Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Toenails and More

Gee, I am awesome at this naming post business! Who wouldn't want to read "Toenails and More?"

So, this morning, I needed to take some trash to the dump and swing by Walmart. I was getting ready to go, and decided to paint my toenails. (Aren't y'all glad I share everything with y'all?) As I grabbed the nail polish, Rylie (who follows me absolutely everywhere and imitates everything I do or say :) ) said something so that I understood she wanted some, too. I can't remember how she said it, but she no uncertain terms. So, I sat down, pulled her up in my lap, and got busy. She was perfect, and so very excited about her pretty toes.

Would you believe that I dressed this morning an hour before she got here, and her mom dressed her the same? I didn't think so. I just know everyone we saw today thought we dressed alike on purpose! :)

We dropped off our trash and headed to Walmart, where we walked around verrry slowly. :) I was just getting a couple things, so I let her walk most of the time. We picked up a couple pieces of fabric, and she thuoght she was something, carrying the fabric around the store! We had a lot of fun.

It's amazing how much she soaks in. Like I said, she repeats everything I say or do...scary, sometimes! When she was just starting to talk a little, I sang "Do you know you are my sunshine" to her one day, and she started saying "sunshine." So now a few times every day, out of the clear blue, she'll just grin up at me and say "sunshine!" It's sooo cute!

This afternoon, I made my jewelweed cream. I think it turned out pretty's not like you can taste it, though! Actually, you could, and that's the beauty of it...but I didn't want to. Smells a little like medical grass...wonder why?

I made 26 tins...

I think I'll probably end up printing some labels for the tins and putting them for sale on the website. There's no way we'll use 26 tins (2 oz each) anytime this century! I was texting Mom today while I was making it, and said something about the amount of some ingredient I was using. So she asked how much I was making and I told her "enough to last an army in the Amazon for 7 years!" It sounded to me like an army in the Amazon would get bit up pretty bad, but I didn't check any facts on that... /:)

I made chicken nachos for supper...a new recipe I've never made before. I took pictures and I'll be getting a recipe posted pretty soon. It turned out pretty good, I thought...course, it was mexican, and I love anything mexican. Sneak peak...

I think I'm having a problem. I kinda sorta love the way my pictures turn out when I edit them just a tad. Help me...I'm becoming one of them.... It's just so easy and fast...I'm using GIMP 2 and all you do is click the auto white balance button and the auto color enhance button, and voila! A much nicer picture.

Like I needed blogging to take up more time...

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


Today hasn't been too terribly exciting. Babysitting, taking care of the dogs, a little cooking...yep, pretty normal! I strained the herbs for my anti-itch cream, and while it was still warm, I cut a couple cloves of garlic up in it, so that could steep a little. I set it in the sun, and it's been there all day. I'll strain that out in the morning, heat it back up, and add the other ingredients. Looks like I'll be making a lot of it this time around!

By the way, Regal does NOT like liquid being put into his ears, and does NOT like it when I try to hold him to put it in!

I made a batch of cookies. I was thinking about taking a picture of the cookies, since that's just how I roll, but as I was thinking about it, it hit me that my presentation isn't always accurate. You know, the wire cooling racks full of 2 dozen warm, gooey cookies? Yeah, well they don't stay that way long enough for me to get a picture, unless I threaten certain people with bodily harm. So, I decided to get a more realistic photo today.

As soon as Rylie left, I scrambled to get to the post office before they closed. I thought if I drove fast enough (hehe) I could get there in time. Well, I drove fast enough on our road, but as soon as I got out on the highway, I got stuck in creeping traffic...they were paving the road! I figured I'd never have enough time now, but I went on to the post office and got there right at 4:00...they locked the door behind me! Anyway, I got my package off, which was the goal.

After I got home (driving slowly and safely now) I made a cup of coffee, grabbed one of the cookies, and sat down to tell y'all all about my day. :) Now it's time to go make supper...I'm making something with shrimp, from the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Cookbook, which I highly recommend. I have all the pictures for a recipe I was going to post from that book...I just haven't gotten around to it yet. We've made quite a few things out of the book so far, and we've loved everything. Can't beat the price you can get it for from Amazon! We got it from the library first, and then loved it so much we bought our own. I think the library was tired of us renewing it!

Off to to y'all later!

Printable Recipes?

Ok, I need help from y'all...a little interaction, please! I know that my recipes aren't printer-friendly, what with all the pictures and everything. So, I've been reading about setting up a way to turn my recipes into printables, in addition to the regular blog posts, of course.

What do y'all think? I need to know if it will be helpful for readers! :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Picking Weeds

Medicinal weeds, that is.

This afternoon, Rylie and I went out and got the jewelweed and plantain so I could make my anti-itch cream. Here are the pics to prove it. Oh, and these pictures are, um, digitally altered. :) I decided I liked GIMP 2.

And you can't hear what she's saying here, but it's something to effect of "carry me and my bucket, please. NOW."

I've got the herbs steeping now, so I'll be able to finish up the cream tomorrow. I chopped all the weeds before steeping them...

I burned myself while cooking supper...again. I'm getting good at this burning nearly matches a previous burn exactly! It's really's the same angle and everything! And I think I'll try to use more dot-dot-dots...


