Wednesday, December 30, 2015


We are having our family gathering New Year's Eve.  It was the time that worked best for all of us.  So yesterday evening I decided it was time to start some of the fixing and doing.

I have made these in the past and they were wonderful!  I thought it was time to make them again.

I wasn't willing to just toss the ends.  I could have dried them for tea but it's Christmas so I thought something more festive was in order.

Candied Orange Peel

Peel your citrus and cut into strips.  I like about 1/4".
Put in a sauce pan and cover with water bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes.
(this removes any bitterness in the rind)
Make a simple syrup of 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar.  Place over med-high heat and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Add the citrus rind and cook until translucent (about 10 minutes).
(reserving the syrup it's infused with the wonderful citrus flavor use it elsewhere)

Put the peel on a rack to drain and dry to tacky, roll in sugar and lay on parchment or a rack to dry completely.  When dry store in an air tight container.

This is absolutely wonderful!!!

Happy New Year!
a little bird

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Canning Potatoes

Photo by Mick Telkamp

We were given a large bag of potatoes in early November.  We have eaten potatoes, we have shared potatoes and there was still a good amount of potatoes in the bag.

Reds don't store as well as russets so it was time to do something with them or loose them.  Today was the day.  Honestly I thought the job would be monumental - but in truth it wasn't.

I washed the potatoes, peeled them, chunked them into  ascorbic acid and water solution to prevent darkening, boiled them for 10 minutes and then packed them in my quart jars and pressured canned them for 40 minutes.  How to home can potatoes.

I have 2 canners  full, 14 quarts, and enough for supper tonight left over.  I think that worked out well.  Now we'll be able to continue to enjoy those beautiful potatoes gifted to us through the winter.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Lemon Cream

This just looks wonderful. I think I need to try this today. It is very cold here -3 this morning and I think a high of 10 so this would be a good day.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thankful for Family

I am just back home from the airport.

My mom flew out two weeks ago to join us for Thanksgiving.  It had been 2 or 3 years since she had been here. (Neither of us could remember which)
Of course DH and I have gone back but mom hadn't been this way which meant she hadn't seen the little ones.

We had a lovely visit.
Our sons and their families were able to come and spend time here and we packed grandma up and took her out and about too.

I'm thankful for my dear sister that took her to the airport and today will be picking her up when her flight arrives and deliver her safely back home. 

Mom's flight was early this morning so she and I went up yesterday and got a room.  Went out to dinner and did some Christmas shopping for the little girls from her.  Now there will be no mailing.

I hope you all had a beautiful Thanksgiving and that you have much to be thankful for too.
a little bird

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good.
Psalm 136: 1
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
Psalm 100:4

Wishing you and yours a beautiful day of giving thanks.

The harvest is in. 
We finished the grapes last weekend.
All the canning and the garden hustle and bustle is done for the season. 
It started snowing here yesterday and snowed all through the night.  We have a beautiful blanket of snow everywhere.  The earth has been set to rest for the winter.
God is so good - all the time.
May you be blessed fully this day and year.

We are having family and friends in for dinner.
I am doing the easy stuff.
The guests are bringing the 'sides' and desserts.

Blessings to you.
a little bird

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Veterans Day - History of the Holiday

Thank you to all that have served.

November 10th, 1975

40 years ago...  I was a young girl.

SS Edmund Fitzgerald

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Edmund Fitzgerald" redirects here. For other uses, see Edmund Fitzgerald (disambiguation).

For seventeen years 
Fitzgerald carried taconite iron ore from mines near Duluth, Minnesota, to iron works inDetroitToledo, and other Great Lakes ports. As a "workhorse", she set seasonal haul records six times, often breaking her own previous record.[5][6] Captain Peter Pulcer was known for piping music day or night over the ship's intercom while passing through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers (between Lakes Huron and Erie), and entertaining spectators at the Soo Locks (between Lakes Superior and Huron) with a running commentary about the ship.[5] Her size, record-breaking performance, and "DJ captain" endeared Fitzgerald to boat watchers.[7]SS Edmund Fitzgerald was an American Great Lakes freighter that sank in a Lake Superior storm on November 10, 1975, with the loss of the entire crew of 29. When launched on June 7, 1958, she was the largest ship on North America's Great Lakes, and she remains the largest to have sunk there.
Carrying a full cargo of ore pellets with Captain Ernest M. McSorley in command, she embarked on her ill-fated voyage from Superior, Wisconsin, near Duluth, on the afternoon of November 9, 1975. En route to a steel mill near Detroit, Fitzgerald joined a second freighter, SS Arthur M. Anderson. By the next day, the two ships were caught in a severe storm on Lake Superior, with near hurricane-force winds and waves up to 35 feet (11 m) high. Shortly after 7:10 p.m., Fitzgerald suddenly sank in Canadian (Ontario) waters 530 feet (160 m) deep, about 17 miles (15 nautical miles; 27 kilometers) from Whitefish Bay near the twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario—a distance Fitzgerald could have covered in just over an hour at her top speed. Although Fitzgerald had reported being in difficulty earlier, no distress signals were sent before she sank; Captain McSorley's last message to Anderson said, "We are holding our own." Her crew of 29 perished, and no bodies were recovered.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Apple Harvest

