Saturday, November 14, 2015

Daily Doin's, Second Week of November, 2015

I start this on Monday, November 9.

Before I went to bed last night I remembered that I have been forgetting to write about a method having to do with not wasting food that's thought by some to be kind of silly.  It has to do with meat and meat flavor.  I used to watch The Frugal Gourmet all the time, many years ago, and he had several little "rules" that he mentioned often.  One was,  "hot pan, cold oil, foods won't stick", which everyone says now is just not true because the hot pan makes the oil hot and so you might as well say, "hot pan, hot oil, foods won't stick".  But he also used to say, "meat should be the flavoring, and not the main ingredient."  I think back about how my mother kept five kids fed and healthy, with Chicken and Noodles; Meatloaf; Beef Stew; Beans, Cornbread and Fried Potatoes; Biscuits and Gravy.  Come Thanksgiving dinner, it was Mom's hot rolls, practically as big as a small loaf of bread, fresh and hot and dripping with butter, that everybody really came for.  The turkey was just the side dish.  When my teenagers were big eaters, I depended a lot on Chicken-Fried Rice; Slumgullion; Macaroni and Cheese; Hamburger Soup; Cabbage-Roll Casserole; and yes, the penny-wise dishes I grew up on, as well.  But, OK, there are exceptions.    We had our "Meat Days", when there'd be a whole chicken cut up and fried crispy, served with mashed potatoes, milk gravy, and corn.  Fried green tomatoes if they were in season.  Or a round steak, floured and browned crispy on both sides, then covered with the contents of an undiluted can of Cream of Mushroom Soup, and simmered with the lid on till the soup was all beefy and yummy.  Who could deny pan-fried pork chops, with sides of sweet potatoes still in their jackets, slathered in butter, and okra or home-canned green beans cooked with bacon??

But anyway,  I don't think I've ever written about "deglazing the pan".  It's done when you have pan-fried meat and you do not intend to make gravy.  When I intend to deglaze, I prefer to cook the meat in it's own juices, without coating it in flour.  But if I have floured it and added something to the pan to keep it from sticking, I generally will choose lard or at least something that will solidify in the refrigerator.  Keep two small containers in the freezer.  One marked "Pork Glaze" and the other marked "Beef Glaze".  And all it is, is a little water poured into the pan after the cooked meat has been removed, the water is brought to a boil and is stirred around in the pan till everything that was stuck to the pan has been incorporated into the water.  You can keep a container for "Chicken glaze", also, but it's a little harder to manage because chicken fat doesn't solidify as well as the other fats.  I do, however, save my chicken fat in a container in the freezer, and when I fry chicken, I use this fat instead of cooking oil.  I don't want to horrify anyone, but there are some "experts" who have the opinion that using cooking oil is worse than using animal fats.  The real truth to this issue is that nobody really knows which is worse / better. 

Pour your "glaze" off into a bowl or a glass measuring cup. 

Often it's not more than half a cup to a cup.  This also now leaves your pan very easy to clean.  This is just from one hamburger patty that I cooked for Hubs last night.  Put the glaze in the refrigerator till cold.  By then any fat that's in it has solidified on the top.  Remove the fat and then pour the remaining liquid into the appropriate freezer container.  Or into an ice-cube tray, or whatever floats your boat.  You can also save the beef fat and make soap with it.  I save any pork fat and cook with it like I do with lard and/or bacon fat.  If you like to cook with wine, you can certainly deglaze with wine, if you want to, but you may be more limited in how you can use it later on, so you'll want to be sure and mark on the container that it contains wine.  Use your "glaze" to add flavor to soup or sauce.  Pork "glaze" is really good in the bean pot, if you're not cooking it with a ham bone.  Then it's just overkill and better used at another time.  You'll be amazed to see just how much flavor you can get out of even a small amount, and so much more real than those bouillion cubes or powders, which are mostly fat and salt. 

