Archive for October, 2010

God is so good!

Today has been a very emotional day – in a good way –  full of worship, fellowship, cooking with pumpkin, and a yummy church social followed by a local brass ensemble.  I have truly felt God’s presence today, and it was wonderful. But I’ll blog about it tomorrow, after it’s “processed” a little bit longer, and I’ve gotten a full night’s rest.  Gonna check FB really quick, and then go snuggle with my pillows.

God bless!

Warshing Clothes

copied and pasted from Rural Revolution’s blog

Years ago an Alabama grandmother gave a new bride the following recipe: this is an exact copy as written and found in an old scrapbook – with spelling errors and all.
Warshing Clothes
Build fire in backyard to heat kettle of rain water. Set tubs so smoke wont blow in eyes if wind is pert. Shave one hole cake of lie soap in boilin water.

Sort things, make 3 piles
1 pile white,
1 pile colored,
1 pile work britches and rags.

To make starch, stir flour in cool water to smooth, then thin down with boiling water.

Take white things, rub dirty spots on board, scrub hard, and boil, then rub colored don’t boil just wrench and starch.

Take things out of kettle with broom stick handle, then wrench, and starch.

Hang old rags on fence.

Spread tea towels on grass.

Pore wrench water in flower bed. Scrub porch with hot soapy water.

Turn tubs upside down.

Go put on clean dress, smooth hair with hair combs .. Brew cup of tea, sit and rock a spell and count your blessings.

Paste this over your washer and dryer next time when you think things are bleak, read it again, kiss that washing machine and dryer, and give thanks. First thing each morning you should run and hug your washer and dryer, also your toilet – those two-holers used to get mighty cold!

(For you non-southerners – “wrench” means “rinse.”)

Cheap and natural cleaning ideas, pumpkin cookin’, and a little randomness

Back to the basics (and cheap!) cleaning supplies/tips:

I try to use only vinegar, baking soda, and borax for cleaning – well, and Mr. Clean Magic Erasers (these things are AMAZING!). Only exceptions so far are laundry soap, dish soap, and mopping – please share if you have natural cleaning tips for these 😀 Don’t have to worry about chemicals in my food, etc, and it’s so much cheaper. I’ve only recently discovered borax, but I’m telling you, when I started cleaning the counter-tops (who knew that was a hyphenated word?) with it, they literally sparkled! And these are just standard counter-tops, nothing fancy like granite or anything,  but I seriously don’t think they sparkled this much brand new! (Only down-side to borax is that you have to give a wipe down with clean water after.) My sister is much more serious, and also includes bleach in the mix (she worked in a nursing home for a while – bleach goes in her dishwater, etc).

We keep the vinegar in a spray bottle, and just use it like we would any spray cleaner, and if you need some added “umph” add some baking soda (cleans up grease stains like you would not believe!). I use the vinegar and/or baking soda for spot cleaning, and the borax for the full wipe-down. Another note on vinegar – kills ants DEAD. D-E-A-D, dead! Won’t prevent ’em, but if you’ve got a trail of ants coming in, spray those suckers with vinegar and watch ’em die – instantly. And borax is supposed to be good against roaches.

Also, I’ve started using a “glug” (I don’t measure, just dump from the box) of borax in with my wash, which is what it’s intended for, actually. I can’t believe all the money I spent for years on Oxi-clean and/or off-brands, when borax does just as good a job, AND helps with my hard well water!

And these things are SO much cheaper than traditional cleaning supplies. Now to figure out how to cheapen up laundry and dish soap…. (Haven’t tried making my own)

A tip for “I ran out of dishwasher detergent” – which works just as good, and is cheaper. Can’t take credit for it; it was suggested to me, and it works great. Put NO MORE THAN a quarter size circle of regular dish soap (this is what ensures it won’t blow up with bubbles) in your dishwasher’s soap dispenser. Fill the rest of the way with bleach. If you wish something in the pre-rinse cycle, only add a glug of bleach, no dish soap (b/c a little will leak out of the pop-open dispenser, and you don’t want a kitchen full of bubbles).

Hmmm, the borax box says something about cleaning fine china – might have to experiment with it in the dishwasher and see what happens.

On to the randomness – I had some issues (largely not cooking it long enough), but I got my pumpkin murdered and cooked, well 1/2 of it at least. Thanks to the crock pot, all is well! I have 8 cups of pumpkin puree cooling in freezer bags on the counter waiting to go in the freezer. the other 1/2 pumpkin in the fridge still needs to be scooped, crocked, pureed (hey, I spelled that one right 1st try!), and then bagged up to join in on the freezer party. Funny how a 2-qt crock pot exactly full yields pretty much exactly 8 cups 😉 (Okay, so one of the bags has about 2-1/2 cups in it, close enough….)

