Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Ahh the pumpkin!

While chatting with a friend the other day, she reminded me I had never put up the pictures of the 'canned' pumpkin! Soooo without futher it is

I ended up with 6 jars I believe..all about 3/4ths full. :)  It's slightly sweetened..and ready to use! YUM!

Here's the larder for this year..(and a few from last years still)

 Jellies, figs, tomatoes, chicken, sauerkraut and a few other odds and ends I'm sure! (that empty space at the very top, is where the canner usually sits..handy spot!

Monday, August 29, 2011


The previous post was written in earnest!  For the upper U.S. states, where rain just kept coming, Irene was a disaster.
As I posted before "Think" and ask your self how will you get by without water, electric or no way out, I point you in this direction..

["in Plattsville, New York, seven families who thought they had escaped the wrath of Irene in Brooklyn were stranded in the Catskill Mountains Monday after bridges crumbled all around them.

"We're sitting in one room, and it's a horrible situation and there is no way out," said Irina Noveck, who was stuck along with 22 other adults and children. "Kids are getting scared, food is getting spoiled."]

And this

["Vermont State Police Capt. Ray Keefe said Wilmington is "cut off," hundreds of roads had been closed, and some homes were washed into lakes."]

You can find the above quotes in this article here.

It cannot be stressed prepared, have 1st and 2nd alternatives!

Soon..we'll discuss 'generators'. Good? bad? or useless?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene was a test run

I have to say this, only because ..well just because.
(Long ranting type post, be prepared!)
Living between South Carolina, Florida and Texas for the past 30 years, lends that I am in hurricane territory. I do write this from some experience.
I have watched the news reports and reporters on Hurricane Irene for the past week and I can honestly say these things. Some of you may not like what I'm about to say. Period. Be prepared for that.
  • No, where I live did not get 'a direct hit ' from Irene (just some outer bands) I've been hit before.
  • I am not downplaying the damage that was done, a good portion of the east coast did suffer some damage from Irene. I hope for everyone who did have to deal with her, the damage was minimal. 
  • The newscasters must be paid to make it out to be much worse then it is because they made it seem like she was going to rip the US east coast apart. 
  • People are spoiled to their conveniences, like electricity and cars.  
I saw and heard so much with this past 'storm' that it was enough to make me think about how 'unprepared' people really are. How much they rely on the conveniences of modern day to get them through. What happens when those modern conveniences may NOT be available to them..what will they do?  What will YOU do?

I personally think Irene was way over played, but at the same time, I think many people took the possibilities that any storm can create, and made light of it.
How many people expected things to 'still be available' to them today?  Like cars, and open stores and places to 'run get something'!!?!
If you didn't have electricity this morning..why would you expect someone else to have electricity? Why would you expect someone else to get up and go to work (in an emergency situation) so they could provide a convenience for everyone else?  How arrogant is that?
That store owner or worker may have suffered damages from the storm in ways that you have not thought of, not to mention no electricity at the work place or at their home.  Relying on 'others' for personal comforts is NOT the way to get through an emergency.

Having said all that (and deleting some things because..well just because) let's talk about preparedness. I actually don't like that word. It makes it sound like something 'extra' you have to do, and being ready should any emergency arise should not be an 'extra' thing, it should be second nature (nothing in life is certain!).

Have we forgotten we CAN survive without electric or do we always expect there to be the ability to 'have what we want' in times of trouble? Grow up people. Electricity really isn't a necessity to's only a necessity to convenience. Learn to plan ahead before the emergency approaches. Get it?
Being ready for any emergency is a must. It doesn't take a ton of money either, it just takes some planning and forethought.
I could put all the things on a convenient list to check off, but that's not what I'm trying to get across. We need to learn to THINK !!
Sit down and think about your normal day, what you do, every day and what it takes to get things accomplished. Just the daily stuff, food, bathing, bathroom, etc. (write it down if you have to)

Now picture doing them without electricity. What would you need to get it done without electricity. Got that in your head?
Good, now think about doing all those things without 'running' water. No water. How would you do it? What could you do or not do without those two seemingly vital things? Got that in your head. Good, now one more time I'm going to ask you to THINK.
You have no electric, no water and now you have no transportation. Not necessarily because you don't have a vehicle sitting outside full of gas (cuz you thought this would be enough) but that all the roads are washed away, blocked by down trees, or for petes sake, blocked by the powers that be due to a state of emergency or martial law. 
Now..what is it going to take for you to 'survive', even comfortably so, where you are, providing daily requirements for you and your family?
Now, think about doing it for more then a day, 2 days or even 3. Think about it for 2 weeks, 4 weeks..2 months.
Be honest with yourself now..are you REALLY PREPARED for an emergency?
If you're honest, the answer is 'no', probably not.

