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As many of you know, about a year ago, around this time, I started getting sick. For me, this was the first real sickness I have ever had in my life.  At first, it seemed the rheumatoid arthritis symptoms I had been having for some time were getting worse, to the point that I was unable to function at work--so I finally broke down and went to the doctor, and even with the medication they initially prescribed for me to take the inflammation down I was unable to keep my job.

But this was only the beginning. Soon after, I started having extremely heavy periods--I was bleeding almost constantly. Another trip to the doctor confirmed that I had developed a very large fibroid--and that in order to cure the problem, I would have to have a total hysterectomy.

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Sun Mar 09, 2014 at 08:38 AM PDT

The Crime of Being Poor and Homeless

by tonyahky

As anyone who has been paying attention-and has even a lick of common sense can see--American society has been devolving into a social darwinist, dog eat dog sort of cesspool for some time, mostly as a result of the right-wing ideology and religion that has been foisted upon the people of this country as "family values." Values, that, incidentally, serve the interests of the rich much more than they serve the interests of families.

Among these "values" are an intense hatred of poor people. Poor people, it seems, are the lowest form of scum. According to the stereotypical right wing view of the poor, they are all drug users, alcoholics, criminals, child abusers, and so on...anything and everything derogatory one can think of. And they are all "stealing" from somebody--the taxpayers, their employers, their families--in order to get by.

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While most people have heard of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and are aware of the issues surrounding it, fewer people across the country are aware of some of the other pipelines that are being proposed to be built, which could have almost as bad an impact on the climate as Keystone XL. The Bluegrass Pipeline is one of these--and like Keystone XL, building it could have very far reaching and damaging impacts on the environment.

Bluegrass Pipeline, LLC. is a joint venture of Williams Company and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners. If built, the 24 inch, pressurized pipeline will be used to carry liquid by-products of the fracking operations from the Marcellus and Utica shale regions in the Northeast to storage and export facilities in Louisiana, where much of it will be likely sold to plastic manufacturers in foreign markets .  It will use sections of existing gas pipeline which will be “re-purposed”  to carry chemicals such as propane, butane, and ethylene along with the newly built sections that will run through Kentucky and Ohio, into Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

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BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Ohio lawmaker Nina Turner proposed a bill yesterday that would require men seeking prescriptions for Viagra to get a second opinion in order to insure that they have a medical condition requiring the use of drugs to treat erectile dysfunction, and would require doctors to inform them, in writing, about the risks associated with these drugs in response to the Heartbeat Bill, which would make abortions illegal in Ohio once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

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Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 07:04 AM PST

Getting Ready For Christmas

by tonyahky

Here we are--just two days before Christmas. At my house, that means making those last minute store runs for all the groceries I’ll need to cook Christmas dinner, plus any little last minute gifts. Tomorrow will be spent getting all the food prepped--baking the pies and putting together the fruit salad, getting the cornbread stuffing ready to go in the oven, and making the dough for the rolls. We’ll also bake and decorate our annual Christmas tree cake--several years ago, I found a tree shaped cake pan at a yard sale for 25 cents, and the cake I made for the kids out of it was such a big hit with them it became a family tradition.

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This diary is the first installment in a series I am doing on pickling. There’s nothing like good old home-made pickles--nothing you can buy in the grocery store matches the stuff you can make yourself! In this series, I’ll show you how to make both quick and fermented pickles, and how to make pickled fruits and relishes. We’ll also talk a bit about pickling eggs and meats. When most people think about the word “pickles” they think of either dill or sweet pickles--but truthfully, you can pickle just about any fruit or vegetable.

When I was a kid growing up in eastern Kentucky, we used to make sauerkraut in a big earthenware crock every year. My mom would spend  hours chopping up heads of cabbage by hand, and then she would pack the kraut into the crock out in our pump house--a building my dad had built out of stone, which doubled as a sort of root cellar. When the kraut was ready, she would spend a day packing it into jars, and canning it outside on  a wood stove she used just for canning. I used to love eating that sauerkraut right out of the jar. Sometimes, she would make pickled corn or green beans, or a type of sauerkraut the people on my mom’s side of the family called “Hot Jack” that would make flames shoot out of your eyeballs and steam roll out of your ears. She would also make spiced peaches and apple chutney, which we often enjoyed around Christmas when family members from out of state would all come in to visit.

