Monday, August 25, 2008

Finally some rain

Thank God we finally got some rain today, been dry for over 3 weeks here. The garden was begging for water and I'm glad I didn't have to do it myself. I belive that when you water your garden you are simply keeping it alive, things just don't seem to grow until the rain comes. Looks like we have a good chance of rain all week and we are are looking forward to it.

The cherry tomato plants are covering us up with sweet little tomatoes. These plants just popped up around the edge of the compost pile and I transplanted the over to the garden area. We are getting about this many cherry tomatoes each day now and I am freezing some for later use in soups and chilli. Just wash them good and let them dry then place in a freezer bag. We are so lucky to have a foodsaver to vacum seal all our food before it hits the freezer. When ready to use just thaw and run hot water over them and the skins will slip right off. I'm not a big fan of putting things in the freezer but this is a lot eaiser than canning them. If ( when ) the electric goes off these can be a tasty treat rather than let them ruin.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Putting up corn and other happenings

Finally getting around to posting after a crazy week. This is my MIL cutting some corn off the cob to be canned. We didn't get near as much as we had hoped, the silk worms and birds seem to have beat us to most of it. Second crop is a week or so away from coming in so hope we can get more.Just some of the mess that is involved with canning. We also boiled the corn cobs to make corn cob stock to be used in soups and such.After a few hours work this was the result. The jar to the far right is the cob stock.
We also pickled a few quarts the next night. Jackie said she would like to have the recipe to pickle so here is the one we used.

Use 1 cup pickling salt to 1 gallon cold water. Boil fresh corn for 10 minutes. Cool. Let stand in cold water until ready to cut from cob. Cut and fill jars 1/2 inch of the top. Pour brine over and seal
Here are a few pantry shots.
Ventured out to the flea market again this weekend, I gotta stay away from that place. haha!
Picked up this american camper 2 burner propane stove in great condition for, belive it or not, $1.00
Perculator in good shape. $5.00, even when the SHTF a guys still gotta have his (Off-Grid)coffee. lolI could harly belive that I found this hand crank ( Off-Grid ) ice-cream maker for $4.00. I need to clean it up but it is working order and ready to go. My oldest daughter and her new husband are coming to stay with us this week and all my girls are gonna make home made ice cream. This is a Remington Cedar Works brand, Dixie Belle 5 qt maker and I even found the instruction manual online.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Putting up Corn tonight !!

Well it's that time again, time to put up corn. Not sure why we call it that (putting up corn) but we do. We can everything else but for some reason we put up corn. I picked some today for supper with steak. This evening I hope to pick the rest and me and my mother in law will get started. We are gonna freeze some, can some and pickle some too. I will try to post pictures of the adventure tommorrow. I have been tilling up a garden spot to plant more cabbage, onions, lettuce and broccli. We are expecting (praying ) rain this weekend and I want to get the seed in the ground before then.

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Preps from the Flea Market

Sunday morning came as it always has, with sleepy eyes and hunger stomachs. After breakfast the girls mentioned going to the flea market and ask if I would like to go. They know that this is about the only place that I will go so it was a pretty sure bet. Once there we went our seperate ways, they like the inside of the market where all the new stuff is and I much prefer the outside vendors with all the good junk. When we reach the van they were all sporting new designer purses with pride, but nothing could match the smile on my face as I carried the boxes toward the van.

One of the goodies that I found was this canner/stock pot. It is in pretty good shape for it's age I guess. I know it's an old one because someone went to the trouble of fixing a leak. Most people today would have just thrown this thing out and went straight to Wally World to pick up one made in China. I paid $2 bucks for it. A simple fix with a screw and rubber gasket.
Also in my arms was this old school food processor with 3 blades. Another great off-grid item. No electricty required, just elbow grease. $8 bucks was a little high I thought but then again I'm pretty cheap.
Katie learning the age old art of food preparation and preseveration.

