Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Angel Wing Cookies

1 cup cold butter, cubed
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sour cream
10 tablespoons Sugar, divided
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
Colored sugar, optional
In a large bowl, cut butter into flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the sour cream. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead 6-8 times or until mixture holds together. Shape into four balls; flatten slightly. Wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
Unwrap one ball. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar on waxed paper; coat all sides of ball with sugar. Roll into a 12-in. x 5-in. rectangle between two sheets of waxed paper. Remove top sheet of waxed paper. Sprinkle dough with 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Lightly mark a line down the center of the dough, making two 6-in. x 5-in. rectangles.
Starting with a short side, roll up jelly-roll style to the center mark; peel waxed paper away while rolling. Repeat with other short side. Wrap in plastic wrap; freeze for 30 minutes. Repeat three times.
Place remaining sugar or place colored sugar if desired on waxed paper. Unwrap one roll. Cut into 1/2-in. slices; dip each side into sugar. Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake at 375° for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Turn cookies; bake 5-8 minutes longer. Remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: about 3 dozen.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sour Cream Drop Cookies
Yields: About 3 dozen cookies

For the cookies:
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the glaze:
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
4 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cream together the butter, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, sour cream and vanilla together until well incorporated. Add in the flour, baking soda and baking powder until combined throughouly.  Chill the dough at least one hour before baking.
Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, scoop the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchement paper. Bake  at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes. The cookies are done when they begin to brown on the bottom, although they may appear underdone on the top. Let cool before frosting.
To make the glaze: Melt the butter, then add the sifted powdered sugar and vanilla. Add the boiling water, one tablespoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. The glaze should be thick enough to spread with a spoon, but not run down the sides of the cookies. The glaze will harden on the cookie as it cools.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Apple Pecan Gingerbread
5 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for greasing
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
1/3 cup unsulphured molasses
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg
1-1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 Firm cooking apple like Fuji or Gala apple, peeled, cored and chopped fine

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch loaf pan with butter.
In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, molasses, sugar, butter, vanilla and egg.
In a second large bowl, combine flour, ginger, baking soda and pecans. Add apples and toss well.
Stir flour mixture into molasses mixture and then spoon batter into pan. Bake until cooked through and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 45 – 50 minutes.
Let cool in pan for 30 minutes and then invert onto a plate and serve warm or at room temperature.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Fugality and the Art of Spending Money

Origannly written Oct. 4, 2012

Being frugal is not about being cheap.  It's being economical, carefully spending and saving money so that a quality of life can be achieved. It's living better for less.

  Here is an example. Our refrigerator. It's way too small. It's hard to work with especially on holidays and harvest times. I've often wished for a second old refrigerator just to hold the drinks, harvest or the turkey that defrosting. But we've do with it. Oh did I say that the refrigerator is very old. It has scratches on the door. The gaskets are ripped. But we still made do. Then last weekend the little shelf that held up the meat/cheese door cracked off. Ok I guess now it's time to buy a new appliance.

I'm the family cook. I like to cook and the kitchen is my domain. I have much too small galley kitchen which makes it challenging to cook all the home-made from scratch meals that I do. I was planning to replace said appliance with one of similar size because I could not see giving up even a few inches of precious counter space for anything large. Walt and the rest of the family wanted one with an automatic ice/water dispenser. ( That would get us drinking more water - right?) So when Walt and went shopping at our locally owned applence store we first found a scratch and dent that seemed to fit the bill, only it was at the top of the dollar amount wewere willing to pay. A little bit bigger for me. I liked the layout and it had the water option Walt liked. We double check to see if there was anything cheaper. Not really, the others were more more apartment sized or had flimsey shallow trays in the dispenser. Then we say it. There on the wall near the big expensive models.  This one had closeout pricing that made it a real deal. Still it was hundreds more than the model we had almost decided on. We measured and measured again. Open and closed door multiple times. I even said that I would allow Walt to cut off three inches of my presious counter if we bought this.


Do you see what we liked about this one? It's the seperate snack dawere.  With a houseful of young adult hungary and on differend schedules. It was getting hard to find something to eat among everything else I have there. Now there is a define snack and leftover section.                                                                                           ..

