Tuesday, March 24, 2015

a beautiful spring-ish kind of day

it's a beautiful spring day out there today - beautiful, blue and still tons of white!


but no matter. we can hear the snow melting and a few more days like today and that white stuff will be gone. and none too soon.

it's 1C(34F) outside but on the porch it's a gorgeous summer day of 28C(82F) - let's just say there's been lots of nekkid suntanning on the porch, then grabbing our robes, running out the backdoor and jumping in the hottub!


we have successfully overwintered 14 of our pepper plants by bringing them indoors. this little cayenne plant produced a flower in january and that little flower produced this little baby!


we'll be eating that little guy in some kind of thai-coconut milk-chili dish in the next day or so and keeping all of his seeds for planting this year. as does everyone who saves seeds, i always save seeds from my strongest, earliest producer.  this overwintered monet pepper plant just put out a blossom - woohoo!


here's some rather plain homemade meat spagetti. lots of herbs and fresh garlic in both the meat and the sauce. i usually like to fancy it up a little more with mushrooms and whatnot but didn't really have anything on hand. still it was delicious and filling!


jam likes sauces on his meat when he can't bust out the BBQ so i made him some delicious garlic, ginger, honey pork chops with stir fried cabbage, carrot and bean sprouts and some pickled ginger.


last up - the remainder of our teas that i dried from a variety of wild and domestic plants that grow on our land or that we grew.


from left to right, top to bottom - catnip, lemon balm, comfrey, chamomile, sage, and mixed flower (st. john's wort, evening of primrose, rose petals, anise, dandelion and fennel fower). when i dry leaves or flowers i do so on trays and set them out in the sun making my friend Dani, who is completely off the grid, very proud (teehee). all of these teas were dried without using anything more than pure fresh sunshine!

i start each type of tea in a quart jar and as each tea gets used up, i then move the tea to a pint jar. as you can see it's time to move the chamomile to a pint jar. and the reason why there is only a tiny jar of sage? you guessed it! we loooooove sage tea! it sounded crazy when i first heard about sage tea while on my korean language course - who knew that in the far east, middle east and near eastern countries that sage tea is considered very posh?!?!?!? i certainly didn't know! and my first thought about drinking sage tea was "do i really want to drink a tea that certainly must taste like poultry?" i assumed that because sage is so commonly used in poultry dishes that the tea would be nasty and strange! needless to say - i tried it - loved it! jam tried it - loved it! and guess what???it is incredibly soothing and refreshing at the same time. if you have a sage plant - tear up a few sage leaves, put them in a cup and pour boiling water over them. cover the cup, let it steep 10 mins and then sip your soothing, delicious tea. do the same thing for dried leaves. the health benefits of sage tea are numerous and if you are interested just look it up!

Fern from "Thoughts From Frank and Fern " recently did a great post about comfrey! make sure to check out this post by her.

anyway, jam is hard at work sitting next to me. he says he will get to your comments on his previous posts once he is finished. i hope that you are all having a great day!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

snow bs!!

jambaloney here!

sorry it has been a while - i have been busy working on an IT project for a local company - AND clearing snow - here is tuesday after the storm


atv outta the shed - it helped a bit, but the snow was pretty packed...

here is the bend in the driveway...


and there is the road plus snowplow deposits - took 2 hours to shovel that out!!


hey ho - blizzard next day - truckdura (moved closer to the road) on wednesday!!!

 atv helped some...


the rest was done by hand...


as far as  i got...


back of the house...


front of the house....


dishwasher still in the basement - those bins  are full of dirty dishes..


which get carried through this door!!! not optimal - we have a cunning plan for next winter!!!


 i did more driveway yesterday and woke up today to finish the job - we are getting rain followed by a freeze - it HAS to be finished!!! truckdura



yesterday's handiwork!!!!


and what is left  - see BIG new snowplow pile - the alps!!!


i tried using the atv yesterday but the snow is too deep and packed - i have to cut out one chunk at a time... i fell last sat and bruised my rib which didn't help - lift with the legs buddy, with the legs!!!


first pass - to the mountains then stopped for awesome kymber-lunch of everything salad!!!!



now tackling the mountains!!!



i thought it was 100 feet but started to suspect more.... so i got a 200 foot tape measure..


yep 166 feet to the truck from the bottom of the driveway!!!


 almost done...


and done!! all with a crappy shovel -  the rain will come pouring down there!!


 and onto this road - i have to go to work monday and after the rain it will freeze so i trotted down to the low spot at the right...


and made a helping trench at the side so that the water won't pool and make a frozen  lake!!


a couple of weeks back there was a new bird in the tree....


there is a BIG fat ruffed grouse eating the buds off the apple tree - been quite the winter!


hopefully the rain will clear the driveway and get rid of some snow - we are going to have seasonal temps soon - that will be a blessing!

happy spring everyone!!!


