Author Archives: Jan Radcliff

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    Change how you think - and you will change your life

    Change how you think – and you will change your life

    Category:LifestyleTags : 

    By nature, you are happy, caring, respectful, and have a deep appreciation for those around you. You are a good person. Yet some days you feel like “meh“.

    It’s a jolt to your happy-go-lucky self, to have to put up with other people who don’t feel good about themselves; or anything in general. In fact, they feel so bad about themselves and their plight in society, that they want to make everyone around them feel just as miserable. They like to control, their bossy, whiny, vindictive, and they want to be YOUR friend.

    Don’t pay the ransom – I escaped!

    I escaped from the “meh” mindset – and so can you. Change how you think, and you will change your life. Getting caught up in “thinking” about what others say and do really isn’t in your best interest. By doing that, you end up becoming paranoid, defeated, you lose creativity, and your peaceful way of life gets disrupted. The “meh” can wear you down over time.

    I drive mean people nuts – I know that. But that is really not my problem, it is theirs. I am able to articulate the positive emotions that bring me joy. I say it to their face. I am able to move on quickly when face-to-face with mean people. I do it deliberately and with no remorse. The less space (time) I spend with them the better. By giving up more space to them, I wouldn’t be making any headway with them – so it is just as easy to nip the conversation in the bud and move on quickly.

    I drive mean people nuts – I know that. But that is really not my problem, it is theirs

    The chances are that mean person in your life, will continue to be mean. If they were mean when you first met them, they will continue to be mean; while looking for ways to bring you to their level of “meh“. They want to know what you are doing. Don’t tell them. Not unless they have a “REAL” need to know. But I would still hold back. Less is more.

    Yes, they will think all kinds of cruel and untrue things about you. Yes, they will close their doors, and with others who have been sucked into their “meh”, laugh and talk about you.

    Still – don’t tell them anything. Just stand your ground, far-far-away from them. Are you feeling better yet? You should! There is an old saying “What other people think about you, is none of your business”. It’s true, and the sooner you learn to ignore it the better you will feel. I’m going to tell you why.

    I’m going to tell why!

    Start to fill your mind with happy thoughts. Who knows, you may be one of the very few who are escaping the daily torment, while your co-worker is getting hammered by this guy or gal. Ever hear your co-worker complain that they go home each night feeling anxious, worried, and defeated? It’s because they made the decision to stay and listen to “meh”. They don’t know how to get out. They would rather be laughing with you – the happy one.

    You need to be surrounding yourself with happy people. Do things for yourself. Things that make you feel important. Because you are important. Be open to others who are also open. Take walks, or look out the window and view the world outside. Call someone special, listen to a nice song. Pet your dog, travel, go out to dinner with friends, and laugh a lot! Factor in these type of behaviors into your daily routine, and practice them religiously.

    If you change how you react, plus your response time around mean people, you will start to gain back your positive mojo again. Once you have finally shut the “meh” up – don’t look back. Don’t feel sorry for them either. Not unless you feel a “meh” coming on.

    Change how you think, and you will change your life. You will be happy at your job, or with a relationship again. You will feel more creative, and full of pep. You will be glad to greet new challenges with a willingness to be active and helpful. Life is what you make of it – so, change how you think – and you will change your own life.

    Change how you think, and you will change your life.

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    How to keep from falling behind, when you are already ahead - STOP

    How to keep from falling behind, when you are already ahead – STOP

    Category:BusinessTags : 

    How to keep from falling behind, when you are already ahead – Stop.  A lot of us live our lives like this. Meeting deadlines, negotiating deals, setting up operations or systems. Once you are caught up and on track, you still sense a little nagging thought in the back of your mind that says “I gotta keep going”. “I can’t relax”.  I’m all caught up, but why do I feel like I’m late?

    I’m all caught up, but why do I feel like I’m late?

    Just recently I finished a project that was eating up a lot of my time, and left me feeling on the edge of my seat. If I finished the project early, someone would think I didn’t have enough to do. If I finish late, some might think I’m not staying on task. You can’t win in this scenario. When you experience this phenomenon enough times, you’re body and mind learn that, business, work, and life, are all done in constant distraction mode.


    It’s one thing to work hard, it’s another to balance that hard work with a good measure of life balanced activities; including downtime. Many have been in distraction mode for so long, they don’t know how to de-escalate, and build in life balance measures for their lives.


