Monday, August 28, 2017

T Stands for Tuesday & Tomatoes-& More Tomatoes

  Happy T Stands for Tuesday everyone. This is our weekly gathering and sharing of a drink related post.
  Our hostess is Bleubeard and Elizabeth just click on the button in my right hand column to join us.

  If you have not seen my last two posts you will find my two updates with the corn husks papers-I am very pleased with the results-now to decide how to use them. 
    My friend finished harvesting the rest of her sweet corn from her garden and brought over a huge bag of husks. Since I am in the middle of canning right now, I don't have the time to play with these-so I went through them and saved a big bag full and put them in the freezer for later.

   Also on one of my last posts I shared my huge batch of homemade canned salsa. This batch turned out soooo delicious. I also shared photos of more tomatoes and peppers from the amish country auction that my friend had picked up for me last Friday.
   My friend had gotten me two heavy boxes of canning tomatoes-that ended up being so much nicer than the tomatoes I had bought from a different amish stand and were allot less expensive too.
   Sooo today was the day they were ready to can. I have never seen such large canning tomatoes that were not the roma or paste tomato variety that I am familiar with and these were solid "meat". I wish I knew the variety name of this tomato. 
   Yesterday I canned up 5 quarts of tomato-soup-juice. This tastes great and it is also a great base for tomato soup. I don't add any thickener when I can it. (first photo is of the tomatoes-garlic-basil-peppers simmered til soft then strained out and canned)
   Today I decided I could get more jars of tomatoes canned at a time in my pressure canners in less processing time too ( 10 minutes) opposed to 40 minutes in a water bath canner where I could only get 7 jars in at a time. I ended up with 3 canners today.
   I filled one canner with 14 wide mouth pints, and at the same time filled another canner with 8 more pints. I still had a few more tomatoes that would finish this project up so I decided to go ahead and process a third batch this time with quarts.  The quarts are now cooling down in the canner.
   I think my joints are already hollering at me lol  Extra  boswellia herb for me tonight for sure.

photos will enlarge just click on them

Where I live here in the ozarks growing a veggie garden that will yield enough for canning and freezing is a real challenge. Unlike where I grew up and lived in northern Indiana and Illinois where the soil and weather is perfect for veggie gardens.  About an hour or so drive away from us in different directions the ground is better and there are numerous amish markets or auctions for produce. I think next year I will rely on those more for what I want to preserve than trying to grow produce.

  Tomorrow I will check my cucumbers and see if I have a couple more in the garden to add what I have. I want to make one more relish with the cucumbers and banana peppers.

  For my relax time in the evenings I am still spinning bison fiber and loving it. I am also re reading Peggy Henderson's Yellowstone and Teton series of books to refresh my mind on the characters and stories before her last book in the series comes out. 
    She is writing it now while she is living in Yellowstone with her husband for several months-while he works on restoring wood work in the Old Faithful Inn. I think that is so cool to be able to live in Yellowstone for that length of time. They hike every day early morning and evenings I try not to ever be envious of others-but this is the exception-lol 
   I did just get a package in the mail of items that I purchased from the Yellowstone Forever store. A calender for next year, a book, another mug, and a lainard for a spinning gauge tool-so that made me happy dancing.

   For my drink tonight while I type this post-I am enjoying a coconut beverage-I really love this brand and they have several flavors. this one is molokai coconut.

  The bag is full of spinning fiber, and the drink is sitting on a book I just got in-making papers with silk.

update: here is a clickable link to the Leadmine Produce Auction with map

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Corn Husks Paper Update #2 & Canning

  My papers are now dry-and I am loving them. They dried to a very pretty soft green shade. I ended up with 7 pieces

photos will enlarge just click on them

My friend brought me over a really big bag of more corn husks yesterday lol  I am doing allot of canning right now so will see if I have time to make more. I would like to try another method.


