Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer time on the Beckner Homestead (Pics)

So finally I have arrived at the time of year where my garden, and everything else is in full swing.  Should you ever walk outside in my back yard, the following is what will greet you...
( I should say up front "Thank you Babe!" cause DH fought with the digital camera to get these to down load.)

This is a "Sun Parasol".  I have been waiting all summer for it to finally bloom.  I would say worth it.

The blueberries are coming in.  I am up to 8 lbs so far.  That is a round up cause I have weighed 7.5 lbs andeaten at least another 1/2 lb while picking and or working out in the backyard.  I can feel those wonderful antioxidants coursing thru my veins.

This is the upper half of my garden.  I had to take it in two shots cause it wouldn't fit in the camera.  Here is the second half.  This includes my concrete raised beds.

The front bed is my herb bed and also holds my yellow squash plants as well.  Each opening in the cinder blocks holds either beets, marigolds, or lima beans (the beans are new additions).  The front right bed holds more lima beans and cucumbers as well as volunteer peanut plants.  The back left bed hold sweet potatoes (new), lima beans(new) and beets.  The back right bed holds marigolds, tomatoes, and volunteer peanut plants. 

No pic blog post would be complete without some shots of the ladies.  So now that I have shared these pics, lookie what I picked today.  This is what about 15 lbs of produce looks like

So that is that.  Thanks for lookin!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Coop is finished! finally!

I can finally say I am raising chickens.  I still can't believe it.  Tee Hee!  So the saga of my chicken coop goes like this......

First of all I will go ahead and post a pic so you can see what I done did!

You can't see the roof of the coop in this pic.  The actual coop used to be my neighbors dog house, originally built for a bull mastiff (Big Doggie).  Because of the size of the dog house, I was able to convert it fairly easy to a chicken coop big enough to house 4 little ladies.  The original sides of the dog house were ripped off because they were rotting, but the frame was solid.  The roof is also in great shape.  We just had to get it to our house.  Enter my strapping young teenage sons and a lawn cart, and we managed to get it home.  The wood you see for the walls of the coop were actually left from a previous home improvement project.  Aside from the hinges, some PVC, and the poultry netting, everything was scrounged.  If you look to the right of the chicken coop door, you will see what looks like black PVC.  That is actually an old broken broom handle.  It was the correct size and I was short a bit of PVC.  It works! 

If you look along the back of the coop, you can see there are hinges along the middle part of the wall.  This will allow me to let down the wall and collect eggs or put in food and/or water.  You can see the ladies in the run.  They seem to be making themselves right at home.

And here are the ladies.  They are named Meg, Amy, Jo and Beth after the novel "The Little Women".  The coop has been aptly named "The Orchard House" also after the novel.  The Larger of the golden chicken (Far left) is Jo.  She was the first one brave enough to jump out of the coop and into run.  The tiny golden chick (far right) is Amy.  This one is pretty and little, but wants and believes everything should be hers.  She wants the finer things in life.  I haven't decided yet on who Beth and Meg are, but I will get there. 

So those are my ladies and that is my latest endeavor.  What ya think?

Friday, June 21, 2013

For those with restless legs. Something to think about

For three years I managed to go without any artificial sweeteners and still managed to lose a little weight.  Through the past year I have managed to maintain that loss without following any other plan but one of eating non processed, whole grain foods.  Now, don't get me wrong; I have partaken of pizza, ice cream, cakes, cookies, butter, sugar, whole milk, etc.  What I didn't eat was diet foods, low fat/fat free stuff.  I didn't get skinny.  I will never be skinny.  What I am is able to wear the clothes in my closet.  I am happy here. 
Anyway, I say all that to confess I fell off the wagon.  First I bought Crystal Light so the guys would have kool aid without using so much sugar(instead of them making Lemonade from lemon juice and sugar.  I know, I know, that's much better).  Then I bought 4  12 pk cases of diet drinks cause they were on sale and I thought one a day wouldn't hurt me.  Yea....."All the best laid plans of mice and men".  This all started a couple of months ago.  What also started a couple of months ago was my restless legs (and shoulder) getting worse.  It was getting to the point where I was only able to get about 3 hours sleep a night.  My old tricks to alleviate the symptoms didn't work.  Not wanting to go to the doctor to get a prescription (yet another chemical), I went online to see what others did to naturally deal with restless leg.  What I found shocked me.  I read a post where a lady said that diet drinks aggravated her restless leg.  Upon reading that I immediately stopped drinking diet drinks and instead drank just tea and water.  That was 4 days ago.  I have had 4 great nights of sleep, only getting up to go to the bathroom (all the water lol).  I come back to bed and am immediately asleep.  I can set my watch as to when I will get up.  After going to bed @ 10:30, I get up at 1:30, back to sleep, and up for the day @ 5:30.  That is my normal wake up time.  I am sold on the fact that the artificial sweeteners were contributing to my condition.  I am back on the band wagon and will not touch another sugar free anything.  If anything I am going to focus even more on what I eat to make sure I am giving my body what it needs to function.  Like I said before, I will never be skinny, but that doesn't mean I can't take care of myself.  If you drink diet drinks or sugar free products, and have this condition, think about dropping them.  You may be pleasantly surprised and the results.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

