Friday, June 14, 2013

Composting, Waste not want not

If you are like me then it kills you when something gets thrown away. I am always thinking about how I can reuse something or how to keep things from going in the trash. Left overs go to the chickens or the pigs, glass containers are washed and reused for storing seeds, lard, goats milk, or drinking out of.  But my biggest joy is when I can compost something. You put things in the compost that would otherwise go into the trash and ultimately a land fill and in return you get the best darn soil in the neighborhood. Compost is the ultimate in recycling, in my humble opinion. It doesn't have to be complicated. Your compost pile can be a simple whole in the ground, a plastic trash can with holes drilled in it, I've seen people build them out of old pallets and even buy expensive rotating barrel composters.
If you talk to any experienced gardener and ask them what their secret is 9 times out of 10 they will say "Compost". 
Compost piles are great when you have to clean out the chicken coop, goat houses, and  the rabbit hutches. My Chickens love my compost pile and I love them to be in it. The stir it up and add there own Organic matter while they are there.
  Everyone knows that you can compost kitchen scraps and newspaper, tea bags and garden clipping. Buy did you know you can compost the hair from your brush. I found this list from plantea of things that you can compost.

Paper napkins
Freezer-burned vegetables
Burlap coffee bags
Pet hair
Potash rock
Post-it notes
Freezer-burned fruit
Wood chips
Bee droppings
Lint from behind refrigerator
Popcorn (unpopped, 'Old Maids,' too)
Freezer-burned fish
Old spices
Pine needles
Matches (paper or wood)
Seaweed and kelp
Chicken manure
Leather dust
Old, dried up and faded herbs
Bird cage cleanings
Paper towels
Brewery wastes
Grass clippings
Hoof and horn meal
Molasses residue
Potato peelings
Unpaid bills
Gin trash (wastes from cotton plants)
Rabbit manure
Hair clippings from the barber
Stale bread
Coffee grounds
Wood ashes
Tea bags and grounds
Shredded newspapers
Egg shells
Cow manure
Winter rye
Grapefruit rinds
Pea vines
Houseplant trimmings
Old pasta
Grape wastes
Garden soil
Powdered/ground phosphate rock
Corncobs (takes a long time to decompose)
Jell-o (gelatin)
Blood meal
Winery wastes
Spanish moss
Fish meal
Aquarium plants
Beet wastes
Sunday comics
Harbor mud
Felt waste
Wheat straw
Peat moss
Kleenex tissues
Milk (in small amounts)
Soy milk
Tree bark
Starfish (dead ones!)
Melted ice cream
Flower petals
Pumpkin seeds
Q-tips (cotton swabs: cardboard, not plastic sticks)
Expired flower arrangements
Elmer's glue
BBQ'd fish skin
Bone meal
Citrus wastes
Stale potato chips
Rhubarb stems
Old leather gardening gloves
Tobacco wastes
Bird guano
Hog manure
Dried jellyfish
Wheat bran
Guinea pig cage cleanings
Nut shells
Cattail reeds
Granite dust
Moldy cheese
Shredded cardboard
Dolomite lime
Cover crops
Quail eggs (OK, I needed a 'Q' word)

Rapeseed meal
Bat guano
Fish scraps
Tea bags (black and herbal)
Apple cores
Electric razor trimmings
Kitchen wastes
Outdated yogurt
Toenail clippings
Shrimp shells
Crab shells
Lobster shells
Pie crust
Leather wallets
Onion skins
Bagasse (sugar cane residue)
Watermelon rinds
Date pits
Goat manure
Olive pits
Peanut shells
Burned oatmeal (sorry, Mom)
Lint from clothes dryer
Bread crusts
Cooked rice
River mud
Tofu (it's only soybeans, man!)
Wine gone bad (what a waste!)
Banana peels
Fingernail and toenail clippings
Chocolate cookies
Wooden toothpicks
Moss from last year's hanging baskets
Stale breakfast cereal
'Dust bunnies' from under the bed
Pencil shavings
Wool socks
Artichoke leaves
Leather watch bands
Fruit salad
Tossed salad (now THERE's tossing it!)
Brown paper bags
Soggy Cheerios
Theater tickets
Lees from making wine
Burned toast
Animal fur
Horse manure
Vacuum cleaner bag contents
Coconut hull fiber
Old or outdated seeds
Macaroni and cheese
Liquid from canned vegetables
Liquid from canned fruit
Old beer
Wedding bouquets
Greeting card envelopes
Dead bees and flies
Horse hair
Peanut butter sandwiches
Dirt from soles of shoes, boots
Fish bones
Ivory soap scraps
Spoiled canned fruits and vegetables
Produce trimmings from grocery store
Cardboard cereal boxes (shredded)
Grocery receipts
Are you surprised by all the things you can compost? I was!
This list makes me happy!  Although I don't think I will be composting urine any time soon.
The only thing you really need to remember is to alternate between kitchen scrapes and yard scrapes, basically you want a good mix of wet and dry matter. Your compost pile should be on the ground, not on a pallet or cement, you need the critters in the soil to help make your compost. Every once in awhile go out and turn your pile. Stick your shovel in and turn it around get some air into and keep it moist. Compost piles are forgiving though. You can pile a bunch of stuff up and forget about will still break down into compost sooner or later.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Preparing for storms/ Emergency preparedness

