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Monday, December 14, 2009

Can't we all just get along?

The way that people interact with each other seems to have changed over the years. There was a time, when the saying, "it takes a community to raise a child" was an accurate observation of community practice. Community events and projects used to be a popular way to spend some free time in service to the community in general or to help out specific individuals who needed assistance. These days, it seems our attitude has changed.

Now, we can be seen zipping here and there in our cars, oblivious it seems to all the other cars on the road, let alone the pedestrians trying to cross the street. Our relations with the neighbours to our immediate left or right often seem strained for a number of reasons. Even relationships with co-workers in some cases is no longer cooperative, instead, focusing on areas of responsibility and office politics. It seems that our relationships are now categorized by the level of conflict on any particular day.

Maintaining cordial relationships with others takes effort and compromise. You may for the sake of harmony need to ignore the occasional loud late night party next door. Knocking on the door may achieve an immediate result, but in the long term, said neighbour may cultivate some sense of resentment for your intrusion in their "fun". Realizing that not every driver is out to get you personally and shrugging off the implied disregard of someone who cuts you off in traffic may be far more productive than chasing down the offender to the other side of town just to show your irritation.

People need to make a conscience decision to make any relationship work. Without this commitment, you're doomed to fail in the long run. If a long term disruption to our normal way of life materializes, being able to manage and grow relationships will be a very useful skill indeed. When the chips are down is not he time to begin learning how to interact with others in a way that results in mutual respect, cooperation and understanding. If you need an example, just look to your teenage son or daughter when you are chastising them for some sort of errant behaviour...do you see their eyes rolling upward in a display of indifference? If you are unsatisfied with your relationships within the home, chances are your relationships outside the home need some attention too.

[What have you done today to prepare?]

Use and Re-Use - Mason Jars

I think most of us have heard of mason jars. They are mainly used for canning to preserve food.

Here are a few uses for empty jars sitting on the shelf waiting to be used for next years harvest:

* My favorite, Store emergency water, you can never have too much emergency water.

* Use them for leftovers.

* Use as drinking glasses. We have been doing this for years. I think most of my friends think that we can’t afford drinking glasses.

* Useful when making homemade sour cream. (Recipe on our Chuckwagon Chow Page )

* Useful when making homemade butter.

* ½ pint wide jars can be used to start your vegetable seeds indoors then transplant your plants into the garden after the last frost.

* They make a great country vase for fresh cut flowers out of the garden.

* We store dried goods in them as well, dried herbs, dried onions, dried leaks, and dried tomatoes to name a few.

* In regards to the mason jar lids, don’t throw them away after only one use. You can use them more 2 or 3 times while canning and they will seal just fine. The seals and rings should last for years to come when storing water or dry goods in.

Use and Re-Use - Plastic Milk, Water, Juice Bottles

How many plastic jugs and bottles do you throw away every year? I didn’t know the answer to this question either. Until I started re-using them. Now I can answer, almost none.

Here are some re-use ideas for all this plastic:

* My favorite again, Storing Emergency Water. After you have consumed what was in your plastic jug or bottle simply wash, rinse with hot water and fill with water. You never know when the extra water will be needed.

* Re-use your personal size plastic water bottles. Don’t keep buying more. How long do you think a plastic bottle will last? I have read that they last a pretty long time in the landfills.

* Carefully cut plastic milk jugs, plastic water bottles, juice bottles in half to start your seeds indoors for transplanting the seedlings in the garden after the first frost.

* Use the tops you cut off of gallon milk jugs as a portable greenhouse for your delicate seedlings after transplanting into the garden. Just to keep them warm at night until they have established themselves.

* Freeze water in smaller plastic bottles to use in your ice chest. Do not drink the water that has been frozen in the bottles as there have been studies suggesting it is not safe to drink the water once frozen in the plastic.

* Use the larger clean jugs/bottles for storing chicken, rabbit, goat, and duck feed to prevent rodents from eating the feed out of the open sacks in the feed barn. Storing the feed this way also makes it easy when it comes feeding time for the animals.

* Use the bottom half of plastic gallon milk/water jugs as feeders for your small farm animals. (These work well for chickens and ducks, however, in our experience rabbits and goats tend to start eating the plastic once they have finished their meal.