Monday, July 30, 2012

Feeding us with stuff that Doesn't come from the grocery store.

My garden is in full swing. I have green tomatoes ever where. All my tomatoes have grown into one giant plant. I have little yellow squash poking out from giant umbrella leaves all over. The cucumbers have little teenie cukes starting to grow behind the flowers that haven't wilted away yet. The corn is above my head. Beets are doing their beet thing and want to become pickled beets for the hubby. My cauliflower  is almost ready to harvest and I'm sorry I didn't plant rows and rows of it.

Last night I pulled radishes right out of the ground, brought them in, washed them well, and hit the mandolin to them. I sauteed them in butter and olive/canola oil blend till the edges were starting to turn brown, then threw in some salt, minced garlic, and the sugar snap peas I picked and had in the fridge. It all had a wonderfully sweet, nutty taste, and even the hubby thought the side dish was a keeper.

Tonight we're having ground beef browned with sliced banana peppers, sugar snap peas, eggs, and cheese. The cheese is from a local company, the eggs, peppers, and peas from my yard. Next year the beef will be from the steer I'm raising.

I'm trying my had and making my first pie that didn't come from the frozen section of the grocery store. I go down to a local dairy a friend owns every night at 6:30 and pick up the milk they have left over after feeding calves. This is for my piggies to grow fat and strong and tender on. Tonight his mom asked if I wanted a box of apricots. They were from a friend of her's tree. My neighbor's tree hasn't started fruiting yet, so I said of course. I found a recipe that looked good on the internet, and away I go. I'll let you know tomorrow how it turns out.

Apricot Pie

  • Pastry dough
  • 2 lbs fresh apricots
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • Preheat oven to 400ºF with rack in lower third.
  • Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 13-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim excess dough, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold overhang under and press against rim of pie plate, then crimp decoratively. Chill pie shell in freezer 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, pull apricots (with skins) apart into halves, discarding pits. Melt butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, then stir in sugar, flour, and nutmeg and remove from heat. Cool mixture until firm enough to crumble, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Put apricots in pie shell and crumble butter mixture over them. Bake pie, with a foil-lined baking pan on rack below it (to catch drips), 10 minutes.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350ºF and continue to bake until top is golden, 50 minutes to 1 hour more.
  • Cool pie to warm or room temperature on a rack.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Hollywood movies with corn fields are full of baloney

I've watched movies with some damsel in distress trying to get away from the axe wielding manic, by running through a corn field. What a load of horse turds! Have you ever even Been in a corn field? Bah. We have a little patch of corn growing in the back of the garden. That stuff shot up like crazy in the last two weeks. Along the edges is still shorter than I am, but in the middle that stuff is taller than the hubby, and he's just over 6ft tall. Well Idaho weather being what it is, two evenings ago, just before sunset, this monster down draft of wind smacked into our house. One minuet Teh Spawn and I are sitting on the couch chatting with friends on Facebook, and the next we hear the wind pick up and start wooshing through the trees. The wall of dust hit, and I could see out the living room window, all my poor corn plants that I have been so proud of start to blow over in the wind. Idaho, being what it is, fifteen minutes later the wind died down and was gone.

I went out to look over the damage. Right in the center was the worst. Some of the corn was bent over, almost onto the ground, just it's neighbor stalks keeping it upright a little. Row after row pushed over. Hoping I could stand it back up I got to work. Out there in the dying light, mosquitoes making me into a sundown snack, I lifted corn stalks back up, and tried to tamp around the base with my flip flop to make them stand again. I made the mistake twice of trying to go back up between a row I'd just stood up instead of walking around the outside back to the front of the rows. That stuff is sharp along the edges of the leave. The leaves want to whip across you eyes, cheek, shoulders.  I was just walking and though, oh I don't want to do that again. My rows are more or less a wide enough for me to walk through. I wanted to be able to get in there and weed. The corn is planted more or less ten inches apart down the row. Have you ever really looked at a field of filed corn? That's the stuff for animal feed, not sweet corn. That's what they grown around here in all the corn fields. The rows are planted a ton closer together than my little garden plot. They don't space them at ten inches either. It's more like four. They pack in as much as possible, in as small an area as they can. That and the darned wind around here would knock it flat to the ground without neighbors to help hold it up. Try running through a field of that stuff. You'd get sliced to ribbons in the first five steps. 