Monsoon season is coming to the Sonoran Desert and it's time to go through our supplies and make sure everything is in order. Every location has it's storms and natural disasters and it is in your families best interest to be prepared. recommends that everyone have a 72hr. kit. I am not so sure that a 72hr. kit is enough preparation but it is a place to start.

Lets start with water. Water is probably the most important thing to have stored for emergencies. The human body can only survive 3 days without water, but you will start suffering the effects of dehydration much sooner than that. It is recommended that you store 1 to 2 gallons of water per person per day. That is a lot of water and it can get expensive. I have a large family so I have been collecting food grade buckets from my local Big chain grocery store that starts with a W. They throw them away and if you ask the bakery manager more than likely they will give you all you want. These buckets have rubber rings that seal them...this is important. I fill these buckets with water and add 5-7 drops of bleach per gallon. You can also save the 2 liter soda bottles and wash them well with soapy water and fill the same way using bleach as described above. Alternatively there are many water purification tablets and drops on the market.


Something else to have on hand is the Water bob bathtub storage insert. If you know that a big storm is coming or that your water supply might possibly be at risk you can put this in your tub and fill it with water. It hold 100 gallons.

Lets talk about what happens when the water supply is cut off for whatever reason. What happens to your toilet and your human waste? Well, if the water system goes down so does the sewage system and if your neighbors are still  trying to use their toilets that waste can come up into you home. The first thing you should do if the water system goes down is to shove a rubber ball deep into the flush hole of your toilet. This will keep the sewage from coming back into your house and exposing your family to disease and costing you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs.
If your toilet isn't working then where do you do your business. I suggest you create a sanitation kit. Your sanitation kit should consist of a 5 gallon bucket with a Toilet seat that fits on it securely. Like this one from Reliance.

Make sure you include in your sanitation kit some large black trash bags, cat liter to sprinkle on top after each use, a few rolls of toilet paper, some hand sanitizer, dish soap, paper towels, sanitary napkins, baby wipes, and disinfectant spray. Also basic hygiene items like bar soap, shampoo, dish soap, laundry detergent, and cleaning supplies. It helps to have some large Rubbermaid type containers for washing small children in, doing dishes and general washing up.When your "toilet" is full you can tie up the trash bag and put it in a hole dug in your back yard. When everything has been restored to normal you can properly dispose of your waste. You can also purchase a premade sanitation kit like this one.

Now let's talk about loss of electricity. We loose power here during Monsoon season fairly regularly. The kids actually look forward to our little power outages because we pull out the candles and tell stories. But what about when power is out for long periods of time, like days, what then. First of all and this one is fairly obvious have candles, flash lights, and batteries on hand. Even better than candles have some oil lamps and extra oil on hand. Don't waste your battery run flash lights on indoor home use, save those for when you have to move around outdoors and night.

You might also want to have a camp type stove for cooking.

