Friday, August 30, 2013

Refridgeration or Not? and in a van...?

Refrigeration or coolers or ice or don't ice or dry ice or 12 volt coolers or way expensive 12 volt refrigerators or low-tech zeer pots or ....

This was a simpler decision once - living off grid with no electricity and minimal at best solar or battery operated stuff.  Living as a raw vegan - growing my own food in a land of year round growing seasons.  Add to this my love of all things natural and home made...and 2 years spent living with NO plastic (there is another story for another day)

So now, living in my Simply Van - I have chosen not only a mobile lifestyle but also a life inside a dark colored passively solar heated (when you want it or not) small metal box with windows!  I live inside an oven.  Yes, I can, thankfully, open all of my windows.  Unfortunately not every van can do that.  I have chosen not to install a rooftop vent or an air conditioner.  I haven't added Freon to the air conditioner system that came with the van and I don't use the air conditioning system - because if I used it while driving, then when I stop for the night or evening, I would possibly be hot and miss it at night - so why get used to it.  Besides it just adds to the wear and tear on the engine and lowers my gas mileage.

I prefer to eat fresh veggies and fruits.  I carry dehydrated foods for when fresh is not readily available or for when I decide to take my food with me on a hike.

It's incredible how habits get formed.

In my childhood, we raised chickens, bought a side of beef for the freezer each year, had a half acre vegetable garden, canned at least 1000 quarts each of green beans and tomatoes, pickled, jellied, jammed and kept foods stored in the smaller corner and cooler room of the basement.  I remember mustard pickle barrels.  My Aunt and Uncle's northern Maine home had a basement under the garage/woodshed where they raised rabbits.  Another part of their basement had a fresh water spring fed cistern where they raised fish.  Potatoes and squash were layered in straw.  I baked only Whole Wheat-Oat-Honey bread that kept on the counter for a week if no one ate it (which didn't happen in a house with 8 or more people).

When I moved to Central America, and into an Indigenous village.  I thought it different and a bit odd that refridgerators were simply filled with very few and odd things and freezers often only had plastic bags filled with water that became ice, while the outdoor kitchen area might have a rack of bananas or platanos hanging and a basket with potatoes or yucca.  Often a pot of meat or soup would sit at the side of the Fogan's ever ready pile of warm coals.  After I learned enough Spanish to communicate, I learned that the village had only gotten refrigerators in the past 8 years.  Many homes had them, tho more as a status symbol.  I took the opportunity to learn (of course I love learning the old ways anyway - so I just had to know 'how Grandma did things").

After a cow fell down a hillside and broke its leg.  I got to learn the old way of processing meat - because the cow had to be slaughtered and that was a village and family process.  How kewl to learn to keep meat over a week! of course it was kind of hard to keep any of the dried and jerkied meat because of the neighborhood kids and not so kids just visiting!  This Gringa is a good cook!

Another lifesaver I learned after receiving the gift of an bout with parasites from visiting another village, and as well having a family dog near death from depression.  Was the very life saving Leche Agria - sort of a kefir or yogurt like naturally fermented raw milk.  Taken a few days past its prime, you have a natural fresh cheese.  Wonderful stuff - and take my advice, if you travel in other countries it will do your health good to have some (doesn't take much) of that country's fermented milk product to give your body the healthy bacteria that will help fight off diseases.

So where is all this leading?  For the time being, i have decided to insulate an old basket for food storage and to carry a bag style cooler mostly for carrying water bottles and keeping a few things cooler than the air inside the van.  I would like to be living plastic free again and that is a constant thought process as I continue to work with my life.

I may write about foods that dont need much cooling at some point, for now, im just carrying pickled beets, pickled eggs, other pickled veggies like okra or dilly beans, saurkraut, occasionally rice cakes (why plastic bags to hold waxed paper packages can we get less trash please), a jar of ghee (long shelf life butter), a jar of really raw honey w wax particles (btw why is it that farmers markets have to use plastic tubs for honey in the comb now),.  I also try to carry a chunk of really hard real and raw if i can get it cheese for pizzas,  and kippered herring im still searching for a way to get this without all the cans which are just trash after use.  I carry rice flour for pizza crust, a tube or can of tomato paste also for pizza, a bag of wild rice and dehydrated brocolli incase i need a company meal, rice udon noodles and rice papers for spring rolls, and spices, herbs, peppermint tea, coffee which i cold brew and drink room temperature unless its bitter cold and there is a crowd and fire when nothing but cowboy coffee is appropriate :)!  Lets see, i also carry raw cocoa/cacao powder and coconut sugar for hot chocolate on cold nights.

I often buy or pick fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, berries I have quite a few that I dehydrated while visiting a friend recently, carrots, leaf lettuce....stuff like that oh and a couple apples and 2 or three citrus fruits.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

These are so cute!

