Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Strawberry Bread

4 cups strawberries, cut up into small chunks
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup applesauce (I had some homemade applesauce)
3 1/8 cups flour
4 eggs (I used 3 because my duck eggs are so big), beaten
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
chopped nuts (optional, I did not add any to mine)

I'm not really one for "mix this and then mix that". Just put it all in a large bowl and mix it up good. The batter will be thick and sticky. Spoon out into two buttered and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes  or until knife comes out clean.
It's wonderful!

Cold Remedies

Remedies probably isn't the right word since it implies that you can cure a cold but I am not sure what else to call it. These things will make your cold more bearable anyway.
When I was a kid my father had his own cold remedy which was always given to we children. He called it "hens oil" (which to us was all one word). It was nothing but the grease cooked out of chicken fat and given to us on a spoon with some sugar. Now some might find this rather disgusting but my mother always said that it was nothing but the grease in chicken soup that made you feel better anyway and perhaps she was right. I will say that it seemed to help with our congestion anyway.  I will have to say however, that I have never given it to my children though my brother gives it to his and still swears by it.
I do have a few home remedies for colds that I do use. My daughter Michelle always had a terrible time fighting off colds when she was little until I found that peppermint tea would work so well on her cough. Just one cup of peppermint tea (real peppermint leaves dried and saved) would clear up her cough for the longest time. I was so amazed, I wondered why it wasn't sold in the stores as a cold remedies.
For congestion I always gave my children a warm bath with dried basil leaves in it. The vapors help and it is also soothing and they sleep better. You can also just put it in a pan of hot water and put your face over the steam (covered with a towel).
For a sore throat there is nothing like plain old raw honey. Honey has antioxidant and antibacterial properties that help you recover faster. Raw honey is often preferred as a remedy over pasteurized honey because it retains its antibacterial properties. Honey mixed into any kind of warm drink will sooth your throat and keep it from drying out at night and help it to heal. I am lucky that there is a little stand in town that sells raw honey for $8 a pint.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


I wanted to mention a little more about getting my son home first since my last rant didn't tell much, lol. Last week we spend two days at Ft. Jackson, SC. at my second sons graduation from Basic Training. After one broken ankle, surgery and a whole lot of rehabilitation, it only took him 9 months to do. The trip was rather a miserable one for us because we had to take our little dachshund, Romeo.  While Ft. Jackson and the hotel were pet friendly...nothing else was and since the temperature was pushing 80 F there was no leaving him in the car (besides he freaks when left in the car alone) so there always had to be one person with him. Anyway, we made it though and were very pleased to get to take my son, John, home for a couple of days before we had to take him on to his AIT at Ft. Gordon (which is just 35 minutes away).

Yesterday it did nothing but rain and has beat down the plants in the raised bed pretty good and while it is partly sunny today there is more rain in store for us for the whole rest of the week.

It really doesn't look like it in the picture but this radish is huge!

Today I added 8 more meat birds to the brooder which meant the 7 big monsters had to go. They received their own pen equipped with light. I am seeing fried chicken already! (or maybe Cornish hens!) Anyway, they seem to be adjusting quite fine.

We all have caught cold so tonights dinner will be chicken soup in the crockpot. I had a chicken breast leftover, added an onion, dried mushrooms, 2 jars of turkey stock (from Thanksgiving), a jar of carrots, salt and pepper and will add egg noodles later.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Chicks and maybe a small rant

