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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy After Christmas!

Hey folks! Hope those who celebrate Christmas had a good one. ..and those who don't had a nice day off.

It was a very long day for me as two of my three children have elected to be Christian I make sure the holiday that is big is theirs. That said my brother-in-law was suppose to have my nephew call my kids to talk to them on Christmas day. The young man misses them as he hasn't seen them since my youngest was 8(?) I think. Well... it didn't happen and my kids wound up very disappointed as they really wanted to talk to him. It bother's me when people who are family and make a promise to some kids don't keep it.

Anywho... Silver thought the turkey that I made should have been on the cover of a magazine, though I guess I should have taken a picture of it. Thing is he told me after dinner, so I had no idea till it was to late to get a picture of it.

Last week I started up a linkdin(sp?) account, I have not done much with it as yet though. Those of you who know me on facebook can find a link to it there. I am considering setting up an extra page on the blogger blog as a kids page for the kids to write on while they have a break at school. AS I know my son has commented that he gets at least some time once a week on the computers there as free time. So we'll see if I get a chance to set it up in the next couple of weeks.

I have found already the seeds that I want to order from Baker Creek, and once I send some orders out I'll list them here for everyone to see. Oh, something interesting; my tea trees are still in full leaf I wonder if that is because they are from Russia by the Black Sea? We'll see how they are come spring.

That's it for now folks!

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Sometimes life can be very interesting in a week and sometimes nothing happens at all..
or rather nothing of note happens. …
this week isn't one of those quiet ones...
 Last Saturday when I posted I was doing so while we were out grocery shopping, on a very nice warm day, but the day after was even warmer. So warm that me and Silver were able to eat breakfast outside at our outdoor table without coats on. Halfway through December in our climate that's just weird... We did enjoyed it immensely however. Later that day we spent watching a stump burn out in a fire ring we borrowed from Queen Sized Tink and her family. We haven't had a camp fire in a while and it was nice to have.

 I have a couple cute pictures of the last batch of kittens we had that I finally got around to tinkering with. Merlin and Lady have had their moments of oddity just like our other cats. The first is of Lady on the food dehydrator:
  Lady on food dryer
 Then little Merlin in the pot from making my spaghetti, I thought it looked like he was searching for food. Merlin looking for food
 I also have a picture I took in October of the pond we're digging out full of water. wolf lake late october I have tried out a new recipe, it is for sourdough pretzels; they were very good so try it out:
 1C sourdough starter
 1 ½ C white flour
 1C warm water
 Remove the starter from your refrigerator and stir it well. Take out one cup and place it in a warm bowl of 2 quart or larger capacity. Return your starter to the refrigerator. Add the warm water and stir until well mixed. Slowly add the white flour stirring continuously to blend the flour in well. You want the mixture to be smooth, you may use an egg beater or an electric mixer. Cover and set in a warm place to proof, this can be 8-12 hours. I let mine go overnight.

 1 ½ C sponge
 1 C HOT water
 2 T butter
 3 T sugar
 2 t salt
 5 ½ C flour
 1 egg yolk
 2 T thick cream or evaporated milk
 The first thing you wish to do is stir up your sponge and return 1 cup of it to your starter, replenishing it. Then with the rest of your ingredients at room temperature, you can start your prep. Add the 2 T butter, 3 T sugar, and 2 t salt to the 1 C of hot water stir and cool till lukewarm. Put the sponge in a warm bowl (btw I just use the bowl I proofed in), add the water mix to it and stir in. Add 4 cups of the flour, ½ a cup at a time stirring after each addition. This will get very stiff! Turn out onto a floured board and knead in approximately 1 ½ cups more of the flour. The dough will be very stiff. Place in a greased bowl, turn over and cover. Let set for 2 hours to proof (please note it DOES NOT SAY until doubled). On a board that has been scraped clean of flour break off pieces of dough about the size of a large egg. Roll each piece out with your palms of your hands until it is about 18 inches long and ½ inch in diameter. Twist into the shape of a pretzel. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Brush them with a mixture of the egg yolk and the cream. Cover and place in a warm 85 degree spot for 30 minutes for proofing. Then brush with the yolk/cream mixture again and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes.
 I can tell you it was a very good batch of pretzels, Silver commented that they were better than any we have bought in any store.
 Last night was Yule for those of you who celebrate it, and Silver and I attempted to stay up all night with a fire lit in the same fire ring from Tink. We set up piles of wood for the night and even a kitchen for some foods were were going to cook over the fire.
  yule fire yule kitchen The only problem we encountered was that we were too tired to keep it going come midnight. So what we did do was bring the wood that was burning into the house and put it into the wood stove and set it up to keep burning all night. This morning it was still burning and all that was needed was to set a couple extra pieces on the fire to get a good flame going.

 I would like to take a moment to mention something that has been in the news for well over a week now.

(*steps on soapbox*) The shooting disaster at the Connecticut school, personally I think it was a horrible tragedy. I also believe in gun rights, HOWEVER... I do have an issue with people who buy assault rifles or large magazines and say they have them for hunting. If you need that many bullets to shoot a food animal then there is a problem with you.

Also that being said … if guns are taken away the only ones who will have them are cops and crooks... BECAUSE crooks don't care how they get the weapons in the first place so removing the legal way of getting them doesn't stop crimes. The crooks will still get the weapons if they want them.

 I hate to say it but in this day and age, if someone wants to commit a violent crime they -WILL-, if they don't care what happens to them after the fact legality won't prevent it. This is something that those who are in power either don't care about or forget “conveniently”.

 I do hope that person who killed those kids who never had a chance to live burns in what ever version of HELL they believe in. I also hope people don't forget that some of those kids killed might have siblings that need hearts and hands reaching out to help them. The other kids that -survived- this tragedy will have a horrible emotional scar that they will carry for a very long time just due to the fact of how old they are.

 Now here is something else to think on about this crime. In many countries around the world this happens daily... and no one notices or seems to care. It happens in an American school and the world stares at it. We need to stop this WORLDWIDE... not just here.(*steps off soapbox*)

I hope everyone had a good Yule and that all have a Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you have.

 Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be... .

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Back to Normal?

It looks like the colder weather is trying to come and stay, but the daytime temps are going as high as 60 now. Which I like colder weather, and the kids want snow for the holiday season. The likelihood of it however is -very- low, we might have a green holiday instead.

My plan for the holiday is to have a nice early dinner on yule then to have snacks left around for all night. Seeing as how I'll be trying to stay up until dawn keeping a fire going starting at sundown. We'll have the house fire off and after sunrise we'll be lighting the house fire with the flame from our overnight fire.

We haven't done much work outside in the last week, due to the colder temps. We have decided for our outdoor kitchen that a upright barrel/rocket stove oven will be the way to go. Silver was telling me the one that he has an article for baked on 10 pounds of wood 62 one pound loves of bread.

That's it for now Folks!

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Weird Weather for all!

So here I am with another update for everyone, with a minor bit of good(?) news. Due to the fact that we do receive food stamps, the state requires me look for work that will get us off food stamps. While I don't have an issue with this I must actively 3X's a week put in applications. I have to be able to prove it. So I will be online about once a week now, and I should be able to update this every week. I will also be able to update my pintrest photo's too.

