the Trash vitae

Trash is the editor-in-chief of an independent Colorado micro-publisher/ design studio. I dabble in digital photography, the lost art of film image making, and guerilla digital video. DrMAC Studios specializes in books and videos on self-reliance, gardening, dumpster diving, urban foraging and living off the excesses of others.
This blog documents my daily experiences with the rest of the world

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Just a few more turkey day notes

Breakfast toast with butter coffee
Lunch turkey sandies with dumpie found cheese, water
dinner- frozen burritos, chili, dumpie cheese, water

Reminded the kids that Thanxgiving was alot of pumpie produce and sale items. WE ARE IN A DEPRESSION.
And that Xmas was not supposed to be gimme gimme days. small and quaint is what want. Saved about 4 ppunds of produce leftovers and coffee grounds for the compost bin. Stirred it in on Friday before the snow. Also picked up a few gallons of saved snow melt for the yard and indoor plants. snow water warmed to room temp is jusat as good as the tap if not better.
Back to BAbylon tomorrow

Saturday, November 29, 2008

4 inches of snow overnight

bfast toast butter jelly, coffee
lunch- turkey burrito
dinner--leftover turkey and taters, bread and butter

grabbed the xmas stuff out of storage yesterday. lots of stuff.
gonna set stuff up this weekend. been enjoying the time away from Babylon but it will be soon enough that I have to go back.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

the day before Thanksgiving

bfast- grits, freebie donuts and fudge from Babylon, coffee
lunch- leftover pasta and turkey sauce. water bottle
dinner, chili burritos, water

....or as I like to call it, Bountiful Harvest day.
The original price $30 turkey was harvested from a clearance rack at the grocers last July (for $7) and stored in the deep freeze. The veggies were brought home from the Sprouts a few weeks ago ($15) and stored in the indoor/outdoor root cellar. The onions, beets, and other disposable veggies were scavenged from the excess bins (FREE) at the back door of Safieway. The herbs for the meal are being grown organically at the 'stead and are doing just fine.

Yes we did have to make a run to the front door market last night for a few essentials. 5 dozen eggs, day old bread for stuffing, assorted dairy products, etc. But the cost for it all came to less than 70 bucks. And that is with some essential stuff for the animals (parrot seed, dog food, hot cheetos).
I will be off from Babylon the next cuppla days so will prob post more..

Sunday, November 23, 2008

100th post

bfast- PB and C sandies, coffee, fruit
lunch-- PB burrito-beer
dinner-- Jambalayah, veggies, dumpie found cuke salad, water, fried apples and cinnamon

Who would have guessed I could make it to 100 posts. Worked around the stead yesterday turnig the compost bin, adding leaves to the mix and some coffee grounds and greens. Gave Rosie and her herbal friends a chance to get some sun during the day. Mid 60s and sunny.

One of the dumpie mobiles tire apparently the stem broke loose so had to realign and fix. Holding air now. Dumpie Bike needed some adjustments to the kick stand and the derailleur so handled that. General dumpie maintenance. Always a good time for a beer (or 2).

Also took the turkey out of the deep freeze to get it started on return to life for Thursday eats. Only 3 days in Babylon this week and then a 4 day weekend.. AMEN.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

what a week

bfast-freebie yogurt, bagels, danish, coffee and juice
lunch- freebie roast beef and cheese, rosemary potato salad, arugula salad, juice and water
dinner-- McDonnies dollar menu (wife not feeling well)

spent the week dealing with Laurel and Hardy in Babylon. Trying to stay ahead of them and the comic relief. Not much time left for the blog and the life. This has gotta change. I need to spend more time on Prepping and reliance.

Yesterday was a relief. Took an annual leave day from Babylon to go to a techie seminar. Very refreshing. Brought home some schwag and enjoyed the free grubbings I mentioned in the lead. It was a great way to start the weekend.. Hopefully I will begin having more time to continue my work.

