great row counter – knitters

Stumbled on a great item from Wychwood Dreams on Etsy. She has done a row counter that is a little abacus.  Look at it and you’ll figure out how to make it.  Its just 10 rings attached together, then attached to an 11th ring that’s set up with beads and after each 10 rows, you move a bead.  The needle goes through the first ring and then moves to the next ring when you’ve finished that row.  Finish 10 rows and move the bead on the abacus.  You can probably use it count 20 rows at a time, depending on how you set up your pattern and your brain.  Forget the Abacus and just attach 10 beads together and tick off on your pattern after 10 rows.  What a brilliant idea!!

Posted in crochet, homesteading, knitting, patterns, self-reliance, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

gf non fried chicken

I LOVE fried chicken.  Nice, hot fried, just a little greasy, with the skin left on so each bite is just dripping, moist tender chicken.  But like most of us grownups, don’t eat fried chicken anymore.  Being gluten free is one of the things that stops me, along with the knowledge (chemistry major here) of what happens to oil when heated to such high temps.

Now, lets add to the mix that I’m not a very good cook, nor do I really much care of cooking.  It has become drudgery since I’ve had to cook 3 meals a day for the past 30 years!  And that’s probably why I’m usually looking at tools and gadgets to make it easier.

So back to fried chicken. 

Years ago learned that gluten free pretzels (glutino) make a really good breadcrumbs substitute. But nothing I tried with oven fried chicken was satisfactory.

and then I bought an “air-fryer”.  Stupid name for what is really a small convection oven.  Have wanted one for a long time and had come to the point that it would not happen until my existing oven died – and that might not be for 20 more years as it is only 14 years old.

Since I’ve had this “air-fryer” have made delicious carrot fries – nothing more than roasted carrots in stick form.  done some sweet potato fries which were good, but the Hubs doesn’t like sweet potatoes; am damn glad he likes the carrots.  have done a couple of rounds of burgers, the last ones being pizza burgers.  and have, of course, fried me some potatoes – non fried french fries.  and they were good. 

Have also done non-fried chicken.  First time was with mayonnaise (actually vegennaise, and if you don’t know the product, check it out!!) and my pretzels.  This time it was the old fashioned way with egg, crushed pretzels, some parmesan cheese and pepper.  And it was as tasty as it looks!!!.  My biggest complaint was as it sat on the plate, the underside got soggy.  As it cooled, moisture condensed within and the crust got yuchy!!

fried chicken Looks good, huh?

For those of you who have families of 4 or more, these “air-fryer” gadgets are somewhat limited.  As you can see from the grill pan in the above picture, there is really only room on there for maybe one more piece of chicken.  And this is a single breast cut in half.  Great for the single person or couple, or if you are just interested in doing things like oil less veggie or potato roasting.  

Had never heard of these things before a month or so ago.  Someone on Facebook had mentioned buying one and once the research began, it was like that cartoon lightbulb went on over my head!  Spent more than I really wanted to, and they come without accessories, so the grill pan, a rack, all extra.  As I read reviews my purchase price also went higher and higher.

But if it last the 5 years that many seem to have had them for, it will be okay.

Posted in air fryer, baking, carrots, gluten free, homesteading, potatoes, recipes, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

beware !!

Beware crappy USB cords!!  Almost threw out two charging devices because I thought they had quit working and it turns out it was just bad USB cords.  They were shorter ones that came with the devices; one about 7″ long and the other about 12″.  Put on a regular long USB charging cord and they both work just fine!!

So check your charging cords before tossing your device!!

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merry and happy, y’all

Feels like its been forever since I’ve written here, where its only been about 6 weeks!!

Cannot get myself organized to water the gardens – the perennials plants like the figs, the comfrey, asparagus, rhubarb, all need it!  Haven’t even gotten around to pulling the dead tomato plants.  We are down to freezing temps at night and I’ve not even wrapped the figs.

meanwhile, as the days got shorter and colder my biking excursions have about ground to a halt, also.

DH’s cataract surgery went well.  My neighbor’s, not so much. She’s developed a bubble and retina tear.

Arthritis has been bothering me in my feet this year and have tried to make the move to get back to yoga for keeping joints fluid and looser.

Did finally find a good rain jacket at the thrift.  We need them rarely, but you want to stay dry when you need to, hence the desire to not spend big $$$’s for something that might get worn just a few times a year.  The jacket I found is an Eddie Bauer Gortex and was $25.  Unfortunately missing the hood, but has other nice features and is grey and black. Today found another Gortex jacket, also for $25, with hood.  Not as good quality as the other, nor as nice a color scheme.  So all in all, am glad I went with the one I did.

Am looking for winter boots.  Same kind of deal, although they get worn a bit more than the jacket, as muddy ground exists on sunny days.  Can no longer get into the pair that have seen me through the last couple of winters as my ankles don’t bend enough for me to slide into them.  So back to the thrift they go and need to find something else to wear.