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Smells Like Grapefruit

It's right after breakfast. The house is quiet, everyone is at work or in school. Time for me to clean up the kitchen before starting my other chores. After clearing off the dishes I look for something to clean the breakfast counter. Today I break into my new batch of grapefruit/citrus cleaner.

Easy to make - this time of year. Stuff a quart jar with citus peels then fill with white vinegar. After a few days, stain and dilute 1:1 with water in a spray jar.  The vinegar is infused with a nice citus fragrence and the vinegar/citus combo is a great cleaner. Vinegar breaks down mold, grease, mineral  deposits and kills bacteria. Citus is a good de-greaser, freshner and stain remover. Try this homemade cleaner next time you're cleaning out the refrigerator.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pumpkin Waffles

As the family watched the Macy's parade, I reached into my stash of pumpkins. I selected two. One for pie and the other for breakfast.  In no time I peeled, steamed and mashed the pumpkins. Then I made Pumpkin Waffles served with maple syrup and real whipped cream. I think I found a new Thanksgiving Breakfast tradition.

Pumpkin Waffles
Adapted from several sources

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
4 large eggs, separated
2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil for brushing waffle iron or cooking spray

Preheat oven to 250°F and preheat waffle iron. Sift together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl with buttermilk, pumpkin, and butter until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients just until combined.

In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks (as in, far softer than the over-beaten whites you’ll see in my picture above). Folk them gently into the waffle batter, until just combined.

Brush waffle iron lightly with oil and spoon batter (about 2 cups for four 4-inch Belgian waffles) into waffle iron, spreading quickly. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer waffles to rack in oven to keep warm and crisp. Make more waffles in same manner.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup butter
Blend together oats and flour.  Cut in butter.  Add maple syrup and mix well.
1 2/3 cup mashed pumpkin
3/4 cup cream
1/2 cup honey
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ginger
1/8 t. ground cloves
Combine .
Spread 1/2 crust in an 8 x 12 pan.  Spread filling over crust and then crumble rest of crust mix over filling.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 40 minutes.
Pumpkin Bread
(this recipe was in one of my books - hand written by a friend)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 c. safflower oil
2 eggs
1/4 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon 
1/4 t. allspice 
Combine all.  Bake in a bread pan at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

Pumpkin Swirl Bars (GF, DF option)
Yield: 12 bars
Pumpkin Swirl Bars (GF, DF option)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Cream Cheese Swirl (for dairy-free option, see *note below)
  • 3 oz organic cream cheese, room temp
  • 1 tbsp raw honey
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white (save yolk for another use)
  1. First make the swirl topping: Using an electric hand mixer, blend together all of the Cream Cheese Swirl topping ingredients, except for the egg white, until smooth and creamy. Then, mix in the egg white, until well combined. Set aside.(*If you're dairy-free, skip this step.)
  2. Next make the batter: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil an 9x9-inch baking dish (I use coconut oil).
  3. In a small bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin spice. Set aside.
  4. Using an electric hand mixer, blend (on low speed) pumpkin, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla for 1- 2 minutes, until well combined.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet and continue mixing for a full minute, until smooth and well blended.
  6. Reserve 1/2 cup of the batter. Then pour the rest of the batter into prepared baking dish, using a rubber spatula to help. (Be sure to even-out the top of the batter.)
  7. Use a rubber spatula to add the cream cheese swirl topping to the top of the pumpkin batter. Be sure to evenly distribute it across the top without completely covering the pumpkin batter. (If DF, skip this step.)
  8. Then drop small spoonfuls of the 1/2 cup of remaining pumpkin batter over some of the cream cheese swirl topping.
  9. Next, use your index finger to swirl the cream cheese mixture and pumpkin batter together to create a pretty swirl pattern across the top, as shown in photo above. (Don't swirl too much or the two will blend together instead of swirling separately.)
  10. Bake for approximately 28-30 minutes, until a toothpick insert in center comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 10-15 minutes, before cutting into bars. Yum!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bird's Nest Fungi