    The old saying that failure to plan on your part does not mean action on my part – that often sneaks into the equation when dealing with other distracted co-workers. As the cycle of the day runs its course, people will ride the working wave at different times, locations, levels, and mindsets. A lot of times the mindsets don’t equal each other. We all have our high and low points during the day.

    How is your stress today? Stressed much?

    Stress plays a big factor in your overall health, and I think we all know that. There are a lot of experts out there, which give us any number of remedies and cures for how to deal with stress. Finding which remedy works for you is a process. My hopes are that you have others around you who will act as a support team to help you find just the right remedy or process to gain and keep your health on track.

    Just the word stress, can be a trigger for some people

    Stress has a lot to do with our body’s vital organs and the health of those organs. It is important to tell your doctor about changes in your mood so that you can discuss treatment options best suited for you. Working on your own internal senses to build yourself up and maintain a healthy state of mind, is so important to the quality of your life. Did you know that the very act of caring creates resilience, and in turn helps the body to not overreact to stress?

    Talk Therapy is also a great way to talk through those situations that you might be holding onto unnecessarily. Talk Therapy is also great for creating new conversations and opening up doors to collaborations; about things you might have wanted to explore but were always afraid to try.

    How to keep from falling behind, when you are already ahead – STOP

    The fight or flight mechanism which is a built-in survival tool becomes unhealthy for our bodies when we are subject to it in a never-ending cycle. Taking control of our stress and making it your friend, gives you the upper hand, and helps you keep your body chemistries more in line with those of a healthy lifestyle.

    If you are stressed over past events or situations you had no control over, you have to learn to let go of that negativity. Holding onto that toxicity will only create an unhealthy outcome. For those who suffer from health issues, gaining the upper hand over your emotions and thoughts could extend your life. Even add years.

    I know that by just being kind when you have it in your power to do so, will give you strength in your personal life; that includes your health. The benefits are rewarding.

    Don’t let work rob you of your life. Put stress on notice, as well as any difficult co-worker. Be willing to speak up, out, and overcome the stress. Find that niche where you feel comfortable. Buy yourself a stop button and start using it.


    The “As Usual” series

    Content creator & writer, blogger, social and digital media advocate. JB was born with a passion for writing and instructional design. JB is the owner of Radcliff Design.

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    Is Effective Leadership missing in the Equation?


    Is Effective Leadership missing in the Equation?

    I was reading an article this morning from Harvard Business School called American Idle: Workers Spend Too Much Time Waiting for Something to Do. It was cute, to the point, but had one thing I thought that was missing. Effective leadership was missing from the equation.

    Effective leadership was missing from the equation

    This is the type of topic that authors write about. You find one disgruntled employee who had a manager or supervisor who turned out to be the devil him or herself, and you have a story. How that story is spun will determine the type of outcome you will have. I know the problem, I want the solution. Are you that type of leader? Are you tough enough to tell the old devil where to go?

    Leadership verbiage is probably way overused by many. Leadership has to deal with taking a lead role in a project or endeavor. Leadership is not teaching someone how to fill out routine reports or turn on a computer, that’s training or guidance. It’s not leading a meeting where all you do is discuss the same thing over and over again – that’s training. It’s not filling out the same forms or collecting samples, or even answering the phones. Leadership is working with a group of people to see a project or endeavor through to the goals end. You work with everyone.

    Leadership is working with a group of people to see a project or endeavor through to the goals end.

    While your manager/supervisor may know the job well, they may not have the people skills necessary to motivate their staff. They often get by with either a micro-managing style and/or have a laissez-faire attitude toward others. That is not leadership.

    To avoid ending up with a culture of micromanaging employees trying to scrape together work from the bottom of the barrel, keep your communications open and active. Be active, and help your employees develop their own work ethic – by modeling those same good ethics you want to see. Show them a leader they can work beside. Notice that I didn’t say follow – I said, work beside.

    Show them a leader they can work beside 

    Outcomes are what matters to the client or your future prospects. As long as you are meeting their goals, they’re happy. Are you also happy? What about your employees?