 As for our wood stove, how many of you remember this picture of our cat Stormy from last year? 100_0933  
 Well after we put the wood stove in the house and during the time it's been too warm to use it, (60's in December...yuck) Stormy -AND- Merlin have both tried sleeping on the wood stove. This lead to a minor problem for both cats the night we lit it back up again. Both boys wound up lightly burning their paws when they landed on the stove. Funny how they jump right back off.

 We have been clearing the ground down to bare dirt for the house on these warm days. The dome is going to be 40ft in diameter, and we have set out some strings so that I could see the future room sizes. It does look like we may have to remove our largest dogwood tree as we are working on the house.  

 We have also cleared out a few other spaces. One is for an eventual pig “pen”; in that case we cleared out trash, downed trees, and branches. We also cleared out for a new compost pile by the current chicken coop. We have started it with some sticks and leaf litter from where the house is going. The third place we have cleared is where we are hoping to plant sun chokes next year, it's in a low spot so I hope it works well.   We have gotten a trailer hitch for the van, and Silver has put it on; it looks really good on the van.

 Well, that's it for now folks!

 Catch you in about a week.  

 Be Well Be Safe and Blessed Be...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Barrel Stove Version 2

Ok, so remember the wood stove from last year the barrel stove that overheated our home. As you can see Stormy modeling it for us...
      Now this wood stove did present us with a couple of PROBLEMS, I think the biggest was the use of space. It wasted tons of space, and going on the space theme, it also wasted space in the barrel. We only burned in the front of the barrel, so the whole back half was not being used. The other problem it presented was that we couldn't cook on the surface of it due to the fact that it had no upright flat surface. I think Silver has effectively solved all of those issues.   We have built a pot-bellied barrel stove.
    We started off with a new barrel stove kit bought for: $39.99             Got a new barrel that was food grade, and in case it had metal bungs a removable end on it. Silver was thinking if it had, had metal bungs instead of plastic we could just take the whole top off to clean it out once a month. We traded for the barrel but I believe it would have cost $15.
    We bought some screws with nuts that were 1/4-20-3in, this was to replace the screw that came with the kit where the screws would not be long enough we made sure to get about half of them flat instead of a rounded top to ensure that they would not interfere with the moving parts on the kit. That was $1.29 per package, we bought two packages.   We bought a sanding disc for Silver's grinder to take off the paint on the outside of the barrel. That was $4.99     We did find a really good furnace cement that is almost like a putty... this item we are going to remember for when we build our house and make the rocket mass heater, as it is like refractory cement. That was 16oz for $3.99.   We bought some (not wood stove) paint, for grills that are rated for over 2000 degrees at Loews for $5, to buy the stove paint would have cost us $10.  
  Now for the building process when we got the barrel at home Silver took the top off to see if whatever was stored in the barrel was flammable, I'm not sure if you want to call it good or bad luck; but our barrel had liquid vitamin E in it. ...btw... it doesn't burn. We had about half a quart of it still in the bottom that we smartly saved. Then Silver turned the barrel over to let what could drain out. Then we got a degreaser and washed the inside out.   Then Silver proceeded to use the sanding disc to remove the outer paint off the top first, and then painted it to make sure the top was done, then he did each section of the barrel separately to ensure that if there was not enough sand paper or paint it would not be partly done.   The next day, after the paint was fully dry (yeah I know it's spray paint and dries almost instantly, but it was almost sundown at that point) Silver started the cuts. He first cut out the section for the door.
  Then he rolled the barrel over and cut the hole for the chimney on the exact opposite side. He put in the chimney flange and screwed that in place. We spent almost twenty minutes putting the door on, as we started with it having a gap around it from 0-2 inches. We needed to shrink that as much as we could, so Silver kept on tightening the nuts on the screws in rotation. We discovered one thing, make sure you check that the door will close evenly, then discovered that our door did not close all the way after we finished tightening the nuts. So we had to go back and loosen the nuts until the door would close.     So the recommendation would be for anyone duplicating this to check your door as you are going through your tightening. Silver said if you don't have it closing properly you might have the door crack when you light the stove.   After fixing the door into place we placed the removable side back on,which we kept to the bottom because the bungs were plastic instead of metal. Like I had said before if they were metal we would have used the removable side on top so we could just take that side off for cleaning. However as we cannot keep the plastic near where the flames would be for obvious reasons. That's ok, it just gives me more cooking surface.  
     The next step we placed empty coffee cans on the bottom side of the stove, with the open end down. BTW the previous picture is after the cans...These are being used as part of an insulated “dead space” in the stove. Remember me mentioning the issue about all the wasted space? Well this way the extra space can be used to keep heat in the stove.   After putting in the cans we took a bag of course vermiculite and filled the spaces and just barely covered the cans.   Next we added another row of cans , these were the large fruit cans; smaller than #10 cans.   This was then followed again by vermiculite, that then we covered with a few cut pieces of concrete board we had left over from last year as a base for our burn chamber.   (the previous picture)We cut two pieces and set them inside in opposing positions.   On top of this we put down a piece of, I believe it's goat panel cut to fit over it; to be the reinforcing for the concrete mixture we are going to use in the burn chamber.   Next we opened the container of fireplace cement and used it in the gap(s) around the door, fitting it on both sides of the door gap. Including the bodies of the screws, which; you will want to use a cut off blade and remove the ends or you may cut yourself on them. I happen to like the fireplace cement, and I'm thinking it might have uses when we go to make a rocket mass heater in the house when we build it. As Silver said it is like a refractory cement, which is what is used to make fire brick. The cement will cure at high temperatures only, so it will only dry until then.   After filling the gaps in the door frame Silver mixed most of this bag of vermiculite:
  And about 5 pounds of cement, he made the mixture fairly wet; to make it easier to get into the opening. Using a trowel he covered the fencing and concrete board with the cement vermiculite mixture.   He smoothed it as much as he could and left it to dry. Now a moment to talk about the mixture, we tried out vermiculite concrete in our normal barrel stove last year in the bottom to protect it verses using the sand that the person who makes the stove kits recommends. It worked much better and never cracked. This time we used fine vermiculite, I do not know if this will change how it works but we will see. BTW use PORTLAND cement there are no stones.. we used standard cement and the stones are now coming loose.   The original idea was to cover the sides of the burn chamber with the concrete mixture, but we didn't. We did a test burn outside the second day after putting in the concrete. Yes, outside; do -NOT- test your ideas on stove making in your home, if you do you might burn down or blow up your home. The sides only blackened, the paint did not even burn off on the inside and the top surface heated nicely. We were sitting about 3 feet from the stove and we were getting hot outside the house. I'm sure it'll be much warmer than we need it to be in here however that's ok for me.   We have changed what goes around the heater as well, no concrete board this time as it's flimsiness bothered Silver. We are using cinder blocks dry stacked instead.