Crucibulum vulgare, a species of bird’s-nest fungi, forms egg-shaped basidiocarps and is a member of the phylum Basidiomycota. Besides being cute, the shape of the bird's nest is actually functional! The nest acts as a splash cup. When raindrops fall into the cup, the eggs are splashed out some distance away from the nest. If they land on a suitable substrate, they will germinate and form new mycelium that can grow into new fruiting bodies.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sunset over Twin Pond Old Forge

Sunset over Twin Pond Old Forge

May 21 Paddle

My birthday falls in May. For the last 5 or more years I have given myself a birthday gift: solo photography or kayak or hike in the ADKs.  Yesterday I paddled Twin Pond off South Shore Road, Old Forge. The pond was a nice little paddle.  The hemlock forest south of the pond I saw some ladyslippers just budding, a few blueberries, and hay scented fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula). In the center of the pond is a bog. I was surprised to find wild calla also called water arum.  Also found in the bog were a few pitcher plants, bog laurel (Kalmia polifolia), and bog beacon (Mitrula paludosa).


Bog Beacon is small ( one to 2 inches) has a yellow or orangey swollen ‘head’ area held aloft on a white or translucent stem. Mitrula paludosa is a saprotrophic or ‘recycler’ fungus, which is breaking down dead plant litter.  It is found on the dead remains of higher plants, mosses and algae, this species is usually found in areas of seeping water. Thus ditches, slow moving streams, and sphagnum patches can all be productive places to search.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Cinco de Mayo

Saturday May 5th was a perfect day here on the Little Homestead. I started the day by making a pot of coffee and a big batch of pumpkin doughnuts.  We cleaned the kitchen, made ice tea, washed and hung a large load of laundry on the line.  In the meanwhile, Walt proceeded to organize and clean out both sides of the carriage house (garage).  I was out in the kitchen garden transplanting lettuce, I thought I heard a buzzing from the apiary. Normally, I shouldn't hear them. I got up to check it out and hive #1 (named Aster Hive) was swarming. I called Walt and he started preparing to capture the swarm. We watched them alight on a nearby shrub. As soon as they settled down, Walt transfered them to a hive body. We waited to see if they would stay. Soon some bees started "fanning", which told us they had accepted the hive. Then a chicken started the "egg song" announcing to the world that she had just laid an egg. A warm perfect spring day: clothes drying on the line, a basket of just collected eggs, a new colony of bees, and in the kitchen garden, asparagus, rhubarb, lettuce and spinach almost ready to pick.  The day ended with the "Super Moon" rising and bullfrogs singing in our pond.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Oyster Mushroom

Oyster Mushrooms are found on dead poplar and aspen trees.



Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)

The oyster mushroom is a common edible known for its oyster-shaped cap. One of the first things you should look for when trying to identify this mushroom is the presence of decurrent gills. Decurrent means that the gills are attached to and run directly down the stem. Fresh Oyster mushrooms have a mild anise odor.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dryads Saddle

Dryads Saddle (Polyporus Squamosus) is the only mushroom that smells like cucumbers or watermelon rind. It grows on living and dead hardwoods, often near river banks. You can find it in the spring and fall, often year after year in the same location, recurring until it depletes its food source.


The mature mushroom is much too leathery and bitter to eat, but any part of the immature cap that you can cut with your fingernail is edible.  This was found in a small mixed oak, poplar maple woods  near Utica, NY.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Garden Report 4-12-12

It rained and hailed yesterday afternoon. Today, after a few days of cool weather, it's warming up again. The peas have been up about an inch high. They'll be needing some warm weather to really take off. Garlic is doing well. I mulched the bed with compost as I always do. The shoots are just starting to push out of the soil. I can see the fat growing tips just breaking the surface. One plant has 6 fat shoots. I think this is the 4th year for this bed. So we'll be enjoying a full harvest from now on.

Yesterday I planted fingerling potatoes in 10 big pots. Each pot got 5 or 6 sprouted potatoes.This should make harvest easier and clear up some space on the vegetable beds.



