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Monday, August 26, 2013

Sauerkraut, re-usable canning lids and Flea Market Finds!

 Just over 3 weeks have passed and in the mild temperatures my sauerkraut has finished fermenting and is ready to can!

We just follow the Ball Blue Book for canning and get 'er done.

 Heat, stuff in jars, brine to within 1/2" of the top and on go the new Tattler lids we're trying this year and into the water bath canner!
 Homemade sauerkraut is a totally different animal than store-bought!  Homemade is milder, store-bought tends to be harsh.

We like to put a couple quarts in the crockpot with a few links of kielbasa, add water and simmer!  At serving time, we always ladle ours over mashed potatoes.......oh YUM!  Guess what we're having for dinner tonight????
 You use these a little differently, but not much.  You don't tighten them on until AFTER canning, then you immediately tighten, but they're working well so far and I LOVE the fact that you just save and re-use them!!!
 Did green beans, too.  We only planted bush beans this year, but they've done quite well even with our sporadic watering.
 We ended up with 47 quarts of sauerkraut!  The 'rules' are that you don't keep jars of canning for more than a year or so.....but in my cellar these will be dark & cool and we'll have sauerkraut for 2 or 3 years before we need to can it again.
 I finally finished a few of the primitives I started while at the Fair.....
 Then on Saturday we went off to a Threshing Bee & Flea Market and I found some cool stuff.  (Does anyone else still say 'cool'?)   I had to really talk the old guys out of these Jones Sewing Machine parts that they INSISTED went with either the old Singer or White sewing machines they had for sale, but in the end I prevailed!!!  Actually I think they finally agreed just to get rid of me!
My last find was this child-sized steamer trunk!  I think it's going to be home to fabric scraps or stash.  Got it for a steal (no, I didn't steal it....) and my beloved husband offered to carry it about a million miles out to the truck so I could keep 'shopping'!  Gotta love that guy, he puts up with a lot ;-)

Today we're off for another cancer treatment for Mom this afternoon, and doing a bit of construction work on the place this morning.  Oh yeah, and I have to can a load of salmon that the afore-mentioned husband extracted from a river.  Much to do, off I go!

Friday, August 23, 2013

This is a picture of a small boy, sitting in an old-fashioned chair with an antimacassar on the back of the chair behind his head.  I've known for years that these doily-type-things are called antimacassars, but do you know WHY?  Apparently, back in those days when men put oil on their hair to impress the ladies, said ladies did not totally appreciate the residue their oily hairdos left on their furniture, so they crocheted or knitted special doilies to protect the chair.  The oil the men used?  Macassar Oil.......  


Syllabification: (Ma·cas·sar)
Pronunciation: /məˈkasər/


  • 1 (also Macassar oil) a kind of oil formerly used, especially by men, to make one’s hair shine and lie flat.


mid 17th century: earlier form of Makassar. The oil was originally represented as consisting of ingredients from Makassar

So, then, of course the doily would be an anti-macassar............

'Nuf of that.  Today I canned sauerkraut and am finishing up canning green beans.  I took pictures, but will post that tomorrow.  For today I want to read my favorite James Whitcomb Riley poem....

How It Happened

I got to thinkin' of her--both her parents dead and gone--
And all her sisters married off, and none but her and John
A-livin' all alone there in that lonesome sort o' way,
And him a blame old bachelor, confirmder ev'ry day!
I'd knowed 'em all from childern, and their daddy from the time
He settled in the neighborhood, and had n't ary a dime
Er dollar, when he married, far to start housekeepin' on!--
So I got to thinkin' of her--both her parents dead and gone!

I got to thinkin' of her; and a-wundern what she done
That all her sisters kep' a gittin' married, one by one,
And her without no chances--and the best girl of the pack--
An old maid, with her hands, you might say, tied behind her back!
And Mother, too, afore she died, she ust to jes' take on,
When none of 'em was left, you know, but Evaline and John,
And jes' declare to goodness 'at the young men must be bline
To not see what a wife they 'd git if they got Evaline!

I got to thinkin' of her; in my great affliction she
Was sich a comfert to us, and so kind and neighberly,--
She 'd come, and leave her housework, far to be'p out little Jane,
And talk of _her own_ mother 'at she 'd never see again--
Maybe sometimes cry together--though, far the most part she
Would have the child so riconciled and happy-like 'at we
Felt lonesomer 'n ever when she 'd put her bonnet on
And say she 'd railly haf to be a-gittin' back to John!

