Friday, November 27, 2015

I Like Your Fungus

1.  I don't often think of fungus as being pretty, but sometimes you can find some really neat specimens out in the woods.  Like the fungus I found on one of our poplar trees when I was hiking around our land one day:

2.  I was driving the boys home from chess club one day, and they told me some wild story from the bus.  I said, "You're pulling my leg!"  There was silence from the back seat.  Just as I thought that maybe they didn't know what the saying meant, Reid piped up, "Mom, how can we pull your leg when we're in the backseat?"

3.  We don't have an Xbox or a Wii, much to the boys great eternal disappointment.  They do use one sometimes in gym.  They do a game called Just Dance, and there is a leader that the players have to try to follow step by step.  The boys like to play this at home.  It cracks me up.  They put on music and one will lead while the other two have to follow his dance steps.  See, I stand by my point - we don't actually need an Xbox! 

4.  Pierce came home from school and said that a book they were using in reading had a bad word in it, and all the kids were talking about it.  I asked which word it had.  Pierce said the "J" word.  I ran through all the bad words I knew and was stumped.  The "J" word?  Finally I gave in and asked Pierce to say it.  He spelled it for me.  Turns out the word is jackass.  Readers, were you stumped like I was?

5.  I can tell you one thing I won't be doing today!  Black Friday shopping.  Ick!  Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving.

Linked today with Willy Nilly Friday

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Two Years, Francie

Guess who's celebrating two years with us?  Remember way back when?  The bony, wormy, skittish and terrified mare that I brought home the day after Thanksgiving?

Well here she is today.  Look at that healthy belly! 
Yes, Francie is doing just fine these days.  Enjoying more pasture time than riding time, with my busy schedule, but she seems happy and enjoys extra treats and following me down the driveway every morning when I get the boys on the bus. 
 I know some of you have been following Francie's story from the beginning, so i do try to give an update now and then.

I truly hope she doesn't remember much from her days before she came to Two Bears Farm.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Kitten with An Attitude

Our little Manx kitten that we found at the end of the driveway a few months ago is hitting his teen phase.  He's sweet as can be, but has a nose for trouble.  Recently, he showed us the meaning of feline irony when he got ahold of the "Taking Care of Your Kitten" book my boys were reading.  Luckily, it wasn't a library book.
I find it interesting that he decided to chew up the page where it talks about how cats are carnivores.  I guess he showed them.

I'm trying not to think about what Bobby is going to do to the Christmas tree and presents this year....

Friday, November 20, 2015

Fire Cider

Fire cider is a home remedy that has been made by herbalists for years to boost the immune system in the face of colds and flus.  There are many different recipes out there, but from the ones I saw, they all look like they will put some hair on your chest.

I wanted to try my hand at making some fire cider this year, and it would give me a good use for the ginseng that Paul dug up on our land.  You can google for different recipes to find one you like, but make sure that you know the plants you are using if you forage for them.

I chose a recipe that had ginseng, horseradish, ginger, garlic, and a dash of cayenne.  You put these ingredients in apple cider vinegar and cure it for a month or so before straining to use.  Sweeten to taste with honey. 

I plan to take some at the first sign of a cold.  It will be ready in early December.  Supposedly you can also do things like mix it with oil to make salad dressings or stir fries. 

A few days after I made the fire cider, I made a sore throat spray using the sage my dad gave me to plant a few years ago, with peppermint, honey and alcohol.  It tastes pretty good!

Readers, do you have any home remedies for cold and flu season?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mega Squash

My cushaw squash weren't storing in the basement as well as I'd hoped.  I had regularly been checking all my squashes, and one of them had a small soft spot.  I cut into it right away only to discover that while the flesh looked fine, the pulp with the seeds was all black and musty.  I had just finished reading a book on survival by Cody Lundin in which he wrote that the sickest he ever was from something he ate was from eating an old garden squash (and he has eaten some really nasty stuff out in the wild).  Apparently squash can get full of mycotoxins.  I decided to toss the whole thing.

After some thought, I went ahead and processed all my cushaw squash that was still good.  I didn't want to risk losing more.  They have the shortest storage life of all the winter squash I grew anyhow.

I made Cort carry them all upstairs for me.

Just kidding.  I had Cort hold it for about two seconds so I could take a picture, and he almost fell over. 

I got twelve cups of puree from this cushaw, and made pumpkin bread for the neighbors.  Meanwhile, I'm hopeful that my butternuts and blue hubbards hang in for a few more months. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tracking Down Sugar Maples

We have some sugar maples on our land.  The process of getting syrup from them is intimidating, because it sounds like it is a very lengthy and tedious event. 

Just in case, though, the boys and I hiked around the land marking sugar maples.  They are easier to find when the leaves are still on, so you need to mark them in the fall.  Tapping for syrup happens in the winter.

I won a pair of Oboz boots at GoFest this year, from a drawing that Walkabout Outfitters did, which I love. 
My old hiking boots were too small, because my feet grew a half size with each pregnancy.  When we finally take our backpacking trip, hopefully I'll have these well broken in.

Readers, do you know what a sugar maple tree looks like?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Processing Walnuts

Fall is walnut season, and we have a couple of trees that were planted by the house, long before we ever lived there.  We put the twins to work gathering walnuts.  They picked up hundreds! 

Paul's parents passed along a walnut cracker that was missing a piece.  They picked it up at a yard sale for cheap.  Paul was able to weld the missing piece, and built a cute little box to mount it in, with sides to keep the walnuts from flying around. 

Walnuts are the superhero of nuts.  Ours are organic and raw, which have added health benefits.  Walnuts have been shown to have health benefits on brain health, cancer, reproductive health and diabetes. 

I made candied walnuts for the first time and they are delicious plain or on oatmeal.  We have a lot more to go on the walnuts, but we're cracking them, one shell at a time.

Readers, do you have a favorite way to eat walnuts?