Thursday, December 1, 2016


We have leftovers from two turkey's this year. One from our Thanksgiving dinner at home and one from our family Thanxmas dinner with the family. I didn't really realize how much was left until I looked at it today and realized I really needed to can some of it or we were just going to waste all that good turkey.
The spare room is kind of full right now. The big fish tank/brooder is still in there and several rather large presents, bags of smaller presents, empty boxes to send presents in or sent of Etsy orders, just a lot of stuff but I managed to reach the canner and find jars enough.
Canning meat is no more difficult than canning anything else. I did the 'hot pack' method with the turkey where you boil the meat first. I then packed it in the jars using the same liquid, added a little salt,  and pressure canned it for 75 minutes in pint jars.

I ended up with 7 full pints with some leftover. The leftover meat was in all that good juice too and there was no reason to let all that go to waste either so I poured it in the crock pot, added some onions, salt, pepper, a little sage and a jar of canned carrots. I will add some kind of pasta- maybe egg noodles-- later when it is close to time to eat so the noodles don't overcook.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

And Then There Were 9 More

My little hen that hatched the one chick before ended up losing that chick and then she abandoned the nest and I cleaned it out. Then she started setting again on the eggs her and the others laid in that nest again. Because she had only hatched on the last time, I was not real worried when she set again and I was busy (and sick) and just kind of let her go and collected eggs out of the other nest.
Today I got a surprise when I went out. I thought I heard peeping and I was thinking well one more chick...and then looked in the nest when she got off and there were NINE chicks!
Unfortunately, she is in a community pen with several other chickens who killed her last chick so I had to get them out of there. I got my brooder, cleaned it out and then went looking for the brooder lights. I found two but only one worked. Unfortunately, you need a bulb that produces heat and the new bulbs don't really do that. I found one 60 watt one but it did not produce enough heat to get the brooder up to the 98 degrees that I needed (I would have settled for 95 if I could have gotten it but it wouldn't go past 85--not hot enough for the first couple weeks).  So I Phil and I went to town and picked up a new light and bulb.

I had already realized by then that the big fish tank I had in the spare room would make a better (bigger) brooder. It didn't take long to put it all together when I got home and go get the chicks. The hen still has 4 eggs so I will have to watch in case she gets them to hatch.

Anyway, here are the new babies. They were very happy with the food and water as there was none in the nest box.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Peach Pie

I had to go to town today to get my prescriptions filled and when I got home I just couldn't stand the thought of peeling a million peaches for jam. Something about 7 cups of sugar for jam which we really don't eat, just didn't motivate me today. Maybe I will do some tomorrow but I still have all those peaches and had to make a small dent in them anyway so I made a peach pie....well, a peach/cherry pie because I still have all those dried cherries my sister-in-law gave me (as a matter a fact, they gave me another quart bag after the first ones) and they need to be used too.
I didn't use a recipe. Nothing wrong with using a recipe but after years of cooking, I think I can put together a simple pie without one. It's a lost art, I know but really pies are pretty easy. I peeled, and peeled, and peeled my peaches until I had a pie tin full, then I put them in a bowl, added a cup of sugar, a handful or so of the dried cherries, some cinnamon, a little less nutmeg, and a little flour. Readied the bottom crust and put it in the pan, poking holes in it here and there, put in the peaches/cherries, dabbed some butter on top and then put the top crust on.

I cooked it for 40 minutes and the crust was not real brown but since I tend to get it too brown usually, I thought this was good enough and took it out. Will let you know how good it is tonight after dinner (in the comments) but I imagine this is going to be pretty tasty.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Canning Peaches!

So the peaches on my one tree finally got ripe and it was time to pick them. Phil and I picked the ones we could reach and then we used the can (although we use the bottom of a Poweraid bottle) on a stick trick to try to get the ones we couldn't reach. It worked but not well so there was still a lot of peaches left even after we had a big basket and grocery bag full.
That problem was solved yesterday when some storms came through.

Yeah, half the tree just bent right over. Too many peaches, then water weight on the leaves and it was way too heavy. It did not break the tree but I will have to cut it back pretty good this year because those branches aren't going back up even though I have picked the peaches now.

Yes, three more bags of peaches.

It sounds so simple to can peaches when you read it on a website. Just pop them in boiling water, then cold water and the skins will just peel right off.......LIES! Ha, yeah, that only worked for the larger, riper peaches, the smaller, harder peaches (which was 75% of them) have skin that just doesn't come off and you spend forever peeling them. Then the website said just look for the line already on the peach and cut on it and most of the peaches will just break in half....LIES! I had one that broke in half.....some had oddly shaped pits, some had pits that weren't entirely in the center...most would not come away from the pits at ALL! In the end, once the big peaches were done and I was stuck with the smaller ones, I just sat down and peeled them with a paring knife and cut off all the good peach parts I could.  I used Fruit Fresh to keep the peaches from turning brown while I peeled (forever! a whole large bowl for ONE quart!).
I made a sugar syrup of 1 cup sugar to one quart of water and put the peeled peach pieces in the jars, added the syrup, made sure to remove the air bubbles but running a knife through it, cleaned the rims and then water bath canned for 20 minutes.