Monday, November 17, 2008

books books and more books

bfast- toast with butter and brie, coffee
lunch- leftover salad- bread- water bottle
dinner- roast chicken, mashed taters, veggies gravy and water bottle

picked up some new books at the bookie trash .. He is so darn dum for throwing away literature. Went over to Wallie- thru the front door for some goodies. came home and took it easy. allergies acting up so not feeling the greatest. Anyhow the sune is good for the Rosie and her herb friends. Gotta see if we can find some more

Saturday, November 15, 2008

one family, one trashcan for the week

bfast-- oatmeal, fruit, coffee
lunch-- free from babylon roast beef sandie, chips, apple, cookies, 2 water bottles and salad.. enough salad leftovers to take home for bird treat and dinner accompaniement
dinner-tuna sandies, salad, bbq chips and water

I was really happy on Friday morning as I only had 1 30 gallon trashcan to put out this week. It says something about the clan and this 'stead becoming more conscious. The old dumpie mobile I statred before the cold front but didnt drive it. Last night I needed to hit up the front door store but I walked over and back. "live what you preach". And I try.

Rosie and the herbs seem to have made it ok and the scent in the dining room is wonderful. Even wifey said so over dinner. We are also talking about how we can make more room in the garage for setting up an all year growing area.. hmmm. I can always develop some hair brained ideas for expansion.. Oh my she even brought up the notion of CANNING.. hot dam. gotta love the missus. Anyhow it is Saturday morning , the sky is blue, the sun is shining, and its a wonderful day. ENJOY.

Friday, November 14, 2008

1st snow

bfast- apple, toast, coffee (scrounged and free)
lunch- leftover pasta and turkey meat sauce, green beans, water bottle
dinner- pork chop, noodles and sauce, veggies, water bottle

got up at midnight to the pitter patter of a light drizzle. woke up again at 515 to a light dusting of snow on the ground. brought the Rosie and her garden inside while covering up the mint. But its wonderful. I always like the first snow of the year. The white dusting on the grass gives hope for a better today. And what a better way to start a FRiday. It was almost 70 yesterday and its supposed to be in the 60s all weekend. So this truly is a treat.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Bfast- oatmeal, bagel and coffee
lunch- cream of celery soup with leftover frozen veggies mixed in. Dumpster found caesar salad with provolone cheese and French dressing. water bottle
Dinner- chicken strips, taters, veggies and water.

Having disassociated myself from the politik game and focussing in on improving my self-reliance skills and reading has made me a more content person. The world in Washington DC can go to hell in a handbasket but my 'stead needs to prosper and begin "working" for me. Simplicity should be a way of life.. Devoid of Drama along issues out of our control.

Monday, November 10, 2008

DIY root cellar

bfast- hot cereal, toast, coffee

lunch- BLT, chips, juice

dinner--leftover BLT, water

Found this on the net this morning so I thought I would pass it on. I prefer rubbermaid baskets with covers under the double wide but this would work also.. Great for holding about 50 lbs of potatoes, etc.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

some postive news from Elizabeth B on surviving and making due

I found this on another blog i frequent this morning and it contains some eall good info..

The coming bad times will also be a war, or likened to a war. It will be a war for your personal survival, a war for our future, and a war that determines the path humanity will take on our planet. Global warming, acid rain, rampant species extinction, and the collapse of fish populations and pollinators are in our immediate future.

What does the food of struggling people around the world have in common? Peppers! Think about food from India, Thailand, Mexico, China. All these cultures have developed foods spiced up with native peppers. In a survival situation, it will take about one nanosecond to get tired of beans, rice, pulses, corn, and potatoes on a daily basis. However, with the use of peppers and a couple of herbs and spices, you can spice up your daily fare.