Our ancestors would never have thought about being 'prepared' for an emergency. Their entire life by OUR standards was an emergency. They were always prepared. No electric, no running water and most times no transportation anywhere. They survived it, the're here aren't you?
So for one day of your life, be a founding family and survive just a day without the spoiled conveniences. See how far you get.
Then rethink your life in an emergency situation. Picture yourself in Joplin MS. when they suffered that horrible tornado..they still have not rebuilt that town and it's been months. Where is everyone?
Consider these other hurricanes, works of nature that put areas in to 'states of emergency'..for days, weeks and months! (click on each one to read about them)

Now go and 'think' for a while on preparedness. It's not just 'stocks' of supplies, it's being able to use your brain to create what you need..that is biggest key to preparedness, the brain...thinking ahead and know how.

I may do more posts on this very subject soon.

Now on to another similar topic at hand.
Knowing this, here is a prediction for you. Irene was a dry run. (Unfortunately..many people failed).
She was a forerunner to something bigger. There have not been any major storms to hit the east coast since about 2004 (going on memory, 2004 was when Florida took great hits from Gustav and Ivan to name a few)
That's somewhere between 5 and 8 years since a major hurricane. I say Irene is a forerunner, a warning to get prepared, to use your head and to think things through.
Simple prediction..the next big one, will hit, the east coast somewhere and will hit sometime.. (Of course, we always hope not.......and I always hope I'm wrong..but what if I'm not?)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Canner time here's the 'scoop'! Scoop..pumpkin..get it? LOL
The pumpkin was baked. I scooped the soft pumpkin into the jars filling them about 1/2 or a little better with pumpkin.(trust was a soft squishy dense product..there was no ability to cut in chunks..period!)
I boiled up a medium syrup..for every 3 cups of water, I used 1 & 3/4 C sugar.

Lids were prepared, rims were wiped and jars sealed. Into the canner they went. I also opted to put one quart in the freezer and I still have some in the fridge which I intend to make pumpkin butter with. I don't know that I'll can that or freezer (I KNOW you're not supposed to can it, but...)
The rocker on my canner is singing sweetly to me, rocking back and forth as I type. YUM..canned pre-sweetened (slightly) pumpkin! Easy enough to use for pumpkin pies, bread, muffins or quick pumpkin butter to stick in the fridge for the week.

If you've never had pumpkin butter then let me tell you, it's like eating pumpkin pie! (on toast!)
So below you will find a pumpkin butter recipe. Tomorrow, I'll try to post pics of the canned pumpkin. :) ENJOY!


3 1/2 to 4 Cups of pumpkin puree (your own or you can use store bought canned pumpkin*)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 C. apple cider
1 C. brown sugar OR 1 1/2 C. white sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground nutmeg

(Hint: You can also add cloves to this mix, but cloves are extremely strong, be mindful of how much you add. Start small, taste and add to your liking. I usually add about 1/2 tsp to this mix)

Combine all ingredients into a large pot, mix well and bring to a boil. Simmer 30 mins. Put into sterilized jars, cap and let cool. Refrigerate and use. :)
*NOT PUMPKIN PIE MIX!You'll never be me. 

It's PUMPKIN time!

No, it's not Halloween..but it is pumpkin time around here!
I planted lots of sugar pumpkins this year. They are of course ready and have been sitting on my kitchen table for a week.
The time has come to 'can' them up!
I read up on some of the easiest ways to can them, more so on how to peel them and cut them up. Suffice it to say, cutting them into junks while raw is not too much of an option unless you want to stand there and peel and wear your hands out all day.

The better choice (for me at least) was to cut them in half, gut them (sounds gross don't it?), cut them into large chunks and bake them till they were semi soft. Then you scoop the pumpkin out and jar it, then pressure can for 90 mins on 10lbs psi for a quart
(The USDA does not recommend making pumpkin butter or pumpkin puree due to it's density)

I plan to scoop and fill the jar to 1/2, add medium syrup then pressure can. I hope this will negate some of that density. Either way..I'm canning it up! .
(I'll also have less pumpkin per jar, so I'll be doing quart jars instead of the pints)

Let me tell you, cutting pumpkins is hard!
But, all my pumpkins are cut, gutted and chunked into sections and are now in the oven. They do have to bake a long time so I've got several hours before the canning process starts. It's just good to know the hard part is over! WHEW!
There is a faster way to 'precook' them, and that is with a microwave. Since I detest using a microwave ..this was not an option for me.
Besides all that, the microwave that I DO have is extremely small so I could only do 1 pumpkin at a time! It would probably take me the same amount of time as baking the whole lot at once!
Now it's off to find something else to do with my time while the pumpkins bake.
TA TA for now!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Can someone tell me....

