Friday, January 27, 2012


I just added two new books to my list. The Self-Sufficient Life by John Seymour and Harvey Ussery's Small-Scale Poultry Flock. They were on sale and I've wanted them for a while so I got them yesterday.
I don't think I've read as much in my whole life as I have in the last four years (and I like to read)!

I like books but since I got my first computer hooked to the net I've found most of the information I need on there. This last year or two I've gone back to buying books as there may come a time that I will not be able to access on-line information. So I think it wise to have the valuable information in hand.

I am also reading "Folks This Aint Normal" by Joel Salatin but I've got that on the computer, a kindle app from Amazon lets you down load some books to your puter as if it were a Kindle. This is cheaper and there is no shipping. I do this if I'm not going to use the book for reference. Don't get me wrong, this is a great book, very entertaining, full of facts and references which I write down in my note book but I would not call it a reference book.

I normally get a lot of reading done during the winter months. That has not happened this year. Spring is here (almost!), I've got seeds in compost, I've got to get my grow light set up, finish planning the garden and I'm spring cleaning now cuz in another month I won't have time for it. Normally I don't say where did this winter go?? Where did summer go, what happened to spring and wasn't it a short fall, but never do I say such things about winter.

Today it's cold, rainy and the wind is blowing. I'm not cleaning today. I'm going to make a cup of tea, finish the garden plan and read..

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Starting Seeds

Started seeds today!

Celery (which I have never grown), cabbage, leek, cauliflower, and broccoli. I've never had much luck getting the broccoli and cauliflower to grow for me. I always get them in too late. I'm starting them under lights this year but I think they should have been started the beginning of the month. I'm just starting a few of each as an experiment. Don't want to waste precious bed space if they don't produce before it gets too hot for them. I've never started seeds indoors under lights before so I'm curious how this will all work.

I didn't have any seed starting medium so I am using pure compost (the other part of the experiment). I've read on some of the garden forums that compost works great. On the other hand I've read that it didn't do so good. We will see!

Saturday, January 21, 2012


With or without a recipe, most of what I cook comes out well. Can’t say that about these calzone though!!


Preparedness seems to be on a lot of peoples minds.

I’m sitting here on January 21and it is raining like crazy. It’s not the rain that makes me think but the thunder and lightening. In almost six-years of living here we have not had thunder this time of year. To say that the weather is screwy is an understatement!

I’m not the type of person to worry about what has yet to happen. Like most people I’ve heard what may or may not happen this coming winter solstice, I’ve heard about what bad shape the power gird is in, the volcanoes that may irrupt and take us all out, the list of "might happen" could fill a book. I don’t pay much attention to this stuff, I’m not scared, worried, or depressed about it. What would be the point in that? Fear, worry and depression keep you trapped and immobilize, keep you from doing what needs doing.

I’ve got plans for this garden season. I want to raise fryers (I only have layers now), turkey, and rabbits and increase my garden space. I plan on getting a hand powered grain mill and a pour through water purifier. I’m going to build an earth oven and bake sourdough bread. I’m going back to making my own soaps and laundry detergents. From the outside looking in you might think I’m preparing for something big. You would be right, I am. I’m buying the tools and learning the things that will make me more self-reliant and enable me to live the life I want to live. Will this make me more prepared in a bad situation? Of course, not only will I be able to help myself but also my family, my neighbors and people I do not yet know

A great blog on being prepared "The Just In Case Book Blog". Kathy Harrison is full of information and ideas.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Spinach past drying on a repurposed antique clothes drying rack.

I’ve been making homemade pasta the last few months in an effort to cut down on what I have to buy from the grocery store. My family loves it but I could never find a way to dry it enough to be able to store it out of the freezer (I have a small freezer). (I have no idea why this is bold but I can't fix it so it stands??)

I love antiques, especially wood. Some years ago my mother bought for me an antique clothes-drying rack. It sat around for years as it’s much too old and fragile to actually use for it’s intended purpose. BUT it makes a great drying rack for pasta!
Pasta doesn’t take long to make (once you get the hang of it), I use my kitchen aid for the dough and I have a hand-cranked pasta roller and cutter. It’s much better than store bought. For one thing I don’t have to remember to buy it! It’s fresh and the possibilities are endless. You can put any spices you like in the dough, add spinach, carrot, or even dried tomatoes and you get to choose how thick you want it.

The Italian Dish has a quick video and complete instructions if you’ve never done it before.

Try it! You will love it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I finally gave in and ordered a dehydrator. I can’t wait to get it even if all I can do is look at it till this summer. Actually I may try doing venison jerky, maybe not too.

I’ve been told that drying food retains more of the nutrients than canning and I’m all for that. Also it has a much longer shelf life and takes up much less storage space than freezing or canning.

We have a lot of wild raspberries and blackberries plus the strawberries I cultivate. Curious how that will work out. Thinking maybe fruit leathers but will have to do more research into that.

Also think it will be great for drying herbs, medicinal as well as culinary.

Would love to hear from those of you drying your own food.

Monday, January 16, 2012


In case you don’t know Etsy is an on-line place to sell handmade items. I make lampwork beads and sell them in my store there. It’s fairly easy to set up your own store and there is quite a bit of traffic on this site.

I know there are a lot of people who make wonderful items and thought I would introduce Etsy to those who do not know about it.

This is a sample of what I make.

So check it out. It’s a great place to buy as well as sell. I would love to know what you all craft to make a few extra bucks and if you sell it on line.

As always, thanks for visiting!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Slow Food Becomes Fast Food

I’m ashamed to admit this but one of the hardest things about moving here was the lack of "fast food". No Macdonalds, Dairy Queen, Arbys, Burger King! In town they have these places but really, an hour round trip and a wait in line hardly qualifies as "fast food" to me.

So, I finally found a way to make slow food into fast food. I learned to can venison stew meat and broth. Last nite I made a 30-minute venison stew with kale, carrots, and frozen green beans from my garden. Onion and potatoes from the store as mine did not do too well this year. I opened a jar of stew meat and a quart jar of broth, put it all together, added bread I made the day before and had dinner. I can tell you it was the best stew I’ve ever eaten, better than anything you could get "out" and for pennies a serving. Not to mention it was actually good for us!

Yeah, canning the meat takes some time (not that much if you divide the time by the number of jars you can fit into your pressure canner) but there is something very satisfying about having good safe food on the shelf that can become a fast nutritious meal.

This is a link to the article by Jackie Clay on canning meat -

In case you’re wondering it’s been a long time, around 5 years, since I’ve eaten any fast food!