Thursday, October 29, 2009

Back to the grind...

Well, my birthday was quite nice. I did have some friends take me out for cake and ice cream...YAY!!!
But today, back to the grind.

My plans for today include doing a complete inventory of my food preps.
I have my pantry, I also have food in my room (that's what I use for my bed frame!)

I SHOULD inventory every month.

I generally get it done about every 4 months.
If I had a bunch of kids at home and a spouse here, I would HAVE to inventory every month.
Since it is just me right now, I am sorta lax about it.

Today is also the day I put out vermin traps and poisons.
Yes, mice, rats and roaches, all of which are found in abundance in the region I live.
It is warm here and damp (most of the time), the city sewer system has the distressing habit of getting flooded with alarming regularity--which means rats abandon it and search for drier digs.

Because a couple of my tenants have been ill, I am also sanitizing the house top to bottom..a good idea for every household during flu season. (See my posts on making disinfectant)
So, busy day here!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Birthday Reflections

Well, today is my birthday.
No big party here, just a regular day with some time for reflections and musing.

Okay...I am 53.
No homestead yet.
Don't even own a patch of dirt to call my own.
I have dreams and goals and plans and , hopefully, they will all come to fruition.

What have I done with my life...what have I actually accomplished that wouldn't have happened except for my presence?

I have had 7 kids
Started one non-profit
Physically saved 2 lives
Rehabbed around 17 houses
Married 3 times
Divorced 3 times,heh.
Been in love several times.
Had a few guys fall in love with me.
Planted several thousand trees
Hunted and killed 6 deer, innumerable rabbits and squirrels, 1 elk, various *varmit* animals.
Been in 3 car wrecks...NONE of which were my fault! (Damn MEN drivers!)
Started 4 businesses.
Went out of business 4 times, lol!
Written countless poems and a few books.
Been published in a few poetry journals.
Painted countless paintings.
Sold a few paintings...I mainly give them for presents.
Milked several thousand cows.
Branded several hundred cows.
Slaughtered and butchered 4 cows, 6 sheep, countless chickens and rabbits and 4 pigs.
Tanned innumerable hides from cows, sheep, deer, snakes, rabbits, etc.
Started countless gardens.
Owned several damn fine dogs and four good cats.

All in all, an average life.
Since I plan on living until 106, I am only halfway done and I plan on doing much, much more before my ashes are scattered. (Oh yes, cremation is the way to go...why take up a patch of dirt that could be better used for a pasture or garden?)

Today is my 53rd birthday.
Cake and ice cream for everybody!!!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Brandied Fruit Recipe #3's a *twist* recipe I came up with on my own a few years ago.

Your ingredients are a bit different!

1 Cup almonds (I use blanched, slivered almonds)
1 cup fresh peaches, peeled and diced kinds large (1/2 inch dice)
1 cup fresh nectarines (done same way as peaches)
1 cup pineapple (you can used canned for this if you like, but fresh is better)
1 cup cherries (I have used canned for this...fresh is better, but canned will work JUST DON'T USE CHERRY PIE FILLING!!!)
1 cup Raspberries (if you use frozen, let thaw first and cut sugar in recipe by 1/2 cup)
4 tablespoons lemon grass, cut in 1 inch pieces OR 3 teaspoons lemon zest!

3 cups fine granulated sugar

Here's the fun part:
Amaretto!!! (Or plain Brandy, if you have no Amaretto)

Now, toss the fruit and almonds with the sugar and lemongrass or lemon zest, mix gently, but well, in a large bowl. Let set for one hour, mixing gently about every 20 minutes.

Spoon into clean pint jars and pour in Amaretto (or Brandy) to cover. Cap tightly and put in the back of your pantry for *aging*.

Wait one month before using.

Spoon over ice cream, pound cake, crepes, etc.

This is great because it has a nice citrus note that enhances the fruit flavors and the almonds had a great texture.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More Fruit Recipes

Okay, you have to make this one in THIS WEEK for it to be ready by the holidays!

