About Me

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Within the confines of this blog, you will find bits and pieces of the life and times of myself, my family and friend dear and near., far and wide, few and far between. You will find bits and pieces of my world, tho small to some, but huge to me. You will find everything from 'soup to nuts',; recipes, hobbies,crafts, gardenings,loves of my life, GrandLoves-a-Plenty, and even my pets... Sooo, if you can handle family life, enjoy the tour of my 'Stuffings'.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tomato, Toma'to, Potato, Pota'to

Tomato, toma'to, potato, pota'to, 
no matter how you say it, it tastes good and
if you grow them, they need to be tended.
That, my friends, is tons of work.
 We have been eating tomatoes on sandwiches, in soups, as a quick snack, as a bruchetta topping, fresh and thinly sliced on homemade pizza, in stews and sauces until our mouths suffer from their acidic sting.  It has been heaven.  We love tomatoes. 

This late morning, I started a batch of homemade spaghetti sauce.  I started out with 15 lbs. of tomatoes, stems gutted, peelings left on, and quartered.  These were blended a batch at a time, with garlic, basil, oregano and parsley, until it filled a large, heavy kettle.  I started out with 25 cups of base.  Salt and lemon juice were added just at the end before jarring.
 The above picture is when the sauce was cooked down about a quarter of the way....at least 4 hrs., whereas, the next photo is the sauce at the half-way point, now into  8 hour  of slow simmering until, finally, by 10 p.m., ( that's ll hrs. total cooking time ) to accomplish~~~~   
 This beautiful, rich, thick, tomato based, heavily herbed
                                        Spaghetti Sauce.  I, of course, will use it just about, .............everywhere from pasta to soups to 
                           Pigs In A Blankets.  Yummmmm
 You're seeing correct, only 3 1/2 quarts of this treat.  Now I remember why I don't do this anymore.  
Note to self:  Do NOT make Catsup!  It takes again as long and again as many tomatoes to yield the same amount.    I'm just saying.  Along with good tastes comes great effort.  Hmmm, I wonder if I could get paid for all the ' domestic engineering ' I do around here.  Aw shucks, a thank you for a good meal in the bellies around here, has worked for years.
Now, about those pota'toes.  They are growing nicely, finally catching up with the warm week we have had.  The yellows are Yukon Gems and the purple are the Viking Purples.  Both are mighty tasty.  Buttery gems and snow white vikings.  Quick to cook and gone in a flash once they hit the table.  What more do I want.
Not one, but two batches of Basil were dehydrated today.  The herb jars are filling up.  We do use a lot of basil and we aren't even Italian.  That is an Italian herb, isn't it.  Ever since I first tasted it when I lived on the east coast many moons ago, I have been hooked.   I'm sure glad the family loves it, as well.
That's it for tonight.  It's way past this queen's bedtime.  
Now, to check under the mattress for peas....oh, that was the princess.  She gets everything perfectly served...

Thanks for stopping by.
BlessYa and Sleeeeeep, My Sweet Prince, ooooo aaaaaa

Monday, August 27, 2012

It's Falling

Fall is definitely on it's way.  Besides the GrandLoves getting primed for the first days of school, their pumpkins are beginning to ripen.  Grandpa didn't think there would be enough to go around, ( we do have 11 GrandLoves plus 2 more were added over the summer. )   I do think we will have enough.
 There are all kinds from,
bumpy orange, lumpy cream,
smooth ones of all the fall colors.
Big ones, little tykes too.  It just does not matter, for they all are 
' just right.'
 We do have a problem, however, so we hired a ' scout '
to be a look-out for bears.  It seems they have been testing the pumpkins for ripeness...
 This is not just a smiling  pumpkin,
that smile is made of tooth marks.    
What do you think made that smile so perfect?
 Off the subject of pumpkins,

remember all of the onions we worked on yesterday~~~
well, a bag of them were beginning to spoil from wet ground or they were split from rapid growth.  Nothing goes to waste around here, so first the dehydrator trays were filled for dried onions.
I cannot explain how wonderful they smelled while drying. 

 It reminded me of French Onion Soup, so
of course, guess what we had for lunch?
It was wonderful!

To top it off, there were a couple slices of leftover Zucchini Parmesan Bread that I toasted and melted more fresh Parmesan and a slice of Provolone on top, floated it on top of the hot soup, and my, oh my, we went to heaven!
I don't mind cooking a fine meal 
but I especially do not mind eating one.
What did you have to eat today that made you smile?