It's my left arm, and the burn on the right (towards my wrist) is the old one, obviously. I think that was on an oven rack. This new one was on the top of the 450* oven. It's not quite as long as the older burn. I don't know that it will scar like the older one, but I didn't think the older one would scar like it did, either. It's probably a couple years old by now.

Actually, I spent a few minutes just now trying to find this picture. It was 5/7/10, or thereabouts. The older burn was a lot worse than this new one, so maybe it won't scar like that one. I don't care though...doesn't matter much to me.


BTW, Dad used to say I had forearms like Popeye, when I was a regular milkmaid. Just a little bit of random info...

Time for bed! Talk to y'all tomorrow!

The Elusive Recipe

Good morning and welcome to another week on my blog!

I got up early this morning. Mom and Dave are in NC again this week so I get to babysit, so I get to get up early. Since I'm not always up before the sun, I don't get pictures of sunrises very often. When I worked as a care-giver, I had to be at the lady's house around 6:30, so I was always driving as the sun came up. I took a million pictures, but never did post any, that I remember. So, this morning, I went outside around 6:20 or so and got a few pictures. I was playing with the settings on my camera, so I have a few different lightings in the pictures.

A while after Rylie got here, I made her an egg for breakfast. While she was eating, she asked about Pam. So I told her that Pam was gone right now, and she pointed towards mom's bedroom and said "Pam sleeping?" I told her no, that Pam was gone. I could've sworn she said "Pam tomorrow?" but that sounds a far-fetched. I wouldn't be that surprised, though!

Rylie and I went out and took care of Cookie and Regal. She carried out a bowl of garlic for me to add to their food, and we gave the dogs their pain pills. I made up a mixture for the dogs' ear infections, and I attempted putting that in their ears. Ha! They did NOT like that very much.

I put Rylie down for a nap a little while ago, started some laundry, and started making some laundry detergent. I've been wanting to make my jewelweed cream for a couple weeks now, and now that I have the lard I made, I can make the cream. So, I went to find my recipe.


The jewelweed recipe is on the back of a piece of paper in a very secure location, a location I would be sure to remember when I needed to find the recipe again. HAHAHAHA. After I spent an hour going through every piece of paper in the house, I still hadn't found it. I found everything else...any other recipe you'd need, phone numbers for various people along with directions to their houses, how many pounds of meat we got from the last cow we butchered, questions I wrote down to ask when I called about a milk cow that was for sale, prices from different vets for mastitis shots, the vet's cell phone I said, anything else, but my jewelweed recipe.

So, I pulled up my old blog and did a search for jewelweed. And you know what I found? I found a post that I never posted, a draft, on jewelweed. It had all of the amounts and measurements that I used last time! I had planned on uploading pictures after I wrote the post, inserting them, and then posting the blog. Well, I guess I never got around to the picture part. So, here's the post I found, exactly as I wrote it July 18, 2010.

Last year, I made a Jewelweed cream. You’ll find jewelweed growing in close proximety to poison ivy, and it is extremely effective in combating itching of all shapes and sizes. I steeped this “weed” in lard, and added various other ingredients to make this ointment, and it has worked wonders on every itch, scrape, and burn. It takes away pain, and, of course, the itch! I am constantly amazed at the common “weeds” that grow everywhere, in everyone’s front yard, and have healing powers!

I noticed a few weeks ago that our Jewelweed was blooming. When we got back in town, I saw that it was almost done blooming, and it was wilting from the heat and lack of water. So I went out and gathered plenty. I also did a bit of research to add to what I already knew, and decided to add in a little plantain. If you’ve read my previous blogs, you’ve heard me rave about plantain, so I won’t go over all of that again. I’ll just say that it’s an incredible plant! Until this past trip we took, I would’ve said plantain grows everywhere. Not so. It doesn’t grow in fertilized fields in Pennsylvania. I looked and looked, in the field where we were camped, and only saw maybe one or two pitiful looking plants. I know that plantain does grow in West Virginia, though, at a particular rest stop along the way. Dad’s eyes were really bothering him, with allergy problems, and he was beginning to think that he may have an infection in his right eye. He’s had one before, and he said it felt like that’s what it may be. Plantain draws out infections, so at the next rest stop (in West Virginia) I made a plantain poultice (crushed some leaves, sandwiched that between layers of paper towels, and wet it with warm water.) He held that on his eye for a couple of hours, and he never got a full-blown infection. Well, he was too stubborn to go have it seen about, so I guess we’ll never know if it was an infection, and the plantain got rid of it, or if it was just his allergies clearing up! He did say that his vision was blurry for a little while after that, so I’m not sure I can recommend the plantain for eye infections! I don’t know what it could do…a little scary, isn’t it?!

First of all, I went out and gathered a bucket full of Jewelweed. I would’ve liked to have had more flowers in with it, but the flowers were pretty much gone by the time I went out. (Now, since it’s rained a little more, I’ve seen the jewelweed patches are all blooms again!) I just take scissors and snip off large sections of the plant…stems and leaves. I had a 2-gallon bucket overflowing before it was over with! Then I chopped it small, and put it in a large pot. This is probably a 1 1/2 gallon pot, and it was about half-full. I chopped the plantain in there as well, and it was just a few handfulls of plantain.

