Sunday, February 17, 2013

Spring Planting Schedule for Northern KY

Hear Ye - Hear Ye! 

I have just completed my garden seed spreadsheet for 2013. 

If you live around the northern KY area, plan on starting indoor seeds March 17th which is my dear departed Fergie's birthday. She would have been 13 this year, but instead she will be sending doggie angel blessings to my seeds...especially the cabbage-she loved cabbage/kraut. 

This should be enough time for a May 5th transplanting to the outdoors. 

 Now of course cool weather crops can stand to be put out sooner (cabbage, radishes, peas, lettuce, etc..) but I'm not decided on that date yet, but it may be around the 1st week of April. 

That blasted groundhog said we were to have an early spring, so he better be right or I'll be posting a new recipe featuring him as the main course. That is all.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hand-Tied Quilt Part 4 (Sewing the Blocks)

Here's a fast forward video of some quilt blocks being sewn together.  I think I do a pretty good Chipmunks impersonation - especially during the trouble shooting segments. lol

Pork Neck Bones with Gravy Recipe

A metal baking pan with raw pork neck bones.
Click on the video below to see how I put this meal together.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Hand Tied Quilt Part 3

3.5" x 9.5" quilt strips in 24 colors/patterns in rows on my sewing table
I have been busy working on my quilt, maybe not every single day, but most days.  So far it's all been cutting the 3.5" x 9.5" strips I'll be using to make the 9" blocks.  Let me tell you I have a whole new respect for quilters!  Due to my limited vision, I have one heck of a time measuring, measuring again and measuring yet a third time then rotary cutting the fabrics.  In order to see what I'm doing I have to get my face pretty close to the work area and my upper back and neck start aching about 10-15 minutes into a cutting session.  When I feel the need, I just Quasimodo my way over to my comfy bed and have a rest while listening to a talking book for a few minutes.

So far I have 192+ strips cut which is enough for 64 blocks.  Unfortunately this is not enough to complete a queen size quilt.  Another misfortune is - I'm out of fabrics!  I figure I'll need at least another 16 or so blocks to have enough to complete the quilt.  While I'm keeping an eye out for more fabrics I'm going to start stitching the strips together to form the blocks.

I'll report back when I have some blocks to show you. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Raisin Oat Bread on a Cold Winter's Day

Close up image of a home made loaf of Raisin Oat Bread
I got this recipe from a fellow YouTuber (TheMrsVolfie) and thought I'd give it a try.  It was literally the best loaf of bread I've ever made in my life!  I'm not sure if it was because I used lard rather than oil or if my new KitchenAid stand mixer had something to do with it, but I'm just tickled pink either way!

Here's how you make it - or you can just watch the video below:

Raisin Oat Bread Recipe 
In 3/4 cup of warm tap water add 1 tablespoon of yeast-set aside
In mixing bowl with dough hook, add...
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup boiling water
Stir for a few seconds
2 tablespoons lard or oil or butter
1/4 cup maple syrup (you can add more if you like)
While your mixer is still on "stir" add 3.5 - 4 cups all purpose flour 1 cup at a time.  After 1st cup, add yeast water and turn mixer speed to 2. 
Allow to knead for at least 10 mins
Butter the bowl (or spray with cooking oil) and put dough back in bowl with cover to rise for 1 hour 
Gently deflate dough and knead for a few turns 
Place dough in bread pan making sure to evenly snug into corners
Cover bread pan and rise again for 1 hour 
Bake in a preheated oven at 350  for 45 mins

Slather with your favorite spread while it's still warm for a sneak preview of what heaven is like.  ;-)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How I Make MY Laundry Detergent

Image of my dining room table with 20 Mule Team Borax, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda, Oxi Clean, Fels Naptha bar laundry soap, measuring cup, improvised funnel from 2-liter bottle, metal cheese grater & a long handled spoon.
One of the many ways I save money at home is by making my own laundry detergent.  You may have even seen another internet video of someone making it... but you haven't seen MINE!  I have a slightly different (and in my humble opinion, better) recipe for laundry detergent.  I've been making my own detergent for about 1.5 years now and thought I'd share my secret recipe with you folks.