I've been, as usual, dinking around on the Internet.  Winter's coming on, I'll have more time to read, so I thought I'd sign up again for the newsletters on Mother Earth News (click on "Newsletters" in the gray bar under the orange bar that's just under their logo at the top of the page).  and Mother Earth Living (click on "Newsletters" in the white space under their logo at the top of the page).  I used to get the newsletters for Mother Earth News when I had a subscription, and I found it to be redundant, so I took myself off the email subscription list.  Just recently I've allowed my subscription for the paper copy of Mother Earth News to run out, and so now getting the emailed newsletters would be worthwhile.  If you're interested, When you sign up, they send you a "welcome" email with links to some downloadable PDF documents on a variety of subjects.  I found some interesting tips in some of these, and there is a wealth of free information on both these websites.  Any time you see something you want to keep, this can be done easily enough.  You can either print it off, or highlight what you want to save, click "copy", open up a blank text document from whatever word-processing package you have (Word is the most popular, but I use OpenOffice, which is a free download, and compatible with Word (should you want to, for instance, send a resume or some other document to someone who has it).  It works much the same way so if you've used Word before, there's not much of a learning curve.  But anyway, just "paste" into a blank document.  Now, here I need to warn you that your document continues to "talk" to the website that you "pasted" from to get the pictures, and if you don't have internet access, the pictures will all become just bitty boxes with a red "X" inside.  There are several ways around this, the easiest of which is to save your document in PDF format.  This breaks all the links and imbeds the pictures into the document.  I have a free PDF converter I downloaded from Downloads.com called "PDF Redirect".  It installs in your Printers folder and when you convert a document, you just pretend you're going to print it and choose PDF Redirect off your printer list that comes up on the print screen.  It'll convert it and then you can save it to your files somewhere.  I don't seem to be able to get it to save anywhere but on the desktop, but after it's there I can move it into any folder I want.  Keep in mind that copyright laws say it's ok to make one copy "for comment".  But it's not ok to distribute someone else's hard work as you would if it was yours.  Copying things off the internet is great because if it gets deleted (and this happens often), you still have your copy, all safe and sound.  Well, as long as you don't crash before you get it backed up, that is.

I've also been on YouTube and THIS guy shows a method for rooting fruit tree cuttings.   One of the first things I thought about was how every fruit tree I buy is grafted to rootstock.  I've been trying to find out what the reasons are for grafting fruit trees and so far all I have found is that the rootstock determines the size that the tree will be.  If you don't care how large the tree will get, then what????  Most of the comparisons are made between trees grown from seed and cuttings grafted.  But what if you have a rooted cutting?  How is the grafted tree better if you don't care about size????  I have a plum tree that's oozing "gel" from its trunk.  Borers, I guess....  I've treated the tree, but probably too late to save it.  So I took cuttings from it today, trimmed them and put them down in a Welch's Grape Juice bottle.  Call that experiment #1 for 2016.  It's probably the wrong time of year.  If they don't work out I'll try with fresh cuttings in the spring.
 

The last experiment for 2015 was the fall potato tub.  I had some problems getting the sprouted potatoes to go ahead and grow once they were in the soil.  There are two up now.  After I took this picture I added more soil to the tub.

Hubs finally gave up trying to find someone who could fix the golf cart we bought (a year or two ago), made a list of the parts he thought he needed and we called DIY Golf Carts in Texas.  It was really nice that they were so helpful seeing as how we didn't know what we were doing.  We ordered a new carburetor, a new filter, and a new belt.  Two days later, it arrived, Hubs put them in and it works good.  If you want something done timely, there's still nothing like doing it yourself.  One guy kept it a whole month, and then said he didn't have time to work on it.  Sheesh.  A couple of cosmetic things to do to it yet, but now we have something to go to the mailbox in, or run up to the corner to see Bob and Gwen or Bob and Marty.  We're just full of "Bobs" out here.  Bob and Sharry live on the other end of the road.  

This is now Thursday, the 12th.

Hubs and I had an interesting day yesterday.  I went to workout with him again, and after we were finished there we went to get some business done in town.  It took most of the morning.

