Thursday, December 7, 2006

Experimental soup recipe

My favorite part of winter is being able to eat soups, drink hot tea and cocoa. I enjoy these foods all year, but it's just not the same when you are cold and need something to warm you up.

Normally, when a recipe calls for onions, I use half the amount and throw out the leftover pieces, Gasp! I know. What a waste! It's just that when I try to save onions, they taste all bitter, so I end up throwing them out later. Which by the way hasn't happened recently. Better storing methods? I don't know.

I love using small onions and the only way to get them is to buy a bag. I hate having to pick through the ones in the store and be stuck with humongous onions. I know that people think that bigger is better, but I like them small.

But the other day, I took the onion leftovers and stuck them in a tupperware container and froze them. Then later that week, I made some eggrolls and had leftover cabbage. Huge pieces that got chopped and diced but were too tough to save for the eggrolls. I stashed them in the container with the onions. Then, I made some peanut butter and celery and chopped off the leaves and the white parts. Yes, I normally toss those out too. Gasp, again! This time I stuck them with the onions and cabbage.

By the end of the week, I had a lot of frozen veggies. And I was getting hungry for some soup. I wanted to make this thai soup that has rice in it and reminds me of a thai version of chicken noodle soup, (rice instead of noodles) but I didn't have any of the ingredients needed so I just sort of threw some stuff in a pot. I took the veggies I was saving, added some chopped carrots, a can of chicken broth, and some chopped ginger. I threw in some leftover rice and a dash of garlic powder. That was the best soup I have ever thrown together without a recipe! I added lots and lots of black pepper to it too. It was so spicy. It was great because I had a cold and my head was all stopped up. A few days of this soup and I was feeling a lot better, not too mention I was no longer stuffed up.

Now, I look forward to storing extra veggies and it's no longer a chore to decide what to do with all the leftover "waste". Each time I make the soup, it's a bit different, but still good. It reminds me of the weight watcher's recipe called Garden Vegetable Soup. That is so tasty too!

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Recipe for refrigerator rolls

I recently tried a new recipe called Refrigerator Rolls. I've heard of it before, where you make the dough up at the beginning of the week and then pull off pieces as you need it. For some reason, I never would try it. I have no idea why. This recipe is the greatest! I only have to mix and knead the dough once and all week long I can have tasty delicious rolls. You have to remember though to punch down the dough every day until you use it. Also, sometimes when I don't have the two hours it needs to rise, I just roll it into balls anyways, let it sit for the time I do have and bake it. They still turn out good. Ready for the recipe? Here it is:

Refrigerator Rolls- from Farm Journal's Country Cookbook.

2 pkg's active dry yeast
1 3/4 c. warm water
1/2 c. sugar
1 Tablespoon salt
5 1/2-6 c. flour (all purpose)
1 egg
1/4 c. shortening, butter, or margarine. (tastes best with margarine or butter)

Sprinkle yeast over warm water in large bowl; stir to dissolve. Add sugar salt and about half the flour. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes or by hand until mixture is smooth.

Add egg and shortening, (I like to soften butter first, not too hot to cook the egg though). Beat to mix. Mix in remaining flour with hands or a spoon until dough is easy to handle. Shape into a ball and place in lightly greased bowl; turn greased side of dough up. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, or place bowl in a plastic bag.

Put dough in refrigerator and let rise at least 2 hours, or until doubled before using. Punch down dough every day until you use it. Two hours before you want to serve hot rolls, punch down dough and shape. Brush tops with melted butter; cover and let rise in warm place until nearly doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

Bake in hot oven (400 degrees) 12-15 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen average size rolls.

Dough may be kept up to 5 days in refrigerator with 45 degrees or lower temperature.

I've left it in the refrigerator up to 7 days and it was fine

P.S. I'm so glad I posted the recipe here because I gave away this cookbook and would have missed making this recipe!

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Living more with less

My favorite kind of books have always been how-to's. Normally, I scan through the book and read bits and pieces reading from right to left. This past week, I read from cover to cover from left to right, volumes one and three Tightwad Gazette. I really enjoyed reading them. Most of the information presented I have either already been practicing for years, or have no interest in doing. However, I did find a few new good tips which I will share at a later date.

The book I am reading now is called Living more with less by Doris Janzen Longacre. I have read bits and pieces of it three times, and now I am reading it all the way through. It was written a long time ago but it is still becoming my favorite book. I am hoping to find it used somewhere.

I have been learning more in it than I have any other simplicity living book. I will be sharing some things that I have been learning later as well as thoughts on the book.

Voluntary Simplicity

What is voluntary simplicity? How is it different than frugal living? The best explanation I know of can be found here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Huck Update

I talked to Huck's new owners the other day to see how he's been doing. She told me that he went off rabbit hunting the other day. She could hear him baying after the rabbit. He came back in an hour. I always wondered if he ran off, if he'd be able to find his way home. I was happy when she said he came back within an hour. Being in a new place, did not stop him from figuring out how to find his way back.

