Friday, August 10, 2012

An Award !! award? Me? Shucks....

Many thanks to Jacqueline of Blether fame for it. Oh? It comes with rules? Oh...
Here are the rules as she explained them:

1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you.
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Create 11 questions for the people you've tagged to answer.
                                            5. Go to their page and tell them.
                                            6. Remember, no tag backs!

Here are the questions she has given for me to answer:

1. Why?
Why not? Ok, seriously, to grow into a better person. I hope.

2. You have the power! The superpower! What power is it?
The ability to tell when others are lying.

3. Are you Clark Kent, Magneto, or Wesley from The Princess Bride? Or are you Lois Lane, Cat Woman, or Princess Buttercup?
Cat Woman. Slightly unbalanced, but in an interesting way.

4. You dream of the past, I know you do, what would be your perfect era?
Hmm. Toughie. Either steampunk (beginning of the tech age) or the 1800's.
Both are fascinating.

5. What have you listened to most recently?
Birds, squirrels and my family.

6. In what medium do you best express yourself?
The written word.

7. For 24 hours you may change the world to suit yourself; in what way would you change it?
I would do away with war, killing, poverty and hunger. Everyone would have a home, food and basic needs. Oh, and a job if they wanted it.

8. What comforts you?
Love, a peaceful home, a warm blanket and smiles.

9. You are locked inside a white room, do you try to escape or do you grab crayons and/or paint and use the room as a blank canvas?
I'll take crayons, markers, paint, anything that will allow me to color that room.

10. How difficult is it for you to say no?

11. You are at peace with yourself; how do you show others how to achieve that peace?
By appealing to their sense of maturity, logic and teaching them how to tune out our "inner babble"

So now it's my turn to nominate some of my favorite bloggers. No tagbacks, damn.

Stephanie the Yarn Harlot
Paula, from Weeding For Godot
CD at Canadian Doomer
Liz at Darwin Hills Farm
Gaye at Backdoor Survival
CallieK at Backyard Farms
FarmGal at Just Another Day On The Farm
Jarhead Survivor, RangerMan and Calamity Jane over at SHTF Blog
Todd at the Prepper Website
Bernie at The Apartment Prepper
BadVoodoo at The Retreat

Now to try and provide questions for all you fine folks, no promise there'll be 11 though.

1) What prompted you to start and maintain a blog?
2) What makes you smile?
3) What is your favorite season of the year?
4) Zombies are coming! What's the first thing you do?
5) Are you a tea or coffee kind of person?
6) What hobbies do you have, if any?
7) Do you watch television or read books predominantly?
8) Would you classify yourself as a deep thinker?
9) If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
10) What do you think is the healthiest habit one can have?
11) If society were to go BOOM tomorrow, what would you miss the most?

Hmm, that was easier than I thought.
Back to the outdoor chores!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Productivity and A Spring

Today was a busy day for me. Today's highlight was burning some of the brush that the boys helped me cut down over the past week.

Of course, every time I added a branch, the wind would pick up. So I took it slow and got a little brush burned, as well as a few more boxes. So over the course of the day I got 6 boxes unpacked, burned a few as well as the aforementioned brush, sorted and repacked two boxes of kitchen stuff which then went out to the shed.

Got some things sorted out in our bedroom as well as a couple of things hung up. Checked on my meager growing things, and I'm happy to report the pumpkin is still growing.

We all took a ride out to the spring this afternoon where Betty took some pictures, which I then put up on Facebook, and will be sharing over time, with you all here.

That spring water sure is cold, but man is it good! It's great to wash one's hair in too!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

A Lesson From Five Acres and Independence

This is interesting advice from a book written in 1935, "Five Acres And Independence" by M.G. Kains, B.S.,M.S., on how to tell if your soil is poor or healthy just by looking at what trees and weeds grow on it.

"Beech, sugar maple, hickory, black walnut and white oak trees of large size and positive thriftiness indicate rich land; white pine, scrub oak and scrawny trees of most species are typical of poor land; extra thrifty willows, poplars and alder and elder bushes suggest too much water and probable need of drainage.
Weeds however, are more often telltales than are trees and bushes because they follow cultivation, whereas large trees precede it. It is not necessary to identify species, although this is desirable. What does count is the character of growth made by the weeds actually present. Lush, sturdy very dark green, leafy growths indicate that the plants are well-fed, especially with nitrogenous compounds, but if the growth is pale, sickly colored, scrawny and apparently eking out a miserable existence the land is certainly not rich."

He continues by saying,
"Ox-eye daisy, wild carrot and mullein in abundance and poorly developed indicate lack of humus as well as fertility and prove that the land has been badly mismanaged, for these plants cannot stand neither rich soil or rational tillage."

For me, this was both interesting and disappointing.
Guess what's in the backyard where I want to grow?
Mullein, scrubby trees, pale stringy weeds and moss.

I have a lot of work ahead of me.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Chevy's Icicle Pickles

I'm pleased and proud as punch to report that we spent a bit of the morning canning! We've now got eight jars of Chevy's Icicle Pickles. So far, they've all set as they should (I love hearing those lids ping!) and they should taste delicious if the last batch made with this recipe is any indicator! Yes, that's them to the left.
Here's the recipe.

Makes 5 500 ml jars

Approx. 12 pickling cucumbers
6 med size onions, sliced and cut into pieces. OPTIONAL

Pickling liquid:
3 cups granulated sugar
4 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup pickling salt
5 cloves garlic
5-6 heads fresh dill or 10 tsp. dill seed

* Fill boiling water canner with water. Place 5 clean pint (500 ml) mason jars in canner over high heat.

* Wash cucumbers. Remove blossom ends, at least 1/16th of an inch of all cucumbers. Cut the cucumbers into 1/4" spears, set aside.

* Place Snap Lids into boiling water, boil 5 minutes to soften sealing compound.

* Combine sugar, vinegar, water and pickling salt in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan, bring to a boil. At this time, you may wish to add onion pieces.

* Place 1 clove garlic and 1 head fresh dill (or 2 tsp. dill seed in a hot jar. Pack cucumber and onion (if desired) to within 3/4' of the top rim. Add pickling liquid to cover cucumbers to within 1/2" of top rim. Remove air bubbles by sliding a rubber spatula between glass and food, readjust head space to 1/2". Wipe jar with a clean, damp cloth, removing any stickiness. Center Snap Lid on jar, apply screw ring/band just until fingertip tight. Place jar in canner. Repeat for remaining cucumbers, onions, garlic, dill and pickling liquid.

* Cover canner, return water to a boil, let boil for 15 minutes. Remove jars and let cool. Check jar seals after cooling. Sealed lids curve inward and should not bounce back when pressed lightly. Wipe jars, label with contents and date, and store in a cool, dark place.


Well talk about frustration! I had started a handful of lettuce seeds last week, they sprouted fine and so they went in the cold frame where I harvested the beets. I had been checking on them every day. Yesterday there were four sprouts left and this morning there is only one. One! I have no clear suspect, but I know it's none of the rabbits, they can't get into it. Our first suspect of the day is the resident chipmunk. The cold frame is built with 2X4's, so we're wondering if he's been climbing down those and into the frame. All of my onions seedlings are gone too. Do chipmunks eat lettuce and onions?
Clearly, I'll need to start again and start making wire sides for the garden beds that are already here.
Little punks... First squirrels now chipmunks!
Good thing he's cute...