Friday, March 20, 2015

YAY! spring is finally here!!!

well kids - it seems that spring is finally here:



yep - it's our first week of spring! sigh. we're tougher than the canadians pictured above - we were actually nekkid in the hottub!



see the size of that snowdrift? sigh.

here's our robe stand buried in a drift. sigh.



after some dips in the hottub to loosen up poor jam's stiff muscles, i fed him a filling tuna, apple, wasabi and mayonnaise macaroni salad.



here is the man shoveling truckdura out of a big drift (that awesome jacket he is wearing is a pioneer storm master that our dear friend P gave to him. he takes that jacket whenever he goes in the truck to town or work, and he uses it around the yard all winter long!)



anyway then he had to shovel his way to the snowplow AGAIN.
 
i made him some sweet and sour chicken legs for supper.


here is the sunset from last night. sorry for the weird blue dot.


today he will be out finishing the snowplowing of the driveway. no more snow is called for in the next 2 weeks (thank goodness!) but we do have a rain warning for sunday. sigh.

this is the most snow we have ever had since moving here. i will be happy to see the ground again even though it will probably be thoroughly soaked mud for a month.

but spring is definitely in the air! i hope that you are all enjoying this first week of spring!!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

getting belted with snow!

here's a pretty sunset a few days back before getting belted with a pile more snow!



i fed the man some good steak, parley salad with lemon and oil and some homemade hot peppers.


we knew he would be out snowplowing and shovelling after we got dumped with a foot of snow on sunday/monday just passed.

i fed him soft boiled eggs and soldiers to give him some strength and then off he went.


he had to dig his way to the snowplow!



he shoveled and snowplowed.  i knew he needed an iron filled supper - kidney and mushrooms, smashed potatoes, peas and sauerkraut.


the next day he finished the shovelling. for breakfast leftover smashed potatoes fried up like hash, 2 poached eggs and some apple.


after clearing out the foot of snow that the snowplow left at the bottom of the driveway, i fed him teriyaki chicken legs with extra sauce for dipping and for the rice, roasted veg (at the back of the pic, you can barely see them!) and some kiwi slices.


we aren't big dessert people - we always have a snack at night be it popcorn, cheese and crackers or fruit.

and after all of the shovelling and snowblowing that he did - this is what we woke up to this morning.


i took that pic from the window. there was no way in heck i was going outside. it's snowing, it's blowing, it's windy and it doesn't look to be letting up.

jam was supposed to go in to town for work tomorrow but that isn't happening. he will go in at the beginning of next week.

here's a delicious and nutrient filled dinner - homemade broth with kidney, brussel sprouts and celery. yum! i wanted to add doughboys but jam didn't want them. next time, i'm not listening to him. he agreed that doughboys would have gone really well in this soup.


i think i have solved the problems with our blogroll and i think i finally have everyone listed. make sure to leave a comment if you find that you aren't listed and should be.

we're settling in for a blizzardy afternoon/evening and we'll see what greets us when we awake tomorrow. we know spring is in the air...and we are anxiously awaiting it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

working on the blogroll - EDITED!

allrighty - i am starting to put our blogroll back together. i can't spend all afternoon on it but i do have some free time right now. i will also work on it later this eve. hopefully by end of day tomorrow i will have everything back in it's place.

a special thanks to Sweet Sandy for recommending i go into my reader - THAT is going to make it a lot easier and i never even thought of that - WHEW! ok - wish me luck!

UPDATED TO ADD : WOOHOO! it worked! i just imported my reading list and all of our blogs came up! i have gone through and i think i have every blog that i used to list.

THANK YOU SWEET SANDY! (aka Brat Angel)

ANOTHER UPDATE: Fern from "Thoughts from Frank and Fern" just let me know that their blog was not listed in my import. in my enthusiasm of quickly scanning and recognizing most of our favourites in the list, i did not do due diligence to ensure that everyone was included. "Thoughts from Frank and Fern" has now been added, thank goodness, as they are one of my favourite blogs. (what am i saying? everyone listed in our blogroll are my favourite blogs!)

Please - check our blogroll and if you are not listed and should be - let me know in the comments section. we have some very good blogs in our blogroll and i don't want to leave out anyone who used to be there. thank you.