She also told me that the other day, he crossed the highway and found his way to their neighbor's house. They didn't know who he belonged to and brought him inside as it was late and dark. She didn't want him getting run over on the highway. Huck made his way into their house and made himself right at home, finding his way right into their cat's food dish. Ever since then, whenever the owners would go to work, Huck would run over to their house and demand to be let in. (howl his head off, I'm told.)

Well, they found out where his new home was and took him back there, but Huck decided he'd rather live with them. The people we gave Huck to decided to give him to them as well. So, now he is at his new home, which he seems to love. He is an indoor dog. They have two kids, which are the same age as my friend's children in Missouri where our house is. I wonder if their kids don't remind him of them. Their whole family loves Huck and I'm glad that I don't have to worry anymore about him getting hit running across the highway to their house.

I hope that the old owners are able to find another beagle, one that loves to be outside. I always wondered if Huck was happy as an indoor pet or if he wanted to be strictly an outdoor dog running rabbits all day long. I got my answer. He'd rather be sitting inside where it's warm or cool (depending on the season) and sleep in a comfy place than be outside with all the elements of the weather.

I can't wait to meet his new owners and see Huck again.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Plantain salve uses

I have been battling a cold this week and as a result my nose has been sore and red. I put some plantain salve on it before I went to bed and the next day all the redness and soreness was gone! I love that plantain salve I made. I can't wait to make more. My hands always get so dry in the winter and crack so I slathered some salve on them and what a relief that salve is. The cracks which look like mini gashes in my hand are healing nicely.

I am also trying to figure out what to put it in. I had bought some tins but they are hard to open and close. I am hoping to find some little heat proof plastic container to put it in. I prefer jars, but hard to ship without worrying about breakage. I made some the other day in baby food jars, but it is hard to get out.

Everyone that's used my salve loves it. And that makes me very happy. I love helping others.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Don't be sad, It's a treasure.

I titled this after Nick kept telling me this when I would start to cry thinking about Huck.

In memory of Hucky boy. You came into my life 3 years ago. He was my best friend apart from Nick. From the time I woke up until the time I went to bed, I'd talk to him. And sometimes he'd answer me. We'd go for long walks and meet people. People I wouldn't have met otherwise, because it seems the world is a friendlier place when you have a dog on the end of your leash. Especially one as cute as Huck.

When I was sick with the flu, he'd lay beside me on the floor. He'd keep me company and wag his tail. When I had a sore throat and couldn't call to him, I'd clap my hands and he would come running. When I hurt my back and couldn't bend over, he'd jump up and let me put his leash on. He never said no for a walk, no matter how tired and asleep he was. As soon as I'd get my shoes on, grab my keys and ask him if he wanted to go for a walk, he was at the door.

He'd sit in my lap when we'd go to the park and swing on the swings. He loved to go down slides. His favorite thing was to go bye bye in the car. We had a routine. Nick would say, "Papa's gonna go!" And I'd say, "Mama's gonna go!" and then we'd both say, "Does the Huck Huck want to go?" and he'd let out a big howl and run to get a toy in his toy box. He always had to take something along on his rides in the car. A bone or his baby. And sometimes we'd let him and sometimes we'd say no. When we'd say no, he'd run outside and try to take a stick or something.

We taught him how to give a high five, (by sitting up and giving us a paw in the air) but all on his own he would jump in the air and stretch out his paw. He could sit, sit up, stand up, roll over, speak, and dance, by turning around in a circle on his two back legs. I tried to teach him to sing, but all I got out of him was a noisy yawn. Although, when the trains went by loud enough, he would sing.

He was the best rabbit dog too. When he was on the trail of a bunny, he was so focused and he had a great nose. I couldn't buy him a bag of treats and give him just one of them. He'd sniff out the bag where it was hidden and wait patiently for more.

Well, sometimes he'd howl if he wanted more. He'd prance around with a new toy and want you to try and steal it from him. When he tired of that game, he'd let you know by howling. If there was something he couldn't have, he'd howl about it. Sometimes, when playing outside with him, I'd stick his baby which was a big oversized puppet with floofy fur, in a tree and he'd howl till I got it down for him. That baby of his, when we first got him, he would run down a hill and tumble over it. Couldn't quite get the hang of carrying it without tripping. He'd use it for a pillow in his bed too.

He never barked for us until his buddy Sadie taught him how. He loved to go to Sadie's house. Sadie would try and hide her bones but everytime he'd go over there, he'd find her stash. They would tear through Sadie's house running in circles and then plop down together for a nap.

He had other puppy friends, Cider, Benny, Baby Boy and Lily to name a few. He would get a toy and not want to share so he'd always surprise the newbies by letting out a howl. It worked on every one of them but Sadie. She's a basset hound.

