We went to several estate sales today.
HERE. And HERE is a Pinterest board with lots of faux chenille projects. I know we don't have time to mess with it now, but maybe during the winter, do you think? I wouldn't use something that would ravel pretty badly because after several washings..... well, remember how we used to "fringe" the bottoms of our cut-off jeans shorts and how the fringe would knot up in the washer? I imagine this would be a problem in this method, too. It's even reversable. I'm kinda thinking Charlotte and her quilts and Lorraine and her hearts. A person could get REALLY ambitious and make a faux chenille bedspread. Who said that. No, I don't think it was me. Heh.
Five yards of HEAVY brown denim, $2.50. Another rectangular metal box for protecting drawer contents in the garage, 25 cents.
Two more Tupperware stackable pie trays, 25 cents each. I use these in so many ways. I started out buying them when I was doing a lot of pie-baking. I could put several pies together, ready to bake, and then stack them in the freezer. It was very convenient. I don't bake pie very often anymore. I use the pie trays for seed drying, or for herb drying if I have just a small amount. And they are nice for stacking things in the freezer that are pie-shaped, such as bread-dough rounds for pizza, or Bisquik quiche, and yes, now and then, pie.
A Dirt-Devil vacuum, looked like it had never been used, for $8, with attachments. I could've got it for half price if I'd come back a couple hours later but I wasn't in the mood. This will replace the DustBuster that I'm sick and tired of having run out of "charge" when I'm right in the middle of something. Plus I don't have to keep it plugged in when I'm not using it. This house has eighty gazillion electrical outlets, I just don't see myself having trouble finding a place to plug in near whatever mess I've made. I'll tell you a secret about that DustBuster and that is that I laid it down somewhere and haven't been able to find it in so long that the battery is probably so dead that it won't charge up anymore. Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish, that's what we used to say. When I'm gone and they come to clear things out they'll wonder why in the world I was "storing" the DustBuster wherever THAT is.
Hubs paid $3 for a can of lubricant spray for his workshop, I don't know if it was a good deal, he said it was.
A full bottle of Vitamin E Moisturizing lotion for 75 cents.
Went out this morning and picked blackberries, tomatoes, tomatillos, a few onions, a few green beans, and wild plums. I'm seeing little bean pods on the Garbanzo beans. They look like pea pods but are only big enough to hold one bean. I read that it's one or two in the pod, I haven't opened any yet. I've never grown these before so I had no clue what they'd be like.
Washed a load of colors and a load of bedding. I had given some of the rolls I made last time to Joe and Cathy across the street, so I was down to only two rolls by today. I made two more batches. With one batch, I made the usual rolls, and then Runzas with most of the other. I still have some shredded cabbage in the freezer from last year, so this used up two quarts of that, four 'Tater Onions from the garden, four big (grocery store) carrots from the crisper, a two pound roll of J.C. Potter pork sausage that we had bought at Sam's. I didn't really get much cleaned out of the freezer today, because in the end I put two quarts of Runza Filling back in. But, there were eight Runzas that I baked, and that was supper, plus leftovers for another meal or two. I used to make Runzas ahead and freeze them, but they take up so much room in the freezer, and, heated up from being frozen, they are never quite as good as freshly baked. It's just better to freeze the filling in quart containers for use on a future bread-baking day.
The lettuce seed is finally ripening. I never thought of saving seed for lettuce until I had a plant bolt to seed before I got around to pulling it out of the ground. But it's just mostly a waiting game when it comes to lettuce seed. If you have a variety that you like, but that you have to send away for, it's not a bad idea to collect your own seed. I have certain favorites and invariably, they aren't all sold by the same vendor, so I end up making more than one seed order, and you know what that means: shipping costs. This was the first year for me to grow Merveille de Quatre Saisons and Year Round Lettuce. I didn't find them to be any slower to bolt than any other lettuce or romaine than I've grown, but the taste was wonderful while it lasted. One of my old posts that shows what lettuce gone-to-seed looks like and how to save the seed is HERE, if you're interested.
