so I can move on to other things.

I remember the first time I saw this tool (que the dream sequence music)... I stumbled across it at our local CAL Ranch Store in town. A big sign read "Try Me!"  So I did and now I'm hooked. I pulled out my trusty orange (what else?) pocket knife and within 45 seconds I had a blade so sharp I was shaving hair off my arms. And if that wasn't enough, I grabbed a brochure in the display next to it and shredded it in a giddy delight.

Work Sharp: automatic blade sharpening
But it isn't on sale yet. You've seen me post stuff on here when it goes on sale and I let everyone else know just in case other people are watching for it. Like the LifeStraws and WaterBOBs. Everyone can use those items and this sharpener is one of those items. Anyone can use it, whether you have blade sharpening skill or not.

I'll let you know as soon as it goes on sale. Until then, you can see it at Amazon here:


If you can afford it now, at $69.95, by all means...have at it. It's a little too outside my budget at the moment but as soon as I catch that price dip, I'm in like Flynn. Wifey is accumulating a pile of her crafting scissors that she wants sharpened already. The websites I use to track prices show that the lowest the price has dipped in the past year is down to $56.83.  So, I'll be watching and let you guys/gals know when it dips.

~OJD

Friday, January 10, 2014

Hot Buy: Water BOB Drinking Water Storage

Another quick post for those of you stocking up on supplies. Since our house fire in October, I am stocking back up on essential items. I have software programs alerting me when things on my purchase list go on sale. Today, one of my water storage items is on sale: The WaterBOB.

To quickly store 100 gallons of water for an emergency, I am purchasing the waterBOB Emergency Drinking Water Storage container. Most of you already know about this gadget but for those that don't, it is a plastic container that fits inside your bathtub and allows you to quickly capture 100 gallons in the case of an emergency.

Act quickly while the price is at $19.60 with FREE shipping.

Here's a video about it:


The following chart shows the price of the waterBOB over the last year and it is at an ALL TIME low right now on Amazon. Even CheaperThanDirt is a little more expensive plus shipping.

CCC shows this is the cheapest price ever for this product.


This is a smart item to have in your preps and a great addition to any emergency cache. Comment if you've used one or get one and tell us what you think.

~OJD

Can Solar Panels Power a Water Trough Heater?

My friend Chase Saxton is smack dab in the middle of the cold front moving through Kentucky. He built a shelter for his horses, which has helped tremendously, but now the horses' water trough is freezing over.



I shared with him how I put an electric heating element in a rubber water trough to keep my chickens' water from freezing. Unfortunately, he doesn't have power ran to the horse shelter. He asked me if I thought some solar panels from Harbor Freight would generate enough power to run a water trough heater.

So, I'm asking you guys. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Reloaders Take Notice!

While certainly not as phenomenal as the LifeStraw deal we got in on a few weeks ago, the deal I just found on the Lyman Magnum Inertia Bullet Puller on Amazon is smoking hot. If you are into reloading or are thinking about getting into reloading your own ammunition, this is an item you should consider snagging now.

Normally priced at $23 + shipping, right now it is only $7.19 + FREE shipping.

  • Fits a full range of calibers from tiny 5.7 X 28FN to the largest Magnums
  • Safely strips loaded rounds in seconds without damage to bullet or case

 Even though I'm not fully ready to start reloading (still need to buy equipment), I know a good deal when I see one. I'll be buying this and holding on to it.

Post comments if you've had experience in this area.  Here's the link to purchase it on Amazon.

Here's a review of the bullet puller on YouTube:

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Bosch That Left-Over Turkey Meat: Breaded Patties!

One of the things I enjoyed repurchasing for Wifey after our house fire was her Bosch supplies. She works magic with her Bosch Universal mixer with all it's attachments and gizmos. I called a local store where we used to live and told them about our fire. They were gracious enough to give me a discount on the repurchase of all her stuff.  This was the same place she used to buy her dough enhancer, yeast and gluten for her magical homemade bread.  Now that she is re-equipped to rock the kitchen, it's time to put that leftover turkey to good use.

