Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Well after all that stuff about people going to the store the white stuff came down. Every place BUT here got it first but now we have about 6-8 inches and it is still snowing. My sister has 16 inches. And our oldest girl is stuck at her boyfriends house with her car buried in his dad's driveway. We have plenty of stuff in the freezer and pantry so I don't have to go out but it's tempting to take the Jeep for a little fun. Here are some pictures from yesterday.
We have had another 3-4 inches since. Like always this will only last a few days then it is suppose to turn to rain tomorrow. Not what I would call an emergency unless you aren't prepared a little. Power went out temporarily but we have a big 10,000 Kw Generac generator. As usual the man had to have the coolest one on the market at the time we bought it so this one "exercises" itself automatically every Saturday afternoon at 4pm to keep the start up battery charged. A power outage isn't as fun as it was when I was a kid. Most of the time we don't even notice the power lapse because the generator starts up automatically 30 seconds after the power goes out, warms up for 15 seconds and then powers up almost everything in the house. Including the washer and dryer. (Dryer is propane but has electric start up and digital stuff on it.) Most of the time we don't notice the power lapse until we see the oven display that says "power loss" and I have to reset the clock.  Apparently Generac now has a new generator that keeps the start up battery charged with a solar panel. I imagine when or if we ever move from here he is going to want that at the next place.
Geese on the back porch looking for breakfast. 
"snow goose"

The cords in the bird pasture that keeps flying predators out sagging under the weight of the snow.

No potato towers today!
Just for the cuteness factor our youngest daughter gave her hedge hog a bath during the snow storm. What better way to spend a cold afternoon than in the tub!
After a nice warm bath.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Just got this from Metzer Farms

They have a camera set up so you can see baby ducks hatching. I've included the time lapse version. Kids may like this.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Preparedness and My Own Observations

Well mother nature has decided to make gardening a bad idea right now. We are getting a little snow and it is cold so putting soil in the cold frame and building potato towers will have to wait. We don't usually get much snow but any snow will keep me out of the garden. Instead I spent a couple hours this morning tidying up the coup, mixing and adding the wood shavings with lime, freshening everyone's waters and fixing the goose's "bedroom" so they would have a place out of the wind and rain tonight. Ducks can handle the colder wetter weather but because Sebastapol geese have feathers that don't lay flat the wind lifts their feathers giving them less insulation against the wind and rain. So today I think I will make some homemade chicken and noodles and bake a pie. Yes home made noodles. Recipe will be at the end of this post. 

I have been hearing people on the street talking about the doomsday machine. 2012 the end of the Mayan calendar, Nostradamus, civil unrest, end of life as we know it- ya da ya da ya da........... Even going to the grocery store you hear people talk about it to the cashiers or other customers. Sometimes they are laughing like they think it's a joke. Sometimes I get the feeling they are just feeling out other people to see what they think but don't want to look like a weirdo. Instinctively people know something is wrong with our world these days but can't quite put their finger on it. Or choose to ignore it. Or they really are just completely unaware. No matter what you believe preparing for an emergency or something as simple as a snow storm is a good idea. Living on an island you have to be prepared for emergencies to a certain degree. Sometimes help just can't get there when it's needed and you have to have some degree of self sufficiency. So you put up extra groceries, medicines, batteries and flashlights, get a generator and stock the freezer. The worse that can happen is you will have to use it rotating it out of your inventory while replacing what you use. The best is you have something for those "challenging" times and your family will be more comfortable and you'll be less stressed when you aren't fighting the crowd at the store (possibly an empty store) during an emergency. Today I had to go to the store to get just two items for a new recipe I wanted to try. The store was packed because it was suppose to snow. Come on people. Surely you have enough groceries in the house for a day or two. The cashier made some comment to me about how busy they were because people had heard it was going to snow. I said "can you imagine what this place would be like if there were a real emergency?" Without hesitating for a second she said "the shelves in this place would be cleared out in minutes". Makes me wonder what it was like here when Mt. Saint Helen erupted. There is nothing wrong with preparing for a catastrophe no matter what it might be. Earthquake, flood, mother nature pitching a fit. She certainly has plenty of reason. Red Cross wants you to be prepared. I think most people can prepare for those sorts of things but they have to choose to do so. If they choose not to I guess that is one of those things that controls the population in the animal (and human) world. 