We picked the last of the apples today.  It was a great year for them.  We harvested the Honey Crisp tree mid-September.  And we've been picking the golden crisp right along but today we decided it was time to get the final golden crisp picked and the red delicious were ready too.   

Thankfully our kids wanted apples too (this is way too much for just us).  We dropped the cooler full at Son #1's and then drove up to Son #2's home to drop the four canners full and a basket of the red delicious off.  While driving north to #2 sons we drove through our first snow of the year.

I guess winter is coming.
I better get busy on the apples.

Happy Harvest to all.
a little bird

Monday, September 28, 2015

Our Kitten

I took Lucy in this morning to be spayed. I was out front signing all the paperwork when the vet came out and said, "I need to speak with you before you go". I went back and found out that Lucy is a Louie that has already been neutered.... We really tried to find the owner of this cat I posted pics on facebook, made fliers, looked at the local lost and found for pets, walked my neighborhood asking if this was their kitten, etc...  We really tried.  But since no one has claimed him. I went ahead and had him vaccinated and wormed.   So could I introduce Louie not Lucy.  My aunt thought this was a real hoot since we are animal people.  But lets face it boy animals usually have exterior parts...  I'm guessing this was a pound kitty that was neutered at 8 weeks and then somehow lost by his owners.  But he is loved at our house and fits right in.  He is 6 months old according to his teeth.
a little bird

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Be strong and of a good courage...

Joshua 1:9King James Version (KJV)

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.

Another great verse.  God is so good to us.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

What's my job?


Do you ever worry just a bit about the future?  Is the stock market steady, is our government stable, is trouble on the horizon... etc.  Well I hate to admit it but I have been concerned lately.  So I began to pour this concern out to God.

My husband gave me a great verse:

Philippians 4:8King James Version (KJV)

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

My son also gave me a great verse:

Isaiah 26:3King James Version (KJV)

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

I don't mean to make it sound like I was all in a dither but it was an underlying concern.  And when we continue to carry or hold on to concerns it can become heavier with time.  Then today I listened to this and it was the finial piece or should I say peace.

God's job is to care for his children.  I am a child of God.  He is my Father in Heaven and cares for me.  So just in case you too have been carrying some underlying concerns I will share this peace with you.
a little bird

Friday, August 28, 2015

Still Here

Sorry for the lack of post but we have been busy!!  Back to work full time (I love working at a school where I get some summer off) but back at in since July.  With that, canning, gardening, laundry and trying to make a meal now and again... :-) as I say busy.

We went last Saturday to the mountains to cut a load of wood.  We stopped after about 50 miles to let the dog out for a bathroom break. She went right to the tire well. DH opened the hood of the truck and we had a stowaway... 

She had ridden all that way between the battery and water reservoir.   She was so happy to be lifted out of there and ride the rest of the way inside the truck.

I have posted pictures on facebook of her.  Called the vet in case someone was looking for their lost kitten but unfortunately no one seems to be missing her.
She is an outdoor kitten (we have two family members allergic to cats so she cannot be in the house) and she is adjusting to our 88 pound Labrador - well adjusting might be a strong word - tolerating,  avoiding, yes those are better words.  
But she is a sweet little thing and we are growing fond of her.  Our #3 granddaughter carried her around this evening and has decided that her name should be Lucy.  I have an Aunt Lucile, I'm not sure she would be all that impressed with the name but it seems to have stuck.
So even though we had no intentions of any additional pets it seems that Miss Lucy has joined the family.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Canning Time

The garden is producing well so it's canning time at our house.  The cabbage was last week.  Normally we do sauerkraut but I still have 15 pints from last year so this time I tried a new recipe Cabbage Slaw.  It is from the newest Ball Book.  I hope we like it because we have 17 pints... :-)
This week is corn and beets.  I picked most of the beets yesterday and put them up.  There are still some in the garden for fresh or to pickle at the end of the season.  The corn is just starting to come on so that will be a few bags at a time for the freezer.

