Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Ultimate Cinnamon Roll

I will be trying this recipe this weekend.
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Ingredients:

  • for the dough:
  • whole milk – 4 cups (1 liter)
  • vegetable oil – 1 cup
  • sugar – 1 cup
  • yeast – 2 0.25 oz packets active dry, or 20 g fresh
  • all-purpose flour – 8 cups + 1 cup, separated
  • baking powder – 1 tsp, heaping
  • baking soda – 1 tsp, scant
  • salt – 1 tsp
  • for the filling:
  • butter – 1 1/2 cups, melted
  • brown sugar – 1 1/2 cups
  • white sugar – 1 1/2 cups
  • cinnamon – 4 tbsp
  • for the icing:
  • cream cheese – 6 ounces (150 g), softened
  • butter – 1/4 cup (60 g), softened
  • powdered sugar – 1 1/2 cups
  • vanilla – 1/2 tsp
  • salt – 1/8 tsp

Instructions:

For the dough:
  • In a medium saucepan, stir the milk, oil and sugar together and heat until hot, but not quite boiling.
  • Remove from heat and let cool to warm.
  • Mix in the yeast and wait for it to activate – when the top becomes foamy.
  • Put the flour in a large mixing bowl, and make a well in the center, then pour in the milk/yeast mixture and stir until just combined, cover with a damp cloth and leave in a warm, draft-free place, for about an hour.
  • After an hour, remove the towel and stir in the baking powder, baking soda, salt and remaining cup of flour.
(you can use the dough immediately, or keep it refrigerated for up to 3 days, punching it down if it rises over the top of the bowl – it is easier to work with chilled)
To make the rolls:
  • Grease several baking dishes with butter or cooking spray, depending on size, you should fit about 6 – 8 rolls per pan.  (disposable aluminum pans work great for freezing extra rolls)
  • Take half of the dough from the bowl and roll it out into a large rectangle, about 30 x 10″ (76 x 25 cm). (the dough is very sticky, so be sure to flour your surface well, it should also be very thin)
  • Using  a pastry brush, brush half of the melted butter all over the dough.
  • Mix the two sugars and cinnamon together, and spread half of the mixture evenly over the dough.
  • Starting from the long side of the dough furthest away from you and using both hands, begin rolling the dough tightly towards you – when you reach the end, pinch the seam together tightly, and flip the roll so the seam is on the bottom.
  • Use a sharp knife and slice the roll into 1.5″ (3 cm) pieces. (you can also use a piece of dental floss, slide it under the roll and cross it over the top, then pull quickly and tightly and the floss will make a clean cut)
  • Place the sliced rolls in your prepared baking dishes, being careful to leave quite a bit of space between them, as they will spread out a lot when baking.
  • Repeat the process with the remaining dough.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
  • While the oven is heating, cover the pans with towels and leave on counter to rise for at least 20 minutes.
(at this point, you can leave the pans of uncooked cinnamon rolls in the refrigerator, and bake them the next day, or you can freeze them and bake them when you want – letting them thaw overnight in the refrigerator)
  • Bake for about 15 – 18 minutes, or until golden brown, being careful not to let them brown too much.
To make the icing:
  • Beat the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt together with an electric mixer until smooth.
  • Spread the icing evenly over still warm rolls.

DIY Upholstered Storage

Free Project Plan for Storage Bench   http://sawdustgirl.com/2013/01/28/free-project-plan-for-storage-bench/



                                                       

Cozy Socks from Polarfleece Blanket

Make yourself a pair of cozy socks from polarfleece in less time than it takes to read this.
I used a fleece blanket I found on the street. An airline blanket would work fine, or any fleece garment that doesn't fit you.

There are a few tricks to this project:
Make a paper pattern so you can refer to the pattern and evolve your next pairs of socks to perfection.
Fleece stretches more in one direction than the other. Put the stretchy direction around your foot.
Stretch the cloth while doing zigzag sewing - then the seams will stretch with the cloth later.
Sew the zigzag seam so the needle overshoots the edge. That binds the edge.
If your thread tension is low you can pull the seam around so it looks whipstitched butt-to-butt and lies flat.

