Friday, December 28, 2012

Natural Remedies for Kidney Stones

Lemon Juice, Olive Oil & Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Mix 2 oz of organic olive oil with 2 oz of organic lemon juice. Drink it straight down and follow with a 12-ounce glass of purified water. Wait 30 minutes. Then, squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon in 12 ounces of purified water, add 1 tablespoon of organic raw apple cider vinegar and drink. Repeat the lemon juice, water and apple cider vinegar recipe every hour until symptoms improve.

Other citrus fruits that contain citrate acids- oranges, limes, grapefruits, and tangerines. Mixing the juices of these citrus fruits with water and sucking it down can help break up and prevent kidney stones from forming.

Dandelion Root
Dandelion root is another great overall kidney tonic and cleanser.

Kidney Beans
The shape of this bean may be indicative of its healing potential. An effective urinary home remedy for kidney stones, traditionally the pods were used as a medicinal decoction.
Try removing the beans from inside the pods, and then boiling the pods in purified hot water for six hours. This liquid can be strained through cheesecloth, cooled and taken throughout the day for one day to ease kidney stone pain.

Both the vegetable and the celery seed are great diuretics and kidney tonics. Regular use of celery seed, both as a spice and a tea may prevent kidney stone formation.

A kidney tonifier, basil tea can be taken throughout the day for overall kidney health. If you have kidney stones try taking one teaspoon each of basil juice with raw honey daily for up to six months.

2 litres of coke over 2 hours, followed by asparagus puree, followed by 2 litres of water of 2 hours
Apples contain oxalates - dissolves and prevents kidney stones from forming.

Cranberries contain a natural acid - dissolves the minerals in kidney stones. Cranberries also have potent antioxidants and antibiotic properties to it that can help prevent urinary tract infections and keep the kidneys clear of dangerous minerals that cause the formation of kidney stones.

 Corn-silk tea is great single herb for increasing urine flow and restoring the kidneys.

Parsley leaves and root tea is commonly used for kidney cleanse

Parsley seeds are also diuretics, and are used for dissolving kidney stones 

Watermelon Seed Tea  

Celery Seed Tea  
At least once a day, three days a week, take Celery seed tea prepared by pouring a pint of boiling water over a tablespoonful of Celery seeds (freshly ground or cut) and allowing it to steep.  Let it cool, then strain and drink.  If practical, the tea should be made fresh for each use.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Harvest 2012

Nothing new here, just a copy for my records before I wipe out the little side bar and start over.

 Harvest 2012

  • Cond.- Catsup- quarts- 10
  • Cond.- Relish- Cucumber- pints- 9
  • Cond.- Relish- Dill Pickle- pints- 6
  • Cond.- Relish- sweet- pints- 4.5
  • Cond.- Salsa- pints- 30
  • Dessert- blueberries- pints- 1
  • Dessert- Crabapple Sauce- pints- 5.5
  • Dessert- Lemon Curd- pints- 4
  • Dessert- raspberries- pints- 1
  • Dessert- Rhubarb- bunches- 6
  • Doggy Stew- beef bones & trim- 41
  • Doggy Stew- Dandelions- 45
  • Doggy Stew- Lettuce-8
  • Eggs- (approximate) 660
  • Fat- Beef Tallow- quarts- 5
  • Firewood (chords) 7
  • Jam- banana- 1/2 pints- 4
  • Jam- Crabapple Jelly- pints- 15
  • Jam- mixed fruit- 1/2 pints- 10
  • Jam- rhubarb-raspberry- pints- 2
  • Jam- strawberry- pints- 7
  • Juice- Crabapple- pints- 14.5
  • Juice- grape- quarts- 12
  • Juice- lemon-lime concentrate- half pints- 18
  • Juice- Lemonade Concentrate- pints- 12
  • Meat- Beef- ground- 36 (meals)
  • Meat- Beef- roasts-49
  • Meat- Beef- Steaks- 11 (meals)
  • Meat- Beef- stew- 12 (meals)
  • Meat- Beef- tenderloin- 2lbs
  • Meat- Chickens- 4
  • Meat- partridge- 14
  • Meat- Turkeys- 7 (140 lbs)
  • Mushrooms- puffballs (meals)- 2
  • Pectin- Crabapple- 1/2 pints- 9
  • Pickles- Beets- quarts- 46.5
  • Pickles- dill- quarts- 53
  • Pickles- Dilly Beans- quarts- 1
  • Soup- Cream of Celery- pints- 10.5
  • Soup- Cream of Mushroom- pints- 9
  • Soup- Ham & Potato- pints- 7
  • Spice- chives- dried- 1/2 pint
  • Spice- Parsley- dried- 1/2 pint
  • Syrop- Crabapple- pints- 4
  • Syrop- Rosehip- pints- 4.25
  • Veg- Asparagus- bunches- 4
  • Veg- Beet tops- meals- 6
  • Veg- Broccoli- 1
  • Veg- cabbage- 5
  • Veg- Cabbage- quarts- 9
  • Veg- Carrots- gallons- 10
  • Veg- corn- cobs- 13
  • Veg- cucumbers- fresh- 40
  • Veg- Dandelion Buds- (meals) - 6
  • Veg- green beans- fresh (meals)- 11
  • Veg- green beans- frozen (meals)- 30
  • Veg- lettuce- heads- 2
  • Veg- lettuce- leaf - 25
  • Veg- lettuce- romaine - 2
  • Veg- Peppers- 44
  • Veg- Potatoes- (2011 crop)- 15
  • Veg- Potatoes- 2012 crop- meals- 12
  • Veg- Potatoes- volunteers- meals- 12
  • Veg- Pumpkins- 1
  • Veg- squash- 5
  • Veg- tomato sauce- quarts- 3.5
  • Veg- Tomatoes- gallons- 23
  • Veg- yellow beans- fresh (meals)- 6
  • Veg- yellow beans- frozen (meals)- 25
  • Veg- yellow beans- pints- 15
 Most improvements over the 2011 harvest, with the following exceptions:
  • Broccoli (half side dish) 16 frozen + 3 fresh
  • Brussel Sprouts (stew servings) 5
  • Cauliflower 5 heads
  • Dandelion Greens (meals) 60
  • Eggs (approximate) 2490
  • Fish (meals) 5
  • Partridge 28
  • Swiss Chard (meals) 10
  • Turnip 2 gallons
I think it may have gotten too hot too soon for the broccoli this year.  The brussel sprouts were just coming along when I let the turkeys loose in the garden.  I didn't plant cauliflower (and we didn't have the issues with the green worms either!), foxes ate the chickens, which wiped out the eggs, and I just didn't put as much effort into hunting, fishing, and foraging dandelions this year.  The turnips are the only thing I really can't explain.  They just didn't get very big this year.

