Monday, August 31, 2009
On days that the Husband does not have to work, he doesn't shave, and then you can see a shadow where his hair starts to grow and I can easily see his hairline. Tonight, in a silly mood, he asked the girls if they wanted him to grow his hair long and then he'd comb it up and over his bald spot. The girls all nodded yes, because, really- they don't know what a comb-over is! How do you explain a comb-over to the girls?
I grabbed a washable marker and started coloring in his hair and then pretending his hair was long enough, drew in a comb-over!
Saturday, August 29, 2009
My break from apples won't be for very long, they just advertised Gala apples and I like to use those in my applesauce, along with jonagolds. As soon as the jonagolds are ready, I'll buy several bushels of each and get to saucing!
After I made the Damson plum liquors, I waited a little too long (I got busy with the apple chips) to make plum jam, and found that about half had gone moldy. I was able to salvage enough for two batches of plum jam and the rest went to the chickens and compost. It was my first time making plum jam and it's very good! When I mentioned the jam to my mom, her eyes lit up and she said she has not had plum jam since she left home for college. My grandmother had a plum tree behind the shed and made jam with the plums. I am eager for my mom to taste my plum jam and see if it compares to my grandmother's.
We have gotten 4 eggs so far from our chickens. I think it is a possibility that some of the chickens are laying in the woods, because there should be more than just four. We passed some one's home with a pile of rolled up chain link fencing for sale. I think I'll stop by and see how much they are asking, and if it is reasonable, get some for making an enclosure around the coop. Fall is in the air around here, and fallen leaves will make it hard for me to search for eggs, so as much as I want them to free-range, I also want them to lay eggs in the coop.
Our tomatoes are finally starting to come in. It was just a trickle these past couple of weeks, with a tomato here and there. When I was canning the plum jam, I had enough tomatoes to can a quart. Only a quart, I know, but it's a start. Checking on the plants today, I am hoping that by next week, I'll have at least enough ripe tomatoes for 10 more quarts. Not even enough to last the whole winter, but that's what I get for not being more careful where I put my tomato and pepper starts and then getting a puppy that thinks the plants were for her to chew on. I consider myself lucky to have found tomato starts when I did. So I'll take what I can get and have better hopes for next year's garden.
I am considering getting a bushel of tomatoes from the farm market, they ask $15 for a bushel, but every time I inquire about them, they tell me not today, maybe next week. Meanwhile, there are plenty of tomatoes for sale on the table. I suspect they pick the best looking ones for sale and save the ugly ones for canning tomatoes. This is what makes me hesitate.. Why can't they just sell me a bushel of those tomatoes when I want them now? Maybe I'll just do without and concentrate on apples. I will miss not having rows of pretty canned tomatoes in my basement, but I have plenty of other lovely canned goods to make up for it.
I am also harvesting items from the stores, buying a little extra here and there, when we can afford it, to get ready for the winter months. My step-mom taught me some tricks for shopping with coupons, and I am getting some pretty good deals, now that I know where to find them. Recently at the rite-aid, they had a pretty good sale for certain items-- buy one get one free type sales and combined with manufacturer's coupons, store coupons and rebates, I managed to get about $75 worth of items for about $15. I'm pretty pleased about that. It's a thrill to see the total on the register go down, down, down and walk away with quite a few bags of items.
I am trying a batch of peach wine. It's made the same way I made the strawberry wine and it is smelling mighty fine. I strain the peaches out in a couple days, then add the sugar, stir daily for another week, then divide into gallon jars and let it sit for a couple of months. I won't wait a year this time around, before checking them, to make sure I don't end up with 50/50 vinegar and wine.
I am going to enjoy this little break from canning anything, catching up on things I need to do around the house. I have a project going on right now and I look forward to sharing it with you as soon as I am finished.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I started with the basement and got new cupboards to help corral school supplies and craft supplies, but then we moved my Mom's things into the basement and I cannot get into the cupboards anymore. So I need to set up a new school area upstairs. We have a fairly large living room, so I'm going to use a corner for keeping school supplies handy.
Now... what to keep the supplies in. Hmmm...
I found this nice, old wire basket at a yard sale a couple weeks ago. It looks like it would be just the right size...
Voila! A handy dandy carrier for keeping markers and construction paper all in one place! I'll be adding a recycled, cleaned can to the corner and attach it with wires, to hold scissors and glue sticks. I so love it when I can re-purpose something like this into something I need.
Now, if I can just re-purpose something to make a bounce shield for my clean surfaces so that when the kids put something down, it'll bounce right off! :o)
Monday, August 24, 2009
At the thrift store yesterday, I came across THREE of these Texas Ware melamine splattered mixing bowls! They are so hard to find and go for a pretty penny on ebay, so I was really happy to find these. Especially 3 of them! After I got home and washed them, I discovered a crack in one of them, so that will be my new scraps bowl. I'll be posting these for sale in my etsy shop this week. *Teena, you want one?? If you do, I save it for you and sell the other one.*
Saturday, August 22, 2009
I definitely wanted more apples for making apple chips. They went so fast last year and I didn't make a whole lot of them, so this time, I got a whole bushel that will be just for apple chips. The rambos were only $9 a bushel so that's a great deal! This also breaks up some of the labor of peeling hundreds of apples all at once for applesauce and chips. The apples I use for applesauce are not ready yet, so this is nice to only work on making chips.
I am intrigued by the idea of making damson plum liquor, and at 80 cents a pound, I thought it would be worth a try. I bought 25 pounds worth of plums, some for making liquor and some for jam.