When we got home we found our neighborhood on fire.  The fire was up to the backs of the houses that belong to our neighbors across the road.  And there were patchy places on our land that were blackened and smoking.  Thick smoke all around.  Apparently the volunteer fire department had been here and then left because the wind was whippin' down the plain and the fire was spreading like, well, wildfire.  Before nightfall, it had reached Lenapah and Nowata and parts of Kansas.  It burned down a big ranchhouse in Lenapah, caught an oil well on fire somewhere, burned big round bales of hay that people had stored in their fields to feed to their livestock this winter, just literally to the ground, and, in our neighborhood, caught the firewood that Joe, our neighbor across the road, had neatly stacked up for the winter.  He managed to put that fire out with the garden hose.  Hubs gathered up all the garden hose we could find and he and Joe took that and Joe's Kubota backhoe to Bob's because he still had fire behind his house when everybody else's was put out.  I really think that if our houses hadn't all been so far apart, if we didn't all keep our land mowed, and if we hadn't all stayed around to keep track of what was happening, a few of us might've lost our homes.  We all, I'm sure, went to bed uneasy that night, I know I did, but Praise God, by morning all was calm though still stinking of burnt grass.  Some of the neighbors that have been here the longest said this is the closest fire has ever gotten to our homes. 

First we heard that it was arson.  Then Hubs heard that the fire started when an electrical line was broken by the wind and ignited the grass in a pasture below it.  In all, our newspaper said, 46,000 acres burned through three counties, from several grass fires that merged into one.

So much grass has burned in the open areas that now we, and probably all our neighbors, if only they knew it, are overrun by rats.  Those of you who were reading this blog last year will remember how we had a rat problem off and on all spring through fall because of ranchers burning off their pastures around us, and we trapped, drowned and buried over 100 rats during that period.  So far this fall, we are now up to 6 rats, one mouse, and one possum. 

Actually, two possums, but Hubs let the first one he caught go, because I was in the hospital at the time and he just didn't want to deal with it.  Apparently this little guy was responsible for all the digging that was going on under the old chicken house. 

Today  I had to buy, download and install new security software for my computer.  I just hate to download and install, seems like something always goes wrong.  I guess I'm not going to use Mozilla Firefox much anymore because it never does the download right and I have to go on Explorer eventually, anyway, to do the download.  It's just I seem to keep forgetting that it has that problem.  Add this to the fact that it quit allowing me to insert pictures into my blogposts and that translates out to "limited functionality" as far as I'm concerned, so I've been having to use Explorer when I write on the blog for about a month now.  But anyway, suffice it to say that I had quite a few problems muddling through the security software process.  It's finally working, but not after I had to say a few prayers and walk away from it for a little bit to fill my coffee cup and do a little thinking, and apologize to God for swearing. 

This is now Saturday the 14th. 

We drove to Tulsa yesterday for my 3-month post-surgery follow-up at the orthopedic surgeon's office.  They feel like I'm doing very well.  I asked about the dang stiffness that I have every morning and in fact, every time I spend very much time not actually using my new knee, and they said that's normal and will be for probably another three months.  I have a spot on the outside of my knee that is still tender, and I asked about that.  They said that was normal and will go away with time.  I asked about the Meloxicam and what their opinion was about it for long-term use, and they said they didn't recommend that because of possible damage to the kidneys, that they have some patients who can't take it at all and they have to use something that's less effective.  So I'm glad I'm not taking it anymore, although my good knee is starting to holler now from the extra work it has to do, and so's my back.  It was sure nice to have a pain-free back for three months, though. 

After we got out of there, we went to find a Whole Foods store.  Apparently there are only two in Tulsa. 

Wow, this was a big store and there were lots of interesting things in it but I was kind of disappointed that they didn't have any bigger variety of beans than the grocery stores and WMT here in town do.  No, they did not have Cannellini beans.   Yes, things are more expensive there.  But everything's organic.  They must grow that produce in greenhouses, that's all I have to say, as everything was unblemished and beautiful.