I am overall very happy with the way production turned out this year, and don't have too many plans to change things for next year, except that I'd like to put another fence across the garden to keep the turkeys out of the brussel sprouts, broccoli, and 2013 seed crops longer.

Friday, December 21, 2012

More Wine Gear

I lucked out on a kijiji ad.  4 more glass carboys, lots of bottles, bottle tree, a filtering machine, hydrometer, thermometer, corks, foil caps, hoses, racking cane.  The ad said everything you need to get started and they were not kidding.  I think the only thing I'm missing now is a bottle brush.  And a place to store all of this stuff.

So, obviously I need to start more wine. 

Elderberries are the obvious choice.  Obvious, because my primary goal in wine making is to make sustainable table wines to replace the soda pop consumption here.  Elderberries are the only local fruit I have in sufficient quantity at the moment.  Except they're buried at the bottom of a very overstuffed freezer...  I'm not sure I'm up to digging through that with only 4 days left 'til Christmas.

Second choice is pumpkin.  I've been reading recipes, recipes, recipes, recipes, and thinking that this might be an excellent treat around Thanksgiving.  It does take a few years though, lol.  I'm not sure if I have the patience for that.  I mean, someday, when I have an assortment of wines in the cellar, but right now?  I think I may need something a bit quicker.  I do have pumpkins in the cold room though (a friend gave me a couple she bought for Hallowe'en decorations, and the monster squash from the greenhouse).

I'm also tempted to make apple wine, since apple juice has been on sale repeatedly for 93¢ a can.  It's also a quick wine- drinkable at bottling, better aged 1 year.  Apples may never be sustainable for me though.  If I make it, and we like it, I may be committing myself to an unsustainable practice.  But then, I've already done that with the peach, haven't I?

I think I can do three batches at a time- that is to say, I think the buffet cabinet the peach wine is sitting on is strong enough to hold 3 carboys at a time.  I'd have to rearrange the house somewhat to find a suitable place for the other two carboys. 

And some folks might be inclined to think I've lost my mind if I had 5 carboys bubbling away all at once...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Common Cold Remedies

I sick.  I a big baby when I sick.  Compiling a list of remedies with natural ingredients available to me locally.

Rest and Fluids
Plenty of rest lets the body heal.  Keeping hydrated keeps the mucous thinner and less sticky.

Vitamin D- sunshine and mushrooms.

Vitamin C - essential nutrient,  antioxidant. 

  • rosehip
  • black currant
  • parsley
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • elderberry
  • papaya
  • strawberries
  • orange
  • kale
 Zinc- essential mineral involved in the production of certain immune cells.
  • meat
  • liver
  • seafood
  • eggs
  • oysters
  • baked beans
  • cashews
  • raisin bran
  • chickpeas
Vitamin E- powerful antioxidant crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system.
  • wheat germ oil
  • almonds
  • sunflower seeds
  • hazelnuts
  • peanut butter
Carotenoids- antioxidant,  a class of pigments found naturally in a number of plants. When consumed, carotenoids are converted into vitamin A (a nutrient that helps regulate the immune system).
  • carrots
  • kale
  • apricots
  • papaya
  • mango
Omega-3 fatty acids- essential fatty acid known to suppress inflammation and keep the immune system in check.
  • oily fish
  • flaxseed
  • walnuts
Other Foods
  • garlic- antibacterial and antifungal, antiseptic, antispasmodic properties
  • probiotics (yogurt, fermented foods)
  • Peppermint
  • Oranges
  • lemons
  • grapefruit
  • Elderberry- folk remedy for colds, sinus infections and the flu, found to fight off viruses. Tea/syrop/juice.
  • parsley
  • celery
  • cauliflower
  • spicy foods, particularly cayenne peppers and ginger, help increase circulation, which will warm you up if you have the chills
Hot Liquids- may help loosen mucus, kill germs in the mouth.
  • soup
  • tea
  • green tea- antioxidants
  • Chamomile tea- anti-inflammatory agents, natural anti-histamine, anti-oxidant
  • Lime/honey tea
  • Herbal tea- 1 tsp each of elderberry, yarrow root, mint and a quarter teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • Herbal tea- 2 tablespoons dried echinacea root,1 teaspoon dried eyebright leaf and flowers, ½ teaspoon dried boneset leaf and flowers,1 teaspoon dried lemongrass,1 teaspoon dried lemon balm leaves,½ teaspoon dried sage leaves,1 teaspoon dried peppermint leaves
  • Pine Needle Tea- expectorant (thins mucus secretions), decongestant, and can be used as an antiseptic wash when cooled
Sore Throat Remedies
  • Gargle with salt water
  • Echinacea or goldenseal – effectively enhances your immune system
  • Raspberry or blackberry leaves– gargle solution of the leaves, relieves discomfort
  • slippery elm
  • Cayenne pepper – include in your gargling mixture to stop your throat’s throbbing pain