Fortunately, peppers are among the easiest of all plants to grow. Nothing is much more forgiving than a pepper. Pepper plants are actually perennials, not annuals as they are sold in the stores. Where I live in south central Texas, a pepper plant can live for years. If the winter is mild, there is no problem. If the winter is a bit more severe, just place some rags around the roots, cover with some plastic and weight the entire thing down. In the spring, you will be rewarded with a delightful blooming pepper bush that will supply until the next winter arrives.
Right now, I have Big Jim, jalapeño, serrano, and ancho growing. But the king of my garden is the lovely volunteer chile pequin that sprang up from the forest behind my house. Chile Pequin is a native of south central Texas. Interestingly, this is a pepper well known by Hispanics in Texas. Most families have their stories of growing up with mother making very hot chile from the abundant chile pequin, a free gift from nature. However, huge numbers of the rest of the population have lived alongside chile pequin growing wild without ever knowing how delicious this little spicy number is.
Chile Pequin is a tiny little pepper, often no larger than an apple or orange seed, although mine can grow larger than that. Due to the fact that I live in San Antonio and peppers are called “chiles,” that is how I will refer to them from this point forward.

Confusion abounds as to what is the difference between chile, chili, chile con queso, salsa, and pico de gallo. Pico de gallo means “rooster’s beak.” It is tomatoes and chile plus onions, garlic, and cilantro. Chili is the saucy meat stew which may or may not contain beans. This is also called chili con carne. I prefer no beans, but for survival, of course I would opt for beans. Pinto beans, never those tasteless little pieces of chalk: red kidney beans. Salsa means any type of hot sauce made with tomatoes or corn or fruit such as mango and chile such as chipotle (dried, smoked jalapeños) or fresh jalapeno. Chile con queso is a melted cheese sauce cooked with chile peppers. If sausage is added, it is called “flameado.”

Every kitchen needs a stone mocajete or molcajete, not a fru-fru ceramic item bought at a gourmet kitchen store. This should be a workhorse in your kitchen. In traditional Mexican families, the mocajete sits on the table so mother can concoct the chile to specifications or requests from the family according to what is being served. In English, it is called mortar and pestle and is used for classic hand grinding. Decades of grinding will smooth the mocajete out. Chile is served with every meal. Today Hispanics do not cook this way so much, but it is how many were brought up. Times have changed all around and the family sit-down meal is ebbing away into memory in many cultures.
Depending on how much chile goes into the mocajete influences how “pico” or hot and spicy the chile turns out to be. One chile pequin is enough for one

The comal is a flat cast iron griddle that goes on the stovetop. You can grill (blister or blacken) chile or more commonly, cook fajita meat and its veggies such as onions, bell pepper, and tomatoes. Americans have gotten out of the habit of using cast iron to cook, but it can’t be beaten. I grew up with cast iron, but my children are ignorant of its use and care. Cast iron is also a source of iron in the diet. Jalapeños can be grilled to produce chipotle, if you like that flavor. Tortillas can be re-heated.


  • Basic chile: Grind one pepper and one tomato, salt and pepper only if desired.
  • Pico de gallo: Grind one diced pepper, one diced tomato, add by stirring in some chopped onion, garlic, cilantro, salt, pepper
  • Pinto Beans (charro beans or borracho beans): Add a jalapeño, one diced tomato, one bay leaf, and one onion while cooking
  • Rice: Sprinkle freshly diced tiny pieces of chile when serving or cook with tiny pieces incorporated into the raw rice before cooking
  • Pepper sauce: wash peppers, stack in a bottle, pour boiled vinegar over and cork, store in refrigerator. Fabulous over black-eyes peas, pinto beans, white beans, navy beans, or any other food that needs kick

If you prefer no skin, briefly boil the larger chiles and tomatoes to slip off the skin. Grind as usual. If you are lacking enough fresh tomatoes, add a little tomato sauce or canned tomatoes. Rinse the mocajete well with water after each use, checking the crevasses for lingering pieces.

