Tuesday, June 27, 2017

We've got Power!!

We had a Micro-Burst come through our area.  (A microburst is a downdraft that moves opposite of a tornado.)  Power poles were snapped off, trees were uprooted, branches came down on lines, etcetera. 

Out came the kerosene lamps, candles, cooking was done on the gas stovetop or grill. 

What was helpful:
Kerosene lamps and candles
A way to cook - either a grill, camp stove, or a gas stove top
Flashlights - sometimes you just need more light than a candle offers
Hand coffee grinder - or ground coffee
Coffee pot - we have a stainless steel percolator that we use camping (Sure tastes good - power or no power I want my cup of joe.)
Radio - battery operated - it was just nice to stay up with the rest of the world
Portable power pack for recharging the phone or kindle

Thankfully we never lost water pressure.  That would have been the PITS!!!  We have a gas water heater and we had hot water too.  That was delightful - I didn't think it would work without electricity but it did!  (color me happy)

We have a generator and we did fire it up a couple times so we could plug the refrigerator in - threw the cord over the fence so the neighbor could plug his in too  - then #1 son came to get it for their house and neighbors.  Just plugging in for 30 minutes twice a day seemed to keep everything cold.  We still had ice in the icemaker. 

Although we never lost water pressure in the beginning I wasn't sure so I got our two-gallon water dispenser out (you know the kind for parties), I filled it to the brim so we would have drinking water.  We have bottled water too but this was just additional 'just in case' water.   We live in the high mountain desert - trust me water is IMPORTANT!!!  for both us and our pets.

All in all it went without a hitch - It always reminds me how thankful I am for the convenience of power at the flick of a switch.
a little bird

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Crock-Pot Test

Sharing some information I thought was very helpful.

I bought a second hand Crock-Pot at a yard sale.  It was in beautiful shape but it's always nice to know that it is functioning correctly.

I contacted Crock Pot online and they have a live chat.  This was our conversation:

Janet: Hi, my name is Janet. I will be happy to help you today.
Me: Hello, I purchased a lovely crock-pot second hand.  Model 50301. How can I test that it is heating to correct temperatures?
Janet: The slow cooker and both low and high will reach a temperature between 210 to 218 degrees. You can test the temperature by filling the stoneware half full with water and turning it on for 4 hours.  After 4 hours, take a candy or meat thermometer to test the temperature of the water.
Me: Thank you!

Now that's handy to know.  I have the crock-pot heating and we'll see...

I am a Crock-Pot user.  They are wonderful to fill before work and then when I get home dinner is done and the house smells great.  They are also wonderful for pot luck dinners at church or school.  I have two large, two mediums (if this new one tests out), one small, and a mini.  I don't really use the mini but they say it works for sauces.  

A church pot luck favorite is mac and cheese.  I use my biggest and fill it with mac and cheese and let it cook.  The pot is always empty when it's time to head home.  I was thinking of kids when I made this but the adults like it too.

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese
4 cups uncooked macaroni
6 to 8 cups grated cheddar cheese
2 cans evaporated milk
3 cups milk 
4 eggs
salt and pepper
If I have it on hand I will add a can of Cheddar Cheese Soup.
Mix all together, reserving 3 cups of cheese for the top.

Spray or grease the inside of your crock-pot.  Dump mixture into your crock pot, top with remaining cheese.
Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Do not stir while cooking.  I double this for church pot luck dinners. 

Shhhhhh - Hold Your Tongue

Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.
Proverbs 17:28 NLT

Have you ever said something and then wished you could retract the statement??  I know I have.  Even if the statement wasn't wrong or ugly.  It may have not been pertinent to the topic of discussion.  It sounded good in my head but then...

The Proverbs are a good book to read often.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Instant Pot

A dear friend and I went to a Master Food Safety Adviser meeting today (Master Food Preserver).  The demo was of the Instant Pot.

We had three pots going, one was Brown Rice, one Lemon Chicken and the last a Cheese Cake!!!  Yes you heard me right a Cheese Cake*.

An Instant Pot is an Electric Pressure Cooker (not canner).  The chicken took about 20 minutes start to finish, Literally we pulled the raw chicken breasts out of the package, seasoned it, browned it in the Instant Pot on saute, added our remaining ingredients: chicken broth, garlic, cream, lemon juice.  Put the lid on set it for 8 minutes of cook time and that was it.  After the eight minutes it turned it self to low we waited five minutes and then vented any remaining steam and voila.  The chicken was done.

Our chicken took the longest of the three the rice and cheese cake were completed a few minutes before we were.

It really was amazing.

I have two regular pressure cookers so I don't know that I personally will purchase an Instant Pot (or a brand like it) but I have to admit it was fun to try.

*The presenter had made a cheesecake the day before so we could have a chilled cake not one warm right out of the cooker.  It was really good and if your oven was on the fritz this is a real handy tool to have.

Click HERE for a free Instant Pot recipe book.
Or HERE for many additional recipes.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

January, February,and March

Can you believe it's spring and almost April!!

Here are some of the activities of January, February and March.

My mom sent me ties so that I could make bags out of them for the girls in our family.

I made nine all together.  They were fun to make.  The hardest part was sorting it out without a pattern.   

Fermented oranges.  These are wonderful.  I have used them chopped in salad, dressings, and marinades.  I'm sure they would be very good in a pasta salad as well.