Step 1: Stretch Test

Fleece stretches a lot more in one direction than the other.
This particular blanket stretches most in the direction of the stripes.
So I'll make my socks with the stripes around the legs.

Step 2: Make Paper Patterns

Here's what my patterns look like.
There's a sole, a back, and a "vamp" which is the long part that covers the instep of the foot.
The size of the cloth pieces will just match the diameter of each part of the foot they cover.
No seam allowance is necessary.

Step 3: Mark the Cloth

These patterns nest together nicely to waste minimum cloth.
Use a sharpie marker or anything else.
Permanent is okay, the lines won't be visible on the finished socks.

Step 4: Cut Out the Pieces

I'm cutting two layers of blanket here.
The fleece sticks together nicely, so if you're confident you can cut out two or more layers at once. 

Step 5: Sew the Heel Seam

Lay the sole on the back piece(or vice versa).
Set your sewing machine on the widest zigzag stitch it makes.
Thread tension can be low, stitch length long.
The type of thread doesn't matter.
Sew along the edge of the cloth so the needle straddles the edge of the cloth on every zag.
That will bind the edge of the seam.
Pull on the cloth as shown to stretch it. That will make a seam that also stretches when it is done.

Step 6: Sew the Side Seam

Lay the piece you just made on the vamp piece(or vice versa).
Sew them together the same way you did the heel seam.

You don't need to hem the top of the sock, it won't unravel.
Hem the top of the sock if you want, or trim it with whatever exotic furs you have handy.

Enjoy your cozy new socks!
Make a whole lot of them and invite your friends to go winter camping!

