Monday, August 31, 2009
Saturday my friend, no-pictures-please Beth treated me to one of Maggies' fabulous canning classes (birthday present) and in this class we made dill pickles. I learned so many new things during this class, including to check the rims of your jars to make sure there are no nicks (leads to an improper seal) and that I can use 2 grape leaves in place of alum to keep those pickles crisp. Beth and I had great fun and after the class, we visited one of the local wineries. Mmm, Mmm, Good!
So Sunday I was determined to finish canning the corn I had taken off the cob Friday. Friday was a successful corn canning day. Every jar sealed and the corn looks so pretty! I think I left my canning mojo at Maggies. Look at this corn - what happened? As far as I can tell, my process did not change: wood stove and canner are the same. Times were the same. ???? Can one of you expert canning gurus offer some suggestions? I'm thinking too hot? Though the canner should have indicated the heat was off, yes? Anything else?
I am very sad about the 7.5 quarts that are now useless. Well, I am guessing they are useless; all jars sealed and I have not opened one yet. *sighs* Could it just be discolored and not burnt?
Friday, August 28, 2009
Katelyn is #32; she is serving. Oh, our girls are the ones dressed in black.
Ashley is #24 and is the setter
Today's paper featured this article:
Volleyball From Paper 09240
This last video was made by Katelyn and her friend Allyson. They were trying out different voices that go with the web cam and found one called Old Man. We had to listen to it at least a half dozen times; it was just too funny! Katelyn is on the right, Allyson the left. LMAO!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Over dinner we talked about how to put back these ears and decided that the shorter cobs we would blanch and freeze; like the bags of corn on the cob you can buy at the store. The rest we would take off the cob and can. Tonite is off the cob and can night. It looks to be a daunting project as tomatoes need to be boiled down during this time as well (new batch of sauce).
Oh, the kraut is finished. Monday Pat came over, we tasted (OH SO GOOD!) and then processed. And now some pictures from the last few days. . .
I am back to that scene from the Hobbit "Boil 'em, mash 'em, stick 'em in a stew". LOL Not too off track. Many sites state the leaves are a tastey treat for goats and the root to work as a diuretic or as a help for hemorrhoids. Wikipedia mentions a use for burn treatment as it creates a moisture barrier and helps to slow bacteria growth. Now that would not be bad if I were out and could not get my hands on a band aid. How does all this information translate into practical, real life, you-and-me use? An excellent question and one I am still trying to answer. This plant looks so good in writing, though non of the proposed uses (other than sauteing and eating) have any application in our lives, for the moment anyway. There are always precautions like the root looks similar to that of nightshade so be sure of what you are buying/digging and do not take while lactating or pregnant.
Do any of you use burdock or have stories from your family about its use? Would you share those stories/uses? We have so much of this I'd love to find a way to use it.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
This morning was the first day of school - we have a freshman and a 10th grader. *bites nails* Bath County schools are starting earlier this year than in past, yet still after most counties have already begun. I know there will be some post worthy stories about today and those will trickle in tomorrow.
On another note, I have been preoccupied lately mostly due to lots of canning, cooking, writing and reading this post from A Self Sufficient Life about making money by posting online. It is a big more involved than that and if you are even remotely interested, read the ENTIRE article. My job is not 100% secure (is anyones when you work for someone else) so I am trying to vary our income sources. After the van is paid off, our only big bill will be the mortgage and my student loan (*ack*). I have also applied to write for a few other blogs - yes, filling up the ole plate. Applying is one thing, being accepted is another. No worries if that door is not ready to open.
Monday, August 24, 2009
These photos were taken while my youngest was learning to drive. We were wearing seat belts and she did a good job stopping in time for the shutter. For more sweet shots, visit the other Sunday Stillers.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
We ended up with maybe two 'messes' of painted pony beans that began to sprout after hulling! These needed to be cooked or canned as soon as possible. My canning booklets do not specifically address fresh hulled beans so I found a wonderful site that talked about how to cook fresh or dried beans, cooked 'em up and then canned 'em. I canned rather than letting them dry because first I do not know what to do with them to let them dry - obviously it is too warm and humid at the house for anything to dry - beans are sprouting! And secondly, the canned beans will be more easily and quickly used later if they are already cooked. These two messes resulted in a quart and a half of cooked beans. Hardly enough to carry us through the winter!