((chopped weed pics))

Now I added lard. A lot of people would get icky about using lard in this, but the lard is actually great for your skin, and helps the skin absord the other beneficial ingredients more efficiantly. I think I ended up adding about a quart of lard. You want it to be able to cook down, and be thick in the oil, without being too dry. The amount of oil you use is relative to the amount of herbs you have…and you don’t have to get as much as I did! As you will see later on, you can tweak the recipe for the amount you’d like.

((lard in weed pic))

I let this cook down for a while…


And then added about 1 cup of chamomile flowers. I read that they were also good for skin ailments…


I let it continue to simmer for a long time…a few hours, stirring to make sure it wasn’t burning or anything bad like that!

((simmered pics))

I actually left this on the stove (not on!) all night, and the heated it back up in the morning to finish making it. I figured a little more time infusing all that helpful stuff wouldn’t hurt! I did have to reheat it then, though, because the lard solidified slightly.

After it was warm and relatively thin again, I set up a straining contraption. My chamomile was old and there were a lot of powdery pieces, and I wanted to make sure none of that went through, so I set up 2 different straining cloths. You can see a little of how I did it in this next picture…it’s a handkerchief (unused!!!) followed by a piece of an old T-shirt, in a wire mesh strainer, sitting in a glass bowl! Oh, on top of a pot-holder, since it was hot! Do be careful and choose your bowl wisely. Mine proceeded to crack and I had jewelweed oil everywhere. The table will never itch again. Oh, and also…it would be easiest if the cloths you chose to strain through weren’t very important and could be thrown away. I didn’t relish the idea of trying to get lard and cooked grasses/weeds out of a cloth, so I chose straining cloths that could be thrown away. Cleanup is a breeze that way! (Assuming your bowl didn’t crack and leak oil everywhere, that is!)

((straining setup pics))

Pour the gunky stuff through and press it was dry as you can…make sure you get all the oil out that you can!

((pics of straining))

Now you have pretty (sort of….) jewelweed oil! Truth be told, you can just use this as an anti-itch oil, but I think a creamy consistency is more desirable!

((pics of oil))

The proportions I’m using for this recipe are for 3 cups of infused oil, so I measured this into a different (non-broken) glass bowl.

((pics of 3 cups))

To this oil I added 4 ounces of beeswax. Now, if you’re not using lard, and are using a liquid oil instead, beeswax proportions WILL be different! Lard is semi-solid, so you will need less beeswax when working with lard than when working with, say, sweet almond oil. We have these great beeswax pastiles, and they beat the stew out of trying to shave pieces of beeswax off of a block!!! 4 oz…

((pics of beeswax and adding it))

Now in goes 1 tablespoon of Vitamin E oil…

((pics of vit e)

And 1 1/2 teaspoons of aloe vera concentrate…

((pics of aloe))

Now we have to melt all of this together, which takes approximately 4 1/2 years. Or so it seems…. This should be done double-boiler style. I put water in a large pot, and then set this glass bowl with the ingredients in it down in the water, and heated the whole contraption up.

((pics of heating))

After the 4 1/2 years, or until it’s all melted together, whichever comes first, you can take it out, to be poured into the containers of your choice. I was able to use these 1 cup glass jars that Mom had ordered for another product!

((Pics of jars))

And just pour the jewelweed ointment into the jars!

Let it cool completely, and there you have it!

((pics of finished))

These actually turned out darker than the batch I made last year. I think I steeped the herbs longer, and the added plantain may have altered that as well.

If you’re like me, now you’ll be trying to find a bite that itches so you can try it out…you know, that bite that woke you up at 2am itching so bad, and now you can’t find it?! Don’t you just love when that happens? Or is it just me….

So, that's what an old blog post draft looks like. :) When I make the cream this time, it'll be a little different...I don't have any chamomile, for one, and I think I'll add a couple things. I decided I needed to make a couple raised beds and import some plantain and comfrey. Looks like I'll be hiking and gathering this afternoon!

BTW, I need something to cheer me up...I didn't win the awesome orange mixer from PW. :( I want one of those soooo bad!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Lot Of Nothing

Originally written and posted February 15, 2010.

Look!!! It’s only been a week since my last entry!!! Way to go, Me! Oh, that’s ok…you can quit cheering now…really…it’s getting embarrassing….

Not much out of the ordinary has happened this past week…cooking, as usual! Saturday I made the greatest hamburger buns!

I already had a recipe for hamburger buns that I liked pretty well, but we had another recipe that Mama made sometime when I was out of town. She said she made them to go with a meal, but that they really light and airy, like buns. (Imagine that…she’s blonde…) Anyway, when I was thinking about what we wanted for supper, I had a hankerin’ for a hamburger. I mean, an awful hankerin’! (And for those of you who don’t quite understand the southern belle dialect, that means that I really, really wanted a hamburger!) However, the only ground meat we have is pork, AND it was frozen (since I didn’t get the aforesaid hankerin’ the night before.) I could’ve thawed it fairly quickly (in hot water) but Mama said she didn’t want to use all pork for a hamburger. After we…um…discussed it for a while, (coming to the horribly sad conclusion that we weren’t having pork hamburgers for supper) we thought about the fact that we had some chopped pork roast in the freezer. We had had a pork roast with my homemade barbeque sauce earlier in the week, and chopped the leftover roast and froze it. So, after I spent the 3 hours making the buns, we had a quick, yummy supper of bbq pork sandwiches, with hot sauce, onions, and pickles, with slaw on the side. Oh, and I have a funny story about the hot sauce as well!