I quartered my oranges or the big ones I cut into eights and then salted them.  This is a fermenting process like sauerkraut.  These are very salty so they need to be rinsed before chopping to add them to a dish.

My other sewing project was a repair job.

#2 son's dog got a hold of his winter hat and chewed the rabbit fur to bits on the bill.  Did you know you can order a rabbit pelt from Amazon... well you can and I did.  I tried to find one that matched as much as possible.  You can see it's not a perfect match but it is close enough that it doesn't stand out too much.  I traced around the bill adding a bit for seam allowance.  There is the wool layer a lining layer and then the fur.  I was able to do a fair amount on the machine but the last bit required hand stitching my machine just couldn't handle all of the layers.

They had mountains of snow where they live - 6 feet on the level - yes, 6 feet.  Bless them they spent most of the winter digging out.  One week they were snowed in.  School was closed and they were in.  #2 son had to wear snowshoes just to take the trash out.  And extra panels had to be added to the fence because the cows could just walk right over the fence...  

This picture shows the lodge.  Those doors are 6'6" tall.  So you can see the amount of snow they had to deal with.  (the hat was a need.)

We had lots of snow here too.  Nothing like the mountains, we live in the high mountain desert. We had about 3 feet.  For us that's good snow.  Our snow has all melted away. DH has cleaned the yard and cleaned the garden area.  Too wet to till yet but we are moving in the right direction. 

Happy spring to you,
a little bird

Friday, January 6, 2017

A bit of winter

We are having a bit of winter at our house.  I took this yesterday morning after our snow and blow.  
This morning it's -11.
I'm grateful for the wood stove.  Our power went out for awhile last night.  It wasn't out for a long time but at -11 it doesn't take long for houses to cool down.  We were warm as toast but I was concerned for our neighbors without heat. 
Our high for the day should be around 0.  I will again be grateful for the wood stove. ;0)
I think some soup, sewing and staying warm are what's on my agenda today.

Happy New Year!
a little bird

Friday, December 23, 2016

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him, whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas

It's time to chat and catch up.  I/we have been busy with the holiday season.  We had a full house for Thanksgiving, which was so fun.  We spent a lovely day visiting, eating, and being thankful for our many blessings. Then we all played cards late into the night visiting, laughing, and eating a bit more...

Then it seems the preparation for Christmas began. A bit of shopping, making a list, a bit of sewing, rechecking the list and now here it is the 22nd.  I have my little bit of sewing done. And the sewing area all cleaned up as it is in the guest room and needs to be ready for out guests on the 24th.  I'm planning to do a bit of grocery shopping today and pick up those last few fun items for under the tree.  A few more gifts to wrap and I think we'll be ready.

Ready... well ready to start some Christmas baking.  I haven't even made a cookie yet.  But if I make them we eat them so I am holding off to the last minute. ;-)

I love this time of year.  I love the lights, the music, the sewing and time of giving.  I look forward to Christmas eve candle light service at church.  Singing and remembering a sweet baby born to save us all.

So from our home and hearts to you and yours, Merry Christmas!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Beautiful September

It seems that the days are flying by.  September is here and now almost to it's end...  My October is already full and then it will be November and the holidays.  WOW how did that happen.

Our trees are turning.  The weather has turned cool and I LOVE it!  I'm hoping we'll find a minute to take a drive for a color tour.  Maybe next weekend?  Our schedules seem to be so very full right now. I know that is the norm for everyone.

I hope you are having a beautiful September and enjoying the change of the season.
a little bird

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Judging at the Fair and Putting By

I love this time of year!!!

Today I had the pleasure to judge at our local fair for Home Arts.  My area was canning, dehydrating and honey.  Beautiful home products were brought in.

We had wonderful group of gals and great questions were asked.  What do we look at? What are the criteria?, etc.

Well just in case you wonder as well what we use as guidelines, here are a few.

  • Is it a standard canning jar
  • Is it a standard canning lid
  • Is the jar clean (not sticky or residue on the jar or rim)
  • Is the jar labeled: contents, date, processed how and time
  • Was the correct processing method used (hot water bath, pressure canner, correct time processed)
  • Was it a USDA recommended recipe
Then after that...

  • What does the product look like.
  • Is it uniform in size
  • Is it uniform in ripeness
  • Does it hold it's shape (if that pertains)
  • Is the liquid clear or murky
  • Is there sediment in the bottom of the jar
  • Is the headspace correct for the recipe
  • And then there are additional items if it is jelly, jam, conserve, butter: consistency, thickness, etc.  
It is great fun and I'm always so pleased to see the lovely produce put by by such talented people.  

That was my morning so this afternoon I came home to get some of my own 'putting by' done.  

We lost two branches from our peach tree (very sad).  I didn't want the peaches to go to waste so I left them outside to ripen on the picnic table.  They were small but still tasty so I decided to make peach fruit leather with them. 

So I pitted them, whirled them in the blender with a vitamin C (which is ascorbic acid to prevent browning), some spices, honey and a little splash of water.  That is now out in the dehydrator.

I also had purchased some meat for the weekend that we didn't use.  My freezer is getting full. So I decided to can my meat.  I have nine pints in the pressure canner right now processing.

If you too would like to can meat, it is really easy, go HERE to the National Center for Home Canning Meat.  

That has been my day of judging and putting by.  I hope you are having a beautiful time harvesting the seasons' bounty as well.
a little bird


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