Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Quilt Top- Wickedly Easy Red

I finally finished the top of the Wickedly Easy quilt I made from red fat quarters.  Now we'll see how long before I am able to get it quilted- I still have several others in line before this one.

 I started with 12 fat quarters of different patterns.

I washed them since they were red.
I should have put them in a mesh bag because they frayed a bit.

You cut each fat quarter into thicker and thinner
sections and then sew strips.

Then you cut and layer the strips as directed.
Place a solid from your fat quarter strips
between two larger sections.
Reserve a small layered piece for the border-
I am not using that as a border though, too busy.

Then mix them up so the long single fabric is going
up and down in one block,
and side to side in the other.

It becomes scrappy. 
I still have to choose a border, backing and probably a red binding.

These are free on line patterns so visit byannie.com to download your own.
There are several projects to choose from.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ham Radio and Hurricane Net

My husband, ham call sign KDØQKK, is setting up a temporary wire antenna so he can listen to the HF bands transmissions, particularly the ones associated with the hurricane Sandy.  The hurricane watch net is tied into the National Hurricane Center and provides weather reports.  This allows the center to have up to date information.  If regular communications go down, the hams also provide services such as passing messages, Emergency Operations Center (EOC) damage assessments and other communication needs to first responders, etc.

He strung this temporary antenna because his current antenna does not resonate at the proper frequency for these bands.  He promises it is only temporary!  It goes out the window, across the decking, feeds to the upper porch and across the lawn . . .  

over to my cattle fencing that had been supporting vines in the side garden.
He will be moving his equipment downstairs to the basement which will make it easier when he erects the real antenna which has special grounding needs.  It will be 50 ft tall and 106 feet long.  He is doing an inverted V which means the antenna will be as long but not stretched out straight.  The ends will be 10 ft off the ground.  It needs to be kept away from people when transmitting because it's high voltage.  
It will be behind the house but won't be visible from the street since we are on top of the ridge and it drops off pretty much as you get away from the street.  

It will be interesting hearing the first hand reports.

We are not in the affected area but for any of you 
that are and have chickens, 
here is some advice from The Chicken Chick
as you prepare to protect your flock.  

Stay safe!

Look What He's Done Now!

I have meat hanging from my kitchen wall.
Two long cut hams that we cured and now hang awaiting meals.

This is similar to the hams you see hanging in burlap bags.
It needs no refrigeration but it will look moldy.

These uncooked hams are safe stored at room temperature and because they contain so little water, bacteria can't multiply in them.. . Mold - Can often be found on country cured ham. Most of these are harmless but some molds can produce mycotoxins. Molds grow on hams during the long curing and drying process because the high salt and low temperatures do not inhibit these robust organisms. DO NOT DISCARD the ham. Wash it with hot water and scrub off the mold with a stiff vegetable brush.  LINK to USDA

My husband purchased flour sack cloth and sewed the bags himself. 
In a "more manly" moment (LOL) he formed and welded a bracket of substantial girth to hang the hams.
IN . . . MY . . . KITCHEN.  :(

Well, at least it's in the corner.

I think I'll let him eat his fill first.
Then after a day or two, if things go well, I might try it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

What a Sweetie, Potato That Is

How did it know?
I had a teeny sweet potato from my planter box.
Nothing much to talk about, too small to cook.
So I poked it with toothpicks
and set it in water beneath 
a lamp on the kitchen counter.

After awhile the water began to smell pretty bad.
I started to change it more frequently.
Nothing happened.
Today I started to throw it out.

Suddenly it had sprouts.
It had leaves!
I guess sometimes you just have 
to push those little sweeties
to get them to do anything!

I think I'll set it over with the other plants 
by the sunny window.  
I guess I'll have vines all over the place pretty soon!

Purina Farms Haunted Hayloft - Kids Event

Not all Halloween events are scary, in fact Purina Farms in Gray Summit MO offers a wonderful family friendly night of fun from dog trials and hay rides to story telling and an a "haunted walk" with costumed barn animals.  

My daughter, Becky, and granddaughter, Taylor, in the huge barn loft.
The loft has corn cribs filled with Tonka trucks and kernels for the little ones.  The wall have culvert tunnels spread along the loft's length where children can crawl and run in and out (for what seems like hours). My 4' 11" daughter is small enough to chase after wayward children to corral them back towards the "spooky" walk where pigs dress up for trick o' treat and chickens roost awaiting a quick pet on the head.  

Everyone dances through the strobe light room, jumping and twirling around.  
Don't sit on the "dog" chair- you might find that there is someone inside that costume that will give you a hug when you least expect it! We were one of the first ones there, arriving just as most were getting home from work.  Taylor had the run of the place for a bit with the rope swings being her favorite. 

The goats were there to wish everyone a Happy Halloween as they exited the spook house. 

Below the hay loft the children can look into the animal stalls:  cows, sheep, goats, donkeys and miniature horses.  If you time it right the kids can help with the milking demos.  The petting area allows children to play with baby pigs, chickens, bunnies and whatever else they happen to bring in.

