orelonde: (Default)
Ifwhen bees come on property, this is how I wish to keep them:

orelonde: (kitchen madonna)
Meinen Mann has been missing my sauerkraut, and I've been feeling up to making another batch (go go gadget meds, even with your side effects), so I asked him to bring home two or three cabbages so I could put up a jar.

He brought home two plus cabbages, so I put up a *big* crock, plus made a quart of kimchee and a pan of franks-and-cabbage with fennel and other seasonings.

I followed the directions from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions:
per medium cabbage, a Tablespoon of sea salt + 4 Tablespoons whey or 1 additional T salt, pound 'til juices run, pack in crock, press and hold all cabbage beneath at least 1" liquid, let ferment 3+ days before serving / moving to cold storage.

I sliced the cabbage with my grandmother's kraut slicer while watching The Incredibles with the fam. I only dinged myself thrice, once each on thumb and middle finger, once on the thumbnail -- not bad for four and a half cabbagesworth while watching TV and interacting with other people, especially all gimped up and stuff as I am). This slicer's older, faster and sharper than my mom's kraut slicer, which I also have (though my mom's also grates ginger, a definite plus).

I retrieved a gallon glass jar from the laundry hall shelves (It's not exactly a room, and is the path between dining room and workshop - a step up from both and from the back door, by which it is; not an ideal setup for the mobility-challenged). (The jar was ariginally from my then-local Subway franchise, it held pickles or pickled peppers. Delis go through lots and lots of glass jars and food grade plastic buckets and friendly managers are often willing to give you their discards.) When I set it down on the dining room table, I spied my mother's Rumtopf.

Would I scandalize the family by putting up sauerkraut in her Rumtopf (rumpot)? (It's this model, exactly link. -- gray stoneware with cobalt blue glaze decoration. RUMTOPF and various fruits decorate the front, instructions in Deutsch, in block script for my non-Fraktur- non-Seutterlin-reading enjoyment, are on the reverse.)

A quick phone-a-friend consultation with [livejournal.com profile] libbilu put my fears to rest. According to her report, no one but Mom liked the Rumtopf punch and Gram put sauerkraut and bread and butter pickles in the crock given her. (Kraut and pickle recipes things to search for in these boxes, and I need to get cracking on the scanning project ... need handheld scanner, if they still make 'em, for delicate bindings, or prop books up and take pictures of pages with the camera -- yes! Why didn't I think of that sooner?).

I, myself, have ambivalent memories of the punch as I was poisoned by being fed too much fruit by my then-fifteen year-old sister back when I was six (she loves me and she'd never give me alcohol to drink, but didn't realize the alcohol soaked into the composting/fermenting/becoming more potent by the moment fruit -- that was not a Happy New Year for me), but the crock itself is *gorgeous*.

These memories, and knowing my Gram may have shredded cabbage (and barked her knuckles, and dinged her fingernails) on the same shredder, putting it down in an identical crock, make it all the better.


I've not been able to sleep well tonight, and to save husband + babymandus the discomfort of trying to sleep next to my wiggly, awake self, I padded out to the kitchen a little over an hour after the Mister came to bed, typed this up and started making tamales.

I've been craving tamales lately. Tamales and stuffed shells, both... so I figured I'd see if I could meld the two recipes, and make a sort of mid-ocean mishmash of the two dishes.

I'm sort of following along with the recipe, and most of the instructions, here. I'm substituting some spices (I used smoked paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, ground cumin, turmeric) and oil (peanut and sunflower) in the 1/2 batch of masa and am filling it with browned, ground turkey (with red onion, elephant garlic, basil, salt, pepper, garlic powder)and yogurt cheese (my on-hand answer to the ricotta I've been craving). Some with one filling, some with another, some with both.

I didn't realize they took so long to cook (2 hours to steam) and while waiting have been puttering at the sink, finishing up a stack of dishes, and at the computer, making this entry's icon from an image found on the web of a statue I dearly, dearly, dearly love.

I also wanted to share these links on cultured dairy, as when I get the counter ready, I'll be doing more with that again.

http://biology.clc.uc.edu/Fankhauser/Cheese/BUTTERMILK.HTM -- Buttermilk, © David B. Fankhauser, Ph.D., Professor of Biology and Chemistry, University of Cincinnati Clermont College, Batavia OH 45103. Cultured buttermilk, includes its microbiology and recipes for waffles.

http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html -- Dom's Kefir In-Site. Everything you *ever* wanted to know about kefir.

