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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Birds in the Hand

Spring is in the air... and the birds are turning into airheads!

Our first little dummy was so busy chasing another Titmouse that he/she failed to notice the kitchen window.


Himself went out to check on the situation.  Usually they just fly off to the nearest tree where they shake their head like "Dang!  That hurt!"

But sometimes they knock themselves loopy (thankfully we rarely have a fatality).

While he was rescuing, I was preparing the 'recovery pitcher'.  We have a designated yellow pitcher just for holding 'critters'.  Many birds have rested safely in the warm or cool of our house until they were ready to go back outside.

After about a half hour this cheeky bird was pecking on the side of the container wanting OUT.  When I turned the lid to see her, she made to come out of that hole.

Yep, she was ready to fly!  We took her out the front, opened the lid, and she flew straight up like a hummingbird then she was gone.

Our next rescue was not so cute...

A dang starling pushed its way into our chimney.

Persia let us know about the intruder.

We let her have a bit of fun with it for a while.

You know... it is a shame they are such disgusting sky rats.  They really are quite pretty.

They absolutely glow.

This one was so scared he was holding his own leg!

GOOD!  Maybe he won't come back!!
(Can you believe I rescued a starling?!?!)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Walker (Temp Post)

This is the kind Dorothy used and loved.  They run $70 to $120. 

Altered Card Deck Swap is In!

Remember a few weeks ago I showed you the 56 tiny watercolor paintings I did for a swap?

Here are the cards I received back for the swap!

These nine are my favorites.

Handmade stamp on fabric, then hand colored.

Multi layered.


Handmade flower.

Mixed media

Sewn fabric pocket

Glitter in netting

Mixed media photo

So dainty!

Mixed media

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Mediterranean Diet Meal for a Luncheon

I had another lesson luncheon for my Extension Homemakers Club.  This time the lesson was on the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet.

There are a zillion studies - opinions - definitions of just what a Mediterranean Diet is, and as many opinions of what country's cuisines represent the diet.

It boils down to this: the Mediterranean Diet is plant based and generally low protein.  It is vegetables, fruit, legumes, whole grains (usually NOT wheat), nuts, and seeds.  It is minimally processed.  Herbs and spices are stars in this show.

Proteins found in the diet are chicken (and eggs), seafood, sheep, and goat.  Cheese is from sheep and goats.  Yogurt is a staple ~ but we are talking the "Greek" style yogurt which is higher in protein and lower in sugar than what Americans consider as yogurt.

White sugar is not common.  Honey is the sweetener of choice.  Snacks are often dried fruits and nuts.

A huge different from an American diet is that in a Mediterranean diet proteins are part of a dish... NOT the main course.  Two chicken breasts can feed an entire family.  Cheese is sprinkled, not layered.

This type of cuisine comes from countries that rugged and hilly.  Hot dry summers and cold damp winters.  Lush pastures are rare; they more likely would be turned to orchards.

Now what country's cuisines represent this diet?  
North Africa: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt.
Middle East: Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria
Turkey and Greece

Not Italy.  Think about the heavy sauces and white flour pastas, thick cheeses, and sugary desserts.

Studies show that people who follow a Mediterranean diet (as opposed to those who don't) have lower heart disease, less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and less cognitive impairment.

So of course I prepared a Mediterranean meal for lunch.

I started with a sample of common dried fruit as the appetizer (you can see the little cup to the left).  I had a fig, a date, and a dried apricot.

Hummus and pita bread was a must!  BTW folks, that flat dry cardboard like "pita" you get at a fast food place is not real pita.  Once you taste a piece of real pita bread you won't ever eat that other stuff again.  (I cheated on the hummus and bought it at my favorite local Mediterranean restaurant).

The salad came from my Extension service lesson.

For the entree I made a tangine chicken recipe.  Tangine cooking is very typical North African cooking.  The added fun for me was that I got to use the salt preserved lemons I made last month.

Here's the recipe I used:

And dessert was a simple dish of Greek yogurt (vanilla flavored) with peaches or tangerines on top, then drizzled with honey.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Bringing Outside Inside

We're VERY busy with a lot of big projects so I've not really done anything interesting lately.

But I did make a bit of time to put together a new moss garden.

