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Showing posts from May, 2012

Homemade Sunburn Relief

Ouch!  Got my first sunburn of the year. There is a triangle of red, crispy skin on my back.  That's what you get when you wear a shirt with an opening in the rear.  Apparently, my back doesn't get much sun, because it's the only part that burned (thankfully), but it sure is sore. Though we try to be careful, sunburn happens, especially on those first few hot, sunny days.  So what can you do to relieve some of the pain and minimize skin damage?  There are numerous home remedies out there for sunburn relief, and many of them are inexpensive, using ingredients you likely already have at home (my favorite kind of home remedy). Vinegar Probably one of the simplest remedies for sunburn out there is apple cider vinegar.  You can either pour some onto a cloth and dab it onto burned skin, or you can put some in a spray bottle (this works best) and spritz it on.  Gently apply the vinegar to the sunburned areas to relieve pain and itching (avoid the eyes and any open cut

Dehydrating Potatoes

Sometimes, you run across a deal that you just can't pass up: If potatoes go on sale, stock up and dehydrate them. We were grocery shopping one Sunday, and needed to pick up potatoes, which are normally around $2.50 for a 10 pound bag...but then I spied this 25 pound box of potatoes for $2.99, reduced for quick sale.  I'm not sure why they needed to sell them quickly, but we snatched them up! And then we had 25 pounds of potatoes.  That's a lot of taters.

Kiwi Eats A Yummy Worm

It has finally warmed up enough around here to let our new little chicken Kiwi stay outside--plus, she finally has all her feathers in. We are keeping her separate from the big hens for now because she is still too small to defend herself. But, once she gets bigger, we'll start integrating her into the flock. The other day, my husband said something like, "Who needs a puppy when you could have a chicken?" And he's right! When we take Kiwi outside with us, she follows us around like a little puppy. If you start to walk away from her, she'll squawk and chase you, wings flapping, until she catches up. While I hang laundry on the line, she contentedly pecks near my feet, pausing to look up at me hanging clothes occasionally, nipping at the ones that hang down low enough. If I am weeding in the garden, she is there next to me, seeing what I'm up to and trying to pull the weeds out of my hand. She really is very entertaining to have around. And it is en

My Top 5 Favorite Books to Help Me "Make Stuff"

I use the internet a lot as a place to find recipes and get help "making our own stuff."  However, sometimes, it can really be a pain using the computer to find out how to, say, make my own laundry detergent--usually this involves scouring Google for an hour until I find a decent sounding recipe, waste paper and ink printing it off, make the detergent...and then find that I don't really care for the recipe.  So then I have to do it all over again until I find one I like. Sometimes, it's just nicer to have some good reference books.  Something sitting on your bookshelf that you can easily grab, check the index, and find what you are looking for--no electricity required. There are certain books we have in our collection that we go to over and over again.  Their pages are worn, likely stained in spots, dog eared here and there--these books are used heavily.  If one book doesn't have what I want, it is likely that another will. Here I will share our 5 favorites:

Wind Chimes and Vases: Upcycle Your Glass Bottles

I learned a neat trick from Carla Emery's book The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 10th Edition (I highly recommend this book by the way, it is great!) regarding "up-cycling" glass bottles.  If you have beer or wine bottles, even soy sauce bottles, cocktail sauce bottles, steak sauce bottles, or glass olive oil bottles, save them and try this neat project. Carla Emery says in her book: Old-timers made narrow-necked wine bottles into preserve holders by tying strings soaked in kerosene around the shoulders.  Then they set the strings on fire.  That cracked the necks so they could be knocked off and the edges filed smooth.  The bottles were washed and sterilized, the hot jam poured in--and then the bottles were sealed with paraffin.  You let your jelly set up (jell) and cool clear down first, before you added the paraffin. I thought this sounded neat, so I decided to try it.  What I did was: Soaked the bottle in warm water to remove the labels.  For the most part

Pizza Twice Baked Potatoes

When it comes to spending less at the grocery store, you can't get much cheaper than potatoes.  And if you have a garden, it's likely that you'll end up with a good harvest of potatoes, since they are so easy to grow.  The downfall?  Potatoes can become quite ho-hum if you eat them a lot--mashed, fried, baked--there's only so many ways to eat them.  A remedy for boring potatoes?  Jazz them up a bit by making them pizza flavored; everyone likes pizza, right?  This recipe calls for the skins being left on the potatoes, so if you can, try to use organic or home-grown potatoes ( more than 35 chemicals have been found on the skins of potatoes ). Pizza Twice Baked Potatoes Serves:  4 Ingredients: 4 medium potatoes 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided 1/2 cup diced pepperoni, plus 24 whole slices  1 cup pizza sauce Directions: 1.  Scrub your potatoes well and prick all over with a fork.  Bake in a 425 degree F oven until the potatoes are

Candied Flowers

We have lovely patches of wood violets ( Viola papilionacea ) growing this time of year, and I was interested to learn that these pretty purple flowers are not only nice to look at, but are edible as well.  And there are multitudes of other edible flowers as well--some that may be growing wild in your own backyard! One particularly quaint way to use these edible flowers is to candy them.  They are coated in sugar and allowed to dehydrate, and then can be used to garnish cakes and cupcakes, pressed into cookies, or even as a salad garnish. Certain flowers take to the "candy-ing" better than others, however.  Some good choices for this project are: Whole flowers Borage (Borago officinalis) Calendula (Calendula officinalis) Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus) Clover (Trifolium sp.) Lavender ( Lavandula angustifolia) Nasturtiums ( Tropaeolum majus) Flower Petals and Leaves Basil Leaves and Flowers (Ocimum basilicum) Mint leaves (Mentha sp.) Rose Petals