   Yesterday I made up a large pan of salsa-took me most of the day to hand chop everything-so I put in the frig. and canned it all this morning. When I canned it I divided into two batches-to keep from over cooking the salsa before it all got canned.

Late yesterday my friend came back from the amish farmer's auction with these beautiful tomatoes, large red bell peppers, sweet banana peppers and poblano peppers.

With the tomatoes I am going to make up and can tomato soup-homemade is the best ever, and will then just peel seed quarter the rest and can in water.  These gorgeous bell peppers are already in the freezer as are the poblanos. The yellow bananas I am going to make into another sweet relish with my cucumbers.

so am still busy busy lol

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Corn Husk Papers Update

      In my previous post I shared how I cooked and broke down the husk fibers. This morning early I got out my blender and my paper making items  Five hours later I have a few sheets of papers-more like art papers then paper but paper none the less. Was it worth all the time-not sure lol   
   This was not as easy as making papers with recycled papers which I really enjoy doing.

   The first couple of sheets I re did over 4 times-the problem was getting the sheet off the plastic. After sponging the water out it seemed to just really stick to that plastic sheet.  Over half way through I decided this is just not working. So I decided Not to sponge at all-let the sheet drain on the plastic grid piece and screen for a bit and then put a blotting paper on top-flipped it over- added more blotting papers and then used my trusty heavy encyclopedia book-that I only use for this now lol-and the paper came off the blotting papers better than the plastic. I still ended up with no perfect sheets-so decided this was an art project instead of just handmade papers.

  Here are some photos. These sheets turned out nice and green because I got the corn husks from a friend's home grown corn and she had left those outer dark green husks on so I included those. Am anxious to see how they dry and what shade of green they will be.
   In the photos the darkest greens are thicker papers which I didn't really want but since I had redone so many pieces I just didn't do those over.
   Also half way through the process my water and pulp got really foamy. My friend Barbara had mentioned that she added some gelatin to the pulp mixture so when writing on the papers they won't bleed-I re use the water when making more pulp so I am thinking I added in too much gelatin which resulted in that foam. I ended up just hand scooping most of that out.

All photos will enlarge just click on them

   All of you paper artists-any ideas on how to use these? thanks

Normally you would have the screen on top of this and then blot water out with a sponge.

I use my deep freezers for laying out projects like this-I have two so gives me lots of space

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

T Stands For Tuesday & I am Late to the Party

   Hello everyone, so sorry I am late for our T Party.
Seems I have been busy busy more than usual these past few days.  Our hostess is Bleubeard and Elizabeth and the link is in my right hand column.

   Yesterday I got up early to join the VRC-Virtual Running Club where we walk or run a 5K or 10K race.  I had built up for a few days and was able to walk my 5K in around an hour.  I was thrilled to read that they raised so far $80,000 dollars for the National Park Foundation. They have fun swag too for all their events-finishing medals, t shirts, I got my solar glasses from them too for the eclipse.

I had grabbed my camera and took lots of photos along my route here in our woods. I will share those photos another time since it is so late in the day already.

After my race I got out my two 8 quart dutch ovens and made a chocolate meringue pie and also a beef roast with veggies. Everything turned out soooo good. These meringue pies turn out so well in the dutch ovens that I don't think I will bake one in my gas oven again. Here are a few photos:
   It was so hot and humid again yesterday that I really got over heated being in and out of the heat most of the day.
  I was definately exhausted by the end of day.

Pot Roast ready to go on to the coals-I put in beef broth then added in onion, garlic, tomatoes, seasoning.  This actually cooked faster than I had anticipated.

   While making the pie and tending to the ovens-I grabbed my special glasses and watched the eclipse-very cool to watch-we were around 98% totality

I added in potatoes and carrots, then later added in garden beans, and then last added in fresh corn from my friends garden.

The guys were planning on fishing at night-so dinner was served early around 4 pm I invited one couple.  After the guys left to fish for bass, us girls stayed up late talking.

