Midwest Tornado(s)

Giving away my AO here, I am in the the fascist state of Illinois. This past Sunday there were a couple of pretty nasty tornado’s that past through our AO and left a large number of people without homes. Interestingly Sunday morning started out pretty nice for November but by late morning, the day degenerated into torrential down pours, very high winds, hail, sunshine, more rain, and more high winds and then sun again. My yard looked like we had a light snow after one iteration of storms that came through, but that look came about after  15 minutes of hail. No roof or vehicle damage, thank goodness!

Our place was spared the brunt of the worst weather, but WF’s step brother and his family lost their entire home and everything in it. Their Chevy Suburban? to say it looked like someone took a baseball bat to it is an understatement. It was crushed and all the windows are gone. I mean crushed. The cabin support pillars are crushed! below is a pic.


This is what is left of their house. And in the rubble? He found his flag and struck it dead center of what used to be his living room.


As the storm was rolling away


As you can see total loss. There is not much one can prepare for in tornado alley. Even if you have a basement to retreat to there isn’t much to go back to when the storm is passed and you climb the basement steps back to ground level. Generator? gone, food preps? gone, gonna grab that bug out bag? You car/truck is gone! WF’s step brothers family all survived and no one was hurt. But they lost everything. I don’t think any amount of prepping would have changed the out come of this event.

An aftermath observation.

One of my co-workers relayed a story he experienced after the storm traveled through his area. I quote ” I went to the gas station, and there was a line out into the street, people were filling up their cars, gas cans and generators……….” The non nonchalant/casual way he described this was like that scene was normal. I wanted to say something to him for not looking at it as this is what people do in  when they don’t keep a minimum half tank of fuel in the vehicle, or spare gas for their generators, but knew my comments would fall on deaf ears.

And those filling up gas cans and generators?  Stupid! I know I am coming off as callous but jezzz, seriously?  My life lesson after all this? more resolve in continuing my preparations. Rain or shine.

My 200th Post!

I have reached a milestone of having posted 200 rants and ravings over the past year and some change. For those 10 or so people that actually read what I type, thank you. For those that ended up here through some bad code from another website or a miss click and thought WTF!  Sorry.



Caught this video early this morning. I didn’t know whether to laugh or weep when I saw this.

Into the Meat Grinder

I did my first attempt at making pork sausage this past week with the help of my good friend, Rob. Rob has been making sausage since he was a kid with his dad and grandfather. So with his grandfather’s recipe in hand we settled on a day that we both had some time after work.

I have to come clean early here, I was pretty much just a second pair of hands in this whole process. Rob had all the equipment, pans, grinder, knives, spices, cutting board, bought the meat, and we used his kitchen. I just showed up and brought my vacuum sealer.

What we started out with was 4 pork shoulders with the bone in. I think it was around 37 lbs total, pre bone removal. The meat was purchased fresh and frozen over night, then thawed half a day. Why do I mention this? it is easier to cut the meat from the bone if the flesh is partially frozen.


Bones removed from the 4 shoulders


I cut the meat down into smaller pieces. This made it easier to run through the grinder


Grinding the easy way with an electric unit.


This is where we added the spices and mixed them in by hand. The meat was still very cold at this point. I was losing feeling on my fingers as I was squishing the meat through my hands to mix the spices in and evenly.


1 and 2 lbs. portions ready to be vacuum sealed.


Taste test!


In the end it took us about 3 hours to cut, grind, mix, portion, and bag the end product. We did all bulk due to our time constraint and used no casings.

I don’t know the “recipe” so I cannot share it with you here but I can tell you the sausage is very tasty! When all was said and done. Rob and I split 34 lbs of sausage and it came out to $1.70 a lbs.  Not a bad deal for just a bit of elbow grease. I month or so ago we split a side of beef and the sausage now we have enough meat till this spring, hopefully.