Monday, October 28, 2013

6 Ways to Hack Outdoor Solar Lights for Survival

It’s that startling moment when the lights go out in the middle of the night.
You haven’t had time to mount your flashlights next to your bed. And you can’t find your candles in the complete dark. As you stumble about, you notice a white glow coming from your vegetable garden.Fun Garden Lighting
It’s the solar lighting you put out there earlier this year.
Often overlooked as a preparedness tool, solar lighting is something we should all consider. You can use them in many other ways than just looking pretty: from increasing egg production, to charging batteries, to preparing your unprepared loved ones.
Here are six hacks to maximize the usefulness of this green gadget:
1. First, replace the batteries
solar batteriesYep, manufacturers lower their costs in building solar lights by using low-quality batteries. It’s often why solar lighting gets mixed reviews – it’s not the light, but the battery that failed. Replacing the low-quality ones with higher quality batteries is the secret to both longevity and efficiency of using solar outdoor lights indoors.
There’s a lot of debate out there on whether to use NiCD or NiMH batteries (such as the amazingly awesome Eneloop, of which I find myself collecting). If you live in a climate with moderate temperatures and a good amount of sunlight, a NiMH battery is your best choice. If not, opt for quality NiCD batteries, as they will tolerate a broader range of conditions than a NiMH will.
2. Turn it into a battery charger
Solar lighting can be used as a battery charger. You can use solar lights to charge batteries during the day, and then remove the batteries and use in other devices. Solar outdoor lights then serve double-duty and give you extra flexibility.
When looking for outdoor solar lighting that might be used indoors or as a battery charger, be sure it has an on-off switch. You’ll save energy for other uses and you may not want your house lit all night. Plus, a switch will allow you to convert it into a dedicated solar battery charger.
Most lights house a single battery, but if you get solar lights with at least two batteries, the light output is quite a bit more, and your charging capacity has doubled.
3. Remove the shades
Because the decorative shades impede the light, removing them will expose more light and the difference can be drastic.
4. Duct Tape over the light sensor
Most outdoor solar lights have a small sensor that works to turn off the lights at dawn. When using them indoors,you may also have other light sources that would trigger the sensor, so use some of your massive stock of camo duct tape to tape over it, effectively disabling it temporarily and keeping the light on.
5. Light up your coop and increase egg production
Increase egg production by putting a solar lamp in a chicken coop in winter and get more “daylight” for egg production. The solar lights can be hacked to extend the solar chip outside of the coop, while keeping the light itself inside the coop.
6. Prepare the unprepared
As I’ve said before, one of the best ways to prepare the unprepared is by giving practical gifts that can be used in an emergency. And this is a sly one.
You can’t very well show up with a hostess/birthday/Christmas gift of a Lifestraw (well you can, but you’ll probably compromise your OPSEC in the process), but you can show up with a wonderful treat for their lovely garden or eating area. And the bonus is you won’t have to explain yourself to a chorus of  “are you like one of those doomsday preppers on TV?”
Pair the lights with a pack of good rechargeable batteries, and baby, you’ve just set them up with a solar battery charging solution that also runs double-duty as emergency lighting – cleverly disguised as a gift.
Solar Lighting options
So where to get good solar lights? It’s tough: If you buy online, you’ll encounter a lot of mixed reviews. If you pick some up at a dollar store, there’s no reviews at all to rely upon. And buying a cheap light just because it’s cheap won’t get you anywhere, worse yet, it will give you a false sense of security.
I’m a firm believer in doing your research – and online shopping. When I shop online at a site like Amazon, I can review the reviews and do price-comparisons to make sure I’m getting the best option out there. I’ve reviewed about a dozen options and these are my top three picks for outdoor solar lighting for the purposes as discussed:
1. Inexpensive Power-Houses
solar outdoor lightsAt less than $2 a piece, these solar lights are an inexpensive solution. I don’t plan on using these lights as a replacement for regular bulbs; and at this price, as one reviewer pointed out, you couldn’t buy the solar cell, battery and LEDs. This is an ideal set to gift to an unprepared loved one as well – the price is low enough to pair with some smashing batteries without busting the budget — and you’ll be preparing a loved one with a sneaky solar battery charger as well.
2. A Spot-On Spotlight
solar spot light
A spotlight is also an excellent choice – they tend to have larger solar panels and charge faster. This one, while it has a few mixed reviews (mainly due to damage in shipment) is the one for me. I just bought a tiny house and plan to use it to light my flag at night until someone I love needs some batteries charged.
3. Hanging tree lights
solar lights in trees
What can I say? I’m a total girl when it comes to the “pretty” factor. These solar lights for trees have pretty good reviews and well, they’re just so flippin’ pretty. Plus, you can just flip them upside down for indoor use. Perfect for my sister-in-law and her lovely (and useless, non-fruit-producing) trees. She won’t even know that I just set her up with a solar battery charger like a total “prepper”.
So there you have it, 3 options for solar lighting and 6 hacks you can do to them to make them more survival-y. Are you using solar outdoor lighting in a novel way in your preparedness plans? Do tell! :)
Happy prepping!
—Nancy

Composting Greenhouse with Straw Bale Foundation

re-post from another site:


