Monday, July 9, 2007

Well, I’m much happier now about hanging the clothes outside on the line since Coop fashioned two clothesline props for me. He made one from a pole style curtain rod that we had around and the other from a metal rod he found in a pile of “junk” left by the previous tenant. At the upper end of both he drilled and screwed to the pole a metal brace he had bent.

This serves as a clothesline catch and lends additional support. I was in dire need of these to keep the clothes from dragging the ground when hung. I recall my mom using wooden props with a grooved center at the top and had suggested this to Coop as a possibly less expensive alternative than the purchased aluminum props. But he went one better and made them by recycling what was on hand. I am proud of his ingenuity and so glad to be married to a man like that! And I’m sure am glad to have a clothesline and props again! There’s nothing like the scent of sheets and towels that have been hung out in the fresh air to dry.

Between installing compact fluorescents, washing primarily in cold water and hanging the clothes to dry, our electric bill has been dramatically reduced. We notice a little more savings each month as we continue to cut our usage. We unplug the microwave at night, turn off the power strip to the TV and DVD player along with shutting the PC completely down each night. It sure makes a difference when these energy vampires are not plugged in.

Coop has been busy making a new gate for the duck pen.

That required a trip to town this morning before the heat became too stifling, to purchase a roll of chicken wire. That’s the only thing purchased for the project. Everything else used was scrap wood and metal pieces we already had or came across. We stopped at Home Depot, also to check on the price of pressed wood and plywood. Pressed wood is about ¼ the cost of plywood, so that will be the way we go. We hope to build a more substantial house for the ducks soon.

Since our tomatoes aren’t ripe yet, we swung by the grocery store to pick up one or two for a supper salad. When the weather gets as hot as it is we like a light supper and lord knows, I still have plenty of romaine in the garden! I came across a few bonus buys while there and so brought home a bag of organic potatoes for only $1.50 and a big bunch of organic bananas, somewhat ripe for only .39 a pound…with the promise of making some homemade banana pudding. The potatoes are growing eyes but that doesn’t hurt them a bit and I’m sure I’ll use them up quickly enough making home fries, potato salad, etc. Oh yes, and I purchased six locally grown and very fresh and firm green peppers, enough to make a large crock-pot full of stuffed peppers, yum! I’m sure I’ll be inviting someone over to share those!

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Yesterday I spent about four hours sorting through boxes and organizing the upstairs closet and storage room. Despite my efforts to simplify over the past few years, I still have way more stuff than one ought to. I have gotten rid of many things, but it seems each time I do a housecleaning, it gets easier to let go of a little (or a lot!) more. It’s funny that you can forget you have things until you go rummaging. When you stop and realize you had forgotten about this or that and have managed quite nicely without it, it becomes much easier to kiss it goodbye. J By the end of my work yesterday I had ended up with four large boxes of goods to place in a yard sale my sister and I have tentatively planned for late summer, plus a few additional things to offer on eBay.

Today my daughter called to let me know her mommy duck had five babies following her around the yard now. I guess she had better luck than we did with our mama. But then coons probably aren’t as thick around her place due to the openness of the surrounding area. Here we are surrounded by high grasses to the south and woods to the east, west and north (right behind the house).

That’s all my rambling for now but here’s my own recipe for homemade microwave pudding/pie filling. Enjoy!

Microwave Pudding & Pie Filling

You will need a large glass bowl that fits into your microwave, a whisk, measuring cups (1/3 c. and 1 c.) and a tablespoon.

In bowl place 4 eggs and beat them. To the eggs add 1 cup sugar and 1/3 cup cornstarch. Mix together well. Add 3 cups milk and mix well again. Microwave on high for approximately 8-10 minutes, checking and stirring at 2 minute intervals. When thick and bubbly, remove and stir well to smooth. Add 1 tablespoon vanilla. Cool before serving.

To make banana pudding I replace the vanilla with natural banana flavored oil by Frontier brand, but this isn’t necessary. When pudding is cool line a dish with sliced ripe bananas (and vanilla wafers if desired). Spoon pudding over the bananas and chill. Top with whipped cream if desired when serving.

This makes enough pudding to fill a pie shell, also.

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