Sunday, September 30, 2012

PVC Knife Sheath Part 2

After the sheath was flattened he made the lines to cut the tip. These are cut off with the rotary cutter.
Then he heated the sheath again. He heated where the knife was going to go in. Then he slid the knife in the sheath and held it with the board so it would make a nice pocket for the knife.
He heated the very tip and curled it around a screwdriver to make upward curl he wanted. In the next step it is bent back so the curl is on the side towards the persons body.
Then the final heating and bending for the part that the belt will go into.
It was basically done then but it needed sanding,the points filed off and three rivets added to the bottom.
And here is the final product except he is going to paint it later.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

PVC Knife Sheath Part 1

This was a project of Phil's today. He has been researching it for a couple of days and attempted it today. I feel it turned out really good. You start with a piece of PVC pipe. His was a 1 3/4 inch piece by approximately 15 inches. He was making a sheath for a knife that was 10 inches long in all.
You start by making your lines. You want to cut off half of the top part. The bottom will be your sheath so you  measure it with your knife to see how much room you will need. You then drill holes in the corners and use the cutting blade on any dremel type rotary tool to cut it out.

It then should look like this (I hope the pictures are better than my explanation).
He then took his heat gun and heated up the round end. It must be heated all the way around.
So that you can flatten it with a board. Use those gloves, it is hot!
You must hold it until it cools (a few minutes) otherwise it will spring back into its round shape.
You then need to heat up the other side so that you can flatten it.

Flatten that side as well. 

It should look like this.
Doesn't look like much yet but stop by tomorrow for part 2 (too many pictures to put it all in one post)! 

This Weeks Deals

There weren't many. I got a 10 lb bag of potatoes for $2.99 which I will need to can if I have any jars left. If I was home for dinner I would use them just the way they are but I don't ask Michelle to peel potatoes for dinner. I am sure she could but I just don't want her to have to. I got a package of fresh mushrooms marked down to $ .99. I had two of them last week which I ended up dehydrating. This package will partially be used for supper tonight (marked down steak because we are so tired of pork now) and the rest will probably be dehydrated.
I also got two small packages of dehydrated oyster mushrooms marked down to $ .75 each. I have never tried any mushrooms besides normal button mushrooms and have seen several sites and videos on how easy oyster mushrooms were to grow so this was a chance to try them. I tested them out with lunch and they are quite nice so will have to look into growing them myself.
The best deal of the day was found at the flea market though. Yes, it is another lamp.
I think it looks a bit bigger than it really is in this picture. It is just a medium sized lamp. I could have bought 10 things on the table that had this lamp (he had a dehydrator for $5 and while I have two already, it was a  hard deal to pass up!) but funds and space made me just get the lamp. It was $2! I have 9 oil lamps now. Is that excessive? I guess, we'll see  how we feel about that the next time the power goes out for more than a day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pork Burger

Yesterday it was time to do some meat grinding. I had two large bags of meat pieces that I had to make into something, and I had a whole two hours in between taking Michelle to school and taking myself to work. I got out the little meat grinder that I got from the thrift store and got started. 
We all have gotten a bit bored with eating pork. I tend to not be too adventurous with my cooking now that I have to take Michelle to school in the mornings. It really chops up the few hours I have in the morning into "unusable" pieces so I tend not to get a lot done and supper has suffered because of it. So I decided to kill a couple of birds with one stone. I ground up the first bag and put some in a bag just the way it was to use in stroganoff instead of hamburger (which I don't have). One bag of pork burger:

I took a couple pound of it to make a meat loaf. I added bread crumbs, onion, pepper, eggs and homemade ketchup.