And the BEST for last. 26 canning jars in all, all pints or half pints. I also got a perfect mason pint jar which I haven't seen for a while. There was one cute little half pint that Olivia claimed for her own. I paid $4 bucks for these jars or about 15 cents a piece. Not bad for a days Scavenge. haha!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Daddy's got a brand new toy!!

Woo-Hoo, I got a new toy the other day and I have been like a little boy. This new Stihl 310 has been needed for quite a while, the little saw I have been using just didn't cut it. ( Pun intended ) I think it was Tuesday that I got the new saw (winter survival tool) and I put it right to work cutting 2 trailer loads that day. You can see one of the loads in the back to the left the other is from a month or so ago. Man it sure makes life a lot better having a good saw to cut firewood. I have been getting my wood from my buddy's farm. CH has been letting me cut wood that he has been clearing for pasture for the cows. I got a load of hickory yesterday. I have read that the oldtimers always like to burn hickory over any other wood. When hickory was scarce they would keep enough to use a log as the back log in their fireplace. Hickory burns really hot and really long. I am happy to have a good load of hickory to use in the buckstove this winter. The cost of the saw ( around $400 ) will be recovered in about 2 to 3 months of electrict bills this winter. I can't say enough good things about this saw, my old saw was a joke compared to this thing. My trailer is 14 x 5, so this is a pretty good load of firewood.
In the last few days I have been trying to find time to dry some green beans, we call them shuck beans around here. Once they dry real good they will last a long time if kept dry. I simply strung these on a piece of fishing line with a needle and used a small stick at the bottom to keep the beans from falling off the end. These will be ready in a few weeks. You just fix them like you would fix green beans. These are hanging in the clubhouse.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Friends from WV Visit the Farm

First of all let me update everyone on the Clubhouse overnight. After I got Katie bathed and to sleep it was near 11 pm so I drifted down to the Clubhouse to try to relax and enjoy the rest of the night. Our dog, Bear, had to be in there with me, he just couldn't stand it. So, Bear and I settled in for the night after turning on the solar lanterns to see just how good they were gonna work for us. The result was great, the box said 2 hours of light with a full days sun to charge the batteries, we had the lights on for 3 hours when we turned them out and they were going strong. So they are gonna be a really good addition to the Clubhouse.

We were very happy to have our good friends Ozzy and Shenna come to visit this weekend. They are friends from West Virginia and it is always good to see them and spend time with them. They have on daughter, Shelly, that is the same age as Savannah and one that is the same age as Katie, Jaeden. All the girls loaded up and took off to Lexington on Saturday leaving me and Ozzy on our own. They were gone pretty much all day and half the night on their shopping trip. Katie and Jaeden found tricycles that they just had to have, or so the story goes, they rode all over the house that night and the next day. Katie had to make her funny face for the picture, that girl is really some character.

Once the girls were on their way Ozzy and I thought about what we may do for the day to entertain ourselves. We both enjoy canning and talked about the canned peppers that we both love. "How many peppers do you think you have" ask Ozzy. "Maybe 15 or 20, why?" Then Ozzy said "let's go to the market and get some more and can them". So we were off, we found a box of about 35 mild bannana peppers, picked up a bottle of ketchup and headed back home to get started. First we canned a few qts. with viniger and a little sugar. Then on to the good stuff.

About 50 peppers (cut into rings)

1 qt of canned tomatoes

1 very large onion

1 bottle of ketchup

2 cups of sugar

2 cups of viniger

1 cup of veg. oil

about 6 to 8 little smokie wenniers per qt. (optional) We wanted them but forgot to pick them up in town so we just left them out.

Cook all ingredients for about 30 mins. slow boil. Makes 6 - 7 qts. Add hot product to hot jars and seal.

Ok, here's the funny part. While we were at the market to get peppers, Olivia's Uncle Howard called to say that he had a bunch of HOT peppers to give me, just call when I get back home. Well I didn't check my messages until we had got the first batch done. I called and he brought down the HOT peppers and we made another batch of VERY HOT canned peppers. These are great with pinto beans, fried potatoes or chilli. You just gotta try them. We made about 16 qts in all, gave my buddy Ozzy half and I kept half for the pantry.