 And that brings us to food. First of all if you lose power DO NOT OPEN YOUR FREEZE AND FRIDGE unless absolutely necessary. Keep that cold air in. I would hate to loose my pork from this years pig or all the chicken and frozen veggies. If the power is going to be out for an extended period of time hopefully you are lucky enough to have a generator. I do not have one so we would start eating the food the is in the fridge first, then the freezer and finally start with the canned and dry goods.   If you have an extended pantry that you are working on like I do, then you have canned goods and dry goods stored. But how much do you store and of what. The Church of latter-day saints has a food storage calculator that can help you work on building your food storage. They believe in storing a years worth of food, you can use it to calculate your families needs.  Food storage calculator
 What do you store food in? Those food grade storage buckets for the big W chain come in handy here too. You can also buy 5 gallon buckets with sealing twist on lids and Mylar bags. And don't forget to have a can opener on handy.

Or you can buy 1 month's worth of food already packaged and ready to go like these. Remember you will need one for each member of your family.

Don't let food storage overwhelm you. Start with a 72 hr. kit in mind and expand from there as you see necessary. Add as you go and do research about proper storage.

A First aid kit is also an important thing to have on hand.
Include in your kit things like bandages in different sizes, absorbent compress dressings, adhesive bandages, adhesive cloth tape, antibiotic ointment, peroxide, alcohol, aspirin, Children's pain reliever, Ibuprofen, blanket , breathing barrier (with one-way valve),  instant cold compresses, non latex gloves,  hydrocortisone ointment, Scissors ACE bandages,  sterile gauze pads,  Oral  thermometer, Tweezers and a copy of a book like this one

Also include any medications your family may need for pre existing conditions such as asthma inhalers, heart medication, insulin. allergy meds.etc.  and emergency phone numbers or other items your health-care provider may suggest.
You can also purchase a pre-made first aid kit.

If you have read this far and think that emergency preparedness is for paranoid people and that your local city, state or your country will bail you out, if you think it won't happen or you will have time to gather what you need when the situation arises. THINK AGAIN. Last year a power converter blew out all the power in my neighborhood. There was an explosion and then the power was completely out for blocks and blocks (city blocks). The streets were almost immediately packed with cars headed for the local Walmart to buy candles. I have a friend who works there and he told me that they were sold out in minutes, the lines were long and people were angry. This was for candles, not water, not food, CANDLES.
Ask anyone in the states that have recently been effected by tornado's and hurricanes how long they were with out there basic needs. How long before the local city,county or start officials came to help. I am not suggesting that you prepare for the apocalypse; I am suggesting that you prepare for emergency situations so that your family is cared for and their basic needs are met. Even the US government suggests every household have an emergency kit and instructions on how to create one. You can find their suggestions here. 

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chicken bullion cubes

I make a lot of food that calls for chicken bullion or chicken broth. I used to buy the powdered kind from the store but in my quest to become more self sufficient, save money, and make healthier foods I now make my own. It's a very simple process. I make a large batch because I use the shredded chicken in other recipes and like the convenience of having the shredded chicken on hand. Feel free to reduce it to meet your family's needs. I have been known to make 8 chickens at a time in my big canner. So adjust as you see fit.


4 whole chickens
5 large carrots  cut in half
2 onions cut in half
1 head of garlic cut in half
1 head of celery cut in half
3 or 4 Bay leaves
1 tbs. pepper
1 tbs. cumin
1 tbs. parsley
1 1/3 tbs. oregano
2 tbs. salt

Place all the vegetables and spices on the bottom of a large pot.

 Clean chickens and place them in a large pot. Fill it with water and put to boil. Boil for about 3 hrs. or until chickens are fully cooked and the meat easily comes off of the bone. Turn off the heat and let the chickens cool.

When cool shred  the chicken and place into a separate bowl (freeze and use in a meal of your choice). Strain all the remaining solids off from the liquids. Reserve the liquid (this is going to be your broth) and put it in the fridge over night. In the morning skim any fats that have become solid on the top of the pot and then put your broth to boil again, if your broth is gelatin like, that is great you want that. The gelatin is from the bones boiling and breaking down of the collagen, It's good for you. When it has reduces to about 1/3 of what it was to begin with turn it off and let it cool. Pour into ice trays and freeze. When the broth cubes are frozen, Pop them out and put them into a zip lock bag. When a recipe calls for broth....use your homemade bullion cubes.