Your garden needs to be growing parsley, cilantro, and various peppers. I have not mentioned bell peppers because they are not my favorites, but they deserve a place in any garden for ease of growing, beauty, and flavor. Chile gardeners are known for sharing peppers in order to share the seeds. If you meet a pepper you like, save some seeds or ask for some. People are unfailingly willing to share.

More Food for Bad Times
Greens are making a culinary comeback. One hundred years ago they were a staple. Now you find chard in many restaurants. The taste is acquired, so now is the time to begin to learn to cook and enjoy greens and teach your family to eat them. My family ate spinach and mustard greens when I was growing up. Kale, beet, and collard greens will supply vital nutrients to your diet and are easy growers in the home garden. The addition of bacon or bacon grease, red pepper flakes, vinegar, garlic, or sugar can add kick to a bland food. Experiment until you find the taste you and your family prefer.Okra has earned a bad rap due to bad cooking. As a child, I would not touch okra as it was often simply boiled and it became very slimy. Due to the proliferation of fast food fried chicken eateries, many people now know that okra is delicious served fried. Okra is a vital ingredient of seafood gumbos. I don’t eat seafood, but you make gumbo with sausage and rice and it’s wonderful. With my family roots going back to Civil War days and all the privations involved, we had many poor people food recipes handed down. Tomatoes and okra was a favorite of both of my parents. You can lay a piece of soft bread down first in a bowl as a sop and add the cooked okra and tomatoes. Naturally, sprinkling cheese of any type such as parmesan, romano, or cheddar would greatly enhance this humble dish.

Succotash is a vegetable concoction that is rather like a kitchen sink recipe. If it grows in the garden, add it in. Succotash traditionally utilizes corn and lima beans. Depending on the cook, you can add tomatoes and okra. Just don’t forget the herbs and chile to make it edible.

Use it All: Chicken
A whole rotisserie chicken will last for a week at my house.
Day 1: warm sliced chicken served as main entrée with skin and fat pulled off and fed to the dog who loves chicken day
Day 2: cold chicken pasta salad with finely diced/shredded broccoli, carrots, mayonnaise, ranch dry dressing (available in a big plastic container from Sam’s Club), and cayenne pepper, salt, pepper
Day 3: cold chicken salad with plenty of fruit such as raisins or currants, apples or grapes, toasted almonds, celery including the tops, a little onion, curry powder; use mayo as a binder
Day 4: baked chicken spaghetti topped with cheese
Day 5: boil bones and veggies for soup, add rice or noodles
This seems like a lot of meals for just one chicken, right? It’s because you are basically using the chicken as a flavoring. Americans eat way too much meat, so you’ll be doing just fine. Focus on flavors and carbs.

More Use it All: Ham
Buy an uncooked ham, cook it, and it lasts seemingly forever.
Day 1: warm sliced ham for entrée; delight clever dog by sharing scraps.
Day 2: ham sandwich
Day 3: omelet with ham and chile
Day 4: add diced ham fat cooked into your beans or peas or lentils
Day 5: fried ham for breakfast
Continue this way until meat is all used up.
Boil the ham bone for cooking beans or peas or lentils

Grease, Fat & Butter
In the old rural days, there was never a shortage of grease or fats. If you have ever read Poland by James Michener or The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder, you will remember a recurrent theme was the lack of and longing for fat in the diet during the lean times.

If you have backyard chickens or a source of eggs, you’ll be fine. However, even a steady diet of lean rabbit meat can lead to “rabbit starvation” as the human body requires a small but steady input of fats for proper metabolism.

In my childhood home, bacon grease was kept in a special closed can for flavoring beans and corn. All other grease was put into a separate can for disposal. Just keep in mind if the bad times arrive, you will need to be mindful of your fat intake.