I also wanted to go to the address I had for the new Costco store that was supposed to, according to all the news releases I saw, open up in the summer of 2015.  We watched for an announcement, like there was when Sam's Club opened in Owasso, and there just hasn't been one.  I couldn't find any recent information online.  This will be the first Costco for the state of Oklahoma.  There's one in Wichita, KS, which is about a three-hour drive from here. 

So we went out to 103rd and Memorial and yes, construction is under way.  But no way they're going to be ready to open up any time soon.






Hubs and I are catching a minimum of five rats a day.  And now there's one in the garage because the paper package of D-Con I keep in a coffee tub lid on the floor was moved and is empty.  Considering how nasty they are and how much damage they do, it's hard to find the humor, but we've had a few laughs out of this latest rat invasion.  Yesterday I turned over a planter that was upside down in the flower bed and there was a rat sleeping in there.  I hurriedly carried it to where I had a bucket, dumped him in it and this time set another bucket that had a hole in the bottom down in it.  Poured water in until he drowned.  Then today, when I moved the downspout that diverts the rain water from the roof away from the bullet tank after it's empty, I heard scrambling and scratching inside it.  All I had in my hands was a disintegrated, raggy trash bag I'd picked up in the yard, so I stuffed it into the bottom of the downspout while I went to get my trusty pair of buckets.  He was a feisty one, and almost got away, but I managed to prevail, and he slid down the downspout into the bucket and drowned in the same fashion as the other one had.  Hubs thought this was incredibly funny.  This puts our count for today at six, so far.  They move around a lot around dawn and dusk, maybe we'll get a couple more before the day's over.  Hubs has seen one running between the sheds in the back of the yard, and I still hear rustling noises in three different places when I step out on the patio.  Yesterday I threw down bags of D-Con in the front driveway and in the front flower beds, since we've only the one trap, and all the bags have been moved, a couple are already empty today.  I don't do D-Con in the back yard because Sam is often out there, and there are risks if she should eat a rat that's been dosed up with D-Con.  It's a Coumadin product, and the rats die because they bleed to death.  She doesn't seem to be interested in hunting, though.  She goes out there and just looks alarmed, as if to say, "......What the hell?????"  She has cataracts now so not sure how well she's seeing.  She caught a little mouse last summer but a neighbor cat was over (uninvited) and the mouse got away while the cats were arguing about it.  She hasn't tried to catch a rat in a long time. 

Hubs and I went garaging today but didn't find much.  I'm thinking about taking a yoga class when I get a little further with my knee, they offer them sometimes through the Wellness Center for a small fee.  So when I saw a yoga mat for $2, I bought that.  But I think that's all we found.  We did run into a woman whose boys grew up with our son, they and another boy were best friends and did a lot of stuff together, so we got to know the parents simply because our boy was either at their house or their boys were at our house, all the time.  It was good to visit with her and catch up on what her family was doing.  After our boys grew up and left home, we both moved away from the neighborhood where we lived within a few blocks of each other. 

Well, that's it for this time.  Oh, isn't there so much evil in the world these days?  I try not to get too involved in world events and politics on the blog, nobody really wants to know the opinions of an Old Redneck Woman.  It's getting so I dread turning on the TV in the morning to find out what has happened while I innocently slept.  So much hate, so senseless.  Breaks my heart when thinking about those involved and their families.  Praying for them, I hope you will be too.  Hugs to all.  xoxoxoxo

6 comments:

  1. Great idea for glaze flavoring Ilene, thank you. I'm going to have my trigger finger fixed in a few weeks and I hope it works. It's a simple process and the doctor said I could still use my hand normally the same day, it would just be sore. I'm glad you got a good 3 month report and it sounds like you're up and around doing most things. Do you think the cold winter weather will bother your new knee? I know my bones are complaining a little more than they did a month or so ago. Maybe I'm just working harder, but then again, maybe not. Have fun with your rats, it's good to hear your neighborhood escaped damage from the fire. That can be a scary thing. We are praying for the world, especially France. Wonder where it will happen next?

