Friday, January 30, 2009

it doesn't take much

Well, for the most part that is. This is his end of the kitchen counter. After nearly 30 years of togetherness he's gotten pretty good about keeping his "stuff" in one area rather than scattered around the house. It took training mind you. There was a time when he wouldn't pick up his socks and underwear off the bedroom floor. I even went so far as to set the hamper right next to his side of the bed...and still I had to confront him about it.

But over the years things do change. Now he's such a big help I often wonder what I might do without him. He even vacuums the rugs now, often without my even suggesting it. Somewhere down the line he took over cleaning the cat's litter box, too. I think it all started with cobwebs. Yes, cobwebs. You see, I am really bad about noticing cobwebs. I don't generally look up that often I guess and I certainly don't have height on my side. But Coop, he notices details...like cobwebs. Maybe he just got tired of pointing them out to me and finally decided to take matters into his own hands. Or maybe it was me saying something like, "well if they bother you so dang much then maybe you should do something about them." (really, I'm not a sarcastic bitch...all the time)

Whatever the case may be, he began helping around the house more and more as the years went by. He's a good man in so many ways. Those who knew him many, many moons ago may not share that same opinion, unless like me, they have stuck by him and and witnessed the changes and the man he became over the years. I saw beyond his bad boy ways way back when and knew the loving man he was underneath. I loved him then and even more so now. He's proven time and time again who he really is. He's smart, innovative, strong as an ox, gentle as a lamb when the need arises and most of all I know this; there is nothing, nothing he wouldn't do for me (or others as a matter of fact) if asked and it is within his power or ability to do. You can't ask for more than that.

We have shared our lives for nearly thirty years and today we celebrate the promises made exactly 27 years ago when we said "I do". No special celebrations or gifts here, just a "Happy Anniversary" wish spoken to each other this morning. We have each other and that is gift enough.

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Friday Funny

Since you enjoyed my last Friday Funny I've decided to make this an ongoing feature here at the homestead. A laugh, a smile, some good clean fun is always good for the soul. Here's today's funny...

When I was a young minister, a funeral director asked me to hold a grave side service for a homeless man with no family or friends. The funeral was to be at a cemetery way out in the country. This was a new cemetery and this man was the first to be laid to rest there.

I was not familiar with the area and became lost. Being a typical man, of course, I did not ask for directions. I finally found the cemetery about an hour late. The back hoe was there and the crew was eating their lunch. The hearse was nowhere to be seen.

I apologized to the workers for being late. As I looked into the open grave, I saw the vault lid already in place. I told the workers I would not keep them long, but that this was the proper thing to do. The workers, still eating their lunch, gathered around the opening.

I was young and enthusiastic and poured out my heart and soul as I preached. The workers joined in with, "Praise the Lord," "Amen," and "Glory!" I got so into the service that I preached and preached and preached, from Genesis to The Revelation.

When the service was over, I said a prayer and walked to my car. As I opened the door, I heard one of the workers say, "I never saw anything like that before and I've been putting in septic systems for twenty years."


Have a great day friends and if you want some added enjoyment check out kittens, kittens, kittens. This blog is nothing but pure viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

it's not too late...

...to get on over to Rainbow Tree's blog and enter her giveaway! It ends the first week of Feb. She's got a stash of really nice items to bestow upon the winner and besides, she's my kid. : )



Monday, January 26, 2009

monday meanderings




The sun shone this morning bringing once again the illusion of warmth. It is warmer though. I think we hit 20 today, a heat wave compared to the single digits and below zero chill we've been experiencing. I can handle 20. The sunshine was enough to melt most of the remaining several inches of ice that has covered our small road for the past week and a half or more. I can see pavement!!

I'm sitting here listening to Cat Stevens on the stereo, one of my all time favorites, although out of respect I should refer to him as Yusaf Islam. I just caught a yahoo news article here about him. Seems he's recorded a George Harrison song on behalf of the children of Gaza. All proceeds will benefit refugees. I always knew he was a good guy despite the rumors that circulated about him from time to time because of his conversion to Islam. Only one with a good and true heart could have written the poetic music he has gifted us with.

