Copyright © 1997-2009 Demand Media. All rights reserved.
I have been having fun making soap as often as I have time for. My husband requested that I make his favorite(Peppermint & Tea Tree) again because we are nearly out. It takes 4 to 6 weeks for curing and he doesn't want to run out. I made a photo album with a few pictures of some of the soaps that I have made. I made this one last night. Its still a little soft so I am going to wait to slice any more. I bought a fragrance oil from Oregon Trails Soaps online and I loved the smell of it!!! It smells like mens cologne. I colored with an Ultra Blue Oxide and Charcoal for the different colors. I have a MILLION ideas!!! I can't wait to try them all, lol.
Loaf of Mens fragrance soap.......I still need to come up with a name for this one. This bar also has Coconut milk for added moisturizing creaminess.
The updated version of my Hubbys favorite, Peppermint & Tea Tree . This bar has Beeswax added to protect the skin from drying out.
Hope you enjoy the pictures :)
I like flea market finds. I try not to go looking around those kind of places though unless I NEED something. Its just toooooo easy to come home with something I DON'T need if I have nothing to focus my shopping on.
The other day I found a good heavy duty plastic toolbox for $4.99 at the flea market. It still has the insert tray and the latches work great. I have decided to use it as a Garden Toolbox. I also spotted a honey of a deal at Home Depot too. I was standing inside, freezing, while the dear hubby went out into the cold gardening area and got a bag of soil for seed starting. So I began strolling down the aisle and there was this very nice tool set for $2.65. For real?! Yep, that was a crazy good deal. They have titanium blades. The only thing "wrong" with them was that the red on the handles is slightly faded and the package was a little dirty. But who cares about that? Not me! We have already used them to harvest the first 2 tops of broccoli and to trim up a tropical that we got for a friends Fathers funeral. They work Great!
Speaking of that tropical plant.......We should have a little talk about the Home Depot. They have a new program that is a gardeners program. I am so glad one of the associates told us about it. Its completely free to sign up for and they gave me a coupon for a buy one, get one free that worked on the tropical plants. They had just gotten a great shipment of new plants in too, so I was pleased with that. So if I go sign up online like the associate told me to she said I can also print ANOTHER coupon that is the same thing if I wanted to. So if I do this, supposedly I will get updates and coupons. Notices of good deals, sales and etc. Sounds good to me. I am looking forward to this coming season. BTW I got a beautiful Ficus tree for myself since we were already getting a Peace Lily for our friend.
Today was a georgous day. We ended up outside for a couple of hours. We got some chicken poo added to the Cabbage bed. The kid helped me add more chick poo to another bed that I am starting to get prepped up for some spring Cabbages. I am trying a new product this spring. I wonder if any of you have tried it? I mixed up a gallon and put most of it in the bed that is being prepped for the spring cabbage and put just a little on the bed of bigger cabbages.
We found this at Tractor Supply Co when we were picking up chicken food.
Very glad that Hubby raked and burned the leaves and sticks this evening too.
And I am excited to try something new tomorrow.......homemade seed tapes. Stay tuned and I will update on how that project goes. Happy Gardening :)
The fermenting Cabbage changed from Cabbage, to Sauerkraut. It took less than a month, about 3 weeks actually. The plentiful bubbles slowed, then ceased. Then I gave it a couple of extra days to mellow. We braved a nibble on the odifferous Kraut. Viola!!! Absolutely delicious!!! And to think it was just 3 Ingredients. Cabbage, Canning Salt and Time......well 4 actually if you add in the extra water. Today I canned it up. All together I got 13 pints and 3 quarts. Now the recipe says that with 25lbs of cabbage you would get 12 pints. I only made half a recipe, about 13lbs of cabbage, so I guess maybe that is because I am leary of over packing the jars. I would hate to have one burst in the water bath because it is too full. We ate some for lunch today. Onions, Kraut and Cheddar Brats. OH-MY-Goodness! That was a great lunch. The recipe I used is in one of my canning books and also on the freshpreserving website.
I hope if you have the opportunity you give this a try!
It goes in Cabbage.............>
And comes out Sauerkraut.......
