Monday, June 22, 2009

Looking forward to harvest

I'm still in the gardening mode, but now I'm looking forward to harvest. I even went so far as to count my canning jars, lids and rings and make a list (very short!) of what I will need this year.

A couple of years ago I looked for lids and rings and had a hard time finding them, but this year, I see them everywhere. Maybe more people are interested? "The economy" is to blame for a lot of things, so if they're all sold out before I get out there and stock up, I'll blame it for that, too.

Stocking up on freezer bags and glass jars for dehydrated food is on my mind, too. I usually have enough of both, since I reuse as much as possible, but maybe a few more will be needed this year.

I will definitely need more if my ambition and energy keep pace! I can just see it now... all those jars of canned and dehydrated food lining the shelves of my newly renovated store room in the basement... well, everyone has to dream! :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Old recipes: prepared mustard

Yesterday was an almost rainy, quiet Sunday afternoon and I found myself going through some old recipes. I hate to throw recipes out, even though I've had them for years and have never (yet!) got around to trying them... be that as it may, I rediscovered a few that I really, really should have tried a long time ago. They would have saved me some money and been fun, too.

One of them is how to make prepared mustard (for your hotdogs and hamburgers):

1 1/2 ounces mustard seed or powdered mustard (If you grow mustard greens, let some go to seed and use it, or you can use wild mustard seed, pennycress or even part radish seed)
2 ounces of water
4 ounces of vinegar (1/2 cup) - the recipe doesn't say, but I would use apple cider vinegar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp turmeric - probably optional; it gives mustard its color
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar - this seems like a lot of sugar to me, so I'll taste it before adding it all.

Blend all ingredients and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth. Again, the recipe doesn't say so, but I would mill the seed first (use your blender on high), then add the rest.

If you try it, let me know how it works for you!

Friday, June 12, 2009

New rhubarb, old beans... and Jerusalem artichokes

This is a rhubarb plant I set out just before all the rain began to hit (about a month ago and counting). I wasn't at all sure it was going to make it; it seemed so little when I put it in this great bare spot.

And this is the result of some old red beans I planted last year; about six of them. It was one of those things I kept intending to throw away but never did, so come planting time I got one of those inspired moments and soaked them and planted them around some corn. They didn't grow all that well, but they did produce several long, tender pods. I left them to mature and gathered the dry beans to use as seed this year. They're looking good, in spite of a hail storm a few days ago.

It isn't a big crop, but there should be enough for a canner load of green beans and some for seed again next year.

And this is the result of 2 pounds of Jerusalem artichokes. Not a cheap bargain, but hopefully I'll get a good crop and enough 'chokes to replant for next year, too, so over the long run, I'll get my money's worth.

I hope.

Gardening can seem like betting on a roulette wheel sometimes. This year's weather has made some of it iffy, but keeping my fingers crossed and praying a little now and then, too, maybe it will turn out fine after all.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I finally took some pictures! The first one is a climbing rose that was here when I moved it. It perks things up when it blooms, and it blooms all summer and sometimes very late into the winter.

This is the east raised bed. Onions in the foreground with beets in the background. They're both doing well with all our rain and cool weather.

And this is the west raised bed. Corn, beans and squash are all crowded in here. You can see the walls are beginning to bow out some on both beds. I should have reinforced them this year but didn't think of it until I'd already planted. That will be a fall project after the harvest.

More pictues later!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A hundred years ago...

If people living a hundred years ago suddenly could see the "things" even the poorest of us have now, their eyes would pop out!

I'm not just talking about technology, although that's mind boggling, but every day, "normal" kinds of things. People weren't consciously frugal, that was just the way life was.

Take clothes. Most people used to only own two or maybe three changes of clothing. Go ahead, count how many changes you have. Granted, they wore them for a week before washing them, but do you have more than a week's worth? I do and I know I'm not alone in the frugal community!

Shoes? They used to have two pair. One for "every day," and one for Sunday.

Rooms in their homes: Most houses only had a kitchen, a living room and bedrooms and some had less than that. Even adding a bathroom when it became available, entire homes a hundred years ago would fit on some people's patios.

Besides patios, we have dens and dining rooms and decks and "master" bedrooms with attached personal baths. Only kings lived like that a hundred years ago, but now most of the most frugal among us have more than one bathroom and more than three rooms in their homes.

But remember... gout was a "rich man's disease." The only overweight people were the rich ones. Heart attacks were few and far between. Something's wrong here....