    Leadership, management, community outreach, research, training, they all mean very different things to different people.  What I know, is that you need to be able to show your work. In any working relationship, you should be able to reflect on your leadership skills and provide guidance in the direction you want your team to go. Some examples:

    1.    Show me your teamwork, and how you manage challenges together

    2.    Show me leadership that moves others into motion

    3.    Tell me how you perform community outreach

    4.    Show me how you motivate your employees to increase productivity

    5.   While doing research did you actively engage in experimentation that provided you and your team with factual data that could be useful to your organization or business? What was your teams feedback?

    6.   Training usually has some long-term benefit, plus you provide your team with material or backup data. Where do you store your assessment data? How does your team use that data?

    7. Do your employees enjoying engaging with you?

    Leaders know that we can’t all be managers or supervisors. You have to be able to delegate and let go of some of the controls in order for your vision to manifest itself. Nor can we thrive in a constant environment without some form of monetary benefit keeping us afloat. We need to learn to pace ourselves – and offer others the same pace. Different jobs/tasks require different paces.

    As stated above: Leadership has to deal with taking a lead role in a project or endeavor.

    Leadership is more about directing others and assuming a role of authority and taking responsibility for that position. When you do community outreach, that generally entails that you have many contacts and work through those contacts to form some sort of alliance that has a similar goal. It is a bringing together of large circles of people, employees, businesses, and community leaders for the common good or goal.

    You have a completely different ideology about what constitutes leadership skills. For instance,  I have an aversion to those who claim certain skill sets that are not unique to them. On-the-other-hand, I enjoy those professionals who are willing to discuss even the more basic skills they possess. Basically, unless I know you personally, the only thing I can pretty much assume is that you can type, talk, or maybe turn a wrench. I can probably glean a fair amount of information from your writings, but there has to be more. Details tend to matter, so those basic skills might just be the ticket.

    I am a professional who looks for those out of the ordinary individuals who just want to work. Individuals who want to be a part of the team. They feel good about accomplishing something, and being a part of something more.

    If you know the problem, focus instead on a solution. Lead by example.


    The “As Usual” series

    Content creator & writer, blogger, social and digital media advocate. JB was born with a passion for writing and instructional design. JB is the owner of Radcliff Design.

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    It’s the simple things in life

    It’s the simple things in life

    Category:LifestyleTags : 

    It’s the simple things in life, it really is. The simple things that make you feel good about yourself, others around you, and the world.

    I think that one of the worst things you can do is to listen to your own thoughts and try to rationalize and dwell on a stupid mistake that you might have made. There is no rationalization, you just made a mistake, own up to it, and move on. Maybe you feel that those around you really don’t know you, or understand your potential. You are just going through the daily motions of working and hoping someone will notice something good that you did that day. That’s not a good work environment.

    If you are relying on others for your happiness – it won’t happen. You are responsible for your own happiness. You have to dig deep within yourself to find that spirit of truth, warmth, and happiness. It’s there – that positive wellness. You just need to start tapping into it.

    How do you change a negative situation? You change your thoughts. You start to input positive thoughts to replace the negative ones. How? You might ask. Start by doing some of the following:

    1.      Say to yourself “I am worth it”. Say it a lot. Send yourself reminders to say it! Post it on an I love me Board“. Do whatever it takes to remind yourself. You are worth it

    I love me Board ~ J. D.

    2.      Build new relationships with others in your office, and socially outside of work

    3.      If you know you are going to meet with rejection or criticism from a fellow co-worker if you ask them a question – don’t ask them! Seriously, don’t ask them. Ask someone else, or look it up yourself. Avoid their office

    4.      I understand that sometimes you have to ask a negative co-worker a question, but do so when you aren’t alone with them, so you have someone else there with you, who can see and hear the situation

    5.      Don’t allow your co-workers to take advantage of you, especially when they take extended and frequent breaks. They aren’t your boss, and it’s NOT your responsibility to babysit their job – it’s theirs. Tell them no, you are busy doing your own work. Don’t be guilted into anything!

    6.      Don’t be afraid to say “NO”

    7.      Let me say that one again. Don’t be afraid to say “NO”

    8.      If you work overtime – or pull a shift straight without any breaks, don’t let anyone make you feel guilty if you leave at a different time than he or she does. You’re on the honor system

    9.      Stop saying “I’m Sorry”. There are a million ways to correct an error without leading off with “I’m Sorry”.  Some things just need an adjustment to get them working correctly. It doesn’t mean you need to apologize for every tiny thing. Fix it if you can, and move on

    10.  Believe in yourself, and treat yourself to good things. Treat yourself daily. See #1 above for the reason why.

    It is very important that you take time for yourself. Time to relax and reflect on the things that you care about. Taking trips, and looking after your health is good for refreshing the spirit within you. When you take care of yourself, you are much more able to fight off the dreaded negatives that might pop up in your way.