I made tabasco sauce last summer, with tabasco peppers from our garden. It’s really orange (weird, huh?!) and it settle out…so it has orangey vinegar on the top, and the thick tabasco pulp stuff settles to the bottom. Well, the guys always eat that on their sandwiches (except peanut butter and jelly, that is.) So, Saturday night, Philip was getting the condiments out of the fridge for the BBQ sandwiches. He set the “hot sauce” on the table and Dad and Dave started adding the stuffs to their sandwiches. Dad had already used the “hot sauce” and Dave was getting it. Dave asked me “are you sure this is the hot sauce?” I said yes, that Philip had gotten it. Dave said that it was just weird-looking…didn’t look right. When I went and looked, Philip had gotten a pint of carrot juice out of the fridge, thinking it was the hot sauce! Dad said he didn’t put much on, since it looked different, and he couldn’t taste any heat at all! After we got everything back right (and retrieved the real hot sauce) Dad said he definitely prefered hot sauce to carrot juice on his BBQ sandwiches! Maybe I should start labeling a little more….

We had some friends from church over Friday night, and my goodness!! I told Mama that next time we had company, I was banishing her until the 10 or 15 minutes before the company was to arrive! She gets so doggone spastic…it is crazy!!! I’ve been cooking company-fit meals since I was 15, and I never get that spastic! I rarely have mishaps (I’d better not say that, though!) and I stay calm! Well, there was that one time…. When Dad was pastoring in GA, a new family had started coming to our church. After a few consecutive weeks of them coming (we had to wait and make sure they were consecutive…most new people didn’t come twice in a row..LOL!!!) we had them over for supper. Well, I made the meal, banking on some of this cocky egotism oozing from this paragraph. Not a good idea. I baked a chicken, and I still have no idea why, but it did not get done at all. We cut into it, come supper time, and that feeling in the pit of your stomach is not something I’d like to feel again! We ended up having to order pizza!

I made a new skirt Thursday, and made one of the stupidest mistakes I’ve ever made. A mistake that someone who has been sewing as long as I have should have been able to see. The skirt is brown corduroy, with embroidered flowers. I bought it in FL, and I absolutely LOVE the fabric. I mean, it’s just incredible! However, I usually don’t work with fabric that has a definite nap to it, and brown corduroy has a definite nap to it. The whole back of my skirt is upside down! Or maybe it’s the front that’s upside down… It’s still wearable, and if you’re not really, really close to me and looking down on it, you can’t really tell. And I’ll tell you right now, the people that are that close to me looking down, are very, very, well…nonexistant at this point in time!

I reckon that’s about it for now. I sure have a knack for writing a whole lot on a week that was pretty uneventful!!! We’re here at church right now (Sunday afternoon) and it’s time to practice music…

Oh, and we’re working on a new a cappella song, and I’m the only one who can hear and sing the bass line. Is that not the craziest thing you’ve ever heard??? After we recorded it on a program on my computer, I went back a put a bass track to it…. I’m trying to picture the look on people’s faces when I say something about singing the bass and the highest harmony……

The things I've divulged to the world wide web. Sigh. Stick never know what I might tell about myself.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Well, this past week, I needed to make some guacamole. So, I went to Walmart (the evil empire...hey, I have limited choices) and the avocados I usually get were, bright green. I couldn't cook with them, and we had to have guacamole. However, they did have these other avocados...these huge, funny looking ones. My aunt ( Mom's incredibly young sister who isn't old enough to have a niece my age) had called me a couple weeks before to see if I thought she could use this other kind, because the regular ones were really expensive, and you get more bang for your buck with these bigger ones. I told her I didn't know, because I'd never used them. Well, I called her this past week from the avocado section at Walmart and asked how they were, and she said they were fine, good, actually.

So I bought them.

Never listen to your Mom's incredibly young sister who isn't old enough to have a niece my age.

Ok, so I'm just kidding.

I bought these big funny-looking avocados, and brought them home. I tell you, have you ever seen the really old Tarzan movie where they have company (from New York or something) and Jane hammers open an ostrich egg? That is exactly what I felt like, cutting that thing open! Here's a picture to prove was too ripe and a little icky looking when I got it open. But I have big hands, and it wasn't easy for me to hold this like I was holding it.

It really loses a lot of the punch if you don't know the scene in the Tarzan movie, I guess! Oh, well...take my word for it, it was funny!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cumin-Cinnamon Spice Recipe

Last night I made a beef tenderloin, or at least, that's what we had it labeled as. It didn't turn out very tender, and it's always tender, so I think it may have been a different cut of meat. I always use this same spice rub on it, so I thought I'd pull this post from the archives and repost it. The recipe comes from The Grassfed Goumet cookbook...a book definitely worth buying!

Oringally written and posted March 10, 2011.