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I don't know if this has already been diaried, but oh my god, this just makes me sick. Just when you think people can't sink any lower, something like this happens:

Last month, the Washington Post reported that the United States Air Force, while overseeing the Dover Air Force Base mortuary that receives the bodies of troops killed overseas, had cremated and disposed some remains and sent them to a landfill in King George County, Virginia. At the time, neither military officials nor Post reporters could verify the number of body parts that had been handled in such a way.
But after combing through military and mortuary records, the Post found that partial remains of at least 274 dead American troops were sent to the landfill, and far more unidentifiable body parts were disposed of in the same manner:

(link to article at Think Progress)

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In this diary, I’ll show you how to can meat, broth, and soup  stock. If you didn’t get a chance to read the other diaries in this series, and you need a simple overview of basic canning skills, you can read them here:

How To Can, Part 1: Using A Water Bath Canner
How To Can, Part 2: Pie Fillings, Fruit Sauces and Butters, And Fruit Juice
How To Can, Part 3: Making Jellies, Jams, And Preserves
How To Can, Part 4: Using A Pressure Canner

Noddy also wrote a very good diary on small batch canning. Give it a read if you are interested in canning small quantities at a time.

A few winters back, we got hit by a terrible ice storm that knocked the power out at our house for over  two weeks. I had a freezer full of meat that was going to go bad--there was  no way we could have eaten it all before it would have thawed out and spoiled. And of course, a day or two after the storm, the temperature outside got back above freezing, and stayed there--so taking the meat outside wouldn’t have helped, either. But luckily, we still had natural gas to run our cookstove, and running water--so I ended up pressure canning most of the meat I had in the freezer. Sometimes having a canner and some extra jars laying around can be mighty handy!

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Now that I’ve shown you how to use a water bath canner, it’s time to move on, and talk about using a pressure canner. If you need to learn some canning basics, such as how to sterilize jars, you can read my first diary in this series, Part 1, Using A Water Bath Canner. Part 2 covered canning things like pie fillings, fruit sauces and butters, and juice. In Part 3, I covered the basics of making jellies, jams, and preserves. See Noddy’s diary on small batch canning if you only need to can small quantities at a time.

A pressure canner is the only way to safely can low-acid foods at home--that is, foods with a pH of 4.6 or higher. Low-acid foods include most vegetables, beans, and meats. A pressure canner reaches a temperature of 240 degrees--hot enough to kill the microorganisms that cause botulism. You can also can fruits in a pressure canner, if you like. The processing time is generally very short. Jams jellies, and preserves, however, can’t be pressure canned, since the intense heat will cause the pectin in the jelly to break down.

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Now that I’ve shown you a little bit about the basics of canning, we can now move on and talk about making jellies, jams, and preserves. If you missed my first two diaries, you can read the first dairy in this series here, in case you need some information on the basics of using a water bath canner. My second diary covered making pie filling, and canning things like fruit sauces, butters, and juice. Noddy also wrote a good diary on small batch canning that is definitely worth a read. If you can stand to read any more of my hack writing, I’ll try to share a little more of what I know.

There are probably as many recipes floating around for making jams, jellies and preserves as there are people who like to make them. Back when I was younger, we not only made jelly out of the fruits we had growing in our garden, we would also go out and pick wild blackberries from the vines that grew near the road that led up to our place. Sometimes we would go down and gather elderberries from the bushes near the creek, or go out in the woods and pick mayapples, which my mom would turn into a wonderful tasting jam. You can even make preserves and jelly out of stuff like green tomatoes and corncobs! I’ll share some of those recipes at the end of this diary.

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If you managed to survive my first diary on canning, this one will be a breeze. I’m going to show you a few more things you can do with a water bath canner. If you are a brand new canner, you might want to read the diary I published yesterday--How To Can, Part 1: Using A Water Bath Canner. Noddy also wrote an excllent diary on small batch canning--it is very good for those who only need to can a little bit at a time.

Notice that many of the recipes below call for the addition of lemon juice. That’s because adding seasonings, spices, cornstarch, or certain other things can lower the acid level of the finished product--making it unsafe to process in a water bath canner.

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When I was a kid growing up on my family’s little farm, we always spent a good part of the year raising a garden and preserving food. Canning time started in late spring, when we would can the first crop of the year--greens from the garden. Once June came around, the canning season was in full swing--it was then time to pick and shell peas, and harvest the strawberries. Oftentimes, we kids would eat more strawberries than we would pick. Throughout the rest of the summer and fall, we would can tomatoes and beans, make sauerkraut, put up ears of sweet corn in the freezer, spending hours sitting on the back porch and in the kitchen helping our parents prepare the food for canning. In the fall, the apple trees in our yard would give us an abundance of apples, and I would help my mom can quart after quart of applesauce and pie filling.

Many a story was passed down to us kids as the whole family would sit outside under the shade of a big sycamore tree in our yard, breaking up beans. We heard our dad’s stories of how he managed to survive the Great Depression, and our mom’s tales about the mine strikes in Harlan County, KY, where she grew up. We would all sit around and talk about the things we did while we were away at another relative’s house, what happened at school, or anything else that came up as a topic of discussion. To us, that was our family time.

But here I am, talking about the good old days…and I’m supposed to be teaching you how to can!

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