Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Huckleberry Kefir, Zucchini News And Another Dishrag

I put the kefir in the refrigerator last night. It sat on the table for 26 hours. Today, I thawed some huckleberries and made a quart of huckleberry kefir. It is good. We do not have a lot of huckleberries, but enough to make more. The next quart may be raspberry. I would not bother to make kefir if I had to buy the fruit. I have a lot of fruit in the freezer, so it makes sense right now to do this. I think it tastes better than the store kind. My kids sort of agree. I do not think my son likes he seed things in his and that is what you will have with berries.
Huckleberry Kefir

I am trying to make room in the freezers for the new garden produce this year.  I found a recipe for a yellow squash casserole. It used a lot of cheese and bread crumbs. It is very good, but not good for me on a diet. I have a Health Food board on Pinterest and the recipe is in there. It used 4 pounds of yellow squash, so it will come in handy this summer. I also have a recipe I pinned for Lemon Zucchini Bread. My daughter made that and it is really good. I have a lot of shredded zucchini squash too that I use for bread and soup.
Lemon Zucchini Bread
I enjoy using Pinterest for recipe ideas and I have another one for Zucchini Fritters I will be trying soon.

I also finished another dishrag. It did not take very long. I did it watching a movie last night. I finally figured out how to do single crochet and not have the rows growing or decreasing. My first dishrags were half double crochet and this one is single crochet. I am not sure what I will make next.

I am trying to use up the yarn I have and practice with this before going to buy any new yarn. I have some yarn that is not cotton that I have planned to make a scarf with. I like the cotton yarn better for some reason.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sauerkraut, Kefir, And Other Goings On

I decided to start making kefir and sauerkraut.  I have never made sauerkraut before.  I looked at a lot of different ways to make it.  I wanted to make it in a jar and keep it raw.  I took a head of cabbage and shredded it and then put it in a big bowl with 2 tablespoons of salt and 1 tablespoon of caraway seeds.  I stirred it around and covered it with a towel.  I let it sit for about 30 minutes and then stirred it again.  I sterilized jars for the sauerkraut and the kefir.  I packed a quart jar with the shredded cabbage. 
There was a lot of juice.  I had a little left over and put that in a pint jar, but it is only half full.  I read to put the lids on tight, put the lids on loosely.  I chose to do it loosely.  Tomorrow I will check on them and I read to open the lids and let the gas out.  It is suppose to sit in the cabinet for 3 days, but others said up to 7-10 days, so I guess I will just check it each day and see what I think.  It can be stored in the refrigerator for months.  I am not sure how long a quart will last us, so I am not sure how often I will be making it.  I want to make some for my brother too, so the next time I will be using 2 heads of cabbage.  I bought 2, but I made coleslaw with the other.

I have made kefir in the past and I used raw milk.  I bought raw milk and kefir starter.  I did not want to heat the raw milk and found a place on line that used cold milk. You just put the milk in a jar, and put the package of powder in the milk.  I used a half gallon jar and 2 envelopes of the powder.  I stirred it up and put a paper towel on the top. 
It will sit for at least 12 hours and then I will use fruit I have in the freezer to flavor it.  I have blackberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, and huckleberries in the freezer.

I am going to make a new recipe I found for zucchini bread.  It is called lemon zucchini bread and I will make that tomorrow. 

The bok-choy is up, but I think I planted this too early.  The cabbage is up and some of the onions.  I think the last onions I planted are too warm, so I am going to move them out of the greenhouse.  The sweet potatoes have a lot of roots developing now.

I wish I had saved my milk jugs I had last year.  I had tried the winter sowing and I had good luck with spinach.  I could have used them for the bok-choy.  I have one milk jug, so I think I will plant something in one tomorrow. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

People Who Live To Be 100 Years Old

I read an article the other day that showed areas of the world where large groups of people lived to be healthy at older ages and had an unusual amount of people that were 100 years old.  The things they had in common were they ate mostly plant based diets.  They might eat a little chicken or eggs.  They never ate until full.  I have heard this of the people in Okinawa, Japan, and these other areas were the same.  They all got a lot of sun.

Their exercise is what surprised me.  They did not do exercise that was hard, like weight lifting or I guess they did not use structured exercise programs.  A lot of these people exercised 5 hours a day, but this was working in gardens, walking, doing exercise that was not hard.  I could see working in a garden that long. I can go outside and lose track of time.

I read the people in Okinawa walk and ride bikes to visit friends and go shopping.  Most of the people have a lot of friends and belong to churches.  They have communities where they feel that they belong. 

I have read so much of people changing their lives by eating more fruits and vegetables.  There is the story of the woman that ate 9 cups of vegetables and fruit a day and cured her MS.