   So, lets see...  
   I now have a heater that has a use for all it's space, I can cook on it. Also it takes up half the space it took last year. All for about $56.70 instead of buying a $180 small box heater with two small burner spaces... if you wanted to use them as such. ...or of course going back to a standard barrel stove.   I think this will work out much better for us this winter and if there is a problem we do have our old barrel stove as backup.  

 Be Well Be Safe and Blessed Be...    

Update 11-1-2012

Heya Folks!

Been a while I know, but again with no internet we tend to have to chose what has a higher priority. Doing the blog isn't as high up as say gathering info about our various projects. Also, seeing as how we tend to only stop maybe once a month for internet if I don't get a chance to post something it'll just have to wait.

...and yes I am sorry I don't post more often. I certainly hope everyone out there that does read this is excitedly waiting on my next posting (Tink told me people have been asking HER about when I'll be posting next).

As for our garden, I have started my fall tilling of the main garden beds; including the addition of some lovely compost from one of our large old oaks that got struck by lightning about 2 months ago. It was one of those really big oaks that gets hollow once it hits old age, then composts from the inside out. A bonus for my garden, also it was a tree that we had been wondering if we needed to cut down. The other big plus is that “mother nature” decided to be nice and drop it into the forest instead of into the clearing.
Even though it's not really producing nice ones to eat my tomatoes are still churning out fruit, we have figured that even though the “pots” we are using are big... they aren't big enough for four tomato plants apiece. Next year we'll be doing just one per pot.
The jalapenos I planted did well as well and are still producing even though the plant got snapped by my luffa gourd when the remains of Issac came through. Silver thought the Brussels sprouts had a wonderful flavor. He anticipates it would have grown more and produced more if it hadn't been for the drought.
My luffa gourd has tons of them on it, one is huge I think it's over a foot long and really round. We do have a few more large ones but that one is the biggest. Once the plant is fully dead I'm going to find a way to hang them so they can finish drying. We did manage to get some dried beans from my Tiger's Eye beans that I planted on a whim this year. Considering I planted maybe six seeds and got back about ½ a cup I think it was a good return. An odd thing though they were suppose to be bush beans but they wound up vineing.

We used the wood stove for about 3 days at the beginning of October, and it worked out well. The base did not get overly hot. On October 15th the lady bugs were swarming for their winter hibernation areas.... I have a question for everyone. On the main day for your local lady bug swarming did you have a large amount? I know that the whole front and side of the building was covered in them. This is the largest amount I have seen since we have moved here before winter starts, and I wonder if it will be a tell of a bad winter this year?

On the 19th we went out and did some “yard work”, we fell back to the premise that we need to stop waiting to do all our work when we have ever possible thing we need to build or work on something. So we went out and mostly cleared an area for the pig pen we are hoping to have next spring. “Mostly” cleared as pigs need shade and with oak, hickory, and butter nuts in the area the pig will eat those things on their own so might as well keep them so they have some browse in their yard. We also started the “finished” clearing for the good chicken coop that we will be building over the winter. We are also going to plan ahead for a barn and mixed pastures, and these pastures will have a lot of trees in them as we are not planning on many cattle. A dairy cows or two and a few long horns... which btw eat almost anything.

Well, we have finally done it here... we are now trying out the “no poo” challenge, which refers to no shampoo. This is because lately we seem to be getting more allergic to soaps that are commercially made than before and since starting the challenge The allergic affects have dropped. I will say there has only been one downside so far... it has been harder to brush my hair. I have very thick curly/wavy hair and getting a brush or comb through it after just using water and nothing else made it very hard to remove the tangles.
Now I know this might be a tad late when I post this but...
The hurricane Sandy as it approaches NYC and the shore, a local organization here; Convoy of hope. Has sent a semi full of water and microwaveable meals. While I applaud them sending food and water, I'd like to ask people to think a moment. If the power totally goes out what will the microwaveable meals do for someone who cannot cook it? How about pallets of canned tuna, and fruit? Peanut butter and bread? To me that makes much more sense.

Last bit of news is kinda a explanation, I am setting out 2 blog posts today; the second is about our wood heater this winter we brought it in and set it up on Oct. 4th. It's very cool and we will keep info about how it does over the course of the winter.

Well that's about it for now.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Saturday, September 1, 2012


As everyone knows we have been offline for quite sometime now. WE still will be for a bit as we are doing some bill catch up for the trip the kids took to see their grandmother. Once those are caught up we will be getting our internet back. Hopefully, before winter; if not it will be near winter.

As for updating everyone... We have all of the wood we think we need for the winter cut and stacked. I have one batch of my blackberry jam made up and one batch of melon jam made up. Once I can manage some more jelly jars I'll have much more blackberry jam made. WE didn't manage to get any peaches to can this year and all the wild grapes kinda died on us.

Our tomatoes have been producing fairly well due to the drought conditions. I imagine we'd have gotten more if we weren't under drought conditions. I have 3 of my own melons getting ready to ripen soon. Our main garden area has been a bit of a wash though as the 4-legged lawn mowers ate everything but the brussels sprouts. They even ate the leaves on the Elderberry trees! WE have discovered the luffa gourd plant is a very prolific one. I, not knowing how well it would grow; planted 3 at each of the “climbing points” for the plants. Well the plant is trying to climb everything now and we have to keep moving it daily. It looks like a tree! Silver says it grows at least 3 inches a day. It has tons of flowers on it and we have a few of the gourds growing at this point. The problem we had been having though was that the local ants love the plant but hate the flowers on it. So they have been cutting them off.

The kids are now back in school and I wound up with a few irritating things due to this. I discovered for my son to be in shop class I -HAVE TO- have some kind of accident insurance on him. ...when I took shop when I was a kid the school systems didn't require it. Seems our local school doesn't have the money to clean their gym floor daily or wax it more than once a year so, we have to buy shoes for the kids just to wear in gym and no place else. What fun when you have a son who wears size 14 mens shoes...

I guess I just don't understand how this is a necessity as if they have a bunch of sport programs that require money why not spend a bit less on the teams and more on the upkeep of the school? ...that would make much more sense to me.

WE are enjoying the leftovers from Issac since Thursday night, and enjoying the rain it has been giving us even though it is much less than they originally stated we would get. I almost wish we had gotten the projected 8 inches even if it flooded places, as it would have helped our rain total for the year to date.

Well that's about it for now, I am hoping to be able to post more soon … just a matter if we can get near internet the few times we go out.

Be careful out there...

