Friday, September 30, 2011

About Them Apples. . .part II

Planned on just throwing the apple scraps to the chickens, but just couldn't do it. So after freezing about a dozen quart bags of apple slices for apple pie or such later, I focused my attention on making pectin. Not the white granulated kind, but the liquid kind. Hopefully I can get enough pectin to use for the grape jelly.

I took a boatload of apple peelings and cores and cooked them on low for the WHOLE day. I added water occasionally, just enough to keep it from burning. I stirred it often and by the end of the day I had very little to work with. After cooling, I strained it thru an old t-shirt. It turned out to leave me 3.75 cups of pectin. Since I wasn't ready to use it right now, I froze it and I will have to boil it down for about 8 minutes when I need it.

All the directions I can find say to use about 1 cup boiled down pectin per 1 quart of berries/fruit. I will update you on if this works. So far I am not convinced this is worth the effort, due to the fact I didn't get a whole lot of pectin, but I am glad I at least know how to do this, you know, in case that strange granulated stuff ever goes missing from the store.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

About Them Apples. . . .

I was talking to my neighbor last week and he said I could have all the apples on his tree. Cool! I spent a couple of days picking them, trying to process them as I picked, but I was soon overloaded with apples. I don't know what kind they are, but they seemed a bit tart, like a Granny Smith. I am so excited! Now I am off to the kitchen, see you in a couple of days!

Monday, September 26, 2011

About Those Grapes. . .

I was talking with my neighbor the other day and he said he would be picking his grapes soon. He has a nice arbor and wanted to make grape juice out of them. But. . . .the very next day his wife came over and told me I could have them all. Cool! So the not-so-little one and I picked a box full of them and I spent the day/night cooking them down to make juice. I will probably freeze the juice until I have time to make jelly later.

I was going to throw the scraps out to the chickens, but. . . well you know me, couldn't I use them for something?

Smack on the head! What was I thinking!


Well, I haven't actually tried this before, but, hey, it couldn't hurt to try. Not much on the internet as far as directions go, but I figure it can't be much different than apple cider vinegar.

So, I filled the jars almost full with grape peels, seeds, leftover pulp.

Added sterilized lukewarm water, just to the top of the peels.

Added a tiny, tiny pinch of bread yeast.

Let it sit uncovered for a day, stirring a couple of times to incorporate air.

Covered it with a piece of old t-shirt tied on with a rubberband.

Put it on the counter where I have a warm, dark place.

Now I wait. I think about 8 weeks should be enough time. I might stir it a couple of times, but other than that, I just hope not to forget out it! Update in 8 weeks.

side note: I guess I could have picked out all the grape seeds and then pressed them to make grape seed oil, but. . . . . I found grape seed oil at Wally's World, 24 oz. for $3.69, so I didn't think that picking out all the seeds would have been a good use of my time, would you?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Yellow Mayo

I made mayonnaise this morning with some of the little eggs the new ladies laid this week.I have been letting them graze in the yard as much as possible the past couple of weeks and let me tell you what, those egg yolks are SOOOO orange! So orange, in fact, that the mayonnaise turned yellow. That's no yolk, I mean joke! Maybe I can convince you to try making some, just think of all the preservatives you won't be eating!
Please ignore my messy counter.
I did add some paprika, like I usually do, but. . . .

A store bought, white hamburger bun. . . .

Hamburger bun with homemade mayo. Not convinced?

Store mayo on the right, homemade on the left. Enough said, here is the recipe.

1 whole egg (pastured egg of course!)

1/2 ts. dry mustard

pinch of sea salt

2 TBS white vinegar or lemon juice

dash paprika

1 cup vegetable oil ( or 1/4 cup olive oil and 3/4 cup canola oil)

Add egg, mustard, salt, vinegar, paprika and 1/4 cup oil in blender and blend on medium for 2 minutes.

Scrap down the inside of blender.

Slowly (the slower the better) add/blend the rest of the oil.

That's it.

I usually use lemon juice and no olive oil.

I am impatient and cheat when adding the oil. I use a funnel lined with a coffee filter that I put a very, very tiny pin hole in. I then pour all of the oil in the funnel, set the funnel in the blender lid hole, and let it drip thru the filter while I walk away.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Seed Saver

Hello. My name is Me and I have a confession.

I am a seed hoarder.

Hidden away in the depths of a corner cupboard, you will find. . .

poppy seeds from my mother's old house (she moved 7 years ago)

dill seeds from my grandpa (at least 15 years old)

and. . . wait for it. . .

a packet of turnip seeds found in my grandma's junk drawer dated


Anyone want to start a support group? I have seeds. . . . .

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Planning The Next Garden

Well, it's that time of year for me. Tired of this year's garden's mishaps and ready plan next year's garden.

