Friday, June 22, 2012

A Horse... Of Course.. Help please

My kids have been driving me crazy for a horse and my son is autistic and developed a love for horses after going to a therapy program that uses horses..  I saw an ad on Craigs list for a free colt so I sent an email.  Well instead of the colt they had an older mare that had lost alot of weight because of the 6 younger horses chasing her out of the feed. They said she was gentle and would be great for my son.  They brought her to us and gave her to my son.  He is sooo happy about it.

When we found out my oldest daughter and I hurried and built a stall in the barn for her..
Of course the grandkids wanted to help.
Then we had it done...  The horses name is Star...

Then the horse arrived... Ohhh so exciting!!!
Poor baby she is sooo skinny... We already had her stall set up with a flake of alfalfa hay and grain.  She immediately went for the grain.  Every time it would run out she would start to neigh... Loudly...  My hubby ended up giving her about 3 more scoops.  I was afraid she would bloat if she ate too much.  I am going to call the vet and ask about floating her teeth.  Other than that if it is just her age and the younger ones running her away then the spoiling attention and treats she will get should fatten her up in no time...

Because she is so skinny I will not let the bigger kids ride her.  I had a 40 year old pony saddle that was mine when I was a kid.  The straps were rotten and the leather hard but I managed to rehab it with a thick blanket/pad, new straps and a new cinch.  Also a LOT of mineral oit on the leather.  I put it on her and she stood there perfectly.  The little saddle looked like a tiny clown hat on her back.  The grandkids loved it.
See how that saddle looks so funny on her back...

If anyone has any ideas on how to fatten her up... Please let me know.  I am by far not an expert and would welcome any advice.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Corn... Corn... Canning it

It has been a while as my family has been busy with Church camps, fences, etc....  I got 2 bushels of corn to put up and so we canned half of it.  The rest went into the freezer for corn on the cob....

Canned Corn

I forgot to take pictures of the shucking and cutting process.

So first shuck your corn and remove the silk.

Then for whole kernal corn cut the kernals off the cob with a knife or a corn cutter.  My oldest daughter prefers just to use a knife.

For cream corn you will need a corn cutter with a shredding attachment.  We did whole kernal.  We prefer to hot pack our vegetables.  You have less jar breakage when you drop the jar into hot water.

Put all of the cut kernals into a pot and water enough so that it comes to the top of the corn and just a little over it.  Put the pot on the stove over high heat and bring the corn to a boil. 

Using a slotted spoon fill your jars to within an inch of headspace then add the cooking liquid to the top of the kernals.  Add 1 tsp salt for quarts and 1/2 tsp salt for pints.  Use canning salt or plain salt.  Do not use the iodized table salt.
After you have all of your jars filled then wipe the rims with a clean cloth (this is a very important step) and place sterilized lids and rings on them.
Then put them in the pressure canner and process at 10 lbs of pressure.  85 minutes for quarts and 60 minutes for pints.  These times are for my altitude in Arkansas.  You may have to adjust the time for your altitude.
After they are done with the time, remove the canner from the heat and allow to cool.Remove the jars and place them on a towel.  Do not let the jars touch.  If you are using Tattler lids then this is the time to final tighten the ring

Let the jars sit until they are totally cold, then remove the rings and check for completion of the seal.

You have just made corn with no preservatives or additives.  Also if you grew your own corn then you know that the corn itself was not treated.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Prepping is not new...

Prepping has in main stream media become a "New" fad...   If you think about it though it is a very old way of life... When man was hunter/gatherer they had to store food to last over the winter.  As we evolved we got better at it.  Just 100 years ago "prepping" was the norm and living the life of convenience was for the city dweller.

Lets talk some about the 1800's here in America.  There were cities, they were scattered across the nation, those people had access to a mercantile to buy what they needed.  Most of our country was at that time rural though.  A trip into the nearest town could mean a couple days by horse back.  Those families did not go to town every day to buy their meal.  They bartered with their neighbors (some neighbors were still a couple hours by horseback).  They raised their own livestock, made thieir own butter, had nice gardens and preserved their food.  They always had at least a years worth of food stored in the cellar, the barn, the silo, under the bed, in the smokehouse, etc.  More than that most of the time since they never knew if their harvest would be good from year to year.  Grain was stored in a silo or big bins, they ground their own flour for bread and biscuts.  They smoked their own hams and made soup.  The women knew how to cook and the men knew how to hunt and trap.  It was the normal way of life for centuries...

Now we enter the age of convenience.  There is a store within driving distance of most people.  We tend to just run to the store to get something for dinner.  No plans are made for the coming winter.  A good portion of the citizens now are lucky to have 3 days worth of food in their house.  Hunting is no longer a neccessity of survival, instead it is a sport.  And only practiced by a small percentage of the population.  Home canning is considered an "art" instead of a normal day to day happening. A lot of people think you will die if you eat home canned food.  But Gee we are alive, because it did not kill our grand parents nor theirs. Smoking is done at the butcher shop and only a few still know how.  Butter is bought wrapped in foil blocks instead of being made in a churn. Oh yes and the states seem to think that unpasteurized milk is deadly to the point of outlawing it to be sold for human consumption. Only we humans depend on a store.  All the other creations on this earth prepare.  Maybe we should take notice of the rest of God's creations and compare that to the way our forefathers took care of things and we might learn something.