Daffodils have been blooming. Yeasterday I noticed a yellow tulip juist start to open. It was planed on the south side of the house near the apartment kitchen window. In the woodland garden the Hepaticas and Dutchman's Breeches are at peek. Corydalis sempervirens is also blooming.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Scarlet Cup

Scarlet Cup April 4, 2012

Sarcoscypha coccinea

Mycological Notes:

Scarlet Cup is a harbinger of spring. The fruiting body is thin and tough and saucer-shaped with a deep bright red upper surface and a whitish exterior. I found this specimen on the side of a seasonal road running though a hardwood forest in Remsen NY.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Eating Spring

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Allium tricoccum (Ramps, Wild Leeks)

Early spring time is Ramp time. Ramps, also called Wild Leeks are a wonderful springtime treat. Ramps are only found for a short time in early spring about the same time that the maples are flowering. They are usually found in an undisturbed hardwood wood forest. Because it is a perennial. I'll only take a few from a large group. They look almost like the leaves of Lily of the Valley only a little greener. Ramps, a member of the onion family, are also identified by the strong onion -garlic smell.flavor and odor.

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To use, clean the ramps, removing the outer layer of the bulb. Both the leaves and bulb end are used.

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Our Sunday dinner was to be a roasted chicken. After seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper, I placed a few whole ramps in and on the chicken and placed that in a roasting pan. Then I peeled potatoes and cut them into chunks. Tossed them with salt and chopped ramps and placed that around the chicken. I covered the pan and placed in a 350 degree oven until the chicken was almost done. Then I removed the cover and let the chicken brown.


It was delicious. If anything, I would have added more ramps !

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The cold frame 4-20

Last spring Walt built me a cold frame. You can read about it here and here. It provided a crop of early lettuce. In the fall I sowed half with more lettuce and half with spinach. We enjoyed a number of salad until the weather turned into a deep freeze. I pulled out the remaining lettuce and we ate one last salad. I kept in the spinach because the plants were small. They survived the winter but they did not grow. In fact the spinach looked like it was barely surviving. Now that we have very warm spring weather the spinach has taken off.



What's in your Salad?

Yesterday we had company over for dinner. Walt invited a business associate and I had a half day notice. First I reached into the freezer and pulled out some beef suitable for a pot roast. After defrosting, I sprinkled it with house mix - garlic powder, sweet smoked paprika, celery seeds, pepper and salt. Then I browned it in a dutch oven in some bacon grease. I added a cup of water and a cup of red wine and simmered it on the stove. After awhile, it was placed in a 300 degree oven until it was tender. We also had "mashed potatoes" which was about 7 potatoes , 1/2 rutabaga and a parsnip boiled then mashed together with some evaporated milk and salt. The parsnip was found in the garden. having escaped the great harvest last fall.

I went to the cold frame and picked a small bowl of spinach. This was supplemented with some violet leaves, and some nice chickweed. The salad was garnished with a chiffonade of salami, sliced hard boiled eggs, minced parsley and scallions - all from the garden.

Chickweed (Stellaria mediais) an annual widespread "weed" found in many gardens. It is small, succulent, has white flowers. They are very nutritious, high in vitamins and minerals, can be added to salads or cooked as a pot herb, tasting somewhat like spinach.

Chickweed exhibits a very interesting trait, (they sleep) termed the 'Sleep of Plants,' every night the leaves fold over the tender buds and the new shoots. Gather fresh edible plant between April and July, as soon as flowers appear, it can be used fresh or be dried for later herb use.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Garden Report

Yesterday we had a few inches of snow on the ground. I took some early morning photos - Snowdrops and Winter Aconite poking through the snow. Today the temp is 63 degrees at 1:30 in the afternoon. I came back to the same patches of flowers and watched bees gathering nectar and pollen. The pussy willows are also fluffing out. I may cut some in a few days to bring indoors.

I had a wonderful productive day. here is my chore list...