Recipe idea's for the shredded chicken,

Chicken salad
Chicken Enchiladas
Chicken noodle soup
Chicken taco's
Chicken pot pie

This and more frugal blogs can be found on

Monday, June 10, 2013

Simple Chicken Salad

I regularly boil chickens to make my chicken broth and that leaves me with yummy well seasoned shredded chicken in my freezer for quick meals. One of my husbands favorite lunches is chicken salad sandwiches. I make it a lot more often now that we no longer eat processed meats.

Here is how I make it,

In a large bowl I put
1/2 medium onion diced
3 c. shredded, cooked chicken
3 c. shredded lettuce
1 c. shredded mild cheddar cheese
1 large tomato diced
1 c. mayonnaise
1 tbs. mustard (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Give it all a good stir and serve on your favorite bread.

Old Fashioned Biscuits, Like Grandma used to make.

Most all of our breakfasts include biscuits, I usually set them on the table with some home made jam and real butter or some sausage gravy. They are quick, easy, and make your family feel cared for.

Here's how easy it is:
Turn you oven on to 350 degrees. Take to cast iron skillets and put 1 tbs. of butter in each one.
Put them in the oven and let the butter melt.
In the mean time here is your ingredient list.

4 c. All purpose four
2 tsp. salt
1 tbs. sugar
2 tbs. baking powder
1/4 Lard or Butter (not margarine) really cold, mine if frozen, cut into pieces
1 3/4 c. milk

In a large bowl put everything but the milk and mix with a pastry blender or 2 knives. Then with a fork start adding the milk. the trick here is that you don't want to over mix the dough. Mix it until it just starts coming together. Put it on a lightly floured counter and roll it out to 1/2 inch in thickness. Cut with a biscuit cutter or if your like me the ring of a canning jar. Pull your cast iron pans out of the oven and put the biscuits in. bake for 20 min. or until golden brown.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Produce Wash

Ideally I would buy only organic foods, but lets face it, sometimes its just a matter of keeping food in the cupboards and non-organic fruits and veggies are better than no fruits and veggies. Hopefully soon the garden will be big enough that we can depend on it for most of our vegetable and fruit needs, until then I try to wash as much gunk of our produce as possible (even organic produce needs a good washing).  Being the cheap..uh frugal person I am, I would never buy produce wash in the store. So here is my recipe for produce wash.
  1. Put the plug in you clean sink and fill about 1/4 full with water.
  2. Add 3/4 cups baking soda
  3. Add 1/2 cup vinegar
  4. Add produce
  5. Add more water as needed to cover produce 
  6. Swish around and let soak for a few minutes.
  7. Rinse 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Free Kindle reading app. for your computer

If you want to take advantage of all the free kindle books you see posted but don't have a kindle reader? Follow this link to a free kindle reader app. for your computer. Kindler Reader App.  After downloading it come on back and take advantage of these books to start your Kindle Library. These books are Under $5.00 and some are FREE!


Mesquite trees

 Living in the desert shade is important, especially if you are a gardener. Having some shade around your garden helps the plants survive the brutal summer heat, it gives my chickens and goats places to get out of the sun and it makes my yard have that lusher look I want. So when its time to plant trees here I was looking for something that was native, drought tolerant and that would grow quickly. I chose the Mesquite tree.
They are called  "the life tree" because it is said that life would not have been able to exist here without this precious tree. When the pods dry they are ground into a flour ( a flour that is gluten free and helps control blood sugar levels) .  Here is another use I found on "The nitrogen-fixing attributes of mesquite may have been recognized by the Pima Indians, who purposely left mesquite trees in the middle of fields as well as leaving them on fence rows, not only because the pods were a good food resource, but also because the falling leaves returned much-needed nitrogen to the soil (Rea 1979)." Desert Harvesters offers grinding events every fall, where they will grind your pods into flour for you. I have a  Mesquite in my yard already, they sprout up every where and are hard to kill. I now see that as a plus. Mesquite pods are ripe right before Monsoon. During Monsoon season little Mesquite trees will pop up all around the base of the mature trees where they can carefully be moved around the yard adding the the mesquite "forest" I am trying to create. Once a mesquite tree is established it really doesn't require any watering from me and grows into a beautiful green, food producing addition to our homestead. 
Another awesome thing about mesquite pods is that goats can have them as a snack and so can the kids, My kids even enjoy chewing on the pods while playing outside. I have heard that people make Mesquite Jelly...hmmm that sounds like it's right up my alley.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Mock Carl's Jr. Bacon Western Cheese burger recipe

We have not been eating fast foods or processed food  for awhile now,  So when that urge for a fat juicy burger hits I need a way to meet that craving in a homemade healthier way.  So I did my best to recreate my husbands favorite fast food burger.