    Setting Goals

    Set a goal for yourself. Start by losing some of that negative baggage in your head. Start packing positive thoughts, and use those positives each day.

    If you feel yourself slipping into temptation, and feeling down – make sure you have some backup. Find a positive buddy if you can. Someone whom you can talk to, and know that what you say won’t be broadcast to the entire office, the community, or some social network!

    It’s the simple things in life, that can lift you out from under the bus that you might feel is sitting on top of you. Set some goals! But set realistic goals.

    If you set your goals too high, too soon, you might lose your momentum. You can have long-term goals – but you need small milestone goals along the way as well. Treat yourself well, and treat yourself often! Milestones!

    Treat yourself well, and treat yourself often! Milestones!

    I will be honest, some days it is hard to stay positive, and stick to my goal. But what I have discovered is if you immediately come back with a positive, after a negative confrontation – you can de-escalate, and/or completely defuse a situation. Nine times out of 10, coming back with a positive will work in your favor.

    Goal Helpers – For Directing Positive Thinking

    ·        Do good always

    ·        Always smile and greet those you work with each morning, especially the grouchy ones

    ·        Thank people when they help you, and even when they can’t. At least they listened

    ·        Tip the waiter or waitress, even the bad ones

    ·        Pet your puppy dog

    ·        Wave at your neighbor or say Hi

    ·        Hold the door for someone

    ·        Complement someone when it is earned

    ·        Treat yourself daily to positives

    ·        Laugh often and loudly. Laugh at yourself.

    Keep up the positives and soon you will begin to see the positives coming out in others around you. Never give up, and never give in. You can change your own environment! Just stay positive.


    The “As Usual” series

    Content creator & writer, blogger, social and digital media advocate. JB was born with a passion for writing and instructional design. JB is the owner of Radcliff Design.

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    The year is 1982, and my little family was green before green was cool

    The year is 1982, and my little family was green before green was cool

    Category:LifestyleTags : 

    The year is 1982, and my little family was green before green was cool. Fast-forward to 2018, I wonder if our ideas and what we learned in the early 80’s could outlast the years. I thought so. If nothing else, it would get those creative juices flowing for those who like to tinker with new ideas. We were green before green was cool.

    We were green before green was cool.

    As I have aged, I’ve been judged for a lot of things – one being that I’m not an environmentalist. I think too “locally” to ever be a true environmentalist. I’m too old school. That term environmentalist (or conservationist) unfortunately, has been improperly used by some to lump together a whole segment of the population that doesn’t transcribe to a certain set of ideologies. That term may be used globally, nationally, or regionally, but unfortunately, it isn’t necessarily applicable to each demographical region or sect.  I’m what people call “a local“.

    I’m what people call ” a local“.

    Welcome to the 80’s!

    I take in the view of my garden and lush fruit trees in the yard – it’s a joyful time. Sitting in the back of yard with my two daughters ages 1  and 3. They are digging happily in the sandbox under the grape canopy that trellises over the back patio. It is cool and the flowers make the atmosphere pleasant and inviting. There is a large orchard just a hop-skip-and-jump from my backyard.   The farmers are starting to setup truckloads of fresh produce, and my spouse has headed down to the pickup area to retrieve the bushels we have ordered.

    AAMAAgDGAAgAAQAAAAAAABC8AAAAJDgxYmJiODRmLWRiYzYtNDQ4NS05ZGU3LThhZGIxMjNmNjdiMQ The year is 1982, and my little family was green before green was cool

    A lot of plants are coming into the season, and I’ve been busily getting my canning jars prepared, and setting up my cooking area. Can’t wait to taste the apricot jam and grape jelly, that we as a family will prepare together.  I  also anticipate that those bushels of peaches will be a  sweet treat, and the babies will love them.

    My own little garden has a number of seasonal vegetables ripe for the harvesting. I like to freeze our vegetables, so part of the cooking that will take place over the next day or so, will involve some blanching to prepare and store our own little backyard harvest.