 Cough Remedies
  • honey
  • marshmallow
  • mullein- weed that contains compounds said to act as demulcents (substances that relieve irritation or inflammation in the throat) and expectorants (agents for loosening mucus and making it easier to cough up)
  • red clover
  • colt's foot
  • sage
Post-Nasal Drip Remedies
  • Nasal Irrigation- salt-water rinse to clear the nasal passages 
  • Ginger- helps relieve congestion- tea:  4 cups water, 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root, honey and lemon slice.  Tea2:  chop and boil ginger 20 minutes, then add orange peel.
 Runny Nose Remedies
  • slow breathing- increase oxygen in the blood
  • spicy foods- temporarily increasing nasal discharge so that your body can flush out the blockage and toxins
  • mustard oil- Heat a little of the oil until it's barely warm. Use a dropper to put just a drop in one nostril. Give the oil a minute or two to absorb, then put oil in the other nostril. Because the oil is so strongly scented, it makes it a little hard to breath, so only so do one nostril at a time.
  • thyme-crush it as finely as possible, gently inhale. Oil of thyme- a drop in each nostril.  Thyme tincture- 3-5 drops under the tongue.
  • Tumeric- soak dry, ground turmeric in linseed oil, hold over heat source until it starts smoldering, inhale smoke through your nose.
  •  Oil of oregano- antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, anti-inflammatory properties.  Mix 2-3 drops of oil with juice and drink it daily until the symptoms subside.
  •  Elencampane (infused in tea) drying up mucous lining
  •  Sage- tinctures/elixirs/teas.  By mouth-one pinch crushed sage mixed into a little raw honey.

 Nasal Congestion Remedies
  • Boil a glass of water and dilute two tablespoons of salt. Breathe the steam to clear nasal congestion and remove the mucus.
 Ear Ache Remedies
  • Vitamin E oil capsule- warm the capsule in hot water, open and drip into ear.
  • Chamomile- warm it in the fire then wrap in a cloth so you can lay your painful ear against it.
  • Ginger- infused oil. Drop equal amounts into each ear. Use a cotton ball to plug each ear.
Chest Congestion Remedies
  • chest rub- Pour 2 ounces almond or olive oil into a small bowl or cup, add 20 drops of essential oil – choose eucalyptus, hyssop, thyme, peppermint,  basil, or rosemary.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gout Remedies

Every time Husband has a gout outbreak, I end up scouring the internet in search of remedies to help him out.  Every time, I write it down.  And every time, I can't find the page I was looking for.  This post is just a collection of everything I've read for future reference. 

Potassium liquefies uric acid.
  • bananas
  • tomatoes
  • cantaloupe
  • peaches
  • yams
  • baked potatoes (with skin)
  • carrots
  • Papaya
  • Blueberries
  • Watermelon
  • white beans
  • dark leafy greens
  • apricots
  • squash
  • yogurt
Vitamin C reduces uric acid levels.
  • rosehip
  • black currant
  • parsley
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • elderberry
  • papaya
  • strawberries
  • orange
  • kale
  • grapes
  • cherries
  • Stinging Nettle
  • Alfalfa
  • Watermelon
Bromelain is an anti-inflammatory enzyme that helps to digest protein molecules.
  • pineapple
Anthocyanins  help protect from cell damage caused by the uric acid crystals, increase the blood pumped through joints. This is important because the extra blood flow helps clean out your joints keeping them healthier.
  • any type of berry - black/purple/blue/red
  • Bilberry 
  • Blueberry
  • cranberries
  • strawberries
  • raspberries
  • red wine
  • grapes
  • cherries
  • green tea
  • eggplant
  • red cabbage
  • red beets
 Reduce Inflammation
  • Celery Seed- decreases swelling in joints, helps renal system (kidneys) get rid of uric acid through urination while also alkalizing blood. Celery seed is a diuretic and therefore helps to increase the pace at which uric acid is flushed from the body. Spice/tea/extract.
  • Fish Oil Supplements
  • yucca root
  • cherries
  • Devil's claw root- 1/2 teaspoon powdered devil's claw root with 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Drink 1 cup daily.
  • gingerroot
  • meadowsweet leaves and flowertops
  • white willow bark
  •  boswellia (frankincense)
  • capsicum (cayenne)- infused oil (4Tbsp cayenne to 1 Cup olive oil)
  • feverfew
  • licorice
  • Birch -use bark and leaves to make a tea.
Diuretics- detoxify
Pain Relievers
  • Turmeric-helps to block the pain nerve endings.
  • Rosemary- essential oil

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Edit:  This was supposed to post last week.  Not sure what happened...

Last winter I got it in my head that I should try making wine.  I scoured the interwebs, read tons of sites and blogs.  I figured I could do this.  And I wanted to make blueberry wine, with blueberries grown and picked right here in the woods.

I read all the reviews and did comparisons on all of the wine kits on amazon, picked the one I wanted, and added it to my wish list.

My birthday came and went, with no wine kit arriving at my door.  Mother's Day came and went.  Still no wine kit.

When the blueberries started to ripen in June, I decided to order it myself.  And then amazon laughed at me!  Damn those US sellers refusing to ship the kit of my dreams!  (Oh, fine, apparently there are laws about shipping that sort of thing over the border, and they vary from province to province, so we Canadians are a pain in the ass.  Who knew?)

So I went to the make your own wine store in the little city and asked them for a kit.  They kindly offered me a box of wine.  Um, no.  I explained what I wanted, the fellow said he could order in all the bits and pieces from their supplier, and the cost would actually be less than the kit, and the quality better.  Cool!  But it would take a month or so.  Drat.