It has been a rather trying week here. My son graduated from Basic training and we went for his family day and graduation and we took Romeo our little dashchund because we had to which was a nightmare. Then we took my son to Ft. Gordon only to find he could get a weekend pass so we brought him back home so he could spend more time with his wife and son who live with us.
You would think that him and his wife are all grown up now but today while I fell asleep because I am just plain exhausted, they let the pigs ears burn up in the oven to the extent that when I woke up I could smell the burning and the living room WHERE THEY WERE SITTING was full of smoke...but they never bothered to turn it off..wasn't their problem apparently. ..and I bit my tongue....a few TIMES...because my son is only home until Sunday morning .........sigh.
So in the good news, Japanese hen above has hatched out these two little chicks, the bad news is that yes, those are her other eggs beside her. I have moved her and chicks and eggs to a separate cage and she sat on the eggs all night but when I checked at noon she was off them again. It is likely we will only get these two. I could rush them to the incubator but it isn't on and isn't set up right and it would just take too long I think. Oh well, one of the pynchoen hens is finally setting on eggs as well so maybe she will  hatch some and, of course, there is all those chicks in the brooder. They are doing great and soon the bigger cornish x will be able to be moved to a pen until they have grown out.
I meant to get the peppers planted and some spinach harvested today but then it started to thunder and rain so maybe tomorrow instead. I also have plans for a green onion soup since I have so many green onion tops out there. Still thinking on whether I want that just with the onions or whether it should be a green onion chicken soup. We'll see. ..

Thursday, March 17, 2011


I had never even seen a quiche until a few years ago. While I was in school, I worked at a restaurant at night and it was there that I learned how easy quiche was to make.
Today I made a couple of bacon and spinach quiche.


bacon bits- how much you use is up to you. I buy the bacon ends and pieces 5 lb box and break them up into smaller packages then cook them when needed. You will need them cooked before using them in this recipe.

4 cups shredded cheese (2- 8 oz packages)--any kind of shredded cheese will do but I usually use a Monterey Jack/Colby mix.

Spinach- frozen or fresh(cooked) with the water squeezed out of it about 1 cup.

1/2 a medium onion cut up- cooked 2-3 minutes in a tablespoon butter( I usually put it in the microwave in a bowl with the garlic for 2 minutes.

2 Tablespoons minced garlic

2 eggs

3 cups milk

2 deep dish pie shells

Cook your pie shells for about 12 minutes.

In a large bowl combine the cooked onion, garlic, spinach, cooked bacon bits and cheese. Put this mixture into the two pie shells and even it out.

Whisk together the egg and milk in a bowl. Now pour it equally over each quiche (coming only to the rim of the crust).

Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees (it is good to have a pan underneath them as sometimes they overflow and drip). Allow to cool some before cutting.

Garden Pictures

The raised bed. It is coming along quite nicely: onions, radishes, spinach, kale, lettuce, oregano and thyme.
Close up of the kale (Red Russian).
Looks like we might actually get real radishes this year.
Asparagus are popping up.

This is just a stray strawberry plant in the yard that looks like it is going to bloom.

Turnips in the big garden.

Carrots in the big garden.
Here are some of the tomato plants I planted in the big garden earlier this week.
Two of the raspberry plants have buds on them.

Critter Pictures

I have shown you pictures of our little dachshund but never shown you Dukey. He is the "yard/guard" dog (shepherd mix). He is about 8 years old now and has lost his canine teeth but it only took him about 5 minutes to eat up that piece of deer spine that I gave him this morning. He's keeps the neighbor kids scared (at one time he was loose and took a certain dislike to the neighbors children) and off the property. He's learned not to eat the cats but the chickens and ducks are fair game if they come in the reach of his run. They have learned not to wander in too close.

These are two of the 5 quail that I hatched just a few weeks ago. Amazing how fast they grow. Looks like just one male (the one with the redder cheeks) in the batch of 5 but there may be one other. I can't quite tell yet. They spent their first night in the outside pen last night and seem to have done well even though the temps dipped down more than I would have liked (stupid forecasters).