    It’s 1982, and we were living off the land, and having fun doing it. We were gardening, hunting and fishing, gathering our own wood for winter, and inventing and using our own innovations to create a sustainable home environment for our little family.

    We didn’t have a label back then. By 2018 standards, we would have met a lot of the criteria for the label of an environmentalist.  But those ideological labels for the working class hadn’t been invented yet. We were just known as good neighbors in the 80’s.  I was a typical stay at home housewife, and my spouse who worked long hours on a drilling rig were just looking out for our small family and home. It was the way things were in the 80’s – in the small industrial mining community of Moab Utah.

    There were roughly around 8000 people countywide, winter, spring, summer, and fall. The population didn’t fluctuate much.   The air was clean and clear, and the landscape was pristine. The mountain trails were well maintained, and the cattle roamed free. It was a great place to work and raise a family.

    When innovation and being green wasn’t cool

    Batch Solar Water Heater

    We used to enjoy experimenting with the newest little fads we would hear about. Solar power was a fad just coming out in the 80’s. I subscribed to all the DIY solar books back then!  It was something we could tinker with as a family, and we did. Our little experimentation with solar power had people driving by our home taking pictures of our creations. We even had people knocking on our door wanting to ask questions.

    AAMAAgDGAAgAAQAAAAAAABBtAAAAJGI3YTZkODZlLTYzZWUtNDE3My05YmMyLTFhNThmOTk1ZWIyMg The year is 1982, and my little family was green before green was cool

    Our first creation was an outside solar hot water heater, made out of nothing more than an old freezer box, and water tank. We didn’t even get a building permit – we just built it. For 2018 – I suggest you get a building permit.

    If you can get a good water heater that doesn’t have a lot of sediment in the bottom – that will be wise before starting this project. A lot of times you can pick up used water heaters for free when people are doing remodels in their homes.  For the box that your water heater will sit in, we used an old stand up freezer (freezer boxes are better than refrigerator boxes) for the shell. We saved the freezer door so that in the winter months we could cover the front to protect it from the elements. We also had two small children, so of course, we had to childproof the box. The outside cover had grooves we could side the cover into and then lock it down into place for storage.  We used real locks.

    AAMAAgDGAAgAAQAAAAAAABGNAAAAJDcwOGM3OTE0LTUxYjktNDNhZS1hM2Y1LWQzZmZjYTlmNzE4MA The year is 1982, and my little family was green before green was cool

    Plumbing is very important – you want to use good plumbing materials because if you plan to bring pipes into your home to reach your inside water heater, you don’t want any leaks or breaks.  You want to be able to shut off your outside tank from your inside tank for the winter months as well.  You’ll need a damper to shut that flow off. Then blow the pipes for winter.

    Building the unit is easy, it’s the plumbing that will need your attention the most.

    When constructing our model, we experimented with different angles for our tank and then anchored the unit into place once the angle for optimal water flow was right. On the Inside of the box, we used a CURVED reflective Parabolic cylinder material that helped reflect the sunlight (prism) on the back and sides of the tank. We covered the front with a thick weather durable clear material that allowed unobstructed reflective sunlight inside the box.  All the pipes and fixtures were hidden, and the unit sat neatly next to the outside entrance to our family hot water heater. We received the benefit of using both tanks having them located so close to each other.

    Of course, a little flower garden box covered the bottom of the shell so that it looked like part of the connecting house.

    Use your wood stove to heat water

    We used our solar water heater up until it started getting too cool in the fall. Since we lived in the desert of SE Utah, we benefited from the dry heat and longer summer days. Placement of your tank around your home for the best amount of spring and fall sunlight is important.

    You can construct a top mount tank on your home, but that will require a lot more “innovation” on your part, as well as money.

    We tinkered with using a wood stove to heat the water up in the winter months, but with small children in the house, we hadn’t mastered how we would hide the pipes. So, we opted to not do that project in 1982. But we did have a design created. Here are some ideas on the internet for the innovative types:

    Wood stove tips

    We went through a couple wood stoves when we first started out. We finally were able to get a stove that was comfortable for our home.  I liked the ability to have a large open face fire for comfort, plus have a cooking top when I wanted to slow simmer stews or make soft candy.  In the 80’s we tinkered with installing blowers on our wood stove, so the hot air could be pumped into the vents in the house. Most of these items now come standard with wood stoves in 2018.

