Saturday, June 29, 2013

GYPSY vs. LEMON

I saw this funny video on YouTube showing various dogs fighting with a citrus fruit and so I thought I'd see how my dog Gypsy, the one that EATS EVERYTHING, would react to a lemon.

YouTube Video "Dog vs. Citrus"



My Dog Gypsy


Gypsy didn't eat the lemon (even if she wanted to eat it I wouldn't let her - I'm sure it isn't good for dogs), she took one lick and what you see in the video was her reaction to it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

STRAWBERRIES!!

If you can't grow your own do the next best thing... PICK SOMEONE ELSES!!

The family and I drove over to Sam Kedem's  Farm in Hastings yesterday and picked over 12 pounds of big juicy organic strawberries.  Sam is the only one I know that grows organic PYO fruits, at least within driving distance from my house so we visit his farm several times a summer to get blueberries, raspberries and strawberries.  Since I didn't get started until later in the evening I only canned 3 jars of strawberry jam.  As you can probably tell by my photo collage my jars have that ugly foamy swirl in them.  I've read in one of my Ball canning books that the foam can lessen the shelf life of the jam so I'll make sure to eat them in the next month.  I should have spent some time scraping off that frothy mess but I was just so darn excited to making jam again that I didn't pay attention to that last step.

Anyone have an opinion on the foamy stuff that appears when boiling the strawberries?  To what extent does it shorten the shelf life?



For anyone else that would like to try making strawberry jam I have two recommendations:

My friend Teresa turned me on to this ebook by her friend Robin.  It is very informative!  I've always struggled to find good canning books that are easy to understand for the beginner but also contain recipes that even the experienced canner will enjoy (once I get there); Robin's book is perfect!

The other "very easy" go to source for canning strawberries is this video:



I don't recommend the video for those wanting to learn about canning per se but more for those who just want to whip up a small batch of strawberry jam quickly without getting into all the details about canning.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

STRAWBERRY FAIL

I can't help but be envious of my friends who have a bumper crop of strawberries this year.  I planted strawberries 5 years ago and it seems, once again, that I made an error.

My friend Teresa (domestic goddess, writing genius, homesteader extraordinaire) over at Homestead Notes is my go-to person when I struggle with gardening (and pretty much everything in life) and I've learned from her hubby that my crop of strawberries are just too old to give me the bounty that I really crave *sigh.  So, it seems I may have to start all over.



This year I was so pleased with myself for actually getting my butt to the garden store to pick up some hay.  It took me 5 yrs to learn that hay needs to be spread below the patch of berries (if they are as sparse as mine are) to keep the berries clean and to help avoid rotting.   In years passed we'd get an ok amount of berries but either the birds would eat them or they'd rot immediately.  Well... the hay is in place but I highly doubt we'll get any strawberries since my patch is too old.  Just look at them, 90% of these were planted 5 years ago... they should have multiplied by now.




I did have them in raised garden boxes which I don't think helped very much since the runners had nowhere to go, so I did remove those this year.

If anyone has any advice on how you started up your patch and made them flourish, please let me know.

I've also planted a variety of strawberry plants together and wonder now if that was a mistake :(



Friday, June 7, 2013

SURPRISES! WHO DOESN'T LOVE A SURPRISE?

I wasn't sure if I should blog about this or not because I'm not 100% sure the person who made these for me wants her art out in the world but I just couldn't help myself.

I was given these as a gift a little while back and it was a complete surprise.  The young woman who gave them to me is a gifted artist.  I've been telling her she should sell her art on etsy or join in on some art fairs but she maintains that she only enjoys drawing as a way to relax, nothing more.

So to M.E.F... I am very touched by the fact you took the time to draw these for me.  They will not end up on a shelf or in some closet, they will be on full display in my home for all that enter to see and appreciate.  Thank you so much for thinking of me, the wolves are beautiful and YOU are very very talented.


Monday, June 3, 2013

HANDMADE GIVEAWAY

Nothing gets me back into the blogging groove like a giveaway.  If you enjoy handmade items than this blog post is for you.

I am part of a card swapping group over at Splitcoast Stampers.  Every month a group of us ladies swap handmade cards with one another.  Well... when you swap 10 cards every single month you end up with a whole lotta cards, so... I'm going to give some away.

