Gabriel Grape Jelly aka The Great Grape Experiment Part 2

Gabriel Grape Jelly

Look at that man! See the happiness on his face? “Why is he so happy?” you ponder, “Is he back in Casa Erotica?” I wish! Who wouldn’t want that? I’d like to think that Gabriel is happy because he now has a jelly named after him. I mean, who wouldn’t be?? It’s sweet, sweet reward for just being so darn awesome!! Yes, I was successful at making grape jelly on the second attempt.

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The Grape Jelly experiment and how I discovered jelly candy!!


grape jelly candyGrapes, grapes, grapes everywhere!!! What to do??? I decided to do what everyone else does, make some grape jelly! Most people associate grape jelly with Concord Grapes. While, commercial grape production dates back to the year 1000 B.C., it was not until 1854 that the Concord variety made its debut, appropriately named after the Massachusetts village of Concord where the first of its variety was grown.  The Concord grape is a robust and aromatic grape whose ancestors were wild native species found growing in the rugged New England soil.

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Easy French Bread Recipe


Today I made an easy French bread recipe for Lughnasadh. Dee had a ritual with a potluck. Lughnasadh is a festival marking the beginning of the harvest season. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. Originally it was held on the first of August, or about halfway between the summer solstice and autumn equinox. However, over time the celebrations shifted to the Sundays nearest this date. Lughnasadh is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals; along with Samhain, Imbolc and Beltane. It corresponds to other European harvest festivals such as the Welsh Calan Awst and the English Lammas.

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Canning 101

canning 101

Canning 101, let’s get started.

farm-market-2ffxllqOut of the corner of your eye, you see your mason jars sitting in the cabinet. A-ha! You realize that canning is a wonderful way to preserve your food while it’s in season so you can enjoy it after your garden is long dead and the food becomes horribly expensive at the market because it is out of season.

Either method of canning heats the food sufficiently, killing off any bad microorganisms and the vacuum seal prevents any air entering the jar that could cause bacteria to grow, spoiling your food. Canning stops time, locking in that freshness for months, if not years.

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Canning history and basics

canning history basics

If you have a garden you are probably up to your ears in fresh produce. As tomatoes and green beans pile up on your counter, you can’t help but ask yourself, “What do I do with all of it?” You turn to your freezer and slide away the frozen pizzas and meat and realize you won’t be able to fit it all in there. Now what? You could give some away to your neighbors, kids, leave some on the corner with a “Free” sign on it.

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The Backhoe


WIN_20140715_133455We have Kubota L3200 tractor and we got the backhoe attachment today. We will be starting construction on the out building in the next few weeks so it will come in handy.

We are also using the tractor in the garden. We plowed up our whole backyard. We use it to prepare the yard for the next seasonal garden.

WIN_20140715_133427So far, we have been really happy with the tractor. We have had it for two seasons and it really preforms well. I have never has a tractor before and I didn’t know that you just interchanged the parts for the different jobs.  I didn’t grow up on a farm so the best we had was a riding lawn mower.

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The Piggy built his house of straw


The Piggy that built his house out of straw!

Why straw?

Straw bale houses are made when you stack hay bales as the structural building blocks of the home. The outside of the walls is finished with plaster, cement or adobe. It is a natural way to construct a building.

strawbale_walls_bareThe first straw bale buildings were not meant to be permanent. One of the oldest recorded straw bale house was ate by cows in 1896. It was a schoolhouse in Nebraska. Building with straw bales died out after World War I when cement became popular.

One of the reasons we are looking into this type of construction is its ability to withstand high winds. Where we are moving, it is very windy. This type of construction is very cost effective, as straw is very cheap. It is fireproof, resists mold and is a highly effective insulator. This will mostly eliminate the need for additional heating and cooling for most of the year.

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