While Howard was at the house he ask if I'd like to make some peach jam. I'm sure you know the answer to that. He has a peach tree that is loaded with wonderful peaches. He ask if I would can them for half. He brought down some half pint jars and lids and I told him I would pick them on Sunday. Well I have all this stuff out, why not make strawberry/blackberry jam too. I had some in the freezer waiting to make jam with them. I jammed 13 half pints and 2 pints of peach jam and 10 half pints of strawberry/blackberry jam this evening. Been a pretty busy few days here.

There has been more than a hint of Fall in the air here in KY, nights down in the 50's. Well I guess the fall crops will be enjoying the cool weather.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Spending the night in the Clubhouse !!!

Gonna spend the night in the Clubhouse tonight. Woooo Hoooo!!!!! I can hardly wait until dark, and the kids go to bed too. We have company coming tommorrow night and we ( I ) thought I should give it a trial run before then. (If they come I will be spending tommorrow there too.) So tonight I spend in solitude. Spent a few hours in there last night, until about 12, and man was it great. No tv's screaming at me, no phone ringing over and over, just the thing I desire most in life, peace. I read a little and straightend up some of the stuff that I had in the closet in the house that I moved down there. It was really relaxing. I laid on the bed for a few just to try it out and Smokie Bear lie in the floor looking as content as I was. I wonder if his thoughts drift away like mine, when I closed my eyes I was a thousnd miles away. I could imagine myself (Bear Dog too) in a cabin on a knoll just about a river full of hungry trout waiting for us to arise in the morn. The only sound I could hear was that of the bugs of summer and the croak of the frogs in the pond. If only for a short while I was transported to a far away dream land where I was a true man of the mountians. Needless to say, the Clubhouse is good for me and for those have to try to cope with living with me. I hope that my time in the Clubhouse will make life eaiser for all of us. Talk to you all tommorrow, that is if I wake from my dreams.....

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Solar lanterns and Woodstove

Ok, finally got over to pick up the wood stove today. Bought it from a good friend and it is just the right size for the Clubhouse. In really good shape, I haven't even cleaned it up yet, just needs to be wiped off a little and it's ready for service.

Olivia bought me some lights at Wally World in the clearence section. 2 rechargeable solar utility lanterns (marked down to $13.00) with 12 super bright LED's, car adapter and AC/DC adapter. 11 housr run time and a Heavy Duty Aluminum hook. Great lights !! 1, 20 LED rechargeable crank lantern with AM/FM radio, cell phone charger port and dimmer and flash switch ( marked down to $23.00 ). This lantern would be great in an emergency situation, just a few cranks and you have all these functions.

Bought this one a BigLots, 6 super bright LEDs with velcro mount or screw in base. The light will tilt up or down to your needs and is an unbeliveable light source. 1000 hours on 3 AAA batteries. These do a great job lighting up the Clubhouse.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Clubhouse Pictures and ONE SEXY LADY

I made a LOT of progress on the Clubhouse today. Picked up a rug at Lowes for the floor and Olivia gave me an area rug that she wasn't using anymore. I decided to just use 2 flat sheets to cover the back wall area instead of building one of wood. A lot easier and cheaper plus I can move to the other side very easily. The sheets will help to keep the heat in place and it just don't look too bad either. It's fine with me anyway. All other items are just extra stuff we had around the house. You can see the bed, a rollaway, that we have had in storage, with a new sheet set that Liv picked up for me today. My old stereo serves as a makeshift headboard. I put my wooden boat along with my very old cub scout neck scarf (can't remember what it's called).The quilt also came from the house, we have tons of them. Olivia said this one would look best, all I know is it's the warmest one in the house.
Glider rocker along with glider footstool will be a great place to relax until I can sneek one of the recliners out of the house. Also had an old cabniet in storage that made a good book shelf and storage area.
Didn't get a chance to go over and pick up the wood stove today, I guess you can see why, I will try again tommorrow to pick it up. It will be set in this corner. The shelf holds a few of my old Masonic bottles I have collected over the years.
Another book shelf from the house and a man has to have a place to hang his hat.
The old blue tote will be like a footlocker, full of supplies. I will post pictures of the lighting system that I am using tommorrow. Spent a little time this evening reading "A Place in the Woods". A great book that I have read several times before. As promised "ONE SEXY LADY" Olivia on the mower, nothing sexier than a woman mowing grass, unless it's a woman with a weedeater. hahahahahah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More "Notes from the Clubhouse" later. Stay tuned, don't touch that mouse...........