Ok, not a big deal.  I could start my blueberries fermenting in a clean, food grade bucket.  The supplies should be in before I need them anyway.

And then the berries played a foolie on me.  Tough pickin's!  No blueberry wine this year.

But wait!  I have so many other choices!  Elderberries, raspberries, pea pods, oh my!  I can make wine.

I went to the little city to collect my treasure.  Except the owner told me the young fellow who had agreed to order my collection had quit and left him in the lurch.  Some stuff had come in, some stuff he had used.  Some stuff he didn't know whether it even got ordered.  He kindly led me around his shop collecting things off this shelf and that, and sent me off with assorted odds and ends, new and used, my head swirling, because, you know, I've never made wine, so do I need that?  What about one of those?  What is that?  On the plus side, he was very friendly and apologetic, and charged me less than half the price of the amazon kit.

I took it home and tucked it away.  I needed to reread instructions, recipes, clear my head.  But that was high into green bean, canning and pickling season.  No wine for me.

Last week, I finally sat and read.  And watched you tube videos.  And cleared my head.  I went in to the little make your own wine store in the big city, where they had all of the chemicals and additives on a shelf for the real do it yourselfers.  I bought a little of this and a little of that.  I probably have everything I need for a dozen batches of wine.

So where to begin?  Well, I like peaches, and this is just too easy...

So, I'll just mess with that a bit...  Hmmm...  These all ask for pretty much the same additives.  I'll put some of that in...

Can I drink it yet?  No, eh?  Ok, I guess I'll have to wait and see.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sourdough, Continued

For this bake, I mixed the directions up for both recipes.

I poured each starter into a clean bowl, added 1 cup of flour, and let rest for 1 hour. After washing the jars, I put about two tablespoons of starter back into each, then added another cup of flour and cup of blood warm water. The starters were starting to get kind of stinky, and there was a bit of mold growing around the top of 1 jar. After an hour the starters in the bowls were bubbling along nicely, I followed the Dawson instructions for all three, minus the egg and the oil.

I let them sit in the pancake stage for 4 hours, and they bubbled away beautifully.  I don't see any rise in this stage, just bubbles.  Again, I added 1 tsp old commercial yeast.  I let it prove in the pancake mix, then added the rest of the flour.

I let it rise about 6 hours.  When I went to bed it was close to doubling, but not quite.  I usually read/watch tv/toss and turn for a couple of hours, so I had planned to get back up and roll it out about midnight.  Wouldn't you know it, I fell asleep.

At 5am, they had all deflated somewhat.  I added flour and rolled them out anyway.  I let them rise in the bread pans about 4 hours, the commercial yeast starter looked like it was going to overflow, so I baked.

I was on the phone when the timer went off, so I asked #1 to pull them out of the oven.  Doh!!!  Which one is which?

This batch is good.  It's either the straight Dawson, or the potato mother.
This batch is ok.  It's a bit mushy in the middle, probably would have been good with a few more minutes in the oven.

And this is bird food.  This is the Dawson with commercial yeast in the starter.  It has that nose pinching stench of over risen bread, and the tops deflated during baking.

New plan:  Since it's taking too long to rise in my house, I'm going to start it late in the afternoon, let it do the second rise overnight, roll out and bake the next day.  I'm going to try it without any extra commercial yeast in the next batch.  I think it's ready.

Edit:    The yeast waters aren't doing anything.  None of them have bubbled.  I tossed the tea, as it was growing a thin layer of scum and mold on top.  The potato water stinks, although it almost looks like it has yeast floating on top.  The raisins are all floating.  I dumped them out and added fresh raisins and another tablespoon of sugar to the water.  The pine needles are still half floating, half sunk, and the water is clear.  If nothing happens this week, I'm tossing them all and calling it a fail.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sourdough 3 and 4

Round three I used the starters as half flour/half water in a grandmother bread recipe. Along with the commercial yeast they turned out ok, almost like regular grandmother bread, but with a bit of a spongier crust.

I fed the starters, and I saved an additional Dawson starter with commercial yeast in it.  While that's not ideal, I was curious to see if I could keep the commercial yeast alive in this way. 

I tucked the three jars up in the cupboard, and discovered an explosion the next day.  The potato mother definitely doubled.  Progress.

Round four I had planned to follow directions with all three starters, but I had almost no bubbling in any of the three in the pancake phase.  The potato mother surprised me most of all.  Since I knew it had doubled, I expected it to be ready to use.  Then I thought maybe the yeast was the part I had cleaned up off the cupboard.

I decided to cheat, just a little.  Just before mixing in the remaining flour, I added a teaspoon of old yeast, from a jar that I had stopped using over a year ago because my bread wasn't rising properly.  I was hoping it would give them enough of a boost to make edible bread.
The results-

The Dawson bread was gooey on the inside with playdough smell.  Bird food.

The Dawson with commercial yeast- edible, but has an odd aftertaste.

The potato mother bread is edible, nice holes forming inside, but the top of the loaves all cracked.  I probably should have left it alone to do it's thing.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dawson Round Two

Two more loaves of Dawson City Sourdough bread. I should really rename this, since my flour, water and free ranging yeast have never been anywhere near Dawson City. But, the experiment continues.
This time the yeast was more active, bubbling within minutes of mixing the batch.  It didn't seem to rise while in the 'pancake mix' phase, but after adding the remaining flour, there was noticeable rise on the second phase.  Punching down doesn't feel like it's releasing any gasses yet.  The dough is still very heavy.  Third rise- in the bread pans- it did almost double.  It probably would have, but I was tired so I baked it and went to bed.  It doesn't taste as much like playdough this time, but still bird food.

