Friday, March 30, 2012

This is sooooo cool! But then I am easily amused

Wow!  I didn't realize I had been away so long.  This time of year is kinda crazy at my house.  I have a long to do list that seems to get longer and longer.  My peach trees have baby peaches, my apple trees have blossoms, and I have planted in my garden: English peas, potatoes, tomato plants(60 of them), jalapeno pepper, sweet bell pepper, broccoli, lettuce,onions and spinach. Veggies still to plant are: corn, peanuts, green beans, lima beans, navy beans, and pinto beans.  Herbs I have planted are cilantro and parsley.  Herbs to plants are Thyme, Oregano, and Mint.  Thyme, Oregano and Mint are perennials and so once they are planted, all I will have to do is split them periodically.  The thyme and Oregano are also herbs that do double duty.  They are both for cooking and medicinal purposes.  For example Thyme is often used in cough medicine and has good antibacterial properties.  Oregano aids in digestion, and stimulates a weak appetite.  One herb I already have on hand is Lemon Balm.  It is also a perennial.  It has a wonderful lemony scent that seriously I will just go and smell it.  It is awesome.  It also has medicinal purposes such as: being a gentle sedative, stimulates the heart, can help dispel a headache or migraine.  In the summer(by the way this is the cool part) I make sun tea which I personally believe is far better tasting than brewed tea(just sayin).  Yesterday I put a few springs of lemon balm in my sun tea as it was steeping in the sun.  What I ended up with was an awesome tasting tea with just a hint of lemon.  Pretty nice when you think of  the cost for lemon juice.  See I told you I was easily amused.  You were warned.  For those of you of the bee keeping nature, Lemon Balm is also attractive to bees.  They love the little flowers.  I use it, along with marigolds to attract bees to my garden .
Today Rubic and I are off to a fair sort of thing that will illustrate forging weapons, displays of their use, etc.  It is in Blairsville.  So a bit far to go, but he is interested in that sort of thing.    Speaking of such we need to hi tail it out of here and I still need to get a shower.  Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


So how is everyone?  Things are fine here for the most part.  There are always the things that can cause worry, frustration, etc, but we are also aware that we are blessed beyond measure.  My worries of the day don't hold a candle to those things others go through.
As always my to do list is a mile long and added to daily.  I like it though.  It keeps me busy and I like that.  Ahh for the days long ago when I was a teenie bopper and spent my days in my room usually reading something. I would go through a book a day almost.  Now to read for pleasure takes a couple of weeks.  In fact I have some over due library books.  Not good.  I should just by the books used and give myself time to read them.  Also I tend to spend time reading books on things like basic skills, gardening, cookbooks, etc. Some of my favorite books are Readers Digest "Back to Basics", "The More with Less Cookbook", Rodale's "Home Food Systems", and "Tomatoes love carrots".
It is a beautiful day in my neck of the woods.  Sunny with highs in the upper 70's.  My peas, onions, and lettuce are peeking out which pleases me greatly.  My tomato plants are growing bigger by the day.  I would put them in the ground now if I could, but I am nervous we might have another cold zap.  So they stay on my deck growing free of the garden til I feel comfortable planting them officially.  This is the first year I have had great success with my plants from seed.  Part of the reason for that success is a blessing by my daughter last week.  She had a pile of Terra Cotta  flower pots in a pile in her yard.  They were from a previous tenant.  A good many of them were broken, but a good many weren't.  It is kinda sad to see how someone didn't take care of their stuff. But then again I was probably the same way when I was younger. Terra Cotta pots are a good investment, and I hate to see them go to waste.  Anyway, my dd said I could have them and so I picked out the good ones brought them home and here is what I got
Pay no attention to my messy kitchen.  It was early morning and I hadn't gotten my day started yet. (smile)

Today's plan is to work on stripping, sanding and re-staining the deck floor of my back deck.  Once that is done we are planning on getting some good quality lattice and lattice caps to build panels to block the sun from coming in our sliding glass door.  That direct sunlight generates a lot of heat in these Ga summers.  Rubic will be helping me.  He is having a light day of home school today mainly due to the fact that he has already completed history for the year.  Now it is time to help mama.  I am really looking forward to getting the deck spruced up.  I really want to be able to use the deck a lot this year.  I love sitting out there and looking at the garden and fruit frees.  Yes I do sometimes just sit.  Usually when my Dh comes home.  I just try to be busy during the day.  If he is working away from home I can at least work at home.  That is the way it should be.
My latest project for rainy days is this piece of furniture:
I was my dad's dresser when he was a boy.  The mirror that matches isn't in this picture, but I do have it.  My fear is that I won't be able to stain this piece.  That was my main desire, but there are places here over the years the wood was bumped or otherwise distressed and the old paint is down in the bump or scratch.  I have sanded and sanded but it doesn't want to come out.  I also tried to use paint remover, but I guess it can't reach it.  Very frustrating, but even painted I believe it will be a beautiful piece. Anyway, this is the before pic and I will definitely post the after.
So I guess if I am going to accomplish anything I need to get to work.  Hope everyone has a great day!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Rainy days are made for beds and coffee

