Sunday, July 25, 2010

And the winner is........................

Phelan!!!! Congratulations your name got plucked out of a hat by my stepson last night.  So I will need you to send me an email so I can get your package sent to you! Phelan's challenge to me is dancing. So at some point there will either be a picture or video of me dancing. No worries I won't chicken out.

Thank you to everyone who participated in my giveaway. I really had fun doing it and plan on more in the future.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happenings around the house

Tater passing out on my couch. Don't let his angelic look fool you.

The garden is doing well. This evening William, Helen, Julian (you haven't been introduced) and I worked in the garden pulling in a huge harvest. I think I may have picked the eggplant too early. It did not want to separate from the hull and I hope it didnt ruin it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Misadventures in cheese

So my friend Brenna calls me up and says "Hey! I have this great recipe for mozzarella we should get together and try to make it!"  Of course I agree as I've always wanted to make cheese and hanging out with Brenna is always fun.  So we make arrangements to meet at my house today after she hits the Carbondale Farmer's Market and the Co-Op.  I get up get dressed this morning and realize I had forgotten to pick up milk.  At about the same time that I realized this my phone rings and it's Brenna.

"Stephie darling, they are out of rennet at the Co-Op. Im running over to Rural King to see if they have any."
Since I was on my way to the store myself I told her I'd check there also.  Kroger's was a bust, so was Rural King (which suprised us) but then Brenna hit up Schnucks and found rennet tabs and all was good. We used the "30 minute Mozzarella" recipe found in HobbyFarms magazine.  But I encourage you to visit the author's website and use her updated recipe.

We had a great time but unfortunately our cheese making escapade did not work out as intended.  Instead of mozzarella we ended up with a cheese spread that we herbed up.  According to her website the problem wasn't us but our milk.  Nowadays a lot of companies are pasteurizing the milk at higher than needed temperatures but just under the temp that would put it into the "ultra-pasteurized" catagory. Sad indeed as we were looking forward to mozzarella. So I do believe that we may be looking into different sources for milk. If you have any tips on store bought brands we would love to hear them.  I wouldn't mind finding some local cow or goats milk but I don't know anyone in the southern Illinois area. Otherwise we will be running to get raw milk from The Family Friendly Farm just north of Cape Girardeau, MO. It's illegal to openly sell raw milk in Illinois I guess.  We are completely up for doing this again though.

Here are some pictures of our misadventure!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Funky Friday

Today they said it would be a high of 86, yeah, they lied. If society ever breaks down Im heading north to an area that doesn't have summer weather like southern Illinois. Two evenings ago one of my friends, who has no AC in her trailer, came to my house for a bit to escape the heat advisory and borrowed my kitchen to do some sewing. In order for me to survive a summer with no AC I would have to shave my head and live in shorts and a tank top. Oh am I soooo grateful for my central air!  We keep it at about 75-77 degrees.

I set the water hose out last night then I just realized I dont remember turning it off.  So my rain barrels may be empty when I get out there, I could really kick myself but it's too hot and I'd probably injure myself badly in the process. Yesterday I picked up a gallon of white and apple cider vinegars in anticipation for canning. Today I ended up breaking down and getting a microwave. Helen and I split the cost. William is ecstatic that he doesn't have to leave meat out to thaw (he says its just asking for trouble)

Tomorrow my friend Brenna is coming over and we are going to be making Mozzarella. I've never made cheese before.  We had originally wanted to do salsa but none of our tomatoes have ripened.  Then later in the afternoon Helen and I are contemplating making a new batch of soap.  Yay for DIY projects!! Speaking of projects don't forget to sign up for my giveaway!!

So on a serious note. I found out yesterday that the company I work for is being "acquired" by an investment group.  We had no forewarning.  I walked into work and got mobbed by people telling me we've been bought out and to check my email, not really how I want to start my day ya know?!  For those who don't know I work for a vitamin company, a rather larger one. Usually it's my company that buys up/mergers with smaller companies.  We are going from a publicly owned company to a private one.

What does this mean for me?  I don't know.  Am I worried? @&*% yeah!  I am not running around like a chicken with my head cut off though for a couple reasons.
  1. We weren't bought out by another vitamin company
  2. My company has an extremely loyal customer base and this company has done its research on that. It really seems that they bought us because we are pretty epic.
  3. If my job gets outsourced I will get unemployment which opens up some other opportunities for me
  4. I really, really, really can't afford an ulcer and don't want to increase my occurrences of migraines.
Ok I feel better just getting it all out.  William and Helen know the deal, they themselves are in the middle of starting their own business together (but thats for some other time to talk about)

Im off to go help William in the yard, he has decided to mow the yard this evening.