To My Daddy

What can I write about my dad.  A little late getting to this cause it has been a crazy day, but Daddy this is for you!  Growing up, my dad was larger than life.  To this day I believe he is the smartest man in the room in any room.  He is without a doubt a walking encyclopedia.  My dad worked for IBM.  He worked hard to insure that my mom could be home and raise all us kids.  Due to his job, there were times he worked an evening shift and so would be gone when I got home from school, 3rd shift and so would need to sleep,  or would be gone to a training.  But how my heart would leap when daddy would come home.  I was and am still a daddy's girl.  I freely admit it.  Both as a child, and as an adult, I have looked at my dad as  my protector. He's always reminded me of John Wayne.  I know.  Weird, but true.  Now he reminds me of Sean Connery.  LOL.   I always felt the "My dad can beat up your dad" taunt that children threw around was really true in my case.  My favorite memories are when he taught me how to play the dulcimer.  We would sit up playing duets.  He builds beautiful dulcimers. He also paints, is a tech guru, does beautiful wood working,can fix just about anything, and that is just a start.  All in all, I like to think there are things about me that are similar to my dad, and I take great pride in that fact. 

Time has passed and both of us are older, but he is still larger than life to me.  I don't know what my future holds, but I am joyous that my past and present include such a great dad. 

Oh, and this is whathe looks like at every family get together.  You would think he was born with a camera or other type gadget in his hand.

Happy Father day Daddy!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

It has been brought to my attention......

Yes, it has been brought to my attention that I have been remiss in including many of my "make it yourself recipes".  All this time I thought I had included things like my pancake syrup recipes and many others.  Now in my defense, a lot of my recipes can be found in the black belt grocery posts. I have posted about "Taco Seasoning, Season Salt, Choc Syrup, Quick Bread mix, White Sauce mix, Granola, and Salsa". Those can usually be found in the list of most popular posts on the right of my blog page.  Also, for those wanting to find archived posts, those can be found if you scroll down a ways on my page.  So now that that is out of the way, I want to include a few recipes that might help tame the grocery beast.  So without further adieu:

Pancake Syrup recipe:

3 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
3 Tbs molasses (if you don't have molasses, use 3 cups of brown sugar in place of the granulated sugar and then skip this ingredient)
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp butter flavor (I never buy butter flavor.  I just put 1TbS real butter in the recipe)
1 tsp maple flavor (I buy this at Walmart.)

Real simple to do.  Put everything into a sauce pan.  Stir well.  Cook it over med/low heat until it comes to a full rolling boil.  Turn off the burner, leaving the pan on the burner to cool.  Once cool, store in the fridge.  I like to reheat the syrup when I am using it on pancakes or waffles.  Just don't stir it.  It will make it crystallize a little.  Which honestly makes a great candy.  Ooops!  I outed myself. LOL

Wheat thins Crackers

3 cups uncooked quick oats
2 cups flour (allpurpose)
1 cup wheat germ
3 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup oil
1 cup water

Mix all together.  It will make a stiff dough.  Take about 1/2 of the dough and roll it thin on a well floured surface or wax paper.   Make it wafer thin guys.  You know what wheat thins look so eye ball it to see.  Once rolled out, take a knife or better yet a pizza cutter and cut into squares.  Transfer carefully to a cookie sheet. Poke the crackers with a fork, sprinkle salt over them and bake in a 350 oven for 20 minutes.  Keep an eye on these as the crackers around the edges may get brown first.  I have also rolled the dough out on the cookie sheet and cut them out there, saving the step of transferring the crackers.  These things are really good and very addictive.  We had an ice storm one year, and while we were playing a board game we pulled the bag of these crackers out and, along with some cream cheese,  ate the whole bag.  Price wise these crackers end up being about 1.20 per pound which is a lot less than store bought.

Shake and Bake

4  cups flour
4 cups ground cornflakes cereal (grind these in the blender.  Works like a charm)
2 Tbs sugar
4 Tbs salt
2 tsp garlic
2 tsp onion powder
3 Tbs paprika

Mix all and store.  This makes alot!  I will usually measure out a little to use.  I dip the meat into the shake and bake, then into an egg/milk mixture (1 egg and about 1 cup milk mixed together well)then back into the shake and bake.  Spray your cookie sheet or baking pan with Pam.  When you have dipped each piece and laid them on the sheet, spray them once again with Pam(cooking spray).  Then bake them til brown and crispy. 

So I have a lot on the gardeing/chickens front,but I want to wait until I get my camera working so I can show picks.  So that post will come later.  I also will post more recipes later as well. So until then, SEE YA's!