Posted in Musings

Sustainable Energy…Or Not


I hear all the hype, when I allow it to come in, about sustainable energy and how we should all “go green” to save the planet. I hear people in high places talking about how important it is and that if we don’t switch over, we are doomed, DOOMED, I SAY!

But I have to wonder, upon further pondering of the subject, can they really MEAN what they’re spewing? I mean, have you really thought about what switching over to green energy actually means? Oh, now don’t get me wrong, I personally think it’s a great idea. I have personally been there, done that, and would go right back in a New York minute! Let me share a bit about why I think so…

My family lived off the grid for several months. We ran battery packs charged by a generator because we hadn’t gotten our solar panels yet and only actually ran the generator for a maximum of about three hours a day. Mainly because we were running power tools, building on our home and sometimes ran a vacuum – things you can’t do from strictly battery packs or they will lose their charge in a matter of minutes.

We also got rid of our microwave and incandescent light bulbs. For those of you that might not know, those are some of the biggest energy-zappers in existence right now. Once we came back to the grid (only because we HAD to – another story for another day), I refused to bring those two things back into our lives and you wouldn’t think it, but since then, our electric bills have been far less than they ever were at any time in history! I’m a firm believer in the fact that it’s the “little things”…

The money we saved those several months was exponential, to us. Believe me, you start feeling it when you’re saving upwards of $200 per month!

Anyway, as I was saying, I was thinking about what it would mean if we all switched over to renewable energy, such as solar and wind power. That alone, if done on a large enough scale, would put our electric companies and co-ops out of business.


I remember a few years ago, there was huge move in our local area to “go green” for Earth Day. The Facebook movement quickly gained a following, of course, and many, many people decided YES, they would use no electricity all day on Earth Day. And it was, for what it was suppose to be, successful. Until the next month…

Our local electric company sent out a letter stating, basically, that they had lost so much revenue during that time that there was a need of a price increase on their rates, and so we all wound up paying for that day, and then some. As far as I know, that increase was never taken off once they made their revenue back.

So, one has to wonder if they’re just talking out the corner’s of their mouths or if they really want to see that switch. That turning point where we save the planet and put hundred and hundreds of people out of work. I mean, maybe they could be displaced into factories with jobs where the means of that sustainable energy are made, such as solar panels, the wiring and frames needed to support them, the batteries that store the charge, the wind turbines (which, by the way, are amazing to see built! they are massive!), and so on and so forth.

Then again, you have the fact that these solar panels – if cared for properly – last many, many years, so the demand for them wouldn’t be as high once everyone got on board. The same situation goes for the wind power; we would need to have them made, but they last a long time. And let’s not even talk about the space needed for those babies!

So, I don’t know. While I am completely on board with renewable energy and would love to get back to that lifestyle more than anything right now, I do have that worry in the back of my mind about what it will mean for some people. As we all know, every action has an equal and opposite REaction, but are we really thinking about that? Is anybody really thinking of that? What would or will it do to our economy? I honestly don’t have answers to that…it’s just something to think about.

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As always, thanks for stopping by! Have a blessed day! And leave any comments you might have yourself on this situation. I would be very interested to hear them.

Posted in Food

Cast Iron Cookware

Sausage Gravy in cast iron – the only way for me!

Cast iron is one of those things that usually gets passed down from generation to generation. And rightly so – because it lasts forever if properly cared for. But therein lies the trick: proper care. If the piece gets handed down, then the care and cleaning of the piece usually gets handed down with it. But that’s not always the case.

Then there are those people who just decide they’re going to start collecting it one day, because there is a lot of hype out there about it. In antique malls and shops around they country, they can sell for a pretty hefty price. Which makes them seem important for reasons other than what REALLY makes them important. At least to me.

There are a few things anyone should know before committing to cast iron. And by committing, I do really mean committing. You don’t simply get into cast iron – especially if it’s purchased brand new – and then one day just leave it sitting without the proper care. Even though I’ve seen some pretty nasty looking pieces get refurbished, it just doesn’t need to happen 🙂

First of all, let’s talk about the brand new pieces. They do come preseasoned, but this doesn’t mean it’s going to cook like your grandmother’s piece that she’s had since her wedding day. No, even when you pull that new iron from its packaging, you still need to wash it and coat it with a light layer of vegetable oil. I am a HUGE fan of Lodge, which can be purchased at Wal-Mart or directly from the Lodge website, and they have an awesome article here, about the ins and outs of new iron cookware. Please do take a minute to look it over. They even have a video so that you can see some hand’s on stuff, which is a plus for people like me  🙂

Probably the first thing you should cook in a brand new cast iron skillet is bacon. This seasons the iron AS you cook and some people swear by it. I’ve also found that, really, cooking anything that has a good amount of fat in it is also a good way, though never as good as bacon 🙂  When I got my new cast iron dutch oven for Christmas last year, the first thing I did was roast a chicken in it.