When we went to Florida to visit our family at Christmas this past year, I offered to cook for our extended family. I ended up cooking for about 20 people. My main dish was Beef Tenderloin, with this spice rub on it. The way everyone down there was talking, I should’ve made something else. As it is, now they’re going to want me to make this meal every year!!! It’s pretty good…

This makes a good bit of the rub, but I really rub it in thick, when I cook with it. I like a lot of the spice on my meat! When we went to FL, I mixed a recipe up beforehand and packed it. It was a lot easier that way, than trying to buy everything and make it there. This is a double recipe, because I like to have it on hand. So you can easily half what I have here…

Cumin-Cinnamon Rub

3 Tablespoons Chili Powder

Printable spice recipe

3 Tablespoons Ground Cumin

2 Tablespoons Ground Coriander

3 Tablespoons Coarse Salt

2 teaspoons Sugar

2 teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper

1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon

1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper (you can adjust this to who you’re serving!)

And that's it! I put mine in a pint jar, so I could shake it up and easily sprinkle it on my meat. Before I shook it up, though, it looked really neat in the jar!

For the beef tenderloin, you cover the meat with the rub, then loosely with plastic wrap. You then leave it at room temperature for 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 450* and bake for 20 minutes. Then start monitoring the inside temperature of the meat. For rare, take it out of the oven after it reaches 120*, medium rare at 125*, and medium at 130*. Tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes, during which time the temperature will rise another 5*. Slice and devour.

My Sappy Ceiling

Dad and Dave finished laying the floor in parts of the second floor of the barn, which equals the ceiling to my leather shop.

I think I need to paint or something. It's nce and...rustic! :)

The only problem I can see is the kind of wood they used. Pine...I have a pine ceiling. You know what that means?

Yep...I have sap dripping onto my work tables. Oh, well...I just have to be careful not to get it on you kow how hard that stuff is to get off???!! Very. Thankfully, it's not dripping anywhere where I have leather on the tables, at least, that I've seen!

In other leatherwork news, I've done a lot of work in the shop this week. I started braiding a couple days ago, and have already braided quite a few leashes....enough to make a few blisters. :( I don't particularly care for blisters. Dad told me he had the solution...wrap my blisters up with electrical tape. I will most certainly have to get a picture of that sometime...

Update on the Dogs

Dave and I went to pick up our dogs yesterday afternoon, after they'd had all removed. Doesn't quite seem right, but that's just me...

We were told to pick them up at a quarter til 5, so we got there around then, and the lady told us they'd be ready to go at 5. So, we sat in the waiting room and did what one usually does in a waiting room.

While we waited, we heard someone say that they were just finishing up the medication on the dogs. I told Dave that meant they were freaking out, trying to wake Regal up. Turns out, I wasn't that far off.

The dogs were finally ready to go, but first, the tech lady told us all about their medication, how to take care of them while they were recuperating, and that sort of thing. Then they wheeled...yes, wheeled, Regal out. He' so big, it's not like anyone could just tote him out, so they brought him out on a gurney! (Isn't that funny...the name on the gurney I linked to?!) He was still so out and sleepy, he just laid his big ol' head on the lady's arm while they wheeled him out to my car. I opened the back, they let the gurney down a bit, and then scooted and rolled him in. He was so pitiful!

Cookie, on the other hand, walked right out, and then they picked her up and put her in the car. She slept all of the way home, but Regal loves to stand up and watch while I drive. So, sleepy as he was, he tried to stand up half the way home! He kept stumbling around, and sat down a little, but for the most part, he stood. Crazy dog. By the time we got to our road, he was sticking his head out of the window.

We tied the dogs up on their chains...they're not supposed to be very active at all for something like 10 days. Regal has almost been his normal self...just more sleepy. I gave him his pain pill this morning and he slept until about lunchtime, and even now he's still just laying around. He looks fine, though, with no complications.

Cookie's slept a lot, too, but has been more active. Mom went out a little earlier to check on them, and she said Cookie tried to jump on her. Cookie's always more active than Regal, but we sorta thought she'd feel more like laying around today!

I decided that it is much better to have them sleepy rather than hyper. You know how those drugs labels could make them sleepy, or it could make them hyper. Uh huh. Kinda like that calendar at the Chinese restaurant that tells you you are both stingy and generous at the same time. Loving, with a mean streak a mile wide. (In my words, of course.)

Oh...the anesthesia thing. The vet came out when they wheeled Regal out, and was telling me about the anesthesia. She gave Regal 1/10th of the normal amount she'd usually give a dog his size. (130lbs) One- tenth! AND she had to give him a shot to bring him out of it, because his heart rate was getting too low. It's scary to think of what might happen if I didn't tell them he was sensitive...Anatolians aren't that common around here, so it's not something they deal with every day. He also gets the same amount of pain medicine as Cookie, because he's sensitive to all drugs.

So, they're both doing fine right now. I am feeding Regal garlic, and I need to look up homeopathic remedes for ear infections in dogs...the vet said both dogs had ear infections, and wanted another $50 to check and treat that, so I decided to figure that out on my own. I'm feeding him garlic to help prevent any infection from his surgery, as well as help with the ear thing. And I've read that feeding garlic will help prevent ticks and fleas.