And I took some of it and made it into meatballs for spaghetti or subs. I added bread crumbs, egg, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning. 
The second bag of meat pieces was all made into sausage. I made the spices sausage. I have already posted the recipe for it but it involves brown sugar, salt, pepper,thyme, sage, rosemary, cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes. Sorry I forgot to take a picture until it was bagged and in the freezer but there are 5 bags, each with 4 patties in them  (Last time I piled them on top of each other in the bag with waxed paper between them. That was a mistake as we could not get them apart again). 
A little clean up and then it was time to go to work. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pear Sauce and Vinegar

Here is the pear sauce that I made. I had just over 6 lbs of pears from the yard sale yesterday. I was just going to cook them and run them through the strainer but I saw Bama Girls post at Wisteria and Roses and I just had to try the pear vinegar myself, so I peeled and cored the pears.
The peels I and cores I put in quart jars until I had enough for two and then added the vinegar and water. We'll see how it goes. These don't have lids on them, just the paper towels.
For the pear sauce I just cooked the pears until they were soft when poked with a fork. I, then, mashed them, added a sprinkling of cinnamon and approximately 2/3 cup sugar and then water bath canned. It really smelled wonderful while cooking.

I hope I can get more pears this year!

Sunday's Update

Phil and I were up early this morning and somewhere around 5:00 a.m. the power went out. Apparently someone had hit a pole which required the pole to be replaced but hadn't knocked off the power. The power company put up a new pole and we only lost power while they switched the lines to it. I hope the person who hit the pole wasn't hurt. It was so early that I have to wonder if they fell asleep at the wheel.
I was up anyway so started on the green beans that I got yesterday. I learned that two pounds of green beans is a whole lot of green beans.
I canned them in pint jars (20 minutes) and got 9 pints and then another quart bag full.
I also got a couple pounds of fresh raw peanuts yesterday. Two pounds is a whole lot of peanuts too.
As you can see these went in the crock pot to boil with a good bit of salt and a few dried hot peppers. They boiled all morning and they are done now and trust me they are good. I am munching on them right now.  Phil had to go help his boss out for a little bit and he should probably hurry home if he wants any.
I also got down to the garden today. I had picked up some plants since my starts really haven't done well. I cleaned out the rest of the raised beds except the herbs, the cucumber plant and the peppers (which I just couldn't bear to pull up yet), then dug some compost out of the bin to top off each bed with. I planted broccoli, cabbage, savoy cabbage and cauliflower. Not much to see here... yet.

I am going to go out in a little while and plant the last long bed with a row of red torpedo onions, red Russian kale and probably some garlic.
I also have a few other chores to do. Two gallon bags of meat are thawing to make sausage with and the rest of the bacon chunks are thawing as well and will have to be rubbed with the cure when they are thawed. I also still have those pears to do something with. I am thinking that pear sauce sounds nice....and easy.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Good Deals For Today

We really did get some nice deals today. I got some really good books and magazines from the thrift store and this little pot. Not sure what I will use it for but I liked it and it was only $ .49
Then ,on the way home we saw a sign for a yard sale a dirt road right across the main road from our dirt road. I found these right off. I can't believe that I got them for just a dollar each! Phil oiled them all up and added the bits and they all work great.
I have wanted the first drill for a long time. It is not a large one and adjustable to different bits like the one my father used to drill holes in trees with for collecting sap but it is still good. The second drill will take different bits. The third one is another kind of drill  but we did not have a bit to fit it and the last one is an old spiral type of screwdriver (it doesn't really ratchet, it spirals). Best stop we made all day! Plus I got these:
Nice local (probably organic) pears. The lady picked them herself. I may can them, I am not sure yet. They were worth $4 to me and I did not see them at first so was glad one of the older ladies running the yard sale pointed them out to me (somehow one canner can just tell another, apparently, but looking at them).
These weren't all the good deals today. I got lots of green beans to can tomorrow and a couple of packages of marked down mushroom and I am sure some of them will have to be dehydrated but these were the best of the good deals.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Canning Ham

Yeah, there is nothing in any of my canning books on canning ham. I guess no one ever thought that there would be enough ham left that you would need to can it but, of course, we still have plenty of ham left. I had 8 pint jars still unused so thought I would try it.
I cut the ham up in chunks and then put them in water and brought it to a boil. I just wanted it hot for when I put it in the jars.

