Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Doin's and Stuff

Wow! Doesn't seem like it's been 9 days since Easter, which was just a couple of days ago.

Last Wednesday, J got hurt during some training at work and has been on the injured list this past week.
Nothing serious, he got hung up during some Confined Space drills and pulled/strained/or otherwise injured his left chest wall.
As long as he kept his left arm down, he wasn't in pain. But lifting it, or anything else, hurt him a lot for a few days.

The first day he was home he rested/slept a lot.
The next day he rested some, but felt like he could ride the riding mower and cut the front left quadrant of the front yard.

I don't know if it's because it's West facing and doesn't get as much sun (I have a terrible time growing anything up there) or if it was because it was an old home place (the house burnt down years ago) but it is more grassy and less flowering "weeds" up there, so I thought it would be okay to go ahead and mow it.

I pushed around the edges with the push mower, and cut me a little trail through the backyard down to the tater bins where I decided to try another, different kind of garden this year.

It's called a Three Sisters garden (aka companion gardening). From ancient Native American legend, the Three Sisters are Corn, Beans, and Squash. Corn and beans are planted in every other mound, staggered with squash/pumpkin planted in the other mounds.

Eventually this will be 3 rows of 5 mounds, but since we were only planting corn right now, we mainly concentrated on the corn mounds. The one row has some empty mounds which will be for the squash/pumpkin, but they were just made to help with the spacing for now.

Since J wasn't able to till up the area, I put down newspapers to try to hold down the grass/weeds growing up through the mounds, but I expect I'll have to do a good bit of weeding.

I soaked my corn seed for a couple days before planting, but didn't germinate them like I did the tomatoes and peppers, so I'm hoping they will grow, as they were fairly old seeds.

When the corn grows about 4 inches tall, I'll plant the beans and squash/pumpkin. (And try to save out any potato plants the might grow, since that's the same dirt that was used for these.)

We had this pile of brush and stuff that we'd been piling up to burn off for about the past year (before we learned about Hugelkultur, but didn't feel like dragging it all to somewhere else in the yard and try to cover with soil, because 1) it wasn't staying there, and 2) we don't have that much dirt anywhere in the yard. Trust me, there will be plenty more brush/sticks/limbs to do any Hugelkulturing with).

J lit it up while I stood off to the side nearly in tears. Fire scares me a lot. I thought the tree was going to catch fire, then the shed, then the house, then the neighbors', then the neighborhood....

He did a pretty good job keeping it controlled down so I wouldn't be so nervous - even though he'd have rather watch it rage big and hot.

Eventually I went in and grabbed the makings for an impromptu picnic. Ham sandwiches, chips, and fudge striped cookies. For some reason, food just tastes so much better outside.

He heated our ham in a tin pie plate, on the rake, over the fire, haha. #RedneckCookin'

This particular area of the yard is centered between three really large trees, and is just so peaceful. I've thought about making it into an actual camping area with a fire ring and something maybe like the hanging trampolines turned into beds, or hanging pallet beds, or tent shelters.

We got a good bit of project work done on the new kitchen, too, but not as much as we could have. The plumbing just did not want to cooperate at. all.  He glued the pipes together, and they leaked. He did it again, and they leaked. The hardware store sold him some putty stuff to wrap around the leaking area, but it still leaked. He cut them all off and started over, and it still leaked. He squirted on some Goo glue stuff, and it still leaks. We're beyond knowing what to do at this point.

With help, we were able to get the sink installed, and the drains in and the dishwasher hooked up. Everything would be great if the one water pipe wouldn't leak.

A couple of days back I scored a large Freecycle haul (which I'll do a separate post about later), and brought a lot of stuff into the house. Which made me feel the need to get rid of some stuff in trade.
Not a lot of it was from inside the house, but I loaded up a truckload of cardboard and plastics from the carport to carry off to the convenience center.

I've been sorting through the Freecycle items the past couple of days, keeping what I wanted and donating the rest. I ended up getting rid of at least half the stuff if not more.