Late fall 2012 I was beginning to be worried. It seemed we weren't getting much, if any rain at all. Just a tad here or there. Finally now we are getting an abundance the last month for sure. A couple of days ago we were even in a Flash Flood warning. I think we are making good headway on reducing the drought levels! LOL.......LOTS of water!!!!! I don't much enjoy being out, or driving in it. But I know its great for the earth. Speaking of driving in it. You would think that being in Louisiana ppl would know how to drive when its raining. Apparently not everyone. Twice in the last couple of weeks someone has pulled out directly in front of me, in the rain. Everyone be careful out there in this winter weather, rainy or frozen!!!
Gardening is constantly on my mind. And I can only begin to share a few details.
The giant cabbages are growing good, as is the broccoli. Not everything is though. The cauliflower is about is about 50/50 and the mustard greens are being enjoyed by some little bug I guess. The pet rabbit cares not though, to him appearance means nothing. We do try to pick the ones that aren't so 'HOLY' though.
We are trying our hand at making some Saurkraut. I found 2 of these absolutely wonderful heavy glass, crock shaped jars for $6.00 each at the flea market!!! What a wonderful deal!!! I started it right after Christmas when the cabbage goes on sale really cheap at the grocery store. I want to be sure I can even make Saurkraut before I try using my own homegrown cabbages. If I am no good at it we will just eat ours other ways. I have been enjoying watching the cabbages grow.....from the dry warmth of the house :)
This picture shows the cabbage/saurkraut when first shredded and put into the jar. The ruler wil give you an idea on the size of the jar. A fantasic find, if you ask me. I love to SEE whats going on in there :) It really started bubbling right away and doesn't not smell too nice, but right on for saurkraut. This is about 13lbs of cabbage and 1/2 cup of canning salt. It didn't quite make enough "water" to cover it. So I made a bit of extra brine with water and canning salt to add over the top.
Hope everyone is having a safe and happy start to the New Year!
Apparently I have some. I have saved this sweet baby from the streets and tamed her. Now she needs a forever home. When I first got her home she was pretty scared and seemed VERY wild. But it turns out that after I sweet talked her.......in less than 24 hours she decided that people were wonderful, not scary. She is playful and has a BIG purring motor for such a little gem. Simply adorable! We already are maxed out on pets so if you know anyone who would like her that lives near me, send me a msg.
I believe she is a girl and my kids are calling her Tammy :) She really is tiny!
Now that Christmas is done, another 2 seed catalogs arrived in the mail and also more seeds from Mike the Gardener as well.......I keep mulling over the many changes for the upcoming spring gardening season. Changes in what I grow, tools we use and methods as well.
There are plenty of adjustments to the list of plants/seeds to go into my spring/summer garden. I am going to eliminate these veggies.......radish, corn, winter squash, gourds, eggplant, sweet potatoes, maybe even irish potatoes. Some of these we didn't eat up all of what we grew and some we just need to give the garden a break from. Crop rotation and what not. For some reason this last summer I seem to have lost my taste for eggplant completely. I could barely eat it at all, just didn't sound appetizing. We gave almost all of it away. What we did eat was fried.
I am really missing a few kinds of veggies right now. We have already eaten up what we had in the freezer of certain kinds of veggies and that has prompted me to give them more space to produce for this next season. Lets see, we need more of........carrots, mild banana peppers, okra, purple hull pink eye peas, giant christmas beans, dried beans, and dill. We and our friends have loved the pickled banana peppers, okra and cucumber. So plenty of those are all in order.
I would like to try a couple of new to us veggies. Dark green veggies that we can put through our juicer for juice drinks. Kale is one to try. And of course the peanuts too. Looking forward to that.
I am also hoping to bring in more garden soil from our local DIRT store, haha. Its good stuff. And I need to do better with setting up caging/supports of appropriate size and style. I hope there is fruit on the newly trimmed peach trees so that I NEED to put netting over them to keep the birds away. I would be happy to have that need.
Planning is a great way to avoid stress and missed opportunities. I am putting together my binder of seeds that lays all packages out so they are easy to see and flip through. Last thing I'm thinking of is throwing out all the really old seed. Its time consuming to seed and reseed with the really old ones.