Our household of 2 adults and three children obtained all our household hot water from a composting greenhouse we constructed in Portland, Oregon in 1994. It provided hot water at a temperature of 90-130 degrees (Fahrenheit) continuously until it was dismantled 18 months later. We used the space to grow several species of mushrooms and to house plants from our garden during winter.
greenhouse floorThe greenhouse design was similar to inexpensive "tube" greenhouses. Outer dimensions were 16x30 feet. The foundation walls consisted of 3 courses of rye grass straw bales pinned together with 1/2 inch steel rebar. Bale size was 2 feet x 2 feet x 4 feet, giving two-foot thick walls along the base. Therefore inner dimensions were 12 feet wide by 26 feet long. Bales were stacked like bricks, as is typical of straw bale construction. A layer of 3 mil plastic film surrounded the bottom bales, separating the straw from a layer of wood chips on which the bales rested and the compost which filled the greenhouse about three feet deep inside (except for a 5 feet by 12 feet entry at one end). The roof consisted of 6 mil ultraviolet resistant plastic film supported on 20 foot arches of rebar spaced every 2 feet along the length of the structure. These arches were held rigidly into a 2 feet x 2 feet matrix with horizontal rebar spaced every 2 feet running the length of the structure. The straw bales on the sides and end walls were also covered with the same plastic film as the roof with a door framed out of lumber at one end. A single sheet of 32 feet wide by 32 feet long plastic covered the roof.
embedded heat exchanger pipeTwo PVC 3/4 inch water lines ran underground from the house to the greenhouse. The cold water supply originated at the washer hookup cold line. Hot water returned from the greenhouse in an insulated line after circulating in the hot compost and entered the house plumbing at the washer hot water hookup. Therefore no modifications to the original house plumbing system were required. While the greenhouse heater was operative, the original hot water heater was turned off and its intake valve closed. Heat exchange occurred in the compost in which was embedded one hundred feet of coiled 1.5 inch internal diameter plastic hose. Compost mass totaled 3 feet deep, 12 feet wide, and 21 feet long, or approximately 28 cubic yards. It required replenishing several times during its lifetime because of continual slow decomposition.
greenhouse with plantsThe total amount of hot water contained in the hose inside the compost (comprising a cylinder 100 feet long by 1.5 inch diameter) was 9.17 gallons. This (when mixed with appropriate cold water) was an adequate volume to take 3 quick showers without running out of hot water.
plastic film covering greenhouseThe compost biomass consisted of wood chips and other ground tree material run through a chipping machine. This material is delivered to our site free of charge from many tree service companies. We supplemented this primarily high-carbon matter with high-nitrogen matter from household waste such as garden debris, kitchen compost, and manures. Eventually, when the greenhouse was dismantled to reclaim our back yard as a garden area, we had enough finish compost to cover our entire yard 8 inches deep. Needless to say, we have a fabulous garden from this new soil fertility.




http://kailashecovillage.com/experiments/greenhse.htm

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How do you flash freeze food?

How do you flash freeze food?

How do you flash freeze food?  If you don’t flash freeze your food prior to freezing it then you are really missing a step in terms of quality of food preservation.  Here are 4 quick steps tofollow.
1. If you are flash freezing a solid piece of meat, fruit or vegetable then you want to wash and pat dry.
2. While still damp line the food in rows on a metal cookie sheet.
3. Place in the freezer carefully without tilting the pan. Leave in the freezer for 2 hours. This is called flash freezing. You are simply freezing the food individually so that when placed in astorage bag or container that they won’t “lump” together.
4: Finally transfer the food from the cookie sheet to a freezer safe storage container. Be sure to date with a permanent marker.
You can also do this with other food items like ground meat and loaves of bread. It is a great way to extend the shelf life.
Be sure to visit our Freezer Cooking Series for more tips on freezer cooking and more!

Prepping for collapse

http://299days.com  (book)


Hugelkultur

What is Hugelkultur
http://www.arcadia-farms.net/2012/12/04/hugelkultur-on-a-micro-farm/
Hugelkultur is a German term that roughly translates to “mound culture”. The hugelkultur gardening method has been used in Eastern Europe for centuries and is essentially a sheet-composting method that involves burying woody debris (logs, branches, sticks) and other organic matter under a mound of earth. This gardening method mimics nutrient cycling that occurs in nature. When trees and branches fall to the floor of a forest, they act like a sponge as they decay. That sponge-like property allows the wood to soak up rainfall and then release it slowly into the soil use by surrounding plants. Hugelkultur beds are designed to take advantage of this natural water-retention cycle – so much so that some gardeners who use this method claim they never water at all. (Others say they have to water every few weeks or just once per season.) Wouldn’t that have been a handy drought-fighting benefit this year?