I got to thinkin' of her, as I say,--and more and more
I'd think of her dependence, and the burdens 'at she bore,--
Her parents both a-bein' dead, and all her sisters gone
And married off, and her a-livin' there alone with John--
You might say jes' a-toilin' and a-slavin' out her life
Far a man 'at hadn't pride enough to git hisse'f a wife--
'Less some one married _Evaline_, and packed her off some day!--
So I got to thinkin' of her--and it happened thataway.
James Whitcomb Riley 

I LOVE James Whitcomb Riley.  Many of his poems were written 'in the vernacular'.


adjective \və(r)-ˈna-kyə-lər\

Definition of VERNACULAR

a : using a language or dialect native to a region or country rather than a literary, cultured, or foreign language 
Now I'm canning green beans.  My kitchen counters are full of jars, Wecks, canners & bowls.  The sauerkraut crocks are cleaned and put aside to go back in storage until next kraut-making season.  If I were sensible, I'd go directly to my recliner and put my feet up, but I think I'll work on some primitives for Ebay instead!  Hey, at least I can sew sitting down!!!  (Don't worry, a daughter is watching the pressure canners of green beans, so there will be no loud explosions.......)   Off I go!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Home from the Fair!

 Well, the Fair is officially over and we are back to our regularly scheduled life......If I ever actually catch up, it will be a momentous day and we shall make it a holiday and celebrate with chocolate and coffee.  Oh, wait.....we do that anyhow!

This is a tiny view of the Fair from the front of 'our' building.  We spent 6 days sewing, visiting, informing & answering questions in this building.
 Several of we superintendents own little Singer Featherweight sewing machines, so we decided to make a Featherweight display.  They were a hit, even with the men! 
 The week before Fair, we have Check-In Day and people bring all their stuff in.  After Judgement Day (the next day) we put prize ribbons on them and then begin to decorate/display.
This is what it sort of looks like before.....
......and then after a lot of hard work on the part of volunteers, it looks like this! 

This is just one corner of the building.....Imagine the hours spent on the part of many; purchasing fabric, cutting, sewing, quilting....
....and this is just one display case. 

It went well, though we were all so tired all week we still haven't recovered!

Now that we're home again, we've been trying to catch up on a little rest, away from the *hubbub.  Unfortunately, my mom is back to twice weekly cancer treatments and this week she had three appointments.  That means a 45 minute drive to the clinic, 1-3 hours there and then the 45 minute drive back.  Hard to catch up at home when you're not actually, well, at home!  
I've managed to get the dandelions in the yard mowed down and cleaned my rabbitry.  The sauerkraut wants canning (Friday?) and all the Fair stuff is finally put back in place, except for the canning entries which are still stacked on the picnic table on the porch.  When I checked on the young replacement hens, I opened their door and a bat fell past my eyes to land at my feet.  Did you hear me scream?

  Last night was a full moon and the coyotes were echoing off the mountain.  I think Fall is in the air already. 
Well, just wanted to get back in the swing and this is a very rambling post, but that's sort of the way life goes here on the farm!  Cancer treatment in town for Mom today, sauerkraut canning tomorrow and on Saturday is the Cowlitz Prairie Threshing Bee (no kidding!).  We like to go and see the antique machinery, Flea Market, tractor pull....good clean country fun! 

*a loud, confused noise, as of many voices: There was quite a hubbub in the auditorium after the announcement. 2. tumult; uproar.  (Interesting that synonyms were equally interesting words:  brouhaha and a situation that has gone piggledy wiggledy.) 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

 What would you do with a beautiful pot of Basil like this one?   Make Pesto, of course!  
(Warning to people like Mr. RWP......recipe to follow.......)
 The first time I tasted Pesto, I thought it revolting.  Perhaps it is an acquired taste.  If so, I have acquired it!  
 I'm working at the Fairgrounds in preparation for next week's Fair, but while I'm 'resting', I thought I'd just mention a few things we've been up to BESIDES working at the fairgrounds....
Like harvesting our onions and garlic.  Food without onions & garlic is bland and boring.   Unless it's chocolate.   Or coffee.
 So, I picked the basic leaves, rinsed & spun them dry in my newly-acquired-for-$2.50 at a thrift store salad spinner.  I added all these ingredients, whizzed it all up in the Cuisinart and PRESTO!......PESTO!!!!!

(Mr. RWP, at least it was a QUICK recipe, yes??)
 No, I didn't grow the walnuts and I didn't make the parmesan cheese. 