Hubs went into town for his workout at the fitness center. I stayed home and worked in the garden. I'm having a lot more trouble with my knee since I started going to the fitness center, and I just wasn't up to doing both that and garden work, so I encouraged Hubs to go without me during the morning so he could visit with his buddies that aren't there when we go in the afternoons. He intended to cut the grass today but it was already too hot for him to be out in it by the time he got home. We're retired, what the hell. He can do it tomorrow morning. I had planned to make some jam during the early morning, but instead I spent that time picking, pulling a few weeds, and doing some mulching. What the hell. I can do it tomorrow morning. I just dinked around the rest of the day, and we had leftovers for supper.
I've been enjoying Sue and Myrna's blog quite a bit lately (Iowa Housewife, on my sidebar). Sue posted instructions for how to can chicken breast and I've tried canning chicken broth without very good results but I've discussed it with them and they've given me the courage to try again. Myrna says she cans cooked ground beef and I've watched a few people do that on YouTube. They always say they're going to post an update after they open the jar and they never do, which makes me worry that they don't like what's in the jar. But both Sue and Myrna tell me they can ground beef and Sue says she's going to do a post on it soon. So I'm looking forward to that.
Carole shared with me a website about making "Turmeric Milk". It is said Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and is good for people who have arthritis and joint pain. That link is HERE. If you scroll down, there is a video on how to make a paste of the Turmeric by cooking it in water, then how to mix it with milk. Apparently the milk, honey and oil help the body to metabolize the Turmeric better. ****additional information, added later, is that the performance of Turmeric can be enhanced by adding black pepper, AND, HERE is what WebMD has to say about Turmeric, pay special attention to what it says on the "Side Effects" and "Interactions" tabs as Turmeric can slow blood clotting. I'm really glad I found this as I would have likely used this Turmeric right up to surgery day and probably wouldn't have even mentioned it to the surgeon, being as it's not typically what one would consider a "drug". So please do not make the same mistake I almost made.****
I've also resumed drinking a glass of water every morning with a tablespoon of cider vinegar in it. I used to do this all the time, but got away from it for some reason. Then Carole sent me something the other day that jogged my memory. We'd been having a discussion about diluted vinegar applied to the skin for heat rashes and bacterial overgrowths, and yes, it did help a rather uncomfortable rash that I had developed "under The Girls", if you know what I mean. It's 1/4 cup cider vinegar to a quart of water. Just sponge it on. Her vet said once a day for a rash her little doggie had, but really I found it soothing to put some on three or four times a day, especially at first.
Some of my long-time readers will remember when I posted about a little book I'd bought called "A Vermont Doctor's Guide To Good Health". Cider vinegar is good for your "gut", and you are not healthy if your "gut" isn't. HERE's what Reader's Digest has to say about cider vinegar. If you do a search you'll find Dr. Oz has jumped on the bandwagon but I just feel like Dr. Oz has crossed the line so I won't link him. What he has to say about cider vinegar is easy to find if you want to know what that is. This time I've refined my morning "vinegar tonic" a little by adding a scant tablespoon of REAL honey, which is also good for you, as long as you don't buy your honey at the grocery store. It is mostly corn syrup. I buy my honey at the downtown Bartlesville Farmer's Market, from TuckerBees. They are out of Kansas, and we are so close to the Kansas state line here that, yes, it's local honey. I know a few people who are keeping bees now and I'm so glad to see it, but none of them are producing enough that they can sell it yet. We must do everything we can to protect the bees. One important thing is not what we do but what we DON'T do, and that is using chemical insecticides. Another thing to DO is to grow things the bees love. What they seem to be drawn to the most, here, is Crimson Clover when it's in bloom. I'm growing a small amount of Buckwheat (I intended to grow more but it didn't work out that way), and it is a bee magnet as well. They seem to love my Red Bergamot, too. It makes me feel good to know I'm doing my part in providing food and habitat for bees, butterflies and birds, and I hope it's not that I'm luring them too close to some of my neighbors who spray poisons indiscriminately because the "bugs" inconvenience them. Those neighbors would probably have a cow if I started keeping bees.
I might mention here that this year I've seen an increase in the number and variety of beneficial insects. Yesterday when I brought in lettuce that had gone to seed, there were dozens of larval Lady Bugs and some really tiny Praying Mantis that came in with it. Awwwww.... Gone-to-seed lettuce must be habitat for them. Who knew? I'm seeing dragonflies often, too.
