2017 spring update

raining now and more on the way. They keep talking about the La Nina coming with heat and drought, but until it does, we’ll enjoy all this rain

In the greenhouse the peas have started to sprout, the potatoes also.  in the seed trays all the squash have sprouted, spinach has started to sprout, Rapini, cauliflower, eggplant and one single chard seed. Calendula came up wonderfully

As much as I’d like to get it done sooner, since we will be away two weekends from now, will wait until we return to get the cauliflower, the rapini, the spinach in the ground.  can’t trust anyone to keep the seedlings watered and safe, so will keep them in their little greenhouse environments where they will not dry out..

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time keeps slipping


IMG_0975was surprised to see not just strawberry flowers, but strawberries forming already!  February 10, 2017. 


did get some spinach seeds yesterday and put a few into dirt in the greenhouse.

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Tattler experiment

Have officially declared my experiment with Tattler lids over AND a failure.  Canned some beans for making refries yesterday and had 3 pint jars with tattler lids and 4 with regular metal lids.

One of each failed.

So what is the difference? Knew within an hour that the metal lid did not seal and into the fridge it went.  It was a good 12 hours before I knew the tattler seal had failed.  Meanwhile, the jar was sitting at room temp, unsealed.  and when I opened it, could immediately SMELL that they were already starting to go bad.

Can cope with a failed seal, do not want to add wasting the food on top of it!

The tattler lids I have will be used as one off canning lids and then it will be metal lids only.

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Sous Vide

One of my “friends” on Facebook has been trying to improve his diet, which lead him to ask for feedback about Sous Vide cooking.

Honestly, its not something that was on my radar, but the comments about how well they work got me doing some research on my own.  One of the things I can’t prepare is good meat.  its always tough. its always dry.  The only time it wasn’t was making a London broil in a closed container in the solar cooker at about 200F for 8 hours.  and the sun doesn’t always shine!  Even here in Arizona.

As I researched immersion machines, found the top rated one was ONLY programmable through a smart phone ap.  Not for me.  The next best brand was Anova with the blutooth option.  On Amazon, a good $142.  Then realized there were a number of units on the market that looked like the Anova but were being marketed under different names.  Its not unusual for Chinese factories to make something they are producing for a brand name and sell them cheap to third parties.  They are usually one or two generations behind what they are producing for the brand.  In this case, no blutooth connection.  Also only $100, so a decent savings.

The one I bought is from PrimoEats https://www.amazon.com/Precision-Immersion-Stainless-Powerful-Operation/dp/B01MTV4EQ7/ref=sr_1_16?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1486496588&sr=1-16&keywords=sous+vide.

There is also Instapot for $129.

Used it for making swordfish today.  Just put some frozen swordfish steaks in a plastic bag with some teriyaki sauce and cooked at 130F for about 50 minutes.  Then browned them on an cast iron frying pan with a little butter.  Tender, moist, and delicious!

Trying new York strip tomorrow!


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getting started

Finally, got the greenhouse cleaned up, pretty much got all the covers up, and got seeds stuck into dirt.

greenhouse1 Grow bags on the north wall, far right with seedling potatoes, middle and left bags waiting.  Later in the afternoon, planted a couple of sweet potatoes in the far left bag and filled it with dirt

greenhouse2 the big planter on the floor has been sowed with sweetgrass seeds, the geraniums were badly neglected through the winter, so keeping them in lower light until they recover (the west wall of the greenhouse is still open for sunlight).  On top are three of the new starter trays with cauliflower, chard, and turnip seeds.  and you can see two heat mats at the ready

greenhouse3 this is the south wall.  Far left I’ve planted peas.  On the shelf are tomatoes, eggplants, calendula, CA white sage, Arnica, peppers in the new starter trays, and in the bigger pots are zucchini and spaghetti squash seeds.  The pots now have a tray.  On the bottom shelf are candle powered terra cotta heaters for just in case extra cold nights.

Did go through my seeds this year.  Had soo many that were from as far back as 2010.  s I told the hubby, by the time I know whether or NOT they are viable, I’m past seed starting time!  So they are going out for bird feed.  And then realized had NO spinach seeds.  Went to one store today and they didn’t either.  But at this point, it will be for fall planting, so will continue to look.  At least the box of seeds is manageable now!

Posted in chard, container gardening, gardening, greenhouse, grow bags, herbal healing, homesteading, legumes, organic, potatoes, prepping, preserving, self-reliance, squash, tomatoes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

new gadget

Its no secret that I like my gadgets.  Not too long ago someone had sent me a link to a new appliance being made by whirlpool which would create compost in your kitchen in just 24 hours.  A fairly big unit, it chopped up the kitchen waste and then using heat, supposedly did the whole compost thing right then and there. You’d take out the little drawer at the bottom and have your compost ready to dump on your houseplants or in your garden.

Now, if I lived in an apartment, might be interested, but am fortunate enough to have a house and have been composting outdoors for 30 years.  BUT here we are limited to bin composting rather than a pile and it does work differently.  Frankly am tired of having rinds and shells show up in the garden a year or two after they were dumped into the bin.

So when I saw this gadget, gave it a try and it mostly works.  Its called the GreenCycler and it basically just chops up your stuff.

IMG_0971 (1174x1127)This morning’s stuff, orange peels, egg shells, and under that is some onion, carrot and tomato bits from last night’s salad

IMG_0972 (1067x799) The opening isn’t big like your garden shredder and with the hand crank you have to go forward and back to really get it done.  The shredder unit lifts out for cleaning.

IMG_0973 (950x772)  But this is what comes out at the end, ready for the composter, or to just dig right into your garden for on the spot breakdown.

They claim it can stand on your counter, but not in my tiny kitchen!  You can see how big it is compared to the regular counter top stuff collector in that top photo!  Or, they say,  it can sit in a cabinet, and again, not in my tiny cabinet.  Do have an outdoor area right outside the kitchen door, a little landing by the stairs.  Have finally organized it with some shelves to hold the recycle bins and such.  Made a cover for this from an old vinyl tablecloth and so its handy but out of the way of the day to day business.  Might do the same for my dehydrator to keep it out of the way too.

IMG_0974 (800x812)

as a PS, the thing comes with suction feet that just don’t seem to do the job to hold it in place while cranking the handle against something a little resistant to the idea, like the orange peels.  But, with the top down, just throw an arm over it and lean in to hold it steady does the job.

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stocking up

This is a Rodale book from 1977 that was found for $2 in the thrift today.  Lots of good recipes, which never go out of style.  The opening talked about where and how to get some of the specialty canning tools; companies to contact. Wonder how many of those companies are still in business today as we all let our fingers do the walking through the world wide web?!


Posted in canning, container gardening, dehydrating, fruit, garlic/onions, grow bags, homesteading, organic, prepping, preserving, recipes, self-reliance, Uncategorized | Leave a comment