I didn't realize how tired I was-when I ended up sleeping in til 8:30am this morning-unheard of for me lol  at 9am my friend was picking me up to check out a new Amish store about an hour away from us for getting produce to can.
  It's late in the season but we were hoping to find tomatoes. We each got a box of tomatoes and she also got a big box of fresh green beans to can up.  We ended up browsing in a few antique stores as well
    Sooo a really  nice day.

This past week I have spun up another skein of bison yarn,  and got another 7 ounces of fiber in the mail today. I also got my new celtic Scottish spindle in the mail too and I also received fresh corn husks to make paper with a couple days ago from a friend's garden
   I decided even though tired I really needed to get this cut up and cooking in the soda ash for the two hours-rinse well-and then be ready to make the papers tomorrow. Although I have kept the fresh husks in the frig I did not want them to spoil on me.

   If you do an online search for how to make paper from corn husks you will find videos and several articles. There is also two ways I have found to make the paper. 
   One can not chop up the husks still cook for two hours in soda ash (ratio-one tablespoon soda ash or washing soda per one quart of water) rinse and rinse and rinse again with gloves and then lay out the husks first in one direction and make a layer on top going the other direction and then use towels or those blotting papers on top and bottom and weight it down-I use books. Like papryus paper
   Or as I did tonight-cut the husks up so they will break down easier, cook for the 2 hours in the soda ash, rinse very well, and then add to blender with water to make pulp-and use the deckle to form the papers

Since I mostly dye with natural plant stuffs I always have the soda ash on hand. I have read although not as strong can also use washing soda-found in most grocery stores with the laundry soaps to cook it down with

I have also made a batch of bread and butter pickles since my last post

I won a postcard that arrived today-wow that was fast-I will share a photo in my  next post.

and tonight while waiting for the corn husks to cook, I am eating a bowl of ice cream along with drinking a diet lemon lime soda. 
    If any of you have been to Chicago you may have heard of the restaurant Berghoff  They are a German restaurant fabulous food and has quite a history. Years ago I bought four of these mugs that celebrated their 100th birthday back in 1987-wow has it really been that long ago lol
      I think they had gone through some changes in the '90s and one of the ancestors kept the brewery and did catering. Looking it up online I see they are back as a full restaurant.
   Berghoff  was a place my family always went to for lunch when we visited Chicago-I grew up in Indiana and Chicago was a cool place around Christmas time especially. Allot of fond memories. When I met my husband I found this was one of his favorite places too and he even knew some of the owners-fond memories.

Happy T Day everyone, so sorry I am very late to the party this week. I will visit you all tonight and tomorrow.

Monday, August 14, 2017

T Stands for Tuesday & a Little More Spinning

It's time for T that is T for Tuesday where we share a beverage related post with friends. Come join us, our hostess is Bleubeard and Elizabeth  find link in my right hand column.

   Since April perhaps a little earlier of this year, I have really been doing allot of spinning-almost every day. In my new spinning group I can see where many are spinning really nice yarn in no time-but I seem to struggle with it-trying different methods and spindles.
   I am not discouraged because I love the whole process-some I have started with raw wool. My spinning teacher on the spinning wheel last year suggested we must spin every day in order to improve and get better-I think this is the case with most ventures. I am just slow though lol
   I am getting better as I work toward a finer yarn-I am really not needing a super fine yarn-that most seem to strive  for-for what I want to do with it-weave using my handspun as the weft. When I look back at my handspuns from two years ago there is much improvement so trying not to be too hard on myself.
   I am just loving the bison fiber-so far not over spun, sometimes a little fatter yarn than I wanted but all is good. and I have changed spindles this week-the one I shared last Tuesday was just too slow-my spindle would not stay spinning for hardly any time at all and was constantly going back the wrong direction-I think it is the weight of that spindle. I did love the yarn though - my hands not so much.
   Sooo I have switched to my favorite spindle by Louet. I will show you another photo where this spindle that I have had for at least 30 years split at the top when I went to tighten down the hook-thinking I broke it completely I bought a new one.
    Waiting for the new one to arrive in the mail, I glued it down with gorilla glue-and works good. The bottom whorl-that disc on the bottom-is now made a bit differently