Thanks for stopping by and

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Waning Harvest

First, let me thank you for your concern and prayers.  My hand is  healing and I'm able to type again, no more ' one finger dar,  ' so I'm Baaaaack!  

Let's begin where we left off...harvesting the garden.
We have already made a first batch of Saurkraut a few weeks ago.

 These 7 cabbages weighed in at a total of 66.75 lbs. of bounty.  This 10 pounder was one of the smaller ones, but prettier :).  I think it would have taken a blue ribbon at the fair.
 Five of the seven were used in the second batch of kraut, filling a 6 gallon Redwing Crock and half a 5 gallon bucket.
I could not believe I could only get 3 heads in an average laundry basket as I cleaned them.  They were huge and heavy.
 Once again, we are handing down tradition, teaching one of the Grandsons how to ' stomp.'  Grandpa told him to wash his feet so he Did think he was going to be ' stomping ' the old fashioned way.  We love his curiosity and desire to learn.
 This sure juiced up nice.  It looks like it's going to be another stellar  ' kraut ' performance.
 We've been very happy with the cabbage growth this year.  It has produced some large, solid, jjjjuicy heads.
 The first batch yielded 23 pints.  One did not seal so is in the fridg for first use, and another was sent home with a neighbor, when he said, " Oh, I see you're making saurkraut. "  Of course, I gave him a taste.
 The onions have been drying off in the garage on an iron grate.  Bill picked the ones in his garden ( those with the greens on them yet ) a bit too soon, but they were beginning to spoil with the damp ground.  
 We spent some time today, rubbing the outer dirt and skins off, cutting the dried tops off, and bagging them.  What you see here is about 45-50 lbs. of beautiful yellow onions.
 The onions will hang in the garage until it freezes.  It will give them time to dry a bit more, and loose some of their strong smell.
Some of these are so strong, they make your eyes water just walking past them, but they sure are tasty.
 How about these for some collassal veggies!
The tomatoes are ripening beautifully.  They are so large, firm and not a blemish.  I love a tomato slice that is big enough to cover a slice of bread, or my hand.  Now, that's a tomato!
 This celery that came directly out of my very own garden is amazing.  It stands tall in my high-backed patio chair, just to show you how well it grew.  
I grow the celery with a 2-liter pop bottle around it with the top and bottom cut off.  It keeps the stalk clean from the dirt splashing up on it during rains.  The bottle also keeps the stalk from toppling over during growth, and keeps the ribs lighter.
The flavor is more intense, so I mainly use mine in soups, stews and as flavoring in salsas and relish.  Personally, I don't mind an intense flavor, so Ants On A Log, ( peanut butter topped with raisins on a celery rib ), suits me fine.
Thanks for stopping by and staying a bit interested.  It makes my day.  I love reading your entries in return.  It's amazing what we learn from one another.  What a wonderful thing.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Burned Out

bountiful harvest
It's been a rough couple of days, so
I will be taking a break from commenting.
I will still be reading your entries each day.
I had a lil' accident, receiving a hot
oil burn while making the best 
Potato Pancakes.

Stay safe and be careful cooking with hot oils.

Monday, August 20, 2012

More Storage

You remember the sawmill? and all the lumber we hauled home from two logs from one tree?  Well,  Bill has been busy ever since.  As I mentioned in the last entry, we made use of blown down trees  rather than letting nature rot them away.  
First, Bill made half a dozen rafters.  

 The same blowdown blew away our storage building we had on the slab where the new project was to take place.
 Wall one and two were up in no time.
 He is waiting for his son to arrive to help with the next one.
 Lift, lift~~~

 O.K. Stac, hold it right there while Dad secures the wall.
 Rafters in place, boards to nail roofing to...
 Awww. finally, one side  nearly finished.
 Thinking of the next move, and
 away he goes again, up and down, up and down, 
on and off that ladder and the scaffolding.  No wonder his legs hurt each night.  ( Good thing he loves bananas! )
 One side with new roofing, the other with re-purposed.  There is never room for waste.  If it can be used, he uses it.  The roof of the blown down building was single pitched, so the new building needed twice the metal.  So, since the old tin was perfectly fine, it was used on one side, the other, new.  Made sense to us.
 The siding is also of Hemlock lumber, first boards hung vertically, and then
 strips covering the seams.  It looks great and will look even better when it's sealed.
 Even in the fog of a 6 a.m. morning, Bill is out there determined to finish the gable ends before the forecast rain.  Yes, he finished before coming in for a coffee break or getting wet.
 There were a few holes that needed caulking from pulling nails out of the used tin, but everything is sealed up tight.  Not a drop of rain got through.
 Same building, taken in the late evening rather than day, but it's looking great.  He still plans to put a sliding door on his little storage shed which measures the size of the slab that was left behind from the prior building.  It's 12x25 and suits him just fine for some of his equipment...who knows what!  Maybe his little blue tractor, his fishing boat, or maybe the 
4-wheeler and trailer....I never know.
One thing is for certain, I am happy that he's happy.   Hmmm'
I wonder if he will finally start on that 32 yr. old Honey-Do List I gave him when he retired from his day job :)  Maybe if I do Not mention it again~~~