I called our local orchard for cherries and apricots.  Apparently they lost 85% of their crop so what they did have was limited and is gone. I love cherries!!!  I was hoping to put a few by... I'll keep watching the store maybe I can get at least a few up for special occasions.  And apricot jam is high on our 'like it' list too.  I have a granddaughter and husband that love it.  I will see if I can find a few of those as well.  It may have to be grape jelly this year as the main stay.  I made some Rhubarb Butter and some Orange Rhubarb Jam.  I put up Strawberry Jam and Lime Orange Marmalade as well so we do have other choices but when someone in the family has a favorite I try to do that especially for them. 

The cukes are coming on so I want to put a few pickles up.  It's just kind of a bit here and a bit there but it adds up for our winter usage.  DH grows a lovely garden, I just can't see it go to waste.

Hope you are having a wonderful summer and are busy putting by the harvest for winter.  
a little bird

Friday, July 10, 2015

Thirst Quenching

Lime-Mint Water

Remember that bag of limes... well we have enjoyed them to the fullest.  We have had a real heat wave in the west.  Wanting to make sure that we are getting plenty of fluids I have this big jug on my counter top at all times.

The container holds 2 gallons so I don't fill it all the way we couldn't use it in a day. But 1 gallon of water, 1 sliced lime, and 5 or 6 sprigs of fresh mint topped with 2 or 3 pitchers full of ice and it makes a wonderful fresh thirst quencher.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Bushel of Mint

I did the third cutting of peppermint this morning.  I believe this is a heavy bushel.  That's a lot of tea!!  From previous cuttings I have made three batches of mint cordial and dried a gallon of mint for our winter tea use. 


Probably the most well known variety of mint,peppermint, or Mentha x piperita, is a hearty herb that gives off a classic mint smell when you rub its leaves. You can dry this mint for tea or use it fresh for cooking. Both dried and fresh forms are known for soothing an upset stomach, freshening breath, relieving cold symptoms, and acting as a mood lifter.

Hopefully my Daughters-in-love will take some all of this.  I hate to have it go to waste but it needed to be cut.  I don't know if I'll cut it a fourth time or let it go to flower for the bees.  
They like the mint too.

Mint Cordial - store in the refrigerator

Friday, June 19, 2015

Lime-Orange Marmalade

I picked up a 5 pound bag of limes the other day while at Costco.  They were so beautiful!  What to do with that many limes??  Marmalade for a start!  I made two batches of marmalade That's 18 jars of marmalade.  Plenty for us.  Lime Curd is on the agenda as well.  Lime juice may be used as a substitute for lemon juice to make Lime Curd.  There will still be some limes left over for lime water on a hot day.  Lime - Mint water is a real treat.  And maybe some Limeade as well.   That 5 pound bag will be gone soon...

Last week I put up 6 gallons of strawberries.  Three batches of jam and the rest sliced to the freezer for winter treats.  So the process of 'putting by' has begun.  

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Home Canned Dog Food

I cleaned my freezer out yesterday.   This is something I do every summer. Clean, organize, and sort...  Well I unearthed a few old roasts and some old burger.  I'm ashamed to say it was 4 years old.  The meat was still good and there was no freezer burn etc.  But to be honest if we haven't eaten it in four years I doubt it will be high on the list now.  Yes, I came across it last year and thought we really need to use this... I'm just not a big wild game person.  

So this year was my limit.  I felt it was very wasteful to toss it into the dumpster so decided to can it up for fido.  I canned this as I would can any meat so it's completely safe for dog or human consumption.  

Ergo Miss Chessie will be eating high on the hog (er deer, elk, beef) having a bit of this atop her normal kibble.  I called my daughter-in-love and asked if I was becoming the 'crazy cat dog lady'. She assured me I was fine and just not wanting to waste food.  I hope she's right.

a little bird

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Corn Traditional Masa

I would like to preface this with I always like to do stuff the 'old way' traditional way.  :-)

I bought some corn to grind for corn bread and tortillas and then I found out that our bodies really don't break corn down well so we don't get all the needed vitamins from it.  How do we get the vitamins???  By soaking in lime.  So if you too have some corn and would like to make traditional torillas as well here is how.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Super Simple Pasta Dinner

Super Simple Pasta Dinner

This simple dinner is a family favorite.  I can make this when we are camping or on a night that everyone lands in and I really haven't planned dinner...  Even the granddaughters like this.  

