Friday, July 31, 2009

Gonna be doing casework for 7 counties....

The regional chapter of the Red Cross I volunteer with has been added 18 or so more counties to their district so our local office is being set up to do the casework for 7 of those counties. I am so excited cause I have wanted to do casework for a long time and here's my opportunity.

Today there were three of us doing the training. Hopefully there will be several more added so we can cover the area without spreading ourselves too thin.
We will do the follow up after the DAT team has went out at the time of the disaster and met with the client.
Brian was our instructor and he's a great person to do the training!
We will then come along behind the DAT team and make sure the clients have had their initial needs met and make sure there is nothing else we can help them with before we close out the case. We will be making referrals for places that can help with those things out of our area. So part of our work will be getting to know these 7 counties and what is available in each of them to use as referrals. Places we can direct clients to for additional food, clothing, household items, medical needs, eyeglass replacement. Things like that. Doesn't it sound exciting!! I love helping people and this will be a great opportunity for me to do that. I love volunteering with the American Red Cross!

So, before setting up our new office, we had to move out the old. Life is like that. The old needs to go many times before a new work can begin.
This was a very old, antique desk. And very HEAVY!! We're actually faking it! Turned it up on end and put it on those little slider thingy's and with BRIAN'S help, slid it right out the door. The new desks had to be brought up from the basement. Sounds like a lot of work but our office is located in a bank building and there is an elevator available. Do you know how interesting it can be to move a desk and get it in an elevator with two people without incident? Unfortunately, I backed my butt up against the little red button and set off the elevator alarm. Nothing like making a grand entrance!
Brian and Valerie are checking out the computer wiring that was left from the previous occupants. By the way, we get two laptops for our use. Won't that be great?
What a good day this was! Accomplished a lot, had fun doing it and now ready to get down to business. We take over officially on Saturday Aug. 1. And we're excited!!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It's 11:00 at night and I'm making Salsa...

I started out this morning early by calling my extension person. I said "I've got 40 cups of chopped tomatoes and I need to know how much vinegar I need to put in the batch. Is there a formula I can use?" I don't think she was impressed! It seems you should make it in smaller batches so don't do this much at a time. I had to guess at how many cups of peppers and onions I had added and that didn't help much either. But she did figure it for me. I thought it tasted a little too vinegary but she probably erred on the safe side.

Anyway.... I had 30 pints of Salsa and now I am up late doing the water bath thing. But everyone seems to like the Salsa. So maybe it will be worth it. I can't eat it because it does bad things to my ulcer when I eat spicy stuff. And I put jalepenos in this batch. Used the same recipe as the one on my previous post, except I am now going to water bath it instead of freezing it.
These will look nice lined up in my pantry. I'm rapidly running out of room in there!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Down on the farm jokes...







Some kind of weird fungus is growing in my yard by the trees.


Anyone know what this is? It comes back every year and obviously gets bigger each year. Hope it is not poisonous. It's a very pretty pale pink when it first comes up.

Here's my little flock...looking good.....

This is Raquel Welch my little Silkie chicken.

Chatting down at the watering hole


"You looking at me?"

I love watching the guineas.

They were mothered by these silkies. I read that guineas normally will roost in the trees unless you raise them with something like these silkies who teach them to go into the chicken house at night. Very interesting.
I was told these are Mallard and Peking ducks. Don't you just love ducks. And to think I almost got rid of them cause they were so messy when they were little.

And this is John Wayne. Unlike the real John Wayne in the movies, here the "ladies" don't like him . Guess they need to watch some old western movies and see who they are messing with.
Hanging close to momma.
I enjoy going down to my own little "farmtown" and watching the goings on and hearing the crowing and the clucking and the quacking.

Gonna feed the birds with these this winter...


The watermelons are looking good..




Friday, July 24, 2009

Makin Salsa...

Today's the day to make my homemade salsa, well sorta homemade. Notice the Mrs. Wages salsa mix package. If you like it, why improve on a good thing? So here's my step by step instructions for making salsa.
First, pick your tomatoes or like me find your local farmers market or Amish produce store. Wash and take out the bad spots and the center core.

Dip them in boiling water for about 60 seconds. I watch for the skin to start peeling.

Then take them out of the boiling water and drop them in cold water. You'll see the skins cracking. They then just slip right off.

Have your jars sterilized or wash them in your dishwasher on the hottest setting. They should be too hot to touch. Learned that yesterday at my canning class.
Here's my peeled tomatoes ready to cut up. Lookin good right?

I'm wanting thick Salsa that is not mushy so I left them in pretty big chunks. Use a clean cutting board. Everything must be clean. Mix in your Mrs. Wages Salsa mix or mix up your own from your favorite recipe. Remember to always go by the directions. It's important that you have the right amount of vinegar to make the tomatoes the right acidic. Is that a word? Anyway that is why you do not have to can them in a pressure cooker. You water bath them instead for 10 to 15 minutes depending on what your directions say. But, I am freezing this batch cause I haven't tried that before and I do not want to cook them anymore than I need to. Want it to be more like fresh made Salsa.
Had enough to make 14 quart bags of Salsa.
My next batch I will put in jars and water bath. That way I will have both. Remember if you have any questions to call your local Extension office and ask. I wondered why if you add onions or peppers to regular tomatoes you have to pressure them but you don't for Salsa. Answer. Salsa is the exception because it has enough added vinegar to keep it safe. So you just put them in the water bath canner.
Happy Salsa making!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Learning New Things....

Took a canning class today put on by my local extension dept. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Then went to my local Wal-Marts and bought the latest Ball Blue Book. A few things have changed so want to stay abreast of those changes. We now are instructed to add lemon juice to our tomato juice which I didn't use to do.

Enjoyed the class and met several new people who are also excited about home canning.

Made a quick trip to my local Amish produce store and brought home 2 big boxes of tomatoes and 1 large box of pickle size cucumbers. So tonight I will be making Salsa and pickles. Will be a busy evening.

Mr. Potato Head makes a good chess opponent?

That's what his mother told him. He'll be mad at her someday when he realizes how she was putting one over on him. And he'll be even madder because it was an excuse to get him out of the house while she cleaned out some of the toys in his room.

Oh, Oh, will she be in big trouble!!!

My favorite Tiger Lilies are blooming at The Gathering Place Bed and Breakfast and Retreat Center

Don't think you can see it in this picture but there are little droplets of water hanging from the petals. Beautiful in a 8 x 10 size. Might have to frame this one.

Love my flowers!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The well's up and running ...pumping water....

Tool Belt Jim got his pump and is ready to get the drilled well that was on the property when we bought it up and pumping water. We want to be able to water the garden and the chickens with this water rather than using the Consolidated Public Water that we are on.
He painted the inside of the well housing and also added a light socket so we could plug in a heat bulb in the winter.






Notice he had lots of help.



Putting the new pipe down the hole with help from our son-in-law Steve.




Had my daughter Rachel on the 4 wheeler pulling a rope.









Enjoy this picture because as soon as she sees it on here she will take it off.


Here's a close up of what the pipe that went down the well looked like.



The finished product. Everything's all done.


Put the temporary top back on. Before winter we'll have to build a insulated cover of some kind.

This switch box is located in the shop. In case I ever need to turn it off or on I guess.

Now we have water up at the barn....

as well as down at the chicken house and garden area.
This is what I call "free water". Guess it wasn't free to get the well up and running, but now my water will be free coming from the well.
If hard times get any worse, I think they are already here, having our own water supply will be a plus. So if you too have a water supply on your homestead, get it up and running, for goodness sake. I'm glad we finally did!