Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Daily Doin's, First Part of January, 2016

I'm getting a late start on this, it's Saturday and I just haven't been doing that much and so I don't have a lot to write about.  But you know me, I'll find something to prattle on about, so here goes....

I'm working on another post that's about nutrition / weight loss / health improvement and it'll be published very soon. 

Jill, on The Prairie Homestead (see my sidebar for the link) has put up an interesting post about "The Instant Pot", including a lot of recipes and ideas for how to use it.  Well worth the read, even if you don't have one.  I think the recipes could be used in a stovetop pressure cooker, as well. 

I use my 6-quart (liquid capacity, not jars) stovetop pressure cooker several times a week.  It makes quick work out of transforming bones into bone broth, and cooking beans and rice in just minutes.  That's mostly what I use mine for.  I'm home most of the time so I don't mind that I have to "tend it" -- there's the waiting for it to build up a good steam before the pressure regulator is put on, and the waiting for the regulator to start rocking so I can start timing, and then there's the timing of it.  Then there's the turning off and waiting for the pressure to come down so the lock will release and the lid can be opened.  I can see how it could be a real time-saver to have an electric pot that you could just "set and forget", if you have a job you have to be at, and even if you just have a lot to do outside.  For that reason, if I ever find one at an estate sale or garage sale, I'll probably buy it.  But $100 is more than I want to pay for something that will duplicate things I can do with what I already have.  I can spare what little time it takes to babysit my stove-top pressure cooker.  I have a little timer that goes everywhere I do, and that helps.  All that said, if you do not already have a stovetop pressure cooker, then it might be that The Instant Pot would be the way to go. 

In case you're reading this after she's put on additional posts, HERE is a link to the correct post. 

This is now Sunday.  The good thing is that, while we got some pretty big snowflakes yesterday, it didn't accumulate and there is no snow on the ground this morning.  However, it is eight degrees (F.) and still falling, outside.  Our heat pump has been laboring trying to keep up.  I lit a few candles and turned on the oven after I got up to try to help things warm up.  The oven's electric, not gas, so not dangerous.  I'm not sure why they say running your gas oven to warm your house is so unsafe.  I mean, you run your oven to BAKE, so is that unsafe, too?? 

This would be a good day to get some of that fruit out of the freezer and make jam.  Hubs got up and started a fire in the fireplace insert.  We decided not to go to church today. 

I have started my annual Wintersowing project.  Everything you ever want to know about Wintersowing can be found on Wintersown.org, by the way.  Last week I set out four jugs of onions.  Three were sown with seeds I'd gathered from the onions that went to seed last year.  They were big white onions, I think Walla Walla.  I bought seed for Candy onions and I sowed a packet of those in the fourth jug.  Then today I've planted Yarrow, Feverfew, True Comfrey (the kind that makes seed), and Mountain Arnica.  I have four more empty plastic milk jugs and once I use them, I'll just be able to sow things as we empty more jugs.  If I get desperate, I'll go out to the shed and get some of those vinegar bottles I gathered from the recycling center while we were able to get them, but I can't get things from the recycling center anymore so I hate to use them for wintersowing.  With the bottoms cut off, they make wonderful plant cloches in the early spring, and being of heavier plastic, they are warmer and not so easily bent up or blown away as the lighter-weight plastic milk jugs are. 

I should mention here that yes, I know that the variety of Comfrey that makes seed can become very invasive.  I plan to use it under fruit trees where I've been having trouble keeping the Bocking Comfrey that I was given starts of alive.  I had probably 20 good starts of it, and out of that all I have left is about four plants under fruit trees.  They are growing well but just don't seem to be multiplying.  I've been using them as my "signal plants" for watering the trees as they tend to wilt easily.  It isn't that they can't get their roots deep into the ground, because we dug the holes for those trees about 4' deep.  Plants have to be "invasive", to live out here.  And they need to be able to out-compete Bermuda grass and Bindweed. 

We've been quite entertained lately with our large population of Robins.  They come gliding in every day about 5pm, in what feels like pretty large numbers.  It's like it's "snowing Robins".  They've been digging around in the garden AND the yard.  This can only be a good thing, right?  They move around on the ground so smoothly, you'd think they're on wheels.  Heh.

This is now Tuesday, January 12.
It looks like it might be a decent day today, the sun's out and there's a high of 45º expected. 

I caught up on the laundry yesterday and I've been complaining to Hubs for awhile about how it looks like there's a large amount of lint that's collected inside the dryer.  If you've ever been present when the repairman has removed the front of your dryer, you know that, over time, there's enough lint that escapes the "trap" to become a problem.  Lately I've noticed the smell of hot fibers being more pronounced when I run that dryer and so again today I asked Hubs if he would remove the front so we can see whether there's a lot of accumulated lint.  I reminded him that this stuff can catch on fire. 

