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Monthly Archives: November 2016

KN, p.187 “On the Road – Get Ready for the Blizzard”

 

SnowRulerDSC_0331

“Blizzard? What blizzard? It’s 70 degrees outside!” That’s Sheila talking as she looks over my shoulder.

 

I’ll have you know that there have been several snowfalls in the USA already. Montana and Colorado had measurable snow in October, no less. In mid-November, Minnesota had so much of the white stuff that there were cars and trucks stuck on the roads for a while.

 

I never think about being prepared to get stuck for hours because I live in one of the most densely populated areas of the country. If traffic stops for any length of time, people have been known to get out of their cars, leave them on the highway and walk to the houses close by. That can cause a LOT of headaches when snow plows come through during the blizzards.

 

But, it’s not an option to leave the car in the middle of no place during a blizzard when you might be miles away from help. It’s usually warmer inside the car, plus it’s a shelter until help does arrive.

 

What do you do when you get caught traveling to a vacation spot or a storm moves in more quickly than the weatherman predicted? It is possible to die if help is a long time coming or your car gets buried in snow, so how do you avoid that?

 

To borrow a phrase from the Boy Scouts, Be Prepared.

 

If the weatherman isn’t sure about the path of the storm and you need to get somewhere a couple of hours away, follow these tips:

 

  1. Make sure you have a full gas tank.
  2. Let someone at your destination know your predicted arrival time.
  3. Charge your cell phone.
  4. Travel with snacks and several bottles of water for each passenger.
  5. Toss a couple of blankets in the car, just in case.
  6. Always travel with flashlights, but before the trip, check the battery power.
  7. Keep kitty litter in the trunk, in case you get stuck and need traction to get out of the slick spot.
  8. Buy a short shovel (available in auto supply stores) and leave it in the trunk.

 

If the storm hits unexpectedly while you are on the road and you can no longer see to drive (or the roads are hazardous) stop the car and pull over if you can.

 

  1. Stay inside the car.
  2. Run the motor for ten minutes every hour.
  3. Open the windows just a crack to avoid carbon monoxide buildup inside the car.
  4. Make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked
  5. Tie a colorful scarf to the door. During a white-out, this will help the road crews find you more quickly.
  6. Make sure to stay hydrated.
  7. Exercise to keep warm – swing arms and legs as much as possible for a few minutes out of every 30.

 

 

Be smart about it and travel safely this winter. Better yet – stay off the roads until they are clear.

 

*Photo by Patti Phillips

 

 

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KN, p.186 “Kerrian’s Pumpkin Soup”

 

Pumpkin SoupIMG_6202

Thanksgiving is coming! Thanksgiving is coming!  Yay!
Sheila and I were at the store earlier and picked up a few odds and ends – mostly the salad fixings, since the guests will be bringing some of the side dishes. I stocked up on the canned pumpkin.  I can never get enough pumpkin, so I am making pumpkin soup to go with my sandwiches both before and after Turkey Day.  🙂

 

This is a super easy recipe. No chopping! I use the pumpkin can to measure the milk, and all the ingredients go straight into the pot. Minimal cleanup and it’s ready in 15 minutes. Sheila says she likes the soup, but I have a sneaking suspicion that she likes the fact that all she has to do is show up to the lunch table and enjoy.  🙂

 

"Kerrian's Pumpkin Soup"
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1- 15 oz can organic pumpkin puree
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Garnish - 1/2 teaspoon pre-packaged, halved pecans for each bowl.
  • Garnish - 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon for each bowl.
Instructions
  1. Place pumpkin in a 2 quart saucepan.
  2. Add milk 1/4 cup at a time, mixing thoroughly.
  3. Add cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, and brown sugar and mix together.
  4. Heat on medium heat until soup starts to bubble at the edges, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking.
  5. Stir and cook for 5 more minutes. It will be thick and creamy.
  6. Divide equally among bowls and garnish with cinnamon or chopped pecans. (or both)
 

Happy Thanksgiving!

*Photo by Patti Phillips

 

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KN, p.185 “Is the mouse dead yet?”

 

Mouse copy

It’s been a very wet year. We have lived through a hurricane, flooding, high water levels, squishy lawns, damp/wet cellars, and fewer sunny days during the summer than I can ever remember from the past. That leads to outdoor creatures being flooded out of their nooks and crannies below the ground and in the woods. Mice and most snakes and insects don’t like wet feet any more than humans do, so they tend to go to places like houses and barns to dry out.

 

Not long ago, Sheila had a late evening craving for a cup of tea, went to the kitchen and turned on the overhead light.

 

And saw a mouse racing toward the stove along the top of the half-inch wide backsplash.

 

Then screamed that horrible, deep-throated scream that always makes me think that Freddy Krueger is headed our way with a meat cleaver.

 

After the screaming and barking stopped – I’m not admitting to more than one person screaming – we did the snap mousetrap bit, but he was smarter than we were. He knew what we were up to – or else he just didn’t like our goodies. Almond butter? Bird seed? Bits of fruit? Cheese? Nope, not a nibble. Placing poison inside the house was not an option because of Hammett, our wonderful Irish Setter.

 

We finally called the Killer Elite Squad – the exterminators. They came, they saw, and did things under the house. We wanted the furry creature gone or at least chased back to his old home in the woods. The plumber came and plugged up holes under the house. The electrician came and closed up gaps near a socket in the garage. Mission hopefully accomplished.

 

We haven’t seen the invader since and Sheila has finally returned to the kitchen after a week of carefully avoiding that scary room. Hammett has snuffled at the doorway. Big sigh of relief here. I can cook, but only to survive, and take-out dinner from a limited selection of restaurants every night is not as exciting as you might first imagine.

 

Part of the solution under the house involved poison and it made me think about the consequences of it getting into conniving, possibly murderous  hands. Mice and humans are both mammals, after all, and what is lethal for one might also be deadly for the other in the right quantities. Rodent poison is readily available to anyone, sitting on grocery, hardware, and big box store shelves alike. Bonus? There is a perfectly good reason to buy it. Who would suspect anything devious behind the simple purchase of a couple of boxes of the stuff, especially this time of year?

 

Why does it work? The main ingredient, brodifacoum, causes blood to stop coagulating. Brodifacoum causes death in mice by thinning their blood so much that they hemorrhage. Death is not immediate, so they crawl away or return to eat more of the stuff, oblivious to its harmful effect.

 

In theory, mouse poison could kill a person if administered in enough quantity over a period of time, also causing them to hemorrhage. But, in all honesty, the flu-like symptoms of nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, etc. would send you to the doctor long before death could occur, especially if the symptoms worsen. Who would want to deal with that any longer than necessary? Plus, the amount needed to do in a grownup is considerable. And there is an easy antidote – vitamin K – which acts as speedy coagulant.

 

Poisons are used in books and other media to get rid of victims all the time, but is feeding rat poison to the potential victim a method that is used outside the entertainment industry?

 

It turns out that about ten years ago in real-life, a disturbed teenager from the Midwest decided to make his family sick, a little at a time. He mixed the poison in with their food over several weeks until they finally realized that they were getting lots worse, with numerous bouts of painful symptoms. A doctor visit revealed the truth.

 

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2005/01/can_mouse_poison_kill_you.html

 

At this point I usually say that no bodies were found while researching and/or writing this post. Maybe not this time, but if you hear screaming in the future, I promise you: There will be. Of the furry kind.

 

*Photo credit? the internet. Sheila was too busy screaming to take a photo.  😉

The Kerrians are fictional characters, but the mouse debacle really happened.

 

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