May 30, 2010
Totally devoid of energy today. I think my front yard project and five loads of laundry almost killed me yesterday. Not much accomplished today so I thought it would be a good time to catch up on The Independence Day Challenge. Here's what is going on at our house:
1. Plant Something: Planted oregano, Kentucky Colonial mint, rain Lily's, more heirloom tomato seedlings, a banana shrub, rescued impatiences from my neighbor, rescued pentas and string beans
2. Harvest Something: lettuce, rosemary, basil, oregano
3. Preserve Something: Here's where I am stumped but am working on it. I have always desperately wanted to learn canning but have a glass top stove which I now hear is a no no as the process may crack the glass. I am mildly interested in dehydrating food but not with an electric dehydrator so am researching using my solar oven that i just brought out of storage. My 90 year old dad walked past this morning mumbling something about how we are in for it this hurricane season because of the "wind patterns" he does not like. Having gone 10 plus days in the neighborhood without electricity after one that didn't even hit us I am trying to steer away from anything requiring electricity as a means of "survival." I truly am Amish at heart.
4. Waste Not: Am composting all kitchen scraps and really reducing water usage. Since I've been doing this I've been amazed at how much water is wasted on a daily basis. Half consumed glasses or bottles of water are now used in the garden to water plants instead of pouring them down the drain. Been trying to collect rain water as well for garden use. This will pick up come hurricane season! Did an Excel spread sheet and am tracking every penny spent in an attempt to adhere to a strict budget. Frightening. It's a wonder anyone survives in this economy.
5. Want Not: Picked up two wonderful books. One is a solar cooking manual and the other is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes. Baked an orange cake in my solar oven yesterday. Delicious! When I shared this accomplishment with a friend she asked me if I had completely lost my mind. I can only smile. Sweetie when you are without electricity and out of propane I'll be eating cake, casseroles and freshly baked artisan bread compliments of el sol. Even my 90 year old dad went from, "what the hell is that?" (while watching me set up the solar panels) to confessing that he couldn't believe when he checked the temperatures (obviously when I wasn't looking) that the oven was up a high as 250 degrees. He couldn't wait this morning to ask how the cake was and was tickled pink when I showed it to him. My dad is rarely tickled pink.
6. Build Community Food Systems: I called a local organic farmer today and we are hoping to go to his farm and pick blueberries and tomatoes next week. He said he also had some black eyed peas. Not a fan of black eyed peas but will check them out.
So now it's time to kick back and eat cake. Feeling good that I'm making a dent in the IDC!
May 29, 2010
Home Made Laundry Soap
1 quart Water (boiling)
2 cups Bar soap (grated) (I use Ivory or Fels Naptha. After researching different recipes these two seem to pop up over and over. Purest beware! Fels Naptha is pink so contains some kind of dye)
2 cups Borax (local grocery stores have it. I see it at Wal-Mart in the laundry soap section)
2 cups Washing Soda (NO! Not baking soda. YES! Everyone makes this mistake. Harder to find. Ace hardware will order it for you or you can order on line.)
- Add finely grated bar soap to the boiling water and stir until soap is melted. You can keep on low heat while stirring.
- Pour the soapy water into a large, clean pail and add the Borax and Washing Soda. Stir. Stir. Keep stirring. I use a 5 gallon, clean bucket. Be sure you get one with a lid so you can leave it and come back to it later if you get distracted. Around here distractions are plentiful. 5 gallon buckets can be found at Home Depot, Lowe's or any similar stores. Stir well until all soap is dissolved.
- Add 2 gallons of warm tap water, stir until well mixed.
- Pour well stirred mixture using funnel, into old laundry detergent bottles. These make great recycled containers and are easy to shake before each load (yes, this laundry soap does glop and gel when sitting on the shelf and MUST be shaken each time you use it).The lid/measuring cup is equal to 3/4 of a cup. This recipe calls for 1/4 cup but I am one of those people who likes suds so I use a whole cap full.
Have fun! Now that the boy and I have made several gallons of this slop...er...soap we are off to make brownies in the solar oven. We'll let you know how they turn out!
May 27, 2010
The boy, Popi (my 90 year old dad), and the artist enjoy a swing. Yes, even before their morning coffee!
These mission style chairs and hand crafted needle point covers were $2.99 a piece. When I got to the cash register they had me stick my hand in a bag (eeeewwwww!) and pull out a coin. Mine said "30" So I got an additional 30% off! I'm re-selling these for $50.00.
(Thanks Popi for the grill!)