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Update 6-20-2012

Hi folks, got some good news / bad news... so as typical the bad news first. Our net is down again (yippie) for probably a couple weeks to a month so I won't be writing blog posts for a little while. We had an overage on our last bill that we were one surprised by.. and couldn't at that time pay so this morning we found out that they cut off our entire cell service. What fun... but hey, c'est la vie.
 The good news, well at least I consider it good. We have been berry picking a lot right now and I have a few gallons of black berries in my freezer right now. The plants are still producing so we are going to be picking for a while. The ones on our property are producing good as the ones on the road, granted they aren't necessarily as big as some of the ones on the road. As 2 spots on the road have water that means the plants have a constant supply and the berries are huge. We are going to look up how many black berries you need to make black berry wine and once we can get the supplies we are going to make some up. The idea is to buy a complete kit for a standard red and learn the process, then move on to making some of our own types. Now all three sets of our zucchini have flowers on it. ...and not just the male flowers either if you notice the picture. I can't wait to see how big this one gets, and I can't wait for the lunches with them stir fried. We also have the starts of some cucumbers, they are tiny right now; but at least I saw two of them last night. You'd think with them being volunteer ones they would have started producing already, but they are not.
I have set up a teepee for our long beans and the luffa gourds. The luffa's are just starting to climb right now, and I expect that the long beans should “kick in” and put on enough growth soon so that they will be too. When we did that I also have started staking the eating tomatoes as they are growing very vigorously. I guess they like the chicken manure/perlite/oyster shell/ clay soil we gave them. Not to mention how well the dill plants that are growing just as well.    
     We started picking beans today, this is the first batch; they are in an 8 inch cake pan. So you can figure about how many we harvested this morning. I also picked some more Lamb's Quarters, with some male squash flowers for breakfast. I also harvested a couple leaves of the wintergreen to try to make some tea with it. I'll find out later how it comes out.
Well we are sitting here at the local library so we can get our podcasts and so I can post this today. A week from now we should have our first “farm hand” here, his bus is suppose to arrive at about noon then. So we'll see how that goes.
The kids leave on their trip next Saturday, my mother decided she just wants to do a half way drive both “ways”, which really will be the easiest way to do it. She's going to pick up the couple food items we wanted and bring them with her. The kids start the new school year on the 15th of August here, I'm not sure but that seems a tad early. All three of them will be going to the same school, just different parts of it.
 It's funny how the thought of no internet doesn't really bother me, aside from not being able to write on my blog(s). ...and this is after watching a show on frontline last night called “digital_nation”, which was about how “connected” the world is now to the internet and how people really can't “live without” their connection to the online world(s). Even more so how people who say they are “multi-taskers”, really aren't very good at multi-tasking.I do wonder to some extent if this ability to reach any bit of information we could want at any moment of the day; with it have a bad effect of any kind? What happens to creativity when you can look up any subject and find information on it?
How would you feel if you were “unplugged” even for a day? Could you manage without your connection to the world of everything? Could you live in your own piece of the world without your escape into the “connected” world? How many people don't read actual books any more because they can get a kindle or a summary of the info? Or even just a part of the book that you find interesting somewhere online?
Now please don't mistake, I do think the internet is a good tool; but to me that is all I consider it. I've been trying to keep my kids from being so enraptured in the internet, yes they are fully capable of “surfing the web” sometimes much better than me. I have no issues with using it, but I have unfortunately seen people who get so wrapped up in the internet that they do not know how to live in the real world. ...and it can affect their families, their jobs, and even their own lives. Just something for everyone to think on...

 Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed be...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Black Berries!

That lovely picture is of this morning’s harvest or if you will the product of my foraging, as I got them from a location I didn't plant intentionally. That is about 3/4's of a gallon of blackberries in one morning! They are being frozen until the season is over and I have some rose hips, then I am making some jam and maybe some syrup.
 It made me think though, as I had help after I had gotten 2 pints already on my own by at first my youngest... then my oldest and then finally the middle child. I -LOVE- fresh blackberries, not as much as fresh strawberries; but hey nothing adds up to them.
 To me there is nothing better than putting into my mouth a blackberry just off the bramble that has exploded into my hand from being sooo ripe. Sweet with a lite bitterness that comes from natural sugars. I did pause this morning when I tasted a particularly sweet one, with a moan escaping my lips. As oddly, considering modern life I prefer my sweets in the form of berries now. Don't get me wrong, I love chocolate... but it's just not the same.
 I think many kids and adults miss something good when they don't eat something freshly picked, like fruit. It has it's own flavor and it's very unique. To me most of the processed sweets have all the same flavor, and it's missing something.
 The other part that I was thinking on is how my kids pick berries. Had I handed them my berrying bucket and sent them out I'd have been lucky to get maybe a pint. ..and the thing is it would not be because they were eating while picking. Part of it is they don't seen them all on the brush. They also want to find the “perfect” berry. It really made me think when I realized that, as I just finished a book about primitive man(novel) and how they lived and that included gathering food.
 If my kids had to rely on what we had found to eat.. they would wind up picking more of them. My youngest admitted that, so I told her then just think that way and we'll have tons of berries to make things with. One or two blemishes mean nothing, and partly dried out? Come on, people pay tons of money to buy dried fruits; pick them yourself. It'll do you some good to be out in the sun enjoying the fresh air... and grins getting covered in berry juice! It's an old family pastime, that I think needs to be revitalized.
 People use to spend whole days going out “berrying”, and they'd bring a picnic lunch and the dessert would be the fresh berries with sometimes some home made cake. To me that sounds much better than going to the store and “foraging” for a nice looking package of berries. As that is what you are doing when you are in the store turning the berry packs all around to check every angle until you find just the right one that looks to be “perfect”. WOW.. I just realized where my kids' idea of perfection on berries comes from. As if you don't do “perfect” on ones in the store you are likely to have rotten berries.
 I don't know if any of you remember seeing an older orange commercial a number of years ago from the orange growers. It had a woman explaining a ripe orange isn't always fully orange, which tech if it's green it's not ripe... but the point is most people have no clue what “ripe” is... I certainly don't know what a ripe wild blueberry looks like. So I am learning that, maybe true ripeness should be taught to all people; most of all children.
 I hope everyone out there gets to experience the freshest of the season!
 Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Garden Pics!