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Notes from the Clubhouse

Made a little more progress on the Clubhouse today. Finished painting the inside walls and ceiling and got the door changed out. This door with the windows will be much better than the all metal on that was there. As you can see there is a lot of clean up yet to be done. Gonna wait until all is done to do that though, I tend to make a mess as I go. This is the outside ,da!!, of the clubhouse.View from inside with the new door. When I say new I mean salvaged ofcourse.Barn style roof inside and out gives a little more head room, not that I need any. haha!!
Plenty of junk moved to the other end that needs to be gone through to see what is really there. I found a lot of stuff I had forgoten about and some I never even knew I had. Those cabniets will be painted and hung in the laundry room in the house. My small woodstove will be placed in this corner of the room. Gonna go pick it up tommorrow.

Still need to put down a rug of some kind, going to the surplus store tommorrow to see what they have, hope to find a rock pattern. Still have to build a wall to seperate the 2 sides of the building. May find wood at the surplus too, I hope. I'm getting closer......

Saturday, August 2, 2008


Made some progress on the cave today. I might have to change the name to the Club house. I am just a boy at heart and at mind most times too, I feel like I'm about 10 years old when I am working on it. Now just need a sign that says " NO GIRLS ALLOWED " haha!! I can hide all my Playboy's in there too. LOL Took another load to Goodwill today and I think that is the last of it or I hope it is anyway. Moved enough stuff out and to the side to paint one side wall and half of the celing. Using white paint to give more light in the Club House, that way I will probably need just one light. Gonna put down a rug and put in the stove hopefully on Monday. I'm only gonna get half the building, I have to keep the other 12 by 12 area for storage for things we "have" to keep. I will put up a wall seperating the building into two halves, one for storage and one for the Club House. Still need to change the door, I have one that has windows all in it that will replace the all metal one on there now.


Friday, August 1, 2008

Cleaning out

I used to go to auctions and buy big loads of stuff to resale at the local flea market. That took up all of my Sat. and Sundays and I just can't afford the time any longer, so it's time to get rid of all the stuff that has been stored in my storage building since last fall. I hauled 2 van loads to Goodwill today and I mean BIG LOADS. Boy it sure feels good to get rid of that stuff. I have a 12 by 24 insulated building that is made of metal with 2inch insulation and I have a better plan for it than just holding worthless junk. MAN CAVE !! I need a place to get away from all the noise and clutter around here. Oliva is the kind of woman that likes to move furniture around, not just in the room but all over the house. She will move one bedroom into the next and so on, it just kills me. I like for everything to have a place and be in it's place forever. I hate change. My plan is to make me a room ( Hideout ) down in the building, a little paint and a door with windows will make things just right for me. I have bought a small wood stove to go in the "Cave", I will have a desk, all my books and magazines and a good chair to relax. I will mostly be using the "Cave late at night after the kids have gone to bed, Katie would never stand for daddy being out of her sight while she's awake. I also plan to have a renewable energy system, micro hydro from my pond overflow. I will post more infomation and pictures as they become available. I hope to spend most of the weekend working on clean up though. This could also serve as a great place when the grid is down, we would have the stove for heat and cooking and have power too. Will probably have a bed of some sort just in case I like it better that I think. haha!!