J went back to the Doctor this morning, who said he was good and was released to go back to work. He's not scheduled to work until tomorrow night, so hopefully I can get two more small(ish) projects from my list done tomorrow. Then I can start a new list.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Just to clarify, the Easter cartoon videos I had posting these past few weeks wasn't a Religious or any other kind of "Statement".  They were just Throwbacks, cartoons I enjoyed watching as a kid.

Between J getting up to go work and R coming in from work, I was awakened around 7am this morning, and found I couldn't doze back off for another hour or so because I had homemade Reese's Eggs on my mind.  Finally I decided to just get up and make the darn things.

I got the peanut butter/butter/sugar mixture all made up and sitting to cool, and went to get the milk chocolate chips out of the freezer to start melting.  Horrifyingly I found everything but milk chocolate chips - white, double, dark, Heath, Butterscotch, mint....

I jumped on the 'net and checked and saw that Dollar General was open. DG is walking distance right up the road, but I didn't have time today to walk so I drove up there.
They had Nestle Tollhouse milk choc chips, but they weren't priced. There was the store brand price, and the Nestle Semi-sweet chips on sale for $2.65.
I figured if the Semi-sweet chips were on sale for $2.65, the Milk choc chips were probably over $3.00, but at that point I was willing to pay out the nose to avoid having to go to Walmart.

I also grabbed a bag of brown sugar while I was there since I was nearly out and had added it to my list this morning.

I went to check out, what should have been $7 - $8, and the cashier said "That'll be $1.57".

I was stunned for a moment, but then I thought, Did what I think happened, just happen?
I paid and got my receipt and sure enough! I had accidently found a Penny item!

I couldn't believe it, of all the luck, on something I really needed and was willing to way over-pay for.

Since the cashier didn't notice they were Penny items to tell me no, I went back to get the rest of them. There was only 2 bags left, but I'm not complaining!

I got the Reese's eggs done, the car loaded, and me and Kev headed out. We picked up my oldest son and his girlfriend, and went to Mom's for Easter dinner.

We had a nice gathering, and dinner, as usual, was plentiful and delicious. Mom made a lemon meringue pie with lemons from a tree she raised. Double score! She grew it herself, and Ryan and I looooove lemon meringue pie.

But I was a total fail at the Easter Egg Hunt this year.
Honestly, I didn't realize I was always in charge of the Egg Hunt. My kids are grown.
We didn't hide eggs last year - but then they reminded me I didn't go to their house last year, I went to my cousin's and there were no little kids.
Not really sure exactly what I was thinking, but apparently it didn't involve an Easter Egg Hunt.

Anyway, I had taken my Mom a couple bags of pre-wrapped hide & seek marshmallow eggs, and she donated some of them to the cause, so the boys hid the eggs, and the only two littlest ones hunted them.

It turned out to be a gorgeous, sunny, warm - but not hot or humid - perfect Easter Sunday.

The First Easter Rabbit

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Day Before Easter

Today I had planned to work on getting Treats ready for Easter, and going to my Mom's to visit with them and my Sister, who is up for the Holiday.

I made these baskets out of boxes of Theater candy for J, the boys, and one for my nephew. The handles are Sour Punch Straws taped together and wrapped in a mesh ribbon.

Made these Bunny-in-a-jars for my Mom, Sister, Aunt(s), Cousin(s).

I had also planned to make a few batches of my DIY Reese's Eggs that I planned to give to my Cousin and Brother-in-Law, but we ended up taking a last minute trip to opposite side of Atlanta to look at/buy a camper.

Last year we had bought a small travel trailer that turned out to be too small. So I had been looking for another one, still small, but a little larger.

This one popped up on Craigslist yesterday. It's 30 years old, but in our price range, and in surprisingly good, nearly original shape for both the age and price. Mostly campers as cheap as I needed it to be are "vintage" "project" trailers, gutted, or needed completely refurbishing.