Hearts are a good thing to follow. Life is just too short to live according to another's thinking. I think the world would be a much finer place if we stopped wasting our time and effort entrapped by others dogma and opinions. You are the only one who truly knows what matters to you.
And besides, like Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't." Ain't it the truth? :)

I've just been thinking about the subject of following your heart lately. Maybe because I see my share of unhappy people in my little world who are caught up in others lives so much that they don't have much of one. They wear fear instead of love, and anger and blame in place of response-ability. It seems they are miserable and determined to not only stay that way but make others feel the same. What a shame. Maybe, just maybe if they would learn to go within and find their heart and follow it rather than feed off chaos and drama... maybe if they would find what they love and what feels right instead of focusing their energy on what is wrong (thereby creating more of the same)...maybe, just maybe they would create something positive and feel the effects of something akin to happiness. Odds are they would. Just my thoughts on what I see at times. But, to each their own. Just don't hate me for living my life or be jealous because my life is what you wish yours were. Everything is a choice and a result of the action you take. Even inaction is a choice. If my life is an example to others of what they strive for, yay! But don't react be becoming jealous, respond by becoming real. Authenticity is a blessing and following your heart is good medicine.

Ok, I''ll get down off my soapbox now. I will go about the remainder of my day now, hang some laundry, love on my fur babies, cook up something warm and hearty for dinner, take a warm shower and throughout the minutes and hours be ever so thankful for all the goodness in my day and in my life.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

AquaDent Pet Oral Health Product Contains Deadly Xylitol

Not too long ago I posted an article about the dangers of our pets consuming the sugar substitute called Xylitol. It can be deadly to your dog. Now, in another article from Natural News comes this revelation; Xylitol is an ingredient in an oral health pet product. Read on....

AquaDent Pet Oral Health Product Contains Deadly Xylitol

by Susan Thixton, citizen journalist
See all articles by this author
Email this author


(NaturalNews) Many pet owners are aware that the sugar substitute Xylitol, found in many sugar free chewing gums, is toxic to dogs. However few pet owners would think to look for Xylitol listed as an ingredient in a pet oral health product; especially one that claims to be developed by "Veterinary Dental Specialists".

As ridiculous as it might be, the pet oral health product C.E.T. AquaDent lists as the third ingredient Xylitol; well known to be toxic to pets. AquaDent is sold by many pet retail outlets including 1800PetMeds.com. The 1800PetMeds website states "C.E.T. AquaDent is a drinking water additive formulated by veterinary dental specialists to help freshen your pet's breath and maintain oral hygiene in conjunction with regular home dental care for your pet." The ingredients in AquaDent are listed as follows: Purified water, Glycerine, Xylitol, Polysorbate 20, Potassium sorbate, Emilgase (enzyme), Zinc gluconate, Sodium benzoate, FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Yellow No. 5, Chlorhexidine gluconate.

According to Dr. Eric Dunayer, veterinarian and toxicologist for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, there appears to be a strong link between xylitol ingestions and the development of liver failure in dogs. It was previously thought that only large amounts of xylitol could result in problems for dogs, however recently even small amounts of xylitol can result in severe illness in dogs (and believed to effect cats and other animals as well). http://www.aspca.org/site/PageServer?pa...

Snopes.com states that just three grams of Xylitol can kill a 65 pound dog. "Because the amount of sweetener used in sugar free chewing gums varies by manufacturer and product, the number of sticks of gum that would prove fatal to a pooch of that size can't be stated with precision. As a general rule of thumb, between eight and ten pieces of gum might be deadly to a 65 pound canine, but a smaller dog could easily die after ingesting far less (perhaps as few as two sticks of gum)."

The 1800PetMeds website provides the following warning regarding AquaDent Pet Oral Health Product: "Prepare fresh C.E.T. AquaDent solution every day and discard any treated water not consumed within 24 hours." The website provides no warning of Xylitol toxicity to animals.

To make matters a bit worse, not only does this pet oral health product contain the known dangerous ingredient Xylitol, it also contains dyes linked to cancer and numerous other health risks.

C.E.T. AquaDent is made by Virbac Animal Health (www.virbacvet.com). Virbac Animal Health produces a long line of pet health products; from antibiotics to heartworm preventatives (Iverhart) to pet vitamins (Pet Tabs). Virbac Animal Health was on the FDA warning letter list (December 10, 2008) for violations of current Good Manufacturing Practice regulations; "the documented violations cause drug products manufactured at your facility to be adulterated" http://www.fda.gov/foi/warning_letters/...

Virbac Animal Health's Heartworm Preventative, Iverhart Plus, was recalled 2/11/2004. From the FDA website (http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/enforce/2...) "The firm is recalling 4 lots of IVERHART Plus Flavored Chewables due to contamination of Minocycline, a FDA approved human drug which has not been approved in species other than humans."
"VOLUME OF PRODUCT IN COMMERCE
1,179,840 tablets."

