Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ramblin' (Wo)Man

Hey, I'm back!! For now anyway. I'm feeling a bit better but still have a short bad spell here and there. Since I have been feeling better I've been very busy with a number of projects. You can see here that the garden is in full production mode! I've never had okra get this big before and I am having to pick it every day to keep up. The green beans are about the same way and the tomatoes are starting to speed up a little. Today will be spent preserving a number of things. I also have a good bit of pottery to get out and have actually started to work on the last bit of siding on the house again.
I have been wanting to post something these last few days but just haven't been able to wrap my head around any decent topic. Then I got to reading back through the blog, often several years back, and was struck at how (to me) boring this blog has become! Ugh! I don't know; just seems that I used to write a little more interesting post. These lately are just gardening, chicken etc. stuff. And not that that is not interesting sometimes but, I guess it's not very thought provoking. Maybe that's why I've had trouble posting sometimes, because this blog has never been about a particular subject. If you limit yourself to only writing about homesteading or such it's much easier to pick a topic. But, that's not me. I like to wander, both literally and figuratively and I'm in a wandering mood lately! It's funny too how that I have come to feel kinda obligated to you out there also, but I mean that in a good way. I don't mind. I've been writing so long that I feel like my readers are sort of a part of my life. Is that weird? I like to read ya'lls responses to things; hear your opinions and I feel like if I don't talk to you often enough we grow out of touch. Since being laid off I especially enjoy it because I don't have the interaction of people at work anymore. I know I have probably lost readers due to my scattered approach to blogging or I have just offended people with my talk! That's okay too. If you don't have a sense of humor you don't need to hang here. But many of you have been around a looong time and I appreciate that, even if you've never said a word. But I'll get you to talk to me one day my pretties! lololol! It's kinda funny that I do blog in a sort of scattered way because I consider myself a rather organized person; nitpicky even. But life is not organized often and I prefer to show things the way they really are. For some reason. Why would someone write about their life for all to see? Is it my ego? Or simply for acceptance? Hhhmm. Nah, I think it's just to make new friends.

I often go a week or more without leaving the homestead here. And for me, that can feel very isolating because I like to talk to people. Jack is good to understand this and to encourage me to take a day every so often to wander to the city. It is usually combined with business errands but I can ramble around and see new things. Take my time and explore a little, you know. We are even going to try to wander up to Chattanooga next week maybe for a short little getaway if we can. I often think that if I ever won the lottery, let's say, I would make arrangements for things to be taken care of here and then I would buy a very reliable, economical new vehicle and an atlas. Then I would just start driving and I would wander all over the United States. I would come home a few times a year I guess. I know that sounds weird because I have put some much effort into building this place and I love it here. But I just love to see new things. After I go for a while I get it out of my system and like being home again though.
So, that's my rambling for today. I just felt like chatting with ya'll about not much of anything. What are ya'll up to today? Anything exciting?! I may have some new topics to talk about soon and a new adventure to tell you about but I don't know for sure yet. Maybe a little more rambling before I'm done.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rusted

A reader asked me to show a few pics of the rebar handrail I did for the deck and how it had aged.

I had initially sprayed the whole deck and rebar with a light coat of thinned linseed oil. This lasted for a while but some rust is showing on it now. I need to clean everything this fall, go over the rebar with a wire brush and then respray it all. However, it looks fine; just a bit darker than when new.


I've actually been using the rebar to grow cucumbers and such, as a trellis. It works pretty good.

I have more tomato plants, herbs and flowers all along the railing to the right. With all the green everywhere, everything kinda blends together! But you get the idea. Of course, you can click on any picture to enlarge it and maybe see a little more detail.

I'm still feeling pretty bad so not up to full posting speed yet. Hopefully, I will be back at it again soon. In the mean time, stay cool! or warm, depending on what hemisphere you are in! Is there anything else someone would like to see or ask about the goings on here?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ain't Nuthin' But A She Thang

