The grass is cut

the grass got cut and Sunshine and I didn’t have to do it!

Mr B showed up while we were at work yesterday and used his tractor to cut the grass.

Mr B is awesome!

Seriously, I am so grateful to finally have some help cutting grass. We might still have to go run the weedeater in a few spots, but the bulk of the work is done.

Thank you Mr B! #thisiswhyiloveyou

Because Chocolate Makes Everything Better, Even Peanut Butter


It’s Tia coming to ya from the PacNW!

The lovely Miss CindyLou asked me to come and share some posts with y’all about yummy fall/winter foods and all the crafts I’m doing with the truckloads of craftables she keeps sending my way.

Next time I’ll be sharing some crafts, but today is about food stuffs. Specifically, chocolate. Cuz there’s a storm working its way through my Pacific Northwest and that means Fibro and RA are not playing nice with my body. And when THAT happens, I want all the comfort. Or chocolate, same thing.

So the other day I decided I wanted a Reese’s peanut butter cup. Except we didn’t have any and I didn’t have the spoons to walk down to the corner store to get any. And it was HOURS until my husband would be home to get me some. I couldn’t wait that long! I scoured my cabinets for some kind of substitute, I even contemplated drinking chocolate sauce straight from the bottle. I restrained myself, barely. And then the proverbial light bulb went off!

There on the first shelf of my baking cabinet was a pouch of Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix. And next to it? A box of brownie mix. I grabbed both in a fit of glee and then raided the fridge for a couple extra ingredients.


Now I love cooking and baking from scratch as much as the next person, but sometimes I just don’t have the energy, or spoons, for it. Luckily, box mixes can be tweaked to taste like you spent all day slaving in the kitchen and you’ll still have the energy to eat the results of your hard work. So if you just MUST bake these from scratch, you’ll have to do some creative recipe juggling to make the amounts work, I think.

Me, I mixed up the PB cookie mix first. I followed the ingredient list on the pouch, but I always mix the wet ingredients together BEFORE mixing them with the dry, including whipping the egg with a fork. This is one of those tweaks no one tells ya about. Whipping the egg, oil, and water together with a fork first adds extra air which will make your baked goods nice and fluffy. When you mix the wet and dry together, fold things in with a rubber spatula. This keeps that added air in and adds to the end fluffiness.

I then spread the cookie mix in a greased glass backing dish. A 13×9 will work nicely, though there may be some gaps where the cookie mix doesn’t spread all the way over the pan. That’s okay! An 8×8 will likely be a tad small, the brownie mix may spill over the edge. If you have a pan in between those sizes, that may be ideal.

Now without even washing the bowl, I mixed up the brownie mix. (Why wash the bowl when you’re just gonna mix the two things together anyway? We’re trying to SAVE energy here, people!) I spread the brownie mix over the cookie mix already in the pan, and baked them in a 375 F oven until a toothpick came out clean, about 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. Let them cool a bit, then dish yourself up a bit of heaven.

And if you don’t think these gems taste like a baked Reese’s PB cup, I don’t know if we can be friends.

Oh, and hold on to the box the brownie mix came in. We’ll repurpose that next time for a homemade scrapbook journal! Now I’m off to eat more of these brownie cookies and nap until the storms pass. Y’all check in on Cindy and her homesteading adventures tomorrow, k?

How I say thank you

I was given all that free yarn (and other freegan goodies) over the last couple of weeks by my neighbor that needed help with the estate sale. I was also told I wasn’t allowed to pay for the tailoring that Mrs W did for me, nor would she accept any money for the yarn she gave me.

My recovery has taught me that I should be self-supporting. It has also taught me that it is OK to accept the generosity of others, and that I should express my gratitude.

So I’m saying thank you.

When I mentioned to Mrs W that I was going to make her something, she requested a reusable swiffer pad in LSU colors.


I took it a step further and made an entire set of LSU themed cleaning things.

A kitchen sponge

a broom handle ceiling duster


a dusting mitt


and a dishcloth


For my neighbor, I made a hat.



This is how I say thank you here in the middle of buttfuck nowhere.




Weekly Progress Report

So I haven’t been home much this week. I’ve been helping Sunshine with that shower job. We managed to get the entire “beam me up Scotty” modular shower unit out intact so that it can be installed in the pink house when Mr. B does the bathroom remodel.

It’s been a long stretch without a day off for self care or even rest. I’m out of spoons, and the “must-do” chores list never seems to get any shorter. Mr & Mrs B needed our stuff out of the pink house by the 29th so that they could move in there, so Sunshine and I spent a marathon couple of hours going through all of his hunting gear and getting it stashed in the little sheds we brought with us from the swamp.