J came in this morning from working 48 hours - the last 24 on the ambulance which is non-stop, no breaks, no naps - and goes back to work tomorrow, so this afternoon was about the only opportunity we'd have to go. I don't doubt it would have sold before we could go on Monday. I missed out on another one a couple weeks ago because we couldn't go see it quick enough.

By the time we got back, the family had gone to a dinner (I was invited, didn't want to go, because, anti-social). Also, I was soooo tired. Riding is exhausting for some reason. I really just wanted to come home, take off my shoes, fix my Reese's eggs, and crash.

Instead, J plugged the electricity in the camper and turned on the lights and started messing with things. I thought we'd pretty much gone over everything, checked out and messed with everything at the lady's we bought it from house.

I was poking around in the back, making packing or decorating plans or whatever, and J says "Shhh..."  He listened, and went outside, and came back  inside and looked at something and said, "Yep, that's what I thought I heard."  I went and looked, and water was pouring from the wall, and out the back of the thing!

WTH? Have you ever heard of anyone with as bad luck as us?  That couldn't have shown up while we were looking at it? I could've probably got it for half the price, since now we apparently have to replace the water heater. J thinks it probably froze during our especially cold winter this year and busted the inner tank. FML.

(I'm sure the lady had no idea about it, because she went to the trouble of dragging out drop cords to plug it in to show us everything worked, and even turned on the water pump. I'm sure she wouldn't have done that if she knew it would pour water out of the wall. I guess we just didn't run it long enough for enough water to come out at her place.)

Needless to say, tired and then discouraged on top of that, the Reese's eggs didn't get done.

Friday, April 18, 2014


Last year, I had a really "Duh" moment when it occurred to me that Bees were important for gardening, and that was when we decided to allow our yard grow up in the Spring, instead of running out to cut it as soon as it started growing the least little bit.

Because our yard, full of what most call "weeds" is actually thousands and thousands of a hundred different variety of Flowers.

Beautiful flowers. It's frustrating because I can't manage to capture the beauty, what I see, with my camera.
Doubly frustrating because even in person, most look at the yard and see a neglected-looking, weed-infested, over-grown mess.

When actually it's a vast collection of lovely, colorful Spring wonderfulness. Literally every bit of what you see in the picture has some kind of flower on it. White, purple, pink, yellow, blue. Some are so tiny you have to get close in to see, but they are there.

Star of Bethlehem
There are gorgeous patches and patches of these beautiful white flowers. This picture don't do it justice at all.

Fields of these dainty, lovely yellow flowers.

Unknown name, resembles a Daisy

Purple Violets
Large patch of lovely, delicate White Violets.

White Violets
Hello, Bee.

That there is a Carpenter Bee. Exterminators and others will tell you these Bees are the worst thing ever.
We swat away the ones up at the house, digging and drilling into the wood, but we don't kill them on account of they're excellent pollinators.

When the weather is nice, I hang out a good bit on my back porch, and I look out over the back yard and am just awed by all the beautiful flowers.

I wonder, how can they not see?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Spring has Sprung, Gone a'Yard Saleing

You'll be happy to know, the taxes got done yesterday. Okay, you probably don't really care, but it makes me

Happ-eeeee, so very happ-eeeee.

The day started out so very beautiful, clear and sunny,  a leetle bit chilly (for me) at first but warmed up quickly.
I carried my plants out to the back porch to soak up some fresh air for the day. Then gathered up my things and headed off to my Aunt's house.

Just up the road from her house was a yard sale. I told her about it when I got to her house and she asked did I want to go to it, and work on the taxes later.

Heck, yeah!

So went to it, and I did good. There were a couple of little things I might have picked up, but decided I would be able to live without.

The BIG thing that helped me buy nothing was that nothing was priced.  I'm one that generally won't ask prices, unless it's something I might particularly want. If it's something I'm wishy-washy about, not pricing it makes it a lot easier for me to pass up.

After we left there, we drove on up the road, and down another, and around, and found a few more yard sales to stop at.

The next one I didn't fair so well. They had a lot of stuff.

I found a lamp for $1.00. It's ugly, but I needed a lamp and it was only $1.00.