Make coffee and egg/ham/cheese burritos for breakfast
feed and water chickens, collect eggs
tighten closes line, hang more line
wash and hang on line 3 loads laundry
drive to Walmart for more canning canning jars (2 cases pints, 1 of half pints)
WB can 10 pints green grapes
Eat cold pizza for lunch and orange juice
Bake 2 loaves of whole wheat bread
Rake part of along driveway and part of yard -
Get sons to wheelbarrow yard waste to compost pile
Trim firebush "hedge"
Take clothes from line
Make Ham/rice/veggie casserole for dinner
Fold and put away clothes ( son helps)
Process broken wax/honey. Strain and bottle
Wash dishes (other son helps)
Fold Laundry

Friday, March 2, 2012

Bone Soup

Yesterday I canned 8 pints of bone soup. I'm happy to add the jars to my food pantry. "What is bone soup ?", you ask. Pour your self a cup of herbal tea and I'll tell you. I used to call it chicken stock. We would freeze the carcasses from several weeks of roasted chicken dinners. When I have 4 or more I put them in a big stock pot, add cold water, than add bits of whatever soup veggies I have on hand; onions- skin and all, carrots -tops included, celery, parsley, a few bay leaves and 12 peppercorns. Then I add my special ingredient. A "glug" of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV).

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Break the carcass into pieces and place them in a pot big enough to hold the carcass. Breaking the bones does two things: it releases the marrow, which is where a lot of the flavor hides, and it exposes more of the bone to the calcium-extracting acid. Be sure to throw the necks, backs, gizzards and other innards into the pot as well.

Wash all the raw parts well under cold running water. Place everything into the pot and fill with COLD water to cover bones, plus 2 inches. Add a couple of tsp. of vinegar or lemon juice and let the brew sit for at least 30 minutes before placing on the stove. Do not go overboard on the acid or you will ruin the stock.

After 30 minutes, bring to boil over high heat. While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the vegetables. When the water just boils, add the vegetables to the pot and when the water returns to a boil, quickly reduce the heat and partially cover the pot. Adjust the heat to allow the stock to slowly simmer.

Skim off any foam that begins to form. This will leave you with a much clearer broth. When the foam is pretty much gone, sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt, and reduce heat to medium-low. You want just the barest hint of a simmer while the pot is covered.

Let simmer very gently, without stirring, for 3 to 4 hours—or even overnight. Let cool slightly and then remove the big bones and vegetable parts. Carefully pour the remaining liquid and small bones through a large, fine-meshed sieve, catching the liquid in another pot. Discard all bones and vegetables.

Cover and place your clear stock in the refrigerator 5-6 hours or overnight. In the winter, I put the stock out on my porch to cool. After several hours, all the fat will rise to the top and solidify. Chicken fat is rather soft so you should carefully skim it off with a spoon.

Now it is time to reduce the stock, which will give it more concentrated flavor and make a firmer gel. Boil the stock in an uncovered pot. Taste occasionally until you find the strength of stock you are looking for. Pour into sterilized jars, use standardized canning procedures, process in a pressure canner 20 minutes for pints, 25 minutes for quarts.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Here in Central NY, we have enjoyed a mild winter with below average snowfall. That changed last night. Icy freezing conditions. I woke the kids up for school as usual but they soon returned back to bed as we leaned that they have a "snow day".

The snow is coming down. It's pretty, but the roads are slippery. Thankfully, because of a full freezer, and all of the food I've canned and stored, I don't have to leave the house except to check on the chickens and they will reward me with fresh eggs for the effort.

Soon I will wake up the family to a breakfast of Dutch Babies and Maple Broiled Grapefruit halves.


3 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons vanilla sugar
1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
Lemon wedges or Maple Syrup


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place 2 tablespoons of the melted butter into a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place in the oven. Set the remaining tablespoon of melted butter aside to cool slightly. Wait 10 minutes before assembling the other ingredients.

Whisk together flour, vanilla sugar, salt, milk, eggs and remaining tablespoon of melted butter . Carefully pour the batter into the preheated skillet. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until the edges are puffed and brown. Sprinkle with additional vanilla sugar and serve with lemon wedges or maple syrup.



This is a good "snowed in " breakfast. What do you like to have when you're home-bound?