Why it's nearly 11pm and it's still 82 degrees outside????

It's so muggy and hot here, that my windows are starting to sweat on the inside? WTH?

For about two weeks now we've avoided going outside at all costs.
(It's a good thing I put extra hay in the chicken coop, cuz I haven't cleaned it in two weeks either!)
I do check it every day and so far it's not suffering too badly.
You know why the coop hasn't suffered? I'm letting the chickens out very early instead of at noon..because at noon, I don't want to walk outside! It's too hot!

We have had a few days of afternoon showers. I'm not sure this has helped with the heat, but the grass appreciated it.
What little is left in the garden appreciated it to. The garden is pretty much done for the year of course. I've got a table full of sugar pumpkins that I will need to do something with soon.
The 'hot' peppers (various type) are still going strong and doing well. I think they like the heat.
(Seems the peppers are hotter this year too!)
I'm still fighting ants occasionally. (I can smell snow for our winter!)

The only thing I've semi regretted on a near daily basis is I have to pass an embroidery sign in my kitchen that says "Make hay while the sun shines" and I just don't have the heart to go out in this heat to make ANYTHING!

Sad isn't it?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

In loving Memory

I woke this morning....once at 3 am...and again at 4. Not that this is necessarily unusual, but it was significant for me. Today is August 6. Three years ago, on this date...just at 4am, my phone rang. I didn't get to it before the answering machine cut on..time '4:03'..Tony said my name..and hung up. I STILL have that message on my machine.  He waited a minute and called back. I got that call. Click here to read:

In memory of
Deputy Dennis Carl Compton
Badge #535
Colleton County Sheriffs Department

End of watch: 08-06-08

"Mama take this badge off of me...I can't use it anymore"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


They come in the don't know they are there, they are quiet & sneaky. Unlike a mouse, they leave no 'indication' they have been there.

What happens is, you go to get something out of your cabinet, totally unawares of the little crawlers and suddenly, you have 5 of them on your hand, you look down and see several on the counter. As your eyes move up and scan the item you just pulled out of your cabinet, you see several crawling on it and then you make the mistake of looking inside!!
It's loaded with ants! This could be anything from crackers to marshmallows. Trust me the bag of marshmallows I pulled out yesterday looked like hunks of swiss cheese !

I began pulling other things out of the cabinet that ended up in the trash or fed to the chickens. Crackers, raisins, said bag of marshmallows and several other items that I can't even remember right now.

Strangely enough, here is what they did NOT eat or get into, pasta (go figure) and chocolate chips ..Now, I have to ask..WHY? Do ants 'know' what's bad or something?

Either way, I fought ants, wiping and spraying, checking food and moving items (thank goodness for tin cans) for most of the day.
Then a whole day goes by and I keep checking for ants, no sign. Good, maybe I've taken care of it again (this has already happened 2x's this year). So tonight I'm in the kitchen putting away dinner. I pull out a plastic storage container was moving!
What in the world could they possibly be after in THIS cabinet. There is nothing there but plastic containers and lids. AND OH MY GAWD..the lids! They were coated in the little buggers!

Needless to say, everything was dumped into the dishwasher, the cabinet emptied and sprayed and again tonight I'm fighting ants.
Someone give me a clue! I've tried everything!
WHY do ants come in?
(just a hint here so that you'll know in advance. I've lived here at this same spot for 15 years..and this is only the 2nd time this has happened. First, the summer of 2009 and now the summer of 2011) What has happened here! And we just got rain, so they're not looking for water..

You know..the summer of 2009 we had an ant invasion from hell. That winter, we got like almost 8 inches of snow...had a white out here for several hours, lots of ice, trees down, etc. (UNHEARD of for Southern South Carolina puhlease!) Then, last summer, no ants. I was relieved. Last winter, no snow, not that cold even.
Could this be a sign of things to come? Is it going to snow on us again this year? hmmm..makes me wonder!