He took care of Chessie our abandoned kitten and took up role as Mama Huck. He'd clean up after her, give her a bath and keep an eye out for her. Whenever we'd come home, he'd run straight to the place we kept her to make sure she was okay. He put up with her running all over the house and hanging off of his head and grabbing his tail. He was real gentle because he hated anyone messing with his tail. He always let her know when she was being too rough though. He missed her the day we found her another home. He'd check her old bed to see if she was there.

Huck filled my life with joy. He would get so excited when I told him that 'Papa was coming home!' He'd run to his toy box and wait at the door with me, ready to play with his Papa.

Huck was supposed to be Nick's dog but I fell in love with him the moment he stepped into my life. When I knew we were going to be getting rid of him, I tried to distance myself from him, thinking the pain would not be as great. But I realized I wanted to have as many treasures as I could have with him until he left us. Yesterday, we played and played together.

And then we got the call, someone wanted him. As we got ready to leave to take him to his new home, I tried to cuddle him one last time and Huck who had been clingy that whole day, must of known what we going on, he distanced himself from me. We cried the whole way to the new place, but as we pulled out of the driveway and watched him say goodbye to us, we knew we were doing the right thing.

He'll have so much room to run at the new place, rabbits to chase, another beagle for company and plenty of farm cats. He loves cats. Plus, the new owners said we could visit him anytime.

I'll never forget you hucky boy.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Is that a dog? Nope!

A few weeks ago, we stayed at our favorite campground. I was busy in the camper getting ready for dinner. I happened to notice two girls coming near with their dog. I didn't get a good look at the dog because I just saw him out of the corner of my eye, but could tell he was brown and small.

Well, as they got closer to us, I happened to overhear what they were saying and this caused me to look up and see what they were doing. To my suprise, the leash was a stick and the dog was an armadillo! They were herding an armadillo back to their campsite. Their mom came over and took their picture. They ended up herding him back to the woods before going to the park to play.

I couldn't believe that this armadillo didn't run off. The first time I saw an armadillo up close was when I took Huck for his evening walk. Huck noticed it right away, and as soon as I did, the armadillo took off so fast and ran to hide in a drainage hole. I never saw an animal take off so quickly. So, I'm baffled to understand what this armadillo was thinking to let two girls herd him around with a stick and why didn't he run off.

Live one day at a time. Be content.

Live one day at a time as if it were my last.

Be content in the situations I find myself in.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Dodge the acorns and other fun times

Had one of the best weekends in a long time at our favorite camping spot. We got there late Saturday night and spent all day Sunday out by the campfire laughing and just having a good time. I don't remember ever laughing as much as we did.

It was supposed to rain all day which is one reason we decided to go there, but other than a few sprinkles, and a lot of wind, the weather was perfect in my opinion. With all the wind, it didn't take long for the laundry to dry. While Nick started the fire, I hunted for thin papery bark, perfect for helping start the fire. I went by myself at first and found what I thought was the right kind of bark. Came back with bark, but the wrong kind.

The next time I went out I took Huck along. He loved it. I was worried he would howl while I went into the woods, (I tied him up on a pole right in front of the forest) but he was so good and just waited patiently for me to emerge. I didn't take him in with me, because of all the poison ivy and because I didn't want him to think he was in there to hunt.

You could tell he really wanted to go with his mama though. I heard a car coming down the road and had to dash back out to make sure he wasn't standing in the middle of the road. I finally found the right kind of bark and collected enough to save for the next time too. I went back out several times after that and looked for more bark. It was fun!

Nick and I played a fun game called Dodge the acorns. It's played when you're feeling a bit nippy and need to warm up. You stand against the back of the camper and try not to get hit by acorns being thrown at you from a short distance. I tried to trick Nick several times but he figured out my plan and pelted me a few times with acorns. Once he mistakenly picked up a rock and threw it at me. It missed, thank goodness. I'd dodge back and forth trying not to get hit making faces at him.

Another time, I had my eyes squinted shut to avoid having them burn because of the smoke. Nick had asked me to get him some water, so with them half squinted I felt around to find his cup and handed it to him. He joked around with me and acted like he was going to swig some water at me. My eyes were barely open but all of a sudden I saw a cup of water coming my way and my eyes burst open. Of course, this made Nick laugh his head off at me. I love hearing him laugh and like I said, we laughed all weekend long. Sitting in front of the campfire we also had some good serious talks about life and other important topics.

Later on, Larry, the camp host took us out in his truck and we loaded up some more firewood down the road near the campsite. He showed us where the lake used to be, all dried up now with no rain. It was a bumpy ride, but beautiful!

I slept so peacefully and I can't wait to go back there again.

This weekend we are planning a trip to our home in Missouri and to see some friends. My sister and mom will be coming down to see us there. I can't wait! I haven't met my sister's newest baby. It's been a few months since I saw my mom too. I just wish my dad would be there. (My mom stayed a month helping my sister adjust to a new baby in the family.)

