Saturday, July 28, 2012

July

Whew! The summer has flown by around here!
I can't believe in a few weeks the kid will be started up school again and we will be into our fall schedule! I thought summer just started!
I have been fortunate to receive friends' overflowing bounty of cucumber and tomatoes, so guess what I've been up to? In case the picture doesn't totally give it away, I've spent several days over the last couple of weeks canning pickles, tomatoes, making pickles, drying tomatoes, making tomato sauce, salsa, jams and jellies. I now have quite a full canning larder-well when it comes to tomatoes, anyways, and dried so many herbs my hands smell like pizza even after repeated washing! Oh, well, at least I smell delicious.
This picture is not of pantry, by the way. My canning pantry is the inside of an old mini fridge-red neck recycling at it's best, my friends!
I am trying to get Husband to make me one like the one above, but so far I have been met with....resistance. Something to do with the 2,583 other things on his to-do list. Whatever!
We, and by we, I mean I, am looking to expand the garden even further next year and hopefully add a fruit tree or two and maybe put in a herb garden bed so I can move some of my larger planters off the back porch. It looks like a tiny little jungle out on the porch!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday Misc.

Today I woke up to a rather intense thunderstorm, which I normally enjoy, but as it happened to be 3:00 a. m., I was somewhat less than excited about this particular one. But the garden is loving the rain!
I already have harvested some herbs, and my tomatoes are reaching small tree status-now if they would just hurry up and give me some tomatoes! Another couple of weeks and I'll have enough mint to make extract. I'll post the super easy recipe when I do.
Since it is rainy today, the kids and I will be doing a pantry inventory. Not a favorite chore, but if you buy in bulk, you better have an inventory to keep track of what you have, or you'll end up with canned veggies that expired in 2007. Not that it  has ever happened to me. * Whistles innocently*
I need to place an order for a few baking/cooking supplies and the company I use has a vast variety of goods, including canned bacon, something I find repulsive, but the kids find fascinating. Maybe I'll order a can just to see what it's like. But it's bacon...in a can....gross!
The kids are born preppers and will often search through the catalog for new/interesting/prohibitively expensive items and beg me for them. It's like their toy catalog, the bizarre little creatures that they are. There are worse vices to be had ,plus I do love them myself! Some people have sports cars, some the latest tech gadget, myself and the kids,we drool over the Big Berkey water system or the years' worth of freeze dried fruit. Poor husband thinks we've all gone mad, but even he admits the practicality of most things.
Our school is almost finished for the year, and frankly, neither the kids not I can wait. We are all so ready for summer break this year! Next year should be interesting with a middle schooler and a high schooler!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hello!

I know I've been scarce lately! I've been a tiny bit busy with school,Scouts,activities, driving Eldest to and from his job everyday,spring and the 1,439 things we all have to do!
Let's see how about a quick update from absent me?
We put in a raised bed in the "front" yard. It's about a 20 by 20 foot bit of lawn in front of our driveway,surrounded by pine trees to the back, our wood stack to the left and the back porch to the right.We had to put in a raised bed, because our ground is mostly pine roots mixed with packed clay and rocks,sprinkled with poison ivy, the only thing our ground will readily grow!
 I simply bought a raised bed kit and put it up. Then Hubby complained it was crooked and said he would straighten it out for me. Then I waited 2 weeks, got tired of waiting and dumped 12 yards of topsoil/compost in it. Hubby now looks at the raised bed every day and mentions how crooked it is. I pretend I can't hear him., but I laugh a tiny bit inside because I know it is slowly driving him mad. I'm that kind of thoughtful wife, you see.
Three days ago I planted half a dozen cucumbers and 3 mixed hot peppers. Mixed meaning they will be some sort of hot pepper, but I won't know what exactly until they begin to produce in a couple of months. Note to self: label seeds next time.
Then we had quarter sized hail, but miraculously, I believe everything will survive!
I have tomato starts waiting to be planted this weekend-10-15 of Roma, Brandywine,Supersweet, Cherokee Purple and a couple Black Krim, along with about a dozen more hot pepper mixes, Bell peppers, basil, dill, broccoli, and various herbs.
Beans will go in this weekend as well-about 20 bush beans and Kentucky Wonder, some Boston pickling cukes and more Straight Eight cukes.
I also have 3 blueberry bushes I hope survive the summer so I can replant them next spring-until then, they are hanging out on the back porch, attracting all sorts of flying creatures.
Raspberries, strawberries, and potatoes are coming in, along with 3 volunteer pumpkin plants growing in the compost pile.
If everything survives, I should have lots of delicious veggies this summer and hopefully enough to can, dry and make into jams, pickles and salsas! Yummy!
Youngest Boy is loving Scouts, and has been going to weekend camping trips once a month. I've been going along, both for his comfort and to help with driving the other Scouts, and because, well, I don't mind camping to much. Bugs, dirt, camp cooking, hiking and tent sleeping all seem to agree with me,plus the hikes are great, even if I feel every bit my age my the time we get home Sunday!
Eldest has gotten a part time job flipping burgers, so I get to haul him 40 minutes round trip twice a day until he gets his own car, which at this rate should be by the time he is 37.He is working towards his GED and Hubby is working with him on a budget. Hubby is a saint!
We are getting close to winding up our school year in a couple of months, and with the weather finally getting warmer, we will be getting out and doing some day hiking soon-Girl is looking forward to that! She really enjoys hiking and outdoors stuff, as long as she doesn't have to use a Port-A-Potty! That girl can hike for hours!
I will be back as soon as I can-I promise!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Ten Things I Want To Tell Teenage Girls