Yup, a whole 8 quarts for 5 hours (5 HOURS!) worth of work. Tomorrow I will have to do some more (I am thinking about peach jam ) because there are still 2 1/2 bags of small peaches left.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Summer is Here!

Normally it doesn't take us very long in Georgia to get to summer but this year we actually have had a nice long spring. Even now temperatures are still in the 80's which has been really nice. I took a bunch of pictures to share with you today. Some of them you can compare with the last posts pictures and see how fast everything has grown.
Here is the extent of my gardening this year. My one lonely tomato plant and some herbs. It has grown really quickly but only has one tomato on it. Yesterday we moved it onto the porch to what we hope will be a sunnier location. In with it I have some basil, thyme and rosemary.

 The peaches are doing great! We did have one storm where a bunch of them fell off but there are still plenty left. I really am very impressed with how well they are doing and the bugs don't seem to like them either. I'm thinking a few more weeks and we'll be picking them.

Phil has been busy building us a new front porch. The old one was slowly rotting away. This one isn't finished yet. We still need to add the railings but it is much nicer to step on a porch that isn't in danger of falling through.

Out in the back shed the chickens have done really well this year. Unfortunately, a lot of the chicks I got last year turned out to be roosters. I put an add on our local facebook board and gave away most of the roosters the other day. But one of the little bantam hens decided to claim a nest for herself and I let her and two days ago she hatched this little one. She still has a lot of eggs left and I hope she ends up with a few more chicks. So far I haven't had to remove him from the pen but we'll see how it goes.

Here is a picture of one of the pots of coleus, doing what coleus do. I think they are lovely and am glad I planted these. When I was a kid in NH, coleus were a houseplant. 

Out back again you can see that our wonderful tree is still looming over the back yard. For those who aren't on my facebook, this hardwood tree just leaned over one day while we were having a little rain shower. I don't know what is wrong with it. Phil got up on the shed roof and cut off as much of the top as he could reach with the chain saw but it just didn't help any and now the tree refuses to break so we are stuck with it leaning over the back yard and old greenhouse until it does.

Also in the back yard I have two bushes blooming. I bought them years ago at the flea market and they have never bloomed before this year. When I bought them I was told they were an old time hydrangea. I think they are lovely and hope the tree doesn't fall on them now that they have finally bloomed. 

This last picture is just a few pots of petunias (there are pots of mint somewhere behind them on the table). These pots were on a hanging post in the back yard that got hit by the tree branches and fell over but Phil went and rescued them for me and they now have recovered and sit on the table in the back yard until their post can be put back up..safely.

Other than that, there is, of course, knitting and crocheting.

I have about 70 items in my Etsy shop now but nothing is really selling. I just keep adding to it and hope I have plenty for Christmas. You can find me on Facebook here;Becky's Crochet and Craft Shop

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spring is Here!!

We barely had a winter at all this year. It did spit snow on us twice but most of the days were quite warm. I have begonias in a pot on the porch that are growing again where usually they would have died off during the winter.
I got out for a few minutes today and planted some things in pots. The pollen is really bothering me this year. I never had these allergies until I got older. I am coughing and sneezing all the time and really the allergy medicine only helps for a few hours. And then there is the small issue of me breaking my big toe last week....these are my excuses for not getting more than this little bit of gardening done today..Anyway, I did get some things potted up.
On either side of the porch I have big pots that used to have chrysanthemums in them but they have died off and this year I am replacing them with an old favorite of mine coleus. I just love all the colors they come in and they do pretty well here in pots, though I will have to keep them well watered when the heat gets here.

 I was not fast enough to plant potatoes in the big pot that I planted them in last year but yesterday I couldn't resist picking up a cherry tomato plant and some basil (pesto!) while I was at the feed store. These went into that large pot. The bricks are only their temporarily. After I planted them I remembered the few chickens that are loose have started coming into the front yard and I don't want them or the cats digging in the pot so I just set the bricks in there for now; I'll find something better to protect it later.

 I'll have to pick up more tomato plants for other pots later as I will never be able to limit myself to just one.

Here is a (blurry) pictures of some of the little babies on the peach tree. It has a lot of them coming but you never know how many the tree will drop so we will just have to wait and see.