Until next time...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Peace found in living with less

Well, we've been in the camper a month now. I just love it! I am excited though about dropping off some things in Milo, things I thought we had room for, but do not. There are also some books and magazines I left in Milo, that I am going to swap with. Once we get all the extra baggage out of the way, things will run much more smoothly.

When Nick is at the office working, I'm normally parked nearby. I spend my days, cleaning and re-organizing the camper, trying to find the best place for things to go. I stamp cards and write letters. I listen to tapes. I read books. I sleep. Life is very relaxed and slow paced. Sometimes, I'll walk to the library or the stores nearby and look around. Now that it is cooler, I take Huck for walks, several times a day. He loves being outside!

When Nick gets off of work, we go and park for the night usually. That's when I get out my fishing pole, wait for the minnows to trap themselves in the cool minnow trap Nick bought and start fishing. It's so relaxing for me. All I really need is a good camping chair. So I can cast the line and sit and wait for the bobber to go under. I normally like to not stare at it and daydream a little, and every once in awhile check on it.

Of course, I did that yesterday, I was thinking of a snake that I saw, wondering where it was, and when I looked up, I scanned across the water and didn't see the bobber. But I didn't think about fishing, until a few seconds later, then I tried to set the hook without reeling in... (I really don't think good under pressure) I could see the bobber zig zagging around just under the surface. That is when whatever had bit my hook let go and I lost whatever it was. I didn't get any more bites after that and gave up.

Sometimes, Nick will start a fire and we'll roast marshmallows. The other day, I roasted some and gave one to Huck. The first one I dropped to him, he missed and it stuck to his chest. He started hopping all around, you could tell he didn't like it on him. It finally fell off. Then the next one he got stuck to the top of his mouth and nose. When I went to get a paper towel to get it off, it was too late, he had started rolling in the dirt trying to get it off. I looked at him and just laughed there were little pebbles stuck all over his face hanging off his chin. He had also managed to step in it and had it stuck all between his toes! No more after that I decided... the pieces that got stuck with rocks, I tossed aside and Huck tried to eat it the next day. He ate it all, rocks too!

I used to have a wonder washer and I think I want to get me another one of them gadgets. They can wash 3 shirts or 1 pair of jeans at a time. When I first got one, I didn't really know how to use it and I ended up cracking the lid and not ever learning how to rinse with it. They cleaned wonderfully. But now, years later, I have figured out a few tips and tricks to it. Of course, I may just wait until we get a bigger camper because I'm not sure where I would store it. I love hanging up our clothes on the line. We're going to be trying a few different techniques as far as clothes are concerned. I think I'm going to like it. It will sure make washing them easier.

My favorite thing about camper living and I've said it many times is listening to all the critters at night. I love to hear the owls hooting and the coyotes yipping across the lake. It's like hearing one of my nature tapes except I don't have to press rewind as it lulls me to sleep at night.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

RV living changes

Well, there have been a few changes made since we talked about living in an RV. The main thing is that we decided not to stay at the campground that we talked about. The lady there "forgot" to tell us of a few fees. We have been staying at the state lake instead for now but we did find another place to stay which is good.

It is a bit more per day to hookup, but there are not any permit and camping fees. We plan to stay there from now on.  I like it better actually. This weekend we are going to Cherryvale to stay at the campground there. Last weekend we went to Bartlesville, OK to stay at a nice RV resort. It was pretty there.

We've seen a nice share of wildlife while we've been out camping. On our canoe trip, I saw a mink. This week, we saw a beaver and a raccoon across the lake. The beaver actually would swim back and forth from the two places we've camped from. Not having our A/C hooked up, I've been able to listen to the owls hooting in the night. I like the sound they make.

I'll write more later!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Future camping

We went to the campground to find out about mail delivery. I decided since we still have our mailbox in Missouri to have everyone write me there. There is one mailbox at the campground that everyone shares. I like the idea of having my own box, thank you. Plus you can't receive big packages there.

While we were in I looked at their books they have for sale. Much to my delight, Nick bought me two of them. The ones I got were called, "Flower Finder- A guide to identification of spring wild flowers and flower families".

There is a whole series of these books. I plan to collect them all. This is the most unique book I've ever heard of. It's going to come in handy during those long sitting spells in the camper. It describes in detail parts of a flower and the different types of families they are in. Then, it has lots of drawings that helps you to determine what kind of family it is in.

You choose the description that fits the flower to be indentified. Then proceed to the symbol indicated. Continue in this manner through the key until the flower is located in its family. Then you continue within the family to the name of the picture of your flower.

There is a flower that grows all over and I was delighted to find out it is called Queen Anne's Lace or wild carrot. The lady at the campground told me what it is, but it is also in my book. The book also is small and thin and can easily fit in my back pocket. There was another booklet there that I liked but decided on a different one. Almsot all the books there I plan to buy over time.