So, I would like to say that in this interlude of several days I have canned, froze and cooked to my heart's content and stored up all sorts of goodies for the coming winter months. Well, in reality I spent most of the time throwing my guts up while the fresh garden offerings sat on the kitchen floor. *sigh*
And no, I'm NOT pregnant! I just connected what I was typing to the title of this post. No, ya'll know better than that. I will say though, that the rest of this post will contain disgusting references to female physiology, so if any of you guys get really uncomfortable around that subject, then I suggest you stop reading now.
Now, my longtime readers know I have a couple of physical "abnormalities" that affect me occasionally; one being my heart and the other, well, my whole female system. LOL! I've never been quite right in that regard and have always had a few problems. Lately I've been having a few new... issues, let's say. So, I go to my doctor. He listens to me. He rubs his chin thoughtfully and says well, "it sounds like your ovaries are just giving out." What? Excuse me? Giving out?? Nothing on me 'gives out' until I'm done with it! I protested. I'm too young for that. "Weeelll," he says, while subtly leaning out of my reach, "not really..." He goes on to explain that the average age of complete menopause is 50 and many women start experiencing symptoms in their mid-40's, especially women with my, uhh, physical makeup. Holy Smokes. This sucks. I still haven't come to terms with not being in my 30's anymore!!
So, he asks me if I want to try a little natural estrogen to ease things a little, let's say. Well, considering the fact that I really would hate to choke Jack to death in his sleep one night I thought maybe I would give it a try, despite my natural distrust of any prescription medication. And after a couple of doses I felt a little better. Then the nausea started. I'll spare you the details but Jack was calling the pharmacy every 15 minutes asking if my doctor had called in that prescription for Zofran yet. I don't know if that finally helped or if I just passed out from the fatigue of constant puking. At any rate, I won't be taking that route again. I'm feeling a bit better today and actually canned a few pints of salsa I made from my fresh tomatoes, but this whole thing just sucks.
I'm not sure why it bothers me so bad. I have never enjoyed birthdays either. At least, not after the age of 20. I think such things just remind me that my time is running out and I haven't accomplished all I want to yet. I don't look disparagingly at older women. I don't feel that they are any less of a woman. It's just me. I don't want to be the wise, old gentlewoman. I want to be the fierce Amazon that strikes fear in the hearts of men! Or strike some part of their anatomy anyway..
So. Bleh. I know I'm still mostly young and all that dogshit, but what a pisser.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Runnin'

Hey Folks!! Just a quick note to let ya'll know I haven't forgot about ya! I've just been very busy the past few days with a number of things I'll tell you about soon. The chickens keep me runnin' too! They are bottomless pits, these things! An open mouth every time you step outside. we let them run loose in the evenings and give them scratch, grass and fruits and veggies culled from the garden every day but they just can't be filled up.!

And, speaking of veggies from the garden, stuff is really starting to come in right now so I have got to do something with all this stuff. This was what I harvested yesterday afternoon but I went out this morning early and have LOTS more. An armload of corn, literally. I've got to can, pickle, freeze or cook all this! Plus, I also have a number of pottery orders to complete, so I'm kinda run hard right now. I have several good posts brewing for you though when I get back.
Ya'll be good.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Munchies

Alright, I finally have some food for ya'll!! And this is a two-fer!! The dish above is a new one I tried the other night and really enjoyed it so I thought some of you might like it because the ingredients are right in season for most of us. It's a great summer dish: light and fresh. My green beans have just started coming in also, so I was trying to find some new ways to serve them anyway and it is scrumptious if the items are just picked. It's quick and easy too!

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad

1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
1 1/4 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Cook bean in boiling water 7 minutes or until tender. Drain. Place beans, tomatoes and oregano in a bowl and toss gently to mix.
Combine shallots and vinegar, stirring with a whisk. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add oil, salt, and pepper to vinegar mixture, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Pour vinaigrette over bean mixture and toss well. Serve!

Now, I took a little liberty with this recipe and used basil instead of oregano, because I have it growing outside on the patio and think it goes well with tomatoes. I cut the amount of salt down a little and I used green onions instead of shallots. Oh, and I added a little feta, because feta goes with anything!
I served this with a grilled steak and roasted corn on the cob. Yummy!!!

