Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Second try

Different brand.

I kind of like this one, although the other has a fun, 'modern' look (if chicken feed bags can be modern!)
Justine is destined to get the first one and this one is bound for one of V's cousins who saw the first on facebook.  30 minutes from feed sack to tote bag.  I can probably get it down to a faster pace with practice.  But it has been good to get back to the sewing machine after avoiding it all summer.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A little fun

It's a chicken bag!

Putting those feed sack to good use.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A ghost of a sauce

I think maybe I'm going to try Sundays as a regular blogging day.  Of course, we'll see how long that lasts, LOL!
Today I'm cooking with fire at home.  Ghostly fire!  Naga Jolokia or Ghost Chili fire,  that is.  This spring, my friend Roger gave me a seedling pepper plant.  A ghost chili.  I'll admit, I'm a little frightened by it.  These are the second hottest peppers in the world, topped only by the Trinidad Scorpion (also to be found growing in Roger's garden!), so they are nothing to take lightly.
Today, I'm canning tomato sauce.  We do like it spicy here so a few weeks ago, I made some enchilada sauce and tossed in a small ghost chili.  Yowza!  So, today, I'm making ghost sauce for other purposes. In with about 8 quarts of sauce I've got onion and two and a half peppers.  I've got one hungarian wax 'Volcano', one Bulgarian Carrot and half of a ghost chili.  Whew!  Spicy!!! but incredibly tasty.  All these peppers have the bonus of not only being incredibly hot but also flavorful.  And 2.5 peppers is plenty.  This sauce will go well over pasta in the cold winter months.
I've got a few things crossed off my list so far on my vacation and a few still to go.  I still need to get in and weed and prep the greenhouse for planting.  Of course, this has to be the hottest weather we've had all summer so working in the greenhouse will have to be done early- probably tomorrow morning after I get the boys off to school. I also want to make some reusable bags.  I saw these at the farmer's market and want to make some myself:  The woman dubbed "the cookie lady" long, long ago by Justine was also selling tote bags made from feed sacks.  I've got quite a stack of chicken feed sacks- those lovely, sturdy, rip-stop affairs- and I thought they may make fun holiday gifts for family members.  I brought in a couple of sacks so maybe tonight after dinner?  Maybe.  We'll see.

Anyway...  I'll leave you with a few photos of my walkabout yesterday afternoon.

 The bees are loving the touch-me-nots. And it is a good year for these flowers.  They seem to have taken over along the creek for a stretch.
 The groundnuts are blooming.  This is the first year I've noticed the blooms.  I've spotted the vines and we noticed the little tubers washing out of the stream bank after a flood this spring.  Nice to know that we have another wild edible around.
 Not wild.  But I do love my scarlet runner beans.
 One of the squash that came up volunteer by the chicken run.  There are three large acorn squash on the vine.  Awesome!
And the cherry roma tomatoes are doing well.  In fact... I think I need to go pick them.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A new beginning?

Wow.  I have been really bad at this, haven't I?  I was gently reminded by my sister that I haven't posted in a while.  My bad.  Time just seems to get away from me these days.  But, now that school is back in session and things will be settling down into routine again, I'll really, really try to be better.

To catch up, I'll share a few photos.  We've been having quite the social life here this summer- much different from our norm.  We've hosted several gatherings of friends in recent weeks as well as all the usual 'stuff' that happens.
 I've been canning.  Raspberry jam and red currant jelly are here.  I've also done tomatoes, sauce and enchilada sauce.  And...  I invested in 7 dozen Tattler reusable lids!  Justine and I went to Kalona to pick up a few things at Stringtown (the Amish bulk food store) and they had Tattlers for $7.56/dozen.  Having recently purchased regular lids (for $2.39/dozen!!!) I got a dozen to see how I liked them.  LOVED THEM!  So I made another run down and picked up another 6 dozen boxes.  That price is cheaper than I can get them online and no shipping!
 The hens have been providing us with lovely eggs.  Now three of the new four ladies are laying.  Only Tabitha hasn't started yet.  But she is looking all nicely red in the comb and wattles now so hopefully soon.   Above is an egg and cheese Frittata.  With local cheese from Kalona, everything was from within 30 miles- mostly from our backyard.  Mmm...
 One of the social gatherings.  We hosted a meteor watching party during the Perseid meteor shower.  While we waited for it to get late enough, the youth sat around and did dramatic readings:  Classical Shakespeare done as a valley girl and a play written by one of Justine's friends- you know, the usual stuff.  We also hosted a series of Dungeons and Dragon adventures this summer with V as the DM.  Epic adventures were had!
 V has finished his office in the basement.  Since this photo was taken the room has been painted and trim installed.  The first finished room in the basement! Woot! Next, we move on to Justine's room since she is off at college again- they left yesterday :(      All drywall is up, we just need to do the finish sanding and paint.  But, we've been waiting for Justine to leave so we can take everything out of her room and then play musical belongings as we move from room to room while we work.
 V celebrated another birthday.  Justine did a wonderful job with the lettering on his cake.  The Reading Lines logo completed in frosting.
 And of course, there was the obligatory slicing of watermelon with a katana.  Doesn't everyone do that?  This was one of two melons we picked up at the farmer's market. Justine starts it off
 And V slices off a bit to eat.  We did have something on the ground to catch them as they fell.  It's a messy way to slice it but well worth it just for the fun factor.
I had the day off yesterday.  This was my project. Our trusty dining room chairs had these old, fake-leather seats that recently started disintegrating (I'm sure the cats didn't help that at all!).  So I spent the day recovering them with a lovely, sturdy fabric.  Looks much better, I think.
I'm taking a few days off while V takes Justine back to college and I'm enjoying my alone time again. Of course, I've got the boys with me this weekend but I've still got plenty planned.

I really need to figure out a good blogging schedule so I can keep up to date here.
Sorry again for the long delay.  I really haven't fallen off the face of the earth... much.