Friday, August 28, 2015

Still Here

Sorry for the lack of post but we have been busy!!  Back to work full time (I love working at a school where I get some summer off) but back at in since July.  With that, canning, gardening, laundry and trying to make a meal now and again... :-) as I say busy.

We went last Saturday to the mountains to cut a load of wood.  We stopped after about 50 miles to let the dog out for a bathroom break. She went right to the tire well. DH opened the hood of the truck and we had a stowaway... 

She had ridden all that way between the battery and water reservoir.   She was so happy to be lifted out of there and ride the rest of the way inside the truck.

I have posted pictures on facebook of her.  Called the vet in case someone was looking for their lost kitten but unfortunately no one seems to be missing her.
She is an outdoor kitten (we have two family members allergic to cats so she cannot be in the house) and she is adjusting to our 88 pound Labrador - well adjusting might be a strong word - tolerating,  avoiding, yes those are better words.  
But she is a sweet little thing and we are growing fond of her.  Our #3 granddaughter carried her around this evening and has decided that her name should be Lucy.  I have an Aunt Lucile, I'm not sure she would be all that impressed with the name but it seems to have stuck.
So even though we had no intentions of any additional pets it seems that Miss Lucy has joined the family.

A dear friend that is moving into a beautiful new home is interested in this sweet kitten.  Little Lucy will be spoiled, loved and be able to be an inside kitty.  So she will be moving to her new forever home in about a week.  We will miss her but this will be better for her.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Canning Time

The garden is producing well so it's canning time at our house.  The cabbage was last week.  Normally we do sauerkraut but I still have 15 pints from last year so this time I tried a new recipe Cabbage Slaw.  It is from the newest Ball Book.  I hope we like it because we have 17 pints... :-)
This week is corn and beets.  I picked most of the beets yesterday and put them up.  There are still some in the garden for fresh or to pickle at the end of the season.  The corn is just starting to come on so that will be a few bags at a time for the freezer.

I called our local orchard for cherries and apricots.  Apparently they lost 85% of their crop so what they did have was limited and is gone. I love cherries!!!  I was hoping to put a few by... I'll keep watching the store maybe I can get at least a few up for special occasions.  And apricot jam is high on our 'like it' list too.  I have a granddaughter and husband that love it.  I will see if I can find a few of those as well.  It may have to be grape jelly this year as the main stay.  I made some Rhubarb Butter and some Orange Rhubarb Jam.  I put up Strawberry Jam and Lime Orange Marmalade as well so we do have other choices but when someone in the family has a favorite I try to do that especially for them. 

The cukes are coming on so I want to put a few pickles up.  It's just kind of a bit here and a bit there but it adds up for our winter usage.  DH grows a lovely garden, I just can't see it go to waste.

Hope you are having a wonderful summer and are busy putting by the harvest for winter.  
a little bird

Friday, July 10, 2015

Thirst Quenching

Lime-Mint Water

Remember that bag of limes... well we have enjoyed them to the fullest.  We have had a real heat wave in the west.  Wanting to make sure that we are getting plenty of fluids I have this big jug on my counter top at all times.

The container holds 2 gallons so I don't fill it all the way we couldn't use it in a day. But 1 gallon of water, 1 sliced lime, and 5 or 6 sprigs of fresh mint topped with 2 or 3 pitchers full of ice and it makes a wonderful fresh thirst quencher.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Bushel of Mint

I did the third cutting of peppermint this morning.  I believe this is a heavy bushel.  That's a lot of tea!!  From previous cuttings I have made three batches of mint cordial and dried a gallon of mint for our winter tea use. 


Probably the most well known variety of mint,peppermint, or Mentha x piperita, is a hearty herb that gives off a classic mint smell when you rub its leaves. You can dry this mint for tea or use it fresh for cooking. Both dried and fresh forms are known for soothing an upset stomach, freshening breath, relieving cold symptoms, and acting as a mood lifter.

Hopefully my Daughters-in-love will take some all of this.  I hate to have it go to waste but it needed to be cut.  I don't know if I'll cut it a fourth time or let it go to flower for the bees.  
They like the mint too.

Mint Cordial - store in the refrigerator

Friday, June 19, 2015

Lime-Orange Marmalade

I picked up a 5 pound bag of limes the other day while at Costco.  They were so beautiful!  What to do with that many limes??  Marmalade for a start!  I made two batches of marmalade That's 18 jars of marmalade.  Plenty for us.  Lime Curd is on the agenda as well.  Lime juice may be used as a substitute for lemon juice to make Lime Curd.  There will still be some limes left over for lime water on a hot day.  Lime - Mint water is a real treat.  And maybe some Limeade as well.   That 5 pound bag will be gone soon...