Verdict on the tamales: cheese ones edible, meat ones *good*. Both, good too. Could also use beans in the middle, I spose, and the Three Sisters Stew (codename: schlop) I made the other day would work here well. Served with sour cream, very mild salsa (says so on the label), bread-&-butter and dill pickle chips and two-day-fermented kimchee (good flavor except too salty for my taste) right off the top of the jar.
orelonde: (Default)
I had a feeling that if I shopped for new seeds that I would find the box I've already got full of them and that when I did, I would probably find that I already had most of if not all of the varieties I purchased. I purchased some more seeds at Target this afternoon (Lowe's doesn't carry organic seeds)and the answer is "Yes" on both counts.

Luckily, I have a receipt so I can return the bulk of today's purchase. The stevia seeds, however, will be staying. I've been wanting to grow it for years, and am looking forward to trying it from seed. (If it doesn't do well, I can always swipe a cutting from the civic garden).

I find that I get really in the garden mood this time of year, then realize that I've already missed a main garden season. Apparently, I'm stuck on temperate time for some things. It's already too late to plant most cool weather crops (well, yeah... it was a 'nippy' 75 this afternoon)and I should start working on warmer weather plants.

I still haven't found a good way to catalog seeds -- do I use a database? a spreadsheet? A simple list? (Simple list won't have room for notes.)

Also arriving at Ye Aulde Homesteadlet today: a pound of Eisenia foetida -- Red Wigglers -- arrived in the post from Acme Worm Farm for the Worm Bin v. 3.0 (v. 5.0 if one counts the previous worm bins at other homes)[livejournal.com profile] stonn built for me from three plastic storage bins.
orelonde: (Default)
... or at least organizeable, and feeling rather clever and resourceful in the tracking-down of resources.

Wherein I wander through a few different permutations of the Sidetracked Home Executives method, and learn how to retrieve cached pages from Google )
orelonde: (Default)
The two containers of worms, one labelled "red worms", the other "wigglers" held approximately fifty wiggly creatures each. (They're a little hard to count; they keep moving, dodging behind each other.) The latter look like the ones I'm used to working with, but I wanted to get some of each for comparison / contrast.

As they're not enough to colonize an entire box, but I wanted to get started, I put each variety of worms in its own small, temporary habitat thusly:

I cut milk cartons down from the handle to the breast and across the front, removing the original screw top opening, yet leaving a handle for ease of, well, handling.

Old drafts of Seren's book reports and used paper napkins were shredded, put in each modified jug, and dampened by spraying them with water.

The worms were separated as much as possible from their castings (yielding approximately a cup of castings which I'll be feeding to a plant; I haven't yet decided on the lucky recipient) in the new bedding, then fed with a five-finger pinch of torn cabbage leaf and noodles to get them started.

They're currently living under the sink where it's sheltered, relatively quiet and dark. I'll check on them daily to see how they're doing in their new digs, feeding them small amounts of kitchen waste, ensuring their bedding is damp enough (but not too damp) and otherwise making sure they're as happy as domesticated earthworms can be.

No, I haven't named them.


I keep playing with the idea of consolidating all of my journals ([livejournal.com profile] illuviel, [livejournal.com profile] orelonde & [livejournal.com profile] the_greening ... and then I don't. I have different paper journals in which to explore different topics, and having these separate strands may be the best way to keep things somewhat organized. Dunno. I should crosspost things of relevance between them, or at least post links to relevant entries when they occur.
orelonde: (Default)
Last night, instead of sleeping, I burned two grocery sacks full of old papers and a few gallon jars of worn out herbs to facilitate the upcoming move.

I now have 10 empty, glass, gallon, round pickle jars (and a few more boughten square ones) and still have stashes of meadowsweet, frankincense, peppermint and lavender.

I also noticed that there are quite a few things happening with the plants in the yard.

Currently blooming:

* Vaccinium sp. (blueberry)
* some sort of ericacea I cannot place (looks like tall uva ursi ... is it actually a type of blueberry? I'm still looking -- it has dark pink/red flowers and is about four and a half to five feet tall, both features throw me off, especially with the fleshier leaves. It looks like a fuschia/red flowered blueberry tree.)
* Florida rosemary
* Hypericum sp. (St. John's Wort)
* sheep sorrel (which I've been picking, sporadically, for salads, but mostly just munching while wandering outside)

And the dwarf pomegranates [livejournal.com profile] stonn gave me for my birthday, that I thought Homer and neglect had killed are both putting forth with new growth.

Hope springs eternal.

I hope this bodes well for my wierd 'out with the old/make room for the new' blot-of-sorts. I feel good for following what I felt, even if it means I've been up for over thirty hours straight.

Funny thing is, I don't feel any more tired than I have on days when I've slept over twelve hours out of twenty four; hopefully I'm recalibrating a bit. I'd like to get back six or so hours of sleep a night being quite enough.
orelonde: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] caomhanach and I were late for the dog cart class, so took in a blacksmithing demo instead. I also spoke with an old friend about a medical condition she has and I might, receiving many handy hints for dealing with the medical profession (including an office to avoid -- one I'm currently dealing with, confirming my negative opinion of it).