I, then, put the chunks in the jars and added juice from the pan leaving an inch of headspace. When I looked up canning ham today I found a blog where they canned ham and didn't add the water. It did make about half a jar of juice on its own but I just don't like canned food that is not covered with liquid. It tends to go bad faster.
Anyway, here are my lovely jars of ham. They will be great in soups, casseroles and quiches.
We actually finished off the one ham and now just have the large one left. I will be making ham and potato soup tonight.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Another Busy Sunday

We had two hams that had been in the cure 11 days and needed to be smoked today. Phil ran to town because he can't live without a Sunday paper (we tried having them delivered once, they sent them on Mondays) and I wrestled the smoker through the house and out the back door. ( I had to stop in the kitchen as I had scared Hippo half to death and he was trying to claw through the window.). Here are what the hams looked like when they went in. I wish I had a way to weigh them. I would love to know how  much they weighed. It was a good bit, I can tell you that. The smoker was set on 225 F and left to..smoke.
I, then, fed all the animals except the meat birds. They are long overdue to be butchered and I was determined to get at least two of them done. They aren't stupid; they know what I am doing when I step in the pen and they run. They are slow and easy to catch but they are also HUGE now and heavy. I skinned and cut the breasts and thighs and legs off. Because there is no freezer space, I had to can the meat. I started with the breasts and cut them into chunks. I was going to raw pack them but there is just something about putting raw meat in the jars that just doesn't sit well with me. So I put the meat in water and boiled them for a short time. Then I packed the meat in the jars, set the lids and pressured canned them for 75 minutes. The breasts made 8 pints, the thighs and legs another 5 pints and I filled the other three pint jars with the stock left from cooking the legs and thighs. It was exactly the 3 pints I needed.
At about 5:30 p.m. the hams reached and internal temperature of 160 F. and looked done when we checked them so we got them out. Here is the one we cut for supper.

We had this and some canned potatoes that Phil made into our favorite fried potatoes with garlic and thyme.
And here is the other, larger ham.
The only other thing I needed to do was to rack the wine but I think it is going to have to wait until next time.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fridge Challenge

So after seeing Daphne do the Fridge Challenge, posted at the From Seed to Table blog, I decided to take them up on it. By the way their nice clean, neat fridges just make me sick. You aren't going to find a nice clean neat fridge here, sorry, not today anyway. But since the challenge was to just go take a picture, that is what I did. Don't worry it isn't too scary because we had to clean it out some to put the bacon and hams in.
Yeah the door just plain doesn't open all the way because- not only is the fridge trying to fall through the floor- but there is a vent in front of it that didn't quite fit down past the tile and just hasn't been fixed. Anyway, on the bottom are the hams in their bags of brine. Beside it are the butter containers of bacon grease and I think the top one is butter, on the other side of the hams is a jar of hot pepper relish (by the way, it was very good but only slightly hot even with all those hot peppers that were in it). On top of the hams are a few leftovers of the roast that had no where else to go.Behind the hams are jars of lard and miscellaneous other crap (ok, I really don't know what is back there). 
On the second shelf are several jars of stuff, probably half of which need to be tossed, behind the milk is Michelle's jug of tea, more jars of lard and whatever. And  in the center is, of course, the bacon. I have managed to shove three of them in small open spaces in either of the freezers. I, somehow, have to get the rest of it in but we just aren't eating fast enough! I will likely switch it this weekend with the rest of the bacon that needs to be cured and smoked. 
On the top shelf are the eggs (one was so big it wouldn't fit in the cartons). Normally there are about 4 cartons up there but we used a lot in the pig killing and the chickens have been a bit slack lately. There are more jars of lard up there and a jar of yogurt and a container of pesto that we haven't used yet. I am not sure what is in the jar on top of the pesto. In the center is Michelle's sandwich meat. Behind that could be anything. 
The drawer in the middle is Phil's. I don't venture in that drawer-ever. The bottom drawers are empty. One we can't open because of the door not opening and the other is reserved for the weekend cans of beer. 
In the door are various things, most of which are seldom used except the lemon juice and jar of garlic. Phil uses the ketchup some. That ketchup container is filled with homemade ketchup, of course. 
So there you have it, our fridge. NOT a real exciting post, I know but my allergies kicked in yesterday-like I need more sinus trouble- and this looked like an easy post to do. I am feeling quite a bit better today though, if I could just get my ears to clear so I could hear, I would be alright. So come on and take the challenge..seeing a few more clean fridges might just get me to work on mine :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Fiction Book List