You can always look forward to spring :)
I started with reading the seed catalog that came in the mail. Then I got an email from Mike the Gardener......they have a Seed of the Month club. I had been meaning to join, but hadn't gotten around to it. The email told of a fantastic deal for Cyber MONDAY!!! ONLY $9.00---the first month you get 8 pkgs the first month and then 4 (or 5, I can't remember) each month for the next 5 months. Thats A LOT of seed for only $9. So I did it, I signed up for the 6 month membership. That was Monday, today is Saturday (Just in case you have decided to stop keeping track of the days) :) And today the envelope of seeds arrived, ALREADY! 8 pks of seed. Some I like, some I haven't tried before....COOL! I also had to stop by the Feed Store for some chicken feed a couple of days ago. They are already getting in fresh seed. A little bit anyway. They had a few of the varieties of tomatoes that I had decided on when perusing the afore mention Seed Catalog......so of course, to save shipping ;) I had to buy them. Hahaha! The obsession continues.
Edited to add.....
The seeds I received from the seed club are........
Marglobe Tomato, Ruby Queen Beets, Spaghetti Squash, Black seeded simpson Lettuce, Salsify, Red Garnett Amaranth, Wrinkled Crinkled Cress, China Rose Radish
The seeds we got from the Feed store are......
Mortgage lifter Tomato, Big Rainbow Tomato, Cherokee Purple Tomato, Rio Grande Tomato, Sweet Bannana Peppers, Garden leader monster Bell Pepper, Pinkeye Purple Hull Cowpeas, Red Cored Chantennay Carrot
I got a few Persimmons a few days back. 13 persimmons to be exact. They were pretty firm, only giving just slightly to the touch. I placed them all on a platter, topped with 2 small apples and covered tightly with plastic wrap. A few days later, like magic, they were completely ripe. Super squishy ripe! I had never tasted one before. They have a soft silky texture that reminds me of ripe Mango. The fruit came out so easily. I scooped most out very easily with a spoon. Of course I had to make jam out of them! I had been searching for a recipe that appealed to me. I got some suggestions from friends and I put together this recipe. I was very tempted to mix the Persimmon with another fruit that we are more familiar with.......like maybe peaches. But I decided to experience the Persimmon as it is. I put a few pictures in the 'Preserving Foods' Album. I added the recipe below if anyone else would like to try it. My kids have proclaimed it DELICIOUS!!!
Spiced Persimmon Jam
Makes 9 cups
4 ½ cups strained ripe Persimmon fruit (approximately 13 Hachyia type Persimmons)
¼ cup Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon grated fresh Ginger (approximately a 1 ½ inch peeled piece of ginger)
1 tsp Cinnamon
½ tsp Nutmeg
½ tsp ground Cloves
¼ tsp ground Allspice
¼ tsp ground Cardamom
1 pkg Sure-Gel Pectin (1.75oz package)
6 cups granulated white Sugar
Prepare water bath canner, canning jars, rings and lids.
Remove Persimmon fruit from skins. Using a spoon you should be able to scoop fruit out of halved fruit. Remove seeds and any remaining skin or fibrous bits by pressing through a strainer. Measure out exact amount of sugar into a bowl, set aside. Measure fruit into a large 6 quart stainless pot. Add lemon juice and spices. Whisk in pectin and cook over medium heat until it comes to a rolling boil (a boil that cannot be stirred away), stirring constantly. Add sugar all at once, whisk in until completely combined. Switch to a long handled wooden spoon or long handled heat resistant spatula. Bring back to a rolling boil, over med-high heat, stirring constantly. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and skim off any foam. Ladel into prepared jars using a wide mouth funnel to avoid spills. Carefully wipe rims, position lids and tighten ring to fingertip tightness. Place in water bath canner, ensuring the jars are covered with boiling water. Process 10 minutes in canner. Remove from canner and allow to cool in a draft free area on a towel. Check to ensure that each lid has sealed properly. After 24 hours store in a cool dark place.
To all my garden friends here Happy Thanksgiving!