Finally, remember, everything is better with chile. If you don’t like spicy, it’s time to learn and develop your palate. A daily dose of beans and rice will get old very fast if you don’t do something different. If you really can’t go “pico,” then opt for bell peppers. They are in the same dependable plant family and won’t let you down. They dry easily in a food dehydrator and keep and reuse well.
I advocate growing your own chiles, since it is so easily done. Try different varieties from different regions. See what works well in your garden, zone, climate, and soil. Chiles grow well in containers,too. .

Recommended "Easy Growers"

  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Radishes
  • All kinds of peppers
  • Greens
  • Potatoes (grown in alternating years with corn if space is an issue.)

In conclusion, a great variety of vegetables exits that can be grown in your area. I have listed a few I know from personal experience and find foolproof. Many, many foods await your experimentation. Try something new today. Compost your fruit and vegetable scraps to improve the soil. In fact, don’t let any biomass go into the waste stream. You do have permission to toss out bones and meat scraps. Use everything for compost and mulch. Harvest your rainwater. You will feel very good about this, I promise.

Just remember: buy heirloom seed only, avoid the hybrids, and diversify, diversify, diversify. Change your eating habits. Picky eaters are not survivors. Complainers are not survivors. Survival will depend on your head, hands, and heart. There is no time like now before the Stuff Hits the Fan to change. We don’t want to awake to find a changed world that could be likened to the war times of the past. Later, it could be a misery, today it can be an adventure.

Sunday morning funnies

bfast- slab bacon, eggs, chiabatta toast, juice ,coffee
lunch--cheese sandie, water bottle
dinner-- pork chops, salad, noodles,fresh veggies, juice

If it looks like we are eating better than most. dont grin . wife has been finding deals and stockin up the 'stead. She got 10 pounds of bacon for 9 bucks.. 3 dozen eggs for $2. the veggies are all coming from the market and the chiabatta is $1 a bread at wholey paycheck market. She really knows how to get the most bang for what few bucks we have. She buys in bulk and makes good use of the clearance items to further save us money. Plus my gallavants thru the dumpies add in greens, veggies, assorted goodies but due to the economy and others hittin the dumpies to survive my back door shopping has been facing dwindling rewards.

Spent yesterday rakin and compostin the leaves turning the soil in the new bed , adding nutrients etc in the other beds and doin some general housekeeping around the yards. The Rosemary and transplanted mint are still thriving in the pots as long as we move em around as it gets cold.. What a great scent as you enter the porch due to the scent of Rosemary as the breeze blows thru. The little herb garden we acquired is still going goo out on the porch, though pretty sooon we will have to move it inside.

I have been thinking again about the shed project that has lay dormant in my mind and unaccomplished over the last 2 summers. Maybe this year.. We def could use the extra protected room. Both for projects , works in progress, cold storage and also for plant protection during the coming winter..

Friday, November 7, 2008

some interesting news

bfast-- oatmeal- bagel and jelly coffee
lunch --bologna and cheese sandies, chili, apple
dinner --tacos, refrieds, water bottle

I have a good friend who is an executive in the "food distribution business". They supply restaurants, schools, hospitals, day care centers, nursing homes,,,,,the large quantity food purchasers.This past week at their annual sales meeting, they were informed of coming changes.
#1--Most food has been delivered in #10 [96-ounce] or one gallon size cans. [The rolled steel for] most of these cans[is] made in China and the cost has increased dramatically in the past several months because of rising steel prices. Effective December 1, the price on an individual empty #10 can is increasing by about 75 cents per can. This means that whatever is in a case of food (six cans) the price will be going up by about $4.50 per case just because of the can price. On some products, the price increase will be as much as 25% because of the can price increase.

#2 In an effort to offset the rising price of cans, many food distributors are making a concentrated effort to switch customers over to buying frozen foods instead of canned foods. The big move is for customers to install commercial food freezers (costing between $3,500-to-$7,000 per location) where they can store frozen food instead of canned foods. The feeling is that with increasing prices on "canned" goods, there will be a long term savings by going to frozen products.This could have a major impact on the folks that wish to store or stockpile "survival" supplies in cans if emphasis moves to frozen foods. It will also present an interesting situation if we have a major problem with the grid, tons of food would go bad in a very short order.