Instead of calling it "Prepping" I like to call it just a simpler way of life.  A more normal way of life.  A way of life that if Wal-Mart closed tomorrow my family would still eat.  Granted I sure will miss things like Avocodo's and Frito's and I really do like old fashioned red licorice, but I know I can live without them if I had to. 

Now I have about 50 lbs of Zuchinni to can and about 30 lbs of cucumbers to turn into pickles and relish sitting in my kitchen.  There are 47 tomato plants in my garden that are just chock full of green tomato's that I hope will ripen soon for catsup, salsa and stewed tomato's.  So I guess I better get busy.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Canning Italian Zuchinni

***Note*** The USDA does not reccomend canning squash of any kind, I have been canning zuchinni for decades and no one has ever gotten sick. I am giving you this information on my own personal experience.  I am not telling you to do it nor am I telling you not to.  With the information you can make your own choice.  It MUST be pressure canned as it is a very low acid food...  In the 80's a lot of political mumbo-jumbo happened with the USDA and they took out their reccomendations for squash, pumpkin etc.  I use the book "Putting Food By" which was published in 1973.  This was the book that my grandmother and mother swore by when canning.  Because it was published prior to the lobbyists getting involved it still has the reccomendations.  I say this to show: In the mid 80's Libbys came out witheir pumpkin pie mix in a can.  All you have to do is add the eggs and milk.  That is the same thing as Pumpkin Butter.  I make my pumpkin butter and it can be used in the same way to make a pie.  The very same year that the new product was released the USDA decided it was not safe anymore to home can pumpkin or pumpkin Butter.  Coincidence????  I think not....
Zuchinni is a summer squash and does not store well like a winter squash does, nor does it freeze well since it just gets all mushy.  Canning is the best way that I have found to store it for the long term.  Unless you are just grating it and freezing it to put into bread or cake.  Mushy does not matter then.....

Italian Zuchinni

You will need a 5 gallon pot to do this and a long handled spoon

4 gallons of sliced Zuchinni-Do not peel only cut off the stem and flower ends, slice about 1/2" thick.
4 large onions peeled and quartered
1/4 cup minced Garlic (my family all loves garlic)
1/8 cup italian seasoning (or to taste) remember it WILL get stronger as it cans
Water to the top of the squash and onions in pot.

                                                        add your seasonings

                             Cook on the stove until the Zuchinni is just soft enough to bend.

                                         Fill your jars leaving about one inch of head space

 Wipe rims of jars off with a clean towel and then place the lids on

 Process in a pressure cooker for 40 minutes at 10 lbs of pressure (for my altitude in Arkansas)

When you want to cook this for dinner it is wonderful made this way:

2 jars of Zuchinni drained well.  Place them in a baking dish, add some melted butter and sprinkle with parmesean cheese.  Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted.

Canning Rings good and bad

I have a ton of canning rings some are in good condition and some are in bad.  I am not sure why it makes a difference in how the bands make a seal but I can tell you from experience that if they are rusty they will not allow the lids to seal as well.  Especcially with Tattler lids.
Good Band

Bad Band

Make sure you inspect your bands prior to use and take out any with rust on them.  I save mine for in case of emergency as they do seal part of the time but you will have about a 30% failure rate if you use them.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

National Geographic to the rescue

I have been telling my grown children for years that they need to be prepared.... They don't do it...  I have been telling my daughter and son-in-law about the possibility of a huge solar flare that could knock out our grid.  They say they believe me but don't really act like it... This months edition of National Geographic helped me out.  There is a huge article about the Carrington event of 1859 and what it did and the comparison of what a similiar event would do to us now...
We would be thrust into the pre-electric age in a matter of seconds....  No TV, no Cell Phones, No lights, No modern cars...   NOTHING WOULD WORK... It could take years to completely restore the grid.

Could you survive without electricity for a year?????

Pick up this months copy and read the article for yourself...  It is a scary thought...

Time to go buy more candles...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Sweet pickle relish

Sweet Pickle Relish

I hate giving the store money for things like pickles when they are so easy to make.  For the last 2 years my cucumbers had not done well.  This year they are putting on like crazy.  We use a lot of relish in this house so making some is definately in order.  This was the first batch for the year.  We will need about 36 pints of relish to last the year just for our house. 

This recipe originally came from a web site called heritage recipes and then I tweeked it to my taste.  This is going to be very similiar to store bought pickle relish.

run all these veges thru a grinder with the blade that has the largest holes

10lbs cucumbers (do not peel but do cut the big ones in half and remove the big seeds)
2 green bell peppers
1 large red bell pepper
1 large or 2 small onions

Put 2 qts of water in a large pot and 1 cup of canning salt , bring this mixture to a boil.  Then add the ground veges to the pot.  Cover and let sit for about 2 hours

After soaking then drain the mixture the best that you can by ladling it into a strainer and allow the juice to drip out
Put the mixture back into the pot and add the following:
1 tsp mustard seed
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp tumeric
2 cups apple cider vinegar
5 cups sugar
1 TBS corn starch

Stir well and heat to boiling.  Allow the mixture to boil for 30 minutes while stirring freqently to avoid scorching.
After boiling once again drain the relish or use a slotted spoon to fill the jars leaving 1 inch of head space.

Wipe the rims of the jars and place clean sterilized lids on them with rings
The process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes
Remove the jars and tighten the rings if you are using tattler lids.  Allow to cool without disturbing them.

Enjoy the relish and also enjoy not giving your money to the big grocery store corporations.....