I refilled the 'dirty' jar with 1 Cup of flour, 1 Cup of water.
This morning there's already a thin layer of alcohol.  The others aren't bubbling, and the only noticeable change is that the raisins look like they may be developing some mold.  Today is Day 7 for the yeast waters, but I think I'll just leave them sit awhile yet, until some bubbling occurs or they start looking too nasty to use.

First bake with the Potato Mother.
The starter was very active and quick to bubble.  The first rise was almost non-existant.  The second rise was almost double, and you can see some nice air pockets in the loaf.  However- it tastes like playdough.  More bird food.

I'll try these again on Friday.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Captured Yeast Update

My house is fairly cool this time of year- one of the joys of heating with wood, but not yet really cold enough to really heat with wood.  Keeping the fire from sweltering us out is a balancing act that usually leaves us with 3-4 hours in the night with no fire at all.  As a result, my kitchen cools off in the night, and my yeast experiments are probably moving a bit slower than in a house with more stable temperatures.

However, they are moving.

The Dawson City Sourdough Bread is the first in the oven.
I started the starter last Wednesday, and three days later there was a faint, but pleasant smell, evidence of bubbling, and a pale yellow layer of alcohol. I mixed the batter and left it to rise and double.  There wasn't enough starter to follow the recipe exactly, only 1.5 cups.  I added another cup of flour and another cup of water to my 'dirty' starter jar to begin again.

I waited all day, and the mixture did bubble, but it never doubled.  I left it overnight.  Sunday morning it looked bigger, not doubled, but bigger.  I proceeded with adding more flour, and waiting again.  It looked like it had risen a bit by the end of the day, and I attempted to punch it down.  It really didn't move.  It was a cold, heavy mass.  I rolled it out anyway, and put it into loaf pans.  I left it to rise overnight.

This morning it didn't look like it had risen at all, and I popped it in the oven to bake for the birds.  And there before my disbelieving eyes, it rose.
However, it smells and tastes like playdough.  I hope the birds like it.

Next up, the mother of potato starter- that's what I'm calling it. 
I started this one on Friday morning.  It's been bubbling along nicely on the kitchen table.  This morning it had a clear layer of liquid- presumably alcohol.  I added a cup of flour to wake it up.  It started bubbling up again within minutes. It's now mixed and fed, so I wait for it to rise.

I started another potato starter on Friday morning as well.  It's the yeast starter 1, halfway down the page.
It's in the cupboard with the yeast water and Dawson starter.  Left- raisin yeast water- cloudy, raisins floating, no bubbles.  Middle- tea yeast water- cloudy, floating, no bubbles.  Right- potato yeast water- cloudy, settled on the bottom, no bubbles.
Left- tea again.  Middle- Dawson City sourdough starter part two- with a layer of alcohol already forming.  Right- pine (spruce) needle yeast water- clear, half floating, half settled, no bubbles.

There is a pleasant, fruity smell when I open the cupboard, although it's not strong enough to say which jar is the cause.  These aren't supposed to be ready until Wednesday or so.

The Dawson City Starter, fed on Saturday, should be ready for another go on Tuesday.  The Mother of Potato Starter should be ready to try again on Thursday.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pine Needle Tea

These are the pines on the edge of our drive.  I'm not sure what type they are.

They have short needles.  I trimmed some off with a pair of scissors, and after just a few snips I was both breathing easier and ready to sneeze.  Pines cause me terrible seasonal allergies when the cones open in the spring.

 I put them into my tea ball and gave them a rinse.  Should have taken the picture before rinsing, as half of them stuck to the top of the ball and settled on the edges and I had to fart around with them to get it to close properly afterward.
And of course, I'm not likely to start following directions today, so the tea ball went into my current pot of tea to steep and blend.

10 minutes later, I am drinking my first cup.  It's a Red Rose, Pomegranate White, pine needle blend today.  I don't notice a strong pine taste- not that I know what pine actually tastes like, but it doesn't taste like pine needles smell.  It does seem to have masked the pomegranate though, so I have a cup of tea that essentially just tastes like Red Rose, with maybe a bit of something...  that I can't quite place.

An interesting link: 
The Health Benefits of Pine Needle Tea

Other websites claim that pine needle tea may have up to 5 times as much vitamin C as an orange, but amounts and flavour may vary between species.  Sources claim rose hips have 426 mg per 100g, oranges 50 mg, and 5 times that puts pine needles at 250mg per 100g.  Pine needles have the added bonus of being available year round, thereby not losing any vitamin content to storage.

Halfway through my cup of tea, I'm noticing a bit of an after taste.  It's not entirely unpleasant, but noticeable. 

A funny little aside though, if you happen to look at the chart, how did oranges become so famous as 'THE' source for vitamin C? They're relatively low, trailing behind strawberries, elderberries, broccoli and brussels sprouts.  Marketing?

Another link, with tea remedy recipes:
Pine-Needle Tea

My second cup of tea, after steeping nearly 40 minutes, the taste of 'something else' has gotten a bit stronger.  I'm going to assume that is indeed the flavour of the pine.  My tongue feels a little odd , kind of coated.  The after taste is gone.  or not noticeable now.  My nose feels clear, though my sinuses are still compacted.  It'll be interesting to see if they drain today.

#4 has his first cup of tea, and I told him I put something different in it, but I didn't tell him what.  His opinion- it tastes the same as normal.  Since he's never had the pomegranate before (a bonus tea bag from Timmy's the last time I was out), I assume he's getting the same counter active effect I experienced.  

(Notice how I linked that for the non-Canadians?  If you tell your friend's you're going to Timmy's and no one asks Timmy WHO?  You just might be Canadian, lol!)

Ew- this might be too much info- I just horked up a big gob of slime.  And I haven't even been coughing or feeling any chest congestion.    I may have to make this a part of my routine.

