In my blog I plan to chat about nature, crafts, baking, gardening, beekeeping, family, and whatever else seems appropriate at the time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Putting up corn

This week my cousin, Vickie, came over and we froze some fresh corn for the winter. I thought I'd show you how we do it. A friend of mine showed me this method years ago, and everyone loves it. We bought ten dozen ears of corn. The first thing you have to do is "peel the skin." No that is not the correct terminology, but that's what Vinh called it! The boys (Vinh and Teng) were great helpers with cleaning the corn. See the fog in the picture? It was a scorcher out that day. So hot and muggy my camera lens kept fogging up.

We shucked the corn and cleaned it the best we could, but do not put it in water.

Melt a stick of butter in a skillet.

I cut about a dozen ears off the cob at a time.

Put the corn in the skillet with the butter and stir.

Turn your knife over to the dull side. Run it along the cob to get all of the cream out of what is left in the kernels. You stir it up until it turns a bright yellow color, then put it in bags and let it cool. Once it has cooled, put it in the freezer for the winter months. When you want fresh corn, all you have to do is thaw it and pop it in a pan to warm it up. It's all ready to go.


It takes about an afternoon to do ten dozen ears with two people. It's a lot of work, but worth it.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Michigan City, Indiana

I went to Michigan City this past weekend with my sister, sister-in-law, and three of my nieces. We spent the morning shopping because of a storm, but the clouds disappeared, the sun came out and we headed for the beach.

Lake Michigan is like an ocean, without the salt, and it's only a couple of hours away.

I don't know why we don't go there more often.

This is Sarah, who is six. Sarah is most definitely a girly girl.

This is Taylor who is seven and she likes to be active. Gotta be going somewhere or doing something all the time.

This is Emily, who is ten. She prefers to be alone, not being bothered by the other two. She likes to draw and sing.

This is me, relaxing with my crocheting. Gotta get this granny stripe blankey done!

This is a sandman (he took a fall!) that my sister-in-law, Lorri, made while relaxing on the beach.

The girls trying to pose for Aunt Cindy.

It was all fun and games

until a big wave came

and Sarah got mad!

It was a nice girly weekend away.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Bok Choy Salad

Bok Choy Salad

2 pkg. Ramen noodles (oriental, uncooked)
1 – 2 oz., package or ¼ cup sesame seeds
1 cup sliced almonds
1 stick butter

Break up noodles slightly while in package. Sauté’ noodles, seeds, and nuts in butter until brown. Cool and place in a sealed container.

Salad ingredients:
1 head cabbage, chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped (green onions)

¼ cup vinegar (I use balsamic)
½ cup sugar
3 Tbs. Oil (I use virgin olive oil)
2 Tbs. Soy sauce (I use Bragg’s liquid aminos)
Seasoning packets from noodles (I don't use them)
Bring to a boil for about one minute. Cool.

Mix all together just before serving.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Free Food

A couple of weeks ago, when I dropped off an order of honey, the people who ordered the honey were picking peaches. They asked me if I wanted any and I said sure, not realizing they meant this whole box! I got an e-mail a day later and they had another box for me. They 'put up' all they could use and they knew from talking to me that I canned, froze, dehydrated summer bounty. Two free boxes of peaches!

The same day I got the peaches, my husband came home from our land with some food that a neighbor gave him from his garden. Two dozen, or more, ears of corn and a huge head of cabbage.

When I went to the Community Garden the next day to work, one of the volunteers brought in some squash from his own garden, free for the taking.

(bottom right corner of this picture is a patty pan squash. Weird looking but very good)
I did not pay any money for the food in any of the pictures above. Now, I have to ask, why are people going hungry, in the summer months, when there is such a bounty? And why do Americans spend money on chemicals to have neat lawns, when you can buy a pack of seeds for next to nothing and grow food? I have a new campaign I'm thinking about.

Plow to Plate,
Farm to Fork,

I keep hearing that there won't be enough farm ground to feed Americans in a few years. I can't believe it. If everyone would grow a couple of edible items in their back yard, we'd have more than enough food. When did green manicured lawns become more important to us than healthy food?

OK - Now let me show you what I did with all of that free food.

First of all, I made Bok Choy salad with part of the cabbage. It's yummy and I'll post the recipe later.

I fried the patty pan squash, the yellow squash, the banana peppers, and a few green beans in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil and a little bit of garlic salt until they all browned. Easy Peasy and Yum.

The dinner menu that night was
watermelon (on sale for 1.50)
leftover hamburger (fixed on the grill the night before)
corn on the cob
fresh peaches
bok choy salad and
the squash
It was a lot of food, but all fruits and veggies except the hamburger.
The next day I put the rest of the cabbage in a crock pot, along with the green beans and some of the corn, cut off of the cob, and some smoked sausage. I let it cook in the crock pot and we had it for dinner, plus I gave some to Mom & Dad for their dinner. (Hey "not a sparrow falls" you could easily make this for your Dad!)

I made peach freezer jam, froze some of the peaches and froze 18 ears of corn.

I love cooking in the summer months. What about you, do you grow any food, or can, freeze or dehydrate? Got any recipes to share?


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm confused-seriously

Can I complain here? Because you know, it's not something I do very often, not on my blog anyway, but I'm a little confused. You see, I went with my husband to a Farm Store here in town, which is probably not locally owned, which is why they don't give a care about what I want. I wanted to see if they had a Middle Buster in stock for the tractor we have at the Community Garden, or if I would need to order it. My husband told me "good luck" when I told him I needed a tractor part. So, I get in line and wait to talk to someone, because there is no one around outside or in the back by the tractor stuff. When I get up there the 'customer service' person says, "oh, you need to come in between 8 - 2 and talk to Marshall." Is she kidding? What if I just got off of work and drove 45 minutes to get there? I didn't, but what if I did? And yes she was serious. And this is a FARM store and I needed a TRACTOR part. That's the part I'm confused about.

