Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency,

gardening, food preservation, thrifting, cookery and more...

Sep 14, 2014

Big Nectarine Harvest and Preserving

Big Nectarine Harvest-
Here's how my weekend went.... Dave harvested all the nectarines, a big haul! I canned 19 Qts. and froze 15 gallons in ziploc bags. I am SO TIRED, but we got a lot of fruit!  I also made a huge, lasagna-pan-sized cobbler, yummy! Surprising considering we had a major pruning done of it. I'm off to bed early tonight! My back is sooooo sore....

Just part of the harvest, we had 3 coolers full and one laundry basket


Great stuff, no flavor or yellowing

big one!

My outdoor steam canner set up, nice when it's only 78 degrees...

Sep 6, 2014

Selling Tech to Tots: The Downside

Selling Tech to Tots: The Downside-
There's LOTS of money to be made off uninformed people who thinking if a little technology is good for them, it's great for their young kids! I get so frustrated reading all the excuses people make for sticking their child in front of a screen. It's "educational" therefor it's ok. Parenting is exhausting no doubt, but that's what you signed up for. And there's things like babysitters, and child care swap friends! If you want an easy, restful life, don't have kids. Not everyone is cut out for it. I see first hand every day the trouble with getting kids hooked on devices. I had to explain to a 6th grader recently that ebook aren't always a good idea, that batteries can fail, wireless can fail, devices crash. She just didn't get it. With no power you just have an expensive piece of plastic, a nice paperweight. A Special Ed teacher told me years ago that the "baby Einstein" kids would probably all become ADHD over time. That was what the scientific research showed. Great. You want your kids to be smarter and you wind up with a damaged child. But someone made some $$$. 

I read a post recently that really brought together all the bad reasons why young kids shouldn't be using technology, or much of it at all. As a very busy Mom who worked full time and raised 3 very bright kids, and is VERY techy, I would say there's all kinds of problems there. Scientists have been warning for several years about the damage done to the wiring of young kid’s brains by putting them in front of TVs, Ipads, devices. Not to mention the radiation coming off the devices. 10 Reasons Why Devices Should Be Banned For Kids Under 12  by The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics. Educators are seeing this too (I’m one). Kids with no patience, glued to screens and not interacting with people, lack of social skills, etc. I read people are putting their kids in bed to chill with a device, never a good idea. No child should ever be alone with tech. As a tech support person I know that technology can fail, devices can overheat, stuff happens. Our Roku2 had to go back to the store a while back, as it was so hot it almost melted. Could have started a fire. Kids should be able to go relax or go to sleep with a night light, a book, a stuffed animal, and someone who loves them. Kids can do this really strange thing and go outside and run around! It doesn't take much to take 10 minutes and read a book to your child, sing to them and hold them to help them relax. Relaxing music is wonderful too- have them close their eyes and think about what the music would look like? Use their imagination! It’s just so much better to cuddle a person than a piece of plastic. They’ll have plenty of time to be techy later, and then they are all done with the cuddling stage. Good article here too-

amen to that

Heading Into Fall, Independence Days, Setting Up An Outdoor TV Antenna, A Little Early Halloween For Work

     Herb fairy garden

Heading Into Fall-
This week has been the "get out the fleece jacket" time. Days are getting shorter and cooler. We had the highs in low 70's and hit high 40's at night. We'll be in the 80's this week, but then 50 at night. Not bad! I did some yard work this afternoon and it was only about 75. I love the fall, just waiting for things to keep ripening before a hard freeze. Sometimes that's October, but sometimes early November. Who knows? More of the garden in "high summer"-

a few raspberries on our new plants!

lemon cuke, finally, my fave!

my daughter's squash patch  

girls still growing, eggs next month, I hope!

my camera-shy barred rock :)

Independence Days-
I haven't done one of these for a bit, so here ya go!

1. Plant Something-
No fall gardens here, hot then straight to freezing. I may order some seeds for next year.

2. Harvest Something-
Various tomatoes, lemon cukes, yellow squash, pickling cukes, green beans, Italian kale (excellent!), herbs. 

3. Preserve/Store Something-
French nectarines are still a bit too firm and tangy, will wait another 1-2 weeks to harvest, then a canning and freezing frenzy! They are so good dead ripe :) No apples this year, and about 10 pears on our baby pear tree. I may buy some apples to can for applesauce. I make mine chunky with lots of spices. Great in the winter with pork or for breakfast. Buying summer grilling meat and freezing for winter.

4. Manage Reserves- Get a Good Deal/Barter/Stock Up/Prep-
Still stocking up the pantry on a regular basis. I bought some small, canned hams, for soups, etc. Still freezing local, artisan, organic breads from the outlet. We may do a pick-your-own apples, if it's not too far away.

5. Eat the Food- Try New Foods/Recipe-
Kale salads, fermented pickles. Using some of the meats in the freezer to make room for nectarines. Made some sausage with sauteed garden veggies, yummy!

6. Build Community Food Systems-
 Neighbor may have some rhubarb she gives us, the rural farmer's market is just too far away to buy much. The downtown version is too overpriced for me. 

7. Recycle/Re-Use-
Cleaned coop. spread shavings into the garden. Bought an old window for a chicken wire display. Will get it together in the next week. Bought a like-new used bathroom cabinet for $5.00 at the Habitat Store. Dave hung it today for me. Perfect for a little decor, with some beachy stuff leftover from our main bathroom remodel. I knew I'd find a spot for it somewhere...

 8. Skill Up-
 Learned how to install an antenna watching Dave.

9. Regenerate What is Lost/Salvage Something-
Dishwasher quit, so Dave pulled it, and did some diagnosing. We loaded it into the wagon and took it to a reliable repair guy we've used before. We think they can repair it. A new one would be several hundred dollars. I have told Dave to just use the extra space for shelves, but I think he's afraid he'd be doing dishes the rest of his life! :)

Setting Up An Outdoor TV Antenna-
We had been using Dish with HBO for a while. At one point we had cable, but then Dish was cheaper so we switched. Since we rarely go to movies it was good deal at the time. We started thinking about switching to Netflix, since there's so much more variety, and it's so much cheaper- $8.99 a month. ***Dish would be wise to come up with some GOOD packages that are cheaper. We had one up from the bottom, and the low price one was mostly junk channels. No History, A&e, TNT, etc.*** So... first we ditched HBO a few months ago, after the Game of Thrones finale :) We got Netflix after that, easy to install with our wireless and a Roku 2. We started looking around for an outdoor antenna and got this Antenna at Best Buy. Since we're in the middle of town we knew we'd get a strong signal. Long story short, Dave and I spent a lot of time (hours) trying to get a clear signal from the roof. We'd get some stations, but not others. FINALLY Dave realized he was trying to use the OLD cable. Off to the store. New cable. Problem solved! Clear as a bell!!! AND we gained 4 PBS channels instead of 1! Note to self- do a clean install with new cable, not 10-20 year old cable. It may LOOK ok, but it's the guts that count. Cancelled Dish, more $$$ in our pockets. And I LOVE Netflix, catching up on the old Haven episodes from the Syfy series, the only decent series left IMO.... 

Better shot of the antenna-
Better shot of the antenna

A Little Early Halloween For Work-
Being an elementary librarian I HAD to but this little guy for $5.00 online. Cute huh? I decided to buy these too for a couple bucks, 2 cute little burlap covered birds, great for fall!

time to dust I see :(

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