Hubs cut the grass. I had thawed a gallon of cut-up strawberries and three pints of Hansen's black bush cherries. The cherries have a bitter taste if eaten fresh. I even tried cooking them with a little sugar this time and it still didn't help. I was kind of concerned about going ahead and making jam out of them, but I did it last year and the jam was wonderful. In fact, I ate all of it, a teaspoon or two at a time in my plain lowfat yogurt, that's how good it was. Hubs didn't complain about me hogging it, he was doing the same thing to the blackberry jam. Heh.
So I made 4 and 1/2 pint jars of cherry jam and 3 and 1/2 pint-and-a-half jars of strawberry. The half jars just went into the fridge, they were the last in the pot, not enough left to fill the jar up. I knew we'd be wanting to be into it pretty quickly, anyway. They both turned out well and are yummy.
I wish the Hansen's bushes had done better this year. They would have if we hadn't gotten too much rain right at the crucial time, and the bushes stood in water for awhile. *Sigh*.
While I was watching the jam out in the garage, the House Finches continued building their little nest, talking sweetly to each other. He stands on the diagonal brace and guards her while she adds the latest gathering to the nest and pats it down. We just can't seem to be vigilant enough to keep them from building there. He's looking at me as if to say, "WHUT do YEW want??"
After the jam was in the jars I cleaned up my mess and then went out to give the Doyle blackberries some water and then mulch with wood chips from the pile. There is much to be said for Doyle blackberries. The canes have no thorns. They are verrrrry productive. And the berries are big and juicy. BUT. They ripen late. And if they don't get adequate water while the berries are ripening, the berries just dry right up, hard as little wrinkled rocks. They can do it overnight. It might have something to do with intense heat, which is a problem considering that they ripen during July.
Hubs loves blackberries. They are "soul food" to him as he grew up in a big family and they were poor, so they lived off the land as much as they could. That meant the boys all had bb-guns and they hunted squirrel and rabbit. They fished and caught frogs. And their mom put all that on the table, along with vegetables she grew and biscuits that she made for nearly every meal. So blackberries, being native to Oklahoma, were picked by the children and she made them into cobblers, which was a dish they always requested from their Mom into their adult years as long as she was alive. Now, the seeds get under Hubs teeth and they're troublesome for him to eat. So when I make the jam, I remove the seeds. Frankly, I think the seeds make the jam bitter. I don't think Hubs' mom knew how to make jam and he says she never baked bread -- just biscuits and cornbread. She got a waffle iron from somewhere and made tons of waffles during her lifetime. She made "Milk Syrup" and "Chocolate Syrup" to put on the waffles because they didn't buy bottled syrup. Hubs still just LOOOOOVES waffles.
Gaylie Jones’ Milk Syrup
Every family has it's "comfort food" -- and Gaylie's children are no exception. Gaylie made millions of waffles and pans of biscuits and cornbread and blackberry cobbler in her life. This is her recipe for the waffle syrup she made, and that her daughters all made for their families. For chocolate syrup, just add 2 T. powdered cocoa.
2 cups sugar
1 cup milk
Combine ingredients in a saucepan on medium heat. Cook until thick. Stir frequently while cooking. Add a pat of butter and stir in before serving.
Easy Waffle Batter
Doesn’t require beating egg whites separately and folding in, as most yeast-risen waffles do. Makes a nice crisp waffle.
2 1/2 C flour
2 T sugar
1/2 t. salt
2 C milk
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 C oil
Mix ingredients. Ladle about 1/4 C batter onto each section of a hot waffle iron. Bake according to manufacturer’s directions. If too thick, add more milk.
This recipe came with the waffle iron. Belgian Waffles are thicker than ordinary waffles, with deeper depressions. Crisp on the outside, tender inside. This rises in the waffle iron so be careful not to fill too full. Makes 4 (12-inch) or 16 (6-inch) square waffles.