Scrubbed and ready to be cut up!

Holy pumpkin, Batman!

Make room! Everybody’s gotta fit! Except the little boy, that is 😉 And yes, this is a standard size oven. Note the pumpkin in the bottom right is actually touching the rack above it. It would not fit on the upper rack. Made things interesting when it came time to play “switch places in the oven.”

Told you it was touching the rack 😉

4 baggies, ready for the freezer. Libbey, who’s that?

Tip: when I’m filling baggies with stuff for the freezer, I detest having to clean out the zipper portion/top of the bag before sealing it. I figured out how to get around that today! Since I now have a canning funnel (translation: big bottom opening), I just held the baggie up around the bottom of the funnel – carefully – the puree was still HOT – and scooped in 2 1-cup measuring cupfuls into each baggie, then scraped the bits that stayed in the funnel down into the baggie with a spatula. Viola! No more messy baggie tops 😀

Another tip somebody taught me long ago: don’t you hate when you’re lining a pan with aluminum foil trying to get it in the corners? It crinkles really badly, and sometimes tears? Use your pan as a mold; turn the pan upside down, lay the sheet of foil on top, and fold the corners DOWN.

Now take the foil off, turn the pan right side up, and insert! There will be a little bit of crinkling in the corners as the outside of the pan is a little bigger than the inside, but this is SO much easier, IMO.

And last, but not least, I think I’ve found a new addiction – canning! In addition to pumpkin stuff yesterday (well, I did the puree part this morning), I also made grape jelly 🙂

My steam canner says it will process 7 pints or quarts, but I found out yesterday that it holds quite well 2 1/2 pint jars (see my pretty Italian amphora jar in the middle?) and 6 4 oz jelly jars. I just processed the whole lot at the 10 minutes it said to process for 1/2 pints; somebody please correct me if I did wrong! (Everybody sealed and jellied though :D) And I’ve already given away one of the 4 oz jars, and hope to give 2 more this afternoon – it really, truly is so much better to give than to receive!

Fall pix

I decided before murdering my pumpkin as described by OhioFarmGirl to take some pictures first:

What’s better for a fall picture opportunity than a boy, a pumpkin, and a cat?

How about a boy, a pumpkin, and three black cats 😉

 

Happy Fall Y’all!

 

PS – No, the pictures are not edited in any way other than to crop them. God blessed us with solid black kitties 😉 Yes, the kittens are from the same litter. And when I see them together I can’t help but hum “One of these things is not like the other ones, one of these things doesn’t belong….”

South Georgia "Growing Local" Conference (via the irresistible fleet of bicycles)

REALLY hoping I can go to this 🙂

South Georgia "Growing Local" Conference South Georgia “Growing Local” Conference November 12, 2010 – November 13, 2010 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM Registration is now open for the South Georgia Growing Local Food Conference to be held Nov. 12 and 13 at the UGA Black Shank Farm in Tifton, Georgia! The conference is intended to educate and stimulate the local-food and healthy-food movement in southern Georgia. Events begin on Friday afternoon with a self-guided farm tour, followed by an Okravore P … Read More

via the irresistible fleet of bicycles

Quick post before bedtime

Thank you God, for the RAIN! It might still be 70~ degrees outside – at night – in October, nearly November, but thank you, thank you, thank you for the Rain! My little garden appreciated very much the 1/2″ You freely bestowed upon it. (And I’m praying mightily that it’s bringing a cold front, knowing my back is gonna protest; if I wanted 70ish degree weather year-round, I’d move to the Keys or some tropical island.)

Tomorrow plans include physical therapy, getting an approximate cost on 4 tires for my truck while I’m in town, and then working on my etsy.com store; don’t know if it’ll go live tomorrow, but I got a bunch a pictures taken today of stuff that will be for sale (my awesome score from Goodwill, but you’ll just have to wait!), and my sis-in-law is proof-reading the burp cloth crochet pattern I wrote.

Good night, world!

Dream big – critter wishlist

I hate when I can’t sleep. I was exhausted, I get up from the recliner doing computer-y/facebook-y things, I fix the coffee pot for in the morning (I’d love a french press – Christmas present idea, anybody, hint, hint), take my shower, and proceed to lay in the bed tossing and turning from 11-12:30 before I decide to get up and get some of the thoughts OUT of my head and ONTO the computer screen, in hopes that MAYBE they’ll shut up and let me sleep.