This same bean website presented the most wonderful sounding recipe that I hope to try soon!
Basil Parmesan Pot Beans
2 cups heirloom dried beans
2 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
Red pepper flakes, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
Fresh grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil
1 large tomato
Rinse and drain the dried beans thoroughly. Cover the beans with water in a medium saucepan and leave to soak for a couple hours or overnight. Sliver the garlic and chop the onion finely. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy frying pan and lightly cook the onion, garlic, and red pepper flakes over medium heat until the onion is translucent.
Add the cooked onions and garlic to the beans in the saucepan and bring to a hard boil over high heat. Boil for five minutes, then turn the heat to very, very low. Barely simmer for 2-3 hours, until the beans are tender, checking from time to time to see if they are drying out.
Finely chop the basil and mince the tomatoes. At the very end of the beans' cooking, throw in the basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with minced tomato, a little extra basil, and Parmesan on top.
I did not get anywhere with the lemon balm but did get to the viewing, began making tomato sauce and convertedfour chopsticks into four double point knitting needles. Now some chop sticks have a large square block at the holding end and these will not work; the sticks I used had a smooth round holding end and then the smooth, somewhat pointed eating end. To 'sharpen' the holding end I used an electric pencil sharpener; used the sharpener to make the eating points a little more pronounced, sanded and voila - knitting needles! Here, have a look. . .
Next step is to check the stash of yarn and see what I have that will feel good and work for socks.
Did I mention that it is raining again and has been, at least once a day all week? The forecast for the weekend is rain, rain, and rain with scattered thunderstorms. Should I start planting rice?
Now that my wages have been cut (allows me to keep my job) I do not have nor want to spend extra $ to purchase double sided knitting needles and realized that we have a slew of chopsticks that were given to us by a friend who moved (thanx Jamie!) and the one end could be cut down to form the other pointed side. *puffs up proudly* Thank you Sharon for allowing my moment of enlightenment to occur! =)
When to begin... an excellant question! After work I need to start bread (Artisian Bread in 5 minutes a day), finish hulling and begin canning beans, can tomatoes, go to a viewing (sad), and make some Lemon Balm tea for Ronnie - he gets these stress induced canker sores in his mouth - using this recipe I found on the encyclopedia of spices:
Lemon Balm TeaI read where commercial brand toothpaste may contribute to the frequency of cankers and wonder if we switched to a natural type, would it help reduce the frequency of these nasty sores? Can anyone speak to the commercial toothpaste thing? How many of you have switched to a natural or homemade toothpaste/powder? What product or recipe did you move to? I may try this recipe(below) this evening and see what happens.
(with fresh or dried leaf)
1heaping tablespoon of dried leaves
2 tablespoons of fresh leaves for each cup of boiling water
(or make sun tea by placing herbs and cool water in covered jar in the sun for a few hours)
strain add honey and, or lemon.
Thoroughly mix 3 parts baking soda (the cleanser and sweetener) with part salt (the abrasive) and funnel the compound into a short small-mouthed container such as a pop or beer bottle. You'll find that the creation has a satisfying, different taste and leaves your mouth feeling very fresh and soothed. If you'd like, add a few drops of peppermint or wintergreen oil to the concoction.Then this one also looks effective.
Ok, I believe I have 'rambled' enough for the moment. Will keep you posted on what happens.
- Directions: Make a paste by combining the two ingredients. Use this paste on your teeth and also gently rub along your gums two times a week.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Our porch is wide with tall ceilings so Ronnie will often set the grill up on the porch - keeps him and the grill out of the wet weather. This is a charcoal grill to which Ronnie will add hickory chips for extra flavor. . . . and lots of smoke! Well, yesterday there was so much smoke coming from this grill that one of the volunteer fire fighters stopped to make sure the house was not on fire! Glad it was just wood chips smoking some steaks and not what he feared. Sometimes nosey small town people drive me nuts and other times, like yesterday, I am glad to have nosey neighbors!