Okay, now on to the cornbread. This is a pretty traditional southern meal; fried chicken, beans boiled with fresh taters and cornbread. It is also traditional in the South to serve fresh slices of tomatoes and cucumber with each meal in the summer, even breakfast, as they come in. No dressings or such; you just sprinkle a little salt or pepper on them if you want. Now, this is a true Southern cornbread recipe. It is very simple because Southerners were very poor back when this came about. No fancy ingredients or, God forbid, sugar. Please don't defile it by adding sugar and only use WHITE cornmeal. If mine has a golden cast it is because of the fresh, real egg in it. It astounds me that they actually sell cornbread mix in the stores because the recipe is so simple. I mean, it ain't much more than cornmeal and buttermilk. So,

Southern Cornbread or Cornpone

Now, this recipe is for a 6 inch skillet, so just multiply it or so. And you MUST use a cast iron skillet to cook it.

1 cup plain, medium grind cornmeal (WHITE)
1/4 cup all -purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg

Mix the dry ingredients well, then add the egg and mix until distributed. Add enough fresh buttermilk until batter is slightly pourable.
Now, as you mix the batter, you have your skillet heating on the stove with enough oil to cover the bottom well. You must use enough oil that when you pour the batter in, the oil shows a bit above the batter. I know this sounds kinda voodoo but Southern cooking is like that. I can't tell you exact measurements; you just gotta know by lookin' at it.
So, pour the batter in the hot, well-seasoned skillet (it should sizzle a little). This heat, and the right amount of oil assures a crispy crust. Then take the hot skillet and place in a oven preheated to 425 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes or so. Or until the top is toasty and a knife inserted comes out clean.
Now, some people don't use the egg and you can use regular milk but I think the buttermilk adds a little myself. Serve HOT and with lots of real butter.

Now, if you want to be real white, southern trash, take any cornbread leftovers and crumble them up in a cold glass of regular milk or buttermilk. Or at least, that's what my ex-husband used to call me for eating that! And I did say, EX-husband.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hang On Little Tomato

I skipped over the tomatoes in my last post because they are kind of a post unto themselves. The copper spray I used on them a couple of weeks ago seems to have helped the wilt problem. The 3 plants that were affected still look kinda funny but they are putting out pretty new foliage. Not many tomatoes on them though. The other plants, as you can see, are very vigorous! They are loaded with maters but are taking their own sweet time about ripening. May be that is due to the rainy weather we have had lately, I don't know. Even days when it has not rained it has often been very overcast.
I planted one row of Amish Paste and the plants that are doing well have produced very large tomatoes; just not ripe yet! The MoneyMakers, I'm not very impressed with and I may have mixed one Black Cherry in that row by mistake. The Moneymakers are all smallish tomatoes and I thought they were supposed to have been a larger, Beefsteak kinda mater. Could they have bred with the Black Cherry in their row?
At any rate, one row over is the Black Krim, which I really like! They are doing very well, don't seem bothered by the humidity and are producing a lot. They are ripening much faster than the others and have a great taste. They are a much sturdier plant too, while the others are long and straggly, and therefore haven't required the as much staking as the others.
All these plants received an organic, tomato specific fertilizer when they were planted, in addition to all that moo poo that was put over the entire garden, and have been side dressed with compost as it becomes available.

This is the one Black Cherry (that I'm sure about) that I planted in the garden. Now, it is doing very well. This thing is huge! I have really been impressed with this variety. It doesn't seem bothered by any disease and is very sturdy and prolific. And tastes VERY good!

I also planted, as an experiment, 2 Black Cherries and two Yellow Pear tomatoes in pots on the deck. They have done pretty good although they are not nearly as vigorous. They did start ripening before the ones in the garden and are producing a lot; just the plants themselves are kinda thin. In this photo you can see the difference between the Black Cherry from the garden, on the left, and the Black Cherry from the pot on the deck (right). They both taste good though! I like the size of the garden grown ones better, instead of those teeny ones. To me, that's a better snacking tomato.

Okay, I know I was supposed to put up a food post but I just haven't cooked anything lately that seemed like a good thing to share. Well, I did make some really good cornbread, true Southern cornbread, the other night and thought some of ya'll might like that recipe. I may put it up later.
Would anybody like that recipe?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dirty Day

Since Blogger has now made it near impossible to tell in what order your pictures are going to appear on the blog I am just going to start writing and maybe that title will make sense later! With this many pics I don't feel like trying to straighten them out. When I left you in the last post I was going out to dig potatoes, and we did. I have spent a lot of time in the garden the past couple of days actually, harvesting a number of things and I took a bunch of photos of what I saw. I have had a miraculous surge in the number of honey bees visiting my place!! The corn has just been swarmed with them but I couldn't get a good picture to save my life. So, I snagged one on the peppermint. I am just SO happy to see so many of them in my garden.