    Wednesday, July 14, 2010

    Going Green Giveaway!!

    I like giveaways, who doesn't?!  So I've decided that I will be doing one of my own.  What is up for grabs??? So glad you asked ;)  There will be 2 bars of homemade soap lightly scented with chamomile and 2 half pint jars of homemade bath salts, one Eucalyptus scented and one Peppermint scented (good for tired foot soaks).

    What do you have to do to get in on this wonderful care package?  Well one way is to leave me a comment telling me what you would like to see me do on here.  If you post a link on your blog going back to this post and let me know so I can confirm it I will put in another entry for you.  Get your entries in by July 23rd!

    Garden Photos/Garden Status Mid July 2010

    Again we are under a heat advisory :(  I have been working in the garden later towards sundown. I keep trying to get up early to water and harvest but I epically fail at that. I think what I will have to do is have a couple drinks and go to bed at like 8 pm in order to get up at like 5 or 6 am.  So here is the garden, while I was working in looks much better now but Helen hasn't gone back out to shoot the after. We are getting a lot of zucchini, yellow squash and cherry and black cherry tomatoes.  The pumpkin is fruiting and the spaghetti squash is too but she didnt get shots of them.  

    All that grass behind the okra/next to the carport is gone!! YAY!!

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    PA is beautiful, IL is just hot and sticky :(

    It has been supremely hot here in Southern Illinois. Hot enough that I've neglected the garden a bit. I'm still clearing grass with the hand held scythe. Just a ten foot square area between the pole bean tripods and the carport where I have the spaghetti squash. I try to wait until dusk so it's cooler,  It's almost done though and then I am going to till the cleared areas.  My cucumbers are dying out and I believe it's mosaic disease. I'm not sure.  If I can get things cleared then I will try and replant in a different area.  I actually have a pretty good growing season down here for another round I believe. It's worth a shot. As of right now I don't have enough to do any pickles and I was hoping to have started that by now.

    As a boon (?) of my neglect some of my zucchini are the size of my forearms. So I will be making zucchini bread, with this I can barter, well that and I still have some of the soap Helen and I made.  I am itching to do another batch.  The okra is starting to produce but I am unsure on when I should be picking them, what size, etc.  Eggplant is starting to set and I believe the first one will be ready in a few days. The potatoes seem to be doing well. I need to hill them up in a bit.  The corn is starting to get ears and the beans are starting to flower.  Ahhh yes, the beans.......I'm starting to hate beans as beans equals Japanese beetles. The fight is on again with them and I am losing.  The Stella blue pumpkin that I got from the seed swap is fruiting so is the yellow squash and spaghetti squash. I'm optimistic about the tomatoes and that's all I will say lest I jinx myself.

    Going and spending a week in Slippery Rock, PA (where Ragnarok was) was beautiful. I had a really great week and I even met up with some similarly minded people. Talked a little bit of garden shop but not nearly as much as I would have liked, just not enough time. I unfortunately didn't get many pictures but other people did and I'll try to get some put up.  I am wanting to do a road trip soon not really sure when but I'd like it to be before September.  September will be one busy month!  I have a wedding in Pittsburgh the first weekend, and then I have a fighting event in Holden, MO the second weekend.  Third Sunday of September is a fighting event at my home field in Carbondale and the last weekend of Sept my friends are talking about going to the St. Louis area for a PirateFest.  (I'm not really sure what it's called). Maybe I should wait until October? LOL

    Friday, July 2, 2010

    I am at Burger King soaking up the WiFi.  I am without internet at least for a week or so grrr. I'm taking a two hr break and grabbing dinner and running some errands. Today I've been working a bit in the garden. I am having to clean up the garden with a hand held scythe.  Its working pretty good, well better than the weed whacker, that keeps getting messed up in the tall grass.  We have been getting a steady crop of jalepenos, zuchinni, yellow squash and  cucumbers.  I havent done any pickling yet though.  The peas did not do well again this year and my herbs are meh.  However the beans are looking ok and the stella blue pumpkin has fruited!!  I will get picks up soon after I get the garden back in shape.  When we leave here its back home to work some more in the garden.  Oh and  I forgot to mention... for anyone interested I have a facebook :)  Feel free to add me