May 22, 2010
May 21, 2010
To the sublime:
Cookout with the family, fabulous gifts,and a NAP! Who could ask for a better birthday!
May 20, 2010
May 17, 2010
"When I was writing pretty poor poetry, this girl with midnight black hair told me to go on." Carl Sandburg
May 16, 2010
Stupice tomatoes. A great, heirloom, potato leaf variety that comes from Czechoslovakia. It grows well in northern climates so this will be interesting in our sauna-like weather. Already, however, I can say the bugs do NOT like this plant so if it survives the heat and tastes good this will be a yearly choice.
St. Pierre Tomatoes. A beautiful French heirloom large in size, great for canning or fresh eating. They are excellent producers, even in bad conditions. (hurricanes included?) Popular in Europe.
Contender (Buff) Valentine Bush Beans: A heirloom bush bean introduced in 1949. Promises huge yields despite it's small size. Time will tell...they seem AWFULLY tiny to yield much at all.Ashe County Pimiento Pepper: A sweet, deep red, pimiento-type heirloom found growing in Ashe county, North Carolina. And a more shocking revelation...I've just discovered that I've been spelling "pimiento" wrong for 50 years. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
May 15, 2010
I love the borders:
The only down side of the day was that the big city was swarming with Love Bugs. I've included the link for those of you who have never experienced the joys of these chronically copulating creepy insects. I have an allergic asthmatic bronchitis this week which has left me slightly... shall we say... queasy? The boy was determined to save every stinkin' love bug that flew into the burger joint irregardless of how many times I told him to STOP man-handling the creepy copulating insects. After about the 5th rescued bug I yelled, a little too loud, "Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! I'm trying to eat and not throw up here!" It was one of those situations where the restaurant became quiet, crickets started to chirp (to the rhythm of the creepy copulating insects) and all eyes were on me. Sometimes it's pointless to attempt an explanation. FYI. I did not buy the Jackie Gleason cookie jar but Diane, if you love it we will go back and pick it up for you. Something tells me it may still be there.
May 13, 2010
1. Plant something –
2. Harvest something -
3. Preserve something –
4. Waste Not–
5. Want Not –
6. Build Community Food Systems –
7. Eat the Food –
For detailed instructions go to The Independence Day Challenge site above. The baby is sick...again...I am sick...again. I may not make it through many steps today since I am feeling yucky but at 6:00 AM as the sun was coming up I did go out and "Harvest something." Since the vegies aren't ready yet with the exception of the heirloom lettuce which we've been eating for months, I picked flowers from the garden to cheer us all. When they are spent they will go straight into one of two compost piles that we have. Our latest compost bin is an old computer desk that the boy and I drug home from someone's front yard on trash day. He spent hours drilling holes in the wood for aeration which kept him busy. And we all know when the boy is busy there is peace in the valley. Or in our situation, peace on the peninsula.
Read about the challenge at the sites above and join me in the fun!
May 9, 2010
Addendum: The genius tells me she will not click on a link unless it's labeled. So... sigh...for those of you who are kin to the genius I have labeled the links:
1.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_rBidCkJxo (Mr. T's tribute to yo mama)
2.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhcA4Ry65FU (Brotherly love)
3.) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-bender/the-12-weirdest-mothers- (d_b_561645.html#s87411 (Dear God are there really people like this in the world? What do you think, "half breed" aka genius)
(This is totally me...especially when she (?) sees the "crap" and the "oh come on people!")
May 8, 2010
Not enough hours in the day for what needs to be accomplished in this family. I am fully aware of the fact that I do more in one day than most do in one week and we wont' even get in to the age factor and the fact that I should be "retired." Spring came and went in one week. May 1st arrived and the temperatures soared to the high 80's and at times 90's. I still have spring fever, however, and am ripping apart the front yard making water-wise beds, planting heirlooms in the back and chasing those dadburn Luber grasshoppers who are eating everything in site. Trips to the dump for mulch have to be done in early morning or evening as I would hate to have my obituary contain that I was found lying prostrate on a big pile of dump mulch over come by heat stroke. Of course, while treating my spring fever by digging and planting I have sadly neglected the inside of the house. The teenager, who is becoming very self sufficient in activities of daily living woke up and made her own breakfast which consisted of turkey bacon, scrambled eggs,waffle with low fat syrup and orange juice. Yes, all by herself! Proud? Not much!!! So i figured she might be up for a little house cleaning as well? A look of horror and then, "Mom! You know cleaning makes my heart boil like hot sauce!" Maybe I'll just head outside now.