1 package (2 tsp.) dry yeast
2 C. lukewarm milk
4 eggs, separated
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ½ C. sifted flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
¼ C. melted butter
Sprinkle yeast over warm milk; stir to dissolve. Beat egg yolks and add to yeast mixture with vanilla. Sift together flour, salt and sugar; add to liquid ingredients. Stir in melted butter and combine thoroughly. Beat the egg whites till stiff; carefully fold into batter. Let mixture stand in a warm place about 45 minutes or till mixture doubles in bulk.
I'm hoping the Provider bush and Fortex pole beans will start going full swing soon, so far they have not. And I saw what I think is Japanese Beetles today. Purple hull southern peas love hot, dry weather. Last year they endured the onslaught of Japanese Beetles and produced in the dryest part of the garden with hardly any intervention from me except to pick. Gotta love purple hull peas.
I think, if I had to live off my garden, I would still grow potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, squash, kale and other greens, and onions. I'd grow more dry beans and some popcorn. Popcorn can be ground into corn meal and we all know beans and corn bread together is a complete protein.
Still under a heat advisory so Hubs and I got out as soon as it was light. I cut the chicken wire panels and together we got them in place along the bottom 18" of the new fence. While he fastened them to the fence, I cut the last of the wires that fastened the old chain link to the posts running between the yard and the garden and Hubs came and helped me pull the fence material out from between plants, bushes and trees. He rolled it up and then when it was all down, loaded it onto the wagon that is pulled by his lawn mower and placed it at the side of the driveway. Jeff had agreed to pick it up when we had it ready and dispose of it for us. (Later Note: I called Jeff on Friday and he said he was almost right at our turn-off and would swing by and get it, and he did.)
It is now a much shorter walk into the garden and so convenient for me, and the cat is trying hard to wrap her brain around why she ends up in the garden without having to wait to walk through the gate with Mama.
When it's hot, Hubs and I cannot be out in it for very long. But I will slip outside about every hour and do something for about fifteen minutes. I have slipped out and picked blackberries and Brown Berry cherry tomatoes. Then another time I slipped out and planted the small 'Tater onions, emptied two bags of leaves between tomato plants and pulled weeds that were growing between the pepper plants for a little while. Later on, I slipped out and picked wild plums. After that, I slipped out on the back patio and sorted through the onions that are curing in flats. About half of them had dried off enough to be cleaned up to bring into the house. And one of the seed heads made by the Walla Walla onions that wintered over from last year had seed ready.
Each time I go out, I think of, or see, something else that needs to be done. There is always so much to do. This sort of thing would put me at risk for getting side-tracked and staying out there in the heat much longer than I should. So I just decide I'll do that on the next trip out and hope I won't forget. If forgetting gets to be too big of a problem, I might try to dig out my little battery-operated tape recorder and take it with me when I go out. Then I can record notes and reminders.
I probably have more onions now than will keep till they can be used, so I decided to dehydrate some. I dehydrate many things in my attic and onions lend themselves well to this method. There's too much heat in the attic for cabbage and herbs. One reason the attic is a good choice for onion (and garlic) dehydration is that it's vented to the outside, and the door that closes the attic off from the rest of the house is a good, tight, insulated door. If you've never dehydrated onions or garlic before, take my advice and DON'T DO IT INSIDE!!!!!! (You'll thank me later.)
Just a few little tricks to preparing onions for dehydration. 1) Refrigerate the onions before peeling and slicing; 2) Wear safety glasses while peeling and slicing. Those clear ones that you can get at any home improvement store are just fine. Make sure there's good coverage. This is not to protect you from stabbing yourself in the eye, although, if you're afraid you might accidentally do this type of thing, ok then. Mostly it keeps the onion fumes and airborne juices from entering your eyes. That's all those "Onion Goggles" are, really, is just safety glasses with a higher price. 3) Onions lose a lot of volume during the dehydration process. If the onions are smallish, they don't separate themselves very well and will take forever to dry. Large onions, where the layers aren't connected together (as at the base of the onion) will separate themselves. Most of mine were small onions and I did have to go up there and separate them. However, there is something to be said for waiting for them to dry a little bit before separating them. 4) Prepare your trays outside, if you can. If you can't, or if it's stinkin' hot outside and you want to be inside where it's cool, just work in small amounts. I might only do two trays at a time, take them upstairs, and then go do something else for awhile. This keeps the house from becoming too onion-ey. 5) Once dry, pack them in jars as they are. I like to vacuum seal mine with my FoodSaver. I have a lot of half-pint canning jars that I never use, and a lot of used canning flats that will still hold a seal. So these are what I store dried onions in. Its fun to make onion powder, but it's harder to keep from drawing moisture and turning into an onion cake in the jar. Just powder it as you need it. Mostly I use my dehydrated onions in soups and casseroles, I might break them up in smaller pieces when I take them out of the jar. Or not.