We then came home, rendezvous-ed with the rest of the fam at home([livejournal.com profile] magnir, [livejournal.com profile] stonn and Seren) and made our way to Lakeland. Stonn worked and the rest of us toodled around the area looking for the house I previously mentioned. It's either in a very scary place behind a Pentacostal church, somewhere where we have to drive through heavily "No Tresspassing" posted property to find it (no visible mailbox with the right address), in the middle of a v. rural place near a county research ranch, or somewhere completely different we haven't yet found.

The search continues.

We've been using this site as our 'realtor' thus far; it's time for us to register with the VA (Stonn's a Gulf War vet) and find out how much we can be loanèd to buy property. (I will be inheriting 1/4 of my mom's estate, but have no clue how much that will net, and I'd like to have a home lined up before this one is sold.)

On the here homefront: I found my mailbox thrown into the trees on our property, sans door -- apparently someone thinks its fun to demolish mailboxes.

Folks considering going 'back to the land' need to realize that it's not a completely idyllic situation. Rural land comes with rednecks, especially in Dixie. Grr. Argh.

Garden Notes:
I've found the seed stash and have started planting containers with edible flowers, herbs and vegetables. I would put in a garden plot, but not knowing how long we'll be here has put a damper on my enthusiasm to completely edibly-landscape our acre as I'd like to do with my more-permanent home.

We purchased more vegetable seeds, some potted herbs (lemon grass, oregano, peppermint), a pot of okra seedlings (there weren't any seeds at the store) and a bulb of organic garlic (for separating into cloves and planting).

I was pricing citrus trees yesterday at the Home Despot (from whence came the seeds and potted herbs) and found dwarf pomegranates, I didn't purchase any, but am now including them in the landscape plan in my head. They'd make good shrubs for a hedge or specimens -- and both Stonn and I like pomegranates.

I've planted nasturtiums, garlic chives and a yellow onion (mostly for seed, somewhat for onion greens).

Today, I'm soaking peat pots in little leftover Martha Stewart branded seed starting containers and am topping off the soil in some other planters and will line the south-facing, mini-blindèd shelves at the end of the kitchen with as many pots as I can. The herbs I put there yesterday haven't yet freaked from too much or too little sun, so we'll try them there.

Homer ate the cherry tomato plant I had on the front porch, so I figure everything will be safer if planted indoors.

Wildcrafting notes:
Acorns are ripening and I'd like to experiment with making meal from them.

I tried making candle wax from the wax myrtle tree outside my bedroom window. Following standard bayberry instructions, I was less than successful. The leavings smelled good, but no wax was extracted.

Goldenrod's blooming.

There's a lot of Florida rosemary on this property. I'd like to learn what can be done with it besides tromp on it and comment how good the lawn smells. It does okay in potpourri, but not as incense/smudge. It's not listed as being edible. The site cited states it grows best in dry areas, though this location is so swampy it grows moss and sedges instead of lawn.
orelonde: (Default)
As I type, I am roasting a turkey in a dutch oven on the top of my stove. Yay, me! There's barely a trace of increased heat in the kitchen, which is keeping the a/c from kicking in overtime to make up for using the oven.

I'm in search of more recipes for the handy item, as I hear one can bake in it, stovetop, which seems like a Handy Thing.

Ferrous metals are (only, in my opiniated opinion) for cast iron cookware or high-carbon steel knives. In both cases, the older and more heirloomy they are, the better I like them. My Dutch oven is less than ten years old (I bought it new), so I haven't really done as much with it as I should ... it still isn't properly seasoned. The other new piece I have is a griddle / grill pan that is more of a pain to clean than I think is worth, from time to time so seldom use except as a heat sink in the oven. (Note to self: check oven up-the-street to see if it's still in there; don't leave it there if it is.)

My (great) Gramma Retzke's frying pan, however, is a dream to work with. Though it's been sitting in a box in a sweltering garage for several years and may have been in a box in an unheated attic or basement for much longer before then, it hasn't needed reseasoning or fussing-over, just a careful wash to get rid of the dust. [livejournal.com profile] stonn's even been washing it like the stainless pans (when I forget to wipe it out after use and return it to the cabinet or a "don't touch me, I'm working"- looking place on the stove without mucking up the season.

I also like that we can take the stuff (car, not backpack) camping and cook over the campfire with it, or in the Dutch oven's case, in a hole in the ground. A happy camper I am indeed.

Very happy I didn't spend loads-of-bucks on a clay roaster when folks were selling overpriced home party cooking gear, especially since I've been dropping and breaking crockery lately. :P

I think my PennaDutch ancestresses (so called even though they're mostly from Sandusky, which is in Ohio) would be satisfied. And then wonder why I was so puffed-up proudly happy about a pot, quite possibly.
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