Benefits of Hugelkultur

In addition to water retention, hugelkultur has other benefits. The composition of the bed helps to improve drainage. The use of rotting logs and brush provides a way to turn what would otherwise be a yard work nuisance into a naturally occurring resource. As the wood breaks down, it adds nutrients to the soil and it also leaves behind small air pockets which are essential for root health. (Think of this as the ‘self-tilling’ benefit of hugelkultur.) Decaying wood also attracts worms to the bed, which help to till the soil and leave behind more nutrients as they eat. And in the first couple of years, the bed may provide for longer growing seasons since the massive amount of decomposition happening below will warm the beds slightly. And don’t forget that this is still a raised bed, which means all the benefits of raised beds come into play as well – no soil compaction (you don’t walk on the bed and squish out the air pockets), warms faster in the spring, is more ergonomically accessible (don’t have to bend all the way down to the ground to tend it) and allows for intensive planting (i.e. square foot gardening). [For source info for these proposed benefits, see the list of resources at the end of this post.]
So – at least in theory – using hugelkultur can dramatically reduce my irrigation needs, help me fight back against drought, improve my site drainage, improve my soil fertility, avoid tilling, continue intensive planting and get rid of several unsightly piles of rotting logs that can’t be used for anything useful otherwise? Sign me up!

Challenges of Hugelkultur

So this gardening method has a hip-sounding foreign name and a long list of potential benefits, but there are two sides to every coin. What are the challenges?
First, there’s the initial work involved. Lots of digging and moving of resources like compost, grass clippings, leaves, logs and manure. (Does your back hurt thinking about that, because mine does…) But like a lot of gardening methods that are popular today, the purpose of all this upfront work is to setup a system that can maintain itself going forward with minimal gardener intervention. In other words, more work now and less work later!
Next, there’s the size of the beds. In essence, the bigger they are, the greater the water-retention benefits. And I’m talking notoriously B.I.G. – upwards of six or seven feet tall!  That size requires a lot of resource (logs, soil, organic matter, etc.) and could be considered unsightly by neighbors. Of course smaller (2-3 feet tall) hugelkultur beds still have water retention abilities (weeks between watering) but those who claim to go without any water at all love to be called Big Poppa. The enormity of the height can be decreased by partially burying the bed. It is also mitigated by the fact that the bed will shrink in size as decomposition takes place, although I’m not sure how much. You can read more on all of that in the How To section of this post. I know we’re talking about challenges here, but I do want to point out that although there are challenges to a six-foot tall garden bed, the benefits are that you have more surface to plant in and the height makes for super duper easy harvesting (see picture below).
Woman harvesting from tall hugelkutur bed
One advantage of a tall hugelkultur bed is that harvesting and generally tending becomes much less of a back-straining task.Image credit:
The Permaculture Research Institute of Australia
The next challenge has to do with the type of deciduous (woody) matter used. First, in most of the reading I’ve done, it is recommended that you use big logs rather than a large amount of smaller branches or brush. I presume the bigger logs retain water better. Also, some types of lumber work better than others. For example, you would want to avoid black walnut as it contains a natural herbicide. Other lumber like pine or oak may contain significant tannins that might ‘sour’ the bed. And still others like cedar take a loooong time to decompose and would significantly delay the benefits of hugelkultur. In the case of lumber that contains tannins or takes a long time to decompose, you can avoid most (possibly all) of their drawbacks by using well-rotted wood. For example, pine that has already rotted substantially has probably lost a lot (most?) of its tannin. You would also want to avoid lumber that has been treated as this will introduce chemicals to your garden bed.
The last challenge I’d like to discuss has to do with nitrogen drawdown. Nitrogen drawdown refers to the fact that the logs (which contain much carbon) will need lots of nitrogen to decompose. That means during the first couple of years of a hugelkultur bed, the decomposing logs may rob your soil of some of the nitrogen that would otherwise be used by the plants growing in it. There are ways to mitigate this as well. For starters, using wood that has already been rotting for a while helps. This wood will likely have already taken on a significant amount of nitrogen – so much so that it may now be carrier of nitrogen rather than a taker! Also, adding lots of nitrogen-rich matter to the bed along with the wood will help to feed both decomposition and plant growth. This includes adding manure or ‘greens’ (like grass clippings and table scraps) to the bed. Another way to add nitrogen to the beds is to plant nitrogen fixing crops in it during the first growing season. These plants include crops like alfalfa, clover, rooibos, lentils, beans and peas. And lastly, you can fight back against first-season crop nitrogen deficiencies through natural fertilizers.