    Fern

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    1. Good luck with your trigger finger surgery, Fern. If it's like when my torn meniscus was "fixed", there will certainly be restrictions for use but it is called PAIN. Hope not the same for you.

      Yes, rainy weather bothers me, but not just in that knee. Old age is not for weenies. Seems like nothing is, anymore. Guess it's a good thing we're not weenies, eh? LOL

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  2. Hope the fires stay away from now on - sounds terrifying. Thankfully, Scotland is so wet that we rarely have this problem except when heather-burning is in progress, and that's on isolated moors. Responsible landowners plough a strip of land near to anything they don't want to accidentally catch fire if the wind blows a different direction. Have you tried Google Chrome? We dumped Explorer a long time ago and find Chrome is much more effective, but I didn't give Firefox a fair go, so it may be better. Pleased to hear that your back is OK after the rest from pain but it looks like your decision re the meds was just the right one. The knees will just take a little while to heal up/distribute the stress evenly. Regarding your rats, I can't imagine it. I've lived on farms for a lot of my life and with poison down, I've only come face to face with a few. When my cats were quite young, they could walk happily past a rat looking the other way so I guess they assess the likelihood of "winning" and go with that. Sam is wise. They did find one in the house that they kept guard of until I wondered what they were up to, but I opened all the doors and made a racket until it disappeared. Give me the creeps, so you're very brave, and have a BIG rat problem. Maybe you need a Jack Russell? I've been looking at yoga classes too but T'ai Chi is more appealing as it will help my balance and co-ordination and they probably need a bit of help more than anything else right now. Apparently, t'ai chi is good for the brain and strengthening muscles at the same time - anything that does a 2 for 1 is good for me. I'm with you on the world evil there is just now. The Paris disaster has hit Europe very hard and Sweden has last week announced a big development about taking refugees, even though they are well-known for being a very liberal small country. Maybe it's time many of us small European countries did the same but it will hit the well-deserved hard. We need an element of self-preservation while remaining kind to the rest of humanity but when there are those out to do us untold harm by secret methods, it just develops suspicion about everyone. Keep warm and safe and look forward to your next Doins!

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    1. Jo, thank you for mentioned t'ai chi. I looked on YouTube and there are some really nice lessons on there. My, it's just even peaceful-feeling to watch it being done. I've been having kind of a tough time lately and I think it might actually be a 3 - in - one for me by improving my mood. The rats are just awful, like the Biblical seven-headed dragon. We are soldiering on but it is getting scarey and depressing. Our little trap has certainly paid for itself many times over. I'm actually thinking about getting a second one so I can trap at the patio AND in the front driveway.

      It's hard to be humanitarian when you don't know for sure if evil lurks within the throngs. It's also heartbreaking to turn people away, after they've risked their lives and lost some of their loved ones trying to get as far as they got. I don't know what the answer is, not sure anyone does.

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  3. That fire was too close! Thank goodness, none of you or your neighbors lost your homes. But rats again! I am amazed at that. We haven't seen any field rats here in a long time.

    I dread turning on the news too. I worry that there doesn't seem to be a way to keep these crazies out or under control. Finding them first would be the first step and then keeping them contained. I heard one expert say it was an impossible job.

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  4. Oh, Glenda, I think we're going to easily pass last year's 100-rat count, and at the rate things are going, that will be very soon. Fire has a way of sweeping through the grass and herding the rats ahead of it. If it wasn't for fires, they'd stay out in the fields and would be kept in check by predatory birds. I hope I'm not upsetting the ecological balance but I just can't let them be this close to the house, they will be having families and the count will grow exponentially. I was finally able to find their entry point into the garage and it took that and the fact that I have trapped eight or ten rats out of that garage by now and they keep on coming, to convince Hubs. Today he's going to work on that. They have eaten a corner out of the gasket that fits around the garage door frame.

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