Monday, December 8, 2014

Rhubarb Lemonade And Healthy Food

I just finished making a pitcher of rhubarb lemonade and all I can say is MY OH MY!  Oh, it is good!  The picture I have with the recipe has red lemonade, but most of my rhubarb is green.  I think in the early spring I do get more red, so that will be interesting.  This was just the color of lemonade.  The recipe is to take 2 cups of rhubarb, 3/4 cup sugar, and 1-1/2 cups of water and boil and then simmer 10 minutes.  Squeeze about 5 lemons to get 1-1/4 cup of lemon juice.  I let the rhubarb cool and strained into the pitcher with the lemon juice and added 4 cups of water.  I will try to remember tomorrow to take a picture of it.

Today, I thawed some plums and pitted them.  I put them through the juicer with some apples and we had that for breakfast.  It was pretty good.  For supper, I made the same recipe before with the beets, apples, carrots, and ginger.  There were more greens with these beets, so we had a lot of juice.  I had over 5 cups.  I saved 1 cups for my husband to drink in the morning before work. 

I am going to thaw tomatoes tomorrow and make tomato soup.  I am getting excited about the garden for next year.  I moved a little bit of compost that needs to finish.  I cut down all the old dead plants in the new herb garden and getting ready to spread compost on it and I will do the same with the old herb garden.  It will need a lot of work next year.  It is still overgrown even after I moved a lot of plants to the new herb garden. 

I am trying to decide where to plant greens and beets and I want to start getting it ready.  I am going to put rabbit manure and compost and put straw on top of that and then when the ground thaws I will turn it and be ready to plant early.  I am going to see if my son and husband can make a couple of cold frames.  This year, might be the year they build a greenhouse too. 


I bought a juicer yesterday and I have been searching for recipes for fruits and vegetables.  I have so much fruit in the he freezers and when spring comes I will have more.  I cannot keep making just jam and jelly. 

I have worried about the fiber taken out of the food, but I am going to try it.  I did not buy a real expensive one, but I did get one that will juice carrots and it even juiced sweet potatoes.

The first recipe was really nice.  I bought 3 beets.  I had some apples and I used frozen blackberries.  I think they should be thawed to get more juice out of them.  I used more than a cup of blackberries and 1/2 inch piece of peeled ginger.  That make enough juice for the 4 of us to get about 3/4 of a cup. It had a beet taste and was rich looking and had an excellent taste. 

The next recipe I used 2 sweet potatoes peeled, 4 carrots and 1/2 inch piece of ginger.  I thought it had a carrot taste.  Very nice.  This made 1/2 cup for each of us.

I will experiment and see what we like and how much it will take to get a cup each for a serving.  I would like to get where we drink 1 cup of a fruit in the morning and a cup of vegetable juice in the evening.

I was told the cleanup would be hard and it was not at all hard.  I have been told it is expensive and that it is, but I have a garden.  I have blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and rhubarb in the freezer.  I have five rhubarb plants that will be producing this spring.  I am going to make rhubarb lemonade here in the next day or so.

Organic beets are very expensive, so my plan is to grow a lot of beets and rotate them so I can keep getting them until fall.  I can freeze beets, but they will have to be blanched and that is not the same as raw juicing.  I have grown sweet potatoes and I may try again, but I hate to waste the space if it fails.  I can grow carrots too.  The herbs can also be juiced. I did juice the beet greens with the 3 beets that I bought. 

I decided that if we see any health benefits from this then I will buy a better juicer when this ones quits working.  I am also thinking of buying a Vitamix after Christmas.  My plan is for 2015 to be a healthy year and to make good use of our food. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

How Many Hours OF Housework A Day Should We Do?

I watched an old movie made in 1930s or so.  A doctor stated that most of his patients could be healed by doing 6 hours of housework a day.  His patients were rich women who laid around all day and had maids. When the movie was made they did not have dishwashers, washing machines,dryers, vacuum cleaners, so I can see how we have it easier than they did and it might not take us 6 hours. Last week I made applesauce and apple jelly. I stared washing the jars, put the water on and sterilized the jars, got the apples ready, and while cooking, I would wash dishes and clean areas I needed. The jelly took the longest it seemed. I was getting tired. With the jars, the apples, the dishes, and then cooking supper, I was in the kitchen for 8 hours. The next day, I really wondered about all this gardening, canning, dehydrating and is it worth it.