    There are some tips you should look into before you buy your first stove. Caution: Preparing your roof, walls, ceiling, and floors are “critical”!

    Collecting firewood without harming the environment, plus getting the necessary wood permits are things to consider when you start looking into wood stoves. In 2018 many people like wood chips stoves, but in the 80’s they weren’t yet available.

    Winter boxes for plants

    AAMAAgDGAAgAAQAAAAAAABHwAAAAJGZiZTEzNzlhLWM5MzYtNGEyZC1iZmFlLWU4ODA1ZTg1MmI0MA The year is 1982, and my little family was green before green was cool

    In the winter months I liked to experiment with out of season plants. My greatest success was with strawberries.  I was growing strawberries near a bathroom window. For some reason this area of the house was the only place they would grow. I was disappointed in the kitchen window.

    Since I wasn’t planning on doing any hardcore inside growing – I just stuck to window boxes. You can experiment with a lot of different designs and test your own indoor growing skills.

    Cooling your home

    During the summer months, I only had the standard gas bill that lets you maintain service. Electricity was the biggest cost in the summer months because we had to keep the lights and TV on. With a 1 and 3 year old, Sesame Street was a MUST have!

    We had hardly any air conditioning costs. We used what we liked to call – the grapevine method.  Our own terminology of course.  In the desert climate, our design for our home worked great, because we did not have all the humidity to contend with.

    AAMAAgDGAAgAAQAAAAAAABC8AAAAJGRjZDllZDlhLTQxNDQtNDg4YS1iZTcxLWQ2YmU3MTE0MzIxZA The year is 1982, and my little family was green before green was cool

    This project was a no-brainer – but fun for us as a family. We had rather large grapevines that grew up and over a shaded patio area, and attached to the side of the house. Large windows could be opened to allow the cool drafts of air to come in from the shaded area outside.

    AAMAAgDGAAgAAQAAAAAAAA-8AAAAJGFjZTQyNzY0LTUwNTYtNDlkZC04OWFhLWU3Zjg0Yjg1MzQyZA The year is 1982, and my little family was green before green was cool

    We also had roof vents installed that helped circulate the air inside the entire house. Since heat rises, we rarely had to use fans to circulate the air. In the heat of the summer, the temperate outside would range between 85 and 98. Inside the home, it was always a cool 70 to 73 degrees (with a slight breeze).

    The roof vents had dampers installed so if need be, we could seal them off to maintain the inside air temperature.

    On those days when the temps reach over 100, we would adjust the cooler on low, or set up an overhead fan in reverse to help pull more hot air upward out of the roof vents.

    The trick we learned was to install a cool mister within the grapevines themselves. If you put moisture on the vines in the early morning, that was best. It was cheaper than using an electric swap cooler or refrigerated air conditioner; it helped conserve both water and electricity.


    Food storage – canning & freezing ideas – and working with game meats

    I’ve used both boiling water canners and pressure cookers. I’ve learned how to properly dress out a wild game animal, and prepare it for freezing as well.  While we also wanted to get a smoker, that didn’t happen – we were caught up in too many other innovative projects that kept us too busy in 1982.

    Thinking about canning?

    You have to prepare for canning. I got lucky because my spouses’ great aunt had a lot of additional canning jars that she gave me. I just had to buy the seals and lids. You can pick up a lot of additional canning jars at yard sales also. Check community online groups to see if anyone has jars they want to sell you at a low cost.  Be prepared for closeout supermarket sales – you would be surprised how easy it is to get started. Share with a neighbor and split the costs.

    You will need to get yourself a good size pressure cooker that you can fit up to at least “8” big mouth quart jars in; for canning meats and some vegetables.   Make sure the seals of your pressure cooker are new and not worn.  Know how to take care of those seals and to clean your cooker properly.

    The topper (the weight) needs to set evenly on top of your cooker but allow for steam to escape. The cooking gauge is critical – you need to follow the canning directions so you don’t undercook or overcook. You have some studying to do if canning is your next new experiment. Safety of your equipment, food handling, and of course proper cooking temperatures and time are all factors to think about.

    Canning Trivia

    Knowing how many bushels of peaches will yield you X amount of jars is a must.  Get out your calculator and start adding. Being stuck with way too much product is an expense and waste. If you don’t have a fruit and vegetable dryer – you might want to invest in one. This could save you money in the long run; for when you miscalculate. It happens to us all. You can always bake pies!

