Be The Change

Our inner and outer worlds reflect each other with every thought, word, and deed.  Sifting through prior drafts of this blog, I am reminded of who I was and the hopes and dreams of a me that has changed, reshaped by the events of the passing days.  It’s amazing how some change happens so silently that one is unaware of the shift until viewing the past.

Kombucha brewing stopped, I became less fastidious with making due (thinking that I needed to be more conventional), and even went so far as to give my hens away to another family.  This last part was the eye-opener.   Members in the community thought I was ill; the peach tree, a sentinel outside the coop, began to die, and all sorts of rodents tried to move in under the then-vacant coop (groundhogs and weasels).

This little venture into a more ‘conventional’ lifestyle was not wasted as this experience taught me how to mitigate skunk spray, how to drive a groundhog from its hole without harming it, and reminded me that my life is too connected to this land and to Spirit to live a more modern or conventional lifestyle.   Hens are back, kombucha is brewing, and making due back on the table.

Do not allow the world to change who you are; be the change you want to see in the world … or in your community …. or in your home.

Just Peachy

Brandied Peaches

We are at the end of peach season and I almost missed it!  Thankfully the orchard we go to for peaches, strawberries, etc. has sunday hours and we were able to snag a bushel.  From these golden orbs I was able to tuck away peach chutney and just flat out canned peaches. No jam cause the basement has plenty, at this point; when our daughters moved out, I lost the majority of my jam and jelly eaters.  And yes, I do mail them jars of jam.

This is one of my go-to recipes when peach season rolls around.  This is not a post about how to can as there are a ton of sites out there that cover that along with the Ball canning guide (booklet version).

Peach chutney.  I’ve had people ask what is a chutney and it is a spicy condiment, made of fruits or veggies and vinegar, spices, and sugar.  In India a chutney is used to help balance the doshas within a meal.  Personally, I eat chutney because the taste goes with EVERYTHING (imho), including french fries.  Husband isn’t a fan and that’s ok – means there is more for me.

This recipe comes from Allrecipes.com <– this is to the recipe itself.  In case you don’t want to wander, I’ve spelled it out below including some of my own commentary.

Spicy Peach Chutney

 Ingredients

  • 4 lbs sliced peeled peaches
  • 1 cup raisins (it doesn’t matter golden or regular, the chutney is dark when done)
  • 2 cloves garlic, mined
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 5 oz chopped preserved ginger
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp mustard seed
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 4 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup pickling spice

Method

  1. Place pickling spice in a cheesecloth bag and add, along with all the remaining ingredients, to a large heavy pot.  Stir to combine.  Here, I have a large tea ball and used as much of the 1/4 pickling spice as I could fit into the tea ball.  It all didn’t fit and the chutney is still super yummy!
  2. Bring to a gentle boil and cook over medium heat, uncovered, until the mixture reaches your desired consistency.  It’ll take about 1 1/2 hours to reach a thick sauce. Stir often to prevent scorching on the bottom.  You know your stove and pots so use accordingly.
  3. Remove the spice bag/ball and ladle into hot sterilized jars.  Here the directions get a little vague.  I filled my jars to within 1/2″ of the rim, sealed with lids and rings and processed in a hot water canner for 10 minutes (that part was in the original directions); be sure the jar tops are completely covered by the water.  You can always check with your local extension office for your area to be sure of the time.  This is what works for me.

As the days grow shorter, this is a wonderful reminder of summer, along with the canned peaches (medium syrup) and brandy peaches.  Makes me happy to think about them.  Let me know if you are interested in the other recipes.

Mondays Washing Day

mondays washday

I remember this little rhyme from a Little Golden Book; Mondays wash day, Tuesday Irons …. Cannot remember the rest of the rhyme and it is difficult to find online.

As a grownup, wash day is whatever day I can get the clothes to the machine and since I only have three uniforms, I wash clothes every other day.  With all that washing going on, it is important that the soap I use not only work but also not break the bank AND be easy on the environment.

TADA!  Following is a recipe for the liquid laundry soap I use; makes 10 quarts of soap and fills three old Gain Laundry soap containers.  A cap full (probably more than I really need) does a full load.  Because this doesn’t sud up, it is safe to use in HE washers.  When I had an HE washer, I used this same soap without issue.

Now to the magic:

Liquid Laundry Soap

Ingredients

  • 1 cup grated Fels Naptha soap
  • 1/2 cup Borax
  • 1/2 cup Washing Soda (not the same as baking soda)
  • 1 litre water
  • 10 litre bucket

method

  1. In a sauce pan, heat the 1 litre water and stir in the grated Fels Naptha soap.  You are going to stir this til all the grated pieces are dissolved in the water.
  2. Once the grated soap is dissolved, stir in the Borax and Washing Soda til dissolved.
  3. Fill 10 litre bucket with 8ish litre’s of warm water; add the soap mix and stir until blended.  Top off with water to reach the 10 litres.
  4. Pour into storage containers.

Really simple, right?  I haven’t priced this out yet but can say that a box of Borax and Washing Soda last a very long time.  Since none of this contains phosphates, it is environmentally friendly to boot.  Enjoy!

Knitting For Dishes

dish cloths

Knitting and crochet have been part of my life for a long time and making items that can be used in the home is paramount.  One of my favorite patterns is a simply knit dish cloth.  It wasn’t until my mother in law (MIL) moved in that I realized that some stitches, while making a nice looking dish cloth, create a cloth too thick to be easily rung by aging hands.  So those, more densely stitched cloths, will be used for something other than washing dishes and I began to knit the cloths that my MIL has used in the past and are easier to wring out.  dish cloths

This cloth is knit on the diagonal and the pattern is simple enough that one can knit while ‘watching’ t.v., chatting with family, riding in the car (unless you get carsick).  The original can be found here.

I use peaches and cream yarn and size 6 (US) needles.

  • Cast on 4 stiches.
  • Row 1: knit 4 stitches
  • Row 2: knit 2, yarn over, knit remaining row.  Repeat row 2 until you have 44 stitches on your needle.
  • Row 3: knit 1, knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 2 together, knit to end of row.  Repeat until you have 4 stitches on your needle. At this point, I bind off.  The original pattern suggests, you could crochet around and end with a loop at the end.

And that is it; a quick knit.  What’s on your needles?

A Bit Of Snow

snow

In case you are coming to the area to ski, there is something you need to know….

The slopes are currently open on Thursday – Sunday, meaning closed Mondays – Wednesday.

Tubing is closed.

The ski slope webcam can be found HERE. < this is actually pretty cool.

So far, we’ve had a pretty mild winter, compared to recent winters; not that I am complaining, or anything. The Hagerstown Almanac doesn’t call for much snow in February either, a few days of heavy show between the 17th and the 19th.  We will see.

Stay Warm!

UPDATE  The slopes were only closed during that time as they were making snow.  All slopes and tubing are now open.  The webcam is cool to watch, even at night when they are just making snow.