I wanted to show you this next picture since our mulberry tree has branches hanging down low enough for me to get a picture this year. These are what will produce the berries on our mulberry tree. Mulberries grow wild here and the male trees produce a LOT of pollen but this is, of course, a female tree which actually help reduce pollen in the air because the flowers draw the pollen in (it doesn't seem to be helping me much). Although I suppose there must be some male trees in these woods here somewhere. I am not really that good at identifying tree so I don't know which ones they are. These trees grow wild here. They grow incredibly fast when young. This tree wasn't even here when we moved here and is now huge. 

This next picture is the fig tree that we had to cut down when the tree fell on the house. I knew it would grow back and as you can see it is definitely making a come back. A year or two and it will be as big as it was before.

 I have saved the flowers for last. There isn't a whole lot of flowers yet but it won't be long.

This first one is a bloom from a little miniature rose bush that Phil bought me for Valentine's day. I nearly killed it by setting it outside. I didn't realize the pot was in a metal pail that had no drainage. Luckily I noticed that one side had some branches that had died off and went to investigate and found the drainage problem. It was full of buds when he gave it to me, but the change from the nursery to my house was a bit much for it, and then I couldn't get it outside because we had a cold snap (a couple of days) and most of the buds died off but a few have remained to flower. I believe I will try to find a spot in the ground to plant it later as they seem to do so much better when I plant them out (I have a tendency to not be able to keep up with watering them if I leave them in pots).

This next picture is one of the first roses on the huge rose bush by the mailbox. It is going to be covered in roses again this year but right now there are only about 5 roses on it. 

And for my last flower I found one of the few violets still in the yard. When we moved here there were so many violets that I made violet jelly every year but somehow our poor grass cutting habits have allowed other....umm....weeds.. to come in and take over and there are still a lot of violets but not really enough for jelly.

I don't mind enjoying them just like this. What is that plant over it? Yes, the lemon balm has invaded the front flower bed finally...oh well...

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Stocking Up!

But maybe not in the way you would think of me stocking up... I'm stocking up on my knitted and crocheted good to sell because even though nothing is selling now, they seem to sell real good at Christmas....and yes, Christmas is a long time away but these things take time to make. Last year I sold 15 of one particular hat! I'd like to be really stocked up on that hat this year and in several sizes. So now while it is slow, I am going to take the time to make these extras.
 It's boring. Making the same hat, over and over again in different sizes and colors but I think I will feel much better when it is done. I won't do them all at once. I'll do four or five and then make something new or work on another item that sells good (or I hope will sell good).

No more dragons for my grandson...

Or bibs for the new baby coming in Sept...

Or flowers for a very sick friend....

I must focus on...hats....

Saturday, March 12, 2016


It must be spring! Just look at all the blooms on my peach tree. I am hoping I get more than the one peach I got last year off of this tree. I didn't prune it this winter and am very pleased with how well it has bloomed. As long as we don't get any more cold snaps and the tree doesn't drop to many, we should get at least a few peaches. Pinky, one of the cats,  (I do not name them my daughter does) makes this picture even prettier.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Hello All

We're still here though we aren't doing a whole lot of self sufficient stuff that isn't on the blog already. This picture is of Michelle standing by our little section of the lake. We walked down there the other day and found that others have made a new path down to the lake so now I am trying to get walking down there ever day that I am not working. I didn't think we were going to get to today because it is overcast and thundering now and then but it has only sprinkled so we chanced it and got our walk in. I need all the exercise I can get as my job at the state park here requires me to do very little exercise.
Not much has changed here. We put in a new hot water heater over the weekend when the other one started leaking out the top. I hate it for my friend Diane who owns the house as we paid for the hot water heater so she will have to take it off the rent and she has a new car to pay for but that isn't my problem. We shouldn't have to pay rent and do without hot water too.
Phil and I have some money saved and are looking at properties but just have not found anything that fits our needs and price range yet so we will be working on getting his credit score up in the meantime.
I still have my chickens out there. I have a couple hens sitting on big nests of eggs. I didn't keep track of how long it had been but seems like one nest should have chicks soon if they are going to hatch at all. If they do I will probably have to take them and brood them inside as the cats get my chicks if I don't.
Phil has a new (used) truck. The transmission went in the old one. He actually traded future tile work for the truck so it didn't actually cost us any money but will mean some weekend work in the future.

Michelle also got her first car. It also is used but is running great and she takes it back and forth to  her work. She saved up for the $3000.00 car herself.

Still playing my violin without a teacher but I did buy a subscription to a site called Violin Lab. They have over 550 videos on violin playing and it definitely has been a help to me.

I am still crocheting and knitting as well. Sales have really slowed down since Christmas is over though so I am not crocheting and knitting quite as much. I try to make and sell my own designs as well but it is slow going.

I really haven't forgotten about this blog just nothing really worthy of writing about. I am thinking about gardening a little this year but only if I am able to get the garden in better shape. Will let you know if I ever do..