Anyone else brave enough to try it? 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Yeast Water

Further research led me to this site:
Original Yeast Water

More information on this method is hard to come by, though I did find a sourdough forum with some discussion about it.  It appears to be another ancient method of capturing yeast, possibly from or common in Japan.

Yeast water.  Could it be that simple?  

Experimentation:  I started one jar with raisins, one with a blueberry pomegranate tea bag, and one with pine needles.  I added 2 tablespoons of sugar to each.

The link says 6-7 days in winter, so hopefully I'll be baking up a storm next week. 

Sourdough Starter

Because kymber told me to...
This time I'm following the very, very simple instructions found here for Dawson City sourdough starter and sourdough bread.

Very, very simple- equal parts flour and blood warm water.  I started it this morning with 1 cup of each.  It's in the cupboard above the fridge- the most likely spot to stay warm overnight.  Wish me luck.

Of course, before I could put it in the cupboard, I had to remove my previous attempt...

It's been in there for close to a year.  I had given up on it at the time, but looking at it today I think I must have achieved some degree of success, despite never actually seeing it bubble.

It smelled atrocious but wasn't growing new life forms, which leads me to think that there must have been some kind of established life present before I completely neglected it.

I stirred it up before tossing it, and while the smell was not pleasant, it wasn't that bad either.  Interesting.

Last time I read a bunch of websites, instructions, recipes.  This time I'm going to follow KISS.  If the miners could do it on the side of a mountain, surely I can create something edible in my own kitchen.  Right?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Edible Weeds

A list of common, edible weeds, by request, as it relates to my ongoing fictional survival story.  This is what I have used/planned.  There are probably a million other edible weeds/recipes, and certainly lots of things that don't grow in my area, so google away for more ideas/info.

 All parts are edible.
Leaves may be used for salad, like lettuce, or cooked as greens, like spinach.  Less bitter in early season.
Buds are excellent in soups and stews, easy to blanch and freeze.
Flowers may be battered and fried as fritters (one egg, one cup milk, one cup of flour, mix well.) Excellent with jam or syrop.
Dandelion Fritters
Flowers may be used to make dandelion syrop. (Pick and wash flowers.  Separate flower petals from green base and put in pot.  Add 4 Cups water.  Boil, reduce heat, simmer, covered, 1 hour.  Remove from heat.  Steep overnight.  Drain and save liquid.  Discard flowers.  Add 2 Cups sugar.  Boil, reduce heat, simmer until desired consistency.  BWB 10 minutes.)
Roots are used for coffee/tea.  (Trim and wash, wash, wash, then wash again.  Chop/dice/grind roots into little pieces.  Spread on cookie sheets.  Bake @ 250°F 2 hours or until coffee coloured.)  I add a half cup or so to each new can of coffee I open and mix it in, then make coffee as normal.  Can be steeped for tea by themselves, or added to other tea ingredients.  I make a pot of tea with one tea bag and herbs.  Better instructions and recipes here.


Leaves in salad or cooked like spinach.  I find them tough and bitter, but that could be my soil.  Excellent as a poultice for cuts and scrapes. 
Seeds can be ground for flour.
Seeds as rice- I just learned this today.

Entire plant is edible.
Fall- Roots (Rhizomes)- as flour/starch.  (Dig, wash, peel, smash, soak in water overnight.  Drain off water and floaties.  Spread and dry.)
Spring- Stalks- like asparagus.  (Pull, wash, cook white portion and tender green parts at base).
Summer- Flower head- while still green, like corn on the cob.
Pollen- flour in the spring.  (Shake into paper bag).

Wild Carrot- use root like carrot.  Make sure you can tell the difference between wild carrot and poison hemlock before attempting these.

Clover- Best when tender in the spring.  Eat leaves raw, in salad, or cooked like spinach. 
Flowers can be used to flavour drinks.

Leaves and Stems in salads, or cooked as a side dish.  Good in soups and stews.

Stems and Leaves- in salads, omelettes, soups and stews.

Fiddleheads- Early Spring- pick, wash and steam or boil.  Good with butter and salt, as a side dish.

Other Ideas

10 edible weeds to enjoy from the garden

Surviving in the Wild: 19 Common Edible Plants

Free Food in Your Yard: Edible Weeds!

Edible Weeds

Wild Edible Plants of Quebec

Friday, November 2, 2012

Tallow Candles

Super simple, nearly free lighting.  I bought these little juice glasses at a thrift store.  The larger one is from an old wax candle that was used up.
The wicks are just cotton string from the dollar store, tied to an old nut on the bottom end, dipped in melted tallow and then left to stiffen up.
I added a tablespoon of salt and a tablespoon of cinnamon to the tallow before pouring.  I can't say as it makes any difference.  I really don't smell anything as they burn.

Like all candles in a jar, they are self drowning.  Not a big deal, it just means I need to keep another jar handy to pour off the liquid.

Today should be the last day in the oven for the beef fat.  Most of the cracklings have stiffened up already, and I've started feeding them to the dogs and birds.  I have 4 quarts of tallow, plus the candles, and I expect I'll get one more quart by the end of the day.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Trailer Extension

#4 and I have been working on firewood alone a lot lately.  My little trailer (the green part) works out pretty good for the two of us.  It holds just a bit more than one tank of gas in my chainsaw's worth of cutting.
I bought a cargo net in the spring to cover it, but the holes are too big.  Pieces would still slip out.
So I built a little extension.  And in keeping with my power outage story line- I cut all of the pieces with my chainsaw.  Oh, ok.  In truth, I was too lazy to get the mitre saw out and measure everything.  Chainsaw construction rocks.

We also had friends out yesterday, who volunteered to assist with firewood.  Friends doing firewood also rocks!  We filled my trailer, the pick up truck, and the big trailer.  That should go a long way toward filling the woodshed!  #4 and I have our work cut out for us this week, getting it all unloaded and piled.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Beef Tally

So little baby Casper grew up to be a mighty fine specimen.