Turkey patties with honey mustard and baked potatoes
It was time to use our SECOND left over donated turkey which I had frozen in the freezer right before Thanksgiving.  Our first turkey went to a delicious homemade noodle soup recipe passed down from my Grandmother. That recipe was SO well received that it was finished off at the next morning's breakfast!

This time, we're going to take the turkey and process it in the Bosch using a cheese grater attachment. This shredded the turkey meat up nice and fine to the point where I could add some mayo and spices and form into patties.

Processing the turkey meat in her new Bosch
Using some other Bosch attachment (paddles?), Wifey mixed the turkey meat with a healthy dose of mayonnaise, onion powder, garlic salt, and Smoke bbq spice for added flavor. On speed 3 setting, the Bosch made quick work of thoroughly mixing the ingredients. That's when I stepped in to make the patties. No brain surgery required here. The mixture smelled heavenly!

As I was forming patties, Wifey was preparing one shallow bowl with four mixed eggs. This would be used to coat our patties before dipping them into our breading. We had a can of bread crumbs in the cabinet and chose them as the outer layer of the patties. Had this not been in our pantry, I was prepared to crush up some Ritz crackers. They are a terrific substitute to deep fry breading. The bread crumbs were placed in a second shallow bowl.

Flavors: garlic salt, onion powder, bbq spices and mayo
The assembly line began: make the patty, dip the patty in egg, flip it over a few times in the bread crumbs and lay into a skillet with just enough cooking oil to cover about half the patty's depth. Cook them on a medium heat until a nice golden brown.

While all of this was going on, Wifey had a dozen or so baked potatoes cooking in the oven. Wrapped in aluminum foil, they were ready to eat right as all the patties were done frying up.

As an added money saver, we buy our cheese in block form. It always costs more to buy your cheese already shredded so if you can do it yourself, you can save some money. What better to shred some cheese with than the new Bosch? BTW, the same applies to meat. If you can get your hands on an inexpensive slicer, like we did thanks to CraigsList, you can save a TON of money slicing your own meat.

Small block of cheese becomes full bag of shredded goodness
The Bosch shredded the block of cheese in no time. I filled a large zip lock baggy with the stringy orange goodness and set it on the table. We also set the plate of patties on the table, along with sour cream, plates and forks. Everyone helped themselves and it was easy peasy.

Oh, almost forgot the homemade honey mustard sauce. In a normal bowl, fill about 1/3 full of it with mayo and add a good squirt of mustard. Then give it a heavy dose of honey to taste and mix it up real good. This is our favorite condiment and costs next to nothing to make. Someday even less when we start to harvest from our own beehive.

Total:
block of cheddar cheese: $2.50
pinches of spices: $1
Bread crumbs: $2
Donated turkey: $0
Bag of Potatoes: $5
1/2 carton Sour Cream: $2.50
4 eggs: $0.50
----------------
$13.50 fed nine people with lots of leftovers

Homemade honey mustard sauce
I have to mention that we served the honey mustard sauce in a bowl that Sis made in art club after school. She made three bowls that work wonderfully for serving sauces.

This was a terrific way to use up our leftover turkey in a way that wasn't the same-old-dinner meals. It was a nice change from the taco, spaghetti, hamburger helper rotation and allowed us to watch the Bosch magician at work.

It could also be used with ANY meat. Just mix it up with some spices, bread it and fry it up. Salmon patties come to mind...or homemade chicken fried steak!

Give it a try, let me know what you think.

~OJD
Golden brown turkey patties...mmmmm

Friday, January 3, 2014

Teaching Kids an Old Family Recipe: Homemade Noodle Soup

With Thanksgiving recently passed, we found ourselves with some leftover turkey. Two FULL birds to be exact. But what to do with them? Everyone was pretty worn on mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing and the traditional turkey day fixin's.

