Friday, January 23, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Fall garden update.........

Final harvest of summer vegies and a few fall vegies. One good freeze put a screeching hault to my tomatoes and eggplant.Collard Greens
Beets...... pretty scrawny looking. I will have to wait a bit to decide if I will waste the space on these next year.Green OnionsSpinachCarrotsSwiss ChardHabanero (forgot to rotate this picture but still unmistakenly a habanero)Side Garden.. brussels sprouts in back, then swiss chard, then greens and mesclun, and then in the very front is broccoli.Side Garden.......... mostly mesclun.Kohl Rabivery tasty............. kind of like eating a piece of raw broccoli, just a bit sweeter.

Sugar Snap Peas

Sugar Snap Peas......... the bottom frame from a bed makes a great trellis.
Sugar Snap Peas growing up a bamboo trellis. Brussels Sprouts........... I am very anxious to try these out.Broccoli! My favorite. They are even bigger than this now and we are beginning to harvest.
A funny little story.............
Youngest daughter LOVES broccoli. I told her I was getting ready to harvest some broccoli and she told me she wasn't going to touch it. She said she only wanted broccoli from the store. When I asked her why she said because they do soemthing special to it to remove all the germs. Gosh if she only knew the truth lol. I am much more confident that my broccoli is germ free LOL.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Sad Event in our Neighborhood........

This happened four houses away from us last night. Luckily the whole family escaped safely. The family had just moved in over the last couple weeks, daddy, momma, and four young children. The father had been trying to start a fire in the fireplace and sadly things went terribly wrong. the fire started about 7:30 and the last fire truck didn't get out of there until almost 1 AM.

This picture shows how dense the smoke was in the neighborhood.

Morning view, standing in exactly the same place I was last night.

I am amazed that this tree survived. This is pretty much all that remains of the house, the rest completely collapsed.

Kind of hard to tell what this picture is. There is a travel trailer to the side of the house that survived. I walked around to the side and crouched down to take this shot of some debris still smouldering this morning.

Homemade Vanilla..........................

Since I tend to live a bit on the frugal side (cheep, cheep, cheep...... that is what I am called by immediate family, and yes I know that is spelled wrong LOL) when I came across the directions on how to make homemade vanilla I had to give it a try and I am not disappointed with my results.

The average cost of a bottle of pure vanilla in my local grocery store is 10.00 for a 4 ounce bottle. That is equal to $2.50 per ounce. That is pretty pricey so I have always used imitation vanilla. There is a big difference in flavor between real vanilla and imitation.

An average bottle of vodka is $9.00. I started with 8 vanilla beans in the vodka which cost me $12.00. Beginning total = $21.00 A bottle of vodka is approximately 25 ounces. For an average of .84 per ounce. Not bad at all.

The process is very simple. Carefully slit the vanilla beans down the side and drop into the bottle of vodka. Allow the bottle to sit for a couple months before beginning to use. As you use the vanilla from the bottle occasionally add some more vodka and a fresh vanilla bean.

It is also important to watch the for the strength of the alcohol in the vodka. A bottle of vanilla extract is 35% alc/vol. The first bottle of vodka I bought was also 35% alc/vol. Just today when I was tweaking my bottle of homemade vanilla extract I noticed that my new bottle is 40% alc/vol. Hmmmmm, hopefully my kiddos won't get a bit tipsy from their oatmeal cookies.

I have also found that vanilla beans can be quite expensive. If you have to pay a small fortune for the beans it totally defeats the purpose of making homemade vanilla. I have found the best price for vanilla beans at Cost Plus World Market. They come two in the little sealed pouch, making them only $1.50 per vanilla bean.

Christmas Day in the Desert 2008.....................

I hope the term "better late than never' is acceptable for this blog post.

On Christmas Day I went out to the desert with hubby and son. We were amazed at the wildlife and tracks we came across that day.

A hawk

A hawk in flight with it's breakfast (look close at it's tallons)

Pack of wild dogs

Coyote fleeing across field

Same coyote fleeing into miloGoose, very rare sight
(sigh...... I must share a funny tale with you. Imagine a middle aged, non slender woman trying to creep up cautiously and get a shot of this beautiful goose without scaring it away. Heavy camera around my neck, focus is the least of my worries. I just don't want to scare it way. But there is no way on earth I am crawling up that embankment. My hands will not touch dirt unless I have a sink with nice warm water, soap and a bottle of hand lotion at my disposal. So we must all settle for this very blurry picture of the beautiful goose.)CranePossibly baby hawkHawk in flightDucks in canalWhen we got to the riverbed we spotted a lot of tracks..........

Another Coyote track......
(my son was walking a little ways from us and says that he saw a mama coyote and her two pups run off, not sure if that is a fish story or not)
And the thrill of the day................ either a very large bobcat or possibly a mountain lion. I wish I had placed a dollar bill next to this print to show the size.

And a tale about another type of Coyote and not the animal type.
Coyotes are people who transport illegal aliens up from the border. If you will notice on the next picture there is a lot of heavy trees and brush towards the right hand side. This is the route we took as we were walking away from the river.

We came across this man made bench. Hubby says possibly a lookout point for coyotes.
And sure enough just a while later a police officer stopped by and talked to us and told us to be very careful in this area. He said it is a known location for coyotes to stop with immigrants and wait for their pickup vehicles. He told us that the week before they had picked up over 20 illegals in this area but the coyotes escaped. He also mentioned that the coyotes were heavily armed... yikes!

And now for a few random scenery shots...................

Some shots deserve black and white

My very favorite scenic shot of the day which I will probably have printed and put on my wall.