Why would a pet product, formulated by "veterinary dental specialists", contain an ingredient that is known to be toxic to dogs? It's illogical and reckless. The moral of the story is this, read the ingredients of every single product provided to your pet. Just because a pet product is "formulated by veterinary specialists" doesn't mean its safe.

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton


about the author:
Susan Thixton has an international pet people following providing dog and cat lovers a trusted source for pet food and pet food ingredient information. She's been called courageous, perseverant, even "the Caped Crusader for Pets" for her 16 year study of pet food. Susan Thixton is the author of hundreds of pet industry articles and the 2006 released book Truth About Pet Food (currently being updated for a second edition). She developed and publishes the pet product consumer magazine Petsumer Report and is a frequent speaker and radio guest all over the U.S. and Canada with more than 70 appearances in the last 2 years.
If you are looking for straight forward pet food information that can have an almost immediate impact on your pet's health - subscribe to the free newsletter, and subscribe to Petsumer Report to see reviews of close to 700 dog and cat foods and treats (adding 40+ each month). Susan Thixton's 'truth' will help you find a safer, healthier dog or cat food that could add years to your pet's life. http://www.TruthAboutPetFood.com

Saturday, January 17, 2009

refrigerator revelation

Atop my fridge is a wine rack with a variety of mostly Ohio wines. To the left the remains of my homemade raspberry wine in a thrift store "genie" bottle and jars of surplus sugar and flour. To the right a vintage Japanese tea set that was in a $1 auction box lot.

Have you ever seen a kitchen with a naked fridge in an occupied home? I can't say that I have.

On my fridge there resides:
  • a picture of my great niece
  • "all states of mind reproduce themselves" magnet
  • a list of Ohio apples and what they're best suited for
  • "When your heart is in your dream then no wish is too extreme"-Jiminy Cricket quote magnet
  • last years garden layout (to remind me how much space and how many rows I can plant)
  • "all that we are is a result of what we have thought" -Buddah quote magnet
  • a picture ton from a magazine of some earrings I'd like to duplicate
  • "when sleeping woman wake, mountains move" magnet
  • a heart drawing by my grandaughter

  • John Lennon magnet from the Rock Hall. The only time I visited was when they featured his life and work
  • instructions for building a simple solar oven
  • "remember, absent everything else, you are not" magnet
  • a drawing by my great niece that depicts me and my cat Oden
  • "What would love do now?" magnet
  • a list of positive affirmations to aid healing
  • "If the whole world were to follow you, would you be happy with where you took it?" magnet

  • "we are all one" magnet
  • a thank you card from my great niece with a very nice leaf mosaic
  • a framed flower photo taken by my daughter
  • kewpie magnets
  • advertising magnet for septic cleaning that reads, "a flush beats a full house." Cute slogan, eh?
  • "choose love" magnet.
  • a picture of great grandson Tyler
  • a "Happy Thanksgiving" card from grandson Luke
  • mountain sunrise drawing by grandson Luke
  • "to the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world" magnet
It appears a lot can be revealed about a person by their refrigerator decor. So dear readers, what's on your fridge?
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Friday, January 16, 2009

Today


The sun is streaming in the south facing windows, offering us some radiant heat on the inside and the illusion of warmth outside. Birds have been feasting on the suet we’ve hung out back. Downy woodpeckers, titmice, junkos, chickadees, nuthatch along with a few species unknown to me as yet. I watch and wonder just how these tiny inhabitants manage to keep from freezing.



I am thinking about and looking forward to my daughter and granddaughter arriving before long. Terrible cold to have to travel the 85 miles today, but this is Destiny’s weekend with her father. Kandice will be staying the night here along with her little dog Cubby Bear before heading home tomorrow. A cozy evening awaits us. Perhaps a good evening to open one of the bottles of honey mead my son and his wife gave us for Christmas. Oh yeah.

From the kitchen sweet red peppers sit on the counter and wait chopping to be added to the egg casserole I’ll be putting together for tonight’s dinner. Sausage is thawing as well to be made into sausage gravy to be eaten over biscuits along side the egg dish. Apples will be peeled, chopped and turned into fritters. It’s a good day for cooking.

I am wearing gray blue sweat pants and a pale blue turtleneck, dark blue socks and warm slippers.

Yesterday I began and finished a crocheted basket with wood bead accents. (The wooden bowl is a recent thrift store find. I just love it.)