Two of the cornish x were killed by a cat reaching in their brooder cage which called for another, safer brooder.  Then I stopped at Tractor Supply and picked up 8 more cornish and 4 red pullets. They all spent the night together last night and all are fine this morning. The new brooder I made from an old dresser, laid it down, took out the drawers and put wire over the top. It is twice as big as the cage and will work much better anyway.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Violet Jelly

 I know there are people who feel their lawn should be perfect with
 no weeds showing anywhere and they work very hard to achieve
such a lovely plot of grass. These same people would look at my lawn,
 if it can be called that, and think my only object was to grow those
weeds they work so hard to get rid of on their lawns. Well, not exactly
 but while they look at my lawn and see weeds I see FOOD! One of these
 weeds, the violet, has nearly taken over the whole yard and I have a terrible
 time every year keeping it out of the garden but it is also a very good food
source as well as a lovely flower.
Violets are a hardy perennial originally from the Pyrenees Mountains. The
violets in my yard produce a five petal, purple blossoms on long stems that rise
 directly from the center of the plant. The leaves are heart shaped with bluntly
serrated edges, covered in fine hairs.

I have always known that the violet flowers and leaves were edible and had tried
 the blossoms in salad but they have little or no taste. It was only recently that I
saw a recipe for violet jelly and decided to try it.
First comes the picking. You are going to need about 1 quart of violet blossoms
without the stems. If you have a yard full of violets like mine you will find this
doesn’t take long.
These you will need to put in a glass bowl and pour boiling water over them to
make an infusion. Leave them like this at room temperature overnight. In the
 morning strain these through a fine sieve and measure out two cups of the lavender
 colored liquid

 Put this in a large pot on the stove and add thejuice of one lemon or two teaspoons of
bottled lemon juice and one package of commercial pectin   Bring to a boil and add 4 cups sugar. Return to boiling and boil hard for one minute while stirring.  Pour into hot sterilized jars, wipe rim and adjust lids.
Process in a water-bath canner for 15 minutes. This will make approximately 4 half-pints of jelly.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


This posting was mostly about showing how pretty the tulip tree looked with its buds all open.  Here is another little bush that was here when we moved in. I really don't know what it is called either.

I had hoped to have some pretty tulips to show you but the buds are turning brown on them. I really don't know why they do that sometimes. I think maybe because we have had such warm/cold extremes lately. Soon there will be roses to show you. They are growing really well this spring since we have had such nice rains. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

A to Z About Me

I got this idea from The Never Done Farm . I have changed some of them though to fit my situation.

A. Age- 42
B. Baking day--almost always Sunday but sometimes Saturday if I have any energy left after shopping.
C. Chores you dislike--definitely dusting which is why my house is so dusty (that and the dirt road).
D. Dogs--Romeo(daschund) and Dukey(shepherd mix)

E. Ever been out of the country--just once to Nova Scotia for 45 minutes on our senior trip.
F. Favorite season--definitely spring. GA doesn't have any other good seasons.
G. Gold or Silver--I like the silver color better but think real jewelery is way too expensive and the fake stuff looks just as good.
H. Height--5' 9"
I. Interests--making anything I can myself.

J. Job title--Membership Clerk, Boys and Girls Club
K. Kids--2 boys both in the Army, one girl still at home
L. Live--Georgia for the last 19 years (it may be 20, I lose track)
M. Made last--Another raised bed in the back yard
N. Next project-- Looks like it is going to be some sort of brooder for the meat birds in the greenhouse.

O. Oldest friend--Debbie, met her in 9th grade
P. Pet peeves--People who don't pull their weight at work
Q. Quote--Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.
R. Righty or lefty--righty
S. Siblings--1 half sister, 2 brothers
T. Time you wake up--I wake up at 5:15 lately because we are down to one car and I have to take Phil to work.
U. Used to do--I used to read a lot but hardly ever seem to have time now (too much computer time)
V. Vegetables growing this year--tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, spinach, squash, onions, lettuce, kale, radishes, turnips, carrots (well that is the ones I can think of right now anyway).

W. Why you do this--I love being able to do things other people can't.
X. X-rays-just once after a car accident. Nothing was broken.
Y. Your worst day--Today because  my grandbaby is in Hawaii and I didn't know how bad the tsunami was going to be.
Z. Zoo--Sometimes it seems like a zoo here, like today with the meat birds in the kitchen but other days it is better.