I also found an old, Made in the USA, metal can opener for 25¢. J's cousin saw mine and mentioned he was looking for one, for the same reason I have one - all the new can openers are crap. I've bought several from the Dollar store and they don't work, won't half-ass, or at all, cut the can open.  The last two electric can openers I bought wouldn't cut the cans open.

Maybe I'm just unlucky with can openers, but he said he had the same problems.

A lot of the other stuff they had was clothes and old tools and furniture and, just a really lot of stuff, but nothing I really needed or wanted.

They had a lot of antique stuff, though, I was just looking at out of curiosity. None of it was priced, but they were so helpful, following me around and telling me all about the item, how much they wanted, and how much ones like it goes for on "the internet".

Most of it was too much and easy to resist, but then there was an enamel table top and she was only asking $15.00 on it.

I'm no where near an antiques expert, but I do know vintage enamel ware is pretty dang expensive, and was (am) considerably certain that an enamel table top, even missing it's bottom part, isn't something I should pass up at $15.00.

But actually I did pass it up, at first. I didn't need it, I already have more tables than any normal person should, I needed to not spend money more than I needed this table top...

But then I saw these windows. She saw me looking and said she was asking $5.00 a piece on them, and helpfully started listing off all the projects and things I could do with them. I pretty much stopped listening at $5.00 a piece. That was the price I had in mind I would pay if I was wanting to buy them.

I paid for my lamp and can opener, and we went and got in the car, but then I was like, I wonder if she'll take $20 for the table top and the windows.  So we got back out, and I made the offer and she accepted. So I actually ended up paying $10 for the enamel table top.
I haven't looked into what it might go for if I was planning to re-sell it, because I'd rather build a table under it and keep it (have I mentioned I might be addicted to kitchen tables, of all things?), but I'm still almost certain I got a great deal on it.

The next yard sale was one like I was saying made it hard for me to pass things up. The stuff was priced, and most of it was reasonable.

There was a 25¢ table and I grabbed this clay pot that says "Italy" on the bottom, and a glass bowl that I'm almost positive was vintage or antique.  My Aunt liked it so I gave it to her.

They also had a 50¢ table, with an Avon bottle I had my hand at least 4 times before I was able to harass myself out of it, and a $1.00 table, and jars and Christmas, and...lots of stuff.

Probably the only reason I didn't buy more there, despite telling myself not to, was that the guy aggravated me. Apparently they were from out west, and apparently he missed it, a lot, and wishes he was back there - and I wished he was, too.

The last yard sale we went to was inside a house. A house like we've never seen before. I sure wish I'd taken pictures. I almost feel like I need to ditch our major kitchen re-plumbing project tomorrow to be able to go back and take pictures of this house. I don't know why I didn't yesterday. We were just in shock and awe, I guess.

From the outside it looked like a normal, older farm house. You walk in the front door into a foyer, normal enough. There's a bedroom? or den/office to the right.
Past that was another room, a bedroom probably. But now you go through that 2nd room, into an added on room that was about the size of a large closet or small bedroom. It may have been a closet, because you turn left out of it into a large bathroom. There was door in the back of the bathroom that I thought went out into the back yard, but turned out it was another large room, with a high pointed ceiling. It had a game table in the center of the room, and shelves along the walls. I assume it was a game room.

If you go back out into the foyer and turn right, you pass a half bath, or powder room, toilet and sink, and then go straight into a large bathroom with a communal shower, like a locker room. Two 3/4 tile walls on each side, no door in the center, you walk in and pick which side you want to shower on. So weird!!!
There was another toilet, and at the side of the room there was another door, which we found out led to a hallway to a door that opened to the back yard.

Back in the foyer, across from the 1st room, is a diningroom/kitchen. Going up from it is a set of extremely weird steps, it was like, left foot, right foot, left foot...
Okay, they are called alternate stepping, like these. Anyway, we didn't even try to go up those - afraid we'd break our fool necks - but there appeared to be a loft up there. No telling what kind of actual surprise was up there, though.

