Sunday, October 20, 2013

Some of my finds

I haven't been posting much as of late.  I've been pretty busy with ebay and gearing up for the holiday season.  Rummage sales, yard sales, everyone selling their crap before winter hits here has produced some cool finds.  Some of the things are cool enough that I'm tempted to keep them for my own use:

These are just awesome!  I picked them up at a rummage sale for .25 a piece.  I have these ones some Atlas ones, and some of the whole fruit half pint ones:

I love jars like this.  The sky is the limit with what you decide to put in them.  Space savers as well.  

This is a vintage German cookie/pastry roller.  The company that made them was called Monopol.  Kind of hard to find metal ones out there in this good condition.  I think I may keep this one as well.  I hate having to stamp out cookies.  This cuts the guess work out and has around 4 or 5 different shapes.  No space lost.  

I love this platter as well.  The only problem is I have no use for it.  This one is going up for sale.  It's awesome though.  Copper by the Laguna Beach Craftsmen.  I paid more than I would usually pay for things like this, but it was hand made, and it is huge.  

Well, that is it for now.  So long folks!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Olde Silo Farm, Free Shell Bean and Corn Stalk Give Away--One Of My Favorite Local Businesses!

I stopped in at The Olde Silo Farm based on word of mouth from some of the locals living in the Conesus and Livonia area.  I love local produce.  You can't beat the taste or the freshness. It isn't driven over 1000 miles in the back of a truck, and you have the opportunity to ask about how your food is actually grown. 

 The Olde Silo is more than just a produce stand.  Its a place to come for a conversation about gardening, its a place to find out who can help you in our local area with just about any problem you can think of.  Keith and Debbie Tucker have invested in our community, giving healthy affordable options to all of us.  They take pride in their work and they offer an amazing opportunity for us all to live a healthier lifestyle by offering us fresh produce free of questionable chemicals that our grocery stores have imported in from other states and countries.  To my surprise, this is what I saw when I drove up.  I was expecting a regular produce stand with a box to leave your money and take your produce home.

  Keith and Debbie Tucker, the owners of The Olde Silo.  They are always more than happy to have conversations with me each time I have stopped by for some produce.  Whether it's how to handle a particular critter problem without chemicals, a good way to start plants early, or even how to make a cob house,  I have found them both to be a wealth of information.  

The Olde Silo has started a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture for our area.  So far it has been a great success.  There are varying levels of membership which involve either working or not working on the farm for some of your produce.  Debbie explained that some people work for the social aspect, while others do it for family activities, and not to mention, the benefits of being able to put that work toward your CSA membership.  Debbie has created a rather unique way of keeping track of the status of your membership.  Food vouchers that you can use at any time between June and November. You can call them (585) 752-9047 for more information.  

In addition to all of this, you can also cut the cost of your produce by picking it yourself!  Raspberries seem to be a favorite at just 4.00 a quart to pick them yourself.  The U-Pick lasts until the produce is gone.  Right now Debbie and Keith are having a couple of freebies that they are offering.  Shell beans, 9 different varieties and corn stalks.  You can come and pick the beans and cut the corn stalks and take them for free!  Visit their Facebook page  to see what is being offered!  I encourage you to like their page and take the short trip out to see them.  They are located at 5488 South Livonia Road (Route 15), they are good people who have really invested in our community.  

Here are some more pictures of the Olde Silo Farm:

What Debbie calls "The Aviary"

A Dove's Nest

I had to add these two pics!  Debbie says that this has turned into an aviary with many birds living here.  She points to a small nest that anyone else would have walked by and told me about the family of birds that lived there.  Its this kind of attention to detail and pride in what you do that deserves our local support.



Thursday, September 19, 2013

Old Wooden Bowl Rescue!

I heard her calling to me for help.  I looked down and saw a pretty banged up wooden bowl staring back at me with the eyes of a lost puppy.  I saw her there on the shelf, a pitiful throw away of a bygone time.  She looked pretty rough.  I could swear I could almost hear her cry:

I could see the potential.  I picked her up, slowly turning her this way and that to assess the damage.  scratches, lots and lots of them and a really bad coat of varnish.  I wasn't putting her back down.   "Ok, I'll take you home."  I swear there was an excited "YAY!" from the bowl as I picked it up.  A lady glanced over at my soon to be purchase with an eye of distaste.  "Pay no mind to her," I said to my new friend, "I shall make you beautiful once again."