The other book I got is a Golden Guide from St. Martin's Press called "Weeds" Fully illustrated. They too have a collection of other similar books.

I've been so excited to start learning all the different flowers and weeds that grow in our area. I want to learn what chickweed, comfrey, yarrow to name a few look like so that I can make salves with them as well.

Nick bought a book called "Tree Finder" that goes into details like my book Flower Finder. He knows a lot about trees and leaves and identifying them already, but he can expand his knowledge on them.

Looking forward to getting this move out of the way and settling into our life at the campground. They have lots of nature trails that we can't wait to explore with our books in hand learning along the way.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Plantain salve making

Last week I bought some organic olive oil, beeswax from the local beekeeper near where we live and picked some plantain and made salve. I followed a recipe I got off the internet and had a blast! I even had a friend over and we made a batch together. When I made it with my friend, we added tea tree oil (which is a good antiseptic and also preserves the salve), and cedarwood oil (which also repels insects). I made another batch the other day and added lavender oil to it.

I bought two small jars of baby food so that I could have a little jar to carry around with me and so that I could give some away to friends, to sample.

The salve turned out so good! I normally am so miserable when the mosquitos come out that I often will stay indoors just to avoid them and I love being outdoors. But not anymore, cause I know no matter how many times I am bit that I have a ready supply of plantain salve. I am NOT referring to plantain like you buy at the store that looks like a banana, but rather the plant that is readily found in most backyards and the wild.

I use this salve for cuts, scrapes, insect bites, stings and more. I love this stuff!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Cherry Tomatoes

These are not the best pictures, but I tried to show how well they are coming along. I counted at least 40 tomatoes from the two smaller plants. One tomato was starting to ripen. From the bigger pot, the tomatoes are bigger and more are found. The pot that looks bare, if you look close enough there are two tomato plants started. I planted those a few days ago. They are coming up nicely. I still have a ton of seeds left over too. I'm going to grow them indoors when it gets cooler. The book I read about tub farming the author showed a picture of tomatoes she grew year round indoors. She enjoyed fresh tomatoes from January till December. Awesome!

I used a package of soil similar to Miracle Gro, called Expert Gardener, but I don't plan to do that again. Hopefully, soon we will be back home and our compost will be ready. Either that or I will just plant it straight into the garden.

Spiny the pest

I've nicknamed him Spiny- which means difficult or troublesome. The name fits! I don't know why other than he looks like skin and bones. He is the neighbor's dog and the most annoying. He comes into MY yard and barks at me! Nick (not Huck) will bark at him through the computer room window and it is absolutely hilarious. He'll jump around so fast and look towards the sound and just start barking back.

He steals Huck's bones, or at least tries to. He digs in everyone's garbage cans including his own. I chase him off when I see him, but he'll either just run around in circles past me, or run home only to come back as soon as I've gone inside. The other day as we were pulling out of the driveway, I saw him sneaking his way over. Like a little kid waiting for us to leave, there he was inching his way into our yard.

Conserving Water.

Washing dishes this morning made me think of something. Right now, I heat my water up and pour it into a dishpan. Then I sometimes have another dishpan full of clean water for rinsing. I used to think your plates would stay soapy using the dishpan instead of running water down the drain to rinse. I haven't had a problem with it yet. But sometimes when I've got a huge pot to rinse, it simply won't fit in the dishpan. So, like today, I had to run the water quite a bit to get the pot rinsed out.

What I'm hoping is when we get back to our homestead, that we can somehow run a pipe from the kitchen and lead it into a barrel. So that all the water that normally goes down the drain can be used to water plants and such. I'm not worried about any soap in the water because I plan to use natural soap, not the petroleum based stuff I am stuck using now. I am just having a hard time finding something suitable.

Did I mention that Nick fixed the plumbing at our home in Missouri? He really is such a talented hubby. All those many jobs, that he was criticized for taking over the years has really paid off.

I used to buy Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds for laundry and I loved the way it cleaned. I think it can be used for dishes as well. I'll have to check on that. It comes concentrated and a little bit goes a long way. I just don't want to have to order it. I really miss shopping at Whole Foods. I'm hoping I can go there sometime when I'm up in Kansas City.

P.S. Dr. Bronner's sal suds it is! I just found out my information. It can be used on laundry, dishes, washing produce, and can be used as an all-purpose cleaner! I am so going to buy some real soon!

I have been using Dr. Bronner's sal suds for my laundry needs as well as an all purpose cleaner and I really like how well it works. The clothes come out smelling nice and they seem cleaner too. I've found that using it as a floor cleaner makes my floors really shine.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Poor Huck!

I took Huck out for a bathroom break tonight and he went over to see
the neighbor's dog, Jack. They normally get along together and the
neighbor's were out visiting. I was talking to them. Huck was playing
with Jack.