I have been very happy with some of the harvests so far and disappointed with others. I guess that's normal. This is what I picked today. There's a good bit of okra on the bottom that you can't see and I picked a good mess day before yesterday. For you non-Southerners, a "mess" is a description of volume or quantity. A mess is generally the amount that would make a good serving for a couple of people but it can vary.

The figs are actually doing well this year, at least so far. Hopefully, these babies will mature this year into sweet goodness. Both trees have quite a lot of buds.

So, to the original title. Jack helped me dig the taters. I don't think he enjoyed it. Well, it was hotter than hell, even at 8:00 a.m. and the humidity here has been like, 99% so it was not a lot of fun. I was happy that there were even potatoes to be dug and nothing had eaten them or spoiled them. I only dug the Red Pontiac and left the Goldrush in the ground to get a little bigger. Of the Red Pontiacs, we got 16 pounds. I was a little disappointed to say the least. I was hoping for a bigger harvest since I planted 4 pounds. And yes, I hilled them up several times. Maybe not enough though. This made my harvest come in at about $0 .81/ lb. Not much better than what you can buy them in the store. But, they are fresh and clean, chemical-wise anyway, and they were very pretty and blemish free for the most part.
My other root veggies were so-so also. I got about 5 pounds of onions and 2 1/2 pounds of garlic. Not record setting, but an improvement over what I have gotten in the past. I think as the soil improves here through natural amending, harvests will get bigger.

All of my herbs are doing well however, especially this parsley. Another blogger somewhere suggested growing parsley in with strawberries so I gave it a try. Seems to work! I have never done well with parsley but have harvested two large bunches from two of my plants already and should have much more if I want it.

The pepperocini peppers are doing great!! Peppers do well here for some reason, any kind. I have pickled 4 pints of these so far. After I taste them in a couple of weeks I'll give ya'll the lowdown.

The cantaloupe are doing well, at least by my standards. I have not had much luck with melons in the past but these are doing well so far. I harvested one small one yesterday that had ripened and it was sweeeet! Hopefully these will hang on. I hate to say this because i know the conditions of some parts of the US but we have had quite a bit of rain this past month and I'm afraid that with it and this humidity I might have some fungus problems in the garden. I have set each melon up on a plastic pot to avoid the wet ground and this seems to work.

This little crap has started to crow. It's pretty pitiful but they are trying. He started belting out the other morning and every chicken in the place stopped dead silent and looked around. They were like, "what the hell was that?" He strutted around anyway as if to say, "yeah, that's me! I'm bad! Uh-huh".

And watermelon!!! One big one so far and lots of little ones. These are Black Diamond and I have no idea how big they are supposed to get. Guess I could read the seed package. Or one of you could tell me if you have grown them yourself! I would say this one is pushing 15 pounds.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Doggone!

The last week or so we have been letting the young chickens out late in the afternoon to forage. They have a blast with this! They just run everywhere, grabbing bugs and scratching, scratching, scratching. We only let them out for an hour or so and this way they don't wander too far into the woods. I have been pleased that Chigger doesn't bother them at all and in fact, seems to look after them a bit. I often see her laying in the shade with chickens all about her. I don't know if she just finds them curious or if she is really trying to watch after them. At any rate, I feel a little better with her around so maybe she would at least bark if a big critter were to come up.

Here is some of what we have gotten done on the tool shed. I have framed just a little more but not much! Maybe I can get back to that later today but this mornings chore is to dig the potatoes. I dug around yesterday under a couple of plants and I think they are more than ready as I got several taters the size of my palm. I hope I haven't let them get too big.
So, be back soon with the results!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Laugh And Be Happy

Island Rider asked if I would post the recipe for the pear butter I made so...here it is! Several years ago Mama gave me her Ball Blue Book. Now, anybody that knows about canning knows this is a very good book. I love mine. Anyway, this recipe came from there. It very simple and I thought the pear butter came out well and I don't even like pears a whole lot.. I imagine Ball's apple butter would be good too. So, anyway:

Pear Butter

2 quarts pear pulp
4 cups sugar
1/3 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

To prepare pulp: Quarter and core pears. Cook until soft, adding only enough water to prevent sticking. Press through a sieve or food mill. Measure pulp.
Add remaining ingredients; cook until thick, about 35 minutes. As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking. Pour into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4" head space. Adjust caps. Process 10 minutes in boiling water bath. Yield: about 4 pints.