Ask any woman (and sometimes men) who is interested in self sufficiency what their favorite books are and almost always in her favorites will be the Little House on the Prairie books and I agree. They are excellent sources for information. They were some of the first books that I read and I have the whole series here but there were others; books that have stayed with me and books I go back to read when I just need to go back in time for a while and get away. Here are a few of my favorites.

A Day Must Dawn by Agnus Sligh Turnbull- This is a book I found in my grandmother's books when we moved into her house after she died. An absolutely excellent story of the first pioneers, not those who expanded west but those who came first. This book takes you back in time to a small settlement and there problems in their homes and with the Indians and other outsiders. This book also has some basis in fact though the story is purely fiction.

The Landbreakers by John Ehle-If I had to throw the rest away and just keep one book, this book might be the one. I first read this book in a Reader's Digest book. I kept it forever and only as an adult got the complete version. This is another first pioneer book but about those who went further south. It is about a man, Moony Wright, and his struggles to make a home in what then was a very remote western North Carolina. I love John Ehle books and wish he had written more because he knows his history and does it well.

The Trees, The Fields and The Town by Conrad Richter- Three great books though you can buy the whole trilogy in one book. These books are so well written. Anytime someone speaks in the books he has changed the spelling so you know what they would have sounded like. They are about the building of a town from just a few people in the wilderness to when the town is fully built. The story follows one woman and her quite large family. They very well done. I can't imagine the research that went in to making these books.

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink- One of my all time favorites. I got the book as a kid and lost it for a while then found a copy again as an adult. I believe I have two of them now-just in case! The book is based on fact written by Caddie Woodlawn's grand-daughter from stories she was told as a child about her grandmother who lived in Wisconsin as a child.

A Fair Wind Home by Ruth Moore- This was a book that was in my grandmother's books and I took it when we sold the house when I was nine. I sometimes wonder if she loved the book as much as I do. I have carried it and A Day Must Dawn with me all these years. This book is totally fiction. She changes Boston some to fit her purposes but it is excellently written. These are a type of pioneer as well but of those who lived on the coast and knew boats, how to make and use them.

Seven Alone by Honore Morrow-The story of a family headed west when both parents die and a young boy is (14 I believe) is left to take his brothers and sisters the rest of the way to Oregon. This book is based on fact and this really did happen though the story again is a writer's version of it.

Christy by Catherine Marshall- Some of you may have heard of this one as it was a bit more popular. Christy is about a young school teacher who goes into the Appalachians to teach school and finds the people there still quite uneducated and rough but she eventually grows to love them. It is an great book. I still remember the first time I read it and how the ending totally surprised me. That doesn't happen often with a book.

These books,, as I said, have been, for the most part, in my possession since I was a child. I keep them and every few years read them again. I never get tired of them. Seldom does that happen with newer books. There are some good books out there but none that seem to be worth reading a second time especially about the historical subjects that I like. I have however kept one whole series and that would be the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. Most definitely a woman's series in my way of thinking because it mixes historical romance and pure fantasy in with it. A woman is transported back in time to historical Scotland through a stone henge. Putting the romance and fantasy aside the book was quite well researched though I am sure the romance and fantasy are most of why I like the series so much.