How to Build a Hugelkultur Bed

So now that you’ve read the benefits and challenges of hugelkultur, want to know how to build one? It’s pretty easy. The basic steps are:
  1. Create a pile of logs and branches that fits the dimensions of the bed you want.
  2. Add other organic matter such as grass clippings, leaves, kitchen scraps and manure. This step is optional but highly recommended.
  3. Water thoroughly.
  4. Cover the entire pile with soil/compost to create a mound and then mulch the top. Use a mulch that will add nitrogen as it breaks down, like grass clippings or compost, rather than a carbon-rich mulch like wood chips that might take even more nitrogen out as it decomposes.
  5. If desired, you can use logs, rocks, boards, etc. as retaining walls, but these are not necessary.
Here are some optional steps you could insert.
  • If a super high mound doesn’t work for you, consider partially burying your hugelkultur bed. Dig 2-3 feet down and then start at step one above.
  • If you’ve dug a trench for your bed, add the freshly dug sod face down on top of the logs as step 3½ before adding soil to create the mound.
  • If you know where your walkways are going to be, consider digging up that sod as well and placing it on top of your logs. Double bonus – you add nitrogen rich material to your bed AND you don’t have to worry about controlling the grass and weeds in the aisles! (I would mulch the pathways after you dig up the sod so that new weed seeds can’t make your freshly cleared walkway their new home.)
Although you can plant in them directly after creation, hugelkultur beds work best if they cure for a while. As a best practice, build them in the fall for use the following spring. This allows time for some decomposition to take place before you begin planting.