Stolen Fronm Another blog, but So worth the reposting:


1. If you choose to wear shirts that show off your boobs, you will attract boys. To be more specific, you will attract the kind of boys that like to look down girls’ shirts. If you want to date a guy who likes to look at other girls’ boobs and chase skirts, then great job; keep it up. If you don’t want to date a guy who ogles at the breasts of other women, then maybe you should stop offering your own breasts up for the ogling. All attention is not equal. You think you want attention, but you don’t. You want respect. All attention is not equal.
2. Don’t go to the tanning bed. You’ll thank me when you go to your high school reunion and you look like you’ve been airbrushed and then photoshopped compared to the tanning bed train wrecks formerly known as classmates – well, at least next to the ones that haven’t died from skin cancer.

3. When you talk about your friends “anonymously” on Facebook, we know exactly who you’re talking about. People are smarter than you think they are. Stop posting passive-aggressive statuses about the myriad of ways your friends disappoint you.

4. Newsflash: the number of times you say “I hate drama” is a pretty good indicator of how much you love drama. Non-dramatic people don’t feel the need to discuss all the drama they didn’t start and aren’t involved in.
5. “Follow your heart” is probably the worst advice ever.
6. Never let a man make you feel weak or inferior because you are an emotional being. Emotion is good; it is nothing to be ashamed of. Emotion makes us better – so long as it remains in it’s proper place: subject to truth and reason.
7. Smoking is not cool.
8. Stop saying things like, “I don’t care what anyone thinks about me.” First of all, that’s not true. And second of all, if it is true, you need a perspective shift. Your reputation matters – greatly. You should care what people think of you.

9. Don’t play coy or stupid or helpless to get attention. Don’t pretend something is too heavy so that a boy will carry it for you. Don’t play dumb to stroke someone’s ego. Don’t bat your eyelashes in exchange for attention and expect to be taken seriously, ever. You can’t have it both ways. Either you show the world that you have a brain and passions and skills, or you don’t. There are no damsels in distress managing corporations, running countries, or managing households. The minute you start batting eyelashes, eyelashes is all you’ve got.
10. You are beautiful. You are enough. The world we live in is twisted and broken and for your entire life you will be subjected to all kinds of lies that tell you that you are not enough. You are not thin enough. You are not tan enough. You are not smooth, soft, shiny, firm, tight, fit, silky, blonde, hairless enough. Your teeth are not white enough. Your legs are not long enough. Your clothes are not stylish enough. You are not educated enough. You don’t have enough experience. You are not creative enough.
There is a beauty industry, a fashion industry, a television industry, (and most unfortunately) a pornography industry: and all of these have unique ways of communicating to bright young women: you are not beautiful, sexy, smart or valuable enough.
You must have the clarity and common sense to know that none of that is true. None of it.
You were created for a purpose, exactly so. You have innate value. You are loved more than you could ever comprehend; it is mind-boggling how much you are adored. There has never been, and there will never be another you. Therefore, you have unique thoughts to offer the world. They are only yours, and we all lose out if you are too fearful to share them.

You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.A

Monday, April 2, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

This. You must try this. It is THE best syrup, according to the kids, who attempted to prove this point by drinking it directly from the bottle. They finally settled on chocolate milk, heavy on the chocolate, light on the milk. Then they flipped out for 1/2 an hour before the sugar coma hit.
None the less, I had a craving for something chocolaty tonight and this fit the bill perfectly. I didn't even wait for the syrup to cool, but poured it over ice cream like a hot fudge. It's not as sticky sweet as the commercial variety of chocolate syrup, which makes it perfect for ice cream topping, chocolate milk, or even added to your coffee. Plus it's only got 4 ingredients, all of which I can actually pronounce.
You could make it with raw sugar  or suconot, but I just used plain old white sugar this time around and it was heavenly!
Here is the recipe-give it a try and you'll thank me!