So I just posted one blog on what’s been running around in my head (read previous entry), now for a dreaming entry for a few years down the road. 😉 I’ve been saying that I want goats for dairy and some meat, chickens for eggs and meat, and most likely rabbits for meat and tanning hides. And then I come across this website: American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. I’m sure by know you’re familiar with the whole hybrid/heritage plant seed thing – well, this is pretty much the same thing, but with animals instead of plants! And most of the breeds are endangered, and it lets you know the breeds unique to North America, and which are feral (or at least started that way).

I have decided, I want the Cubalaya chicken! They just look cool 🙂 And they’re supposedly very tame, too, and good layers of not-white eggs. (Mama doesn’t want white eggs b/c it’s easier to pick the shell out if it’s brown – and she makes a VERY good point I’ve discovered in the 18 months I’ve lived here.)

Rabbits – It’s gonna be the Silver Fox Rabbit for my homestead. Love that silver/black fur! (The white bunnies with the pink “lab rat” eyes just creep me out *shudder*)

Based on the list, I still haven’t decided on a goat breed, although the Tennessee Fainting Goat does just sound nifty, but not what I need if my primary goal is milk. Maybe the arapawa goat, but it doesn’t say if it’s a good milker or not, although I’d hazard a guess it might be since it was the goats colonists brought over. I also keep coming back to the Nigerian Dwarf Goat, because they’re cool looking, and small, and most likely not to have horns(!), but there’s also the fact of – the smaller the goat, the smaller the teat, which means the smaller surface available to figure out how to milk. But lots of people do it; why couldn’t I?

I had also not been thinking pigs AT ALL (I do like my bacon and pulled pork, though), until I saw the handsome face of the Guinea Hog, also known as the Pineywoods Guinea, Acorn Eater, and Yard Pig – well gee, we live in pine country, surrounded by oak trees, and in further reading of the article, wanna know why they were kept in the yard? Snake patrol! THAT’S my kinda pig 😀 S/he might find a home on my homestead, after all!

And sheep is another one I hadn’t been thinking about. Doesn’t it just get too stinkin’ hot down here in south/central GA for sheep? Apparently not for the Gulf Coast Native Sheep. They don’t grow wool on their face, legs, and bellies, and are resistant to some other stuff that other sheep breeds aren’t down here in the deep humid south. And since I like to crochet, and that takes yarn, and yarn can be made from wool…. Maybe. I could also achieve similar results with good ol’ “southern snow” – aka “the touch, the feel, of cotton. The fabric of our lives” (must be sung in your head with the smooth sultry tones of Aaron Neville…. ;-))

And I know I’d been thinking goats instead of cows. More goats in the same amount of land, the milk is supposedly better for us, goats are SMALLER and weigh less, but isn’t the Red Poll Cow pretty? And I’ll save you a trip to Google – poll means “no horns.” (you’re welcome :-)) And they’re red, too! (Have you figured out a theme here yet – color, I like color!)

And even though it’s something I hadn’t consciously thought about, I do want ducks and geese. (We’ve got plenty of wild turkeys, they hide in the pine trees and gobble at me early in the morning.) I like the Cotton Patch Goose breed, especially if I decide to do the aforementioned, ahem, cotton patch. But for another reason, too. When I was in high school, our church youth group performed a musical called “The Cotton Patch Gospel.” (Gimme a shout out if you’ve heard of it….) It’s essentially the life of Christ, set in rural GA. The writers were pretty accurate, and figured out the correct distances between all the biblical cities, and transferred that over to GA cities – a lot of it takes place in Gainsville, GA. And instead of being crucified, Jesus is strung up by a lynch mob. Now back to our regular scheduled blog 😉

Ducks – I know I want ducks, but just haven’t picked one yet. There’s not a breed that “speaks to me” like in the other animal categories. I mean, what’s a pond without ducks?

And a donkey, I know I want a donkey for guard purposes (you can thank my sister for putting this thought in my head).

And in addition to all the yard cats (I know, I know, I still haven’t posted obligatory cute cat pix – I’ll get there), I want 2 house cats once I have a house of my own 😉

And I think that’s it, but I’m not really sure, b/c FINALLY I’m yawning good and having problems keeping my eyes open. So hopefully I can go lay down again and actually go to sleep this time.