The pieces that get handed down are generally already well seasoned because they’ve probably been in use for years. These need little in the way of preparing, but there’s always the care and procedure for clean up, which is pretty easy. For me, it boils down to not letting anything sit in the piece. When I’m done cooking and serving, anything left in the iron goes into a dish I can stick in the fridge and that piece immediately gets washed. After you wash a piece of cast iron, don’t just throw it on the dish drainer and leave it or IT WILL RUST. No if, and’s or but’s here – it’s iron, and iron is a metal that rusts. It will rust if you leave it in the drainer and it will also rust if you leave it setting on a wet counter or even a damp cloth. So don’t do that.

If you DO wind up with a little rust in or on your iron though, please don’t freak out! Although, whenever I’ve had a piece that has rusted, I did usually freak out just a little. However, it’s savable! It sounds crazy, and yes there are other ways to do it, but the best way to clean a little rust out of your iron skillet is to give it a generous dousing of kosher salt (because it’s very coarse), cut a decent size potato in half and use the cut side to scrub your skillet. The rust usually comes right off and all you have to do then is rub on a little oil and set it aside. All is well.

The harder cleaning comes when a piece has been found, say, in an old barn after an estate sale, or buried in the yard (YES, I’ve had friends that have found pieces that way!), or just cast aside and not properly cared for. The rust can build up to the point that you’ll think you might as well just throw it in the trash. But very few cases are actually to the point that they are not able to be saved.

Now, where I’m from in the Appalachian mountains, when a piece is this rusted, the women-folk just start a big fire in the yard (we called ’em gnat-fires, but some of you all know them better as bonfires, lol) and just threw the afflicted piece in and burnt the rust off. It works great, and after a little re-seasoning, you’d never know there was any rust on it to start with.

HOWEVER… let me just go ahead and throw this out there because there are some people who will literally freak out, get nasty-mouthed and have a true to life conniption fit! IF you do put a piece of iron in a fire, some pieces will warp. Now, I’ve never seen the GOOD pieces do that, because back in the day, they didn’t make thin pieces of wanna-be cast iron, but apparently they do now. So if you’re not sure if yours is “good” or not, don’t try that. Well, unless you’re like me and think even a warped cast iron skillet is WAY better than these Teflon coated  things that some people want to cook in.

There is another way to clean the really gnarly looking, super-rusted pieces using something called an “E-tank” that uses water and electric current and lye…I’ll admit, I don’t know much about that method and may even be wrong in listing those three things as being a part of it – so don’t quote me – but I HAVE seen the results of the pieces that were cleaned that way and they are phenomenal! If you are thinking of using this method, let me just point you towards YouTube, where there are an array of great video tutorials and walk-through’s on the subject.

Now I’ve also had people ask me about cast iron and the glass-top stoves. Some people swear you absolutely cannot use cast iron on these stoves, but I have seen it done. There are a lot of precautions though, and you can’t skimp on any of them if you want to keep your stove. Cast iron is no joke: it’s heavy, it’s abrasive and it can do irreparable damage to your stove tops. So if you have a class top, here are a few things to keep in mind…

  • Do NOT leave them sitting, especially stacked one atop another, on the surface of your glass top stove. After awhile, they will crack or flat out break the glass top.
  • Don’t ever use cast iron on a glass top stove if you’re angry. Slamming down that first iron skillet will also break the glass top. Yes, I’ve seen that done too, so trust me.
  • Don’t shake the skillet back and forth on the burner like you can normally do with traditional burners. It will leave scratches on the glass top that you won’t be able to get out and it looks hideous.

So there are some thoughts on cast iron that might help someone out there, I hope. I love my collection and wouldn’t take a million dollars for it. If you’re avid about yours, I know you wouldn’t either. And if you’re just honestly starting out, you’ll soon get that way. A well-seasoned cast iron skillet works far better than Teflon – even eggs won’t stick!


How about you guys? Any cast iron tips or love stories you’d care to share? Please, by all means, feel free to share!