Just a few garden pictures today:
  These are half of my beans that are in the garden, well almost half; more like a 1/4 of them.  they are in full bloom and seem to have secondary flower stalks.  Now these are a green bush bean after the pitiful results from the pole beans last year.  I did get some of my Tiger's eye beans planted up front with the hot peppers and if they do well there I might just go ahead and order some for next year and cross my fingers that they'll produce well.
 The Tiger's Eye beans are a bush been that can be eaten as a green snap bean or left to be a dry bean.  It's a pinto "style" bean if you let them dry.  Which if they do well would be great as we do make chili.
 I have also started some long beans growing as they take the hottest part of the summer and do well in it.
 I spent the early part of this morning feeding the animals (kids' job during the summer btw), the kids got home very late last night so I let them sleep in.  I went to check the plants which I took these pics during.  Then I did a little digging in the pond.  I came back into the house, got a cup of tea and started working on the blogs... including the one on the website that I started last year, that I am hoping to keep up to date as well:
 That's today's blog post if you decide to check it out and you can get to the rest of the website while there. This is one of the green cabbages that I grew as you can see it's starting to head finally.  I hope they get big and the red ones to as I really want some cole slaw and I have just to wait on the cabbage for it...
 The girls are going on a overnight trip tonight, well they're leaving this afternoon.  I hope they have fun, it's with their church and they kinda dropped the trip on us so we can't take them we don't have the gas for it.  As we're doing "kid taxi" to the library events so we planned for that only.
 We should have a "farm hand" here after the 27th, it won't be Rayne as yet... still no word as to when he'll be here for sure.  however a young person is coming by to stay and help out in exchange for a place to live and food to eat.  I hope it works out well for us as we really do need some help for when Silver's not feeling well.  It would just make most of this work easier sometimes with extra hands. This is that volunteer squash we have growing and as you can see it's in full flower, they are still just male flowers; but hey... considering how early they are we might get lucky.  especially since the Dark Star that I planted have started to show some flower buds, which means they will be flowering soon as well.  I should be able to get a better comparison on them soon.
 The lemon squashes that I planted only one is still sprouted, and it's growing very slowly; so I am not sure it's going to do very well at all.  The luffa gourds are doing very well, or seem to be doing well.  They are still growing, I am guessing they are a slow growing gourd.  So we will see as they get bigger (crosses fingers).  My remaining bushel gourd is growing as well, and I hope it continues as last time I tried growing one it grew a bit then gave up.
 I am thinking of harvesting some Lamb's quarter's tomorrow morning for a nice breakfast, with some squash flowers if we have more tomorrow.  An onion or two, and some fresh herbs.  Maybe with some fresh flat bread, I swear I prefer it over regular bread now.  It's wonderful to use as a plate when the item you are eating goes well with bread, then the juices get absorbed into the bread an gives it such a lovely flavor.  I wonder if that is what I've read before called "trencher" bread (pardon if I messed up the spelling), I've read about it in books before and I wonder if it's a flat bread.  Maybe I'll find out one day. This one made me smile this morning.  This is one of the two flower heads on the one Elderberry that is blooming.  As you can see if you look closely the flowers are now opening.  I am going to keep a good eye on this as I am not sure how long after they produce ripe fruit.  I am still trying to figure out if I'm going to make them into jam or just save them for tea making this winter for colds. As it helped out Silver immensely I am seriously thinking of going the tea route, thing is though as we don't have a dryer yet I'll have to just freeze them and use frozen berries to make tea with.
 We have a newer project before the dryer, as I still need the money to build our house we are defiantly just considering putting on a addition for this winter to give us more space and have "rooms" for the two "farm hands" provided they both get here of course.  We need the space, so the kitchen can be just a kitchen.  I want a separate room for our TV and some book shelves for our books to go on.
 ...and if we're lucky we'll have regular internet by winter, though I am hoping to have projects to work on all winter to keep us busy.  I am determined to try to get some rugs done this winter, so next time we head to the free store I am picking up jeans to make the strips for rug braiding.  I hope I'm good at it as it seems I have an odd problem with crocheting and knitting, I do it too tight.  I was told by one woman who taught me that she had NEVER seem someone who made the stitches so tight that normally people have to learn to make them tight.
 Well that's it for now,
 Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Review of

HEH... well I've been having some fun over on bidding with credits,not money; on seeds. Me and Silver have managed to win some dwarf teddy bear seeds and some sugarcane seeds. I also got some acorn squash seeds this morning on it.

Now I really enjoy this website as it's a good way to pass along seeds you don't need and to pick up some hard to find ones. I.E... the sugar cane. You join the site and start with about 500 credits to bid on auctions, you gain more credits by “gaining levels”, buying them, or from auctions you set up.

Me and Silver set up separately auctions of the two packs of carrot seeds I had that we can't use yet. Our ground just isn't good enough as yet to grow carrots in a year or two maybe.

Now while perusing this website I have discovered a few “funny” things about this site. ...not bad funny though... First one... in the seed category you will see many seeds up for auction and sometimes muti-auctions by the same person that are the same item. Also these seeds come in small amounts. My dwarf sunflowers are only 6 seeds... which if I were paying cash I put out I might not be willing to put out as much as I did.

The other thing is while tech everything on it is FREE.. tech... I think if you buy credit it's not free. There are people who make you pay shipping... even on a few seeds... come one.. they aren't willing to put out one stamp? I could certainly understand not being willing to do shipping on a LARGE item... but a pack of seeds... or just a couple... it's silly.

Then.. oh this is good... finding “organic” Lambs Quarters, and this morning... “heirloom” cattails..., I've got “heirloom” cattails across the street, and I know a few other spots that have them. Though, I imagine some people might not know that while yes you can eat both of these plants... one is by most considered a weed. The other is grown as “pond decor”, which is sad as cattails are a supermarket of food; well food and weaving material.

However overall I think the website is good, and fun too. Just remember what I mentioned if you go into it. Also if any of my readers wants to join if you use the following link I get a bonus and supposedly you'll get an extra 100 credits.

We have a mass of bean flowers right now, my secondary beans are sprouting up front as they are a different type. If I'm lucky my melons will stay around and produce. I picked another pint of berries this morning and we did some pond digging too. Gotta send my son out to cut wood later.

Have a great day!

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed BE...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Today's Harvest

I have a few harvested items to show everyone today:
  First up is what we had for breakfast.  About a pound of Lambs Quarters, 3 squash flowers, some kale, and an onion.  This was all washed and I chopped up the onion, kale and squash flowers.  Had one of the kids run out and get me some fresh basil which got chopped too.

 I start with some sunflower oil (gods I LOVE this stuff) and I browned the onion then the rest goes into the pan and I stir fry them a couple minutes till they are fully wilted and a little dark.  I use a blueberry pomegranate dressing I found about 1/2 a cup while the pan is still on and I let it steam in the dressing for about a minute.  It made about 2 small servings of some wonderful greens.

 Here is something funny, at least to me.  I saw on the other day someone selling "organic Lambs Quarters" seeds.  I laughed at the idea, seeing as how my Lamb's Quarter is organic as it is growing in my garden... but I defiantly didn't put it there.  It came up on it's own, any place you "disturb" soil you will see Lambs Quarters growing.  If you want to eat them only go for the smallest leaves.  I tend to just take the tops off, and they will branch off; A LOT!  So don't worry about how much of the tops you remove.  It will keep growing.
  My lettuce is still growing, and I harvested a colanderful of them.  This is going to be lunch today, probably with some of our left over snow peas that are in the fridge; and some of the carrots from the farmer's market.

 While out I noticed my beans have tons of flowers on them. I think they are also the reason that the lettuce is still growing good as the beans are shading the lettuce.  I also picked some day lily buds, I think I got four of them; as they seem to go from no where near opening to open in a day.  They are suppose to be good as soup and stew thickeners, and because we don't have the solar dryer as yet I am freezing them.

 I have also noticed that the elderberry flowers have not yet opened, I am sooo waiting for those to open.  It seems all of my tomatoes are doing well in their new homes, and growing like... well.. like Lambs Quarters (most people would say weed).  I'm going to have to come up with supports for them soon I think.  They companion's the dill plants are also taking over, which is good.  Maybe I'll try to make Silver and the girls some pickles using the lemon cucumbers.  Hey, it might work once they produce.     That is one pint of black berries.  Yes, we are officially into the black berry picking season.  I expect we will get quite a few blackberries this year from the season if I got a pint this morning.  I also should be able to make a straight blueberry jam too as we seem to now have tons of wild blueberries now here.  My one plant has one berry on it, while the wild ones are loaded.