The only other book that I have read as an adult that I would never give away is Alice's Tulips by Sandra Dallas. It is about a young newlywed who's husband goes off to war and the troubles she runs into while he is gone.

I'm sure there are other books I would never give away, after all I have shelves and shelves full of books, but these must be the most important ones as these were the ones I could think of without even having to go to the shelves.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bacon and Potatoes and other things

It is an absolutely beautiful day outside and is supposed to be this nice for several days! Lower humidity and temperatures make it nice to work outside-not that I have done a whole lot of outside work today but I have had to go out to keep putting chips in the smoker and I get to feel how lovely it is outside each time. We are, of course, smoking the bacon. One side anyway which consists of 8 chunks of meat.  This is a shot of when we put it in. It is almost ready to come out now. We have turned off the smoker and are letting it cool some before bringing it in.

While it has been smoking I have been busy canning the potatoes that I got on sale. Twenty pounds of potatoes fits into 14 quarts when canned. I had to use dried onions in these because I am out of fresh. I think they may have actually turned out better but no way of knowing until we open them.
While these were canning I was cutting Phil's hair. He won't let me take a picture to show you :) For 15 years he has not had to pay for a haircut. I have cut it since I met him.
I also go the incubator cleaned and sanitized and filled with eggs. It will be a mixed batch this time-duck, chicken and quail eggs.
Phil has not been idle. He did get the back yard raked. The back yard is smaller now since we put up the fence but it still had three piles of leaves and acorns in it and it had been raked not too long ago. He was going to get more manure put into the compost bin but it rained last night and made the pen a bit sloppy again so he decided to wait on that chore. Phil also helped peel some of these potatoes with me.
While all this was going on there was a pork roast cooking in the crock pot.
I put some dried onions in with it, a bit of garlic and just some salt and pepper. Later we added what was left of the potatoes. The juice looked so lovely that I made some homemade gravy with it which was good because the meat cooked a bit long and was somewhat dry.
There were other chores that needed doing but these are what we got done today. The gardening and chicken butchering will just have to wait until next time.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

This and That Saturday

Sliced the last two chunks of the first pigs bacon. It made 5 very generous packages (because I only had enough on the roll to do 5 packages), vacuum sealed and after taking out what we want for supper tonight and tomorrow night and the ice in the small freezer were we able to get the bacon in the freezer because once you move something it NEVER goes back in the same way. Finishing up the lard today from the pig we just did. Looks like it will come out to just under 9 pints of lard from that one big pig.
Phil moved out some of the manure from the pig pen down to the garden though there is a lot more to go. I picked up some broccoli and cabbage plants today that need to go in two of the beds down there but I want to get some of the good soil from the pig pen on them first and let it set for a bit first. For some reason all the plants that Wal-mart had were Packman broccoli, Waltham cabbage, some lettuce (I would never buy lettuce starts) and collards (nah). I wish they had more variety. I do have some seeds coming as well so hopefully I can get something started in time to plant.
We are supposed to get some cooler weather tomorrow -yes, 80's is cooler for us--and we are really looking forward to it. We will be smoking the bacon tomorrow and trying to move some more manure so cooler weather will definitely be welcome.
We, of course, went shopping as well and potatoes were on sale this week for 10 lbs for $2.97 so I have 20 lbs of potatoes to can as well. I kind of wanted to get a couple of those meat birds killed, skinned, pressure cooked and canned but I am pretty sure there aren't enough days to our weekend for all that....