All of the cards that I receive are beautiful so whomever wins won't be disappointed.  I went through the bunch I've collected and picked out my favorites to give away.  There will be 2 winners, 5 cards for each winner.  I've selected 2 birthday cards, 2 holiday cards and 1 thank you card for each.  All you have to do to be entered into the giveaway is tell me what your favorite season is and why :-)



I will use Random.org to choose the two winners.  Deadline to enter is June 10th, I'll announce the winner on June 11th.  Please make sure to check back to see if you won so I can get your mailing address (through private messaging of course) and send your cards out no later than Monday, June 12th.

If all goes well with this giveaway (meaning: enough people interested) I plan on doing a giveaway every two weeks over the summer.  Why you ask? Because Every one loves to win things and receive packages in the mail, plus it motivates me to be create on a regular basis.

Some of my giveaway ideas: candles, soap, wool dryer balls, hemp bracelet, yarn.  So please check back often :-)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

I HAVE A LOVE HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH DEER

I like deer, I really do but they seriously are destructive little suckers and even though they have their place on this planet like every species does, I don't understand why they are one of the few species besides ourselves that we allow to flourish beyond what is ecologically healthy.

Last year I counted 12 deer in my backyard at one time, this year I counted 15, seems they are multiplying pretty quickly.  The number of deer would be understandable if our home backed up to a gigantic forest but we only have an 80 acre public park behind us and apparently the coyotes we're always being warned about are too small to take the deer down.

Fact: Minnesota has 900,000 deer and prior to the wolf hunt and predator control killings which resulted in some 600+ dead wolves, we had about 3000 wolves in the wild.

I'd give my right arm to live in wolf country right now.



Today I found my brand new North Star Cherry tree (plum full of cherries two days ago) half eaten by deer.  Previous to the buffet had by those annoying pests my neighbor tried to get me to spray the tree with this stinky concoction of rotten eggs and coyote urine to protect it but like a fool I opted to let it be because I was hoping to eat the cherries once they ripened.  BIG MISTAKE! I should have sprayed the tree this year just to give it a chance to grow large enough so that the deer couldn't reach the branches in the future.



All I can say is that I'm a slow learner.  I have two 3 year old apple trees that haven't produced a single fruit, thanks to our deer.  One is finally reaching a point in its growth that the deer are no longer able to reach the branches but the other looks in need of a funeral.

So... wish me luck on saving what is left of our little tree.  My husband has made an attempt this evening to protect it so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  If there's nothing left tomorrow we'll know it didn't work :(


Deer devoured the left side of tree








Monday, May 13, 2013

REVIVING THE BLOG

Starting with a random post about everything.

Well, in the last couple years I've been a complete failure when it comes to this blog.  I delete, undelete, delete, undelete, promise to post more regularly and then don't, promise again and fail once more. So...

Here I go again.

I've held back on making a lot of posts just because there has already been something similar on another blog or website somewhere but I'm no longer going to let that hold me back.  I was talking to someone recently about handmade laundry soap and she asked if I ever blogged about it and I said no because there are numerous blog posts about it already, lots of links to great laundry soap recipes on Pinterest also.  This individual tells me that she never goes on Pinterest and doesn't have time to follow a bunch of blogs but if I wrote something about it she'd check it out.  Hmmmm... I thought.  So maybe it doesn't hurt too much to blog about something that's already out in cyberspace??? With that in mind, I guess I'll just blog about whatever the heck I want and if no one reads it, oh well, someone may find it useful.

So... as for random whatever's that someone else has probably already blogged about here goes nothing:

Midwest Shepherd's Harvest Festival 2013

Lama

Sheep Shearing





 Yana Pretending to Spin


Spinning Demo


Maya & Yana petting the angora rabbits


Lots of raw fiber


Creative Activities

I purchased a bunch of stuff too but I'll share that in a later post :D

I have to toot my own horn here.  I knitted a washcloth! Yes, yes, you can stop the applause.  The washcloth was easy but since I'm a wee bit "special" (ahem... perfectionist) it only took me a month to make just one O_O


Making candles! Lots and lots of candles!  I'm up to 20 so far.


New Addition to the Family

Last but should have been first, our beautiful little dog.  She came to live with us this winter and my husband is so in love with her.  She's not your typical American looking chihuahua, my husband says she's a Mexican version :-) I think she looks like a baby seal.  Here's Gypsy:


My next post will be a bit more coherent.