Totally raining today and I want nothing more than to climb in bed with a cup of coffee and do nothing except maybe nap or read my latest Ted Dekker book.  Can't do that ...yet.  I need to do laundry, clean my bathroom, make bread, hamburger buns, and pizza(for tonight's dinner).  My poor little tomato plants are freaking out.  I left them out last night in the rain on purpose cause I figured the rain would be beneficial and I felt they had hardened off well.  Weeeeelll not so sure about that one.  I brought them in about 5 am cause they were laying over a bit.  Not too bad, what do you think?  Have I done them in?
I have to say this pic was taken this morning and as of the writing of this blog entry @ 3 p.m they have perked up a considerable bit.  But!  Look at this pic of my baby jalapeno pepper plants.  They didn't seem to mind the weather at all!
Sorry, the pic is a little blurry.  I was in a hurry to get the pic done so I could get to other house work that was calling my name.
I have to say I am pleased with my progress so far garden wise.  I managed to get the yard cleaned up in the back and my Dh and my two Ds will be taking a load to the landfill tomorrow.  I have gotten beets, broccoli, onions, English peas, sugar snap peas, spinach and lettuce in the ground and they seem to be doing Okay.  My peach trees and blueberry bushes managed to survive the cold snap, but only because God saw fit to keep the temp above freezing.  Thank you Lord.
On another front I want to show you what I did with an old t shirt.  Now you have to understand that my crocheting abilities leave a lot to be desired, but here it is.(See above pic).  This used to be a t shirt and now it is a hot pad/pot holder for in my kitchen.  Next time I take down a worn out t shirt I will put in a how to pic.  At least I didn't throw it away.  Instead I have made it to be useful again.  Yay.  Although I can't take credit for this idea.  I got it from another blog.  I can't remember the name of the top of my head so I will post it for those interested next time.
So tomorrow is my weekend of work(for pay).  I hope every ones gardens or what ever you put your hand to is doing well.  Have a great weekend.

Friday, March 2, 2012

How to's on bread making w pics!

I will be the first to tell you I am no expert on bread making.  Over the years I have gotten "my hand" at bread making.  Which means I can now make it and it is good for sandwich bread.  Before it was good for toast, now I can use it whenever I need in.  In fact my youngest son prefers my bread to store bought(smile).  Some resources that helped me over the way are my sister, the "more with less cookbook", and  I have read many articles as well, but I can't remember them.  I will be able to impart to those of you interested, what I have learned so that maybe your first loaf of bread will also be good for sandwiches and not just toast(although the toast was awesome).  Here is my recipe for "wheat bread".

Wheat bread(1/2 white 1/2 wheat flour)

2 cups slightly warm water(about 105 degrees)
1 TBS yeast
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup olive oil(or oil of your choice)
2 tsp salt
5-6 cups of flour(1/2 and 1/2 or whatever you want)

 First of all you take your 2 cups of slightly warm water and your brown sugar and mix them together well.  It should look like the above pic.  Then sprinkle the yeast over the top of the water/sugar mixture.  The yeast will begin to foam a little like the pic below.
 Once the yeast foams well you can add your oil and salt.  Notice I added the oil first then I put the salt inside the blob of oil.  I personally like to keep the salt separate from the yeast until I begin to mix everything.
 Now add 2 cups of whole wheat flour or all purpose if you are making all white bread.  Mix it well with a whisk if you have it or a good spoon.  Then add another cup of all purpose flour and stir it in with a spoon.  If you were using a whisk, you need to switch totally to a spoon now or you end up with dough stuck in the whisk everywhere.
 Add another cup of all purpose flour.  You should be up to 4 cups of flour in the bowl.  Your dough should start to look like the pic below.
 Fill up your measuring cup again with another cup of flour.  Stir in as much as you can with a spoon and then dump it out onto the counter.  Now you are going to only use enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands as you knead the dough.  Just sprinkle some on top.
 You will knead the dough by pushing the dough forward with the palms of your hands.  Turn it a little, fold it back towards you and push forward again.  If the dough gets sticky(and it will) add a little more flour.  You do not want to add too much flour.  I will set my kitchen timer for 12-15 minutes and knead no more than that.  Kneading activates the gluten in the bread.  You want to knead the dough until you start to see the dough tear a little.  You will also be able to test the dough by poking it with a floured finger.  If it bounces back well it is good to go.
 Place your dough into a greased bowl.  I use the bowl I mixed the dough in cause I hate to wash a lot of dishes.  Lol.  Turn it a bit to get a coating of oil/grease then cover it.  I use a plate to cover mine cause I don't want to use plastic wrap that I have to throw away.  Waste not! Let the dough rise only about 25-30 min.  No more or your bread will be dry and crumbly.
 When your dough is finished with its first rising, take it out, punch it down and knead it a bit more til it starts to feel "tight" again.  You know like it will tear again.  Cut the dough in half.  I usually cut mine unevenly cause I have a smaller loaf pan and a larger loaf pan.  So your eyes are not deceiving you.  Shape into loaves.  They don't have to be perfect.  Just tuck the ends underneath until it looks loaf like.  
 Cover your loaves and let them rise in a warm place until about 1 inch over the top of the pan. Again I used a wet cloth napkin to avoid plastic wrap.
 The pic below show what the risen dough should look like in the pan. Before you bake them.  I put my loaves into a cool oven while the oven preheats to help the loaves rise a little more.  bake in a 350 oven for about 15-20 min.
 When the bread comes out of the oven and while it is still hot, take a stick of butter or margarine and rub it over the top of the loaves.
 Then cover the loaves with a clean napkin or towel while they cool. Really don't want plastic here.  Let them cool about 10 min then remove them from their loaf pans and let them cool on a wire rack until completely cool.  Then put into a gallon size storage bag or other storage container.