Now, on several of their recipes I have reduced the amount of sugar, as I don't like things so sweet and have had no problems with that. Also, I make up my jams in half pint jars just because they seem to stay fresher, because the opened jar doesn't stay in the fridge so long, but that's just me.

Also, I want ya'll to go over and check out a new blogger, Dan!! He left me his link the other night and I really enjoyed his posts. Now, his writing is mostly humor, no homesteading stuff, but if you need a good laugh, head on over to Curmudgeon's Complaint.
Now, keep in mind my humor is kinda warped and his writings veer that way but I laughed until I had tears in my eyes.

So, back to work for me. Jack and I finally started framing the tool shed that links onto the chicken coop and we are trying to makes some progress before the rain comes back. Wish I could send some of it to places out there; I know some of ya'll need it real bad. I'll work on that.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Save It For Later

Like most people who are into homesteading or self-sufficiency, I have finally tried my hand at canning, which is one of the better ways to preserve food through the winter. Now, when I was a kid my mom canned all summer, as did her mother, who lived next door. So, I was familiar with the process although I had never done it. I have to say I was a little intimidated, especially about making things like jam, things a little more involved than just sticking one type of vegetable in a jar and processing. At any rate, I made strawberry and blackberry jam and some pear butter and they seem to have come out fine.
In addition to having conquered another do-it-yourself activity, canning also gives an opportunity to save some money. Of course you have some start up costs, such as the water bath canner but I have been saving jars and such for a while so I only had to buy the lids. Since we live in a rural area we were also able to walk down the road and pick several gallons of blackberries and a few bags of fresh pears from a neighbor's tree. They don't use them and welcomed us to take them since Jack does a little yard work occasionally for the older lady of the house. I did buy the strawberries but got them at the local farmer's market so they were a better deal than the grocery store. All this considered the jams ended up only costing me nickels and dimes per jar, rather than the $3 or more you would pay for organic varieties.

Since being laid off I have naturally been looking for many ways to save money on food. Growing our own food is the best thing but there are a few things we still purchase so I thought I would try the couponing craze that is so popular right now. I signed up on several online sites and did find a handful of coupons that I could use, but by and large I was disappointed to see that most coupons are for processed or prepacked foods; stuff I don't use. There are the occasional coupons for cat food or litter or such but it is hard to find coupons for staples such as flour, salt and such. I have been observing other people in the stores also to see how they do it but haven't found much useful info. For example, I saw 2 ladies one day that had their buggies just loaded down to overflowing with food and they had their coupon notebooks with them all categorized and such. I got to looking at their stuff and suddenly realized that the vast majority of what they were buying was junk. Snack cakes, sugary cereal, juice boxes etc. So, what's a person that wants to eat healthy to do but grow your own?! Since the garden has been producing my food bill has dropped a good bit. I used to spend about $100 every 10 days (on average) for me and Jack. Now, I'm down to maybe $50-60 every 10 days and some of that is for treats, not absolute necessities. The best thing I have found, other than growing our own, is I shop at a store that does a lot of 2 for 1 deals and when they have a staple product (like flour) that I use on special I stock up. I have been making my own chicken stock and such for a while now and will add salsa, soups and many other sauces etc. to that list now that I have the canning stuff. One nice thing about the couponing, (and maybe a good side to a poor economy) is that people seem to not only be looking out for themselves but looking out for others too. I have had several instances of being in the grocery store and looking at a product, or have it in my buggy, and another lady will come up and just hand me a coupon for it because she had extra. And I mean good $1.00 or more off coupons. I talked to one lady about the fact that I hadn't been able to find many for the products I use and she could relate. She did give me some tips on several area stores that had specials on certain days too. She had a whole system worked out!
So, while I think producing your own food is the best way to economize, there are other ways. Anybody have any other tricks or ideas for getting a good deal on things you have to buy?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Reach A Little Further