Of course, the stuff that was in them had to find a new place to live, so I went nuclear on shit. I found the original screen door that came on the magic bus (long since torn to shreds by Mollie trying to get out the door) and added it to the metal scrapper pile we keep off to the side of the yard.I found a dozen or so sheets of the mosaic tile we used in the bathroom and set them in the wagon to be added to the stockpile of them in Sunshine’s pile of masonry stock. I will be using them as the backsplash in my kitchen when we build our little small house. The most bullshit thing I found was three (3) banker’s boxes full of papers–every single scrap of paper that passed through Sunshine’s fingers while T was his office manager. I bet if I dig through those boxes, I find receipts for gas station pizza and cigarettes. #fuckingasshole Of course, I had to work around the banker’s boxes because “we can’t get rid of those”. #fuckingasshole

I digress…

We managed to find a place for almost everything. Of course, if I’m honest, I cheated. I used some storage accounting maneuvers very similar to the shady accounting maneuvers that brought about the economic crash of ’08. I pulled all of the winter blankets out from under the bed and put them on the bed even though it’s still hot as the gates of hell here in Texas (in mid motherfucking October, for the love of all that is holy). Once I freed up the space being consumed by blankets that we don’t need for another couple of months, I had space to store all of my displaced craft supplies.

I even managed to find space to display all of Sunshine’s much loved eagle figurines. I don’t know that figurines is the right word for them, because they’re actually more like small statues, but I found space to display them anyway. I even told Sunshine that I would not bitch about having to displace my things that I like having easy access to, under one condition: when we build this small house, he better build enough storage to hole the shit he wants to keep and there better be enough storage space left over so that Cindy doesn’t have to keep shrinking herself smaller and smaller. I’ve been shrinking my possessions and my presence in our home, smaller and smaller, for years since we moved in together. I will not fucking do it once we build our small house. To his credit, he agreed (and I believe he will try to live up to that promise 100%). He’s a keeper, that one.

We’ve been seeing more of Mr B’s face up here. He has been playing on his tractor. He plowed up enough of the field to plant a garden that will feed the entire cajun navy for a year. I’m hoping the Kitchen Magician can get up here full-time soon, so we can actually maybe plant most of the area he plowed up; it’s enough that we’re gonna need some help.

We’re seeing progress. I’ll take it.

Now, if Mr B can just get some of those tractor implements that cut grass up and running, I might have to do a happy dance.

Population pressure

I live in an area where a large new reservoir is scheduled to be put in sometime in the near future. This reservoir will provide water to the DFW metroplex, and it’s going to be pretty damned big.

I’m already seeing folks go in and clearcut all of the timber on properties that will eventually be underwater. It’s a scar on the planet, but that’s a discussion for another day.

All of this clearcutting means that animals are losing their habitats. We’ve been seeing more feral pigs on the game cameras Sunshine has stationed everywhere. When I say “more”, I mean a lot fucking more. There were shots of more pigs than I could count on the last memory card he pulled out of a camera. It’s unreal.

When I first saw this, I thought “oh cool, more meat for us to eat!” I wasn’t wrong.

I just forgot the rest of the equation.

If the feral pigs are being forced out of their previous habitats, so is everything else. Creatures like deer, birds, squirrels…they’re all being forced out of their previous habitats. So are their natural predators–the coyotes.

We’re going to be hearing more from the coyotes in the future.

So this week, after the crazy incident with the coyotes mocking me from the other side of the front pond, I got to thinking.

Our chickens aren’t very susceptible to being herded back into their chicken house every afternoon; we pretty much have to wait on them to decide to go back home on their own, and go close the door once they’re inside. That has been happening closer and closer to full darkness as the days get shorter. So I’ve started carrying the revolver that did shoot at the coyotes when I have to go outside near sunset. Also, a flashlight.

We’re gun people, albeit at different levels. Sunshine is one of those second amendment whackos that is absolutely certain that they’re coming for his guns, and that they’re engaging in backdoor gun control through restricting the supply of ammunition and lead to make ammunition. Whatever, Sunshine. I, on the other hand, am in favor of sensible regulations–more than what murica has in place now. (I’m tired of mass shootings and the military industrial complex trying to put more guns on the street.) Regardless of where we stand on the gun issue, neither of us believes that firearms are for anything other than providing meat or home defense. And since we live in an area where we can leave the house unlocked when we run to the store, home defense really means predators. In this area, predators means coyotes. According to Sunshine (and I have no reason to doubt him since there does seem to be some information on the internet that supports the anecdotes), some sort of hybrid red wolf has been reintroduced into the area (specifically, Caddo National Grassland) by wildlife officials.

side note: I know that Sunshine has seen a wolf of some kind out there in the woods. He was stalking a wild pig, and something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye. He looked over, and saw a wolf. The wolf looked at him, decided Sunshine wasn’t hunting the wolf, and they each went back to their individual hunt. I’m still awed by how cool that shit is.