I finished the asparagus bed today. The bed is covered with leaves and some old hay.  I raked and hoed weeds.  I spread some compost. It was only about a 10 x 10 area. I also cleaned up the spot where the big rhubarb plant is. I put some compost down and I will cover that area with some old straw tomorrow. I worked outside for 2 hours and staggered in and got the fire going. I started washing dishes and by the time I was done, I was getting another attitude about all this housework.

I washed clothes and I sure am glad I did not have to boil a kettle of water to wash clothes. I do not think that all that work made women slim and trim. When I was a little girl, two women lived across the street. They were sisters. They were old. They wore clothes that looked like from an old western show.  It was the 1950s, so they were born in the late 1800s.  They had an outhouse. They had an old wringer washer on the porch and hung clothes on the line. They had a big garden and I would watch them bent over going down the rows working and neither one of these women were slim.  There is more to it that work.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

What I Did Today

Today, I went out and started cutting down the asparagus ferns and pulling weeds. It was raining a little, so I did not finish. Tomorrow I will finish pulling weeds and put some compost in the box and some straw to mulch for the winter.

I took a few pictures. I did not make applesauce today, but I took pictures of some of the other that I made before my daughter eats it all.

She loves applesauce. I made one batch plain and the other with cinnamon.  I have enough apple jelly, so I will not make anymore of that and it will make the applesauce canning a lot easier and faster.  I might make some apple/plum sauce too, but with Thanksgiving, I am not sure when I will get this done.

I decided to make something healthy tonight to go with supper.   I thawed some chicken broth, chopped an onion, minced garlic, chopped some celery, added dehydrated parsley, thyme, and kale. I thought it was really good and I will have some for lunch tomorrow.

I am going to be out of dehydrated thyme and oregano long before spring, so next year I know I have to start earlier dehydrating these.   I have two herb gardens now and they both need a lot of work.  The oldest has oregano and several kinds of mint, thyme, chives, sage, and also some flowers.  The new herb garden has rhubarb, parsley that I hope comes back next year, a big pretty anise hyssop plant, a lot of mint, thyme, oregano, chives, and I hope the lemon balm returns.  I have a couple of different kinds of thyme.  Herbs are one thing that I find that are of great value to grow.  I cannot get this taste from herbs bought from the store.  There is something about cutting the herbs and bringing in and using right then or dehydrating immediately.  I am going to expand and improve the herb gardens next year. 

I did not really get a lot done today, but I feel like I got some exercise. I was working in the garden for over an hour. Maybe, I can finish the asparagus tomorrow. 

Women At Home

I neglected my blog all summer. I was busy, but also I stopped blogging because my blog looked so exhausting. It seemed to be a long never ending list of jobs. I have been considering why do I garden and is it worth it.  I kind of perked up the other day while outside planting garlic with geese flying over and honking at me on a chilly November day. 

So many like to tell women their place is in the home. In the home doing what?  They are to cook and clean and let the men be in charge, but in charge of what?  I stayed at home to raise my children and to homeschool them. Is this the future for my daughter?  What kind of woman will my son marry?  The world is a crazy place anymore.  When I was younger and my mother was home, she always was busy and our house had people coming and going.  Most of the people were neighbors.  We sat outside at night and talked.  My friend Theresa would come to get me to sit in her kitchen and watch her pressure canner while she had to do something else.  I had no interest in canning back then. She was older than I was, but we always were busy doing things.  She was married and I was still a teenager.  We went fishing, rode horses, and her family and mine would go to church.  We did not compete with each other and why we were friends, I do not know, other than we did not judge each other. Maybe, we really did not even know a lot about each other.  I think people know each other too well or they think they do by reading between the lines of texts and messages.  They cannot hear the voice or see the face to know if somebody is even joking.  Today, neighbors do not need you for a friend.  Most people do not even go outside in their yard.  They have jobs, family, computers and cell phones.  