To take the front off this dryer, first the top has to be removed.  After that, it's just a matter of rasseling the thing around till the levers are found that release the front panel.  Also you might find a quarter.  For your thoughts, maybe?
 This is the inside of the front panel.  Yuk.

And this is what the inside of the dryer looked like.  Double Yuk.  It's actually gotten worse than I expected.

While he had the dryer apart, he checked the belt that spins the drum, and since the dryer's been squeaking for awhile, he sprayed some silicone on the belt.  A test run has revealed that the squeak is gone.  At least till the silicone rubs off.  This is an old dryer and eventually I'll replace it with a better one.  I don't have very good luck selling appliances to anyone so I'll use it till it doesn't work anymore and then I can just give it to the man who will come around and pick up scrap metal.  Some people actually take the metal drums out of their old washers and dryers and use them as planters.  It's an option.

Hubs checked the dryer vent outside, too. 
This is one of those hard plastic dryer vents that doesn't let cold air in.  I bought it on Amazon and have had it for at least a couple years.  I'm very happy with it.  It vents out from the bottom when the dryer is on, and otherwise doesn't let in very much cold air.

There is a cap that sits down on the opening in the center when the vent is idle.  This keeps rodents from finding their way into the house through the vent.  We are still getting flying insects inside in the summer, but I think they come in when we go in and out the doors.

Oh, and BONUS, there was a dried out dead rat back there on the ground.

I haven't caught anything or seen anything except one set of tracks at the cellar for a long time now.  The upside-down Folger's Tub lid that I was keeping on the garage floor with ten pieces of dry cat food in it, so I'd know if something was in there, turned up empty the other day and I pretty much freaked.  But the wind must've blown it when we opened the garage door because I've baited and set a trap and the trap has set there for days with bait undisturbed.  Whew.

It's been a real effort to fight off boredom, these cold days.  Oh, truly, I do have plenty to do.  It's just that I don't wanna do any of it.  So now and then I force myself to do something.  I finished off those two tube hoods I started, a couple of blogposts before this one.  I cut an old, thin towel into circles and zigzag-stitched around the edges.  I am gradually getting the sewing room cleaned out.  Doing a little quilting, a little reading, and learning things on You-Tube.  With it just being Hubs and me, there isn't a lot of housework to do.  He vacuums about once a week and he folds and puts away the laundry.  I spot-clean the floors as I see areas that need it.  Every time I leave or go through a room on the way to another, I will pick up anything I see that belongs there or someplace in between, and deliver it to its rightful spot on my way.  While I'm in the kitchen, cooking a meal, or heating coffee in the microwave, or making a between-meal piece of toast in the toaster, I'll wash pots and pans, or load the dishwasher, or put away clean dishes, or wipe counters and so on.  I clean the tub after my bath and hopefully Hubs does the same to his shower.  I clean other parts of the bathrooms when I'm in there, as I see that it's needed.  When we had pets, it seemed like there was always fur everywhere.  Now that we don't have pets, it's dust that is the most common thing.  When we're in the garden more, we'll be tracking in flotsam and jetsam from outside.  I noticed yesterday that the glass in the sliding doors to the patio are getting such that we don't really have to worry about the birds smacking into them, thinking there's nothing there.  But I'll be cleaning them soon. 

Other than this, there isn't much going on here.  I would love to have my kitchen counters replaced with some of that Formica that looks like granite.  I would love to tear up all that ugly beige carpeting upstairs and replace it with vinyl plank flooring.  Hubs says "no".  He's said "no" to the greenhouse that I want so many times, I'm practically the one that's "blue in the face".  *Sigh*.  HE wants to buy a generator system that starts automatically when the power goes out.  I'm not sure we really need it.  HE wants to replace our double garage doors with just one wide one, and I wouldn't mind so much having that done, except for the fact that I might then be asked to give up my "canning kitchen".  And so I might take a page from HIS book and say "no".  We are Mr. and Mrs. No.

So I leave you with this boring post and hope you were able to find some part of it useful to you.  Till next time, do take care, stay safe, say your prayers, and hug your loved ones.  Rock on.....  Hugs xoxoxo


  1. Thanks for mentioning WinterSown.org, Ilene, I had never heard of it. Now I have to learn why you put your seeds outside in milk jugs in the winter. Great information and another learning opportunity for me. Hang in there, spring is on the way, well kinda. I'm ready for it.


  2. Fern, if you will go up my sidebar and click on the label "Wintersowing", you'll be able to read posts from when I've done it in previous years, which shows how I prepare the jugs and other stuff. I don't think I was very good about using the labeling function on earlier blogposts, there ought to be something in December or January of nearly every year's posts, because I've been Wintersowing since the before I began writing on this blog.


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