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Quail Leg Soup

Yesterday I had to figure out something to put in the crock pot for supper. I had meant to get out some pork ribs the night before but I had forgotten. Instead I decided to take out and use up the quail legs. I took them out of the bag and put the whole lump in frozen, added two cans of cream of mushroom soup, approximately 4 cans of water, several potatoes cut into chunks, a jar of canned carrots, some dried mushrooms and some salt and pepper. Turned it on low and let it go for the day. It turned out quite wonderful and is definitely a recipe I will use again.
Tonight we will have the ribs.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

LED Bulbs

I have wanted to try those LED bulbs for a while now but they were so EXPENSIVE but the other day Michelle was putting in an order on Amazon that came to a few dollars under the $25 where she could get free shipping so she wanted me to order something (and save herself some money, of course). I looked at the stuff I had one my wishlist but didn't really want anything except the LED bulb and figured if I was going to get something it might as well be something I want that is useful so I ordered a bulb. It was $9.25 (yes, I know that is terrible but I wanted to try it).
Throughout the house we have fluorescent bulbs except in the bathroom because I ran out and it had an incandescent bulb. The LED bulb that I ordered said it was equal to a 50 watt incandescent. I was doubtful because I remembered when the fluorescent bulbs came out and how dim they were at that time.
The bulb came in today.
I will say this, the bulbs are heavy and feel a whole lot sturdier than an incandescent or fluorescent bulb. I switched out the bulb in the bathroom and was pleasantly surprised. It really does seem at least as bright as a 50 watt bulb and it does have a nice white light to it.
The side of the box says to run it 3 hours a day would be $.72 yearly (depending upon rates, so that could mean anything) and the life expectancy if run 3 hours a day is 18.26 years. I don't know how long we actually run our bathroom light every day it might be 3 hours but I doubt it.
 Now if we could just get the price down a bit, I would slowly replace my fluorescent bulbs with these.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Cutting and Lard Making

I wasn't sure if "larding was a word :)
 I don't mind making lard at all. Yeah, there's the smell but by the time you start filling your jars--one now, one an hour or so later etc., it starts to smell really good to you. With this pig there was a LOT of fat! Yeah! I saved all I could too. Right now I have two of my larger crock pots going (I had to dig one out of the cupboard, haven't used it in years- since I got the newer one) and they were full of fat. Plus I have a whole gallon bag full of more fat to make into lard. Unfortunately I didn't think to take pictures of the fat before I started cooking but here the crock pots are now after I have gotten 3 quarts of lard out.

The older crock pot definitely cooks slower than the newer one. I had to turn the newer one down (just goes to show that people want slow cookers but apparently not quite as slow as they used to be). I, obviously, have a couple more quarts to go which is fine with me. I don't do a lot of baking in the summer so haven't used up much of my 4 pints from the last pig (we don't use it for every day frying stuff because I keep so much bacon grease) but I am pretty sure that what I get from these two pigs should last me the whole year and I shouldn't have to buy any kind of oil or shortening. This is one of the reasons I never want to do the cost per pound vs feed on an animal. If I could do it (which I can't), I would rather do a cost to feed vs the cost it would save me on the price of the same products- or products I will substitute what I have for- if that makes sense.

The other chore today was cutting up the meat and trying to find a place for it in the freezer. We didn't quite succeed at this. I have 8 packages of bacon (approx 5 lbs each) in the frig curing in bags. That was all the room we could find since there are two hams still sitting in the frig. as well. That was just one half of the bacon belly (the other half is..bigger). I got the roasts cut off, the shoulders and hocks cut and bagged, the heart, tenderloin, and loins cut (what a lot of loin! We normally cut it and use it as boneless pork chops but the taste is SO much better than store bought pork chops), there is the sausage meat and the bag of fat in there as well and all the ribs.

We would have gotten the other ham at least in the freezer (to cure later) but we ran out of freezer bags so will have to do it tomorrow after work. It is in the big cooler with the huge other slab of bacon (I cut up the ribs to the loin to get more bacon). I will keep adding ice to it but we will get the other ham done tomorrow and hopefully in the freezer, and the bacon will get cut into approx 5-6 lb chunks and put in the freezer to freeze for later or put in the frig to cure--whichever has more space.
Was sick all morning and it wasn't my sinuses but still got the job done and animals fed. Can't say that I missed having to feed the pig.