I guess I should have taken more pics of him, for comparison's sake.  This was early spring, one year old.
We butchered him at 1.5 years. Here's the tally.

Steaks- a pound or more each:
Rib Steak-16
Rib End Steaks- 17
Sirloin Steaks- 6
T-bones- 26
 At least 65 lbs- 11 meals.

Tenderloin- 2lbs
Shoulder Roasts- 81lbs- 21
Rump Roasts- 108lbs- 28
Ground Beef- 72lbs- 36
Stew- 22 lbs- 12
Jerky- 8lbs

109 meals, not including leftovers- you know some of those roasts are big enough to serve double duty as hash the second night.   Roughly 358 lbs of beef. 

Compared with Steaks last year- 63 meals.
  • Beef - Ribs - (meals) 3
  • Beef - roast - 32
  • Beef - Steaks- 10 (meals) + 2
  • Beef - stew - 16
  • Beef - tenderloin- 2
  • Beef Stock- 50 cubes
  • Beef- tallow- 7 pints
Some differences to note- roasts were cut smaller the first year, with very few leftovers.  Rib meat was cut off the bone this year and added to ground.  We cut a larger variety of steaks last year, from the rump and shoulder back strap.  This year I left most of those portions as roast.  The tenderloins stayed on the t-bones this year, which meant I had to start cutting on Day 8.  Day 7 probably would have been better, with the weather getting a bit too mild.  Stew meat this year is all roast trimmings, so much more tender.

The meat is safely divided between the three freezers though, so if we lose hydro to one, all won't be lost!

I'm still working on stock and tallow, and I have yet to package the doggy stew portions. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ground Beef

I started with my little moulinex multipurpose grinder/shredder.
I think I wore it out.

Then I moved onto the new meat saw grinder.  I broke it.  

Two days old, and kaput.  Not happy.  Dad ripped it apart and fixed it.  Shoddy craftsmanship.  Probably made in China.  It's not likely to break again any time soon though!
After Dad's repair job it works better than before I bought it.  It zips through everything.  I am very pleased.

I don't usually do ground beef, preferring stew.  Ground beef is pretty cheap at the grocery store, however,  the sheer size of this job was daunting.  Doing ground beef was much less time consuming than trimming all of the fat for stew.

We decided to skip the ribs- we aren't fans anyway, and instead trimmed off all the meat for ground.  Along with the shanks, the flank that didn't get used for jerky, and bits of trim here and there, it really added up!

I have one quarter left to do today, and then tallow and stock to finish.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fall Food Storage- Cold Room

I'm fairly happy with the state of the cold room this year.  Despite the lack of berries, I managed to fill it up with lots of other good eats, and even added two new shelves. 
The 'store bought' shelf has more home canned goods than ever before, and I'm hoping to knock a couple more things off the shopping list on that side yet.  Here's the breakdown...

salmon- 7
tomato soup- 10
cream of mushroom soup- pints- 9
mushrooms- 16
assorted canned fruit- 12
cream corn- 10
pasta sauce- 21 + 3 quarts
apple juice- 23
relish- pints- 16.5
cream of celery soup- 1 + 8.5 pints
pickles- 2
mustard- 1
hot pepper rings- 1
manwich- 2
zoodles- 2
ketchup- 3 + 8 quarts
BBQ sauce- 8
salad dressing- 4
mayo- 3
olive oil- 8L
vinegar- 1 white, 1 apple cider, 2 quarts raspberry
beet juice- 4 quarts
pickle brine- 4 gallons

assorted jams & jellies- 196 half pints
syrop- 9 pints
crabapple sauce- 8 pints

pectin- 12 half pints
ham and potato soup- 9 pints
stew- 3 pints
tallow- 1 quart
cabbage- 9 quarts
lemon curd- 4 pints
peaches- 2 pints
salsa- 49 pints
yellow beans- 15 pints
dog food- 12 pints (chicken noodle soup, not fit for humans)

grape juice- 12 quarts
squash- 5
pumpkins- 4
seed box

I had to buy 4 more cases of pint jars and 2 more cases of quart jars, in addition to whatever I picked up at the thrift stores.  I still have a case of quarts, but I'd need to buy more pints if I wanted to can anything that size right now.  I also used all but a few half pint jars.  Which means I'll need a bunch more before berry season next year.  Some will be ready to be reused, but most of the stuff we go through quickly is in quart jars, so it'll take a couple of years to get the smaller jars back.

dill pickles- 52.5 quarts
pickled beets- 60.5 quarts
blueberry sauce- 10 quarts
watermelon preserves- 9 quarts
lemon lime concentrate- 17 half pints
lemonade concentrate- 13 pints
tomato juice- 11
coffee- 7 x 2lbs
assorted pop and juice
potatoes- 35 lbs (I need to see the potato man)
a bit of lard
mangels- 10 gallons
rice- 4 x 8kg
flour- 7 X 10kg
carrots- 5 gallons
assorted pop and juices
onions- 10 lbs

apples (no pic)- about 5 lbs

I'm waiting for sales to finish stocking up on rice, flour, onions, and pasta sauce (we use a lot!).  I'm hoping for a big apple sale, but I have my doubts on whether it'll happen or not.  Otherwise, just a few things needed here and there to top off the shelves.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

It's Time

Husband took aim, and made the perfect shot.  #2 jumped right in this year.  #1's knife was the sharpest.  I wish I could say I got to stand back and watch, lol, but no dice.  Casper won't be breaking out of the pasture anymore.

He's nearly double the size Steaks was last year.  We had to cut him in half.  The castration was also a total fail.  He very definitely had both testicles still. 

