Monday, October 18, 2010

Fall is here, Winter is threatening.

When I posted about the garden, I forgot about the grapes. We have one grapevine that grows up a 10 foot section of fence along the path to the back yard. Last year we thought we would get a harvest, but the birds got it first!. This year when they started turning purple, we covered the vine with bird netting. When we picked the grapes, we got a large tote about full. Looks like 1 1/2 or 2 bushels.

We spent two days making juice Mom's way. Fill a large pan with cleaned grapes, add water until just below the top of the grapes. Bring slowly to a boil and boil for about 3-5 minutes. Let cool for about a hour then put through the food mill to get most of the juice out. Then put through a straining cloth, in our case a large white dish cloth, which turned PURPLE after 5 batches of grapes.

We put 12 quartes in jars and froze it. It will be a little taste of summer when the snow is flying. It dilutes 1 to 1 with water, add a little sugar. Yum.

We also had about 22 cups of juice to make jelly with. 12 half pints and 10 full pints. Yum.

I don't know the name of the grape, it's not good to eat raw, but the best juice and jelly.

Looks nice.

I spent a day cleaning and reorganizing the food storage. We may not have a year's supply, like the church asks, but, we have enough to get by for a long time, if needed. I only found a few items that were outdated and needed to be tossed. The got lost behind newer items. We can see what we have now. We still plan on some more canned tomatoes, and a case each of corn and beans. We use a lot of them. Most of our food storage is rotated as we use it. And it is food that we use on a regular basis.

When we were growing up, we put up a lot of fruit and tomatoes, and Mom would buy extra when she could and add to the food storage and the freezer. When things got tight, we used to joke about Mom's macaroni tree in the basement! But we usually had enough to get by. My Dad was a carpenter, and sometimes work was scarce in the winter. As a kid, I don't remember worrying about not having enough to eat. So I continue the tradition. Its a keeper.

I have a shelf of freeze dried foods. I plan on adding to it from time to time. That food keeps good up to 10 years. We do need to get a grain mill for flour and a couple more containers of wheat.

I'm not a fanatic about having a food supply, but I do like to feel that we can survive in pinch. If we needed to help out a family member, we would be able to. When the Boy Scouts came by for donations, we had food to donate in the shelves. If we get snowed in in the winter, we don't have to rush to the store before the roads close. We have gas heat even if the power goes out. We could rig a few tarps so we could cook on the barbeque, on the porch, if needed. A couple of oil lamps, plenety of quilts and blankets. We have done a little planning for "just in case". We also have a freezer to store frozen meat and veggies, too.

I used to have an old sheet thumbtacked to the shelves for my design wall. I took that down and I have a new curtain rod and and new sheet to put up. It will be nicer than the old sheet and make getting to the shelves easier.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

September and October

As sorry as our garden was, we did get 20 cups of frozen green peppers and 5 quarts of frozen tomatoes. It's freezing now, at night. So we turned on the heat in the greenhouse. We hope to keep getting tomatoes from the greenhouse until about thanksgiving.

While I couldn't drive or sew, I did some other crafting. A few years ago, I made some "Fairy Houses" out of the wooden bird houses you can get at the craft store. I glued on rocks and flowers and stuff to make them whimsical.

This is the first one. I cut pictures of fairies out of magazines and glued them behind the large glass pebbles you can buy. I wanted it to look like someone was home and looking out the window. I used cinnamon sticks to make a door.

On this one I used a bamboo placemat for the roof. I took each banboo and split it lengthwise and cut it to size. After the rocks for the walls, I used moss and flowers to add interest.

These houses were made about 3 years ago. I sold the round one.

I had collected 2 large and 4 small wooden houses. I had also collected a lot of silk flowers, small baskets, etc. So I got out my paints and started with the small houses. these are about 3 - 5 inches tall, taller with the foliage. I painted these and sprinkled clear glitter in the wet paint. I used metalic paint in silver, gold, and copper with the other paints. It doesnt show in the pictures but it made the paint sort of opalescent. I found I could cut a door using a utility knife. I painted the inside with glow in the dark paint. The floors were carpeted with soft moss, for the fairies to sleep on.

Green house with copper roof, front and back.

Blue house with gold/brown roof, front and back.

Blue house with silver roof.

Yellow house with copper roof.

This is one of the larger houses about 8 - 9 inches tall. up to 12 inches with foliage. On this one I glued rocks about 1/3 of the way up the wall and around the door. These rocks are about 1/4 inch. I flled in with a course sand, about the size of bird gravel. I used this to fill in between the rocks and up the rest of the walls. I had some small flower pots I wanted to use, but they wouldnt fit on the house base. So I glued on two 2 inch wood circles on the front corners, and to balance it out 1 inch circles on the other corners. This gave me room to put the pots on the front of the house. I used some plastic faceted beads on all the houses. I "scattered" them on the bases and under the plants so they just peep out.

Here is the other large house. There were columns on the front so I ran "rose" vines arount them and up onto the roof. I only put the rocks up partway on these walls.

August and September

July and August were very stressful. After my auto accident, Nyda broke her toe. She stumbled over the vaccum. A few days later, a dear friend fell and broke her hip. We helped her by feeding her cat, etc. She was in the hospital for an operation and recovery for a few days, then went home using crutches and a walker. She is much better now.

Our brother Mike came over on a Saturday, which he does a lot. He was sleeping on the couch and it was hard to wake him up. He said he had gone to the Doctor because he was having trouble breathing. I asked him if it was the meds they gave him that were making him so sleepy, and he said yes. So I let him sleep. Until an ambulance pulled in to the yard. The clinic had sent it because they said he hadn't answered their call. He said he was ok, but they would not leave until we said we would make sure he went to the clinic.

He didn't seem to know what was happening, so Nyda drove him to the clinic. The doctor at the clinic said he needed to go to the hospital because he had double Pneumonia. He refused to go by ambulance so she drove him to the hospital. After he was checked in, and was changing to the hospital gown, the nurse saw his leg. It was red and swollen from the knee to the ankle. She got the doctor and he took one look and said he didn't have pneumonia, but celulitis. They got him on some major antibiotics. The doctor later told us that he was 6 - 8 hours from death. If he had gone to sleep at home he would not have woke up. Scary.

He was in the hospital for 4 days. We got a twin bead and set it up in the living room and he came home to our house. I had to learn how to change IV's. He was on IV's for a week at home, with a nurse coming in to change the bandages. He then went in for dressing changes and they didn't like his progress so he was on daily IV's at the wound center for another 2-3 weeks. He's on oral antibiotics now. He is getting better, but it will be a while before he gets all his strength back. His leg is still in a bandage and is still pretty red. It's been most of 2 months for him.