Monday, February 27, 2012

This is my seed list for 2012

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Alyssum Aphrodite Mix
Aster Giant Princess mix
Baby's Breath Covenent Garden
Balsam mixed
Canterberry bells
Carnation Chaubaud giant mixed
Coleus mixed
Cosmos Sea Shell Mix mixed
Delphinium Pacific giants mixed
Dianthus village pink
Kale Osaka mix
Lychinis rose campion
Nasturtium climbing, fragrant mixed
Nasturtium cherry rose
Poppy Hungarian bread seed Blue
Poppy Wild Greek red mix
Straw flower tall, double mixed
Sunflower Mammoth Russian
Zinnia dark jewel mixed
Flower Garden Mix

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Beans- Bush Romano
Beans- Bush Triumphe DeFancy- Heirloom
Beet bulls blood
Beet-Chioggia - Heirloom
Broccoli Raab- Heirloom
Broccoli - mystery - Heirloom
Broccoli - Pricclcaba
Broccoli - Calabrese sprouting
Carrot - Yellowstone
Carrot- Red cored chanenay
Carrot - Danverse Half Long
Carrot - Chanenay
Cabbage - Baby Choy
Cabbage Royal Savoy
Celery Ventura
Celeriac Brilliant
Corn Lancelot, bi-color hybrid
Corn Salad Mache heirloom
Cucumber - homemade pickles
Cucumber - Armenian
Cucumber - National Pickling
Cucumber - Sumpter
Cucumber - Burpee Pickler
Eggplant - Diamond
Kale - Lacinato
Kale - Red Russian , organic
Leek - King Richard
Leek - American Flag
Lettuce - Prizehaed
Lettuce - Oakleaf
Lettuce - Dark Seeded Simpson
Lettuce - Buttercrunch
Lettuce - Rosalita
Lettuce - Mescluin
Peas - Progress No 9
Peas - Alaska
Peas - Little Marvel
Peas- Oregon Sugar Pod
Peas - Cascadia
Peas - Dwarf Grey Sugar
Peas - Mammoth Melting sugar
Pea - super snappy
Pepper - Red Knight
Radish - Cherry Belle
Radish - Early Scarlet Globe
Radish- Sparkler White Tip
Radish - White Icicle
Spinach -Razzle Dazzle Hybrid
Spinach - Bloomsdale Long Standing
Spinach- Giant Noble
Spinach - Harmony
Spinach - Salad Fresh
Squash -Sum Jackpot

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Basil Genovese
Basil Opal
Burnet Salad
Eucalyptus Silver Dollar
Savory Summer
Thyme Garden

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chicken Chores

I love having a small flock of chickens. Every time I reach for a freshly laid egg, it's like receiving a small gift. It's a moment of joy.

Chickens are easy to care for, not much work at all. I open the coop in the morning and they come out to a fresh bowl of water and a measure of layer feed. I do a quick head count, observe them briefly for signs of injury or illness. Then I open the coop and check for early morning eggs and inspect the condition of the coop. Several times during the day I will check on them, do they have enough fresh water, do they need more feed or maybe bring them a treat of scaps and scrapings from the plates. They sure do love scrambled eggs and milk that is going sour.


Today is nice and warm for this time of year. I am doing out to clean up and scape out some of the poo that is matted and nasty. I am consoling myself by thinking how beneficial chicken manure is for the garden.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

It's So Juicy

I'm anticipating a good harvest and "putting food up" season. In preparation for this, I've been tiding up the storage areas. I rearranged and cleaned the shelves, swept the floor, taken inventory of the empty jars. (note to self, I have 3 cases regular quart jars, one case of wide mouth quart, 1 case wide pints, 2.5 cases regular pints, a half case of 6 oz jelly jars and a half case of 4 oz. jars.) Today I'm tackling the freezer. On the top shelf I store bags of fruit. Last year I foraged gallons of fruit; elderberries, blackberries, mulberries, chokecherries, blueberries, even a few raspberries. Add to that some bags of pick-your-own strawberries, some extra cranberries (store bought), and a bag of garden rhubarb I found stuffed in the back.