   I am going to hold off on making jams until we start getting rose hips from the wild roses.  Just so I can add the extra vitamin C to the batches.  Boy, it should be one heck of a day when I start doing my jams this year.  If my melons all grow and produce I should have quite a few of the cantulope jam too.  You know I was not sure if I'd like it, but I found I love it!  I will post the recipe when I make it.  I'm hoping to get another case of two of peaches again so we can, can some and try out the bourbon peach jam I found.

   I wonder if wintergreen berries would be good in any of it... I will have to find out.

 We got a piece of ply wood for the baker's rack, and now we are in the process of painting the wood then it'll go in the house... somewhere.  We are thinking the shelf under the TV will need to come out for the rack to come in.  Then we will be putting the computer on it for now.  The tomato by the chickens has some tomatoes on it, but they are still green so we'll see when they are done.  I think it might wind up being a paste tomato, but I'm not to sure.

 The kids are going to another "vacation bible school" this week, this one at my son's church.  So all this week we don't have to feed them dinner.  The girls are also going to be in the reading program at the library starting wednsday.  with next monday being a special evening event involving the "Hunger Games", the first prize is a boxed set of the books (hardbound).  Maybe one of the kids will win it.

 Well, I need to get back to my work; I got to plant some free irises a little while ago.

   Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

First Yard Sale Finds of the Year!

Well we did a bit of yard saleing this morning and we go a few deals.
  This nice heavy duty gas weed eater was a bargain at $3.  It works, it is a tad temperamental though; no more than the chain saw we first had.  We did discover it was missing a spring for the line, so we have changed that out for a saw blade.  Which I have to say, works much better than the "string" in them.

 At the same yard sale we bought 3 pipe wrenches for $2 each, and a very nice mini cleaver for $.50.  Very nice as in... a $50 kitchen knife that is barely used.    I do have to say I find some pricing(s) silly, at the same yard sale the gentleman wanted to sell his beat up window AC unit for $50. 

More silliness...?  At one multi-family yard sale we bought 2 oil lamps one was $2, and one was $1.50.  Now the $2 was missing it's wall bracket, and was dry.  The $1.50 one is glass and was over half full of oil.
     Next find from Friday:
  This is one of those couple hundred dollar baker's rack's that has a counter top on it.  Guess what?  We bought it for $5 and all it needs is a new counter top.  Loads of fun driving home with that on top of the van, we heard some lovely noises from the wind going through the metal. It's bigger than most of the ones I have seen, it's about 6ft tall and maybe 3-4 ft wide.

 I think it'll be a nice addition to our home, once we get a new top on it.  As we have no where to put it unless it gets a counter top.  Then it'll temporarily hold the working computer.

 Speaking of computer's we got one for free today.. yes, and it works; even has tons of software.  It does seem to have one ...minor... problem.  Seems the internal batter doesn't work.  So until we can find a way to replace it we can't use it.  Oh well, free doesn't always mean it'll work 100%.  
     Now  what is in my opinion our BIGGEST find:
  That is a 1/2 gallon mason jar.  I got 8 of those, 15 quart, and about the same in mayo jars for a total of $8.50!   I personally have never seen first hand the 1/2 gallon ones before.  So I'm glad I ran across these today and I could not pass them up.

The woman who sold them to us said she doesn't can anymore and that they use to can juice and that is why she had the 1/2 gallon.   I wonder if I could do my spaghetti sauce in them.  It would make them single serving jars for us then.  I'll have to look it up and see if it's possible to do it.  I certainly hope I can, as otherwise I'm not sure what we'd use them for.

 Well, I gotta go get my hair washed as me and the family are going over by my friend, Queen sized Tink's place for a combined birthday party for one of her roommates and another person on their road.  Hope your weekend is a good one!

   Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Child Poverty in the US

The following new article does not surprise me one bit:

The article shows that the US is listed as the second highest child poverty rate in developed countries worldwide. I know this exists as for almost a year me, my three kids, and their biological dad lived in a nasty trailer park outside of Chicago.

Now in this trailer park you had to walk past pimps, drug dealers, and gangs to just get into it. Then the trailer we lived in had no running water, no working toilets of any kind, and very little electricity. I had to feed my whole family on $20 a week, this was with me scrounging at food pantries when I could get to them via walking. I had to use a cut milk jug to empty out toilet we did uses twice a day... and trust me in the summer it was not fun. Then I had to find a place to dump it.

We spent that time living off of rice, ground beef, and grilled cheese sandwiches... along with peanut butter. We only had all of that thanks to WIC, because then my kids were young enough to still get it. So we did have milk and cereal as well, have you ever tried to make 2 large boxes of cereal last a month with 5 people...? I can.

The problem isn't that poor people want to be poor, most of them truly want to work; and cannot find work. Even in big cities jobs are scarce, and people with obligations generally wind up less likely to get work. For a brief time I had to work and leave my kids home alone, hoping they would be ok so I could give them a place to live and food on their plates.

The big BIG problem with these rates is that in the US the general “public” doesn't want to hear about poor children in the US. They prefer “those people” be in other countries. It's not “our problem” to these people. I'm sorry but it is everyone's problem, not just a problem “over there”; where ever that “there” might be.

There is a MAJOR homeless, and hunger problem in the US and we as a country need to do something about it. While I think the idea of the “backpack program” that is in a good portion of the schools is a good idea. I do have major issues with it. Most of the time when I had allowed my kids to be part of it when we first moved here, the “food” included was just junk. In my area the food is provided by donation, only; I don't know if the same happens everywhere though.

I have seen the same with food pantries in my life. Donations half the time are outdated, or what you get makes little sense. Yes, people with no food are very happy to get it. Here is a good question though for in the cases of people with food allergies, how comfortable would you be to ask they not include something you are allergic to?

What if you receive something that requires milk to make and you have none and received none? I would like to ask all my readers out there if they chose to donate to food pantries please put some thought into what you get. If you are donating mac and cheese, include some evaporated or dried milk. I've made powdered mac and cheese minus butter but you NEED milk. Lots of times I would get mac and cheese (powder type) and no milk. I'd ask the food pantries all the time if they have any milk... “you have kids”.. granted they are standing next to me, but I say yes. “Sorry but we don't have any”. Ok, fine.. then why ask if I have kids?

However I could spend hours going on about what happened in my life back then. What I experienced up till now even when I needed help and it was poor assistance. Or for some odd reason I did not qualify, even with kids. My main point here is, there is a problem with children in poverty; a BIG one. ...and it needs to NOT be “brushed under the table”, it needs to be fixed; or at least worked on. Hell, it needs to be recognized by the general public.

What do you think?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pictures to Post!

I have a few "around" the home pictures to post today a couple are from the garden. That is one of my vine peach seeds sprouting in the tire planter. Now I am hoping they all sprout and take over as so far I've had no luck with melons.. or winter squash for that matter, my pumpkins (the only one that sprouted) seems to be dieing.

 I am considering planting where one of the luffa gourds died some kind of melon maybe Oran's Melon or a Swan Lake.  I'll have to think on it, as I don't believe that they will cross with the vine peach.  However, I don't know; I am willing to try my luck though.