All of a sudden, Jack starting growling and Huck walked
away from Jack with his fur all ruffled up. I happened to look down at
him and when I did I saw a few drops of blood. I rushed over to him
and he was covered in blood. I didn't know what happened to him. I
carried him inside and saw his ear. Jack took a bite out of it! A
quarter size piece is now missing!

Nick ran to the farm store and got some quick stop powder and I gave it some light pressure. It finally
stopped bleeding. Huck seems pretty stressed out over the whole ordeal. It was my fault letting him go over there.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Huck and Sadie

Huck had another playdate today. I watched Sadie for my friend while she went to the doctor. It is so much fun to watch those two play. Sadie likes to herd Huck around. At one point, they were running around and Huck just started sliding across the side of their garage. Then he came to a stop and just laid there. As flat as I've ever seen him lay.

I wonder what was going through his mind. Sadie in the meantime, was pawing at him and howling. I suppose to try and get him to play more. Whatever Huck was trying to accomplish must not have worked because he took off running again. At one point, Huck started tugging on Sadie and Sadie turned around and slobbered on him. Then she sat on his head. It was so hilarious!

Huck thinks he's the fastest dog and normally is around Baby Boy and Cider, but with Sadie, she is just as fast as he is. He just runs all over the place trying to lose her, but there she is right up in his face. He was trying a few new dodges today, normally he runs in big long streaks, but today he was dodging in and out zig zagging all over the place. Now he is zonked out tired, sleeping in front of the fan. And I'm about to join him for a nap.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Huck and the harness

Huck and I went over to see a friend and her basset hound, Sadie. I've been taking Huck over there so he can get all his energy out. He loves going over there. They have a huge fenced in yard. They run and romp and have the time of their lives.

Before we left, my friend gave Huck a red paw printed harness. She had ordered it for Sadie and for whatever reason could not use it. I wasn't sure if it would fit him or not, but I was so thrilled. I've been meaning to get one for him but haven't yet. I don't like how collars alone strain Huck's neck.

Now, Huck's never worn a harness before, although I've put shirts on Huck for fun and to see what he'd do. He didn't know what to think of this new contraption. I think he figured I'd take it off, but to take him out for a walk in this thing!?!

The first time we went for a walk, we didn't get very far. Huck just sat there. I'd give him a tug and he'd take a step, and stop. Get tugged, step, stop.. over and over. It got quite annoying. He had the most funniest look on his face. Like get this thing off of me! Normally, when we go on walks, he's pulling me the whole way, unless I tell him to heel and he does nicely. So, we turned back around and headed home. I was about to give up.

But when we got home, I left it on him so he could get used to it and gave him a bunch of treats while it was on him. Actually, I had him do a couple of sit, stays and comes, so, he could get used to walking in it. The first few times, he sort of waddled. It was so funny!

Today when I took him out, he walked normally but really slow, which was nice for me, not being pulled all over the place. I hope that by tomorrow, he is more used to it. And the next day, and the next day and the next...

Whoever said people with pets live happier longer lives wasn't kidding. Who knew it was because they make you laugh so much!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Meet P.C.

Meet P.C.

He thinks he lives here. He actually lives next door, but I made the mistake of talking to him the other day and giving him a nice scratch. Now, whenever he sees me outside he comes running. He is the most vocal cat I know and quite loud too. He also loves to play with his owner's yellow lab, Baby Boy.

It is funny to watch them play and P.C. always tells Baby boy when it's time to quit. Sometimes, Huck will get right up in his face and try to play with him too, but P.C. will swat him away. Poor Huck, the other day P.C. just pounced on him and started swatting away, as if to get the swat attack over with. Huck just looked so bewildered. He is wary of him now when he trots over.

By the way, P.C. stands for Porch Cat. The neighbors named him that when he showed up at their house one day. The name fits. Only I think he's confused at which porch is his. On the way home from walking the dog, I saw him curled up on the other neighbor's side porch.

This is the biggest of my tomato plant. It doesn't get much bigger than this since it is a dwarf container tomato plant. It is already starting to produce the cutest little green cherry tomatoes. I can't wait to eat them. I only planted three to see how they would do. But I plan to grow tomatoes year round indoors. I may try other seed varieties. I just don't know yet. Since I have not gotten any furniture yet for my sun room, I may just turn it into a little greenhouse.

These are the other two plants. I've had some trouble with snails eating my tomatoes, and leaves, but plant to buy a copper barrier on Friday to prevent them from climbing up the pots. I thought snails ate bugs, but apparently, their favorite thing to eat is tomatoes and its leaves.

Anyone know of any other snail repellents, that are natural. I don't want any pesticides in the yard.

I've discovered the art of gathering weeds. I took some pictures of some yesterday to have my friends online tell me what they were. There was this one in particular that I "knew" was something, but didn't know what. Well, I was right, and it was just what I was hoping it would be. What you ask? You'll have to wait and see.