Homemade Chocolate syrup
1 cup white sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add the sugar and water to a small saucepan and heat to a full, rolling boil.
Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cocoa, a bit at a time, whisking well.
Pour syrup through a fine sieve, to get the remaining coca lumps out.
I pressed mine through with a spoon.
Add vanilla, whisk and let sit a few minutes to cool.
A film might form over the syrup as it cools-if it does, remove the film if you wish.
I just stirred it all up and it was fine.
I poured mine into a large honey "bear" shaped bottle, or you could simply use a mason jar with lid.
Chill and use just like commercial syrup.
Delicious!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Prodigal Returns

Our eldest son has made an unexpected, if not completely unappreciated return to our lives and household as of last week, after living on his own for 3 years.
3 years in which he did not always make the wisest, nor the healthiest choices, nor the most legal, but that's another story for another time.
So, after almost peeing myself, having a fit and falling in it, and very nearly hyperventilating, we collectively took a deep breath and set about welcoming him back into the house.
There are strict rules as to what is allowed and not allowed, what is negotiable, and what will result in immediate and permanent banning from the house, most notably being anytime an illegal act is committed or the monthly pee test does not come out cleaner than...well, I was going to say my kitchen floor, but we want it a whole lot cleaner than that! Geesh! Yep, that's right.We make our kid go do a monthly pee test for us,because,although we are loving parents, we are not stupid, nor are we naive.The kid did spend 3 years on his own, some of which was spent in less than ideal situations, after all.
So, how is it going so far?
Well, it's only been a week, but so far it has been going pretty darn good. There have been, and continue to be adjustments, but for the most part it has gone well. Hopefully this is an indication that Eldest has become the process of bettering himself, otherwise known to us as pulling your head out of you bum.
The volume in the house has definitely increased, and the food seems to be disappearing at an alarming rate, but there is another adult male in the house, and we all know they can eat!! Eat,fart and belch. Copiously.
He has begun looking for a job, and in the mean time will start working towards his GED next month and shadowing me at the horse rescue every week. Got to keep him busy!
So, we are settling into a new normal in the house and hopefully this will be the start of a bright new chapter for us all! Fingers crossed(and toes and what ever else you can think of...)

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Pollen Among Us

Although I love the warm weather and the beautiful sun we have been enjoying, not to mention the gorgeous flowers starting to bloom (our cherry trees are almost ready to bloom!), there is one thing about spring I do not enjoy: allergy season.
And,Oh, my allergy season is here and it has hit with a vengeance!
Both guys have severe tree pollen allergies, and now that the maple and pines have begun to unleash their yellow coated fury, allergies have kicked into high gear, along with the accompanying sniffing, sneezing, itching, sore throats and discomfort that makes sleeping difficult and outdoor activities fairly misserable. Even Girl and I have not been immune to the scratchy eyes and sneezing, abeit on a much lesser scale than Sniff and Snot over there. A few extra Kleenex and a couple spoonfuls of local raw honey and we're good.
The boys haven't fared so well. Boy is actualy doing pretty good, since these allergies don't send his excema into over drive like some others do. A new allergy medicine added to his regime, the spoonfuls of raw honey 2-3 times a day and a change of clothes every time he comes in from outside, plus limiting his outdoors until the worst has past and he seems remarkably unaffected.
Husband, on the other hand has steadfastly refused my repeated attempts to get him to let our allergist put him on some allergy medication, nor will he take any home remedy, preferring instead to cough,sneeze,itch and moan his way throught the day and night, waking me up periodically to tell me just how badly he is feeling. I don't think my three a.m. response was very comforting, although I do believe it was a quote from a book-in this case Go The **** To Sleep.
But after several near sleepless nights and my paitence wearing dangerously thin, I did finally convince him to take an over the counter allergy med, pop a couple herbal throat drops and take some honey. I think the last bit was only to cover the taste of the herbal drops, which, admittedly taste like gym socks dipped in ass. Not that I know what either tastes like, mind. But I've heard stories...
The effect? He was down for a rest and a couple of hours later, he is up and if not fully 100%, at least he is able to function for the most part. Yeah! Maybe we can both get some sleep tonight!