For a really juicy burger don't over cook it. Use very cold ground beef with an 80/20 fat ratio. Form your burgers and put them back in the fridge to get them really cold again. Cook your burgers in a cast iron grill indoors or out on the grill outdoors. Get your grill hot and cook until you reach your desired doneness. Add salt and pepper just before your burgers are done so that the salt doesn't draw the moister out of the meat during cooking. Don't over season your burger we want to taste the burger. 

On to the recipe

  • 2 onion rings per burger (homemade onion ring recipe) or frozen
  • 1/4 pd. ground beef per burger
  • 3 slices of bacon  (try and buy nitrate free bacon or use local farm raised bacon)
  •  1 slice American cheese 
  • 1 sesame seed hamburger bun (homemade hamburger bun recipe)
  • your favorite hickory smoke flavored  B-B-Q sauce (Homemade B-B-Q sauce recipe)

Make your onion ring and buns in advance or put your pre-made onion rings in the oven according to package directions. Form and grill your burgers following the tips above. Add a spoon full of B-B-Q sauce on your bottom bun and place finished burger on top. Place you slice of cheese on burger and top with bacon and onion rings. Add another spoon full of B-B-Q sauce and place the top bun on the top. Enjoy  

Foodie Friends Friday


Here is is, the cure for P.M.S. Share it with your girlfriends.
Find your comfiest P.J's, slide your feet into some furry slippers and fluff up your pillows on the couch or your bed. Grab the remote or a good book and send everyone, somewhere else. Plug in your heating pad, you know where to put it. Pour yourself a glass of your favorite beverage and a slice if this peanut chocolaty cake. OH P.M.S. can be WONDERFUL!!!!


1/2 c. creamy peanut better ( I used an all natural peanut butter)
1 c. water
1 stick butter (not margarine)
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract (optional)


1 1/2 stick butter (not margarine)
10 tbs.  milk
1/c c. creamy peanut butter
3 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 tbs. vanilla extract
1/2 halved peanuts (optional)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. and spray a 9 by 13 inch pan with cooking spray. In a medium saucepan combine peanut butter, water, and butter. Heat over medium heat until melted. In a large bowl stir together dry ingredients  and set aside. When the peanut butter mixture is melted but not hot add the milk, eggs and extracts (I recommend you do it in that order, the milk will help cool the peanut butter so you don't cook the eggs). Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Pour into pan and bake for 20-30 min. or until an inserted  toothpick comes out clean.

While your cake is baking start your frosting. In a small saucepan melt the butter, the peanut butter and the milk. take the pan off the heat and add the vanilla. With a mixer on medium start adding the cocoa powder and the powdered sugar. It should be smooth and somewhat runny. When the cake is done and still warm pour the frosting over the cake and sprinkle with the peanuts. This cake is best eaten warm...but it's good at any temp. 

God made a Farmer


Authentic Mexican Chorizo

 If I can make it my self  for less then it cost to buy it, then I make it. It really doesn't take that much time. I find you have to budget your time like you budget your money. I have 1 day every month that I do my major cooking  and freezing and I do my baking about once a week.Chorizo (Mexican sausage) is a regular part of my monthly food preparation
First of all see the big thing of ground beef........see the yellow tag....those yellow tags are like Christmas for me, when I see the discount tag I stock up. So that is a $10.00, 5lb. chub of ground meat for $6.30. In this recipe I used only 4 lbs of ground meat and froze the rest for spaghetti later in the week. TIP: my family also likes to use this chorizo in our spaghetti, it's like spicy Italian sausage..well kinda.
 4 lbs. Ground beef, pork, turkey ,lamb (whatever you choose...but if your budgeting choose the beef or pork)
 2 tbs. salt
1 c. ground chili powder.
8 crushed hot dried chili's (or if you get crushed peppers when you order pizza, save those packets for your chorizo, use about 4 pkt.)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion finely diced
1/4 cup dried oregano
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon  sugar
3/4 c. vinegar
 put the meat in a large bowl.
Add all the other ingredients and mix it by hand like you would meatloaf. (if you aren't used to working with chili, I suggest using rubber gloves or your hands will burn. My hands are used to it now so I just dig in.) After it is well mixed cover and put in the fridge for 24 hrs. separate into freezer bags and freeze. Remember freeze it in portions that are suitable for your family's needs. I get about 4 meals out of this recipe. When you cook it you can brown it up and add it to scrambled eggs, into your fried potatoes, or in other recipes. Feel free to adjust the spices to suit your tastes.