Last week I put up 6 gallons of strawberries.  Three batches of jam and the rest sliced to the freezer for winter treats.  So the process of 'putting by' has begun.  

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Home Canned Dog Food

I cleaned my freezer out yesterday.   This is something I do every summer. Clean, organize, and sort...  Well I unearthed a few old roasts and some old burger.  I'm ashamed to say it was 4 years old.  The meat was still good and there was no freezer burn etc.  But to be honest if we haven't eaten it in four years I doubt it will be high on the list now.  Yes, I came across it last year and thought we really need to use this... I'm just not a big wild game person.  

So this year was my limit.  I felt it was very wasteful to toss it into the dumpster so decided to can it up for fido.  I canned this as I would can any meat so it's completely safe for dog or human consumption.  

Ergo Miss Chessie will be eating high on the hog (er deer, elk, beef) having a bit of this atop her normal kibble.  I called my daughter-in-love and asked if I was becoming the 'crazy cat dog lady'. She assured me I was fine and just not wanting to waste food.  I hope she's right.

a little bird

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Corn Traditional Masa

I would like to preface this with I always like to do stuff the 'old way' traditional way.  :-)

I bought some corn to grind for corn bread and tortillas and then I found out that our bodies really don't break corn down well so we don't get all the needed vitamins from it.  How do we get the vitamins???  By soaking in lime.  So if you too have some corn and would like to make traditional torillas as well here is how.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Super Simple Pasta Dinner

Super Simple Pasta Dinner

This simple dinner is a family favorite.  I can make this when we are camping or on a night that everyone lands in and I really haven't planned dinner...  Even the granddaughters like this.  

You will need:
1 lb. hamburger
1 can pasta sauce (I use Hunts)
dried pasta, smaller pasta works best.

Brown your hamburger. Add the can of pasta sauce, fill the pasta sauce can with water and add.  Now fill the pasta sauce can with uncooked pasta.  (I like penne, twirls, macaroni, or shells.) Add the pasta to all the rest, stir, cover, and cook on low for 20 to 25 minutes. 

I like to serve this with parmesan cheese and serve a salad and you have a fast and EASY dinner.  If you have a bigger family just double the recipe.  When we are all up in the hills I do.  Its so easy to increase just double your ingredients and get a bigger pan. :-) 

a little bird



Sunday, May 17, 2015

Spring Garden

The spring garden is producing well, lots of onions, chives, rhubarb, the mint is like a forest, harvested some cilantro and oregano as well.

Last year we purchased a larger dehydrator.  It is an Excalibur.  I have been very happy with this unit. The only reason I say this is if you are looking for a new or additional dehydrator this is a good one.
I do a fair amount of dehydrating. Last year we did kale, beets, apples, pears, apricots, plums, tomatoes, squash, many spices and herbs for tea, etc.  We use our dehydrators.  :-)  We live in the high mountain desert so we can do some sun drying as well.  But the ease and speed of using a dehydrator is a real plus.

I use the dried veggies in soups.  We eat the fruits as a snack.  Peppermint, camomile, rose hips, orange rind and the like are used for tea and the spices go into our home cooked meals.  It is a great way to 'put by' the harvest.  It requires less space and stores very well.  

For a free copy of the the below book Drying Fruits and Vegetables CLICK HERE

Saturday, May 2, 2015


We have some 'new' at our house.  We have a brand new granddaughter.  I had forgotten how very tiny they are to start.  Although she is the biggest baby so far 7 lbs 13 oz.  She is a tiny little peanut.  And of course beautiful.  What a special blessing.  We sure love our girls.  DH and I had boys and I LOVE my boys but I always wanted a little girl too.  Well I now have five beautiful granddaughters.  God is so good.

The other 'new' is the bathroom...  Our house is 42 years old and the bathroom is the original.  The hinge broke on the vanity cabinet and DH said okay it's time for an updated bathroom.  Below are some pictures of the new items.
Note: these picutres are mainly for my mom.  She likes to see what we're up to and this is an easy way for her.  I'm sure our 'new' bathroom items aren't of much interest to anyone else.  :-)  But thanks for indulging me.  a little bird...

We have been buying the materials, tile, vanity, mirror, cabinet, even a new loo.  And today DH started the project.  The old vanity and medicine cabinet are gone. The new floor is going down - good thing he knows how to do tile work!!  We (that 'we' is the royal we as DH is doing all the work) are going to do it in stages as much as possible as we are a one loo household... Thank goodness for the camper.  :-)  The final stage will be a walk in shower.  No more tub but we really use the shower most all the time.

So that's whats 'new' with us.
a little bird


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