Well. After about 21 years of trying, I finally created an art object that fully represents what I have seen in my mind. I finally... made the perfect mug. Now, as Jack has said, it really doesn't look much different than many of the other mugs I have made. Not to someone else anyway. But, to me it does. And when I pick it up, I cannot feel any error in it. Not see, mind you. Feel. I will not sell this one. This one is mine.
I suppose some would say that if this is a first after 21 years that I am being a bit too picky. Maybe they would be correct. Maybe not. Unless yo have a creative nature if is very difficult to explain to someone how most artists are not satisfied with their work. I mean, you can be satisfied with many pieces that you have come reasonably close to your mind's eye but it is a very elusive thing to hit it dead on. That's why many artists are so prolific; it's a constant struggle to get closer and closer to what you see in your head. It's like target practice with a bow or gun, except you are wearing a thin blindfold. You can see just enough to know what to create but you don't know if you've hit the bull's eye until it's completely finished.

I know also that in my building I am probably overly picky also. I overbuild. This is good to some extent and I'll let you in a a little secret. I do it partially because I'm lazy. Once that projects done, I don't want to ever have to fool with that again. As per many comments I have received in person and such I apparently came off as being a psycho, maniacal control freak in the post "Distant Early Warning". Now everyone I know if afraid to let me see anything they have built or even any drawings they have made for building. Let me clarify some things, please. I don't have any problem with people that don't know how to build. Not everyone in this life knows how or cares to know how. Or even could do it well if they tried to learn. Some people just don't have that talent but they have other talent. (Like making lots of money so you can pay a good carpenter! Ha!) What I have a problem with, and I tried to explain but I know I don't have the talent for explaining, is people that don't know how to build but present themselves as an authority to others. Now, I have a BIG problem with that and unfortunately, the Internet gives these people a very wide audience to spread their misinformation to. And even if they clarify that you should do your own research and such there are many people out there that make building sound overly simple, that if those dumb ol' construction workers can do it I can too or that they used to do a little house framing so now they know how to build a high-rise. Building is not rocket science but you do have to understand some basic laws of physics and geometry. I was only trying to say to please, watch who you get your advice from on these blogs. Be very careful about building anything exactly like you have seen it built on some website. A lot of these bloggers like to present themselves as the true Edifice Rex! (joking!) because they know you can't see their work in person. They know they would get laughed off a real job site so their blog is an area where they can pad their ego. You can't see the back side of that wall where their form blew out. You can't see that footing that cracked all to hell or their rat sill that rotted out because they didn't use pressure-treated lumber. They may occasionally tell you, "yeah, I made a little mistake" but if you notice, they'll never show a close enough picture for you to see how bad it really was. And, as I said, even watch what I do because it may not comply with code for your area. I have done things to my house, say, because of the threat of termites, that people up north don't have to do. If nothing else, some of these people will cause you to do a lot more work than is needed simply because they don't know how to work efficiently or do not know the products available. I have seen them pour walls (concrete) that took over a year, multiple pours and about twice the money simply because they didn't know how to form a wall correctly using the hardware available now that would have allowed it done all at once or two pours at the most. I want to make one other thing clear too: I was NOT referring to anyone whose blog I link to or who is a regular reader/commenter here. I would never link to anyone that I felt was misleading people, no matter how entertaining they are.
So, call me a hard ass or a smart ass if you want, but I'm looking out for you! Buyer and builder beware!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Friday Food!

I thought Hermit Jim's suggestion of doing one food post a week was a real good one and I believe Friday is the traditional time to put such up, so here you go! I know this is a fairly crappy photo but you get the idea. I had recently started making some half size pie plates (about 6 inches) and I always like to actually bake in any new product I make, just to make sure it works okay and doesn't crack into a million pieces. And, since I now have lots of eggs to work with, I thought I would find a recipe that used several eggs at one time. The mini-pie dish is in the background and one of my lunch plates is holding a piece of quiche.
Now, I'm not much on real fancy dishes, quiches and such, but this one sounded really good and easy. And it is! This is a crustless quiche too, so it's fast. You have a basic quiche recipe to which you can add whatever fillings you want, if any. I added potato, onions and mushrooms but you could add whatever variety of veggies you have on hand if you think they go well together.
Now, I will give you the amounts I used for a 6 inch dish, so if you are making one for several people and using a standard 9 inch pie dish or similar, just double the recipe.:

Basic Crustless Quiche

1/4 cup butter
5 eggs (4 if really large)
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup or so of grated jack cheese (or whatever you like)

Melt the butter. Whip the eggs until fluffy and add the flour, baking powder, salt, cottage cheese, melted butter (cooled slightly) and the cheese. Fold in whatever veggies you have ready. Pour the mixture into a greased baking dish and top with a little more grated cheese.