#3 Small customers and customers in remote locations will be gradually phased out of the delivery system. Delivery costs and diesel prices have made it impractical to service this type of account. I wonder if the same decision will be made about small rural and remote general grocery stores.

#4 Sales people were told to inform their customers that they need to plan and be ready to deal with rapid and un-expected price increases on food products, this is going to become a way of life. Please pass this on to your readers.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

boo hoo

Bfast- grits and sugar, toast, coffee
lunch-- leftie pasta and sauce-crackers, water
dinner- chinese chicken, rice bread, juice

the election is over and nothing is changed. Still gonna keep preppin for the worst. 
workin round the 'stead.

Monday, November 3, 2008

leaf compost on the cheap

bfast- carrots, quesadilla,coffee
lunch- tortilla w butter and cheese, water
dinner- leftover $5 pizza, cut up cukes and trashcan maters water

Forget raking up your leaves. A lawnmower fitted with a bag quickly sucks up leaves off the lawn, chops them up into small pieces that decompose fast and mixes them with grass clippings, which also aid the decomposition process.
Take a large, heavy-duty black plasticcontractor bag and poke several holes into it with a knife. Dump the leaves out of your mower bag and into the black plastic bag. Fill the plastic bag ¾ of the way full. Add a shovel full of garden soil (or finished compost if you have it).
The leaves and grass clippings will decompose best if they are slightly damp (they should feel like a wrung-out sponge). Check the leaves' moisture level and then add water to the bag (if needed). Give the leaves a good shake and then check the moisture level again. Continue to add water until the leaves reach the correct moisture level.
Loosely tie the top of the bag and stick it in a spot in your yard that is convenient, but out of sight. Every couple of weeks pick up the bag and give it a good shake. After about 6 months, open up the bag and check on the leaf compost. If it is dark, crumbly and you can’t see any leaf particles, it’s finished. If you can still identify leaves, tie the bag up again, give it a good shake and wait a few more months.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

time change and global warming

bfast- quesadilla, carrot sticks, coffee
lunch-- orange and water
dinner-- tuna sandies, chips and water

the time change took place and I fell asleep at 2am , 1am. spent the morning working on the raised bed for the spouses uses next spring. cleaned up the beds and the containers. Composted what I can and recycled the rest. As the leaves fall with greater and greater density My compost material becomes cheaper and cheaper.
Present planning for future implementations.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

good news for a depressed world

bfast-bagel and butter. fruit coffee
lunch-- assorted junque for Babylon party nachos,candy cakes etc and water bottle
dinner-- pizza ($5 specials for Halloween , doritos( 2fer $3 with coupon and $10 purchase, the 2 $5 pizzas) and assorted candies. water and then tea before bed.

Trash is finally back up and running on the COMACAST beast. paid the bill (youch) and spent an hour getting the lab back up.. funfun
This morning went on a dumpie run ans snagged 2 boxes of books from behind the bookie store.. some good reads for me and the family and some resellables on the CL.. have made a tentative decision to have the COMACAST beast paid for with resale finds , dumpie overages and services rendered.. Instead of counting on the donation from Babylon job.. Will see how it works.
Anyhow while I was gone the country appears to be sinking deeper and deeper as more and more people are losing money./ homes/ jobs etc.. ALAS, I have neither. No money, we own the double wide and my retreat villa (the POP-up camper) , the cheeseball Babyolon gig, which for now is stable. While internet was down we got back to the DVD collection and the VHS collection for entertainment as well as those things that the birds like to nibble on, our books.
Reading is such a cheap habit and it is extremely addictive. Been finishing about 2 books a week.. Vision is going but can still focus in fairly well.

Sorry for the absence, will continue to advise on work at the 'stead in the days to follow.