It is from the German/Austrian tradition and you can use Rum (German/Austrian tradition) Bourbon (French tradition) or Brandy(English tradition)

In Germany it is called RUMTOPF (Rum Pot)


Fresh, unblemished fruits
Good quality rum, bourbon or brandy
Fine granulated sugar

Now. most of us don't have a *Rumtopf crock* sitting around, but don't despair...use your crockpot liner! (You do have a crockpot---right? Well, pull out the insert--the crock itself--and use that)
You will also need some Saran Wrap or other cellophane type wrap that clings good.
Now, find a small plate that will fit inside your crocpot. More about that later.
And the lid for your crockpot.

Ideal fruits are:
Pineapple (remove rind & core and cut in large cubes)
Cherries (any variety, pitted)
Apricots (halves, pitted)
Nectarines (halves, pitted)
Peaches (peel,remove pits and cut in halves, quarters, or slices)
Pears (cored, peeled & sliced)
Plums (remove seed and half or quarter)
Grapes (sweet seedless red or green grapes are ideal)
Strawberries (don't wash, just remove stem & leaves). Strawberries will lose their red color.
Raspberries (don't wash). Raspberries will lose some of their red color.
Red currants (removed from stem)
Other less ideal fruits, may be added if you wish:
Blackberries or Blueberries (can be bitter and can discolor the other fruits)
Watermelon and Cantaloupe chunks (can make the mixture a bit watery)
Rhubarb (can make mixture sour)
Bananas (too mushy)
Citrus (too acidic, although if you use Mandarian orange slices, they are good!)

Wash and dry the inside of the Rumtopf/Crockpot.
Wash and dry the first chosen fruit. (Don't wash Strawberries and Raspberries.)
Remove any stems, seed and pits.
In a separate bowl cover the fruit with an equal weight of granulated sugar and allow to sit for one hour.
(example: 3 pounds of fruit and 3 pounds of sugar)
Place the fruit, sugar and any juices left in the bowl into the Rumtopf/Crockpot.
Pour in just enough rum (or bourbon or brandy) to cover the fruit.
Weigh the fruit down with a clean saucer or plate (see, told you to have one ready!)
Cover the opening of the Rumtopf/Crockpot with plastic (to avoid evaporation) and place the lid firmly on top.
Store in a cool place away from heat and sunlight.

Serve the Rumtopf fruits with its syrup (hot or cold) over ice-cream, cake, flan, puddings, or cheese cake. Serve in an elegant dish topped with whipped cream or crème frâiche.
Serve as a side dish with any game meat.
Serve the strained liquid as a liquor or after-dinner cordial.
Add two tablespoons of the strained liquid to Champagne for a unique and elegant cocktail.

Brandied Fruits

Traditional Eastern European Brandied Fruit Recipe

This is normally prepared in July when most of the fruits are in season...or early fall.

Serve room temperature or warmed over pound cake slices or ice cream or get dramatic and serve a la flame' over crepes!

Makes 8 pint jars


  • 9 cups diced fruit of choice (cherries, blueberries, plums and peeled nectarines and peaches)
  • 5 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 cups (or more as necessary) good-quality brandy


  1. In a very large bowl, combine fruit and sugars, tossing well. Cover and let marinate for 1 hour, tossing every 15 minutes.

  2. Divide fruit among 8 sterilized pint jars or a gallon covered crock. Pour in brandy, making sure fruit is submerged. Cover and store in a cool place for at least one month. Since the brandied fruit will only improve with age, let the flavors develop for more than one month. (Some of the best I ever had aged for 3 months...was *droolishess*!)