My rooster is a dud

None of my chicken eggs hatched that the Traveling Chicken was tending so patiently. Every day, two or three times a day, I walked up behind the house and squatted down where Miss Traveler had her nest. I wore a flat spot on the ground from being out there so much. Sometimes I'd get home from work just a little bit early, and she'd be back up against the house with the other girls hunting spiders and other random bugs, or taking a dirt nap. I'd get to see the eggs without having to gently lift her backside. I waited and waited. The eggs never hatched. All 14 were duds. Twenty one days came and went. Then twenty three. My neighbor talked to the man we hers and my chickens from and he said give it to twenty eight days. On day thirty I gave up. I picked up one of the eggs and gently shook it. I could feel something shifting about. My curiosity got the better of me and I tapped the shell with a stick and cracked it open. All that was in there was yolk. It looked like scrambled eggs after you mix them up and before you put them in the pan. Sure enough I shook all the other eggs and they all felt the same. Something sloshing about inside. I pitched them all. The whole thing made me sad. I wanted to hear the little peeping noises as the chicks started to hatch. The momma chicken making her, "I'm talking to my eggs," noises. See the little buggers emerge from under all momma's feathers in the morning. Watch her teach them how to scratch, hunt, and peck out in the yard. Dammit, I wanted to raise some chickens. I feel cheated. I have to get a new rooster. I knew Hitler Rooster was retarded, but I really like him. He does the weird Nazi soldier march when he walks. His head tilts off to the side a lot. He lays down in front of the pan to eat his scratch. I know I saw him get up on the hens a few times, but he promptly fell off. I hoped he was doing his thing, but I guess not. He's a very nice roo for being a little weird. He doesn't harass the hens. He doesn't pull out all their feathers being too amorous. He's not mean to people even if he does have almost four inch long spurs. He lets you walk right up to him. I hope I can find a nice roo that won't be a bully to Hitler or the hens. I do want to get a fun colored roo. All my hens and Hitler are black. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Waiting on a chicken, Teh Spawn works on the truck

Sunday was 21 days that we noticed the Traveling Chicken sitting on eggs. They still haven't hatched. I tried bringing one inside in the dark bathroom and shined a flashlight through it. I did see the ring at one end that was very light with the air bubble, and most of the rest was dark, with a darker side. If I read right this means there is something growing in there. I think I go out there three, four times a day and just hunker down and look at momma sitting there giving me the stink eye. She still gets up off them in the heat of the afternoon and goes and hangs with the other chickens back behind the house. That's when I get a good look at the eggs. No cracks, no pips. I've tried tapping them with my fingernail, and don't hear any return peeps. I was getting very sad face. Andrea next door talked to the guy we got them from and he said that I should wait 28 days for a hatch, not 21-23. This gives me hope still. Otherwise what do I do with them? Feed them to the pigs? When do I tell the Traveling Chicken enough, and keep pitching her off the nest? 

Teh Spawn wants to be a mechanic in the Air Force. I think it's great. Her older friends got her interested in turning a wrench and getting greasy. I remember when we were little and it was Dad's turn to entertain us for the day. e'd pack up all four of us and take us down to the body shop he worked for. We all got a handful of wrenches and sent off in back to the bone yard to take apart whatever we could get loose. I still love the smell of Bondo. The oil in the Ford needed changed and Teh Spawn decided she was going to be the one to do it. With little instruction from Scott she did it all her self. She also pulled off the right rear tire, and she and Scott worked on the brake caliper. I've had this rattle in my hind end of the truck. Turns out one of the bolts holding the caliper together had backed out, and was missing, and the other was working itself out. This morning I took it in and had to have the front end aligned. All better now.

Fudge the potato with legs

 One of my girls

 Piggies are getting big

Patches got a bath, feet trimmed, then off to the arena for some much needed work.


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