The Sous Vide machine has been making funny noises, but still works.  The DH doesn’t really like the texture of food cooked in it though.  Still great for certain things, especially reheating left over meat and poultry without drying it out.

Am now experimenting with an “air fryer”; stupid name for a machine that has nothing to do with frying!! Its really a small convection oven and this is turning into a very positive experience.  Immediately made burgers and roasted carrots (carrot fries !!).  Yesterday baked two potatoes and made two tenderloin steaks (Omaha steaks for Christmas). Today made the DH a beef pot pie, but using a smooshed potato for the top.  They never brown in the regular oven unless I put the broiler on, but got good and hot with nicely browned potato in the “fryer”.

So while the turkey is cooking on Christmas, will make roasted carrots and potatoes in the other.  Desert will be baked apples and hopefully pumpkin custard.

Our business almost ground to a halt through November and we decided to run a sale through December which has jumped up the orders.  now to see if it lasts or if we will have to cut expenses some other way.  One of the things that’s effecting us, a guy in Europe is having parts made somewhere cheaper than we can have them made here and he’s selling them on Ebay.  It allows any shop to do what we do for a lot less money.  They don’t really do ALL that we do, but when the price is right, people tend to go for cheap.

Did dip my fingers into a Facebook prepper group, but found the same old BS holds true. The guys are into real serious SHTF stuff with bug out bags, get home bags, INCH (I’m not coming home) bags, full trama medical bags.  And to them a hurricane that wipes out an entire island is not a real SHTF situation.  Huh!?!?!  and when the women start talking about the things that concern women (birth control, children, etc), they get rude and crude, so we all subside. or leave.

So the year grinds to a close.  Paperwork needs to be done.  and the wheel continues to turn with the same old same old mundane things going on.  While the world dances close to the edge of madness, then dances back again.

So wishing you a happy holiday season, regardless of whether you celebrate or not.  The lights are pretty, some extra days off work, and hopefully those that work will find some extra $$ coming your way .

Posted in air fryer, carrots, fruits, gardening, homesteading, prepping, self-reliance, sous vide, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

dehydration experiments


on the left is cooked dried brown rice.  Rehydrated one jar tonight for dinner, took awhile, 30-45 minutes.  but was fine. Other jar will be kept in pantry for awhile to see if it goes rancid or anything.

on the right is cooked dried spaghetti squash.  rehydrated well, fast and easy.  have a little in a zip lock baggie set aside to see how well it keeps.

Even if this doesn’t work for long term storage, being able to cook extra and set aside as dried for a week or so is sooooo much better than keeping it in the fridge.  The squash gets moldy and the  rice gets sour, then moldy.  and of course, it all takes up space!  Have frozen the left overs, but then you forget to defrost before the meal you want to make . . .

Dehydration solves a lot of problems for the busy cook!

Posted in canning, dehydrating, homesteading, organic, prepping, preserving, self-reliance, squash, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

stuff plus

Recently have been busy with STUFF.  Work.  The disastrous summer garden that is now yielding tomatoes and eggplant. Husbands cataract surgeries.  A bout with some bad take out.

And I got my e-Trike.



When the local Pedego store finally got this in, was prepared to not like it because of the funky basket and how low it was.  Quickly understood that unless the bike was REALLY REALLY WIDE, it needed to be low.  We think of trikes as being more stable, and in many ways they are.  But they have their quirks.  If one of the rear wheels falls into a pot hole, low spot, etc., the bike tips to that side and the front wheel wants to go that direction too.

Its also very underpowered, much for the same reason.  That does pose some problems for me as ultimately want to use this for errands which requires going uphill – about 2.5 miles from where I live to the grocery store, all UPHILL.  and at my weight, that is more than the electric motor can handle without A LOT of help.  So have been pedaling around the neighborhood as much as I can, with as little motor assist as I can, to build up the leg muscles.

Just recharged the batteries today, after a bit over 24 miles.  They weren’t completely discharged.  Used my Yeti 1000 to do the charge to see how much it would drain that.

and have added a rear view mirror to get used to before I hit the real road!!

Will try to get a picture of it in use to share.

Posted in gardening, homesteading, prepping, self-reliance, tomatoes, trike, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

follow ups

After nearly 3 weeks, today took the fermenting lid off the sauerkraut, and it tastes, just like sauerkraut.  so into the fridge it went.

and for lunch, reconstituted one of the “squash leather”.  Tore up it up smaller than in the pic, put it in a pan of water and let it boil away and until the squash was reconstituted and the excess water had boiled off.  Next time I’ll be more careful about measuring before and after so I know how much water to add and not waste a bunch.

Tomorrow I’ll be finishing off the applebutter with prickly pear that’s on the stove.  If you’ve never done applebutter before it’s a long process to boil off the water and leave only the apple and sugars.  It still has some way to go, and then it can get canned.

Posted in canning, dehydrating, fermenting, homesteading, organic, prepping, preserving, self-reliance, Uncategorized, water | Leave a comment