The first sand down was with 60 grit sandpaper.  I sanded, and sanded...and sanded... needless to say it took a while.  I could have tried something more mechanical, but I just felt like working with my hands. There were some spots that really needed a good sand down.  I followed with the 100 grit to buff it some and make it smooth.

Not bad at all once I got the majority of it off.  I did go back with the 60 immediately followed by the 100 for some scratches that were pretty persistent.  In the end, I left a few of them added to the bowl's character, and my arm felt like it just had a tetanus shot.   I could tell Anna was feeling much better.

Later that night I was pondering what I was going to do regarding stain and protection.  I like items to be functional and beautiful, so any kind of commercial stain and poly wouldn't do.  I did an experiment earlier on in the week and made some black walnut stain out of some of the black walnuts I picked.  I boiled them in a pot over an open fire, put a lid on and let it go for the rest of the night on the coals.  I then strained it and put it in some mason jars for future use.  It took quite a few coats.  I first used a sponge brush but then gave up and used a rag.  It went a lot faster after that.

Since the stain is water based, it will dry like this, but it does even out so don't panic if you are attempting this.

With that settled, I then decided I wanted food grade wood protection.  I wanted something all natural.  A quick Google Search led me to a few articles that all seemed to say the same thing, but I liked this one the best. 5 to 6 parts mineral oil to 1 part beeswax.  Nothing harmful in either one of these, so I put the double boiler on and made the paste.  I used a 1 oz bar of beeswax (which is about 29 ml) to 100 ml of mineral oil.

Here are the final pics.  I'm really quite happy with the results:

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Black Walnut Harvest

Yesterday Jenn and I harvested some fresh black walnuts off of the smaller trees in the field.  There are several trees at least 30-40 years old, but those we have to wait until they actually fall.

It took a few hours, but in the end we got a pretty good hall.

These ones will be used for a black walnut tincture.  If you take 3-4 drops per day, then you can rid yourself of parasites.  Everyone has parasites apparently (News to me).  So I'm squigged out and am totally going to make this tincture and try it out.  I have some for sale on my Etsy site.  I'm not too worried if they actually sell or not because I have more than a few uses for them!  I found this video on the "how to" that seemed the most appropriate.  You can do your own search, but here is what I found:

I also grabbed some of the walnuts that had fallen and were starting to decay to make a stain with.  I'll update on that one later.  Have a good day all!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Black Walnuts

The weather is getting colder which means the black walnut harvest is almost ready and the black walnuts I cured from last year are ready!  How do you cure black walnuts you ask?  Right in the shell.  That's how my Mom taught me to do it, and it works beautifully.  You can cure them for 5-6 weeks and they should be ready. I kind of got side tracked with mine, but they stay good for a long long time in the shell.  If you jump the gun on these, and try them right away,  the meat inside  has the consistency of rubber.

Black walnuts have an earthy, nutty flavor like no other nut. They are vastly different than the English walnut. You either love them or you hate them.  They are extremely hard to crack open, at least the ones here in Upstate NY are.  You need a hammer and a rock or brick.  My Mom always used an old iron that you would need to heat on a wood fired oven from my Grandmother's era.  If you try to crack them on your table, you will only succeed in having a lovely black walnut impression pressed artfully in the wood.

Here they are in the shell:

These had the green outer hull removed and were dried last year.  I load them up in a wagon and dump them in my driveway.  Drive over them a few times and let them dry out a bit.  You can do it by hand, or try to figure out some other way to do it.  I'd be happy to hear how you do it, send me a line!  If you do want to start, now is the time.  Don't wait until they turn black, then you will really have a mess on your hands.  You are guaranteed to get yourself stained in some way or other harvesting them.  Wear gloves and something you don't really love.

So lets assume that you have now harvested and dried your nuts.  You have waited at least 5-6 weeks with the silent desperation of someone who can't find the hidden gifts when Christmas is around the corner.  You have waited.....and waited....and waited....

Now that day has arrived!  All your prepping has led you to this.  You artfully place the nut on your rock (or whatever you may use), hold it carefully, and beat the crap out of it.  You hear that first crack.  This is your signal to ease up a bit on the hammering.  If you don't you will have a small amount of smashed nut and shell on your rock, and the rest of the nut spread to the farthest reaches of the room.

I am only a quarter of the way in on what I have, but here is a pic:

I'll either put them in a mason jar with the lid on, or I'll vacuum seal them.  I haven't decided yet.  