As usual, thanks for stopping by! I appreciate it!

Posted in Faith

To Rosewood Blaze, With Love

There’s been a long list of advice that I have given you over the years…some of it you’ve asked for and some of it you haven’t. Some of it you’ve taken to heart and guarded and some you’ve taken like a dose of nasty medicine. But you never complain. I just wanted to put a few things down that you can look back on from time to time. Only if you need to, of course.

Remember that self-image is indeed important. Everyone should strive to be their best in everything that they are and do. However, if someone tells you something you know to be false, then by all means, feel free to disregard it. Don’t allow a person who isn’t even important in your life, someone who isn’t a permanent part of your life, to define YOU in any way, shape, form or fashion. Listen to those that love you, and those that truly care about you. You know who they are and you know you can trust them to tell you the truth. Not because they are “so and so” – that doesn’t matter. The fact is that the people closest to you will not lie to you. If you DO need to be told the truth about something unsavory, they are also the people that will tell you the truth in love. Believe that and commit it to heart because it will serve you well.


Remember the quote by Albert Einstein that I told you about: “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Public education, while always striving to be better and better has only effectively gotten worse and worse. With things like “common core” and “no child left behind”, they have forgotten that children are PEOPLE! They have forgotten that some are slower than others, or learn in a different way, and some are gifted and easily get bored with classwork that they are already far past on an intellectual level. Unfortunately, in today’s educational facilities, if you are either one of those, you are a bother in the classroom. BUT, this doesn’t mean that you are wrong, or stupid, or lacking in any way. You have your way of learning and don’t be ashamed of it. Learn, that is the important thing, and learn well. It does matter, and someday you will look back and see that.


Remember that I always told you “today is another day down”. Whether you’re trying to move away from something unpleasant, or towards something you’re anxious for, every day is a new day. The Bible says: Lamentations 3:22-23 “It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” His mercies are NEW EVERY MORNING! That is an amazing promise! That we can wake up each day and thank God that we made it another day, the old day that was yesterday is gone and the new day that is starting is fresh and new, laid out before us like a blank canvas just waiting for you to paint, and create a masterpiece. And you will. I could tell you what you’ll feel in another 20 years, but you’d think me sentimental. It is true though, that one day you will look back on these days and see that the small things really were the big things. Every day, we make memories that will last our lifetime. Choose them well, and try your best everyday.


Remember that I told you, “this too, shall pass”. Well, in a manner of speaking. Sometimes we go through things that hurt so badly we feel as if our heart will beat right out of our chest and we wouldn’t care that it did. Maybe the pain would be less, and we surely wouldn’t mind that! I know, because Lord knows I’ve been there more than once. And at that particular time in space, I felt like I would never, ever, ever, ever, ever feel better. That nothing would change, and I would carry that heartbreak or pain or disgust or sense of loss for the rest of my life, like a heavy coat I just couldn’t shrug off. But…it WILL pass and better days WILL come. They always do. And for every one that passes, it will begin to take root and the understanding will come. You’ll learn to lean on God a little more, because He is the only One that can give you peace that passes all understanding. And it truly is past ALL understanding. During the times in my life when I felt like dying would be the best thing, God was always there to lift me out of that muck and mire and cause my soul to be still. I can’t tell you the how or the why, that’s just the way it happened. It’s my prayer that you will let Him do that for you too.


And remember…if you don’t remember another thing I ever said…that you shouldn’t “wait” to pray. There’s no reason to put it off, no time better than now, whenever now happens to be. “Now” is always with you, if you really think about it. “Now” is all you have. Thirty seconds ago is gone and you’ll never get that back, and thirty seconds in the future will always be the future. Oh, it will come, but when it does, it will be your “now”. Again, you can find in the Bible, 2 Corinthians 6:2, that says… (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, …behold,now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) I’m sure you’ve always heard it said that there’s no time like the present. Well, really there isn’t, because it’s all we have. And so, live in it, but pray. Trust Him, because He loves you even more than I do…

Abby's Necklace

There are probably a million other things I could add to this, but I suppose I’ll leave off here. Maybe I’ll update this post someday, with extra things that come to mind. But until then, think on these things. They may not be the smartest things that have ever been said but they’re true, and they’ve been tested. If nothing else, learn from someone who has been there and done that.

And never be afraid to be the best YOU that you know how to be. It’s who you are. It’s what you were meant to be. And I love you.