My dad used to tell a story about a friend of his. He was very old and people would ask him how he got to be so old, and he always would tell them, "I never strained at nothing." I think if you enjoy gardening that it can be a very healthy way to live. I am going to try to get to the 9 cups of fruit and vegetables a day.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Third Wednesday Weigh In for February

I am up 2.6 pounds for the week.  It was a rough week.  Some stress, Valentine's Day (candy) and the next day Andy's birthday (cake and ice cream), and then yesterday was our 22nd anniversary.  I know stress can cause me not to lose, but also I am not trying hard enough.  I have noticed that the walking tapes and a little bit of exercise has made my legs stronger.  I was starting to worry about my legs and walking through Wal-Mart, sometimes I seemed to almost limp or have a strange gait.  I am glad to be walking normal, so it was something fixable and not just getting old.  Exercise and good food will fix a lot of things, if I will just do it.  I will have a better week this week. 

More Seeds Planted Today

I went out to the shed and walked through the mud and rain to get my supplies I needed. I even had to go to Wal-Mart to get some peat pots to plant in.  I did all the work with the potting soil in the wood room so that I would not get dirt all over the house like I usually do.  The wood room It is a room off the porch where he keep firewood.  If it had a west or south window, I would turn it into a potting shed/greenhouse.   I wrote down what I planted in my Garden Notebook.  I feel like I am organized this year.

I planted some bok choy named Extra Dwarf Pak Choy.

I planted 3 kinds of cabbage, Brunswick, Late Flat Dutch, and Giant Mammoth.  The onions I planted on Feb. 8 are up, at least the Ailsa Craig are.

The other container had different seed and only a couple sprouted.  It was older seed, so I replanted that box with Ailsa Craig and started another box with Brunswick and Jaune Paille Des Vertus.

The sweet potatoes are still growing in the greenhouse and are getting a lot of roots. This picture is when I put them in the jars, so you cannot see the roots.  I think I am going to have sweet potatoes slips to plant.  They are Beauregard sweet potatoes.

I will be going through the seeds and deciding what to plant next. I probably will have too many things again and no room, especially if I start some flowers.

I am starting to look at the ground and see when the dandelions start showing up. I know it is too early yet, but I know the rabbits can't wait.  The also love cilantro, so I will plant a lot of that and basil.  The mint will be coming back and the thyme.  T

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Eating Crow

The other day I wrote a post that I regretted. I rewrote it several times. I finally deleted it after someone was upset about it. I have been upset, mad, confused, and rethinking things for the last several days.  When I wrote that post I had forgotten something that I had decided to live by. I do not rule the world and I should not try to control how people think. I do have control over my life and whatever that involves. I think everybody does, but again, who am I to say if they do or don't.

In that post I was going on and on about making your yards pretty and blah, blah, blah. People know how they want their yards to look. I have dandelions and weeds. I think they are pretty and I do not use pesticides, but other people work hard to keep out every weed and they are happy with the way their yards look. I guess my point in all this is that I read a blog where a guest was posting that they liked the board they were visiting because it made her feel good. She quit going to a lot of Christian boards because she always went away feeling bad because they would have perfect kids all dressed perfect and usually even in homemade dresses and cute clothes, the house was perfect, the husband was perfect, the garden was perfect and not one weed. She herself could not post pictures of her garden because she was ashamed of her weeds and her life was not perfect, and she did not like being judged about what kind of Christian she was, so she would go away feeling depressed, and that is not how I want people to feel about my blog.

In my post I had bragged on my kids, church, yard, house and no telling what else, but I really do not find any reason to say things to not make my kids sound perfect, but I am their mother. My church, well, it is not perfect and my house and yard, oh my, no where near perfect. My blog started out how this year I was making improvements in my yard and home and trying to come to terms with living in a small house on a small lot in town. I am not sure I ever will like living in town, but I am trying to make the most of it. 

I made a comment about the Super Bowl and over the years I have become very anti-sports.  I have a lot of reasons, but I was reading a blog where a man was talking about Christians and how they judge people when people thank God for winning a ball game and other people say that God is not into sports, but this man said that we should all be thanking God for everything.  He said that there are little boys in cities and places who may not have a male role model or anybody in their family that prays and the only prayer or comment they hear about God or see something in a sport on television and who are we, or who am I to say anything about this.  I still do not like sports, for my own reasons, but I have rethought how severe I was in this and my holier than thou attitude about watching TV.  I have a lot of beliefs just like other people do.

I never wanted to have a blog about politics or religion, just happy things and helpful ideas. I may not talk about politics, but I wasted over an hour this morning reading about Benjamin Franklin and what he wanted to have on the Great Seal of the United States and I was going to post it on Facebook. I had not even had my coffee yet. I just sat there reading and almost plotting the next war against tyranny. I also had posted about my belief in vaccines, homeschooling, pesticide, GMO's in our food, raw milk, etc. I have my beliefs and I have lived these. I am not going to ever try to tell anybody they should or should not vaccinate their kids or homeschool them, and I am sure not going to tell you what to eat or drink. I think people are smart enough to figure these things out.