    You can always bake pies!

    Get a group of your family together when it comes time to prepare your fruit for canning. Cutting and pealing time is expedited when you have help.

    Here is a helpful canning link to get you started:

    Kids and Family Favorites

    Fish (something you probably didn’t know)

    Trout fish, canned, tastes like tuna fish. Yes, you can make tasty sandwiches with it, or use it in salads. A dab of salt and a ½ teaspoon of vinegar in each canning jar along with the prepared fish helps to soften the bones during the pressure cooking process.  The same process they use for tuna without all the icky additives.

    • To properly skin a trout fish, first freeze it in water, and then when you defrost it, the skin slips off easily in one pull. I don’t like trout skin – so this was something I had to learn real fast

    Jams and jellies 

    Apricot jam is great on pancakes.  Sliced peaches and pears can be a family treat during the cold winter months. No preservatives, no additives – kids love them, especially over homemade ice cream.

    Cold storage root cellar

    You can create your own root cellar area under or near your home where you can store things like onions, potatoes, pumpkins, and all those nicely filled canned jars of love. Do some research on this one. Make sure small animals and creepy crawlies can’t get into your supply either.

    Hunting and the outdoor experience

    I get it! Not everyone likes meat. But the principles behind storage are pretty much the same when it comes to protecting your food supply.

    I get it! Not everyone likes meat

    Could be you like to hunt deer, elk, rabbit, or go fishing, etc. There is a lot of wild game that can be hunted, it just depends on where you live. Hunting is a sport and a livelihood for many. You also have the bow, black powder, and rifle seasons to factor in. What works best for you and your family– is ultimately up to you when it comes to hunting.

    Then there are elements like hunting licenses, gun care, camping, and boating,  that also add to your well rounded outdoor hunting experience.  Don’t forget those. We used hunting season as quality family time. Mountains, camping, hunting, and boating are kind of synonymous with our family.

    Preparing for long-term food storage

    So you just bagged your first 7 point buck of the season. How you dress out your prize hunt and prepare it for long-term storage is very important. A deep freezer is a great way to store your food when you have bulk game meat. Some people like stand-up freezers, while others like chest freezers. I prefer the standup, but it’s all about what you like.

    Specially designed freezer bags and wrapping paper are a must to avoid freezer burn on your food.  If you use baggies, make sure they say, “FREEZER BAG” on the outside. Then you need to carefully wrap your food as well. Have you thought about freezer paper? I prefer freezer paper over aluminum foil. I could never get the whole aluminum foil thing.

    Properly dating your food containers is equally important. Whether you are freezing meat or freezing fruits and vegetables – there is some preparation involved.

    You can’t just slap your food into a sandwich baggie and throw it into the freezer! That would get you in a whole lot of trouble at my house. Freezing vegetables for example – let’s use corn. You first need to do a process called blanching. I prefer to freeze vegetables over canning them.   But I prefer canning fruits (and some meats) over freezing. You must find out what works best for you.


    When I factor in all the man hours and standard costs from the 1980’s and compare it with 2018 – it is similar. Why? Because it was free, sustainable, and we did it ourselves.

    • In 1982  I  was spending about 30 to 50  dollars for electric and gas combined during the middle of winter.  My conventional neighbor was spending 180 a month combined during the height of winter.
    • In 2018, you would still spend around 40 to 50 dollars combined just for standard utility fees. Your conventional 2018 neighbor will spend around 180 upward to 300 a month!
    • In 1982 I spent maybe 80 a month in the winter at the grocery stores for general staples items. We bought in bulk in the summer months, so the lean winters weren’t as harsh.
    • 2018 – that is still doable. You just need to know when and where to shop.

    Today in 2018, am I an environmentalist? Probably not. I don’t live like I was in 1982 – but neither do any of my neighbors. Even the environmentally inclined don’t live like I did in 1982. Their carbon footprint (an ideological term of the new era) is about the same as mine.  Yet my neighbors consider themselves environmentalists because they think globally. I think locally, and therefore I am judged as a non-environments.  I am what you call “a local”.

    I am what you call “a local”.

    I lived in the 80’s when green wasn’t cool. In the 80’s we were innovating and experimenting with the tools and mechanics that the next generation would learn from.