I'm simmering all the fruit along with a few sticks of cinnamon, some orange peels and plus , a few cloves in a big pots to make lots of mixed juice that I'll be canning. I'll add a little sugar and lemon or lime juice to taste, then I'll pour them into sterilized jars, cover and process 20 min in a hot water bath.

Elderberry ( Sambucus canadensis )

Choke Cherry ( Prunus virginiana )

Mulberry ( Morus nigra )

Wild Blueberry ( Vaccinium sp.)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Jars and jars

I have lots of canning jars. At lest some would think so. I have purchased new jars from box stores and small hard ware stores, I found jars at garage sales and on Craigs List. Twice I had a chance to buy dozens of used jars at a great price but I only took a small portion of what was offered. The last time this happened, about a year ago I took 50 wide mouth pints at 25-cents each. He had about 250 jars to sell. I thought those 50 would be more than enough. I was wrong. Here I am with 75 lb. of potatoes to can and I only have 14 wide mouth quarts, and 1 wide mouth pint then a few cases each of regular quarts and pints . I'd use those up and be done with it but as I'm planning on putting up much more of the harvest this year I will have to buy more jars and it might as well be what I need.

Why can so many potatoes you ask. They are cheap enough at the store.
Well it's like this, I want to know where my food come from. I want to controll what I put into my mouth. I want local food with out extra ingredients including salt.



What are you canning right now ?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Making Ravioli






Brandied Cranberry Sauce

After thanksgiving I searched for bags of cranberries that were marked down. I managed to score almost a dozen bags at 99 to 50 cents each, Now that I've slowed down to the slower pace of the long winter months, I'm preserving food that I've stored. Last week it was the last bushel of apples made into many small jars of applesauce. Next week, I plan on canning enough potatoes to last the year. Today, I'm tackling the bags of cranberries. So far I have made 14 jars of brandied cranberry sauce. Then I will will make lots of cranberry juice and save some berries to freeze.


Brandied Cranberry Sauce
  • 36 ounces Cranberries
  • 5 Cups Sugar
  • 4 Cups Water
  • 20 Whole Allspice
  • 15 Whole Cloves
  • 5 Whole Cinnamon Sticks (each about 3″ long)
  • 3 Cups Apple Jack
  • 1 cup Vanilla Vodka (homemade)

Put the allspice & cloves into a spice ball or make a spice bag out of muslin for them. Combine water, cranberries, and sugar in a heavy pot. Toss in the spice ball/bag and cinnamon sticks. Bring the mixture to boil, stirring occasionally. As the cranberries begin popping, scrape off any foam just like you would in making jam. After the cranberries pop, about 10 minutes into the boiling process, add the brandy and return to a boil. Remove the cinnamon sticks and spice ball.

Pour the hot mixture into hot sterilized jars. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude.

Makes 12 -14 half-pint jars.

Friday, January 20, 2012

What I put up in 2011

Annie's Salsa Mild-
47 pints
Annie's Salsa Hot
- 15pints
Apple Butter - 9 half pts
Apple Sauce - 10 pts, 14 half pt.
Beef/veggie broth - 4 pts
Beef Stew - 20 qrts.
Brandy Cinnamon Apple Slices - 4 pts.
Butternut Squash - 8 pts
Whole Grape Juice - 7 qrts
Concorde Grape juice - 9 pts
Chicken Stock - 11 qts ,12pts
Chicken - 7 pints
Cranberry juice -5 pints
Cran/mixed-berry Juice -6 qts. 6 pts
Garlic, pickled - 6 pints
Grapes - 3 pints, 10 half pts
Ground Beef - 7 pts
Honey, dark - 8 qts, 5 pts
Honey, light - 6 qts, 6 pts
Pears, ginger - 8 qts
Potato- 9 pints 12 qts
Snap Beans - 21 qts,9 pts
Sweet Potato -1 qrt, 14 pts
Chunky Tom. Basil Sauce- 6 qrt, 1 pt
Roasted Tom/Vegie Sauce- 6 qrt, 3 pt
Tomato & Celery - 10 pts
Whole Tomato - 14 qrts, 12 pints
Wild Blueberry - 14 sm. jars

TOTAL 381 Jars