Stray Rescue had an adopt a pet area for those interesting in helping a dog find a good home.

A very beautiful black and white rabbit.

Their famous Cat House, a lovely Victorian with levels and levels of cat fun.
Sofas, chairs, beds and steps for cats to have the run of.
In the runs below, the dogs were dressed up for trick o' treat or at least a pet on the head. 

View from above.

The center also offers interactive learning for the kids.

Twirling balls and bright colors make it all the more fun.

Dioramas and other displays are sprinkled throughout the area.

Outside there were magicians, dog herding, face painting and plenty of eats! 

The story teller is one of the best recounting how a woodpecker came to have it's red head or how a boy outsmarted the hairy swamp man who wanted to steal his dirty laundry for a scrumptious dinner.  When she uses key words the kids are supposed to clap, howl or stomp their feet. 

It was a cold night and we thought we might just go home and warm up in front of the tv; however, as we were driving up our road we ran into a hayride!  Our neighbor was celebrating her graduation from nursing school with a bonfire and hayride so we changed into even warmer clothes, jumped on the four wheeler, pulling Taylor in the trailer, and headed up the gravel road to the party.  Talk about kid friendly- the entire living room was full of her son's old toys!  The adults headed to the fire or lingered over chili and cake in the kitchen. We met some really great people, one I liked in particular owns a tea room up north of us and is a quilter to boot! It was a fun evening for both kids and adults.

If you ever get a chance to visit Purina Farms it is well worth the trip.  They added a state of the art area for both dog and cat events.  They have lots of activities all year long.  The next events are scheduled for Nov 3-4 for both their All Breed Cat Show along with Herding Trials.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Prayers Needed for Dave

Our friend Dave has just been diagnosed with 
Stage 4 squamous cell lung cancer
in addition there are a couple of small tumors in his brain
associated with this lung cancer.

There is no cure but the doctors hope to keep it 
in check with chemo, radiation and possibly surgery. 

If you could spare a few minutes I know he and his family 
would appreciate your prayers.
Being Catholic, I found this on line at EWTN, 
or perhaps
just a few words asking for his healing.

Thank you.

Prayer to St Peregrine

O great St. Peregrine, you have been called "The Mighty," "The Wonder-Worker," because of the numerous miracles which you have obtained from God for those who have had recourse to you.

For so many years you bore in your own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys the very fibre of our being, and who had recourse to the source of all grace when the power of man could do no more. You were favoured with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross to heal your affliction. Ask of God and Our Lady, the cure of the sick whom we entrust to you. 

(You would pause here and silently recall the name of the sick for whom you are praying-  Dave plus others that you may also know that need prayers.) 

Aided in this way by your powerful intercession, we shall sing to God, now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for His great goodness and mercy.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Woodchuck Recipe

You will need one woodchuck (ground hog)
Onion, carrot, celery
Turkey stock (or beef) three pints
Kitchen Bouquet (adds flavor and darkens the gravy)
Bay leaves (2)
Salt and Pepper to taste to meat, add'l salt for dumplings below.
Flour  2 cups plus 3 TBL ( use the 2 cups for dumplings)
Butter 5 TBL  use 3 Tbl for roux and 2 for dumplings
2 Tsp baking powder
1 Tsp Salt
Nutmeg to taste
Garlic to taste
Milk to smooth out dumplings- not sure of measurement, 
it depends on how much the dumplings need for the correct consistency.  

Once the woodchuck is no longer living, 
Skin and clean it properly being very careful to remove the scent glands.
Cut off extra fat.
Soak in salted water over night. 

Change water in the morning and resoak in salted water a few hours.

Add turkey stock to a large, heavy pot.
Add cut onions, celery and carrots.
Add bay, salt and pepper
Add Kitchen bouquet
Cook until tender.

In a skillet add the 3 TBL butter and flour each.
You are making a roux.
Stir over low heat until dark but not chocolate brown.
This will take about 15 minutes or so.
Add the roux to the pot with vegetables and stir up well.

Pressure cook the woodchuck and garlic in two cups of water for 20 minutes 
once the pressures builds up and the top starts rocking.  

Cool down and open the pressure cooker once the pressure has dropped.

Take meat off the bone.
Put the meat in with the vegetables.

Make dumplings (this type is more of a drop biscuit)
Use the 2 cups of four
add 2 tsp of baking powder and 1 tsp salt
Add nutmeg
Add 2 TBL butter-cut in the butter until chunky/grainy
Add milk until the consistency of a sticky drop biscuit

Make sure the liquid is simmering in the pot
Drop the dough into the pot to make nice sized dumplings.
Put lid on for 15 minutes.

Now you are done.
Woodchuck and Dumplings

It tastes somewhere between chicken and beef, very tender due to the pressure cooking.

You can view part 1 and part 2 here.
Part 2 has graphic images.

Woodchuck, It's What's for Dinner (Warning - Images)

WARNING, This is graphic
We are prepping the ground hog for cooking.