 As I said we got rain last night, now the sun is out and it's hot again. 70 inside the house and I don't want to know the temp outside. I was afraid that if I wanted any more Lambs Quarters I'd have to water them soon, so the rain is defiantly a blessing; my day lilies almost needed watering too.  Which they are getting flower buds now, I'm going to pick all the buds this year once they are a bit bigger and save them for soup and stew thickener.  I'd pick the flowers this year, but as far as I know they don't freeze well as flowers, and I'm not sure we'll get the solar dryer built in time for them.  Who knows though, my thought is if I get all the buds though; it'll give the plants time to really get a "foothold".

   This is the first of the tomato pots that I planted (tomato/dill), it has lots of new growth.  On both the tomatoes and the dill, I am wondering if we'll have to come up with support in the next week for them.  Considering how fast they are growing, the earlier ones I planted in the garden (tomatoes) are all getting tall too.

 Now... IF I did this right, and I am hoping  fingers crossed that I did.  I have Cherokee Orange fleshed Purple Smudge in the "pots" and my Amish Paste tomatoes are out by the garden.  Knowing my luck the trays got swapped and they are reversed.

 My plan next year is when I do the tomatoes and dill, I am going to add some basil into it as well.  Plant it dill in the center, then tomato, basil, tomato, basil around the outside of the "pot".  I am thinking of using fresh pots next year and grow some carrots in these next year.  As by then all of the chicken manure should be composted down by then.  Leaving a nice loose soil (I hope).  

   Now this... while I am "cultivating it" is not something I planted.  However I have been pruning it and training it:

  This, of course is one of the wild roses we have.  It is the one I have been training through a fence we stapled..yes stapled, to two trees.  It is in  flower finally and it is buzzing with happy insects.  I am hoping for some nice hips from this one this year, and if I get them they will be added to jams.

  I am glad this year they are pink as the white one in the foundation that we had the first year.  Seems the pollen spread and last year almost all the roses were white.  At least I am guessing it was due to transfer of pollen, because hey.. it makes  sense right?  One year one white rose... next year tons of white roses.

 This is not the only wild rose around here either.  We have tons throughout the woods here and there is a pretty good sized one across the street next to the pond.  I have noticed that these "wild" roses  have a much stronger scent than ones that you find a the every day garden.  It might just be me though.

 Now this picture is going up just for CUTENESS factor:

  This little guy is going to Queen Sized Tink  for her nephew, and I have four of his sister available if anybody near me wants a Chocolate Lab.  The parents both chase birds (chickens included), so with a little work the pups would make great hunters.

   Our Paris (the momma dog), had a litter of six pups. Only one male, only one black.  The rest are Chocolates and are all female.  My son has claim on the one with white patches on her.  So the remaining four also have zero white on them.

   They are also a month old now.. and AAAAAWWWWW ain't he cute?  ..and def doesn't want to pose for a picture!
 Well we'll be having chicken and 'taters for dinner tonight on the grill, to keep our heat inside down.

 Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Another Pond Day off

Well we're gonna get another day off from pond digging.. while we need to get the pond dug; it's actually for a good reason.  WE GOT RAIN!  Yes, it rained last night and a little this morning.  So we have to wait for the ground to dry up in the pond so we can dig it up more, otherwise we'd be slogging through muck and it's very hard to dig wet clay.

My girls are out at a church member's house working with the pups they were fostering.  Then they might get taken out to get new bathing suits and go swimming in the river too.  I think it's great they do attend a church that is so active with it's members. 

We're catching up on laundry now that the sun is out again, some household chores that seem unending and I might try to do some weeding.. though now that my beans are taking over I really don't have any.  Silver is out cutting wood right now to keep his muscles and joints active as he suffers from RA.  So when he hurts he does tend to take more time off to let the pain go away.. problem with doing that is then your muscles "forget" the work they were doing and they will hurt worse when you start working again.

Gonna grill some chicken breasts later on the grill probably with some potatoes.

That's about it,

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Monday, May 28, 2012


Ok, I HAD to comment on this one:

This is an article about a county... yes a COUNTY, that wants to ban GMO's in their county. Here is the article below if the link does not work:

County could ban modified crops

By Ryan Pfeil
Mail Tribune
May 25, 2012 - 2:00 AM
A few months after the discovery that genetically modified crops were being grown in the Rogue Valley, Jackson County officials have confirmed they have the authority to ban them.
Joel Benton, senior assistant county counsel for Jackson County, said counties that have banned the crops — also called GMO (genetically modified organisms) — across the U.S. often do so by defining them as noxious weeds. That makes their ordinance a county code enforcement issue.
Benton said the county also can criminalize growth of the plants, meaning police would handle the violations.
"It looks like 17 or 18 states have actually passed laws at the state level to say local governments don't have the authority to regulate GMOs," Benton said. "Oregon hasn't done that."
Benton, along with County Administrator Danny Jordan and the Board of Commissioners, discussed banning GMOs at a Thursday work session. Currently, the county's Natural Resource Advisory Committee is taking comments from GMO opponents and proponents.
"Then they'll formulate some sort of recommendation," said board Chairman Don Skundrick, adding the board will then take additional public comment on the issue before deciding whether to consider the ordinance.
The discussion follows a recent outcry from a local group of farmers — many of them organic farmers — and activists who say they have identified several fields of genetically modified plants within the area, including sugar beets and corn. The group, called GMO-Free Jackson County, requested earlier this month that the commissioners pass an ordinance banning the genetically altered crops.
Multinational corporation Syngenta AG confirmed it has been growing the crops in Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass.
The crops are close to John Muir Middle School's Organic Garden and the Organic Village Farm in Ashland. Organic Village Farm owners have said the cross pollination means they have to stop production on chard and beets, as both can be corrupted by the GMO sugar beets.
Opponents say the GMO crops can cross pollinate with organic crops, corrupting the yield and possibly mutating them. Opponents also say there are potential GMO health hazards for those eating the crops, but the World Health Organization says GMO foods "currently available on the international market have passed risk assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health."
Proponents say the genetically engineered plants are easier to grow and can produce greater quantities because of their resistance to pests and weeds.
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at: 541-776-4468 or by email at:

I personally think this is a wonderful idea and that more counties across the US need to do this. This might be the way to show the “Big M” and the other companies that we don't want these “things” near our food crops... or in them for that matter.

I have heard whisperings of a wheat GMO on the horizon... I hope that maybe the US can get it's collective head together and do something about it before we have that coming at us.

Sourdough Sesame Seed/ Sunflower Oil Crackers

I decided to experiment with my sourdough recipe and try to make some crackers.  It didn't change much in the recipe for doing this either.
  Now I know it might be hard to tell exactly that they are crackers but the are.  What I used ingredient wise:
 1 C starter
 3+C flour (unbleached white)
 2 C unclorinated water
 2 T salt(I use sea salt)
 4 T sunflower oil
 1/2 C sesame seeds

     Now notice if you know my no-knead sourdough recipe there is a couple additions now what you do is:
  You do start with the basic no-knead instructions, which start with 1 C of starter in a bowl shake 1 t of salt over the starter (don't forget to feed your starter).    Add 4 T of your sesame seeds here. Then add 3 C of flour and about 2 C of warm water.  I say "about" because sometimes I use more or less.. just depends on how it decided to "Work" that time.