We had a Pre-Thanksgiving dinner yesterday here at our house with the In-Law parents yesterday. My hubby smoked a turkey for almost 8hrs and it came out absolutely delicious! I had put it in a brine overnight, so it had a double dose of goodness. It was a relaxing & nice day inspite of the cooking and cleaning. For some reason today is a different story.......stress and anxiety RULE. I am trying to beat back the beast. We are all working together to get our delicious delicacies ready to go to the In-Laws house for family time. In the oven we have 2 pies (filling was made from my homemade "pumpkin butter" that is actually made from sweet potatoes and butternut squash) It makes a great pie. Also have Ham, Gluten-Free loaf of bread in the oven. And in a few minutes the marinated Pork Loin will go in. Hubby already finished the Deviled Eggs (he makes them with cream cheese, YUM) I am excited to have a yummy late lunch and relax looking at a new seed catalog that came in the mail.......Pinetree seeds. At first glance they sure have some neat varieties :D
Hope you all have a safe and fun filled Turkey DAY!!!!!
.......well, I hope thats what it turns out to be anyway. On a sad note........probably half of the peppers that hubby had brought home from the farm were GONE 2 days after he picked them. They had evidently been touched by frost and were mushy and just plain GROSS! Some looked good on the outside, but the inside of the pepper would be a different story. Ickyness :(. I kept all the good ones though and de-seeded all the peppers that were large enough to do so. I sorted them into a 'GREEN' bowl and a 'RED/ORANGE' bowl. My aim was to make two different flavors of hot sauce. I washed them really well and weighed them. They were divided between clean jars. 2 for the Green, 2 for the Orange. The kinds of peppers used........Tabasco (grown from Avery Island seed), Habaneros, Scotch Bonnets, Pasillo, and one more........the name escapes me at the moment, lol. To the Orange Jars I added Sea Salt and White Wine. I got the idea for that one from this website.
To the Green jars I added Sea Salt and 1/4 cup of Cider Vinegar and 2 cups of water. I am excited to see how these progress and what the end product will be. I am really sad though that all those other peppers were bad. I would have had twice as much at least. I cannot express how difficult it is for me to deal with these peppers......the coughing into my shirt, the choking, the sneezing, the burning of the nose, the watering of the eyes and lets not forget the burning of the hands, that are DOUBLE gloved. Maybe I should get some better gloves, hahaha! But Its worth it of course. I LOVE seeing the beautiful color in these jars sitting on my counter.
Sooo......the fermentation begins.......it could take weeks and weeks.
Well, what to do, what to do.......with all the peppers!
All the peppers, combined from the farm and here at home added up to ALOT!!! So I did the easiest preparations first. Drying part of the Habaneros in the Food Dehydrator. I pulsed them in the food processor to make part of it into a powder for a friend. Part of the dried were left looking like chunky red pepper flakes. I would have to use that in something that we were going to strain out the pieces. Those Habaneros are HOT! Now what to do with the rest......Superman wants to make more Hot Sauce (we have been giving jars away as gifts to those people we know that apparently are immune to the heat). I am thinking maybe I will make some pepper Jelly. Maybe half Hot Peppers and half Bells. OH!! And I just remembered I need to pickle the tiny Tobasco peppers! We grew them from seed my MIL got on her visit to Avery Island, Louisiana. Frankly, I cannot believe I am even STILL dealing with peppers this late in the season! Crazy! I just might be tempted to skip planting some of these hot ones next spring.
Habaneros ready to be started in the dehydrator
And MORE Habaneros
And more peppers arrived last night.......Superman went to the farm for a visit
:) I know its only been 8 days since my last blog entry.....but it seems like everyday since that last entry I have wanted to get on GG and tell some garden news. And everyday I have been just as beat as a horse rode a hundred miles through the hot desert. Hope I don't fall asleep in the middle of typing this :)
So where shall I start? How about Saving Cowhorn Okra Seed. When I topped the Okra, about a month or so ago I set aside a couple of the tallest stalks that had quite a few really big okra pods on them. We let them dry at the back of the yard until they were crispy and easily twisted open. I honestly didn't even know at the time if the seed would be viable or produce productive Okra plants. We harvested our seed happily. Thinking that we had "Tons of Seed" Well.......this evening Superman and the Oldest went out to the farm to help do a bit of work. Unbeknown to us, one of the chores needing done was cutting off dried Okra pods out there too. They did so, to the tune of a grocery bag packed to the top with dry brittle pods. They stopped at the bag full, though their were plenty more. When they got home he started in on them, while I worked on other things. Until I took pity on him that is. I started helping and quickly realized that I would certainly be much more comfortable wearing my rubber gloves. The spines surely had not dried up and fallen off!!! Nasty little boogers, those spines!!! It really didn't take all that long to get the job done, a little twist each way, and then seperating the sections and most of the seed falls out on its own. I did have some concerns about whether or not there was mildew on the outsides of the pods. When handling the pods my nose and eyes sure got itchy like crazy, which is my classic 'Allergy' Reaction. I already have a little something brewing, lets not add to it! When it was finished S suggested I weigh the results........VERY close to 2lbs of seed! My little 1 cup of seed wilts in comparison, lol. Apparently this process is the USUAL way that PawPaw and his farming neighbor collect and grow Okra every year. So if its good enough for them, it should be good enough for us. I can't wait to see how next years Cowhorn Okra plants perform.