Israel and James Christian's Story


Rising from the ashes: Local man recalls Eureka rescue

EUREKA MEDICS carry Israel Jaure on a stretcher after Jim Christian, now of Diamond Springs, rescued him from a burning building. News clipping from 1991 Eureka times Standard
EUREKA MEDICS carry Israel Jaure on a stretcher after Jim Christian, now of Diamond Springs, rescued him from a burning building. News clipping from 1991 Eureka times Standard
All firefighters have stories. Firefighters go in when most of us come out. Sometimes the stories have  happy endings and sometimes you just wish they did.
The story that began for retired Diamond Springs Fire Chief, Jim Christian, on April 5, 1991, continued on April 17, 2011, and the end  is still unknown. It is presented here in two parts and italicized sections are Jim Christian’s own writings about the event.
The story began when Christian was a firefighter in Eureka. It wasn’t my normal day to work because I had traded a shift … I opened the back door of Station 3 and stepped inside just as the klaxon in the apparatus room went off. The bay door was already going up and the three-person crew of Jim Ballard, Gary Cahill and Mike Bakke was getting into their turnouts. As soon as the klaxon quit the dispatcher announced. “Engine 1, Engine 4, Tuck 1, Engine 3 3F2, a structure fire, 1122 J Street, reports of children trapped inside.”
I was putting my breathing apparatus on when I heard Chief McFarland over the engine’s radio tell us to go to the south side toward the rear of the building. I didn’t have a portable radio of my own. I wasn’t even supposed to be there.

As I got close to the house, people actually grabbed me, urging me to the side of the house, crying that there were kids trapped upstairs.

There was an aluminum construction ladder leaning against the single story roof. Officer Tony Zanotti of the Eureka Police Department was standing on the roof… I climbed up the ladder. Zanotti grabbed my shoulder as I got to the roof. He said, “ If there is anybody there, they are right there.” He pointed to the window he had just broken. I looked at the fire billowing out of the adjoining room five or six feet away. There was fire at the top of the window Zanotti had broken. The smoke was pushing out hard and fast.

I looked around for the other firefighters from Engine 3. They were close and coming to help me, but I couldn’t see them. I thought I was alone. I remember thinking that I would not get out of this unscathed. I dove head first through the window…The impact partially dislodged my mask from my face and I breathed in a lot of smoke and hot air.I couldn’t see anything. It was dense black and very, very hot.

I was lying on the floor when I heard something that sounded like someone snoring. I straightened my mask and went for the sound. My hands found him, wedged in the small space.. I hadn’t been expecting someone so big.
Fifteen-year-old Israel Jaure was sleeping when a crashing sound awoke him around 7 a.m.
“There were flames everywhere and there was so much noise,” he said in a phone interview with the Mountain Democrat. “I panicked and screamed. I knew there was a way out through the back door of the kitchen and I opened the door to my room. A horrible blast of heat knocked me down.”
Disoriented, his body numb and his eyes burning, Jaure fell back into his bedroom and crawled as far from the fire as he could get. He lay on his back, in a space between the bed and the far wall. His body went into convulsions. “I was flopping like a fish out of water. It was like drowning and being burned at the same time. I kept saying ‘God, help me’ over and over.”
Finally the convulsions stopped and Jaure became acutely aware of his surroundings. ” I could see the flames all around me; I could hear my mother screaming for me downstairs, even over the noise of the fire. Then the pain stopped and all I could feel was peace.”
Jaure says he saw instances of his life unroll before him like a film. “I took the deepest breath of my life and when I let it out, my eyes dimmed, my hearing went away and I knew I was about to die.”
Jaure said he went to a place of total darkness; a lonely void where he had no body. “I called out in my mind as loud as I could. I heard a huge, heavy door open and the sound of thunder.”
Jaure felt himself being lifted and placed on his feet. He fell forward onto his knees into a huge beam of light. “God spoke to me and it was like shockwaves going through my body. He told me about my life, who I was and why I was suffering. Then he took me up on a high plateau and I could see people as far as the eye could see, dressed in clothing the color of lightning. I turned to look at God, but he stopped me. I was upset by this but a man with a shining face said, ‘Don’t worry, it’s not your time to see Him.’”
“I couldn’t stand up because of the heat. I grabbed his right arm and tried to pull him toward me.  The burned skin on Israel’s arm came off in my glove. I laid across the bed and grabbed his upper body and somehow got him over the bed to the floor near the window. I could hear Captain Ballard taking the window frame out to give us room.