On a side note, you will  have some of these left over... if a nut doesn't cure and it dries up inside you can sometimes get it to break in half evenly.  I think I'm going to turn mine into ghosts, mini skeletons,  or mini killers from the movie Scream for Halloween.  I haven't decided yet, but I'll  make a post for it.  If you have a project in mind for them, you could always drill a small hole to let the air in and dry out the nut on the inside.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Breakfast Egg Muffins

I have seen these a few times on Facebook and Pinterest. They are yummy concoctions of bread, egg, and whatever your imagination can think of. I have cooked these three different times to see which one I liked best. All you need is the following:
    A muffin tin-not the small muffin tin (don't ask how I know this).
    Butter, I can't believe it's not butter, or something along those lines. I did try it once with cooking spray on the bottom with good results.
Preheat your oven to 350

How you put this part together is really a matter of preference. The first time I did it I buttered the bread and stuffed one piece each into the muffin cups. The bread ripped, I kept poking holes through the bread and swearing at it for not cooperating. If you can do it, kudos to you. I am not Betty Crocker or Martha Stewart. I found it easier to spray the muffin tins with olive oil based cooking spray.

I then buttered a piece of bread and tore it in half. I stuffed one half butter side up (I make a mess also, so yes you will have butter on your fingers) to make the bottom of the cup.

I then used the other half for the sides. The nice part about having the butter on the inside is once you start to push the pieces down the side and into the bottom they will kind of gel together.

I recommend that you try to get the bread up above the sides of the muffin cup. No holes in your bread cup. You don't want the egg to run down the outside of your muffin cups.

If you are going to use bacon or any other ingredient except the cheese, add it now. I recommend only using pre cooked bacon, I don't think it would cook otherwise.
Next you have to crack an egg and drop it into each cup. You will find out here if you made a fatal error or not. My first try I put too much bread in and the egg leaked out everywhere! It was a mess! You can do this! Once you have this part down, you add salt and pepper if you want. I add mine here because I have tried it afterwards and the salt just bounces off.

Cook it up for about 20 minutes on the middle rack.

Next you can add the cheese and put it in for a few minutes more.

To get them out of the tin, just use a small fork, its easiest, and you won't be swearing at it for not cooperating.

Here are the pics of the ones I made today. I forgot to spray the pan with cooking spray, but they turned out ok anyway.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

I soooo wanted to keep this!

So I was at the Goodwill store today and look what I came across:

Sadly I couldn't keep it. I wanted to, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity for a sale. This thing is worth about 100 bucks. A discontinued copper Kitchen Aid bowl! If I kept everything I came across, then I wouldn't have a kind of income or a girlfriend. I sell a bit on Ebay. Here it is if you want to take a look at it in all its wonderful glory. I really want it, did I mention that? Le sigh!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Creepy Kevin Bacon rule of 5 that applies to YouTube!

I need a place. A place to document my various projects. I'm on a quest to become a Jack Jill of all trades. I have followed Pinterest and some other bloggers for a while now. I've always said to myself "I bet I could do that" when looking at all the cool stuff out there, then proceeded to sit at the computer gazing at all the nifty things people are doing for the next two hours. There is a buffet of all the awesome stuff out there, you can't help but follow the trail. Then suddenly, with no warning, you find the weird section of YouTube. The section you would never search for in a million years, but somehow you are watching it anyway. If you have never tried this, I suggest it for some real entertainment. Start with one video and then pick one on the sidebar that is a "recommended" video. Do this 5 times and you will find yourself in the weird section of YouTube. I wish I knew how it works, but believe me it does. Lets go on a journey together, shall we?

Lets say I've been thinking about maybe making some pottery. A simple YouTube search off the first page gets me to 1 layer in:

Now two videos in, nothing showing up yet, and we are learning a bit about pottery:

And before my wandering eyes doth appear this gem from the world of crazytown:

Now I wish this were the end of no no my fellow travelers of the internet! We are but 3 videos in! This is only slightly weird. We are almost into the twilight zone.
Now for video four, and the reason reality TV is so popular in American television. "How did I get here from just wanting to learn pottery?" you ask yourself. There is no good answer, but you are this far in and there is no turning back. Ladies and gentlemen...may I present to you....

Now for the 5th and final video:

So for my first blog post we have gone far together, you and I....we learned a bit about pottery, why people hate Americans, why people live in their vans and the Cold Boundary between China and Russia. Who knew!