It was not unusual for women to be at home all day cooking and taking care of children when my mother was a housewife.  They did not homeschool back then.  I would come home and find Theresa talking to my mother and they talked of making supper and desserts.  For me, this does not happen.  I have been homeschooling for years and stayed home.  Neighborhood children came to play.  I am not sure what my kids would have done if we had lived way off outside of town.  I know what would have happened.  I would have joined all kinds of things to keep them busy and I would have been on the road back and forth to town.  With me being home, the neighborhood kids could play in our yard.  The mothers went to work and the dads were home and then when she came home the dad would go to work, if there was a dad.  There were not any women at home canning, growing a garden, worrying about minerals in the soil, or GMOs in their food.  My son had 2 friends that were brothers.  For about a month they ate chicken nuggets and French fries that their mother brought home from her job at a fast food place.  The same happened years earlier when my daughter's friends ate hamburgers for a month when their mother went to work at a fast food restaurant.  I remember the kids kind of lost and the husband too.  Then, the mother came home with the sacks and off they ran to meet her and the doors shut and they stayed in visiting with her and eating their food in a sack.  The job would last about a month and then she would be home again and the husband would work and the mother would be wandering around not knowing what to do.  I see so many girls that say they need a job and they have a home and children to take care of.  I really do not know what the young people are going to do for jobs in this country.  

I have lived here in this house now for over 6 years.  The house behind me has seen several families come and go.  An older man just moved in and he told my husband that he likes what we have done with the garden and he wants to do the same with his yard. I have met several of the other neighbors.  I know a couple of names.  We smile and wave.  I have another a few houses away that I talk to outside when she comes out in the spring and summer to plant her small garden.  The house on the other side has an older man.  He is gone all the time and he will talk for a short period of time if you see him outside.  

There are not any like minded women to can and cook with.  I talk to my friend Ellie about what I cook and can, and she tells me all about what she is doing.  She lives in another state.  My own family does not want to hear about the tomatoes or the green beans.  They do not want to know about the weeds.  They sure do not want to hear the cherries need to be pitted.  We almost had World War III over pitting cherries last summer. 

I had a fit.  It was all poor me and nobody appreciates me and the food is being wasted.  I had such a fit that after son and daughter went swimming, they sat under the tree pitting cherries in their wet clothes.  They looked so sad, I almost felt sorry for them.  Well, I did end up feeling sorry for them and decided to freeze the cherries with the pits and make juice later. They are small and there are 3 bushes. The first year there were a few and we were so excited to see cherries and could not wait to make a pie.  The next year, not so excited and this year, I think everybody did all they could to not even look in the direction of the bushes.  I decided it was best I pick them and go get some exercise and sun.  I would pick a quart and put them in the ice box.  I would hope a certain daughter would see them and pit them for me, but they would get pushed back and then the next quart would come in and then I ended up pitting them.  My son looked so upset at the idea of pitting them that I did not even want to go through seeing that face.

What is my job?  Should I take the time to make jelly or applesauce?  I never buy applesauce anymore because it has fructose corn syrup.  I do not want to spend money for organic and most of the jelly has corn syrup.  Should I care about corn syrup?  Everybody else eats corn syrup.  Everybody else does a lot of things I do not do.  I did not see a big benefit this year with exercise for me.  I like to say that I am going to garden and lose weight.  Well, that did not happen.  I think the garden does keep me busy where I am not just sitting all day.  I have a lot of chores to do and I think that is good.  I don't want to make my family take care of the garden since they do not enjoy it.  Well, my husband does when he has time.  He would be out in the garden all the time if he was retired.  

I type medical reports all day from home.  I am a medical transcriptionist.  I have noticed in the last few years more and more people with heart disease at earlier ages. There are so many strokes that it is frightening. I have noticed more birth defects and thyroid disease is so common that normal thyroid function is going to become rare. My parents took care of me when I was born. They went out of their way to buy raw milk. I was given vitamins and the best quality they could find.  I can remember my mother snapping beans, shelling peas, shucking corn.  My mother was always cooking greens.  She would get so excited about somebody bringing her fresh greens that I look back and she reminds me of Granny Clampett cooking in her kitchen.  I will be 60 in a few months and I have no disease with a name.  I do not think I did so well with my children and I regret it. My parents were blind and my mother cooked from scratch and I have two eyes and wonder if I should do the same? 

I regret not starting my children on raw milk.  They had formula.  They were allowed to drink way too much pop. We had a lot of fast food hamburgers and chicken nuggets for supper without salads or anything green.  They ate a lot of breakfast cereal.  I did put them on raw milk when my son was only about 2 and when I could not buy raw, I did buy organic to stay away from hormones in the milk. 