The Meat Birds

Well some of them anyway. I bought the 11 that they had (one is quite small and may be a chick that got mixed up in the bins.). These are Cornish X chicks. It is likely I will buy some more in a few weeks if they still have them that way I won't have to butcher a whole bunch at one time.

What was fascinating was my grandson Christian's reaction to them. He absolutely loves them and we had to let him look at them and touch them for a long time before he wouldn't cry when we took him away.  It was precious to watch how excited he was over them. I wonder if he will like them as much when they are meat on his plate?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

And the Results are In!

Potash good. Phosphorus depleted and nitrogen depleted. This is the first time I have ever had one of these kits and I think it is great to know just where my soil is lacking. I have a box of bone meal and will pick up one of blood meal as well and try to remedy the situation before I plant in the larger garden.

Gardening Update

I'm pretty sure spring is here to stay and we have had a decent amount of rain so far with its coming. We went through a 5 year drought a several years ago here and rain is always a concern and welcome when it comes. 
Here is the tulip tree (I do not know its botanical name). It was in the yard when we moved here. During a bad ice storm a large branch hit it and I had to cut it down by half. As you can see it has recovered quite well over the years and is actually too big now. It will be prettier when the buds actually open all the way.
Here is the plum tree all in bloom. I am hoping to have a bunch of plums to can this year again. We did not get any last year and that has never happened with this tree before so I take it we had a late frost last year. The huge bush beside it is one of a pair of hazelnuts that produces more nuts than we could ever use each year.
Here are the tomato plants. As you can see they are right out of hand. Some of them are a foot tall already. I think if the weather stays nice they are going to get moved out to the greenhouse to help harden them off.

This is the upper garden. It is not a very good picture and there isn't much to look at yet. The bottom has strawberries in it and the top has the raspberries (which you can't really see) and the blueberries (which you also can't really see), there are also a few onions that I couldn't fit in the raised bed and the rosemary plants.

So now for the really good stuff. Here is the raised bed that has the radishes, spinach, lettuce and onions in it. It now also has a bit of thyme that I planted in it and there is a couple of kale plants that were part of the fall garden that are now growing in there.
Here are the garlic chives. I have two patches of them and unfortunately I often forget they are out there and don't use them when I could.
Here is one of the patches of lemon balm. It is in the ground but really hasn't spread terribly badly. I have about 4 patches of lemon balm and though I love the smell, have never found anything useful to use it for. It makes a decent tea but I seldom drink tea unless I am sick and it will help. It can be added to salads but the lemon taste is very strong. You can also make a lemon balm jelly but I have tried several times and have never gotten it to jell yet.
The larger lower garden is finally tilled. I bought a test kit and am in the process of testing it to see where it is deficient. The PH test came out good but I am sure it needs something. As soon as I get that done it will be time to get planting. Maybe I can get some things planted tomorrow. I think it is possible (just poss-ible now) that I have too many seeds but that would be normal for me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Strawberry Pie

I came across this recipe last week and made this pie. This week when we went past the strawberries Phil just happens to mention how they are 2 for $4 (hint, HINT) so I got 2 more and made it again.
You need two pounds of strawberries
3 T. cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 cup of sugar
1-8 or 9 inch pie shell (just the bottom)

Poke the pie crust with a fork in several places. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes.
Wash, core and slice the strawberries, cut the slices into smaller peices.
Take about a cup of strawberrie and mash them. Put them into a pan with the cornstarch, water, and sugar. Stir well, and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minute while stirring until thickened.

Put the rest of the strawberries in the pie shell and pour the thickened mixture over the top.  Put in the refrigerator to cool for several hours.

Other than that I made up a new batch of sauerkraut today which is sitting on the table fermenting.
This was 2 heads of cabbage. Recipe for the sauerkraut can be found in the Preserving section.