When I pulled in the driveway this evening, I notice something moving in the tree right in front of my car. Upon closer observation, it was my little buddy, the porcupine. He was almost to the bottom of the tree when I pulled up but I guess he didn’t like my invasion of his space and he headed up high in the tree, really high. I was surprised that the branches were even holding his weight. After shooting a video of him, I tried to get some photos but I couldn’t ever get too clear of a shot because of all the branches. As slow as he was moving, and if I didn’t know better, I’d say he looked like a sloth………..V-E-R-Y slow getting up the tree. My husband just went and looked out the window and said that the porcupine was gone. I guess once we left him alone and came in the house, that was his cue to high-tail it out of there.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
A few weeks ago I was out for a drive when I ended up on the mine hill bridge, watching the water. I kept hearing a strange sound (go to the following site to listen to what I was hearing: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/belted_kingfisher/sounds ) that I had never heard before so I started looking around to find the source of the sound. I finally noticed where the sound was coming from…………it was a strange looking bird sitting on a wire above the river. I thought this is one ugly bird or it was a female bird having an awful bad hair day. After taking a few photos of the bird, I headed home to call my sister (bird watcher) to find out what kind of bird looked like it was having a bad hair day and within a few minutes, she had my answer. She told me it was a Belted Kingfisher so I got on the internet, typed in Belted Kingfisher, and there were many pictures of the same bird I had seen. By the description on the internet, my bird is either a youngster or a female because of the rust markings on the chest. Glad my sister is so knowledgeable when it comes to birds cause I could look forever trying to find out what the different birds are that I capture with my camera.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
Today we adventured out and canned stew meat. Before this year, my husband and I have never canned using a pressure cooker. I was surprised how easy it actually is. I’d always heard horror stories of how the pressure canner can blow up, etc. So far, we’ve followed instructions carefully and haven’t had any problems at all. My husband called Ivies, our local grocery store, this morning to see if they could get us 20 pounds of stew meat. They said that they could so my husband headed to town to get the meat while I stayed at home and got the bottles washed and sterilized. I found a way on the internet to sterilize bottles using the oven. Just pre-heat your oven to a temperature of 225 degrees and place cookie sheets with your jars and bands on them in the oven and set a timer for 10 minutes. Do not open your oven door before the 10 minutes are up. If you leave them in for more than 10 minutes, that’s OK. I’ve used this method for the past few years and we haven’t been poisoned, yet – ha!
OK, let’s get this process moving. Our first step was browning the meat, not cooking it. We browned our meat using Lost River Valley Seasoning Spice, just till the outside edges were browned and the meat was still red on the inside. The pan on the right is all but ready to remove from the burner while the two pans on the left are just getting started.
After we browned the meat, we put it in pint jars, leaving a 1” headspace, then poured our broth that we got from browning the meat (plus 5 cans of purchased beef broth) in the jars of meat to within 1” of the top.
Now all we had left to do was use a wet paper towel, wipe of the top rim of the jars, place on the lids and rings and walla…………ready to be processed. After that, we start the next batch.
We have a 21 quart All American pressure canner and were able to place 8 pint jars on the bottom row, place a metal rack over those 8 pints and top them off with another 8 pints. After those were processed, we had 10 more pints to do. Processing your food is what takes so much time. You have to build the pressure up in your pressure canner up till steam is coming out pretty good then you need to let it steam for at least 10 minutes before you start processing. For our altitude, we are required to pressure cook our meat at 15 lbs. for 75 minutes.
There are more steps to pressure canning than I have mentioned on this blog so please do not use this blog as a guide if you are going to pressure can any meat. The safe and sure way is to always read the instruction book that came with your pressure cooker or you can find instructions from your local extension offices on the internet. And now, let’s take a look at our finished product. Can’t wait to use this meat in casseroles, soups, stews, etc. – Yum, yum!
Tuesday, January 1, 2013
I had a bunch of lint that I had been gathering from my dryer so today I decided to make some fire starters. I searched the internet to find the correct procedure on how to do this and come to find out, it was really simple. All you do is pack dryer lint in the compartments of an egg carton, melt some wax (I used paraffin canning wax) and pour it in each compartment, over the lint. It took approximately 1 square or 1/4 lb. of wax per egg carton. As you can see in the bottom right-hand corner of the bottom egg carton, one of the fire starters is missing. I used it to see how well they burn. On the internet, it states that each one will burn approximately 15 minutes.
For ease of storage, I decided to cut apart the egg cartons. This way we can just dump them in any container and use them in lots of places. I thought we could put some with our camping equipment, by the fireplace, in the car for emergencies, in our 72-hour kits, etc.
The Next video is self explanatory. Sometimes, as the saying goes, LESS IS MORE, as you will observe.
Ok, it is 10:30am and I thought I would try one more time to see if I could get our porcupine to move, just a little, for video purposes. Well, you can be the judge as to how much this porcupine decided to move. He’s either really, really sleepy or just too cold to care.
ONE MORE TIME. Here We Go.........................................................................