I am not a big drinker. In college, I went to my fair share of parties and night clubs, and I did the whole party-hearty thing, but now, I just like the occasional wine and a swig of the "hard stuff" when I feel rough around the edges. I have always liked fruity flavors, so I enjoy sangria and margaritas and such, and I really like the strawberry wine we made last year, so I think (and hope) the damson plum liquor will be something I like.
I found 2 different recipes on the internet for damson liquor. I am trying both. They are basically the same, except one uses more plums and more sugar, but less alcohol.
1 quart of damson plums (it didn't specify, but I halved and pitted them)
1 1/2 pound of sugar
375 ml vodka or gin (I used vodka)
Combine ingredients and pour into a gallon jar. Keep lid loose for fermentation. Stir weekly for 6 to 8 weeks until sugar is dissolved. Should be ready by December.
1 pound of damson plums, pitted ( I halved them and pitted them)
1 pound of sugar
1 quart of gin or vodka (I used gin)
Combine ingredients and pour into gallon jar. Stir weekly. Should be ready in 3 months. (Didn't specify, but I'm keeping lid on this loose as well)
I'll be keeping these in a cool dark place, the heat and humidity will spoil the fruit and I don't want that to happen. Hopefully this turns out yummy and I'll let you know how it tastes.
Now, I need to get started on peeling and slicing a batch of apples for the dehydrator. If I get it in tonight, they'll be dry by morning and ready for another batch!
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The girls liked their very first taste of cotton candy!
We enjoyed the Fair. Next year, we'll have to remember to take out a loan first.
At least the kids seemed to understand why they couldn't go on all the rides, and they are happy. Before they went to bed tonight, Oldest told me she had fun at the Fair. And then she drifted off to sleep, probably dreaming of bouncing on blue and pink cotton candy clouds.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
It took me about 45 minutes, from the moment I chopped his head off, to getting it into a zippy bag in the fridge. I need a higher work table to do this next time, as my back hurt from being bent over. I think next time, I'll just bring the chicken into the house after I pluck the feathers off outside. The kids snuck outside to watch me and they came out in time to see me pulling out the innards. I told them they could come closer to watch and they did. I forgot about the head still on the chopping block until Middle said "Look! There's the head!" Eeep! I quickly went over to get the head and tucked it under the pile of feathers to be buried later on. The head is not pretty to look at, and knowing my kids, they would be creeped out by seeing it. Maybe later, but not now.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Wish me luck! I find out the results at the end of the week.
Friday, August 14, 2009
This group of Speeders had about 20 cars from all different railroads and we really enjoyed watching them go by. I had no idea they existed and when we got home, I quickly dug out the newspaper to read it more thoroughly. It was a nice little history lesson for us.
They even bring along their own port-a-potty!
Check out the Hampshire Reviews' youtube video here to learn more about Speeders
(sorry, it isn't captioned)
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I took measurements to remember, in the future, exactly where to dig. I'm relieved that we were not too far off from where the lid was.
Water is still backing up into the basement. I suspect there is a clog and we are currently waiting for the guy to come back with his de-clogging tool. The name escapes me. Super-powered snake something or other. I hope that it does the trick. I want to mop and disinfect the laundry room. When it backed up, the flow dripped into and onto the washer, so I also need to disinfect the washer. It will take me many washes to get all the clothes that were on the floor clean. The septic water also flowed to other areas of the basement and it gives me a good excuse to throw away some now-ruined things. Some of the plush toys got wet, the rolled-up rug from the playroom is wet, and some other various items.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Anyway, I picked this for my profile picture... I think it says enough about me. From the looks of the picture, I must live somewhere with lots of trees, I'm holding a chicken, so maybe I live on a farm, and there is some sort of building behind me, what's that? And oh, look-- trash! I must be white trash! :o) Maybe I need to change the picture? Hmm..
I am keeping my facebook and my blog separate. I know that there are some old classmates that read this here blog (Hi!), but it doesn't mean I want the whole school to read it! I think I would start to second-guess myself and censor things if I knew everyone was reading this, and I don't want to do that. This blog is for ME, it's my way to give my kids a connection to me when they are older and I get this printed out in book form.
Back to facebook. It's been interesting. It's like a class reunion without having to fly anywhere and dealing with the BS of having to repeat over and over what I am doing with myself these days. I like seeing how people have changed, or stayed the same, who married whom, and how many kids they have, if any. I don't think I've changed much since high school... see?
I was 17 in my senior picture, taken in '91. I wore glasses then, but chose not to wear them for the picture. I was trying to copy my Mom's senior picture, where she did not smile, but I thought it was the most beautiful picture ever, of her. And yes, that is a little rat tail you see peeking out on the side there. What can I say? It was the style at the time. The back of my head was shaved, too, so that when I had a ponytail, you could see short hair back there, and that's when I discovered I have the same cowlick that my dad does, on the back of my head.
There are some schoolmates that look so different, that when they have tagged me to be their friend on facebook, I've had to study their pictures to try and place them-- especially when they have changed their names. I can usually remember faces and then match names with them, but some of those faces have changed so much!
That sweet, skinny, scrawny little guy, whom you once told, "I'm not interested in you that way, I just want to be friends", is now big and buff and handsome! That cute, popular guy that all the girls swooned over, is now fat and balding. That geeky girl that never had a boyfriend is now too gorgeous for words, with a cute husband and cuter children. It all sounds so cliche, but it's true! I see it with my own eyes, how we have all changed and I hope that people will look at me now, remember me the way I was, and say: She looks the same. She was nice to me then.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Here, Uncle is burning off the pin feathers. I'm glad he pointed them out to me, because I thought pin feathers was something entirely different. I thought they were the teeny tiny feathers that were hard to grasp and pull. Turns out, they look like what they are called, long thin feathers, thin as a pin. Almost like fur. It's easier to just burn them off than to try and pluck every single one.