all photos will enlarge just click on them

  I don't remember what kind of stone this was-but I bought this piece to use with my navajo spindle-which is very long and the tip sits on the floor-this carved out stone works perfect with this drop spindle used as a supported spindle-the yarn not suspended from hand while spinning.

And my completed skein-loving it!

I am still spinning up the the baby alpaca too-working on getting this yarn a bit finer-these two different wools spin up so differently I have been switching between the two of them.

Here you can see my repair-gurilla glue on the hook to keep it from spinning around and the crack beneath it-very smooth so still spins great.

Last year when I was learning about supported spindles-which are great for very fine lace weight yarn- I picked up a couple of these vintage glass salt vessels-I don't remember the name for these-but are fun to look for. 

I have started texturing the hallway walls-same technique as the bathroom walls-tissue paper-wallpaper paste-and paints and glazes. I don't like using white for anything so I have been looking at paint colors that have a bit of color but light for this dark hallway-I think I have decided on a light grey
  I plan to hang vintage mirrors and art work along the walls

I was out of laundry soap so I needed to make that today. The hardest part-which isn't really hard-is grating all the bars of soap. 
     I was drinking several cups of my chicory-dandelion root beverage in my Yellowstone cup with cream during this project.

I just got the foam in to make new cushions for the dining room bench seats. The old ones are just starting to wear after 15 years-not bad-I had dyed (white) blue jean material at the time. In my fabric stash I still have yardage of blue denim so will make them out of that this time.

Last time I made these cushions I used recycled cushion material this time I needed to hunt down the foam that was affordable-ended up finding it on Ebay. I need to make two cushions.-This piece will be cut in half both directions to get the right size which will give me two extra pieces-I may just make some cushions for chairs with the left over pieces.

Since the cool down here I have started walking again-over the weekend built up to the 3 miles again. The bugs are still bad though even with spraying down my clothes well I ended up with numerous chigger bites-ugh--I bought some essential oils to make up a bug repellant I need to do that this week and will let you know how it works.

Next week I will share a new spindle that I should have by then. It is a celtic Scottish spindle that is totally different than anything I have seen before. and when you wind on the yarn it ends up being a pull ball of yarn-how cool is that?? So of course I need to try this out-fun!

Thought I would come back and add a photo of the twins-they were on their own tonight-no Mom

Happy T Day everyone!!  Enjoy your week.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Dutch Oven Baking Day Today

    I decided today was a good day to make two apple-raisin deep dish pies. One with white whole wheat for the crust and the other with a gluten free crust.
    I am not big on mixes but they do come in handy for some gluten free baking. I have not conquered making a quality gluten free pie crust as of yet so I splurged and bought a pie crust mix from Bob's Red Mill-it worked up really nice. I had a bit left over after crimping the edges of the pie so I rolled it out and sprayed with coconut oil and then sprinkled cinnamon sugar on top.-It baked up delicious and flakey.

    Baking two things in one day using the same dutch oven is an all day project. I decided to buy a second Lodge dutch oven the 12 inch across and holds 8 quarts. That way I can bake two things at the same time-loving that idea. lol

Here are a few photos: (click to enlarge)

These first two photos is the wheat crust pie

This is a photo of my baking area. That large lid to the right is a top to an old Weber fire pit set up-that I now use to cover up the left over hot coals when finished-would not want to start a fire in the woods

This is the gluten free crust pie I put a K on the pie instead of a for Apple 

Both pies cooling down indoors

Pleased with the pies, they look so pretty too  now to taste them after dinner-can't wait lol