But how about an economic meltdown.  Economics is a subject most people know very little about. (or choose to ignore)  History has a way of repeating itself so with just a little reading and observation you can gain some insight into where the country may be going. This isn't the first time our economy has hit the skids and the Great Depression that everyone is always pointing a finger at isn't the first nor the only time this has happened. It's just the one that our still living ancestors tell stories about.  For those who want or need a little history lesson on this subject here is a link. You can start here to educate yourself or like most people stick your head in the sand and hope it goes away. but this is just the beginning.

So what's the big deal you say. We've done this before and eventually most of us have come out fine. This is true however our world is not the same as it was 80 plus years ago.  The next blog I will write will address some of these differences. 
Now how about that recipe. For those who would like to be able to make their own egg noodles and learn a new skill. Here it is.

Egg Noodles
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon of salt
two eggs, lightly beaten

Place flour and salt in a bowl and mix. In a small dish  lightly beat the eggs with a fork. Make a well in the flour and pour in the eggs. Mix with the fork until the eggs are fully mixed. Add enough water a little at a time to make a stiff dough. (stiffer than pie crust) When the dough is fully mixed  take the ball of dough out and knead for about 2 minutes or so. Place dough on a floured surface and start rolling with a rolling pin. Sprinkle more flour as you go to keep it from sticking, flipping the dough and flouring until you have a circle about 24 x 18 inches (or as thin as you can). This will be hard to do. Flour the rolled dough and starting from one side, roll up jelly roll fashion. Take a sharp knife or pizza cutter and slice 1/2 inch circles. Unroll each circle and toss to fluff up the pile of noodles. Place on a wire rack and allow to dry at least an hour before using. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Big Bowl of Geese

Caught this photo through the kitchen window because I knew my geese would jump out of the pool if I went out to get a picture. I took several before I decided to whistle to get their attention and got them all looking at me at the same time. Here are some of the others.

Preening and cleaning in a communal bath. Just like a bunch of friends in a hot tub. Only thing missing is the beer.

Sometimes you read something that just sounds weird but you have to try it anyway. Some where I read that if you take the root end of a green onion and cut it off you can get it to grow again. Just so happens that I bought some green onions to put in a salad the other day and decided to try it. I cut off the root end about a quarter of an inch above the roots and stuck them in a shallow dish with some water and within two days I started to see green shoots. Guess I will have to plant them just to see what happens.

Nice to get double for your money if it works. I wonder if you can just keep recycling them over and over.

Last year I grew a bumper crop of tomatoes. Problem was most of them never got ripe and I didn't have time to do anything with the green ones. So I gave a bunch to a friend of mine and her room mate made green tomato relish. It was the first time I have ever tried it and it was delicious. I have looked at a ton of green tomato recipes and I have tried fried green tomatoes (I was unimpressed) so this year I will pick those green tomatoes ahead of time instead of waiting for fall and can them up into relish and pickles. Thanks Cin and Martha.
Here is the recipe if anyone wants to try it.

24 large green tomatoes
3 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
3 green bell peppers, halved and seeded
12 large onions
3 tablespoons celery seed
3 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon salt
5 cups white sugar
2 cups cider vinegar
In a grinder or food processor, coarsely grind tomatoes, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, and onions. (You may need to do this in batches.) Line a large colander with cheesecloth, place in sink or in a large bowl, and pour in tomato mixture to drain for 1 hour.
In a large, non-aluminum stockpot, combine tomato mixture, celery seed, mustard seed, salt, sugar, and vinegar. Bring to a boil and simmer over low heat 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Sterilize enough jars and lids to hold relish (12 one-pint jars, or 6 one-quart jars). Pack relish into sterilized jars, making sure there are no spaces or air pockets. Fill jars all the way to top. Screw on lids.
Place a rack in the bottom of a large stockpot and fill halfway with boiling water. Carefully lower jars into pot using a holder. Leave a 2 inch space between jars. Pour in more boiling water if necessary, until tops of jars are covered by 2 inches of water. Bring water to a full boil, then cover and process for 30 minutes.
Remove jars from pot and place on cloth-covered or wood surface, several inches apart, until cool. Once cool, press top of each lid with finger, ensuring that seal is tight (lid does not move up or down at all). Relish can be stored for up to a year.

