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I was reading a post by “Musings”  which spoke of temporary architecture, and it’s recent usage.  There were individual mobile platforms for ice skaters, reminding me of miniature North American Plains Indian Teepees, and really large, recyclable venues for Olympic stadiums too.

I got to pondering a bit about the direction this new mobile architecture might be taking us on.  New materials can be light weight, easily assembled, transportable, and strong.  There has also been a new emphasis on smaller scaled living, probably due to the economic downturn that has lasted for so long.  With that in mind, take a leap of imagination with me toward a slightly different looking future:

Picture a wooded slope, previously not to thickly inhabited, but now you see glimpses through the trees of small, sometimes bright colored constructions.  Here in the flatter foreground is a ring of small personal spaces sharing a central area with a water spigot and hot water source, and each having easy access to a nearby row of privies and showers, somewhat like vacationer campgrounds.

61st St. Community Garden, Chicago

61st St. Community Garden, Chicago (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Areas of urban blight have been transformed into guarded miniature homestead parks, occupied by individuals with a collective agreement to share responsibilities for the space while in residence there. Structures from Yurts to geodesic domes to re-purposed shipping crates occupy empty lots formerly used as dumping grounds.  Former welfare recipients and newly-released-from-state-care orphans find a place within these communities to begin their upward climb out of poverty.  These communities serve as half-way stops for both those growing into new responsibilities, and as stopping places on the way out of the working life while one still wishes to be useful.  Social security check recipients now reside here and live well, while contributing their aid and skills to the community effort.

The structures aren’t quite tents, nor are they as permanent looking as sheds, but something of a cross between the two.  Light weight composite materialbolted together and anchored into the ground with flexible steel cables attached to long pegs in the ground to keep them from blowing away in storms.  Electricity powered from a central source run into each personal space,  powering lights and small unit cooler/heater systems.  No individual structure taking up more space than what can be easily assembled and taken back down.

Portable home

 

Among the trees  of the turnpikes and within the canyons formed by empty lots between buildings, there are individual sites with similar footage, some on the ground and some built into abandoned buildings.  All of them  parts of guarded community agreements in cooperation with city and municipal governments. There are gardens, both vertical and horizontal in the available spaces, and chickens are raised in long, portable  coops which both fertilize the ground and help control pests in the community garden tended by rotating shifts of volunteers.

This is an urban oasis for the new overworked, and underpaid entry level  technicians in Any Company, America.  This is the new retirement villa’s of the recently retired.  This is the refuge for the homeless and the hopeless.  This is where the shared community garden is carefully raked into the earth and just as carefully tended to by various residents who enjoy growing their own food.  Several Converted shipping crates serve as canning kitchens and storage space for the food stuffs created and preserved here.

There are rental bike racks not far from these new urban residences; and mobile food vendors ply their trade nearby as a service to these hardy human beings.  Clothing and sundry other mobile vendors work the streets nearby to meet the constant needs of these just in time consumers.

Stacked shipping crates have been modified to easily and properly house refugees and migrant workers.  Showers and public facilities are engineered into some of the shipping crates as shared utilities and others are converted into community kitchens. Bunk beds and hammocks are strung through others as sleeping spaces, and still others are rooms for entertainment or study.

A daycare has been created from a grouping of shipping crates and a lightweight cover extending over a guarded play area.  Meals are served on tables that fold down from the inner court’s walls as complete seating and eating units.  Colorful murals by local artists depict a happy environment for growing children on the outsides of these structures, adding to the delightful ambiance of the neighborhood.

An out of service semi-trailer, painted in murals by local artists,  serves as a covered bus stop with benches lining the walls between the doors.

These communities can be located anywhere there is available space; the various occupants working in either the community itself (Guard, daycare, gardening, laundry, clean-up crew, cooking) or outside in whatever labor or industry the occupants can locate, and contributing by helping to pay for the water access and available electricity while being fed by the community for their contributions.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, llc 2012.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
Tim Allen

Image by Alan Light via Flickr

I feel like making those famous Tim Allen grunting noises (huhhh, huhhh, huhhh). Not for extra powerful motors on ordinary home improvement tools, but for extraordinarily successful experimenting in the kitchen.  I’m so pleased with the way it turned out.  It all started with a thawed out, cut up chicken, and a desire to eat it fried, but I was out of eggs.  Without an egg in the milk, the flour batter would fall off too easily…. 😦  What to do, what to do…..

I looked around my kitchen for some kind of substitute batter solution.  In the refrigerator there was a half a can of condensed Cream of Mushroom soup.  Hmmmm….  and I had an open bag of instant potato flakes.  Would it work?

Potato flakes can be used to make potato pancakes…..

I turned on my stove and put the large wok on the burner with a cup and a half of corn oil in the bottom of it.  I made sure I had my largest pot lid ready to cover it.

I quickly put the condensed cream of mushroom soup in a bowl large enough to dip my

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Image by avlxyz via Flickr

chicken quarters into, and added some water (about a the same amount of water as the soup in the can) and stirred it up; just enough to get it to a thick creamy texture, so it would stick to the chicken.  I got a second bowl out to put the  potato flakes in, also large enough to roll the chicken quarters in.  I had a lot of potato flakes, which is good, because you want it to have plenty of flakes to create the  crust.  The creamy mushroom soup was just right for absorbing the flakes and getting it all to stick to the chicken pieces.

I also put a three quart sauce pan on the back burner with lots of water and some butter in it to boil to use up the mashed potato flakes after I was done with the chicken pieces, and I put on a smaller pan for some green beans that I added seasoning salt to for flavor.

 
 

I had my large wok pan with plenty of oil in the bottom set on a good medium temperature (between 5 and 6 on an electric stove) already hot before I put the chicken quarters in and a good large lid to hold the heat in while the pieces were frying.  

 
 

The oil was just about half way up the chicken pieces so they were steaming on the top while they were frying on the bottom.    After about ten minutes, I flipped the pieces over to fry on the other side.  The Mushroom Potato crust stayed on!  And it looked good too. 

 

Another ten minutes on the second side and I took the pieces out and put them on a plate with some paper towels to absorb some of the oil, and then popped them into the microwave for a couple of minutes to make sure these heavy chicken pieces were cooked all the way through.

I repeated this for a second set of chicken pieces as they don’t all fit in the pan at the same time.  I actually had enough pieces of chicken that I filled the wok pan a third time before I was finished.  

 

For the third set of chicken pieces, I just put the pieces in the still heating oil, and let them fry themselves while we ate.  The portions of potato crusts that had fallen off the previous chicken pieces adhered themselves to the third set of frying chicken parts, and they turned out delicious, as well.)

Rachel had fried chicken. Delicious and sweet....

Image via Wikipedia

Add iodized table salt over the tops of the still hot chicken pieces, just before you put them on the table.

 

An added bonus to this cooking experiment was the left over cream of mushroom soup went into the already cooking season salted green beans, and the left over potato flakes went into the boiling water pot to become Mushroom and Chicken Seasoned Mashed Potatoes.  There was no waste and it was all delicious.  Even my picky eater who doesn’t like mushrooms liked it all.

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