Check out the pics in my 'Seed Saving' album in my photos section.
So many stories, so little time......maybe I will be able to post more tomorrow.......for now I will sleepzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
I have two cats. They are sweet, loyal protectors of the outdoors. Vermin BEWARE! BUT!!! As I have said many times before........they too often give me 'Garden Grief'. Case in point- The Broccoli Bed. Since I have planted it, I have had to replace plants, TOO MANY times for my liking! LOL But since I haven't yet put up a 'CAT PROOF' fence, well, I just have to suck it up and replant when circumstances deem it neccessary.
Last week, I was in the garden, observing. As I looked at the Broccoli plants, scanning the bed, something occured to me. Something was wrong. I had made a mistake when replanting. Horror of Horrors, there are Stone Head Cabbage plants in the Broccoli Bed!!!!! Oh, whatever will I do?!!! Well, I will tell you. When I get a minute to myself, and I am not so busy that my head won't stop spinning.........I must go 'FIX' it! Doing dishes, driving in the car, doing laundry........I think of the the cabbage in the broccoli bed. Maybe tomorrow the world will leave me alone long enough to have some Gardening Happiness.
Uckhh! Cold night! And by cold I mean lower than 40F. Call me what you will, but I am no Snow Baby. So with the impending DOOM of CHILL on its way a few days ago, we had to take some action. I enlisted help of course, no lifting pots for me :( We gathered them together in one spot and, well I will spare you the visually ugly image. Its not pretty, but they are covered with clear plastic and safe from the cold, for the time being. I had 3 babies that I still needed to protect from the cold. Since this cold snap is only a few days long I was not willing to give up on my Fall Tomatoes and the Improved Meyer Lemon. The Lemon was no problem.......but the tomato cage was just not matching up with what my daughter was finding. She insisted from the beginning that a sleeping bag was the answer. I'm thinking SLEEPING BAG, like big and bulky. I didn't realize she was talking about this................she brought this out and put it over the tomato cage. I almost wet myself laughing!!!! Well......the tomato has been 'tucked' in every night of cold!!!
Sorry for that blurry pic. Cellphones.
So, anyway........remember way back, when it was swealtering summer heat? MMMMHHhmm :) And I had SO many cucumbers to pickle? I did tons of my usual Dill and Kosher Dill. But I also tried plenty of new things this year. Keeping the learning brain cells on their toes. I did one lonely batch of Bread & Butter Pickles, not because I thought I would eat them, but because I have a problem with GIVING things away. LOL Well, that might not be a problem, as it were. But I gave a few jars away to friends I knew liked the sweet ones. I didn't think it was anything special, I had actually used one of those Mrs. Wages mixes. But I was super worried because the the cucumbers looked wrinkled after the water bath processing. I mean really kind of shrivelly. That had never happened with my Dill varieties. Some of the info I read said that it meant too much sugar or vinegar was added to a product. I had followed the directions exactly. Hmmmm........so I was nervous ppl wouldn't even like them and they would be a waste. I say all that, to say this.
The other day, on a whim, I put a jar in the fridge. The next day, on a whim, I tried one. THE PICKLE JAR IS NOW EMPTY!!!!! They were so, so yummy. I loved the slight spice of the mustard seeds, the celery seeds, vinegar and sugar.......yum, yum, yum. Next year I will certainly make more, for all the sweet pickle loving people I know.
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