Friday, September 24, 2010

Straining the Tinctures

I actually should have strained them a few weeks ago, when six weeks was up, but I'm sure that a little extra time didn't hurt anything.

The lavender came out smelling so super good and sweet.  I've used it to make some room/linen spray and it's really great.  To make a tincture into a scent spray, you just mix some with distilled water in a sprayer.  Shake it up before each use.  Lavender is antiseptic and such, so I think it'd make a great natural surface spray for the bathroom too.

The other tinctures are chamomile blossom and lemongrass.  I'm going to have order some bottles before I strain the yarrow and catnip tinctures.  I haven't saved up enough used glass bottles to store it all.  Technically, tinctures should be stored in dark glass, but I'll just make sure to keep them all stored out of the light.

I'd totally link to the post where I set up all the tinctures, but I'm posting from my phone.  If you're curious, that post would be in the archives right around July 1st of this year.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Polishing Silver

My sister got me this lovely necklace for Christmas one year, and I just love how classic, yet still unusual it is.  One thing about it though, is that it is the kind of chain that twists up in my hair pretty badly if I wear it with my hair down.

I forgot about that and wore it out one night, and had to take it off, it kept tangling and pulling my hair that badly.  Well, I put it in the glove compartment for safekeeping, and promptly forgot it was there.  After it'd had spent a number of damp months in the car, I found it and thought i'd ruined it, it was so black with tarnish.

Yesterday, I cleaned and sorted all my make up and hair things and jewelry, and I decided it was about time to try to get it cleaned!

I don't have any silver polish around, so I searched for homemade silver cleaner and found this method on Good Housekeeping's site.

You line a glass or plastic container with tin foil, sprinkle in some washing soda, and pour in boiling water.  It makes a bubbly fizzy mire, and causes a chemical reaction that makes the tarnish jump from the necklace to the foil.  It was fun.  Like chemistry without grades.

After 15 minutes, you can rinse it off and dry it with a soft cloth.  And Good Housekeeping says to wear rubber gloves. So wear rubber gloves.

You can see that it's much cleaner, though there is still some tarnishing along the textured chain, but it was so heavily tarnished I'm not surprised it will need a second go round.  I'm going to gather up my other silver things and do it again.  But I might wait till Ben's home so he can join in the fun. ;)

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A few weeks ago, we got to go to a really fun family day event at Purina Farms.  They had these great dogs demonstrating herding with a cute little flock of ducks.  I was amazed at their concentration!

I'm using an older pic in today's post because nothing very fun has been going on around here.  I've been sick with a bladder infection/uti/maybe kidney stones thing, and I had to go to the dr for the 2nd time in 2 weeks yesterday. And now I'm starting my second round of antibiotics.

So, I'm stuck on the couch and there hasn't been much baking or gardening able to happen.  I have been working on my lacey raspberry colored sweater and I've made a ton of progress.  But honestly, that wouldn't make a very good photo, because they'd probably look the same as the couple I posted a couple of weeks ago.  I am ready to start the bottom ribbing today, so maybe I'll have a good progress picture to post of that tomorrow or Friday.

In the meantime, I'm drinking tons of water, getting lots of rest, and enjoying the fall premieres of my favorite shows.  I hope I get better soon, I'm so sick of fevers and backpain!

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Friday, September 17, 2010

I think I'll call him Sam.

I almost put the photo behind a link for the squeamish, but I don't actually have anywhere that I can upload photos and link to them to hide them right now.  But don't worry, it's just a picture.  It won't hurt you.

I, on the other hand, have to live with him.  This gigantic spider lives outside our back door in the living room.  He likes to place his nest so he's framed by the window pane when I look out from the couch.  Very thoughtful of him.

At first I tried to dispatch Ben to kill him.  (I wasn't about to do it, he's like 3-4 inches long.  Counting his legs.)  Ben insists it's not the kind of spider that will give me necropsy.  It's just an orb spider, he says.

Well, he's right, Sam's an orb spider.  I'm no expert, but my googling does prove that Sam is not venomous.  Also, every morning he takes down his web and builds a new one.  He caught my attention this morning while I was cleaning and he was doing just that.  I hadn't ever seen him building before.  Well, generally I try not to look at him, averting my eyes and repeatedly telling myself that I'm an eco-minded lady who sees the value and beauty in all of God's creations.  And trying to convince myself that spiders don't sneak up on people.

I was fascinated by watching him build the web.  I know how spiders do that (having read Charlotte's Web fifty million times, lol) but I've never seen them doing it in real life in real time.  Of course, I've never been near a spider on such a large scale before.  Sam is a quick, neat worker, an expert knitter.  Of course, his design is a little utilitarian, but I can appreciate that.  I love it when form follows function.

