I just finished up making and canning chicken stock.

The day before I found out I was heading out…again…I cooked a whole chicken.  While in the car on the way to the airport, I asked my wife to save the  bones and carcass so I could make stock.

This is one of those 3 day long recipes that needs about an hour of attention.

The only things one really needs are the carcass and water, but I do add some onion and garlic.

I put the chicken carcass into a stockpot, cover the carcass with water and add a couple of cloves of garlic and about 1/2 a chopped onion.  I then let it simmer for 24 hours.  Why 24 hours?  It’s just convenience…start it in the morning, let it simmer until the next morning.  There is no other reason.

When I get around to it the next morning, I pour the liquid through a strainer and into another container.  After the stock has cooled to nearly room temperature, I put it in the refrigerator so the fat will harden.

I skim the fat off and reheat the stock.

While the stock is being reheated, I get the canning jars, lids, screw bands and the canner itself ready for use.

I use 12 ounce jars for canning the stock.  With the required space left in the jars, it works out that the jar holds slightly more than a cup of stock.  Since most of my recipes need 1 cup or 2 cups, etc. of stock, this works out perfectly.

Fill the jars, wipe the jar rims, place the lids, tighten the screw bands, put the jars into the canner, secure the canner lid, wait for the needed pressure reading, start timing and then let it cool down.

I got started doing this when my father was still alive.  He had congestive heart failure and his physician said he should eat a low fat, law salt diet.  This kind of diet is difficult because commercially prepared low fat foods typically have a high salt content while commercially prepared low salt foods have a high fat content.

My father and mother loved soups, so I’d make the stock, add some vegetables and preserve it in 12 ounce jars.  With no added salt and the fat skimmed, the soup was both low at and low salt.

After my father died, I continued this for my mother.

After my mother died, I quit making the soup, but I continued with the stock and use it when I’m cooking rice.  I just added another six jars of stock to the pantry.  After the Thanksgiving holiday, I’ll stock up (sorry for the pun) even more.


Oct 31

Yet another October 31 passed with little external fanfare.

I was out hiking yesterday and I stopped by a pool of water being fed by a tiny trickle of water.  The pool was perfectly still and I could see my reflection.

I looked old…balding, grey hair, a “turkey wattle” under my chin.

In my mind, I could still see my fiancee. She was young.


I’ve probably said this before.  Even so I’ll say it again, “Waiting is a large part of a disaster response.”

And, that is what we are doing right now.

The typhoon doesn’t appear to have damaged the medical and medical support systems to the point of needing outside assistance.

But, that could change, so we wait until we are needed or things stabilize enough that it is certain we are not needed.

It’s not glamorous, but it’s the norm.

I’m Home.

I got home Friday evening around 6pm and fell asleep until the next morning.  Moving from day shift to night shift and back to day shift in the course of several days is hard on the body. 🙂

My uniforms are washed and my gear bag and day pack are re-packed and again ready to go.

The hospital where we set up the tents was the closest open hospital to the disaster zone and was designated to receive sick and injured persons from the disaster zone.  It was also expected that people in need would drive in their own cars until they encountered the hospital and “just show up”.

What the team did is called “ED decompression”.  In other words, help the hospital handle a current or expected overload of patients.

It was pretty busy.  We felt we did a good job and more importantly, the patients and their families felt we did a good job.

What I did was

  • Help set up the tents and stock them with medical supplies
  • Set up the 2-way radio equipment, the satellite telephones and help set up the computerized medical records systems.

And after that, repeat the following each day

  • Wake up
  • Shower, etc.
  • Dress
  • Eat
  • Do a quick shift change briefing with my shift replacement.
  • Monitor the electronics stuff to make sure it’s all working.
  • Change the 2-way radio batteries at the middle and end of the 12 hour shift.
  • Do a quick shift change briefing with my shift replacement.
  • Eat.
  • Sleep.

What isn’t mentioned is “drink coffee” as that was an ongoing process.   The only times I wasn’t drinking coffee was when I was showering and sleeping…and I’m not sure about not drinking coffee when I was asleep. 🙂

This routine is similar for all of my deployments and changes only if something breaks or some new requirement is suddenly made.  Then the two of us tech guys get really busy.

The job is fulfilling, rewarding, valuable and very necessary, but it is not often exciting and that’s how it should be.  If it’s exciting too often, then we are not doing our jobs correctly.