My next few blogs are going to be getting a little more serious but I promise I will put in at least one fun piece of fluff in each one. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Comments are a way of Communicating

I want to thanks those of you who take the time to click on the word comment at the bottom of my page. Sometimes it is hard to get up the gumption to write these blogs because you think "what's the point". I love hearing from all of you and suggestions for blog post are encouraged. What would you like to read about? Let me know. Communication via blogs is more fun than e-mail!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Winter Vegis and a Christmas present

The last time I actually walked into my garden was to pick the last head of Cheddar cauliflower and some broccoli. It was the first week of November and I noticed the brussel sprouts were not up to size and the white cauliflower was about 2 inches across and tightly wrapped in their green leaves. Guess I shouldn't have expected anything else. After all I had bought a variety that said "overwintering" as opposed to "fall harvesting".  Now I know what those tags meant. Unlike the cheddar cauliflower and the broccoli that had tags with fall harvest boldly printed on them my sprouts and the variety of cauliflower aren't suppose to mature until early spring. Today, (two months later) I went down to the garden to collect the potato tower frames and just have a look around to see how much of a mess I had. Surprise! I had beautiful white heads of cauliflower poking out of dark green leaves and the brussel sprouts are actually getting to be eating size. Next year I will plant more of those and stagger the plant dates a couple weeks apart so I can have fresh vegis over a longer period of time. I only planted 4 of these cauliflower as an experiment. If only I had known!

The Man has been building a closet for me in the bedroom which is what I had asked for as a gift for Christmas. A wonderful beautiful closet for Christmas that isn't in the steamy, icky, hated bathroom.  I hate that bathroom. It is small and ugly and only has a shower, toilet, and one sink in it. In addition the previous owners installed 12 inch floor tiles over the top of linoleum then painted the walls a god awful puce color. All I can figure out is that they had left over paint and mixed it all together and painted the walls. They also painted right over wall paper glue that once was sticking a border up along the ceiling. This bathroom is so ugly that I didn't even want to buy this house. I actually had to revisit this place about 4 times before I was convinced the rest of the house was worth it.  So once the clothes are out of the old closet and in the new I will start demolishing the bathroom. Now THAT will be fun. The new closet is almost done so I will be painting it soon. Little does The Man know that the reason I wanted the bedroom closet in the first place was so I could rip apart the bathroom and make it look bigger. Then we (meaning he) can start remodeling it. The remodel doesn't even have to start right away just as long as I get to rip that room a new one. I will live with exposed studs and plywood floor. Now I am  looking for a claw foot tub in really good condition. The people at the re-store already know me because I go in there every other day looking for a tub.

Now part of my last post was about mother nature and her fickle attitude. The weather has been decent here and I knocked on wood. So wouldn't you know even though it wasn't predicted I woke up the next morning to a light dusting of something that looked awfully similar to snow. It was probably hail but it sure did look like snow and to top it off it froze that night and my beautiful white cauliflower are a little frost bit on the edges. So just because I really love closing the barn door after the horse gets out, I went down the next evening and covered the rest of them with a light garden cloth. Didn't seem to hurt the taste of the cauliflower though. We had one with our New Years Eve dinner of Ham and potato pancakes and home made apple sauce. New years days I made the black eyed peas for good luck, home made sourdough bread and baked a rustic apple pie. (recipe for the pie is on previous post November 14, 2010) I love that pie.

 Happy New Year!.