I also want to call our butcher and ask him what he does with scrap stuff. Like, the nasty stuff. A long time ago, when we butchered our steers, I kept the reall nasty stuff and ground it for the dogs. Now, I have a strong's a must around here. We talk about all sorts of unpleasant things around the supper table, and you get used to it. (It's trying to curb that in the little guys when we eat with others that's the real problem! Last time we were in GA, we were eating chicken wings, and Philip [10] was having a discussion with his cousins, while we were eating, telling them all about how the chickens were raised, and how awful the chicken trucks were...honest!) So anyway, we typically have strong stomachs. With that said, I had a really hard time grinding all the nasty stuff...hearts, lungs, kidneys, livers, tongues, etc. That was really, really bad. But, it would be a million times better for the dogs if I could make their food, and it would help Regal's chronic skin problems. He gets these really yucky spots on his skin that I have a hard time fixing. Anyway, it's not something I look forward to doing, but it would be thrifty and healthy.

I have another post to work on, so I'll talk to y'all again in a little bit.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Well, Regal had a vet appointment this morning. He's undergoing surgery today, and they say he'll never even know he was there. Uh huh. Anyway, I got a few pictures on my iPod on the way to vet. Oh, Dave's dog Cookie went too...she's having the female version of the same surgery.

He loves riding in my car! This was funny, because he never licks, but he did want to say hello, when I got in!

Dave isnt too keen on riding in the car with Regal and me...

"Mom, what's his problem?"

We just decided to drive and let Dave sit as close to the door as he could. You know how dogs hang their head out of the window? That's what Dave was doing. You should have seen it.

I don't think his tongue was hanging out, but I was trying to focus on driving and taking pictures, so it may have been.


Regal tried to make Dave enjoy the ride...

But is was no use, so he cozied up to me again.

He's so great...but there goes my breeding program idea.

He did great at the vet's office, too. I don't take him out around people at all, but he loves everyone that comes by the house. Everyone that meets him loves him and they all want to pet him, and he just loves that! He'll see someone start walking up to him and he starts wagging his tail and sticking his head out for a scratch. Well, there was a younger girl at the vet's who was taking the dogs back and that sort of thing, and she was a little scared of Regal, I think. She was scratching his head with one finger while she was turned, talking to Dave about Cookie. Well, one finger wasn't enough for Regal, so he took his paw and tapped her upper leg! She nearly jumped into next week! That's how he plays with you...he hooks his paw around your leg.

I also found out he weighs 130 pounds. I thought he'd be heavier than that...I know his hair makes him look bigger than he is, but I cut it a while back, so he even looks smaller.

Maybe I can get a better picture this afternoon when I bring him home. Anatolians have an anesthesia sensitivity, and he takes a while to come out of it and be himself again. I made sure to tell the vet about his sensitivity, so I hope they listen and don't put him to sleep... :|

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Grab My Button!


Ok, now I'm really, really excited! I googled "how to make a blog button" and followed the directions, and made a blog button! So, please, someone grab it! :D Just copy and paste the HTML!

Talk about all kinds of HTML tweaking on that one...whew. That was rough!

It's located right above the search box down there on the right...

You Might Be a FarmGirl If...

...The bread dough rises in the birdbath. Hey, it was sunny and warm and a little ways away from the porch, where the dogs hang out!

Lard 4

If you're wondering how many parts this lard thing is going to turn into, you're not the only one! Bear with me...I'm just not done talking about it quite yet! There's a lot to say on the subject!

I am little dissapointed in the amount of lard I'm going to get from this pig fat. I bought 60 pounds, but it isn't even going to make 5 gallons of lard. I think I'll get 4 gallons by the time I'm done. I've already melted all of it, but I put some of it back in to try to get a little more lard out of it. I need about 3 more cups to make 4 gallons, so I'm going to try to squeeze that much out of it. The problem is the fact that there was so much meat in it...if I had taken the time to trim the meat out before I chopped and ground the fat, I'm pretty sure I could've gotten at least one, if not two meals for our family. So, maybe it would have been more cost efficient to do it that way. I think I will keep an eye on the lard prices and only buy when it is $0.80 a pound or cheaper, especially if it isn't all pure fat. I would've gotten so much more if it was all fat!

My price breakdown, based on getting 4 gallons of lard from the 60 pounds of "stuff" compares to the other oils we use as follows.

I paid $66.00 for 60 pounds of pig fat. Turned into 4 gallons of lard, it is $16.50 a gallon.

We buy coconut oil by the 5 gallon bucket, from Tropical Traditions, and we pay $250, which breaks down to $50.00 a gallon (not including shipping.) Wowzers. We use this pretty sparingly...

We get good (raw and yummy) butter for $3.00 a pound, which makes it $24.00 for a gallon. We use this very liberally...

We buy pretty nice (as nice as we want to pay for..) olive oil anywhere from $25.00 to $35.00 a gallon. We use this less than butter, and more than coconut oil...

So, even with paying $1.10 a pound for pork fat, it's still cheaper than anything else we use. Granted, it's probably more expensive than vegetable oils, but we don't use those, so it doesn't really matter to me. It's definitely worth what I paid for it, but being that I always want something cheaper, I'd like it to be a little cheaper! But for a good, healthy product that I've been dying to have, it's all good!

Tasty Kitchen Button

Yesterday I added some new buttons to my blog, and I'd seen a few blogs that had a Tasty Kitchen button. Well, I'm a member of TK, so I tried finding the button. Nada. Ain't got one. I looked all over Tasty Kitchen's website and couldn't find it, and I asked around and no one else could find it either.'s what I did.