Last night I finished a crocheted purse. And right now I’m creating a million other things in my mind. Now if I would just get some of my creations listed on etsy I’d feel a much bigger sense of accomplishment.

I am reading Pickled, Potted, Canned – How the Art and Science of Food Preserving Changed the World by Sue Shepherd. It’s a fascinating history of food preservation, a much appreciated gift from my daughter. She knows me too well. I am also reading Blackwood Farm by Anne Rice, a gift from my twin. I have not read any Anne Rice books for some years simple because I seldom delve into fiction anymore, but I was once an avid fan of her tales of old New Orleans and her legendary vampires and witches.

I am hoping the weather warms up and it will. Right now I am just thankful for the sunshine.

I am hearing the furnace blower pushing wonderful warmth up though the metal grates in the floor. The computer hums along as well. My days are generally quiet unless Coop turns on the tv to catch the local weather or I have the stereo on.

Around the house things are in order. My work is caught up and nothing is demanding my time or attention at the moment. That creates a wonderful sense of peace and well being.

A few plans for the weekend include reading, crocheting and perhaps some blogging. I am sure there is more that will fill my time, but for now doing not doing seems to be the plan. :)




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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

pretty in pink

Mom says I'm a natural. I'm not sure what that means but it sounds nice.

She also says not to let my charm and good looks fool you.
Maybe you can tell me...what is "a little devil"?



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longing for green

Outside it’s cloudy and cold with no warm up in the days ahead according to our local weather folks. We’re talking sub-zero nights. We're ready to hunker down and stay indoors for the next few days.


I feel as if if I've been neglecting my blog and I hate that. I have lots to talk about but seem to not be focused well on organizing my thoughts and actually sitting down and writing something. I have been feeling run down and lacking in ambition recently. I think it’s the cold and lack of sunlight. January is my worst month. I know this. I start getting cabin fever, can’t seem to get focused and feel discontent. I keep having visions of and the yearning for summer and green. (sigh) So.........


I planned the spring garden the other day. At least what we will plant. The plan is to keep it simpler this year with fewer and the most reliable varieties. Still, it will be a good sized garden, just with more of what I know will thrive. Again, primarily planting tomatoes, beans, peppers and squash. This year we may add corn and definitely potatoes. I’ll be ordering seeds within the next two weeks.

So I think it will go something like this:

* signifies a new variety we’ll be trying this year.

Tomatoes:


Brandywine for fresh eating. The good old fashioned true tomato flavor of these heirloom beefsteak tomatoes cannot be beat.

Amish Paste for canning, sauces, salsas, ketchup. I have had better luck and bigger crops with this paste tomato than any other plum tomato I’ve ever planted.

Cherokee Purple for juice, canning and fresh eating. These do very well with high yields. They are sweet and juicy, especially good for juice making. They’re great for fresh eating as well.

Peppers:

Tam Jalapeño for salsas and fresh eating s well as freezing and preserving. We love homemade poppers with cream cheese and bacon. They are awesome. This type of Jalapeño is milder than others.

*Pepperoncini for pickling.

*Buran, a sweet pepper that is said to be nearly sweet green as it is when it turns red. These will be for summer eating, stuffing, freezing and for in my sweet relish.

Beans & Beets:

Blue Lake bush beans for fresh eating, canning, freezing. These have proven successful for us and to be higher yielding than some varieties we’ve tried. We love ‘em!

*Cylindra beets are my choice this year for easy peeling and slicing. They grow in cylindrical shape rather than round. These come highly recommended by Fanny, our Amish friend. I can them, but have frozen them as well. Beets freeze extremely well and taste like fresh. Just thaw and eat if like me, you enjoy cold beets. Yum, my mouth is watering now. I do love beets!

Squash:

Waltham Butternut, my all time favorite. It’s a great keeper and meatier than Acorn IMO. I like to cook some up for in the freezer, too, just for convenience.

Zucchini is just a summer mainstay. We eat tons of it fresh throughout the summer. I admit I have a weakness for breaded fried zucchini dipped in ranch dressing. OMG, why am I torturing myself this way?! I freeze zucchini plus it’ the main ingredient in my sweet relishes. I also use it for making into pickle chunks and slices. I don’t even bother with cukes anymore.

Summer squash is a definite as well because we just love the flavor. I think it’s just a bit more flavorful than zucchini. It’s Coop’s favorite.