   Mix it till the dough is not liquidy but fairly firm.  Then cover (I used a plate) and set aside to rise for 8hours to overnight.    Before you work it after rising preheat your oven to 500 degrees.  In the morning I noticed my dough was a bit  more wet than I wanted so I added 3/4 C of more flour and 2 T more of sesame seeds to it and mixed it firm again.

 Then on a floured board knead a little... yes I know I use a no-knead recipe but for this it's necessary.  When it's firm cut it into 4 pieces and knead a little more again till it's floured and firm.   Take out a cookie sheet (I tried on a pizza stone, but I had no way to transfer it) and put either oil or cooking spry on it.  Then place one of your pieces of dough onto it and press it as flat as you desire them to be.  I managed to place 2 per cookie sheet as we like them a tad thick.

 Then sprinkle about 1 T of more sunflower oil on each flattened piece and sprinkle about another  1 T of sesame seeds and about that much salt.   Use less salt or more based on tastes and your diet.   Then set them in the oven and I believe it took about 10 minutes to get to the color we wanted on them.

 However I started each on the lowest rack then moved then to the second from the top halfway through.  This let them rise while baking then after moving them they browned very nicely.  My kids wanted to gobble them up  before breakfast, we're going to have them with some home made chicken salad for lunch today!

   Enjoy your day off if you have one!  We're going back to pond digging tomorrow!

   Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Catch Up

Well yesterday we were able to gather some black raspberries, and a few slightly under ripe wild blueberries.  Seems our wild berries are going:

black raspberries
dew berries

Somewhere in there we might have wild strawberries (no flowers yet), and the wild grape harvest; I am hoping that we'll get rain soon or the blackberries might not get big.  We dug out about 12 wheel barrow loads of dirt from the pond yesterday, today... well... we did decidedly less as my back is seriously hurting today so I can't bend to do the cutting of the soil.

I got the remaining tomatoes planted this morning out in the garden itself as my other type of tomato is up in front of the house in "pots".  I don't want a repeat of last year's cross pollination lesson.  So the tomatoes varieties are separate, as are my pepper plants.  I also got my bushel gourds planted this morning, in the spot we had our potato experiment last year.

Speaking of the experiment, we  have our potatoes planted in the same manner.  I need to get more straw as they are getting tall now, so we need to go and cover them more.  I am thinking though that next year we'll use that spot to try to grow some heirloom corn, and I'm going to use the "weedless gardening" method as after the 'taters are done all the current plants there should be smothered by all the straw.  So all I'll have to do is cover the straw with dirt, compost, and manure.

Hope everyone has a good weekend.

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pond Work

I'm not sure how many of you know this, but we've been trying to dig a pond since last fall.  I had secretly hoped to get it done before the end of fall so this spring it would have filled up with rain water.  No such luck.  We have however had some luck now in digging it.
  The "red thing" is my daughter's sweatshirt, but this is the space we are putting the pond in.  The lower right of the picture is one of the spots we are digging in.  We are also digging just past the sweat shirt where we have a fallen tree broken into two pieces.   There is a little bit more space to the right and left of the picture that will be included in the pond as well. As I said in an earlier post, the dry ground has made digging a little bit easier as since we are digging it by hand the pick we are "cutting" the ground with is going right through it like it's nothing.

   This spot is a fairly natural depression in the ground we came upon when we first cleared this area of trees. Right about where I was standing to take this and to the right of the image is where we are going to put in a small waterfall to help aerate the pond.  The side with the fallen tree will be our shallow end and where we'll have cattails growing.

 We are also going to get some fish when it's done and filled, I read in a book that it's a good idea to get a bucket full of water from a local pond to make sure you have the right microrganisims (spelling?) in your water.  Good thing there is a pong across the street that I can get some from then.  I also have permission from the people who own the spot across the street to transplant some of thier cattails into my pond when it's done.

    I imagine it'll probably take all summer to finish digging the pond out, but I'm not fully sure on that.  We might get done in a month if we keep at it good and not skip a clear day digging.  I guess it's a good thing we needed to fill in the root cellar we were digging as we're putting the dirt there.

   That's it for now,

 Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Flour-Less Chocolate Cake

Yes you read the title... flour-less, no flour.  It's a protein shot, granted it is a little on the rich side and some people probably would have fits over what the ingredients are.
 Here is the cake unfrosted:
Here are the ingredients:
 6 whole eggs
 20 oz of chocolate chips(bitter-sweet)
 1T of vanilla extract
 1/2 lb of butter

 Yes!  That is all there is in this cake.  What you do is you first get your eggs to room temperature, fresh eggs are the best of course.  Whip them to stiff peaks, and yes it's possible; it just takes time.  While that is whipping melt the chocolate chips and butter together, I have to say this is probably the only thing we use a microwave for.  Add the vanilla to the chip/butter mixture and mix it all till that is smooth.  Fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs carefully.  Then pour into a spring-form pan and bake at 350 degrees (pre-heated) until the surface cracks.  Cool thoughly before eating or frosting, it does tend to be crumbly and a tad rich.

 This is the cake frosted with real butter creme:
  Yes, there is only frosting on the top as we are running out of butter.  Silver who is a trained chef and once worked at a resort that served this cake un-frosted at $8 a small slice.  You know those kinds of slices, you see them in TV shows when someone goes to a fancy restaurant and their plate for dessert is at least three times the size of the cake.

 Please also note there is no ADDED  sugar to this either, so it's fairly safe for a diabetic who is eating properly.  But please, do not take my word for it other than the fact that Silver is a diabetic, and he eats this cake.    

   I hope you all try this cake out it's heavanly!

I'm a mean parent part 2

I guess I'm still a mean parent, and if you don't know what I mean by that take a look here:

I wrote once about how my kids think I'm this horribly mean parent because I make them work. Well, they still think I'm mean; and now I am because I'm not listening to them when they get hurt. Well... I don't constitute a little cut on your big toe, and it is little no bigger than the head of a pin; as warranting needing to rest. Nor do I think.. but mom my back itches as medically necessary of rest, or sneezing a lot for that matter.

With that said, I seem to have a nice cold going on. I have been having very congested mornings where I'm sneezing every ten minutes, my throat feels like one of the cats crawled down it and shredded it's way back up. I also am not sleeping well because I have been winding up so congested by the middle of the night.

Guess what...?

I went out and watered the garden, harvested Lambs Quarters for breakfast, fed the dogs and cats, made 2 different breakfasts, dug in the pond, washed laundry, and then washed dishes, oh.. and before this post I wrote 2 posts per blog I keep. But dang, ...I must not understand that when I'm mildly ill I'm suppose to complain gripe and moan about how hard it is to work. Thereby making the work take twice as long.

What I have noticed is that most kids who spent any of their time growing up in the city especially in the public school system where kids are taught to feel entitled to almost everything. They seem to have trouble with the concept of doing some hard work. They don't seem to care about the “what if's” that might lie down the line as they are too focused on the here and now.

...and it's my job to be a mean parent to teach them otherwise...