I downloaded the button image to my computer, then uploaded it to Photobucket. Then I pulled up the HTML code for the MaryJane's Farm button. It's been the most complicated one I've done so far...I had to manually add the image code and all that, instead of just copying and pasting a button code. I copied the MJF code and put it in a new HTML gadget box. Then I tweaked it. I changed the link to Tasty Kitchen, the image to the saved image link on Photobucket, and then I pulled the picture up on my computer, found the dimensions, and changed that too.

Then I saved it.

AND IT WORKS! I'm kinda sorta a little excited...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lard 3

Here are a few pictures I got, or got someone else to get, yesterday.

This is the chopped fat, before I got smart and got the grinder out. There's a lot of meat in here...

Grinding..and making a funny face. For some reason, when Dave takes pictures for me, he doesn't try again if I'm making a silly face. 

It took muscle to feed it into the grinder!

Ground fat...

The mandatory cut...actually, the bandaid covering the mandatory cut. Yes, my bandaid is too tight.

That's all the pictures I have so far. I've already gotten about 2 gallons of lard poured up, and I don't think I'm halfway through yet. Since there is so much meat in the fat, what is left after I melt the ground fat is almost like sausage, instead of little crispy yummy things (yes, I sorta eat them sometimes) like when I chop the fat. (better than chewing the fat!) I told Mama we should eat it like sausage but she has a psycological problem with that or some other such nonsense. I might just sneak it in something I make...I'm not going to waste it!

Time to go pour more lard off! This is so exciting!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lard 2

Just in case anyone wondered, 60 pounds of lard is an awful lot, and I do mean an awful lot, of chopping. I got busy with the lard right after lunchtime, and chopped until after suppertime. I took breaks every now and then because my hands were killing me...I have blisters from holding knives for so long! We do have a meat grinder, but it was on a shelf in the top of a closet, and do you know how long it takes to clean the grinder up? I figured it wouldn't be any faster to use the grinder by the time you figure in cutting the pieces small enough to fit in the grinder, grind, take the blade thingy apart every little while to clean off that stringy stuff that collects on there, put it back together, and do that goodness knows how many times, and then you still have to clean everything up when you get done.

Yep. Definitely better just to go the old-fashioned way and chop until your hand falls off.


So, to get on with the story, I cut pig fat all day long...hours and hours and hours. My hand hurt. I was beginning to doubt my sanity.

Shut up.

Even after chopping for so long, I hadn't even cut enough to really fill the roaster pan up! So, finally, I asked Dave to pull out the grinder after supper. I couldn't physically cut any more, with the blisters I'd gotten. I set up the grinder, made all the parts fit together right (that's a real job!) and got started. I cut chunks of fat to get started and within 30 minutes, I had as much fat ground as I had cut all day. :( That grinder should've been brought out a lot earlier!

My box of fat had been frozen and was thawing enough while I was working so that I could pull off chunks of fat. But by the time I got to the middle of the box, it was still frozen pretty good. I wanted to go ahead and grind everything so I wouldn't have to get the grinder out again tomorrow. So, I was pulling off what would come off and then cutting away at what wanted to hang on. And I gave myself the mandatory cut, which made everything so much easier.

I finally got everything ground and some rendered. I've poured off 5 quarts already, and will continue through the night and tomorrow. That's probably rendering less than a third of what I have total, but I'm not's hard to tell when it's ground.

And now I'm going to bed...playing in pig fat for almost 12 hours is enough to make me want a break!


I will post a tutorial on rendering lard, one that I posted last year on Kayla's Conversations. But first, I'm going to talk! :)

I am supremely happy today. Last time I made lard, I put in canning jars and thought it sealed. Well, I don't know what happened...maybe it just won't keep without being in the fridge...honestly, I just don't know. I need to do more research on the topic of proper and long-lasting lard strorage! I ended up losing over half of the nearly 5 gallons of lard I rendered from the last pigs we butchered. It was a real heartbreaker, to have to throw all that out. So, I ran out of lard waaay before I was supposed to, and I've been out for a long time now. Many moons of unhappy cooking for me. I don't use vegetable oils, and we try not to use a ton of coconut oil, due to the expense (we buy good, as in expensive,) and we aren't able to use a ton of butter either. I haven't fried a lot of stuff lately (like, this year) and we just don't eat quite like we used to.

I've been meaning to call our local butcher to ask about pork fat for the past few weeks, but I just never remember at the right time. I usually remember in the evenings, or maybe Sunday afternoon...times like that. However, this morning, I called. And you know what? I went and picked up 60 pounds of pork fat, at $1.10 a pound. SIXTY POUNDS. SIXTY POUNDS! :D

I didn't plan on getting sixty pounds, but that's the size box it came in, and the guy would have had to cut off some otherwise. There's a lot of lean meat in here as well, but we'll just eat that as it cooks out. Oh....YUM!

You know, I don't know what these pigs ate. I don't know if they were raised on concrete and had rings in their noses, I don't know if the folks taking care of them treated them good. We loved raising our pigs in the best possible way, we named most of them, moved them to clean ground often, scratched their bellies, and fed them good food.

But what I do know is that the lard I am rendering even as we (or, I) speak is a million times better for you than oils you can buy at the store. It's cheaper than coconut oil and raw, grass-fed butter, and it tastes good. It makes flaky pie crusts, yummy biscuits, and incredibly delicious chocolate chip cookies.