I found this chunk of beautiful moss the day we went out looking for trees to bonsai.  I took just a bit of it home with me.

It's a very tall moss - about 2 inches high.  I've never tried using this kind.  We'll see how it does.

BTW, my small tree from that day is budding out.  The big beech is still dormant (as are all the ones growing in the woods around us).

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Hazardous Waste - What's in Your Home?

Have you ever considered all the things in your home that are considered to be 'hazardous waste'?  Things like strippers, just about anything to do with your car maintenance, adhesives, pesticides, fertilizers(!), fluorescent bulbs (all kinds), and old paint.

Friday we started our garage KonMari by going through all of our cans of paint, stain, and sealers.  Those still go were neatly organized back onto the shelf.  Those that had gone south on us were put in a basket in the car trunk.

We also gathered a few other putties and sealers that had gone bad.  We have a special place to keep old fluorescent bulbs for the collection.

We were up early today and headed into town to beat the crowds.  Our county has a pretty good response for collection day.

Once you get there, you don't even get out of your car.  Workers tote it all out and away, with a wave good-bye and a thank you for bringing the stuff in.

I found out that you don't have to go only to the one in your county.  ANY collection is open to anyone living in the state of Tennessee.  So we just did the garage this time and when we KonMari the shed next month, we'll gather the noxious stuff from there.  In early May a neighboring county is hosting a collection.  So we'll drop off the rest of the stuff then, and have a nice lunch in that town too.


Thursday, March 16, 2017

Learning Old Fashioned Skills

In 1983, I bought a copy of this book...

The name can be bit misleading unless you take in the small print - "An Encyclopedia of Country Living".   It's kind of hard to describe, so I'll let the Wikipedia do it for me:

"The Encyclopedia of Country Living presents an exhaustive overview of virtually every topic relevant to homesteading and self-sufficiency.

Carla Emery self-published the first mimeographed edition of the Encyclopedia under the title An Old-Fashioned Recipe Book. Although she began intending to write a book, she published it in installments starting in 1970 as she wrote it, as if it were a newsletter. The first complete book was finished in March 1974. By the end of 1975 she had sold 13,000 copies. Around that time the book was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the "largest mimeographed volume in general circulation" (700 pages) and was listed as having sold the most copies of a self-published guide: 45,000 mimeographed copies as of 1977."

My 1981 edition has survived every book culling I've ever done.  Didn't need to lay my hands on it during the KonMari to know it brings me joy.  So my 'Old Fashioned Recipe Book' has stayed.  In fact, it's not unusual to hear me answer a question with "Let's see what Carla said about that."

I'm not interested in the "homesteading" thing as a life style.  But I do love the information about how to raise a garden and how to preserve what I've grown (or bought at the Amish produce auction).   I want to learn how to compost.  I want to know about about water conservation.  And other such things.

As you know, I've started the Facebook group 'Food In Jars' food preservation challenge.  And Facebook is always trying to get you to look at other 'similar' groups.  If you preserve food, then according to Facebook you must like goats, chickens, and living off the power grid.  I usually just give them a glance just to look at the beautiful chickens.  

Then there in the "suggested groups" was Homestead Skill of the Month Club.  

Alright... you know how I am about challenges!  LOL  So I checked it out.  And when it opened to the group members/admin, I saw a face that was somewhat familiar.  Hmmm.  A closer look was needed...person, how do I know you?  Then I read the name - Esther Emery.  Ah, that lovely face belongs to the daughter of Carla Emery.  She has enough of her mama's looks that there would be no denying the relationship.  No wonder she looked familiar to me, I've been looking at her mother's face for thirty-four years.

A quick look around the group's info told me that this would be something I'd enjoy.  Each month they focus on a skill needed to successfully homestead... be it in the big woods of Idaho (where Esther lives) or a New York City apartment ~ or five acres in Tennessee.

January skill was basically to make a plan for whatever it is you want to do.  Pretty uncomplicated for me: herb & veggie gardens, composting, food preservation, and so on.

February skill was a get-over for me; cooking from scratch.  Check.

March.  Garden, Soil, and Seeds.  Yes, please...I need help... badly... 

So now you know where my new challenge projects are coming from.  It's going to be fun!