Everyone who makes their own detergent uses the same three basic ingredients:
1) 20 Mule Team Borax
2) Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (not baking soda - two different products folks)
3) *Fels Naptha's laundry soap bar.

*There are other brands of laundry bar soaps, like Zote, Kirk's Castile, etc.  Even lye soap or regular Ivory soap will work for this.  You DO know lye soap is milder and gentler than any commercial soap out there, right?

I have also noticed several variations in the detergent recipes out there in cyberspace.  Some folks say use 1 cup of each powder and 1/2 bar of the soap while others say use an entire bar of soap and 1/2 cup of the powders, add some water, add a lot of water, etc, etc, etc.  I have tried it several ways and eventually came up with my own special recipe that I have found to be the most effective in getting our clothes clean for pennies on the dollar compared to commercial detergents.

Here are the ingredients you will need:
1) 20 Mule Team Borax 1.5 cups
2) Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda (not baking soda - two different products folks) 1.5 cups
3) Fels Naptha's laundry soap bar (or whatever brand you can find) Grate up the entire bar
4) Oxi Clean Stain Remover 1.5 cups
5) Any brand of powdered laundry detergent you like the smell of  (I buy whatever's cheapest!)1 cup
6) Two gallons and two cups of hot tap water

Here are the tools you will need:
1) Clean 5 gallon bucket
2) Metal cheese grater & bowl
3) Measuring cup
4) Long handled spoon
5) Med-Large Sauce pan or pot
6) Funnel (the larger the opening the better - you can make one by cutting the top 1/3 off a plastic 2 liter bottle
7) Empty detergent, juice, pop, etc.. bottles to hold your finished product

This recipe will produce approximately 8 quarts (2 ga) of finished liquid laundry detergent.

--==Scroll Down To See Video==--

Step 1
Grate your bar of laundry soap.  I have used a food processor for this in the past, but find you will need to add some borax in with it before grinding or it will gunk up the blades and not grate up as fine.  It only takes a few mins with a regular ole box grater anyway and there's less cleanup afterward.

Step 2
In a med-large saucepan add 2 cups of hot tap water and the grated bar soap.  Stir frequently until the soap pieces are melted.  Don't get too fanatical about making sure every little bit is melted.  After all, we all know what happens to soap when it's left in water-it melts all on it's own!  Just don't let your soap boil as it may form hard bits that won't melt and for goodness sake, don't let it boil over on the stove - what a MESS!

Step 3
Add 2 gallons of hot tap water to your 5 gallon bucket

Step 4
Add your melted soap to the bucket of water and give it a stir

Step 5
Now add the powdered ingredients and STIR after each ingredient is added:
1.5 cups Borax
1.5 cups Washing Soda
1.5 cups Oxi Clean
1 cup of good smelling powdered laundry detergent

Step 6
After you're sure all the ingredients are well mixed, place the lid on the bucket and let it sit overnight to gel.

Step 7
Bottle your detergent!  Leave a couple inches of head space at the top of each bottle to make it easier to shake before the first use.   You will eventually see some water separation in your final product so shake before each use.

Top Loading Washers:
Feel free to experiment with the quantity needed for each load of laundry.  If you have a water softening system, you may only need 1/2 cup; but if you have hard water, you'll probably want to use a full cup.

H.E. Front Loading Washers:
I don't have first hand knowledge about H.E. washers since I'm not lucky enough to own one, so just follow the manufacture's recommendations for the amount of soap to use and you decide how much from there.

After your clothes have been washed a couple times with your home made laundry detergent, they feel noticeably softer and more comfortable next to your skin.  That's because there are no commercial detergent residues left in the fabric. So give it a try!