In my post that I deleted, I talked about real life experiences with TB in my family and other vaccine issues. I don't think they should be lightly dismissed, but again, there I go again. There are blogs and blogs with people fighting and arguing over all these types of subjects and nothing comes of it. I guess really that is why I do not like talking about our government, waving flags for sports events and things like that when it is all talk and no action when we are complaining about the laws or the president. The words Benjamin Franklin wanted to put on the seal were "Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God." I am afraid I believe that, but I am very confused about how much action if any we should take without God telling us to take action, and I believe in the Bible it says God is going to do all the fighting for us in the end. I have prayer that God will watch over us and protect us in this country and with our decisions and then again I get confused when there is no action. If you do not plant a seed in the ground you will not get a plant, but that is not to say you will starve. God can still take care of you.  I have thought about God feeding his people manna and I have heard the argument that you do not need to stock up on food in the endtimes because God will provide and I believe that, but also, I am not sure he will provide chocolate, so best to be prepared and if you want fresh cilantro, you probably will need to grow it and if you want yellow squash that is not gene-altered, you will probably have to grow that too, but a lot of people are okay with this and I am okay with you being okay with it.  I do not rule the world and I will try to remember that in my future posts.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Gardening Goings On

I can see some onions coming up in the greenhouse. I wrote this down in my gardening notebook. I went outside to check on the garlic, but that area of the garden is still covered in snow.  I looked at the raised beds where I planted spinach last fall to overwinter and I think I see some coming up in different places.  This will be really nice!  I have some Swiss chard that is coming back to life from what was leftover last year. 

I also found some of my sweet potatoes sprouting in the bowl.  I dug these up last year.  They are Beauregard sweet potatoes.  I have been back and forth whether I am going to spend the money to plant sweet potatoes this year.  With the price of them and the weather here, it is kind of iffy if you will get a crop of sweet potatoes worth the money and effort, but starting them from your own slips that you grew, well that is smart and frugal.  After we expand the garden next year(which Andy is not aware of yet), then I will make room for them, but since I have slips from these expensive Beauregard potatoes, I am going to try to get them to live until planting time, which is the first of June usually.  I could also just feed them to the rabbits.  They love them!  I have had them growing by the window for them in the past.  It looks like I will have quite a few of them from these slips, but they are very small, so I am not sure if I can keep them going until June.

Sweet potatoes last year.

I used to cut slips off of these sweet potatoes and give to the rabbits during the winter and they just keep growing and coming back.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Second Wednesday Weigh In For February

I lost 0.8 for the week and that makes 6 pounds lost for the year. I am down 1 pound for the month of February. It does not seem like much, but I will take it. I still am not eating enough fresh food or exercising enough. The snow is melting, so I hope I will be outside more soon.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

I Made A Garden Notebook

I have wanted to make a garden notebook for several years now. I just never made time for it.  I usually make notes and lose them.
I start files each year on the computer and have some information saved from past gardens.  I save tags from plants I buy, but they are all mixed up.  After planting the onions yesterday, I threw the empty seed packets away, but then thought, I do not even know what I planted, so I took them out of the trash and decided to make the garden notebook.  I will keep track of what I plant and the dates.  The dates I plant outside.
I will take pictures of things as they grow and put in the book.  I think I will also keep track of how much I spend this year and keep receipts. I already had a notebook that was not being used. It was my daughter's that she bought for one of her homeschool classes and did not need it. If I was going to buy a notebook, I am not sure exactly what I would buy.  The cover could be decorated many ways.  I am not sure if the lined paper is the best choice.  The paper is thin.  I am not sure if I should glue things or use tape.  This will be kind of a learning year of how I want to make my garden notebook. I want to add more pictures to the cover. 

It was fun starting this and I can't wait to start adding things to the pages. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Started Onion Seed Today

I am not sure if I am early or late, but I started some onion seed inside today.  These are seeds from last year and I did not have a lot.  I ordered some new seed and I will plant that when it gets here.  I started Ailsa Craig, Italian Red Torpedo and Red Globe.

I put the boxes in the greenhouse and turned lights on underneath them because our house gets cold at night. Our house is heated with wood and if the fire goes out at night then it is cold until the fire gets going again in the morning. The greenhouse has a plastic cover and I can put a blanket over it at night to help keep it warm. 

This greenhouse has 4 shelves and I can fit 3 trays on each shelf. I can start hundreds of seed this way. I attached plant lights to each shelf. It has worked pretty good for me, but I start having trouble when the plants need to be transplanted to bigger pots. I then run out of room, so I have to be careful when I start things. The onions will be able to go outside later under plastic. I put them out in the sun and then harden them off before planting in the ground. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

First Wednesday Weigh In For February

I lost 2 pounds for the week since last Wednesday, but still 5.2 for the year since I had lost the 2 pounds early in the week and I counted it for February. I think I would have lost a little more if I had not got up really early this morning to check on the rabbits. The temperature was -2 and with wind chill of -13.

Hopefully, I will lose more weight this week. I need to plan meals better. I have not been exercising. The habit of healthy eating and exercising like I was hoping for has not happened yet, but I am still working on it.