I can't wait to measure the amount of lard I get from these sixty pounds and see how much it cost me. I really would like to compare the cost with other oils...

By the way, my mother told me, while I was busy chopping and slicing lovely white chunks of pork fat, that this was the weirdest thing I'd ever done. Such a supportive mom... =))

Now, the pasted tutorial:

Originally written and posted August 1st, 2010.


I take it for granted that everyone has access to lard. I use it a LOT, and I really don’t know how I’d cook without it! I know you can buy the bucket of lard at Walmart, but it’s all hydrogenated and processed, so I don’t think that’s a good option. I think, but I’m not positive, that you can call a local butcher and get slabs of pork fat, to make your own lard. Of course, you won’t know how the pigs are raised…what they ate and how they were treated….so raising your own is the best option. However, I know that most people don’t want to raise a pig or two in their back yard, so call the butcher! I personally think that if I didn’t have access to our own pork fat, I’d call around and find some, instead of going without. So this post is going to assume that, some way or another, you’ve found yourself a bit of pork fat, and want to change it into something yummy and beneficial, something that will make the flakiest pie crusts, the best biscuits, and fried potatoes that are out of this world! In that case, you’re in the right place, because I’m going to help you! :)

This process (turning pork fat into lard) is really very simple, not too time-consuming, and is refered to as “rendering.” When we first had our pigs butchered, a few years ago, the butcher sent home these packs of fat. We didn’t know what to do with packs of pork fat!!! So I did a little research, and then cut it up and melted it. There are a few different ways to render lard, but I’ve only ever done it this way…it works for me, so I see no good reason to do anything different, for the time being!

You need to begin by cutting the lard up into small chunks. I slice each hunk of fat one way, and then chop those strips the other way, to make little squares. You’re doing this to maximize surface area, to help it melt more efficiantely. If you think about it. it makes a lot of sense…these little chunks will melt so much better than if you were to try to melt fat off of the large slab! Last time I rendered lard, I ground all the fat up in the grinder first. It melted MUCH faster, and I think I got more lard out of the fat, BUT it was a nasty process. I’d already gound all the meat I needed to grind last time, so I already had the grinder out and dirty. When I ground the fat, it came out in nasty, white, soft globs. Just….not so yummy looking, in my opinion! This time, I hadn’t ground anything yet, and I didn’t want to mess with that again, so I just chopped it. Another thing is, you want to make absolutely sure your knife is sharp. This will be a horrible process if your knife is anything less than razor-sharp. I stop every few minutes while chopping, to sharpen my knife again. It really does make a huge difference, whether or not your knife is sharp! Trust me, I know!

I start out with slabs of fat…

I slice it all one way… (the Headless Renderer)

So I have strips like this…

And then slice the opposite way…

So I have chunks like this…

Then I throw it all in our big roaster. I love using this to render lard, because I don’t take up the oven or stove-top that way! If you don’t have an electric roaster like this, you can put the chunks of fat in a pot on top of the stove, or in a roasting pan in the oven…

I put the temperature somewhere between 250* and 300* and cook for a few hours. During this time, I stir it every hour or so. After a while, there will be enough melted fat to ladle out…

When there is enough to scoop out, I set up a straining system. I use a very fine wire mesh strainer and a canning funnel, since I put the lard in quart jars. Then I start ladling the lard into the jars…

I fill the jars to within an inch or so of the top, then screw on the canning lids and bands. They will seal as they cool!

I refrigerate the jar I’m using, because I’d rather have the consistency when it’s cold. After this lard cools in these jars, sometimes it’s all white, and thick, and sometimes, if it’s warm in the house, it’ll stay liquid. In the fridge, it’s white and the consistency of soft butter…wonderful stuff!!!

When I searched my old blog to find this post, I also saw that a comment was posted not too long ago, but I had no idea it was there. (Again...I am SO happy with Blogger now!) So, my sincerest apologies to Amy, who asks "How long does the sealed lard keep? I plan on keeping it in the garage pantry - we live in the NW where it stays fairly cool most of the year."

My answer right now would have to be; I don't know. My lard that was kept on shelves in my kitchen went bad, even though it was sealed. It will take more research on my part to determine how to store lard long-term. For the time being, I plan on sealing mine in quart jars just as I showed here, and then keeping them in the back of the fridge. I have plenty of refrigerator space, and that way I know it will be safe. Maybe in my other lard, there could've been tiny pieces of meat that got through the strainer and wouldn't keep like lard does. Gag.

And if you ever open lard and wonder if it's ok...believe me, you'll know if it's bad. After you cap it quickly and control the gagging reflex, and answer the phone where the neighbors are asking what that smell is, there'll be no doubt. Really, it was so bad.

Hopefully it will be better and I will be smarter, this time around. Maybe experience is the best teacher... And you don't truly appreciate what you have until you don't have it anymore! I am so looking forward to having this new lard! I'm so excited, even Mom's complaining because "you're stinking up the house!" doesn't affect the excitement!

Again, my apologies for missing comments. Hopefully, now that I've switched to Blogger, I won't have that problem. My other blog system never sent notifications when I got new comments, and I could never wade through all the spam on every post!