Now, we may not have to worry about locking the doors when we run to the store, but I’m betting that our neighbors have guns, too. Lots of them. I know that my immediate neighbor to the south got a piece of a coyote with her shotgun; she was trying to kill it but it scented her and started moving so now it walks with a limp, I’m sure. I’m hoping that this will mean that the coyote population will get thinned out by ranchers and homeowners protecting their livestock and pets.

All this clearcutting has definitely created some population pressure around here. There aren’t enough resources to sustain the influx of animals. Their desperation for food will eventually outweigh their fear of humans and they will almost surely start coming closer and closer to homes and barns. Which means that I’m going to be increasing pressure on Sunshine to get me a smaller gun, one that fits my hand more naturally and doesn’t have a recoil that could give me a black eye.

Piggy Meat

Sunshine has this obsession with the feral pigs that are running amok in Texas. He likes to tell people that “pigs are the new buffalo” because after society collapses and the black helicopters come, people will return to simple ways and the pigs will provide meat to eat, hides for clothing and shoes, and bones to make tools with. Or some shit like that. I don’t try to understand how Sunshine’s mind works, I just roll with it. I make the appropriate noises at the appropriate times, and when he’s done I just give him that psychologist look and ask “and how does that make you feel?” or “and what did your sponsor say about this?” Which drives him crazy sometimes because I don’t seem to feel the panic he does over the impending collapse of society.

side note: I just don’t have time or energy to make myself have anxiety and panic attacks over anything else. I got enough of the anxiety as it is.

Well, these wild pigs he kills are good food. He packs them in a cooler filled with ice for days, letting the ice melt and draining off the water (and blood that makes a gamey taste), and continues to repack it with more ice. After a few days of this, we take it out of the ice and he goes all Dexter on it.

This week, since we had such a packed schedule with work, I took advantage of some of the ground wild boar we have sitting in our freezer and I made tacos. Now, I cheated my ass off and used taco seasoning mix, and a spanish rice kit, and a can of refried beans. But that doesn’t change the fact that it was a yummy dinner that didn’t take much effort. We won’t discuss cleanup; I seem to be a messy cook that can’t use less than half of my pots, pans, spoons, and bakeware dishes any time I get busy in the kitchen.

If I’m going to eat meat, I like knowing that the meat we are eating was not fed steroids and antibiotics. I like knowing that it wasn’t forced to live in cramped and filthy conditions. I like knowing that Sunshine does his very best to make the kill as humane as possible (and usually succeeds, rarely having to track an animal more than a few feet from where he shot it).

I also like knowing that if Sunshine is right, and society DOES collapse, we won’t go hungry. Sunshine will make sure we have meat to eat. And if he is wrong, well, then at least we aren’t contributing to awful conditions and unethical practices that are rampant with the meat industry. We also aren’t contributing to antibiotic resistance by eating meat that is laced with that shit.

It’s a way of being more in touch with the land and our food, and I like it.

final note: I also like this piggy meat because, most of the time, Sunshine cooks it. Anything that gets me out of cooking is a plus in my book.

DIY scarf

I helped my neighbor with her estate sale at the property she inherited. The lady that lived in the house was a very skilled seamstress, to the point she could make and alter patterns. The lady also knitted.

The lady was also something of a hoarder. She hoarded fabrics, buttons, zippers, elastics, thread, yarn, crochet thread, knitting needles, any figurines shaped like ducks, and percolator coffee makers.

I was allowed to take any fabrics and yarns and such I wanted in exchange for my help cleaning the hoard and manning the sale.

I found this piece of incredible tweed fabric that I just loved, and it was one of the things I snagged.


I thought it would make a great scarf.

Once I got it home and ran it through the wash, I noticed it had a worn spot in it. I’m guessing a dog got hold of it.


It also had fraying going on around the edges.


This meant it was perfect for a shreddy dystopian blanket scarf.

I got Sunshine to help me measure and cut the fabric, since I suck at maths, and I wound up with a groovy scarf that just needs to be run through the wash again to fray the new edges where we cut the fabric.

It wound up being slightly shorter than I wanted. I was hoping for something like 30″X108″, but I only had 86″ total length, so I went with 36″X86″, which will still give me the bulk I would want in a winter scarf, just from being a wider/thicker scarf instead of more wraps around my neck. Overall, I’m pleased with the result.


Not bad for a freegan piece of fabric and a few minutes work.

final note: now that I have seen how easy it is to make myself a scarf, I am encouraged to try making a lighter weight one out of some of the cotton or linen fabric I snagged out of the hoard. It’s still hot as hell here in Texas in the afternoon, so I won’t be needing this big warm bastard anytime soon.