A hall was off the kitchen, with a bedroom, next to it was a normal set of steps going up, I guess to another loft space, I didn't go up them. Then there was another large room, a den, on the back, with very expensive looking, fancy wood walls and ceilings, built-ins, and a rock wood stove hearth.

My Aunt was like, "Wha - ? Wah - ?" and I was pretty much the same way, but I think where she was appalled, I was more like amazed. It was so eclectic and interesting - and I wanted it, bad! Sadly, though, they weren't yard sale-ing the house. Sniff, sniff.

Anyway, I did see this outdoor sink. I had been wanting one, but I didn't want to pay so much to buy a new one when I figured we could rig one with a salvaged kitchen sink.

I was going to offer the guy $5.00, but I think I have a fear of rejection or some crazy thing?, anyway I asked how much he wanted, and he said $5.00!

He said he'd asked $25.00, but realized a piece was broken on the reel that would have to be replaced. I looked it over and the parts I was most interested in - the hose connector, and the line going to the faucet - looked good. I didn't really care about the reel, I probably wouldn't reel up a hose on it anyway.
So I said, Oh, I guess my husband can fix that, and gave him $5.00 and took my sink.

I may, or may not, buy some Krylon Plastic spray paint and pretty it up. To be honest I'm not overly concerned about it's looks. I just like a place I can mess with my plants, planting, washing off any garden veggies, and washing my hands. The reason it was difficult to do before with just the water hose is, we usually have three hoses connected together and stretched down to the garden for watering it. It was a PITA to have to drag them all back up to the house to be able to use outside water.  I usually just went inside to do my cleaning up, dirt, bugs and all.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

More Gardening

So I ended up with insomnia last night. I used to have insomnia nearly every night, but I learned to overcome it so it's rare I don't sleep at night these, nights.

But last night, I didn't feel good. Honestly, I felt hideous. Cramping and achy. When my tummy hurts, I eat and eat, which only makes it hurt more, I think. I felt bad, and I was mad, and upset about having to mess with the taxes, and I got to thinking about our finances, and all the horrible, very bad financial mistakes I've made over the years. All the years J has worked to earn it, and I spent/blew/wasted most of it.

Still do, truth be told. I've never called our mortgage companies to try to get the interest rates lowered, so we have the same rates as, like, 14-15 years ago, when others tell me they are paying lower rates now, since the banking/housing/economy crisis all went down.

I just don't have any idea about finances, mortgages, rates, any of it. I fear messing up even worse than I already have. I feel like if I just leave it alone, and work to get out of the mess, and not get into it again.
But then last night I was thinking how much we're paying in interest, we could maybe be paying less and getting out of the mess a lot sooner.
All night, it seems, I waited for morning, so I could call the company(ies) and talk to them.

But then I dozed off about 5:30am, got up around 7am to open the door for Ryan coming in from work and take a couple of ibuprofen, then passed back out until about noon.
When I got up again, I didn't want to mess with any of the household "business" - taxes, interest rates, bill paying, nothing.

So I put in a load of laundry and went out to plant tomatoes.

I came by a package of Jiffy Pots for free, so I used those to transplant more of my Beefsteak tomato plants, plus 4 styrofoam cups when I ran out of the pots.

All told, I have 35 Beefsteak tomato plants potted.
Not all of them sprouted, and some of these probably won't survive Transplant Trauma, but if nothing catastrophic happens, I should have a good few tomato plants to put in the garden when it's time.

As I was sitting there working on my transplanting, I heard a buzzing near my ear and looked up to see a Bee and a Spider on of the of the cups from yesterdays transplanting, that I had sitting out on top of the garbage can getting some sun.

When I first saw them, the Spider was over near the Bee, and looked like it was poking at it. The Bee poked back at the Spider, and either it or me reaching for my camera scared the Spider and it left.

The Bee appeared to be hugging my plant name tag and either stinging, or humping the side of the cup? Not sure, at any rate, it didn't seem to be interested in the tomato plant.