You will need:
1 lb. hamburger
1 can pasta sauce (I use Hunts)
dried pasta, smaller pasta works best.

Brown your hamburger. Add the can of pasta sauce, fill the pasta sauce can with water and add.  Now fill the pasta sauce can with uncooked pasta.  (I like penne, twirls, macaroni, or shells.) Add the pasta to all the rest, stir, cover, and cook on low for 20 to 25 minutes. 

I like to serve this with parmesan cheese and serve a salad and you have a fast and EASY dinner.  If you have a bigger family just double the recipe.  When we are all up in the hills I do.  Its so easy to increase just double your ingredients and get a bigger pan. :-) 

a little bird



Sunday, May 17, 2015

Spring Garden

The spring garden is producing well, lots of onions, chives, rhubarb, the mint is like a forest, harvested some cilantro and oregano as well.

Last year we purchased a larger dehydrator.  It is an Excalibur.  I have been very happy with this unit. The only reason I say this is if you are looking for a new or additional dehydrator this is a good one.
I do a fair amount of dehydrating. Last year we did kale, beets, apples, pears, apricots, plums, tomatoes, squash, many spices and herbs for tea, etc.  We use our dehydrators.  :-)  We live in the high mountain desert so we can do some sun drying as well.  But the ease and speed of using a dehydrator is a real plus.

I use the dried veggies in soups.  We eat the fruits as a snack.  Peppermint, camomile, rose hips, orange rind and the like are used for tea and the spices go into our home cooked meals.  It is a great way to 'put by' the harvest.  It requires less space and stores very well.  

For a free copy of the the below book Drying Fruits and Vegetables CLICK HERE

Saturday, May 2, 2015


We have some 'new' at our house.  We have a brand new granddaughter.  I had forgotten how very tiny they are to start.  Although she is the biggest baby so far 7 lbs 13 oz.  She is a tiny little peanut.  And of course beautiful.  What a special blessing.  We sure love our girls.  DH and I had boys and I LOVE my boys but I always wanted a little girl too.  Well I now have five beautiful granddaughters.  God is so good.

The other 'new' is the bathroom...  Our house is 42 years old and the bathroom is the original.  The hinge broke on the vanity cabinet and DH said okay it's time for an updated bathroom.  Below are some pictures of the new items.
Note: these picutres are mainly for my mom.  She likes to see what we're up to and this is an easy way for her.  I'm sure our 'new' bathroom items aren't of much interest to anyone else.  :-)  But thanks for indulging me.  a little bird...

We have been buying the materials, tile, vanity, mirror, cabinet, even a new loo.  And today DH started the project.  The old vanity and medicine cabinet are gone. The new floor is going down - good thing he knows how to do tile work!!  We (that 'we' is the royal we as DH is doing all the work) are going to do it in stages as much as possible as we are a one loo household... Thank goodness for the camper.  :-)  The final stage will be a walk in shower.  No more tub but we really use the shower most all the time.

So that's whats 'new' with us.
a little bird

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

May we never forget

Holocaust Rememberance Day begins today at sundown.

God forbid that we would ever forget.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. George Santayana

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pure Michigan

Spring Break in Pure Michigan

Yeah - fun was had by all. We took a few days to go visit our family in Michigan.  We spent 4 days but  believe or not we were able to see most of our family.  Not all - it seems there just wasn't enough time to see all but most.

We wanted to check on our moms and just visit.  They both are doing well and were pleased with our visit.  Actually we surprised my Mother-in-Law.  We just showed up at church Sunday.  She was shocked and thrilled.  I guess she was always quite the prankster when the kids were all home on April Fool's day...  So my husband and his sister thought it would be a early April Fool's.  :-)
She loved it.

The weather was 'spring' cool windy - one day was freezing rain...  but all in all it was nice. 

So now we are headed home.  Looking forward to seeing our family in the west and our very spoiled Labrador Chessie.

Hope you too are having a good break.
a little bird

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Making a Difference

Happy Thursday! I want you to know there are some AMAZING teachers out there. My Daughter-in-Love, my sister, my cousin, and many others. I have had parents come up to me regarding my D-i-L saying the following. "Your daughter is an amazing teacher, she expected more of my child than any other teacher ever did and my child realizing that he/she was believed in did it." So this is for the great teachers out there. Yes, there are some lousy teachers but thank goodness for the great ones.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Re-fried Beans and Spanish Rice

Photo from Food Album

I discovered a cool quick way to make re-fried beans - bean flour - really and true.  If you grind your whole dry beans (in this case pinto) into bean flour you can make re-fried beans in minutes.