Towing Lessons

Ive been busy and ive been sick÷well, actually I have asthma.  my asthma can be brought on by excertion/excersize, food alergies, cold air temps or mold n mildew.  ive been helping a dear friend clean up thier stored stuff that had been thier life in a 31ft motorhome.  shortly after their live in and elderly mother passed, the troublesome motorhome died as well.  it has been nearly three years that my friend has kept the old life in storage.  it was time to dig out and bring her inportant things back to life.  we have been handling the project in stages.  some items were stored at friends homes, some at a storage facility and some in a utility trailer. 

we began this project by going after the utility trailer which was stored a couple hours away.   i recall my exhusband and I having a travel trailer at one time. i dont, however, recall if I ever drove with, i pulled up my proverbial bootstraps and off we went into utility trailer towing history  lol.  we found the trailer with flat tires.  the lights worked fine, but the hitch and ball didnt click like i thought it should  we went to find a gas station with an air pump.  now with full tires i can pick up speed.  stop at a red light, then a jolt and shudder...i turn and ask the friend if they thought the car behind us hit the trailer.   light changes and we pull forward maybe 100 feet and the crash n scraping and....i stopped as i saw the trailer coming toward the back of the van ... whoa... well, safely stopped - im a pretty good driver! the trailer came off.  the safery chains did thier job and my rear door mounted tire kept the back of the van from damage.  now how do you suppose we got a loaded trailer back off the ground an correctly attached to the van?  we thought about jacking it up and then called a tow truck for help...tow truck drivers can be so nice.  he did need to unbend one handle  and got us all hooked up. and this time the tongue and ball clicked!  of course i drove slowly after that - what an adventure!

most of the friends things were gone through the other day. it was a long hard day of dump and sort.  the kind you might see on a reality show.  then the tougher decision making and emotional work my friend endured to get her life more manageble.  she did a fantastic job!  though there will be more to do to finish up, she has a good head start. 

and then my asthma took over my lungs and life and ive been in bed a couple days.  probably from breathing the mold, mildew and dust while doing the big sort.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Permaculture Playing Cards!

I just found these kewl playing cards.  They would make a good gift as well as teaching aid for all you like minded naturalists out there!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wednesday's Simply UpDate!

I'm back in Simply Van and traveling! It seems like its been so long.  

New York State is filled with lovely and friendly small towns.  I was glad to have the opportunity to meet and make some lovely and hopefully lifelong friendships while I was visiting and having work done to my van.  Cindy and her grandchildren, Rashaun and Davian were lots of fun to hang out with. We shared healthy food preparation ideas, organic and local food gathering from farms and farmers markets, and even

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Belly Crochet! Whadya say?

Hey take a look at this!  My friend Cindy's Etsy store is offering Simply Lesa blog readers a 20% discount on all purchases during August!  Cindy talks about her creative process on her blog - check it out here:
Cindy has some lovely jewelry, belly dancing costumes, clothes, assesories that are all handmade unique works of art!  And her prices are truely reasonable.  Check out the Belly Dance costumes and more... Help support cottage industries and all things handmade!
To get your discount, simply type "SimplyLesa" into the coupon code at check out!  You can find her store here:

Friday, August 9, 2013

Whirled wind days...:)

EDIT: Fri Aug 8 to reflect requested change, delete double cut and paste error and spelling error. (Sorry and darn I'm starting to think blogging from a tablet is harder than a laptop)

Over this past weekend, a 2013 Winter RTR and Vannin buddy came to visit with me.  Yes, I am still in Upstate New York.  It seems that God wants me here a little longer, things just keep coming up - and incredible things at that.  But then I am not the only person who has these kinds of things happen.  Many people seem to understand about coincidences that aren't really coincidences. Anyway, as I was thinking over my upcoming travels, my son called to ask me a favor--to please have my brakes checked before I leave this area. Good thing too, because I needed rear brakes!  I am so glad that I had found a local mechanic shop that I feel is fair and reliable and I scheduled an appointment with John at Swift Automotive. He fit me into his schedule and

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Online Empires --- enough already....

I'm not a stupid person.  I even know a thing or two about computers and electronic gadgets --- geez I was a subcontractor for IBM even!.... I built databases before Access was user friendly.....  I KILLED off the Big Blue F (Facebook) from my online life - and geez now the Big Red G+ is trying to take over ----- seriously!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Another day...another dollar?

Tomorrow will be pay day for me.  I will see a counselor again today - perhaps I will talk more about that soon...I'm not sure yet how much of that info I want to keep private.  I learned last night that I will be getting a visit from a northern RTRer on Saturday.  I will try to find some touristy and interesting as well as budget friendly (preferably FREE) thing to do while she is here.