After that, I needed to transplant my Black Russian tomatoes into something larger, hopefully giving them some growing room to grow a bit bigger/stronger before I plant them out in the yard in the next couple of weeks.

I didn't have enough styrofoam cups left, and I wasn't going to buy anymore. I almost broke down and just made some more of the newspaper pots, but I was too worried they/I would kill the plants again.

I may end up killing them again anyway, but the idea I finally came up with, I call Hugelkultur v2.0.

I had an empty 5-gallon bucket that I thought would work pretty good for planting the tomatoes into to allow them some room to grow before I transplant them in the garden within the next couple of weeks.
If I was planning to raise a tomato plant in a bucket, there would only be room for one, but I just want mine to grow a little bit bigger/stronger, then I'll plant them in the garden to do their growing.

My considerations were, one thing, I didn't want to use so much of my potting soil filling the bucket, and also, I didn't want to drill holes in the bucket for drainage.

I had read about putting rocks or pine cones or plastic drinking bottles in the bottom of flower pots to take up some space so you need as much soil, so it occurred to me that I could do the same with sticks.
I wouldn't need to use as much soil, and any excess water will drain down into the sticks and not keep the soil too wet.

It worked out really good - so far.  I filled the bucket about 3/4 full with sticks I picked up from around the yard, then it didn't take very much potting soil at all to fill the rest of the bucket.

Crossing our fingers that it works and they grow...but not so much that I have trouble getting them loose when it's time to move them into the garden.

(This isn't technically Hugelkultur because - well, it's not a mound, or hill - or because I won't leave the soil/sticks in the bucket long-term to break down into new soil. Which it probably couldn't anyway, since it's in a plastic bucket, and worms and other bugs and stuff can't get in to process it. When I get done with the tomatoes, I'll probably dump the whole thing in one of the other Hugelkultur beds or something.)

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A Gardening Update

Let's see, the last time I posted about my seed-starting efforts, I had grown some Black Russian tomato plants, and the Datil peppers had germinated.

Since then, I have sprouted about 15 Datil pepper plants

And, a good many Beefsteak and Rutgers tomatoes finally germinated, so I got those planted and have a couple dozen tomato plants, give or take.

The thing is, the tomatoes sprouted about a week ago, the peppers about two weeks ago. It seems like once they got to a certain height, they just stopped growing. I guess they've maxed out whatever growth aid the little peat pods can give them.

I diddled around a few days trying to decide what to transplant the plants into.
Previously I had made newspaper seedling pots, and those just didn't work out well for me at all. I see a lot of others on the 'net saying they do it every year, and it's great, but mine, the newspaper sucked all the moisture out of the soil and the seeds either never sprouted, or the sprouts never grew.

Back in mid-March, I had germinated some Black Russian tomato seeds, and then instead of using the little peat pods, had sowed them directly into soil in a plastic plant container.

They all sprouted, but have only grown to a certain size, and seem to have stopped growing.

I don't really understand that because I have seen much larger plants than these sold in these little containers at the store.

Anyway, I didn't want to sow the peppers and tomatoes into a tray like this, only to have to re-sow them again to get them to grow any larger.

In the end, I settled on styrofoam cups. I knoooowww, ugh, so bad.  But it's what I had handy, and also J's partner at work raises plants in styrofoam cups with good results, so I hope for good results, too.

Even though it was in the 60's outside today, there was a chilly breeze and I lost my gardening mojo when I got cold, so I only did this many today. Hopefully tomorrow will be nicer and I can get out and do some more.

Oh wait, no, I still have to go to my Aunt's and get those stupid, stupid taxes done. Grrr. F'ing taxes.
I despise having to pay for wars, departments of pork and waste, and especially for multiple multi-f'ing-million-dollar vacations. Grrr!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Homemade Pie Crusts

Today was an awesomely rainy day - well, awesome for us, not so much for those that got flooded. We were woke up around 4am by some thunder-boomers, then after they passed it was just a good, hard rain, perfect for sleeping to.