I suppose my picky son might think all this is worth it if somehow I create food that tastes good, looks good, and is healthy too.  I do not want the garden to be all about saving money or stocking up on food.  I would like to see us have more energy and see some type of health benefit from the garden this next year.   It is my job to see that they are healthy and I just do not feel I have done my best.  I am going to make the most of 2015. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

What Grew And Did Not In The Garden

I started out with a lot of energy and ideas for the 2014 garden.  I seemed to not have as much time this year. I did not take as many pictures.   I need my own camera.  Next will be all the clean up. The garden produced so long that the plants were still in the garden in late October producing. Usually, the garden clean up is going on in October. I think I will just list what I planted and what happened. Overall, it was an exceptional garden. 

It was 2 years old and produced well, but it is really planted in a bad place. The ferns are shading other parts of the garden. The ferns are huge. I am going out in the next day or so to cut them down and to put compost and mulch done to get ready for spring.

Hardly any. I have no idea why.  The only time I did have success with beets was when I transplanted them. My neighbor had some and I saw how she planted them. Her daughter started them in the house and she transplanted to the garden. I am going to start them in the house and transplant to the garden early, early spring.

I did not plant very many and all I got were a few short ones, but very sweet.

This was the first year I planted it and I started it from seed and I only planted a few to see what would happen. First, I did not have room and it was planted in a bad spot, but it grew and I actually ate celery from my own garden and have some in the freezer. I will plant more next year.

They were planted too close together and fell over, but they kept on producing. It was a mess to deal with and I am not sure I will plant bush beans again after the success I had with pole beans.

UNREAL! I do not know how much I harvested, but daily I picked 2 or 3 pounds and sometimes more. They were on poles about 7 feet high and strings tied on the poles than hung to the ground for them to grow up.

I planted a million. I worked hard and I planted them in rabbit manure. I could not get in to weed them, but they grew so tall. They were waist high. A wind and rain storm came and blew them over and with all the weeds, I could not stand to look at them any longer, so I picked them. I still have onions and they taste great, but they were small. I am not sure where I will plant them next time, but somewhere that I can get to them and weed them better.

I planted some on the north and some on the south side of a fence. The south did a lot better. The ones on the north also had the pole beans. They still grew, but not as well as the south.  I still got them all mixed up, but a few of them I did recognize.  The cherry tomatoes did well.  The pink brandywine took forever to ripen.  I liked the Bloody Butcher that I planted, but I did not get very many.  The San Marzano produced and produced.  I will grow them again.

I planted a lot of peppers and I got a lot.  They were amazing.

I started some from seed and I bought some curly leaf because I read that it will reseed and come back next spring.  I have quarts of parsley dehydrated.  I was pleased with both kinds. 

I planted a lot.  Then, I planted peas too close.  Then, the weeds came, and I had a hard time weeding and taking care of the garlic.  I harvested a lot.  I just planted the garlic for next year.  I almost did not get it done.  I only had one place in the yard that was not froze.  I hope to keep the weeds out of this.

The blue potatoes were small again and like the year before there were a lot of them.  The white, red, and Yukon were pretty good size.  

I had a lot of lettuce.  I really enjoy lettuce from the garden.

The kale was a success.  I waited a little too long to harvest it.  There is a lot in the freezer and a lot dehydrated.

The squash started out beautiful and then the birds came.  This is the first time it ever happened, but the young birds were pulling the leaves off the seedlings.  I replanted and covered with netting for awhile.  I did not get a lot of squash, but enough.  I tried a new one called Cube of Butter and I thought it was very nice.  I also tried Horns of Plenty, but I really did not get a lot of the plants, but it might have been where they were planted.

The cucumbers were the same story as the squash with the birds.  I usually do not get a lot of cucumbers, so I planted a lot after the bird problem and they really produced.  I made freezer pickles and dill relish and sweet relish.  I will have enough relish to last 10 years.  I made ice box pickles and gave my brother loads of them to eat.  I will not be planting very many cucumbers next year.

This was amazing.  The biggest year for the 5-year-old bushes.  The branches were so loaded that my husband had to support them and tie the branches up because they were hanging all the way to the ground.  One of the branches still broke.  I have a lot in the freezer to make jelly and using some to make elderberry syrup to keep the flu away.  I also picked some in the mountains for the first time this year and gave some away to friends.  I dehydrated mine.