Here is part one
Skip to PART 3 for non graphic image recipe

You all remember the ground hog that decided to make a den beneath our foundation.  This causes serious damage to the house.  There is a link to the type of damage they can cause to both crops and foundations.  While they are cute as a button, they are a serious threat.

Groundhogs can do a considerable amount of damage to property. The primary damage caused by groundhogs comes from their incessant burrowing in unwanted areas. These burrows are where the groundhogs sleep, rear their young and hibernate. The burrows are extensive, sometimes having up to five entrances, and can contain up to 45 feet of tunnels; the average burrow depth is five feet. Because the burrows are so extensive they pose real risks to agricultural crops and can even undermine the foundations of buildings. Groundhog burrows in agricultural areas are a particular threat to farm equipment, which can sink into them and become stuck. Horses, cows or other farm animals have frequently broken their legs by stumbling into groundhog dens.

They will also eat crops and can devastate both large scale agricultural harvests as well as your backyard vegetable gardens. If they burrow beneath a deck or near a foundation they will gnaw underground cables, causing electrical problems and headaches for the homeowner.

The graphic images follow:

This is hunter Tom.  Not the trophy deer you might expect, more like a big squirrel, in fact, ground hogs are closely related to the squirrel family.  He insisted that he should be the one to shoot it as he had more experience and he was right.  One shot for an instant kill so it would not suffer.

It is rather soft and, being in the squirrel family, clean like a squirrel.  We were warned that there are some scent glands that would need to be removed so we had to be on the lookout for them although I had no idea what they looked like.

Why am I doing this some are asking?  This isn't exactly what Mom had in mind for me but she is forgetting one thing.  Her mother knew how to butcher meat for her family.  When she made turtle soup, she started with a live snapper, killed it, shelled it, cut it up and cooked it.  My grandmother's mother and her mother's mother also knew how to feed their families when times got tough.  In the last 100 years many of us have lost that knowledge, relying on products in grocery stores and fast food joints that are feeding us who knows what.  I need to know what to do.

I've never butchered anything in my life, not even cleaned a fish.  I have helped process deer and hogs but I have never been on the live end of it.  This is my first.

The first thing you need to do is tie up your hair.
Then get into big and baggy old clothes.
If you can hang up the ground hog, that would be best but we had not counted on doing this today so the hubby lent a hand with the holding and our neighbor gave me tips on how to use the knife.  I don't think he believed I could/would go through with this.

You slice around the legs and pull the skin out a bit.  You can actually "shave" off the skin, it was easy.
The insides were a bit more difficult as you have to make certain you do not cut into the intestines.  Given that this was a clean head shot, there was no blood in the cavity.  You do have to reach in and pull out the insides, like with anything.  The stomach and intestines fell out for the most part except for the part where they were attached.  I had to get out the liver, heart and lungs.  That one was different.  Chicken from a grocery store has all sorts of innards but never lungs!  

Cutting through the sternum took some pressure.  I really had to pull.
I let my husband do the head.  His knife is very sharp and it took lots of pressure.
Yes, I look like crap.  Please disregard LOL!

Here is the first peek of the skinned ground hog.  Now it was time to remove the fat and cut it up.

I washed and washed and washed.
I removed hair and found the tiny black scent glands.
I washed the countertops and sink, washed the knives and cutting board several times.

Then I covered the meat in water and added salt to get the wildness out.
Recipe to follow in part three to avoid the images here for those that would prefer not to view them.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Vintage Halloween

I found this old toy when cleaning out my grandmother's home after she passed away several years ago.

It's a heavy metal with a wooden handle and depicts Halloween scenes.

There is a bell clapper inside so it makes quite a big of noise when you shake it! Not like a bell but more of a clank, clank, clank.  There doesn't seem to be any manufacturing mark so I don't know anything about it.  

It joins Mr. Pumpkin in the living room.

Would You Like Fries with Your Woodchuck?

There was an Awww moment, just for a day.
Then when I was photographing the little cutie, it ran and disappeared!
I went out the back deck and looked down to see a 
pile of rock had been dug out from under the foundation.  There  is
a drainage hole that is apparently perfect for a winter den.
There was also a TAIL sticking out and it sure 
didn't look like a cat.

Tom stomped on the basement floor and soon out pops a HEAD!
Yes, the groundhog has decided to live beneath our basement.
Bad choice, now it's got to go.

My neighbor mentioned it is visiting her too, and tearing up the yard.
They are ready to shoot it - and we are in season.
We spoke yesterday and decided if we shoot it, we're cooking it.
It will be a first for me- dressing out a woodchuck.
There are some special glands that have to be removed too.
I saw a recipe on Groundhog Day, a real recipe, not a joke.
We're going to try.

Do I dare tell Mom?
Noooooo. At least not right away.
I don't think this is the vision she had for me  LOL!
Somewhere between Elly May and Granny!

We did get the woodchuck and our plans continue.  Stay tuned- separate post on the way but be warned  that will be more graphic-

Part 3 Recipe