I was dragging Israel toward the window when Mike Bakke came crashing through it. I was never so happy to have someone jump on me in all my life. We dragged him to the window and lifted him gently as possible through it. It was the first time I could actually see Israel Jaure.

Israel was placed on the shoulders of Engineer Tad Sundquist who carried him down to a Medic Unit. He was flown to San Francisco where he spent several weeks in a hospital burn unit. No other children were in the building.
Christian lay on the roof of the building resting, his turn-outs smoking. Then he went back to work fighting the fire. He wouldn’t see  Israel Jaure again for 20 years.
Bakke, Ballad, Sundquist and Christian received commendations for their part in the rescue. Jaure’s parents brought a letter of gratitude to the fire department thanking the Eureka Fire Department, which stated, “He has become the memorial of your valor and the thankfulness which we cannot describe.”

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Wendy Schultz Posted by Wendy Schultz on May 31 2011. Filed under Diamond Springs, Featured Stories, News

Rising from the ashes: Rescuer, rescued reunite in El Dorado Hills

ISRAEL JAURE and Jim Christian meet in Christian's El Dorado Hills home. Photo by Elaine Christian
ISRAEL JAURE and Jim Christian meet in Christian's El Dorado Hills home. Photo by Elaine Christian
Part 2 of Rising from the Ashes– On April 5, 1991, 15-year-old Israel Jaure was trapped in his family’s burning second floor apartment in Eureka. Jim Christian, a 39-year-old Eureka firefighter, dove into the flames and smoke to rescue him and, with the help of another firefighter, pulled the burned boy out of the building to safety. This is the second part of a two-part story detailing the events of the fire and the reunion of survivor and rescuer 20 years later.
Israel Jaure woke up in an ambulance. “I couldn’t see much of the man in the ambulance, but I heard him say, ‘He’s awake,’” and I heard the surprise in his voice.”
He woke again in Eureka’s General Hospital, surrounded by doctors and nurses trying to enervate him. Then he woke once again, to find himself wrapped like a mummy. He could hear the engine of the plane flying him from Eureka to San Francisco. In St. Francis Memorial Hospital, Jaure woke once more, in a big metal tub of hot water this time. Again medical staff were surprised at his waking. “The air smelled like bleach and I lifted my hand to look at it and I could see my veins and muscles. It was horrible.”
Israel suffered first and second degree burns on 22 percent of his body and doctors grafted skin from his back and hips onto his hands and left leg.
“I was a boxer and felt that nothing could hurt me, so I was into drinking with my friends and partying,” said Jaure. ” Then I was burned and scarred; my friends looked at me with pity in their eyes. It was a pretty humbling experience and a dark time for me. It took years to recover. I coughed up soot for a year and my hair fell out when my skin started to regrow. I was angry.”
The grueling day-to-day recovery pushed his amazing spiritual experience during the fire into the background and Jaure admits to years of anger, wondering why this had happened to him. His parents moved the family to Arizona two years after the fire. The girl he’d been dating at the time of the fire in Eureka, Tracy O’Hara, had been at the scene of the fire and witnessed the rescue. She stuck by Jaure and they eventually married. They became the parents of six healthy children — the oldest daughter of their five girls is 16, and their youngest child, a boy, is almost 3.  Tracy, 34, home-schools all the children. Israel, 35, changed the direction of his life and became a corrections officer working with maximum security prisoners for Pima County in Arizona.
Christian, now 59,  moved to El Dorado County in September of 1991, five months after the fire, becoming assistant fire chief for Diamond Springs ,and after his retirement as fire chief  in 2003, a fire management consultant and division supervisor on the Northern California Interagency Incident Management Team. Most recently, he oversaw the application of the Incident Command System to the recovery process at the San Bruno pipeline explosion.