As I stared at the birds in the fridge, wondering what to do with them, I remembered my Grandmother's old family recipe for making homemade noodle soup. She made it annually in Oklahoma but usually for special occasions: birthdays, holidays, etc. Her recipe included making broth AND egg noodles from scratch.

Ingredients:
Two whole hens
eggs
salt
flour
two medium sized onions
half a stalk of celery
a few beef bullion cubes
Campbells Consomme broth
and, on occasion, carrots

Typically, the birds were boiled in one or two pots filled with water. Added to each pot was two onions, half a stalk of celery, salt to taste, and sometimes carrots. This was brought to a boil and then heat reduced until the meat fell off the bones. At that point, everything was strained out leaving only the broth. Added to this final broth was 2-4 beef bullion cubes and two cans of Campbells Beef Consomme.

Noodles were made by simply mixing up about four eggs, a pinch of salt and flour. The flour was added until the noodle dough was similar to bread dough. It was rolled out into flat pancakes on wax paper (lightly dusted with flour so it wouldn't stick.) The noodle pancakes were allowed to air dry for 60-90 minutes until they reached a "dryness" that allowed them to be cut into strips without sticking together.

Once the noodles were cut in bite sized strips, they were slowly added to the broth and brought to a boil. About 40 minutes later you would have the best soup in the world and usually for minimal cost.

So, as I stared at these turkeys in my fridge, I figured it was worth a shot. I would use a turkey instead of a hen and attempt to duplicate Grandma's homemade noodle soup with whatever I had in the cupboard AND teach the kids some "old school cookin'" in the process.

Grocery store turkey thawing in hot water.

The whole process took about three hours. I started by thawing the frozen turkey in some hot water in the sink. It took a good 20 minutes or so for it to thaw enough for me to easily cut into sections.

I added salt, onion powder and chicken bullion cubes to improvise.





My first batch consisted of two smaller pots which is why I cut up the turkey into sections. This also allowed me to show the girls which joints could be used to cut wings and legs off of the bird. On my second batch, I found a large enough pot to fit the entire bird into so no sectioning was required. As the bird cooked, I worked on the noodles.

Plain old eggs and flour




I started with four eggs and a pinch of salt. I added the flour until I reached a doughy stage that could easily be rolled into dough balls and then rolled out flat to be left to dry.

Here's the uncut noodles air drying on wax paper. (improvised rolling pin)




You can roll the dough "pancakes" out as big or small as you wish. It doesn't really matter. It will all end up in the pot. Sprinkle flour on the paper to keep the noodles from sticking.

Here the noodles are cut semi-symmetrical and stacked for slicing.




Cut the noodles into quarters and stack them on top of each other. Aligning them up straight will allow you to cut them into nice noodle strips (like the next picture).

Noodles cut into strips




Cut the noodles thinly as they will plump up generously in the broth when they are cooking. When placing the noodles into the broth, be careful not to dump too much of your flour into the broth because excessive flour will thicken it up.

Once the broth is ready (meat falling off the bones), strain everything out and set it aside. Add two cans of Campbells Consomme and a few beef bullion cubes. Use the remaining broth to cook the noodles. (I saved the meat and made turkey patties later, see next blog post)

I sent this pic to my aunt D in Oklahoma to tease her.

Add the noodles slowly as you stir.  You will see the noodles start to fatten up in the broth within five minutes. Cook the noodles until they are to the softness of your liking. I had kids eating out of the pot before the soup was even done. This was one of the few meals that everyone in the house enjoyed.

All totaled, since the bird was donated, the ingredients cost an estimated $5. One of my goals for 2014 is to shoot my own wild bird, use my own eggs (which will be ready in about three months) and mill our own white wheat berries. All that will be left is seasonings and should be super cheap. Wouldn't that be cool?

I think so.

Try the recipe sometime. Let me know what you think.

~OJD