Hugelkultur at Arcadia Farms

As I’ve mentioned, I planned to double the size of the garden in the spring of 2013. I’ve been focusing most of my efforts on converting our existing raised beds to hotbeds for winter growing, and let me tell you, that has involved no small amount of work! I could care less if I ever dig another 2 foot pit again!! (I’m thoroughly sick of digging!) But all this fall as I’ve been digging up earth and replacing it with manure, I’ve been learning about hugelkultur and came to terms with the fact that it would be a beneficial method to use in our garden expansions. Yeah, that’s right – in mid November I decided that it would be a good idea to dig up 1,728 cubic feet of earth before the ground freezes, then fill all the holes with logs and move the dirt back. (Have I mentioned how thoroughly sick of digging I am???)  I was convinced this was the best way to expand our garden for all the reasons I’m about to share with you, but I practically fainted at the idea of doing all that digging by hand. (Have I mentioned how thoroughly sick of digging I am??????)
Enter Luka Schemenauer of Schemenauer Farm! Looking at the enormous task before me and the reality of my time constraints, I realized I needed some serious earth-moving machine power to make this work. I looked into renting a bobcat but it would have cost $200 and with my non-existent experience, I imagined it taking ten million years to get the job done. So I hopped onto www.craigslist.org and found Mr. Schemenauer listed as someone who could do bobcat work. He was accommodating, pleasant to work with and has very reasonable rates. (He got the job done for about half the money as it would have been to do it on my own and in considerably less time than ten million years!) If you need similar work done in the southwest Michigan area, I highly recommend him. He also shared a little bit about his farm with me – you should look him up during blueberry season for a great deal on u-pick berries! [Luka (Luke) Schemenauer, 269-214-0837, luka@i2k.com]
I think hugelkultur will be helpful at Arcadia Farms because it:
  • Is a helpful defense against drought, which was a significant burden in season one
  • Can potentially reduce our water usage and expense
  • Can increase our soil fertility
  • Provides a way to get rid of lots of rotting wood we inherited when we moved here
  • Costs less than building conventional raised beds because we have most of the resources on hand and don’t need to build retaining walls
  • Is overall more sustainable than our conventional beds (will require fewer resources in the future)
Some of our site-specific challenges include:
  • Lumber type – our logs are primarily maple (good) and pine (not as good)
  • Suburban setting – I imagine that six-foot tall mounds would draw some unfavorable attention and we desire to be good neighbors
  • Nitrogen draw down – because it’s December already, we have a very limited amount of ‘greens’ to add to the beds to reduce nitrogen draw down. In addition, I don’t have enough manure to add to the beds. The time it would take to find and get more manure is desperately needed just to finish the beds.
  • Time. It’s December for Pete’s sake! Thank God for unseasonably warm weather, but I’ve got to get a move on if this thing is going to happen, mainly because the ground could start to freeze any day now.
Here’s my plan to take advantage of hugelkultur benefits while addressing our site-specific challenges:
  • Beds will be buried three feet below ground and raised up approximately two feet above ground. This results in a five foot deep bed that only appears to be two feet tall and that can be added to over time with new organic matter.
  • Most of our pine lumber is well rotted (at least seven years old, but probably much older) and our maple is two or three years old. This should decrease the amount of nitrogen draw down. Also the tannin should have leached out of the pine many moons ago. Four beds will contain only very rotted wood so that hopefully nitrogen draw down is a non-issue. After that I’m out of really old wood. The remaining six beds will contain newer (2-3 years old) wood so that I can concentrate the limited ‘green’ organic matter I have to those beds that need it most.
  • Planting in the fall (winter?) rather than spring should get the process of decomposition going, which hopefully means a portion of any nitrogen draw down will take place before I plant in them.
  • Beds will consist of logs and branches on the bottom, leaves and any greens we have next, topped with upside down sod (from digging up trenches and from the aisle ways) and then a layer of dirt from the holes. In this spring we’ll add composted manure and plant compost for planting in and to add nitrogen. I may also plant some nitrogen-fixing plants in the beds this winter. If we have a mild winter (which I actually hope we don’t!) these will add some nitrogen to the beds as they grow, even if there is no harvest.
  • To address the time issue, I enlisted the help of an experienced contractor with a bobcat to save me from the dreadful task of hand digging 14 holes that are each 144 cubic feet in size. (Ohh… the thought of it makes me ache…)
Here are some photos of progress so far. I’ll be back with more soon!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Warm Apple Fritters

Warm Apple Fritters 
1 cup All Purpose Flour 
¼ cup Sugar 
¾ tsp Salt 
1½ teaspoon Baking Powder 
1 teaspoon Cinnamon 
⅓ cup Milk 
1 Egg 
1 cup Chopped Fuji or Gala Apple

 Oil for frying Glaze: 
2 cups Powdered Sugar 
1½ Tablespoons of milk or more as needed
1 teaspoon vanilla Extract, optional 

Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, cinnamon. Stir in milk and egg until just combined. Fold in chopped apple. Pour oil into large deep skillet so that it is approximately 2 inches deep. You can also use a large soup pot or dutch oven or even an electric fryer. Heat oil to about 375 degrees. Your oil is ready when a small piece of fritter dough floats to top. Carefully add dough to oil in heaping tablespoons. Cook until brown, about 2 minutes, then carefully flip. Cook another 1-2 minutes, until both sides are golden brown. Transfer briefly to paper towels to absorb excess oil, then transfer to cooling rack. Fry fritters a few at a time. Make glaze by stirring milk and powdered sugar together in a small bowl. Drizzle over apple fritters. Wait approximately 3 minutes for glaze to harden, then flip fritters and drizzle glaze over the other side. Best served warm

How to Compost

How To Compost
How To Compost Brought To You By: ThePrepperProject.com

Ladies, Tampons or Pads? Here's a greener alternative.

http://www.realfarmacy.com/still-using-tampons-or-pads-you-should-read-this/

Too much info to retype so sharing the link.