I plan to post more later about this wonderful weed.

Until next time,

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Our fun day and how to make yummy mint tea.

Today was a busy but fun day. I started out doing a couple loads of laundry. I wanted to get a head start before it got too hot. Then I made breakfast and Nick went and moved the camper onto the truck. We took it down to the state lake and had a picnic of sandwiches. It was so much fun! Then, when we got back, I took all the cushions out and vacuumed it from top to bottom. Scrubbed the counter tops and table. I can't wait to take it out camping.

Yesterday it was so hot. I think it was 100 degrees. Although it was hot, it wasn't unbearable. There is nothing like taking a cool soak in the tub. I wish I had thought of it yesterday, but it would have been a perfect day to make sun tea.

My friend Wini made some mint tea while we visited at her house once. It was delicious. I had to call her for directions. I knew I had made it with black tea in it before but couldn't remember the portions. But it didn't. What I remember doing was using loose leaf peppermint mixed with black tea. But anyways, what you do is use one tea bag of Bigelow Plantation Mint to make 2 quarts of tea.

The secret is to cool it down rapidly with ice. It really brings the flavor out of it. If you have an ice tea maker, Put the bags in there and press start. Otherwise, boil some water, 1 cup or so. when it is a rolling boil, then drop the tea bag in, turn the stove off, (don't boil it with the bag otherwise it will taste bitter) and let steep for 20 minutes. I was suprised at how delicious and rich it tasted, because the box of the tea says to steep for 1-2 minutes for 1 cup of tea. The end color is a light brown, which is just right because it is not 100% black tea.

Another thing good to do when it is so hot is to make a batch of egg noodles. They would surely dry in no time. My favorite thing to do is to set my table up near the window and let my bread rise. It rises in no time at all.

Tonight we are having sticky rice and chicken. We've been doing our cooking in the camper so as not to heat up the whole house. I was always scared to use a gas stove for cooking but it's rather nice. Instant heat. Our stove for in the house though will probably be electric since that is what we already have. Fine with me though, our summer kitchen in the camper works great!

Well, I'm off to do some mending...

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Tub Farming and more

Well, since we found out our landlord said we could have a garden,I put off planting all that I wanted in pots except for a few cherry tomatoes. I planted 11 seeds and they all came up. But I ran out of space in pots so I kept the three best ones. They are doing really good. I"ll add a picture of them later. I'm planning on planting more tomatoes and keep them indoors if I have to. The book that I read said that you could grow them year round indoors. You can also grow beets indoors. I'll have to give that a try. We love beets especially pickled ones!

If we don't get a chance to plant anything before summer's over, we are going to have a fall garden. Green beans for sure, squash too. We are wanting more vegetables that we can dehydrate, freeze or can. And a little that we can eat fresh like squash.

I'm going to try and have an herb garden here. There is a patch out front where there used to be a tree years ago. I'm hoping that I can get something to grow there. I plan to get some railroad ties for a border. I want to plant calendula, chamomile, comfrey, chickweed, mint. I know they all grow like crazy, so I'm thinking of having them in individual pots to keep them from spreading. Once they start growing, I don't think you'll be able to tell they are all in pots. If I don't put them in that spot, I may just have them on a plant rack somewhere.

Some other things I want to try this year: ferment vegetables and fruits, make sourdough bread, homemade yogurt, soaps and soy candles.

I'll add pictures of these projects as I go.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Embroidered Pillowcases

Napkin Pillows

Huck wanted to try the new pillows out.

Super simple crochet dish cloth pattern

Super simple crochet dish cloth pattern:

Chain as long as you want the dish cloth to be. I like to do about 25-30. Then crochet whatever size you want, whether it be sc, dc, or hdc. along each space. Chain appropriately and turn and go again. To get the nice ridge affect just poke hook into the back loop only. I made this years ago when I first learning to crochet. I did it by accident, but liked the way it turned out, so I kept doing it!

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

Getting ready for gardening

I went to Walmart yesterday and priced containers for my project this year. I also decided instead to focus on a few vegetables rather than tackle so many as I'd planned before.

I'm going to plant beets, cukes, green beans, and tomatoes- both regular sized and cherry. With the beets, I'm hoping for enough crop to can a few batches, since we love pickled beets so much, but I've found a couple store brands that taste pretty good. So, if I don't get much out of those exept fresh eating I'll be okay. The cukes- I'm planning on purchasing several pots and having one plant per pot. The book Tub Farming that I am reading says that an 8 inch pot is the smallest size recommended. That size seems too small but I'm going to start them in that size and maybe transplant them later to a bigger pot. I'm planning to make small batches of relish, and sweet pickles.
We bought some Dragon tongue heirloom beans, that I may try. I don't know too much about them whether you eat them shelled or whole. So, I'm going to buy some green beans.