The raspberries were amazing also.  I have gallons and gallons of them.  I bought gold raspberries and planted in May and they produced.  I like them, but I am not sure what to think of them yet.

These are out of hand.  The canes need trimming now.  Some of the branches broke.  I have gallons and gallons of blackberries.  I made a few pies.  I am going to make blackberry jam and jelly soon.

Stella the sweet cherry tree is 5 years old and will be 6 this spring.  We got enough to eat handfuls of cherries.  They are very sweet.  The Nanking pie cherries almost caused fights in my house.  There were so many.  I would pick them a quart at a time and it takes forever to take the pits out.  Son and daughter did not want to help.  I finally had such a fit that they did help.  They sat out under the tree in wet clothes from swimming and pitted the cherries for me.  I finally decided to just start freezing with the pits.  I guess they will be turned into juice later.

I have had a lot of trouble with strawberries for the last 2 years.  I put them in a different place, but they did not get watered as much since they are in an out of the way place.  I weeded them and weeded them, and still there were weeds.  They are all covered with leaves right now, so I will see what happens next year.

The trees produced a lot of small plums.  They are sweet. One tree we just ate off the tree what we wanted, but the other tree ripened earlier and I harvested and mixed them with some that a  friend let us pick from his plum tree. I made a lot of plum jam and jelly. I still have some frozen.

I had a few purple heads that were pretty good. I had a lot of slugs this year, but they do not seem to like the purple cabbage. I am not sure I want to grow purple again. I planted 100+ day cabbage and should have planted an early variety.

Again, UNREAL! I have rhubarb all over the place and growing well. It is possible that I may have too much, but I am not sure that is possible.

I dehydrated cilantro, parsley, sage, mint, basil, and not sure what else. I have a lot of weeding and work to do in the herb garden, well gardens since now there are two.

This was crazy.  I finally figured out what kind of support they need and I guess I will plant some next spring.  They grew at least 6 feet tall, fell over the fence and grew another foot or more.  They shaded the garlic, and the kale supported them on the other side.  We ate peas daily and I have some froze.   If they had not fallen over, I think we will still be picking them.  I had another row that did not get as tall, but still fell over.  I just did not have the right kind of fence for them. 

Then there is the applesauce and apple jelly.  I did not take pictures of that, but I will be making more in a few days.  I have been dehydrating onions, potatoes, tomatoes, herbs, and even peppers and squash.  In October my husband worked hard to get firewood.  He had help from our son this year and a little from my brother and even me and our daughter.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanks to Bethany at Liberty Or Death for nominating me for the Beautiful Blog Award!  It has taken me a few months to get back to my blog, but here are my answers.

My questions are:
1. If you could have an expenses-paid vacation to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
 Alaska because it is so wild and beautiful.

2. What would you like to accomplish by the end of 2014?
To have a plan for the garden for 2015.

3.  What are a few of your favorite quotes?
We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Thomas Jefferson.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
I and my Father are one. Jesus Christ.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Jesus Christ.

The Beatitudes in the Book of Matthew. Jesus Christ.
4.  What Bible character do you relate to the most, and why?
Of the women I would have to pick Ruth because she cared for her mother-in-law and I cared for my mother, but also I had a friend that was elderly. I started out working for her and then we became friends and I took her shopping and helped her when she became older.

5.  What is your dream car? 
A truck that is paid for with 4-wheel drive.

6.  Are you a morning person or night owl?
Apparently a night owl, but not by choice, but because of schedules with jobs.

8.  Do you have a favorite plant or flower?
Hollyhock and morning glory.

9.  What are some of your favorite foods?
Chocolate anything would have been my answer a few years ago. I still like chocolate, but I enjoy fresh food and greens more than I used to. I also will usually order fried chicken when at a restaurant.

10. What cause(s) are you most opinionated about?
Vaccines, abortion, the Bible, I guess I am opinionated. I really do not speak out like I did when I was younger. I also feel strongly about politics and growing food without chemicals and GMOs, but as I get older, I try not to be so stern. People learn by example and I will try to be a good example, I guess.

11. What is the best advice on life you can give in up to 3 sentences? 
Love God and ask forgiveness when you do wrong.  Thank Him for his Son.  Thank Him for everything.