Saturday, May 14, 2011

your hips will never forgive you...

I must admit we like our snack foods and we like them sweet so I am forever searching for recipes for our snacks. This is one that I came up with one day while experimenting in the kitchen. This is not a healthy snack in any way and if you are peanut or milk intolerant it is not for you. But, if you are looking for a very easy, quick, sweet snack that your hips will never forgive you for eating, this might just work.

bottom layer

The bottom layer I make in the pan that I am using rather than dirty a separate bowl. I use a 9x13 size cake pan and throw in

one envelope powdered milk
2 cups peanut butter
2 cups quick cook oatmeal
a half cup of honey (or other suitable replacement)

Honey can be replaced with caro syrup, simple sugar syrup, dandelion honey etc. Mix ingredients well, if too sticky add a bit more oats and if too dry add bit more honey. Once mixed squish down to form an even crust.

Top layer
1 pound powdered sugar or 4 cups
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

This layer can be made in a microwave or on the stove top. Throw all ingredients minus the vanilla into pan or bowl and heat 3-5 minutes or until they can be mixed well together. Add the vanilla, stir and then pour evenly over the bottom layer. Refrigerate until cool and serve.

I have thought about adding an additional thick gooey caramel in the middle of the two layers as well as adding nuts or coconut into the fudge topping but haven't as yet. Each time I think about it I am reminded that this is sinful enough without added ingredients.

alternative gardens-update

These have been taken over the last few days. The "bathroom garden" has tomatoes, potatoes, herbs, onions, cabbage , a squash and a few flowers growing in it.
The peas are from the container (vents from RV) bed. Mixed in with the peas I have some thyme planted.
These beds also made from junk off the trailers have flowers and a couple types of squash and melon. There are wick beds made with junk mail, an old rug piece, soda cans and a small amount of compost over the top.
The hot tub potatoes are doing well in the hot tub with straw as a growing medium. The tub is now full to the top with straw and the taters are looking good. They are starting to flower. I chucked a few melon seeds in there for good measure the other day before adding the last layer of straw. I do not know if they will grow or not but I had plenty of seeds to waste a few if it happens.
Beets growing in the gutter garden. This location is quite shady, so things grow quite slowly in them but for what little soil the gutters hold they do quite well for growing.

The SIP planters that we built a few weeks ago are working great. The tiny tomato I planted in mine is now flowering and growing very well.

Friday, May 13, 2011

we have bugs!

Ugh! Went out to check on the gardens this morning and found bugs! Lots and lots of Colorado potato beetles, large, small and all sizes in between. It is amazing the damage a herd of them can do in a short period of time. Of course this is after three days ago going out to find some little jerk plowed through an entire row of them and chopped them off below ground.

Since we have rains coming in today, there is not much that we could do but tomorrow I will go out and start collecting the little devils, killing and fermenting them, and then I will be making a spray of them. A couple less disgusting methods I have found are making a tea from basil or a tea from cedar can be be uses to control them and wheat germ can also be sprinkled on the plants so they can eat it and explode. BT apparently only works on the larva and not adults.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

wednesday's windfall

Not a huge harvest this morning but enough to feed off of for a couple days. The turnips and carrots were pulled to thin the crop and allow the others still in the ground more room to grow. Even so, the carrots were 4-5 inches long and the turnips are 2-3 inches across. The peas are a mix of pod and snow peas. The Lincoln peas, that according to where they were purchased, said they were an edible pod pea are not edible unless you simply enjoy eating fibrous plant matter that tastes like, well, fibrous plant matter. The spinach is the last of the little bit we grew this spring. I pulled the plants this morning after harvesting what little there was. The two romaine lettuce heads were also starting to bolt. Hopefully I caught them before they got too bitter. If not the chickens will enjoy fighting over it, throwing it about the pen and turning it into compost.

bird shacks n crittertats

Many moons ago we fed the birds around the homestead. While it is a fun thing to do; it is wasteful, costs bucket loads of money, teaches the birds dependency and attracts other critters. None of this can we afford nor do we want it. So, for the last few years we have largely ignored our fine feathered friends and let them fend for themselves. It isn't like there is a lack of food in the local area for them to feed off and we certainly do not suffer from a lack of birds. We do, however, still do our part for intruding upon their world and provide them with plenty of nesting opportunities which allow us to bird watch and enjoy them.

Since we cut our own wood from here on the property and we live in a very forested area,there is always dead fall from the winds and we have a steady supply of brush, small branches and limbs available for use. Although we do use much small stuff for cooking it often needs to dry out before we are able to use it. Because we are half hippie, rather than drag all the heavy stuff back here and building yet another snake attracting, poison growing, bee harboring pile near the shack we began making stash spots in various areas to let it dry out and lose weight making it easier to drag back and then use. What we have ended up with are many critter habitats all over the place. They have birds, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, bunnies, snakes and probably even a rat or three living in them. We could do with out the bunnies as they do not understand they are being greedy little pigs and should stay outta mama's gardens. But there are bad rabbits everywhere so why should we be immune? I enjoy sitting down by them and watching the critter activity, although, I do wish they would pose a bit better for pictures.
Manthing has had quite a bit of time off in the last couple weeks. Needless to say he gets fidgety britches or maybe he is just softening in his middle age and one day last week decided to make a bluebird house. Without wanting to go to town for supplies and using only what we had on hand he decided on a design made from pvc.
It was pretty simple to make and he altered it a bit so we could use fence posts rather than rebar to support them. As per usual, he did not have the proper tools for making large round holes so he had to improvise so it aint the prettiest looking house. It does, however, fit in around here and within five days it was occupied by a happy couple so it cannot be too flawed for use. Since the first was such a success and he had enough of the needed pvc for another, he built a second one the other day. Hopefully it too will have a family move in soonly. We have not been close enough to see what kind of birds are in the first house as it really doesn't matter at this point. It's just nice to see them working and building. Eventually, we would like to more bird shacks around the place of various sorts. I would like to do some purple martins houses next.
There are several types of bluebird nest box plans on the NABS website. There are more free plans here and here of various types. Many are very simple, kid friendly projects using materials found around the house or purchased very cheaply.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

around the homestead-got wood?

I do believe that my arms are going to fall off at the elbow joint. Yesterday, manthing and I loaded and unloaded four loads of wood that were scattered about the "bowl" on the property. Now, all of the bee attracting, snake harboring, poison growing piles of wood make one BIG bee attracting, snake harboring pile of wood in a location that makes it impossible to forget that it all needs to be split yet. The picture does not really do the pile justice, but off to the right is the smoker fridge. Now to just get it all split n stacked! Depending on how much time we have and how old and decrepit we feel, we may just rent or buy a splitter at some point to getter done. We are not getting any younger so we must take our dinosaur years into consideration when considering things such as tilling and splitting wood and suchHere is the "bowl" with all of the piles of wood gone from it. We still have a few trees to remove from the patch of trees on the right but it is mostly cleaned up. Though there are 14 beds in the bowl area and this is also where the fruit trees are, I one day would love to have someone well versed in permaculture offer up ideas on what to do with the remaining area of it. I am plotting and scheming a flower type of gardens amongst some old stumps with a bird bath and stuff, but it still leaves a whole lot of area, albeit with terrible soil,to be used for something.