Thanks for stopping and do come again

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Late last fall, we had a blowdown.  
Unfortunately, it took with it, many of our mature trees,  to the ground.  Rather than let nature rot them, we put them to good use.  This first tree, a basically healthy Hemlock, was 137 yrs. young, still solid except at ground level, where it was beginning its natural decay.  This also led to its demise with the help of the strong winds.
 The butt end measured a bit over 37 inches.
 Another of the 42 we lost, ( just counting the ones we could count from the trails ) was 130 yrs. old.  You can count the rings on the saw end and it will tell you so much about the growth of the tree.  Not only it's age, but when the growing year was dry, wet, if there was a forest fire where it grew, insect damage, etc.
 But, on with what we did with some of logs.
What had not been cut into firewood, has been cut into lumber.
We are fortunate to have Bill's brother Pat just down the road a piece.  The boys built this sawmill themselves years ago, so if you'd find this interesting, come along for the tour.
The boys made lumber of only two 8 ft. logs this time.
First, the huge logs are loaded on a bunk like the one below with a jammer, also made by the boys. ( In the white hat is one of our sons, helping and learning the operation for the first time. )  Once the log is rolled onto the saw rack, a 2 man job,  
 adjustments are made to place the log just right for its first cut.
 Bit by bit, to waste as little of the useful wood as possible, one click at a time, until
 oops, still making changes...
 Imagine what it took to make this monstrosity.   The building must measure at least 40 ft. long,  just to hold the mill.
 The wall behind the working end, is full of charts and measures to make the right cuts for the right size board.
 Click, buzzzzzzzzzzz, careful, 
 finally ready for the first cut with that serious unguarded  blade.  ( Yes, another project in the making. )
 There are always kinks to work out, like this pinched blade on the very first pass of that monster log.
The blade measures 54 inches and as you can see, or not, the blade just barely is visible as it passes through the first slab.
 Phew, the first slab is off,
unloaded from the roller, and in the  scrap trailer.
 All heavy work, the log is rolled to it's first flat side awaiting the next side off.
 Two sides down, two to go.  This is by no means, an exact science as a home made mill, but it serves its purpose well enough for our needs.  It seems there is a lot of waste, but we do not want a terrible lot of bark on our lumber.  Leaving it on is just an open invitation for insect parties.  Besides, we waste nothing, as I'll explain later.
 Roll it boys, then bump it out to waste little as possible.
 Now, that is one beautiful 2x24" board.  You'd think we'd leave it that way.  We, however will be cutting this beauty way down.
 There is one major imperfection, a crack, so on to the next decision....
 As the brothers ponder,
 I'm still begging them to leave this board for me...
Bill tells me that there are lots more where this one came from...grrrrr., 
 so on with stacking several of them, 
measuring, marking, clamping, and.......
 bzzzzzzzzzzzzz, cutting 2x4's and 2x6's and 1x6's
 cut, load, cut, load, cut, load
 The scraps or Slab Wood, is loaded onto another trailer.  These pieces are used for kindling mostly, but I see Tree House Siding, don't you?
 As you can imagine, there are tons of sawdust from all the cutting going on.  The sawdust elevates up to
 another trailer where it empties.  From there it is used for cattle and chicken bedding, garden paths, compost and mulch.  Like I said, nothing goes to waste.
 This entire operation, from cutting to sawdust, is run off the hydrolics of Pat's tractor outside of the window.
 A whole lot of backbone goes into such work.  It's why men are made to handle the heavy-duty lifting, so I've been told.  
And now?    Loaded and going home.
So, now what's my man up to?..............to be continued.....
As I'm eternally grateful,
Thanks for making time in your busy day to stop by.