I must have slept like a dead person...when I woke up again a few hours later, J was home and in the kitchen cooking breakfast.

After breakfast, he laid down for a nap, and I decided it would be a good day to work on another project in the kitchen: making ahead homemade pie crusts for freezing.

I have a recipe my Mom got from my Granny, who got it from I don't know where, but they always called it "Cheese Pie". I didn't learn until menia year later it's actually a ham and cheese Quiche.
Kev loves quiche, but I mostly stopped making it when me and J went (mostly) off gluten. I hadn't made it in awhile and Kev was asking me for it, but I didn't have any ham or pie crusts.

(It's coming up on Easter, I need to remember to get an extra ham when they're on sale for the Holiday for freezing for quiches and ham&beans and other eating for the next few months.)

I rode with Ryan to Walmart yesterday and remembered to grab a couple cans of cubed ham. Didn't buy any pie crusts because I protest how much they cost these days.

I looked up recipes for pie crusts on the internet, and they called for all-purpose flour. I only had a little bit of all-purpose flour, not enough, but what I did have was 50 pounds of self-rising flour I had stocked up on from Sam's. So I looked up recipes for pie crusts using self-rising flour, and about half said "Go ahead, I can't tell a difference", while the rest said "Don't do it".

Well, I did it, but I wasn't sure how they'd taste, if they'd taste too much like biscuits, or if the fam just wouldn't like them, so to start with I just made a couple of the quiches to try it out, see how they liked the crusts, before I made any more for freezing.

The pie crusts simply use: (Makes 1 crust)
1 cup self-rising flour
1/3 cup shortening
2 Tbsp Cold Water

Cut shortening into flour (with a pastry cutter thing, or I just use a fork, as my Home Ec teacher, Mrs. Lindley, taught us back in 1984. I believe that's the only thing I remember from that class) until crumbly.

Add water and mix until dough forms a ball.  Roll dough ball out on floured surface. I use wax paper.

I also flour the top of the dough ball and use a piece of wax paper on top, to roll out the crust between. I'm not too much of a germophobe, but I'm not sure where my rolling pin came from, or where it's been. I've washed it, but it still looks dirty to me, so I just don't want it touching my food.

Transfer the crust into your glass or tin (aluminum) pie plate/pan and either cut off the edges, or tuck them under. I flute around the edges with the fork tines.

To make the ham and cheese quiche:

2 (two) 5oz cans ham, or 8 - 10 oz cooked ham
4 eggs
8oz (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup of milk
salt & pepper

(You can also add sausage, spinach, broccoli, peppers, or anything else you like.)

Mix all together and pour into 2 pie shells. Bake at 350* for about 45 minutes. (I put mine on a cookie sheet because sometimes, just randomly, with no apparent rhyme or reason, they'll decide to run over.)

The guys approved, said it tasted like "regular crust" to them, so I went ahead and whipped up 6 more pie shells to put in the freezer.

They are really pretty quick and easy to just make fresh, but sometimes I'm just that lazy, that I just want to be able to reach in the freezer and pull out a crust already ready to go.

Otherwise today, I cleaned off the kitchen table and counter, washed the tablecloth along with a chenille bedspread, J and Kev got a spice rack built in the new kitchen, and they put up a new screen door on the carport door, so I can leave the house door open and be able to get some fresh Spring-time air.

It's suppose to be nice tomorrow, and get nicer all week. The weatherman said this weekend should be "Perfect", sunny and in the mid-70's. J happens to have this weekend off, so I'm very hopeful and excited that we'll be able to get the major plumbing part of the new kitchen done, and with that, we'll actually be just about all moved into the new kitchen.

Saturday, April 05, 2014


I first heard about Hugelkultur (HOO-gul-culture) while perusing Gardenweb forums awhile back, but at the time didn't give it too much thought. We had a garden area, I figured that was all we needed.
(It was all my Grandparents/parents ever had.)