 I did quadruple the recipe to use up all the lovely, lovely basil leaves and then stuffed it all into the freezer for another day when I shall make Italian Herbs Sourdough Bread to SHMEAR it upon.

 I spent a couple days making primitives while I wasn't outside (and wasn't doing housework....)

I made tags, printed out graphics, gathered up Fair entries, made three pizzas, two batches of salisbury steaks, 24 hamburger patties and three loaves of pumpkin bread for the freezer for the days I'm off to the fairgrounds.  

I should have cleaned rabbit pans and watered the raspberries & strawberries, but I got tired.   When I get too tired, I get silly.  I remembered one of my favorite parts of the book The Blue Castle by Lucy Maude Montgomery....

Aunt Alberta, to save her dinner, plunged into an account of how a
dog had bitten her recently.  Uncle James, to back her up, asked
where the dog had bitten her.

"Just a little below the Catholic church," said Aunt Alberta.

At that point Valancy laughed.  Nobody else laughed.  What was
there to laugh at?

"Is that a vital part?" asked Valancy.

"What do you mean?" said bewildered Aunt Alberta, and Mrs.
Frederick was almost driven to believe that she had served God all
her years for naught.
Did I mention I was tired? 
We've spent two days at the Fair now - Check In Day, Judgement Day are over.
Tomorrow we get chores done, load the truck and head back again to Decorate.  That
actually means artfully arranging all the entries so that when the fairgoers come 
next week, they will be able to see & enjoy all the wonderful entries - Quilts,
table runners, afghans, tablecloths, knitted sweaters, embroidered pillows,
canned beef, chocolate chip cookies.....well, you know.
Off I go, tomorrow is a long long day.  Be sure to come see the Living Arts building
August 13-19th at the Southwest Washington Fair!!! 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Italian Bread Crumb chicken, Sausage Gravy & Biscuits, Fall, Fair Time & Psalms!

 This is a nice chicken dinner.  This is what dinner looks like when I get hungry....Lots of times in the summer, when I've been working hard outdoors, I let them all fend for themselves and don't cook.  When I do cook, it's because...I got hungry.
You know those Italian Bread Crumbs you can buy in the grocery store?  Well, you just take chicken parts, roll them in melted butter, roll them in Italian Bread Crumbs, lay them in a baking pan, sprinkle a few more crumbs on top & bake for about an hour at 375*.  Voila!  Chicken dinner.  Of course we completed it with spuds from the garden, cooked carrots & chicken gravy.
 We butchered a pig a couple months back and it has been some of the best pork I've eaten.  One morning I made sausage gravy & biscuits.  Super easy and oh, so good!
Brown your sausage.
Add 1/2 cup flour & stir.  Bit of salt & Pepper...
Pour in enough milk to cover (don't get carried away, you can add some more if it gets too thick)
Stir til thickened, slide to the back of the stove or turn the burner to low while you make biscuits!

 Fall is my favorite time of the year.  I LOVE Fall.  Autumn....Acorns.....Oak leaves.....Maple leaves......Alder leaves.....Pumpkins.......
Squash...........Harvest time..........

 I don't really like Halloween or evil stuff, but I'm making a few non-evil primitives for the Fall season.  When I was a kid, Halloween was just mild fun, who could gather the most candy, carve the best Jack-O-Lantern.  Things have changed.
 We've been digging potatoes, watering the garden & flowers on the porch.  Taking care of the two calves, three goat kids, the milk goats.......In a few more weeks all the calves & kids will be weaned and chores will be shorter & easier!  There'll be more milk for us then, too! 

Right now we're trying to get as much done as possible so that while we're working at the Fair for the next two weeks, the Farm won't fall apart while we're gone!
 Here's a corner of 'our' building at the Fair.  We'll be there a whole lot in the next two weeks!  We're there for check in, judging, decorating & displaying next week.  The following week, our Southwest Washington Fair runs from Tuesday, August 13 through Sunday, August 18 and we'll be in this building most of the time, hanging out with the canning, quilts, doilies, afghans, clothing, craft projects......
 The quilt on the top with the black borders (and only a red ribbon) is one I entered last year.
These are a few of last year's pictures.....
 We already did the shopping for prizes, but we'll have to decorate a prize cabinet & display them like this one we did last year.

This is a display of some of my machines that I brought in.  Lots of people seemed to enjoy seeing them and we heard some fun stories about other's people's memories of treadle machines!
Well, my posts are sporadic this time of year while the outdoors is calling and the Fair is looming.
I'll end off for today with a powerful bit of scripture I read from my morning devotions.....

Psalm 62: 5-8
5 My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.