Quick and Easy Re-fried Beans
1 cup bean flour
2 1/2 cups water
salt to taste
you can add some bacon grease for flavor or not your choice
mix bring up to a simmer and cook on low for about ten minutes.

Some recipes call for 1 cup bean flour  1 cup water but I don't like that, it is much too thick for my taste.  But you play around and get it to your taste.  :-)

I grate a bit of cheese on top and Craig loves it.  That is one easy addition to a meal that is full of protein and fiber and good nutrition.   I like to serve this with Spanish Rice and a salad.

Spanish Rice

(this can be prepared in 40 minutes or less)
2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil in your large heavy skillet
1 medium onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
2 cups white rice (raw - not cooked)
Brown your rice, onions, garlic in the olive oil - takes 4 or 5 minutes.

now pour in 3 cups of chicken stock
1 heaping tablespoon of tomato paste or 1 cup of fresh or cooked tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
Give it all a stir, cover, turn to low and let cook for 20 to 25 minutes
This is my very favorite Spanish Rice recipe and I have tried quite a few over the years.

Rice and beans together have the amino acids to make a complete protein- this is a very inexpensive but good for you meal.  Straight from your pantry how neat is that.

Almost Spring

Oh my goodness can you believe it's almost spring!!  We in the west have had warm weather already for almost a month.  Remember warm at this time of year is a relative term...  But we have had 40's, 50's and some 60's.  The grass is greening and Craig my wonderful DH has even mowed the lawn.

I'm just hoping my fruit trees don't get ahead of themselves and set on blossoms it's WAY to early!!

We have just been busy with the day to day.  Nothing out of the ordinary - but ordinary can be peaceful too.

I would like to introduce Henny Penny, Goldilocks, and Feisty Nugget
These little ones will be egg layers.  They will join Regina in this job.  They will (when they are a bit older) have free range in the garden to munch on bugs, run around and play through the warm days and then be tucked up safe and sound in their coop at night.  Actually these little ones will live in this  horse trough for now until old enough to go out to the coop.

Hope all is well with you and yours.  
May the Lord bless you
    and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.

Numbers 6: 24-26

a little bird

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ash Wednesday

In Western Christianity, Ash Wednesday marks the first day, or the start of the season of Lent, which begins 40 days prior to Easter (Sundays are not included in the count).
Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. During some Ash Wednesday services, the minister will lightly rub the sign of the cross with ashes onto the foreheads of worshipers.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Free Printables

I just wanted to share a spot for free printable labels, tags, wrappers, cards and the list goes on and on.

I use this when I need/want a fun printable - but need it quick and don't want to spend the time to invent one myself.

Sweet treats for our favorite Valentines.
a little bird

Friday, January 30, 2015

Apple Box Oven

Here is my apple box oven.

It took about two hours to put it together.  I'm sure it would be a bit faster if I made a second one but I was learning...

My plan is to grind some corn meal and make some corn bread to go with our soup for supper.

I have my pans that fit (cookie sheet, Texas sheet cake pan and round cake pan) but I wasn't able to find a cookie cooling rack in our little town.  The next time we go shopping I will see if I can find one at Walmart.   But I can put supports in and set my pan on the supports for now.

I do have the thermometer but haven't pushed it through yet.  I will have my DH help with that.  He has an awl. 

 This is the rack that I will use for now - until I can get to a bigger town.
It will work just fine as the purpose is to hold the pans above the coals.

Of course I will do this outside on a safe non burnable surface. :-)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Apple Box Oven

I just think this looks like fun.  I have printed the directions and plan to make this.  It would be so fun for camping to cook outside without heating up the camper of if you are tent camping you have a very inexpensive real oven.

Apple Box Oven Directions

Friday, January 16, 2015

$2.99 Lesson

$2.99 lesson.

I realize $2.99 is not a lot but enough to catch my attention.  Did you know you can't turn 1-click off on Amazon for the purchase of a kindle books...  I thought the book was free, I clicked the button and immediately realized the oops but thought there would be a verification for the order so could back out.  Not so, not with kindle its a purchase.

If it was a good book I would have been okay with it but unfortunately it was nothing more than a list of items I could have gotten from Google or YouTube for free...  live and learn - chalk it up to learn.


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