In other news, our yearly tandem of wood arrived today. Looks like its choppin' time again.
My previous post showed the bean beetle damage we experienced - it is tough growing organic, no insecticide veggies. It appears that I am not the only one. Deborah has/is having the same challenge. I did break down and spray the new sweet meat squash and cinderella pumpkin plants with some stink bug killer. We harvest 4 yellow squash this year - out of four plants! I cannot loose these other plants. *sighs* The corn, at least, is doing well along with green peppers and banana peppers.
Tonite we are going to a birthday party for two of Ronnie's cousins and while the girls go down the street for a fall sports pool party. Then, hopefully, I can prepare/can more tomatoes.
I needed to change the blog set up - spark some creativity. Let me know if you prefered the fence.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
We picked the painted ponies and those are not in jars, though I have the same question. How do I store them? Canning them would make it easier to use later... What do you do?
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
This was just too funny so I had to post about it now.
Background leading up to funny: Otis and I had a busy evening in the garden, picking beans with Otis digging large craters in the garden. After dinner, and before bed, both Otis and I needed a bath. Now usually it is easier to wash Otis in the shower prior to bathing and use the hand held shower head. So last night I took Otis to the shower, washed him up and Ronnie was in charge of drying him while I took my shower.
Now for the funny: All went well until Ronnie got out the blow dryer. In the past Otis has stood still while being dried but last night he ran, jumped back into the shower with me, realized it was wet where I was and jumped back out. He did this one more time in that direction and then decided to try to enter from the other side of the tub only to make the same discovery.
LOL He is such a funny little dog!
We are also thinking of getting another cat. I still miss Mason so very much and aside from his companionship, we miss his mousing skills. So Mom, if your reading this, if you find a Manx that needs a home, please let me know. This new addition needs to get along with Otis and has to be able to defend himself against same dog (all claws in tact).
Monday, August 10, 2009
What we decided was to keep the market small for this year, especially since we are starting late. Opening day is September 5th and will run each Saturday through the month of October; hours are 1-5pm. The Dairy, since this is an off shoot of the Community Garden, will take care of insurance and the AG and Health Dept. I am hoping that we will be able to find someone willing to provide some live music. Since most of our gardens are only just now coming in, a later start date is a good thing. I hope to bring veggies and some crafts (dishcloths, perhaps some soap, etc).
Related to soap making, I cannot find lye locally. For those that order supplies online, from whom do you purchase? Do you have a favorite soap recipe or soap making website/blog?
Oh, Kathie (I think it was you) requested the recipe for the laundry soap that I use and I apologize for the delay in getting this to you. The recipe I use is from Down--to--earth.
Laundry LiquidNow, what's cool about this is my measuring cups and bucket are marked for metric so I did not have to do any converting from metric to imperial (I believe that is the term). The ingredients I purchased online from www.soapsgonebuy.com.
Makes 10 litres
You may add any essential oil of your choice to these homemade cleaners. Oils like tea tree, eucalyptus, lavender or rose are ideal but are not an essential ingredient. They are not necessary to the recipe but do not detract from the effectiveness by adding them. Use essential oil and not a fragrant oil.
1½ litres water1 bar Sunlight or generic laundry soap or any similar pure laundry soap, grated on a cheese grater OR 1 cup of Lux flakes½ cup washing soda – NOT baking or bicarb soda½ cup boraxToolsSaucepan
10 litre bucket
Slotted spoon or wooden spoon for mixing
Into a medium sized saucepan add 1½ litres of water and the soap. Over a medium heat, stir this until it is completely dissolved. Make sure the soap dissolves properly or the mixture will separate when cold.Add the washing soda and borax. Stir until thickened, and remove from heat.
Pour this mixture into your 9-10 litre bucket then fill the bucket with hot water from the tap. Stir to combine all the ingredients. The laundry liquid will thicken up more as it cools. When cool, store in a plastic container. I use one of those 10 litre flat plastic box containers with a lid. Use ¼ cup of mixture per load or monitor to see what works well for you. I keep a ¼ cup measuring scoop in the box to measure the mixture into the washing machine.
