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Kathleen Jarschke-Schultze

©1998 Kathleen Jarschke Schultze

I have come to view the Nineties as the Decade of No Damn Time. Is there a way of getting projects done (as in completed) and staying sane at the same time? When people visit us to see our home and system, they see what we have done. When Bob-O and I look around, we only see what needs to be done.


I became enamored of lists when we lived on the Salmon River, five hours from town. We would make a list, duplicate it, each carrying one. Every six weeks we would make a run to the town, spending the night in a motel in order to complete our lists. Now, I keep a small tablet, with attached pencil, on the bulletin board in the kitchen. Who ever will be in town next takes the list. Whatever didn't get done is brought home and transferred to the new list.

What about lists for projects? Some very good friends of ours are building their home. I've heard it said that when you build your own home, you're never done. That's also true of a retrofit home. Anyway, these friends have a list of projects taped to the refrigerator door. They list the project in one column and the cost of the project across from it. These are house projects, automotive projects, yard projects and even pleasure projects (like a week in Yosemite).

As the time and money coincide for each project, it is completed and crossed off the list. This seems like a fairly efficient method of organization. However, at the top of the list is the heading, "Things to do in 1995, 96, 97, 98". Still, the focusing of intent and cost is impressive.

My friend, Anita, says that she used to erase the completed projects off of her refrigerator list. The problem with doing it that way was that you didn't have the satisfaction of seeing the completed projects crossed out. All that you saw was what was still waiting for you. It's a good idea to take and keep photographs of your projects as the phases move along. It's another necessary affirmation of forward progress.

Frustration Levels

Another facet of project completion is the frustration level. It is commonly known among homeowners that in order to get to the prime project, you must first complete three other projects. One of those multilayer projects waiting for me will begin with covering the garden paths with weed barrier paper. Then I need to spread the pile of sawdust on top of that. Once I've done this, I can move the pile of rocks (which will someday be a small patio in the garden) to where the sawdust was. When I reach this point, I'll finally be able to build a round raised bed in the place where the rocks were before.

My seventh grade Homemaking Teacher told us, "Never leave a room empty handed. Something in the room you are in needs to go to the room you are going to." She was right. She also said, "Do as I say, not as I do". I liked her a lot.

Old Books, New Books

A reader e-mailed me asking for a source of information on smoking meat. I referred him to the older edition of Stocking Up, a homesteading classic. I also have the new edition, but in this newer version they omitted all references to the smoking of meats because of the risk of coming in contact with carcinogens in the process.

I recently tried to find an ice cream recipe for a Japanese potluck that our neighborhood is planning. I wanted one that could be modified to taste like green tea. The new edition of Joy of Cooking had absolutely nothing on homemade ice cream. My old and battered early edition had three pages of information and recipes.

No meat smoking instructions because of carcinogens, no ice cream recipes because of fat content. Frankly, I want to be able to decide if I'll risk the health detriments of smoked salmon and green tea ice cream. Get the new book, but save the old. I do.

Tornado Watch, Fireflies and Friends

We just came back from the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair in Amherst, WI. It's their ninth year, and it was great. For the Home Power Crew, it's a yearly pilgrimage to see friends and get our enthusiasm recharged. The weather was in a state of change the whole time we were there. For a couple of hours, Portage County was on tornado watch. Everyone was quick to assure me it was 'watch' not 'warning'. I'm such a chicken.

Every time we go to the Midwest, I am fascinated by the fireflies. They are so cool. They turn a walk after dusk into a magical experience. I complained to someone that we had no fireflies at home. They pointed out that if we had the Midwest humidity, and thus the tornadoes, we could have fireflies too. I guess I'll just visit every year.

The MREA Crew is so great. They now have a permanent renewable energy display home at the fairgrounds. It's a work of art and shows their dedication. They will be holding workshops there throughout the year. Talk about getting things done— these people sure know how! It takes so much hard work to pull it off. The whole MREA Crew and Volunteers have our thanks and admiration for a job extremely well done. Next year will be the tenth anniversary of MREF. Be there, or miss out!

Solar Correction

In my last column I stated, "(focusing) is done by standing behind your cooker and pointing it so that there is a slight shadow on the LEFT hand side of the cooking area. This way, the sun will always be coming into focus, keeping the food at maximum temperature, rather than unfocusing and lowering the temperature."

Two of my editors, (both male, both non-solar cooks) read my copy and performed the classic lateral arabesque or the great leap sideways. They thought that I meant "RIGHT". I did not. The paragraph above is correct.

I just got a parabolic solar cooker from Blackhawk Solar. It is called a Sundyne and is made in the Philippines. It took me two hours to assemble, but I wasn't hurrying. So far, my advice is to assemble it in the shade so that you won't be hit by the glare. In the coming weeks, I will be trying out this cooker. Since they're from the Philippines, there is a limited number of the Sundyne cookers available.


Kathleen Jarschke-Schultze is trying to finish that darn hammock weaving project she started two years ago at her home in Northernmost California, c/o Home Power Magazine, PO Box 520, Ashland, OR 97520 530-475-0830

Email: [email protected] Alternate Email: [email protected]

Blackhawk Solar, PO Box 1468, Quincy, CA 95971 530-283-1396 • Fax: 530-283-4675

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