Along with these we’ll plant potatoes as mentioned, probably two varieties. I’m considering planting some corn this year since I’m limiting varieties and may have the room for a few rows. And of course, onions, lettuce and some herbs. I imagine by the time I send the order in something more may be added to the list. :)



Friday, January 9, 2009

a little Friday funny

A cat died and went to heaven. God met her at the gates and said, "Because you have been such a good cat all these years, you may ask for anything and it's yours."

The cat thought on this for quite awhile and then said, "I have been a farm cat, always sleeping on hard wooden floors. I think I would like a soft, fluffy pillow to sleep on."

"Say no more!" said God and a fluffy pillow appeared instantly.

Just a few days later six little mice were killed in an accident and all arrived in Heaven together. God met them at the gates with the same offer he made the cat.

"Well," said the mice, "we have had to run all our lives from cats, dogs and even humans. If we could just have some little roller skates then we would never have to run again."

"It is done." replied God and immediately the six mice had beautiful little roller skates."

A week or two later God decided to check in on the cat. She was sound asleep on her pillow. God gently nudged her awake and asked. "How are things going, have you been happy?"

The cat replied, "OH my, it is wonderful! I have never been so happy as I am here. The pillow is magnificent and those little meals on wheels you've been sending over are just delicious!"

*Read in the Ohio Dairy Farmer newspaper.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

good times with my girls

whatever it was that we were laughing about...

it just got funnier...

and funnier!

(Thanks sis for taking these and bringing those smiles to my face again.)
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Friday, January 2, 2009

that crazy chicken lady!

JayeDee over at Life in the Lost World is one generous gal. Get on over and check out what she's giving away. Ok ok, enough arm twisting...she's giving away a $25 gift certificate to Heirloom Acre Seeds. Now that's a give away I can appreciate.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

It’s Bacon!!

Recently I posted here about the supply of pork we were fortunate to get when our Amish friends butchered a hog. It came on Christmas Eve, so Christmas day I was weighing, cutting and packaging pork. Since I had a slab of bacon in the lot, I was also scouring the net to find an easy way to cure it. I set it to cure on Christmas day, so it was no surprise that on New Year’s Day I would be finishing up the bacon making process.

There are several ways to make bacon, but regardless it’s with either a brine soak or a dry rub. I finally got the picture and decided to go with a dry rub for ease. I made my own simple rub from kosher salt, brown sugar and freshly ground black pepper.


For a slab of bacon weighing about 3 ½ pounds I used a mixture of;

4-5 T. kosher salt

1 ½ -2 T. ground black pepper

3-4 T. brown sugar


Mix well. The directions that follow were acquired online, although I was in too big of a hurry to save the url or make a note of it so unfortunately I can’t give credit where credit is due, a least not at this time. : (


After rinsing the pork well and patting it dry, I cut it into two pieces to make sure each piece fit into a gallon bag well. Next lay out your pork on a large piece of parchment paper or wax paper. Rub your mixture into the pork on both sides and into creases well. Once you’ve done this, place pork into gallon size Ziploc (or any other sealable) bags. Add any remaining rub and shake to distribute. Place bags onto a flat tray and refrigerate for 7 days, turning over every other day.


This is the bacon after 7 days in the fridge.


After 7 days the bacon should feel fairly firm to the touch. Take bacon from bags and rinse well under cold running water to remove excess spices. Pat dry.


And again after rinsing. Looks good!


Now, heat your oven to 200◦. Transfer the bacon into appropriately sized cake pan(s) and roast until meat is brown and internal temp is 150 – 160◦. This will take 2 – 2 ½ hours.


Remove bacon and place onto cutting board. With a large thin bladed knife you will remove the tough outer layer of skin.


a job for Cooper-man!


Allow bacon to rest until it has reached room temp. Once cooled, pat dry and wrap in wax paper and refrigerate. Or slice off a few pieces first to fry up like we did. : ) Once completely chilled, store in a plastic bag. It will keep up to 10 days refrigerated or up to 3 months in the freezer.


How did our bacon turn out you ask?



We were impressed and gobbled it up.



I was thrilled it wasn’t a failure since I’d never did a home cure before and even more thrilled at how good it was. Yay! Bacon with no harmful nitrites and nitrates! I can detect the taste of pepper and salt in this bacon but it’s not overpowering and definitely nowhere nearly as salty as commercial bacon. I may add a little more freshly ground pepper when I fry up the next skillet full. But even if I don’t, this is pretty darn good bacon. And the best part, besides doing it myself without the poisonous additives? It was easy!

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