Also, instead of buying special seeds for container growing, I'm going to try using the seeds I already have. I'm hoping they work, since I already spent the money on them and they are also heirlooms and open pollinated. Being able to save seeds is a big plus for me.

The tomatoes I plan to plant for fresh eating. I may if I get enough can a few small batches of salsa. But my favorite kind of salsa to make is a salsa mix, using herbs, peppers and a can of tomatoes. So, I may just opt for canning crushed tomatoes.

As far as container prices goes: the size I need for beets and green beans run anywhere between $2.23 to $8. I have decided to use plastic pots instead of clay so that they are not too heavy to move.

For the cucumbers the containers are $.88 each and those are the kind that have a saucer attached to the pot. They had some standard looking ones for $1.57 but you have to buy the saucer seperately. I was kind of suprised to see them (with saucers) there for less.

For the tomatoes, the prices run anywhere from $2.97 for the 12 inch, $3.97 for the 14 inch, $4.97 for the 15 inch and $8.44 for the 18 inch. The book recommends using a diameter size ranging from 12-18. That is for the regular size. The cherry tomatoes call for a 6 inch pot which costs $.97.

I was worried that the containers would cost too much, but I was pleased when I found out they weren't. I'm going to use Miracle Grow Potting Soil, rather than the walmart brand version> I tried it and didn't have any good results. I have had good luck with the Miracle Grow brand before.

I thought I'd use a swimming pool, the plastic kind for $10 for planting some things, but I'm not sure how well it would drain. I'm going to read more about it and maybe plant some things in one.

Like I said earlier, I plan to post some pictures so keep checking back if you want to know how this project is turning out.

Walmart sells kits for strawberries, tomatoes, cayenne pepper and bell peppers. There are a large variety of strawberry kits, some come with soil, seeds and are guaranteed to grow. Some come in pots, baskets, and hanging bags. I thought it would be fun to try and see if I couldn't get some strawberries growing. I'd probably stick with a kit, but may just buy some plants and a glazed ceramic strawberry pot. The hanging bag kit sounded cool, but I have no place to hang one.

The tomatoes and pepper kits are also guaranteed to grow, but are they guaranteed to produce anything, I wonder? I will probably pass on the kits for these and just start it myself with seeds. Most people plant tomato plants rather than wait for the seeds to come up, but we got lovely results with our tomatoes last year and we used seeds.

I would love to find a blueberry plant that I can grow in a container and I found a company that sells some. They sent me a $25 gift certificate for free stuff with no obligation to buy. I may just have to do that.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Garden Approval

Our landlord said we can put in a garden! I am soooo excited!!!!! We didn't think she'd go for it at first, (digging a big hole in the yard) but she is more down to earth than all our other landlords. Nick called her yesterday and asked and by the time he got off the phone I was jumping for joy all over the house.

Nick mowed the yard yesterday and it looks great! It was getting to be quite a jungle there, with all the weeds and wild onions (i think) sprouting up all over the place. I've got to go and sweep all the sidewalks now, because it's a mess. The weather is so nice outside today, I don't mind a bit.

Been cleaning out the camper this past week. Arranging our dishes in the cupboards and laying down new shelf paper. We got these pretty blue enamel ware dishes for christmas. We were using them in the house at first, but since most of our cooking is through the microwave, we were unable to use the plates. (for the time being) I wanted to buy a set for the camper and figured why not use them in there for now. They fit perfect and are great!

We are not planning on getting the same kind though for our next batch however. Would you believe the stainless steel rim around the cups edges catch on Nick's moustache everytime. Ouch!

Last year we bought some heirloom seeds for our garden when we thought we were going to be back in Milo. We bought watermelon, carrots, beets, bush beans, and I think peas. But then when we found out we were going to stick it out here a little while longer, I was going to buy all new seeds that grew well in containers.

Now that we are going to have a real garden, (i'm so glad I hadn't bought all the containers and potting soil) we are going to focus on green beans, cukes, and tomatoes. We like them because they produce alot and keep producing. Although, I may grow a few beets after all in a pot, because I was wanting to pickle a few and try tender beet greens. The beets you buy in the store are not what I was thinking. They are huge, tough and woody. They are best eaten only a few diameters wide.

The difference between last years garden and this years is that we are going to be growing them vertically. ( pole beans, cukes) Getting better tomato cages than last year. I think we are going to do rows, instead of squares, but I don't think Nick's decided for sure yet.

I am so glad Nick is going to be taking care of the garden this year. He did an awesome job last year.

I bought a tiny tim tomato kit the other day at Walmart, before I realized we were going to have a garden. I think I'll see if I can transplant them straight into the garden instead of buying a larger pot.

His grandma gave us two nice sized pots which I think will be perfect for my herb and mint garden.

I am so excited about our garden!!!!!

Cell phone zippered pouches

Last week a friend asked me to sew her a cell phone holder that she wanted to give to a friend. So I took out my supplies and started to d...