Of the Jaure fire he said, “It made such an impact on me. I’d been in peril in other fires, but not by my own choice. Firemen get to do really cool things, but when the time comes to step off the abyss and you don’t know if you will be coming back, will you do it? I thought I was alone and I was scared to death. I made the decision to go in because if there was a kid in there and I didn’t go in, how would I live with myself?
“I thought about the incident every day and I put a photo of the house on my desk when I became assistant chief to remind me of  where I came from and what firefighters are supposed to do. I wondered what kind of person Israel was. I knew he had been in continuation school. Had he become a good guy or not?” Eventually, to help himself process the impact of the event, he wrote an accounting of the fire and the rescue.
Christian told few about the incident that impacted him, but this year, 20 years after the fire, he shared his story with a friend and admitted that he had always wondered what happened to Israel. The friend did some Internet research and returned with two possibilities for Israel Jaure. Christian checked them out and one of them led to Tracy O’Hara Jaure’s Facebook page. He e-mailed her, asking if she were the wife of Israel Jaure of Eureka who had been in a fire 20 years earlier. When Tracy replied in the affirmative, Christian told her he had been involved in the rescue.
“It was my day off, ” Israel Jaure remembered. “She told me, ‘You’ll never believe who e-mailed me.’”  Jaure e-mailed Christian back thanking him for whatever part he had played in the rescue. “I never expected him to be the guy who came in and got me.” The two exchanged phone numbers.
“He told me to call him anytime, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to intrude,” said Christian. Finally, he made the call and the two shared the details of the fire with each other in an emotional conversation.
On the weekend of April 17, the Jaure family came to California to visit Tracy’s father in Valley Springs and made a five-hour stopover at Jim and Elaine Christian’s home in El Dorado Hills. Both men said they felt an instant connection.
“I felt like I was going to visit my second father, one I had never met,” said Jaure. “It blew me away that I got to see the man who saved me.”
“They were like family we hadn’t met yet,” said Christian.”It was the most amazing and cathartic thing that happened to me in a long time.”
As a surprise for Jaure and his family, Christian had asked his friend, retiring firefighter Mike Wilson of the El Dorado Hills station, to drive  the ladder truck by his home . On his last run as a firefighter, Wilson brought Station Truck 85 to show Jaure’s children. They knew the story of the fire and their father’s spiritual experience.  ”I wanted them to know that there is something bigger; something beyond going to work everyday,” said Jaure.
Jaure had a surprise for Christian too — a silver pocket watch engraved with Christian’s name and “April 5, 1991,” the date of the fire. “Then he rolled up his sleeve and showed me the tattoo, ” said Christian, “I was trying not to lose it, but my wife looked and burst into tears and that was it.”
The tattoo on Jaure’s right bicep is new. “I wanted to do something for him,” said Jaure. The black ink tattoo is a large Maltese Cross with a pair of crossed fire axes in the middle. “April 5, 1991″ is tattooed above and below the axes and the words, ” James”, ” Christian,”  ”Fire”  and “Dept.” fill the arms of the cross.
For both men the reunion was a powerful experience.
“It was like a reminder of what God had promised me that day,”said Jaure.” I’ve had 20 years of life, we have six children and I am big and strong enough to deal with the prisoners on my job. I realized that God sees far and he was truly looking out for my interests.”
For Christian, it was all about redemption. “I’m not a perfect guy, but in the low times, I remembered that I had done something good once and it sustained me. To find out that Israel is a nice guy with a great family meant a lot.”
Both men declare their intention to keep in contact. “This is a lifelong connection,” said Jaure. When Jaure’s 16-year-old daughter thanked Christian for her life, it was the first time he realized the far-reaching impacts of what had happened during that fire 20 years earlier.
“The vast majority of people don’t come back to tell you what happened to them after they survive. I’m glad I know it was a good outcome,” said Christian.

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Wendy Schultz Posted by Wendy Schultz on Jun 9 2011. Filed under Featured Stories, News.