Thursday, May 2, 2013

How To Grow Potatoes......Maybe

Underneath here are potatoes growing....

I see ideas on Facebook and Pinterest and think...."Hey, I can do that.   And I bet I can do it cheaper, too."   Pretty sure that my experimental impulsive (compulsive) nature is not inherited from my Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry.   Maybe it's an Aquarian thing.
The "how to" was to plant potatoes above ground on a section of lawn.   Lay down layers of newspaper, lay out your potatoes and cover with straw, some peat moss and some soil and in the fall you'll have lots of potatoes to dig up.
Loved the idea, but not the idea of spending money on extra supplies.   I had on hand newspapers, golden yukons that had started to sprout leftover from last fall in my garage, straw - from the attempted straw bail gardening last year, compost, and sections of grass from increasing my garden out front.   Maybe this will work? 


This is my second summer in this home.  My landlord is allowing me to make improvements to the property.   Just to let you know what I've been working with, to show how far it's actually come, this picture is of the back garden just COVERED in ivy.   After moving in August I spent the rest of the summer just trying to get rid of the ivy.   It was EVERYWHERE. 

Last summer all the grass clippings, leaves, and straw either went into the compost bin or to mulch down in the garden.  This picture looks a little messy but it was after I started moving things around this Spring to get things ready to plant.  All of the leaves, mulch and straw are going to go on top of the potatoes.

I cleared out the back area by moving aside all the leaves, straw and mulch.   Set down multiple layers of newspaper and set all the sprouting yukons out.   (Can't believe we didn't eat all of our Yukon Golds last year!)   I then raked all the leaves, straw and mulch on top and covered it with the clumps of grass that had been taken out of the front gardens.   I have more garden expanding to do, so more clumps will be put on top of this pile. There are some onions left in the garage that might get tossed in the mix too.  We'll see if this works!


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Growing Grubs

This weekend I put more food scraps in the compost bin and noticed some "mealy worms" on top and did a mini-happy dance that I had worms in the compost bin breaking things down.

So I went to my friends house and said, "Hey guess what?  I've got mealy worms in the compost bin.  We can use them next time we go fishing!"

He replied, "They probably are grubs."

Oh.   Oh?

These look something like the grubs in my compost bin.
I didn't take the actual picture of the rotting food scraps
and grubs (mealy worms?) in there in case anyone was
eating while reading this.

This led me to thinking now a few days later. 

Grubs.  Am I now creating a super race of grubs?  Are they going to get all fat and sassy on my food scraps and lawn clippings?  Are they going to escape the compost bin and saunter over to my neighbors yards and move in under their soil?   

Are grubs good for composting or should I .....should I do something?


Friday, July 13, 2012

My First

Thanks to my sister-in-law who re-taught me how to crochet recently I'm on my to crocheting my FIRST EVER afghan!   I forget how quickly crocheting goes compared to knitting.

Here's the progress so far after only a few days. 

It's a Christmas gift so I'm HOPING that I won't get distracted by the 100 other things that are going on and set it aside.  

Hopefully my cat Toby will let me have the yarn back.

Ideally this one will be completed and others will be made for Christmas gifts.   Ideally.......

Hello....My name is Terri.....and I am a procrastinator....  :)

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


This weekend I attempted my FIRST EVER canning.  I've cooked down fruit with sugar and put that in jars, but never canned on my own.   My Mom canned when I was a child....but that's a long time ago. 

My friend has a wonderful garden that was started early in a greenhouse in February.  A few days ago I checked the status of the pickles and they were all rather tiny.   Saturday they were ready to be picked in an assortment of sizes!   I cut the large pickles into "hamburger slices" and the smaller pickles into spears. 

For my first attempt I didn't want to use a recipe that I was unsure of so I just picked up a packet of Mrs. Wages Kosher Dill Pickles.   After a little more canning experience I'll venture into creating my own recipes. 

In my little house there's only a 2-burner stove...and one of those burners is not working.   The larger one of course!   It was VERY challenging to time everything and bring the water to a boil on the smaller burner.  Perhaps it's time to look into getting that repaired or a new stove-top.   Going from being a 4-burner girl to 2 burners has been quite an adjustment!

And here they are!   My first ever dill pickles! 

(Try not to picture a 51-year old 6'1" woman doing the happy dance in the kitchen when they were done.  It might ruin the effect.) 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Coconut yogurt....kinda

I do not have the patience of a saint.  Fact.   This was discovered in my attempt to make coconut milk to use in making coconut crockpot yogurt.

Coconut meat and shells

Coconut water

I started off with two brown coconuts and one young coconut and cracked them open and poured out the water. 


As you can see there was a LOT of work to be done to get the meat off of the shell.   I really need to figure out a better way to do this because after 80% of the way through I was not as neat and tidy about cleaning off the rind since I knew it was going to go in the Vita Mix.

Pulpy mixture of coconut yogurt

Unfortunately, the Vita Mix can only do what it is given to work with.   I must have had a LITTLE bit too much rind remaining on the coconut meat and it gave it a very grainy consistency. I personally liked it, but I knew that it would never do for the rest of my family.   It went into the crockpot anyway and did make a yogurt, albeit grainy.  

I'm not one to try to waste anything - I'll try and turn a mistake into something productive.    For some reason my children call them "Mom's Experiments"?????


Coconut milk ice cubes!
So here's a picture of my coconut yogurt that was frozen into ice cube trays.   Easy-peasy to grab out of a freezer bag and throw into smoothies.

Ha!  Chalk up one for Mom's Experiments!

Love Craig's List!

Craig's List buy!
A few weeks ago I posted an ad on Craig's list for canning supplies and got a reply!

Last night I picked up 40 jars of assorted sizes for  $10.00.    There were some rings and lids but they were not in good shape and most were rusty. 

Now I just need to learn to can!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Homemade Wine????

I am not quite a wine purist.   I like my wine sweet...and cheap.   Box wine is a wonderful buy because each box holds something like 5-6 bottles of wine.  A box is usually less that $12.00 so that equals out to $2.00 per bottle or so.

While shopping on eBay one time I came across WonderWine.  Homemade wine in a box.   Hmmmmmmmm.  I purchased two and made them.  The loganberry turned out OK. The grape did not.

Last night I decided to give it another try. 

The idea of WonderWine is to be able to make wine in 2-litre soda bottles.   Inside the box are three packets - flavor, yeast, and clarifier.   All you need to add is sugar and water.   You will also need two pieces of saran wrap and two rubber bands.   The instructions show how much sugar to add dependent upon your tastes.  

Here's what I did:  

  • Take two 2-litre bottles and wash them.
  • According to the package directions add all of your sugar to one bottle. 
    (Since I like a sweeter wine I added 4 1/2 cups of sugar.)
  • Open the flavor packet and add to the bottle with the sugar.
  • Add hot water to the bottle with the sugar and flavor until it is 3/4's full.
  • Put lid on and shake until sugar and flavor are dissolved.  (This did not take long.)
  • Divide the contents evenly between the two bottles.
  • Fill the two bottles up the rest of the way with cold water.
  • Open the yeast packet and divide evenly between the two bottles.
  • Cover the openings with saran wrap and tighten with a rubber band.
  • Let sit for 6 weeks or so until the bubbles have stopped fizzing.  At that point you will add the clarifier and let sit for another period of time.

Here's how my two bottles looked right after adding the yeast.  You can see it floating in the liquid. 

This flavor is peach.   I'll update periodically to let you know where the process is at.  

I hope this one turns out...... I still have two more boxes at home and I'd hate to waste them.