Monday, March 16, 2015

DANG NABBIT!

i just tried to remove a blog from our blogroll that hadn't posted in over a year. and dang stupid blogger deleted our ENTIRE blogroll - arghghghgh!

we are off to bed so i will work on putting our blog roll back together tomorrow and for the next few days. i am so sorry. give me a couple of days to work on this, and if after a couple of days i have left off any blogs that are normally in our blogroll - just let us know in the comments section.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

more beautiful skies and liquid gold

here's a pic from today - sooo blue and sunny and white!


here's a sunset from the other night - just breath-taking!




and here is some liquid gold...otherwise known as bone/veg broth.


in the comments section of the last post, longtimewife asked why did i cook and re-cook the broth. and fiona asked if i roasted the bones first and what kind of bones did i use. (check out of their blogs by following the linkbacks)

anyway, i will start with the process that i use for making broth. i used to make veg broth, beef broth, chicken broth and ham broth. huh? why? finally i came to my senses that i could just make "broth"
out of all of it! we have a big freezer bucket in which we save all bones - be it from roasts, steaks, chicken carcasses, ham bones - whatever bones we have. these bones will all have been cooked prior to going in the freezer bucket, whether by roasting, grilling or slow cooking. i also save all cleaned veggie scraps - potatoe peels, the ends and tops of celery, the bottom sticks of parsley, apple peels, apple cores - you name it - i save it and freeze it. i also save and freeze any veg or fruit that looks like it might go off soon.

then i start with a good dollop of EVOO and a nice chunk of butter in a big stock pot. i cut up a whole onion into 6 big wedges and drop them in. next up, a nice fat peeled carrot cut up into chunks. last up is a few fresh tops of celery. all of this gets a nice dumping of sea salt and a small handfull of uncracked black peppercorns. next up a whole clove of garlic, skins removed but cloves left whole. i stir all of this on medium high until the onions go translucent and the garlic is giving off it's fragrance.

next i dump in a litre of  previously-homemade bone/veg broth. give this all a nice stir and dump in your frozen bones. i try to make sure i have beef, chicken, ham, roast and steak bones. give it all a good stir and let the bones melt in the pot as they will add additional liquid. next up i toss in a bunch of frozen saved veg/fruit scraps and let those melt their liquid into the pot.

next up - another whole clove of garlic, skins removed but cloves put in whole. now it's on to spices - crushed coriander, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, turmeric, cayenne, paprika, cumin, dried fennel, dried nasturtium - every kind of spice that we have. i just dump the spices in. then i add about a half-cup of apple cider vinegar with the mother, a gorgeous dollop of local, unpasteurized honey and the juice of a whole lemon. then i add chia seeds, fennel seeds, sesame seeds, flax seed, sunflower seeds - every kind of seed that i have.

at this point, the bones and veg will have released their liquid and then i fill the pot with berkey-filtered water. i bring the whole pot up to a boil and keep it at a simmer for several hours. then i let it cool in the evening and put it out on the porch overnight. i repeat bringing the broth to a boil, then simmering for several hours for 3-4 days.

the reason i do this is because i want every bit of marrow out of the bones. i want to able to look into a big roast bone and be able to see right through it from one end to another. i want the chicken carcass to have broken down completely. i want as much marrow as possible from all of the bones and will even scrape the marrow out of the bones.

i do this because if the carrots went in orange and bright - i want them to be sucked dry and be squishy and sort of a greenish colour when i strain them out. the beautiful bright parsley sticks should come out of the pot a very sad looking greenish-brown. that means that all of the nutrients have been cooked out of the bones and veg and gone into the broth. the broth should be an amber-brown.

during this 4 day cooking process, i don't add additional water because i want a concentrated broth. once i have decided that the broth is ready for freezing or canning, we strain all of the solid material from the broth, first through regular strainers and then through cheesecloth. the broth comes out a beautiful colour as pictured above. as you can tell, we decided to can this batch of broth - 13 pints. i use the broth to make all of our soups, stews, roasts and gravies. i also like to have a cup of it plain every few days, just as it is, and sip it as tea.

this homemade broth is incredibly concentrated, full of nutrients and really good for you. and the majority of it is made from scraps that would otherwise gone in the garbage or the compost bin. i put no food in the garbage - if we can't use it for broth - it goes in the compost bin and that composted material will be used to fortify our garden.

if there is only one thing that you make from scratch - please make a concentrated bone broth every month, or every few months, depending on how much of it you use. if you can't grow your own food, or can't grow a majority of your own food - please make concentrated bone broth. our ancestors from hundreds of thousands of years ago and right up until today sometimes survived on this and little else. it's because it's so vitamin and nutrient-dense. and filling. and delicious. and sooooo very good for you.

any questions about homemade broth - just ask in the comments. and if anyone wants me to write this down in recipe-style format, just ask.

we are having another beautiful, hottub day. we do chores in between dips. it's nice to each have a job, or a part of a job, do that job and then go for a dip in the hottub. it's cold as heck out there but so nice in the hottub. we love it!

we hope that you are all having a great week and will enjoy the weekend coming. it's our st.patrick's day dance on saturday - woohoo!!! - but because our friends s&d will be in another town playing chase the ace for us and most of our community (the pot is over $20,000!!!!!!!) - s asked us to open the hall before the dance. i am going down to practice shutting off the alarm tomorrow - if you hear an alarm going off for several hours - you'll know i screwed up de-activating it - bahahahahah!