I've seen, on other websites, where they say that when something is dehydrated, it is JUST LIKE FRESH when it's been reconstituted in warm water. This is absolutely not true.
I was really glad I started the process, because I discovered some of my onions had started to GO BAD ALREADY! What's up with THAT???? Maybe it's just too hot out there on the covered patio to cure onions. Maybe it's the fact that it's just the "Sweet White", as WMT's label proclaimed, and therefore they aren't very good keepers, anyway. These trays came with my dehydrator. I don't use it much anymore because the attic is just too darn convenient, doesn't cost anything to operate, and can dehydrate larger batches at a time.
Here's how the onions looked after a couple of days. They'll need a couple more and then they'll be ready to put away.
This has been an educational summer for me where onions are concerned. I had success with starting onion from seed this spring. I posted about that on May 24. Last year Lowe's kept promising me that they had a late shipment of Candy onion plant bundles, but it never came and by planting time, all that was left was some Walla Walla bundles. So I planted those. There were a few that I missed pulling, and those wintered over and made seed, and was kind of amazed at how they ended up dividing the bulb, providing three tear-drop-shaped edible bulbs around the one that supported the stalk and grew woody. The one I pulled today just had two bulbs.
Just today I pulled the onions that grew from the cut-off bottoms of grocery store onions.
This is now Friday. My gosh, WHERE has the week gone?
I got up 'way early this morning, even for me. I had things I wanted to get done in the cool of the morning and I knew I was going to need a LONG cool morning.
The tomatoes have gotten ahead of Hubs and so it was time to process some more. And I decided, since the wild Chickasaw plum trees are done ripening fruit, I'd go ahead and make a batch of jam on the other burner while I canned the tomatoes. I made four quarts of thick tomato puree, three quarts of tomato juice and five pints plus about three-quarters of a sixth pint, of Chickasaw Plum Jam.
It is such a luxury for me to have a "canning kitchen" in the garage. It's not very pretty but it has paid for itself many times over in lower air-conditioning costs.
We had a 20% chance of rain today but none materialized, though I heard some thunder rolling off to the northwest while I was out watering the beans in the garden. I watered out the bullet tank and finished off with a little out of the cistern. Hubs mowed the walkways in the garden that are still grass, and ran the weed-wacker.
After I was done watering, I picked blackberries and wild Sand Plums, found some beets that were ready to pull and a Walla Walla onion gone to seed I'd missed before. Then I came in and mixed up a batch of whole wheat bread. I decided, since I'm going to have the oven on, anyway, to go ahead and roast today's picking of beets.
After lunch I slipped out to the garden and took a paper bag with me that had held 50 pounds of potatoes. My mission: to cut off dill heads, thus sparing myself weeding out a gazillion dill seedlings. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I guess at least the Bindweed and the Bermuda grass couldn't grow where they were. I didn't mind having some, since they're habitat for butterfly larvae and beneficial insects, but the plants were so thick it got a little ridiculous. There's no danger of getting all the seed heads and thus having NO dill. Many of the umbels have already scattered their seed. Looks like the Cilantro / Coriander is getting ready to make umbels.
I almost left the bread rising for too long.
I made individual pan pizzas for supper tonight. I just use some of my bread dough for the crust. Spaghetti sauce first. Then grated mozzerella cheese. Then whatever toppings. Hubs likes sausage, peppers, onion and mushroom. I like mine with just cheese, but I decided to have a li'l onion and mushroom on mine tonight.
I have just one thing left on the "To Do List" for today, and that's a task I do every day: take what's in the compost bucket to the garden and bury it.
Have I prattled on long enough? I think so. So, till next time,
Rock on. Hugs xoxoxo