Now, I had already taken one medium potato and diced into 1/4 inch thick chunks, a small onion (same way) and about 1 cup of sliced, fresh mushrooms and sauteed this with 2 cloves of minced garlic until the veggies were just starting to turn translucent. I seasoned this mixture with a little salt and pepper, a little fresh parsley and oregano and then folded it into the egg mixture.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350 and bake another 25 or 30 minutes or until top is slightly brown and a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool a little, then slice and serve!

Like I said, I'm not a huge fan of omelets or such but this was really good. It had a wonderful creamy texture and flavor.
Oh! and the mini-pie dishes are available for only $16 + shipping if anybody would like one!!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Peekaboo

I noticed in a couple of the last posts that I may have confused a few of you with those large hens I had pictured. About 6 weeks ago or so Jack and I bought 3 full grown hens so that we would have eggs now, rather than wait on these pullets to get up and those were the hens you saw pictured. We do still have the 21 young chickens also, which are getting pretty big, but they were not the large black and white barred ones in the post about pest control.
Anyway, we got those 3 hens from a young lady in a county north of us who raises a lot of chickens. She had these hens in with a couple of roosters and Jack got to thinking about that after we got the hens home. I happened to mention to him that hens will stay fertile for up to 3 weeks ( I think) after they have been with a rooster and a light bulb went off in his head. He decided it would be great to hatch some of those eggs. Jack has never raised any kind of animals before so all these chickens kind of fascinates him and he is all excited about anything to do with them. So, he wanted to see chicks hatch. Since we have been very pleased with the Barred Rocks laying ability, I figured "sure", wouldn't mind having a couple more of those myself. And, since Allen just happened to have just bought an incubator, we figured, why not? So, Jack gathered 2 eggs from each of the 3 hens and we put them in the incubator. We waited 21 days and sure enough, I heard peeping one day coming from the incubator! Four of the six eggs hatched. We could easily tell which eggs came from which chicken and noticed, oddly enough, that Bertha's eggs were the 2 that didn't hatch. She is the largest and oldest of the hens. I don't know what the deal was there, she is certainly young enough to still be producing. Maybe she told the roos to go fly a kite! Anyway, after a stressful couple of days (for us, not the chicks) we got 4 little babies. We had to help 3 of them out of their shells as they had not been able to completely free themselves even after 24 hours of trying. I wasn't sure how they would do but, as you can see, they are now a handful of very rambunctious chicks. Jack built a little playpen for them to stay in during the day and at night they go back in the tub in the coop. With my luck we got all roosters in this four but I can't really tell at this point. I do know they are very spoiled though and a lot more friendly than the others due to being handled so much since hatching. If you put your hand down in their pen they will run and jump up in your palm so you can get them out. They are a hoot!

About a week ago I started a list of subjects to write about here and it has helped organize my thoughts quite a bit. I still get in rambling moods though and have been in one lately. I often feel like I'm not posting about much that is interesting and feel that is reflected in the lack of comments at times. I guess since I've stopped working commercial construction and have "settled down" with Jack this blog isn't as "fun" as it once was! lol! I don't know. I certainly don't have the...uhhh.... adventures... I once did! But I still feel compelled to write because the house isn't finished and that is what I started writing for. I guess that seems odd. Well, that is not entirely true. I have written this blog because I enjoyed the conversation and meeting of other people, albeit not in person. I wish I could come up with some more topics that invited discussion however, because I often feel out of sorts publishing these 'here I'm the great authority on this subject' posts. I would hate to think that my writings suggests that I don't want to hear other people's opinions or thoughts because that is definitely not the case. At any rate, I'm trying to come up with a more organized and informative approach to my posting so that it may be of some help to somebody out there.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Funny How Time Flys (When You're Having Fun)

Take us to your leader!



Grandpa, from The Munsters, I swear.



"Boy, Ah say Boy, you 'bout as sharp as a bowling ball..."



Lots of eggs...



Natural fireworks