I went to find my husband. I couldn't find him, but I did find flour sack towels on sale for 99 cents! Those make really nice dish towels, they look good wrapped around home made bread for a gift, and they are nice to embroider on. So I pick up five of them. I went to the checkout and there he is in line. He has one item and I have my towels. The lady rings up his item and he says to her "it's on sale." Speaking of his item. She gets the paper out and starts thumbing through it. He says, "it's not in the paper, it's in the middle of the aisle, with a sign in front of it, come with me and I'll show you." She says, "is it very far?" IS SHE SERIOUS? Does it matter? We are the customer---were the customer---I'm not sure I'm going back there, free popcorn or not! While they are going to look at the price of his item, I look at the register and my towels did not ring up on sale either. Seriously. When they get back I said, "you know what, my towels didn't ring up on sale either, but just forget it because they are very far, and I'm not going back there to get the tag. But from now on, what I will do when something is on sale, I will TAKE the tag off of the shelf and bring it up with my item." Here's a better idea though. I think I will order my tractor part from a locally owned farm store that cares. It will cost more, but it will be worth it. I guess that's the price we have to pay for service, huh? Seriously.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Crawling to Flying

I'm going to be gone for a couple of days so I thought I'd get a little philosophical on ya before I left. You know, give you something to think about. I read this a few years ago in a novel and being a nature person, I liked it. The book is by Karen White, called The Color of Light. It's fiction, most of my reads are fiction. Grace is a young girl, probably 7 or 8 (can't remember for sure, maybe younger), Linc is her Mama's boyfriend, and Constance is going to be a butterfly.

But Grace has already shifted her attention back to the glass jar with the emerging butterfly. "How long do you think it'll take before Constance is ready to come out?

Linc placed his empty glass on the side railing and moved closer. Squatting, he studied the oblong shape of the chrysalis, hanging by mere threads to the twig that held it. The small split in the side was larger now, the subtle movements shifting the chrysalis on its thread.

"I'm not sure. Maybe a day or two would be my guess." Gracie put her head close to his and peered into the jar. "I think it should take years. It's a big thing to go from crawling to flying, don't you think?"

My question is...when was the last time you did something that made you feel like you went from crawling to flying? What was it?


Saturday, July 10, 2010

French Flea Market

On Friday, my 'sailing' friend, Teresa, said "Hey I know what we can do today, Tipton is having a french flea market." I look at her in amazement and said, "And you are just now telling me this?" It was noon and I had a house to clean. We had been sailing that morning. So, I quickly did a little bit of cleaning, she helped, and we headed to Tipton. I can clean any day, but this market was only Friday and Saturday. I enjoyed it so much, that I went back the next day with my Mom. Tipton, IN of all places folks. Let's go shopping........
This was the entrance area. Love the shutters and the pink chairs! Following are some booth displays.

My Mom enjoying some lavender lemonade while shopping. Thanks Mom for not complaining while I took so long talking and shopping in each booth.

Some of my purchases. I am addicted to this kind of stuff.

Now this....I don't know why but I had to have it. It's a tin, and it's full of paint. Love it. I can't believe there is still so much paint left.

This booth decided they wanted to get everyone in a creative mood, so they were having little make it take it workshops. Lucky me! They have a booth at the Logan Village Mall in Noblesville. They also have a blogspot

This is what I made. Easy peasy and so much fun!

After flea marketing, I went to a couple of garage sales and picked up this stuff for next to nothing. Yes folks, that is a SPOOL of lace.
I could post so many more pics of stuff I bought and fun I had, but in the interest of getting this post out there...I gotta stop. Next year, we all gotta go to the French Flea Market in Tipton!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Honey Extracting

I thought I'd show you what I've been up to lately, and what a beekeeper does to extract honey from a beehive.
It starts in the bee yard (apiary). I have eleven hives and I go through them to see if the frames are full of honey and capped. See the frame I am holding in my hand? When I take it out of the hive, it is covered with honeybees. I gently shake it so most of the bees fall off. Then I take a special brush, made for bees, and lightly brush the frame to get the rest of the bees off of the frame. I do not want to hurt the bees during this process.
Then I put the frame in an empty hive box, and cover it, so the bees cannot make their way back to the frame.
These frames are very heavy when there are 9 or 10 of them in a box. So I usually recruit my husband to help carry them to my potting shed, where I have a little extracting station set up. I stand the frame on end on this board, and take a knife and gently shave off the cappings. They drop in this plastic bin which has holes in the bottom of it. The honey from the cappings drain through to the bin on bottom. I try to not waste a drop of honey as this is a lot of work for the bees and for me!

This is a close up of a frame that I shaved part of the cappings, so you can see what it looks like. The bottom half still has cappings on it, the top does not. Every now and then a beekeeper has to put some cappings in her mouth and chew on it. YUM!

After I shave off the cappings on both sides of the frames, I put them in this machine called an extractor.

Here is a close up inside the extractor.

Then I spin the extractor until one side of the frames are empty. I turn the frames around and spin the other side until they are empty.

The honey will start flowing into another bucket, with a spigot, that has three filters in it. The filters get all of the cappings, dead bees, larvae, 'stuff', that most people do not want in their honey.

Then the pure honey starts flowing from the filtered bucket and I bottle it up. I'm a hobby beekeeper so this is not a big business. It is however, a LOT of work and very time consuming! I do not use chemicals on my hives, and I will not let my bees go hungry. So I never take all of the honey from a hive.

Viola' we have Honey!

PS - The Granny Bees (the stitchery group I'm in) is working on another project that I'm excited about. I'll show you some of it later.