10 days to hang.  The weather forecast is good.  My mouth is watering already.

Friday, October 12, 2012

What happened To Fall?

Last October I was butchering turkeys, getting firewood, canning, and winterizing the garden.  All things I still need to do this year.    I sure hope this doesn't stick.  It's awfully deep for a first snow though.  Almost two inches...

In other news, I'm still canning.  Down to the crabapples- probably two batches left to do, and any odds and ends I buy.  I'm just doing my canning/recipe posts on my recipe page now, The Country Kitchen, rather than here and a shorter post there.

I'm also writing a fictional little blog, Wendy's Colony, about what I think we would do if the apocalypse started now.  It's a fun writing experience, and it makes me think about things a little differently.

It's also moose season.  We only have calf tags this year, so I guess my heart really isn't in it.  I'd rather be bird hunting.  Especially since Smitty is now The Best Dog Ever!  From day one my boy has shown me he has all of his Grandpa's instincts, and so many more.  He doesn't have his Grandpa's stomach though- not yet anyway.  The girls are thankful for that, as they get a treat when we get back.  If I could just convince him to bring the birds to me, instead of just pinning them to the ground.  Honestly though, at 4 months I wasn't expecting much more from him than to go for a quad ride, so I am super excited for the future.

Here's hoping for a bit of Indian Summer before winter really sets in.  I still have lots of work to do.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Return of Indoor Plumbing

Oh, how I've missed you, lol.  And the floor's not bad either.

Notes for TEOTWAWKI:  While a bucket with a toilet seat will work, a camping chemical toilet like this feels so much more civilized.  The sealed compartment makes carrying the contents to the outhouse much less icky, and less smelly indoors. 

Sure, we can all manage to go out to the outhouse through the day, but overnight?  I'd much rather the convenience of the bathroom down the hall...

Saturday, September 29, 2012


I picked another half bucket of green tomatoes.  It's salsa time.  Then I added these blemished orange tomatoes.  Even if they ripen, they're never going to be as good eats as unblemished tomatoes.

After lots of chopping, I ended up with 17 pints of salsa.
Not quite as good as last year, but not bad.  The boy who likes to burn his face off, (#1), tells me there's no heat in this batch.  I'm thinking good, it might not burn my face off this year.  Except you know those jalapenos are going to spread their spice through those jars as they sit and wait, lol.

Meanwhile, #2 is grabbing tomatoes to go off the plant stand in the sunroom.  Who needs apples when you can munch on a tomato?

Friday, September 28, 2012

First Freeze

One last look inside the greenhouse.  It's been a good year.  Our first freeze was forecast for Thursday night, so Wednesday was a big day picking through the garden.
The last of the green tomatoes, more dry beans, a few cukes, my seed cuke, a handful of peppers, the last dill weed, all of the cabbages, a few more peas for seed, a lone broccoli head, and a few cobs of corn.  There are still beans out there, that I never got to, and might not, though I'd like to get them in for seed.  I picked another bucket of beets, though they'll be fine underground as well.  Carrots still need pulling as well, before I can set the turkeys loose in the garden.

Beet pickles, and one final jar of dills.

I'm canning the smaller heads of cabbage for lazy cabbage rolls this winter.  The larger heads will go in the freezer whole.  More salsa to be made, and horseradish to harvest.  Still plenty to do, even after the freeze.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Balogna Rolls and Bathroom Business

My grandmother used to make this recipe.  She may have invented it.  Her mother may have made it before her.  I don't really know.  Very filling, yummy, and easy.  And, it used to be cheap, lol.  Not so much these days.  But it is a family favourite.

Balogna Rolls

Lay out slices of balogna on a clean counter.  Break cheese slices into thirds and place one third in the center of each balogna.  Cover with yellow beans.  Fold ends of balogna over and stab through with toothpick to hold shape.
Combine equal parts cream of celery soup and milk in a glass baking pan.  Place balogna rolls into sauce.
Cover and bake 1 hour @ 350°F.  Uncover, continue baking until edges start to crisp (about half hour).  Serve with sauce over mashed potatoes.  Delish!

I tried out my cream of celery soup.  It's a keeper.  The consistency is a little runny, so I may add a bit of corn starch or flour to the next batch before baking, but it tastes great!

Still canning, and now painting, flooring, cursing lots.

We lost some of the bathroom floor tiles a while back, in front of the bath tub, and I tried patching them back together.  It didn't hold.  The press board underneath was falling apart.  While the floor does get a little wet when the kids bathe, it really didn't seem like enough to be causing so much damage. The folks at home hardware explained to hubby that the toilet is supposed to be raised with some thing-a-ma-jig when you put in a new floor, otherwise the condensation will go under the tiles.  We figured that's what was happening, because the toilet did not appear to be raised.

We decided to pull the tiles out, replace the damaged board and put in linoleum.   Oh, what a mess.  The tiles were put in before the sink cabinet, so Husband had to disconnect the pipes and pull the cabinet out.  Then as they worked toward the toilet, pulling tiles, Husband and the Bigs discovered black mold.  They pulled the toilet out.  Home hardware was right, the toilet had not been raised.  And the gasket was disintegrated.  And the tap at the back was dripping.  And we never noticed because all of that water was pooling in the press board, under the tiles.
The black mold seems to have just been on the press board, which they removed.  The real floor appears to be solid, although wet.  Some of the original linoleum tiles are still in place.

We're going to give it a few days to dry out completely and watch for more mold, before attempting to put in a new floor and reinstall the toilet.  I have no toilet!!  One bathroom in this house.  I'm going to borrow my parents chemical toilet for the time being.

But at least I can shower. (Hot water heater was out last week).
You know, after I remove the cabinet and all of the bathroom stuff from the tub.

High of 14°C, low of 0°C forecast for this week.