This detergent will not make suds when you wash as it does not contain the chemicals that supermarket detergents add to make suds. You do not need suds to wash your clothes or for the detergent to be effective. The agitation of the washing machine does most of the washing. Additives loosen the dirt and grease. If you use the greywater from your laundry on your garden, leave out the borax.All these washing aids are suitable for top loaders AND front loaders. I have been using them in my front loader machines for years with no ill effects.
Sunday, August 09, 2009
see if you can get all 4 elements plus the 5th element. This may take all week but hey thats why its a challenge…:-)
Earth and air are the easiest component to include as it is all around us; though air cannot be seen unless it is moving something, thus the coming storm with clouds and debris in the last picture.
Be sure to check out all the other talented photographers in the Sunday Stills link above. My Dad and grandparents are coming to visit today so I am going to get ready for their visit. Have a great Sunday!
Friday, August 07, 2009
Yes, I realize that what I am saying is contrary to what 'officials' will say about the economy. I do not trust officials as they are still on the road to Oz. I have stepped off the yellow brick road, still walking beside though. Now it appears to be time to walk my own road.
What are your thoughts? Do you have/not have a checking account? Why/Why not?
Thursday, August 06, 2009
On Sunday, Ronnie's mom brought by 6 large heads of cabbage. If it were just one or two heads, we'd steam these up with potatoes and have some good eatin. Six heads will not store for too long and our neighbor said she could show me how to make kraut. I'm game. Love to eat it, never made it. So last night Pat came over, bringing her shredder and crock and we proceeded to quarter all 6 heads and began to shred. To every 5 lbs of shredded cabbage we mixed in 3 tbsp of salt (roughly). Once mixed, the cabbage must be bruised and for this we used a potato masher. After suitably bruising, it was then placed into the crock and pushed down again. Otis' ears looks like he is ready to fly. LOL And yes, that is me with the cook stove in the back ground. Ronnie was making dinner while camera-shy Pat and I were making kraut.
Bruising and the salt causes the cabbage to release its juices and this is what you want. After the cabbage is all pushed down, you take an upside down plate and push down the cabbage again; place a water filled quart jar on top and then cover the whole thing with a layer of cheese clothe across the top (keeps stuff from falling into the crock. This crock will now live in the basement (50-60 degrees) for the next several weeks with one of us going down to skim the 'schtuff' off the top. Pat and Ronnie have both experienced kraut making in the past and they assured me that I would know exactly what the 'schtuff' would be - can you say gross? *bleck*
Once the kraut has stewed for several weeks, we will can in a hot water bath and voila! Kraut for whenever. =) I've only eaten kraut with sausages. Anyone have a cool recipe for us to try?
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Yesterday evening, arrived home from work, kissed the chill'ins and headed out to the garden to do some weeding, planning, and checking. Several questions arose, and I am hoping that you can help even without pictures! Muhaha. Yes, I am that confident in your abilities.
- The lettuce has bolted and is beginning to flower - at what point do I collect the seeds? Is there an 'easy' way?
- How do I know when the black beans are ready to pick and shell. Should these beans be black in the pod? The pod is green and the one I picked last night just had a hint of black on the bean.
- We had potato bugs this year and now that these potatoes are all harvested, what can I plant in its place? I realize that the parent potato bugs will winter over in this spot and we will not plant potatoes here next year.
We ended up buying beans from someone this year, so there would be something canned for the winter. Our blue lakes are coming in sporadically, a mess for dinner and that is about it. $35 for a bushel and I even had to look up how to spell bushel! Now that is sad. After the wedding, etc. I was able to pressure can 8 quarts and will do more tonite - it is hard to can after spending the evening weeding and such. The hard part of this for me is the pressure canner. It only does 8 and 15 lbs of pressure; beans require 11 0r so the directions say. That brings me to another question - I canned these beans at 8 lbs for 30 minutes while the directions called for 11 lbs for 25 minutes. How does one alter this type of directions and get it right? Any ideas?
I heard on NPR this morning how Appalachian Power was approved for an 8% billing increase due to the increased fuel costs to generate said electricity. There are three more requests pending before the SCC. *shakes head* Are you ready for this?