This year's garden produced about 2 dozen green peppers, just enough field corn to save for seed for next year's crop, 1 very small cucumber that I just threw to the chickens, and so many cherry tomatoes that I just ended up turning the chickens into the garden to eat them all. A few onions, parsley,chives, thyme, and oregano, alot of dill, 1 small pumpkin for decoration only, and 1 acorn squash.

Goals for next year's garden:

organize my herb garden better

grow field corn for the chickens (and for decorations) with squash and beans, I think this is called the "three sisters"

sunflowers for seed for the chickens and rabbits

grow more carrots

can enough tomatoes to last til next year

What goals do you have for next year's garden?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Pardon My Mess

Please excuse my mess of a blog lately, I am trying some new fonts and what-not. I am having trouble with spacing, so my posts seem extremely long also. I promise I will find what I like soon and get back to blogging.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Quick Thoughts

Was browning some sausage crumbles in my cast iron skillet and found my mind wandering. I wonder how much energy I save every time I use them?

  • Cast iron skillets browns meat on level 3, other skillets I have to turn it up to 5 or 6.

  • Cast iron skillets can be turned off before the food is totally done, the pan stays heated in for a long time.

  • Cast iron skillets can be wiped clean and doesn't have to be washed with water every time you use it.

As obsessed as I am with saving cents, I don't have time to figure this all out. I must be saving something. Ok, back to supper. Homemade pizza and breadsticks tonight!

Thursday, September 08, 2011


I try really, really hard to be organized. I am not.

I have a desk sized calendar that I hang on the wall, it has plenty of room to write everything on.

I try to find a free or really cheap daytimer that fits in my purse and work very long and hard at not losing it and writing everything in it.

Nothing works.

Sometimes it is my fault.

Sometimes it is my family's fault.

I try not to lay blame on others and just move on.

This time, it is not my fault.

I broke down and spent $2 on a purse sized daytimer at one of those dollar stores. I don't know what came over me, it was a pretty bright green and the right size and I splurged.

I spent days writing in my daytimer, (thank goodness in pencil) planning, counting out rabbit gestation periods, egg hatching dates, birthdays, parent teacher meeting dates, etc, etc.

And then I saw it. In very tiny, very light print, the month of April 2012 said that Easter is on the 24th.

Wait, wasn't Easter on April 24th this year?

Look it up.

I'll wait for you.

Seriously, go look.

I'm still waiting.

Yes, yes it was. So what? ?. . . .

Soooo. . . April 24, 2012 is on a Tuesday. According to my daytimer, Easter this coming year is on a Tuesday.

Maybe this doesn't seem like much of a misprint to you, but I plan alot of bunny breeding around Easter's date. When I first saw this mistake, I just thought that Easter was just the Sunday before the 24th. I was in the van on a 10 hour trip, so there was no way for me to check, D's cell phone calendar didn't say when Easter was, so I just went ahead with the assumption that Easter was on the 22nd. After surviving a 10 hour ride with three kids, a flat tire, a very scary almost accident, I forgot to look Easter 2012 up on the computer when I got home.

Ok, maybe this is my fault.

At least I realized this all before I started breeding rabbits 2 weeks late, missing Easter.

I need an industrial sized eraser.

I am not buying it at the dollar store.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Bunny Update

Got a call about my bunnies today, the man should be here Thursday to get the last 8. I will be keeping 1 to breed in the spring. I am glad/sad to see them go. Glad because they are eating me out of house and home, and sad because they are such cute, friendly things. For some reason this litter got out twice, but would hop right up to me so I could catch them fairly easily.

I still have 6 New Zealand kits left, but I'm not going to sell them for awhile. My youngest should be getting into 4H this fall, and will need one or two for the fair. For some reason, my New Zealands and Jake the dog are rarely very photogenic, so please excuse my lame photos of them.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Self-Seeding Tomatoes

As much as I tried, the garden didn't get started this year. But the heritage cherry tomato seeds I bought a couple of years ago are still self seeding themselves and took over the entire garden this year. Too bad the lettuce I grew in the herb garden tasted like tissue paper. I could have had salads for the whole neighborhood.

Friday, September 02, 2011

In Limbo

Due to a bunch of things happening all at once, I quit my job.


Then I ended up at the store.

Where I found a ten pound bag of potatoes.


Yes, that's right, $6.99 for a ten pound bag of taters.

More Scary.

A couple of days later I was back at the store and found the egg section practically empty. Thinking there had been a sale on eggs, I scanned the prices.


Yes, that's right, $2.39 for a dozen of large eggs.

Not scary.


Because I got this today.

It's the first egg from the new hens, small in comparison to the old girls' eggs, but . . . .

it's hope.

Hope that maybe I can sell all of my extra eggs quickly and things will be alright.

D even said someone at his work is already asking about eggs.

Am I "counting my eggs before their hatched?"