Fast forward - or, no, wait, go back a good many years ago, not long after we bought this place, before we even thought about beginning to garden, we did some yard cleaning. There had been a strip of "jungle", random trees and brush, along the middle of the back yard, actually all around the Pecan tree. I'm not sure what it's purpose had been, but it divided the yard in half, and I wanted it gone.

Rather than do the hard work ourselves, as we later learned to do, J decided he needed to rent a bobcat to do the work. So, he rented a Bobcat, shoved everything down, then dug a hole and buried all the detritus and covered it.
Now, fast forward about a dozen years, all that crap broke down and rotted away, causing a hole in the back yard. Derp!

A few years ago, not long after we'd first started gardening, I can't recall how I chose the spot I did, but right in front of the area where-the-hole-developed, I had J build a box on the ground for me to plant tomatoes.
It's hard to remember, but I believe it was before we had our current garden spot, and I'd planted a crop of corn down by the pool, and tomatoes up in the yard closer to the house.

We just built the box on the ground and I chopped up the grass/weeds with a shovel and turned it into a planter bed, but not really a raised bed.

I think I had tomatoes in the box for a couple of years, then we made our current garden and iirc, the box was empty for awhile.

When the hole developed, I just picked up the front edge of the box and flipped it over backwards and it pretty much framed the hole almost exactly.

Because my tomatoes had done pretty well up here in the past, and my blueberry bushes have not done very well down in the back, I decided I would fill in the hole with the soil from the Potato Condos and move my blueberry bushes into it.
A month or so ago, me and Kev had dug up about half of one of the Potato Condos and had relocated the soil into this box. But then the weather turned off cold and nasty again and we didn't mess with it again for awhile.

Yesterday, one of the FB pages I follow, Homestead Survival, had posted about Hugelkultur and I was looking at it, and J - looking over my shoulder - asked me what it was. I answered him, and that was that.

Except it wasn't. Later he was sitting in the livingroom and hollered out, "What was that thing you were saying about earlier?"  I told him, spelled it (after googling the spelling myself).

Later he came in here and starts talking about he thought that sounded like a good idea to do out in the side yard where that tree had come down a couple years back and there was still all those giant logs sitting out there, and the terrain there is so hilly and holey, that could save us having to buy and haul in a ton of dirt.
(I was going to save us from buying/hauling in any dirt by just not buying/hauling in any dirt, and leaving the place hilly and holey. We don't do anything with that part of the yard, except mow it. I still have "plans" I'd like to get a couple of goats and it'd be a fine place for them...)

Anyway, we walked out there and looked at it, and we'll probably end up doing it later, if for no other reason than to dispose of all those giant logs we really can't do anything with. Plus it would help fill in the yard there.

Then he nodded towards a pile of brush and logs that I have been intending to relocate for awhile but never got around to it, and said, that stuff'd be great in your box back there. And I was like, oh snap! that's true!

It was cool this morning, but this afternoon was sunny and nice, not too warm, and I went out and dug what soil we had already put in the box out.
I didn't look up the Hugelkultur again this morning, and had apparently mis-remembered the order of directions, so I ended up putting down a layer of leaves first, before the wood, but oh well, it'll probably be okay.

Then Kev helped me load up all the brush and limbs and stuff from the pile and we filled the box with it.

J mentioned burying the box, too, so he may have had the idea of doing the 6 foot tall hill/mound like most of the hugelkultur sites talk about, but I think I'll just start with this smaller version.

We watered it down good, and then started adding the soil back on top of it.

Once it was filled in with all the wood, it didn't take all that much soil to finish up. If I'd filled in those Potato condos last year with wood first, I probably wouldn't have had all that trouble trying to fill them up with so much soil.

Speaking of potatoes, the soil we'd added to the box a month or so ago had come from the Potato condos. I mentioned back then that we'd probably end up growing potatoes along with whatever ended up getting planted in the box.

But I didn't expect to see a potato already growing this soon.

Apparently I forgot to take a picture of the box after we covered the wood in was time to get Ryan up, and I cooked dinner while he and Kev changed the oil in his car before he had to go to work tonight.