So, as he went about his business, and I went about rebuilding my little web for the day, cleaning up here and there, doing some big repair work by mopping the floors and washing the throw rugs, I actually did feel a bit of a kinship with the spider out the back door.  We were both setting our worlds to right, establishing order that would allow us to provide food and comfort, being driven by a higher power inspiring our instincts. 

Sure, Sam's the kind of spider only an 8 year old boy could love, and it really gives me an ooogie sort of feeling knowing that he's behind me right now, just outside the door.  But I think we'd get along pretty well if we could just talk yarn to each other.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Dried Pumpkin Pie

I just had to ring in September and the first heralds of fall with a pumpkin pie.  Unfortunately, I was not able to best the squash bugs this year, so I have no pumpkins or squash to roast.  I do, however, have a bit of the dried pumpkin puree from last fall to clear out of the pantry.

(Note the beautiful fancy pants pie plate that the lovely Alison sent me as my Christmas present last year.  It's so awesome.  And so is she!)

The first step is to soak the puree pieces in warm water for a while.

Even after a couple of hours of soaking, it's a little chunky.  But that's okay, because I have...

My stick blender! 

A couple of whirs with the trusty blender, and my chunky pumpkin water is once again a smooth and delicious puree.  After that I just mixed up my pie filling as I would if I were using fresh roasted pumpkin or canned pumpkin.

I think that if I were to put the puree through the blender (the regular one, not the stick one) before soaking it, I would get pumpkin powder, which probably would rehydrate smoothly without the blending.  I have one pie's worth of the dried puree left, so I might try it.

And I'm watching sales!  As soon as I find a good one, I'm stocking up and drying a bunch more squash for the coming year.

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Thursday, September 09, 2010


Generally I only buy generic, bulk, or Aldi groceries and I find that I don't use coupons for food items very often.

I still love to use coupons though!  I like to watch sites such as Money Saving Mom and look for great deals on things I use, like office and medicine cabinet supplies, cleaning things, candles, and fun things like new gadgets or candies.

Because these sites list the coupons and the fliers in which they're found, I don't have cut and sort each coupon every week.  I file all the fliers (and All You magazine, which has tons of coupons) into the appropriate month in this document file box that I found on deal for a couple of dollars at Borders.

I originally bought the file box to store magazine clippings, but I've found I like my binders better for that.  This is a great system for coupons, because I don't have to deal with them until I want a specific one, and it's pretty quick to find just what I need.  I don't have to bother with culling the expired ones until I come back around to that month, and by then I know they're all expired and I can empty the folder right into the recycling. 

All in all, this system has saved me a lot of time and energy over my old way of cutting and sorting each coupon.

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010

My View This Morning

I mowed the lawn this morning.  And boy, did it need it! Between us being away, then me being sick for a week it was long.  Then it had to wait a whole nother week, because last week Ben was away on a work trip, and I was out of gas with no car to head to the gas station.

But I fill my can to the tippy top yesterday and this morning, I was ready to mow!  It was long, but not very wet and heavy like it is in the mid-summer, so the mower didn't clog up as badly as it might.

Now I'm baking cake to take to the county extesion meeting tomorrow.  I was going to make cupcakes, but some days filling those little paper cups is just beyond a person, you know?

I shoveled out the chicken coop and laid down fresh bedding this morning.  I love the way it smells in there when the bedding is fresh.  Just like the lumber aisle at Home Depot. Yum!

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

Fall Cleaning

I was planning to do more canning yesterday, but my very slowly ripening tomatoes foiled that plan when I couldn't find enough ripe ones to make a batch of sauce.  So I started my fall cleaning instead.

It turned out to be more of a decluttering and sorting than cleaning, per se.  It turns out it's difficult to scrub corners and baseboards when there's furniture covered in books and projects in the way. Go figure.

So I definately accomplished a huge Fall Decluttering, and today I'm planning the detail work like baseboards.

I'm still working on the sweater I started last week. Not that I could have finished it by now, but it's like me to have abandoned it for another project.  Because I suffer from the sad condition known as Crafter's ADD.

One of the older hens is molting right now, and she was getting pecked, and didn't seem quite able to get up and down the step into the coop, so I separated her this morning into the infirmary cage.  She also got a treat of some cat food for the extra protein to help her grow back her feathers.  Poor molty.

I've been cat sitting for neighbor, and one of her cats is older and can only eat canned food.  I really can't stand dealing with canned food, I rarely give it to our cats.  But I feel bad for this kitty, he's like a little old man cat.  So I've been going over there twice or three times a day, just to make sure he's eating more than once.

It's a rainy rainy day here today.  I got soaked through this morning doing my chores.  I think I'll get my work done for the day and then snuggle up with a movie and my knitting.  So much more satisfying and cozy on a cloudy gray day!

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