DIY Home Made Simple Compost Screen Box

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Stockpiling Moms - 20 Kitchen Tips

20 Kitchen Tips Collage
Here are 20 kitchen tips to help save money and time while being in your kitchen. Some of these tips you may already know but some may be new to you.

How to Easily Make a Beehive in A Jar Backyard Project DIY

How to Easily Make a Beehive in A Jar Backyard Project DIY

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There are various types of beekeeping, including the apis dorsata (bees are bred out of the forest), apis cerana (locally bred bees), and apis mellifera (superior bee seeds). You should choose apis mellifera whose demand is much higher than other types. This type, apis mellifera, is generally much more productive than apis cerana, and bees that used are also far more benign. In addition, the venom on apis mellifera’s stings can be used to cure a variety of diseases. You should choose apis mellifera whose demand is much higher than other types. Type apis mellifera is generally much more productive than apis cerana, and bees are also far more benign. In addition, the venom in bee stings can be used to cure a variety of diseases.
This article would like to help you with some tips in making your own backyard beehive. When you plan a business like beekeeping, you have to prepare everything and put them at the right place. Therefore, there will be so many things to do before you start selling honey in a jar. Let us start with some points:
1) Preparing materials
Here is the list of materials needed:
  • One piece of wood measuring 2 “x 12″ x 6′ (cut the wood into two pieces for the sides, each measuring 22-inch)
  • One piece of wood measuring 2 “x 12″ x 6′ (cut the wood into two pieces for the front and rear, each measuring 18-inch)
  • One piece of wood measuring 1 “x 1″ x 6′ (cut the wood into two pieces, each for the right sides and top frame, measuring 22-inch)
  • One piece of wood measuring 1 “x 1″ x 6′ (cut the wood into two pieces for the back and top frame, measuring 18-inch)
  • A thick piece of plywood measuring 16 “X 20″
  • A piece (bottom) of Beekeeping Beehives Natural Starter Kit (you can find it at Amazon)
  • 12 large jars
  • One box for wood screws (each screw measuring 1 “)
  • A can of wood stain
2) Make your own beehive in a jar
After completing all the materials needed, now you can start making your own beehive.
  • First of all you need to put a thick piece of plywood measuring 16 x 20 inches. Measure the wood and make 12 holes using a hole saw on the surface of the wood. Each hole measuring 3 1/2 inch.
  • Next, use two pieces of wood measuring 22 inch and 18 inch (taken from boards measuring 2 “x 12″ x 6 ‘).
  • Get two pieces of measuring 22 inch and 18 inch (taken from boards measuring 1 “x 1″ x 6′)
  • Combine them (these pieces of 1 “x 1″ x 6′ and 2 “x 12″ x 6′, as well as that plywood) using screws and polish with dark wood stain.
  • Take 12 half-gallon-sized jars, and then put them in a sequence in the hole that you created. Make sure each jar fit in the hole.
  • Use Beekeeping Beehives Natural Starter Kit, and put this at the bottom of the nest box that you created. It serves as the entrance for the bees.
  • You might be able to add some shims to support the weight of the nest box.
It is simple to make beehive at your backyard, isn’t it? However, we believe that you need to work on it with precise and patience. We assure you that honeys are not going anywhere. If you are not sure what to do, here are some pictures to guide you in the entire process of making backyard beehive.
images source: removeandreplace.com
How to Easily Make a Beehive on A Jar Backyard Project DIY
How to Easily Make a Beehive on A Jar Backyard Project DIY
How to Easily Make a Beehive on A Jar Backyard Project DIY
How to Easily Make a Beehive on A Jar Backyard Project DIY
How to Easily Make a Beehive on A Jar Backyard Project DIY
How to Easily Make a Beehive on A Jar Backyard Project DIY
How to Easily Make a Beehive on A Jar Backyard Project DIY
How to Easily Make a Beehive on A Jar Backyard Project DIY
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