  3. Once aged, store the brandied fruit on a counter. As its contents diminish, just add more diced fruit (2 cups fruit to 1/2 cup each white and firmly packed brown sugar) and brandy to cover.
That's recipe No. #1

2 and 3 will follow as soon as I dig out my recipe book

Quick Thought Post #1

10 Uses for an empty bleach bottle:
Alternative uses for One Gallon Bleach Bottles:

1) Water storage.
2) Storage for dry goods--beans, rice, wheat, etc. Rinse with scalding hot water, make sure they are thoroughly dry, pop in one little O2 absorber, fill half way, drop in another O2 absorber, fill to top, pop in one last O2 absorber.
3) Make into piggy bank. (Use empty thread spools for legs/feet, pieces of felt glued on for ears, pipe cleaner for tail)
4) Cut and make into large scoops. We did this to have big scoops for the kids to play with in the sandbox, my grandmother used one in her flour bin, grandad used one to put corn into the feed buckets.
5) Cut off top, punch a few small holes in bottom (use finishing nails for that) for drainage and use as planting pots to start seedlings.
6) Use top 5 or 6 inches to protect seedlings from late frosts at night. (You can also do this with 2 liter bottles and make mini-greenhouses for cold days)
7) Fill with sand and make weights for physical fitness exercises.
8 ) Fill with sand/small rocks, bundle 3 together (tie together with stout cord) and use as a small anchor.
9) Cut off top, punch holes in either side and attach strong cord...improvised small bucket!
10) Use cut off top for funnel.

There's my top ten uses.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

bison survival blog: scary sheeple

bison survival blog: scary sheeple

Gifts in a Jar

Some gifts in a jar are necessary to do NOW.
Why NOW?
Some things, such as brandied fruit, need time to set in order to be *done* by the holidays.

Here is one of my favorites, that I am making tonight!

Honeyed Ginger Slices

Fresh Ginger, peeled and sliced into slices no more than a 1/4 inch thick...thinner is better!
Raw honey
Pint or half-pint jar(s) --depends on how much you are making. I suggest the wide mouth type.

Pour just enough honey into the jar to cover the bottom.
Add layer of ginger slices, enough to cover the honey.
Pour in enough honey to cover the ginger slices.
Add another layer of ginger slices.
Pour in another layer of honey...
Continue until jar is full, making sure to put a layer of honey as the last layer.

Now, some people then do a boiling water bath. I don't because I feel the high heat destroys the good enzymes in the honey.

Set the jar(s) in the back of your pantry for at least one month. It gives the ginger slices time to absorb the honey.
Use the ginger slices in the bottom of your tea cup for a lovely way to sweeten a cup of hot tea on a cold morning.
Use the ginger spiced honey in baking or on pancakes.
I end up sneaking a slice or two of the ginger when I have the sniffles. Clears up my sinuses and tastes SO good!
If it sets for long enough that the honey crystallizes, no worries!
Continue to use the slices in your tea and just set the jar in hot water to liquefy the honey again!
The ginger honey also works well as a cough syrup!

Tomorrow...Three amazing brandied fruit recipes!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Long time between posts...

...but as they say, Life intervenes...

Going on to fall here and we FINALLY have some cooler weather here in SouthEast Texas.
Cool air...mmmmmmnnnn...absolute heaven to me!

Have a little over 2 months until Christmas, Yule, Mass of Commercialism, whatever you want to call it.
Too many people spending WAY too much money on mostly cheap plastic crap made in China.

Start preparing NOW for a sane, sensible, debt free holiday season!
Do you sew...even a little?
Make hats, scarves, tote bags, place mats, doll clothes, etc.
Make soap or candles.
Buy some quart canning jars and put together *recipes in a jar*. Google that. Lots of recipes for everything from cocoa mix to bean soup to cake. Trim each jar with a pretty ribbon and a tag with cooking directions.
Go to the nearest *Everything for a Buck* store and buy some pretty baskets to fill with home made cookies and other goodies.
I am going to make a few of these projects in the coming weeks and will post pics of finished projects. May have to borrow a digital camera, but I am going to try to post pics of *how tos* as well.

Look, the economy is in the toilet. It sucks. You know it, I know it, we all know it.
Why put yourself in debt for something that is liable to be tossed aside within a few days?
I know the gifts I have suggested would not make a childs heart bubble over with joy (except maybe the doll clothes), but in the coming weeks, I will come up with suggestions for the littler ones on your list!

Our theme this year:
Give from the heart, not the pocketbook!