Saturday, November 7, 2015

Building a Compost Container

FINALLY!  The Grange man got some pallets and create a compost container.  

We weren't sure exactly where to place it.  We wanted it to be somewhere where the dogs wouldn't be able to get into it and enjoy it {remember the manure & turds}.  We also wanted it some place that would be easy access should we be able to get chickens again so we can put their manure in there as well.

The spot is the side yard where to girls were, towards the front of the house, that way it is far enough away from ANYONE'S patio.  

Grange man found 3 full pallets and a 1/2 pallet.  This worked perfectly.

The finished product, Grange man used about 2 dozen drywall screws

A view of it from the garden gate and you can also see our fall garden bed

We had been "collecting" some of our discarded veggies, egg shells and coffee grounds so we already had some "goodies" to put inside of it....{it smelled like a good organic earthy matter}.

Hopefully it will be functional for us, and a good spot, and hopefully the girls {when we can hopefully have chickens again} won't bother it too much, but we can always block it off from them.

M & S
Uptown Grange

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Red Onions ~ What to do with them?

A few weeks ago my mom brought over about a dozen small sized red onions. Grange man and Dude LoVe onions, like they will go out of their way and just eat onions, they really are sick men. Anyway, there were just too many for us to use up before they went bad, so we decided why don’t we pickle them?

Onions make me emotional. I just took off the paper skins and cut off the top and bottom and was literally crying the entire time. Grange man and Doodles just laughed at me, and kept asking me “what’s wrong”….jerks.

Grange man sliced them otherwise I would have been an even bigger blubbering mess.

Pickled Red Onions

1. Slice onions real thin

2. Place in a water solution with a bit of salt and let soak in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours or overnight {the longer they soak the less crispy they will be}

3. Boil or sterilize jars and lids while onions are soaking

4. After finished soaking dump onions into strainer to remove liquid

5. Make a refrigerator pickle recipe {recipe to follow}

6. Put sliced onions in jars to within ½ inch from the top of the jar {we chose pint size jars}

7. Using your canning funnel pour hot pickle recipe over onions in jar to within ½ from the top of the jar or covering all onions.

8. Place jars in an area to cool

9. After jars are cooled down place in refrigerator, these will keep for at least 6 months

They’ll be good on brats, hotdogs or even hamburgers, or you could even eat them alone.

Refrigerator Dill Pickles {Makes them taste like Klaussen’s}

Pickling Solution:
6 C Water
2 C White Vinegar
1/2 C Canning Salt
1/2 tsp Alum {optional, does help to keep crisp}
1 T Pickling Spice

Bring above ingredients to a boil.
Refrigerate, and they will be ready in 2 - 4 days

This is the recipe we use each summer for our pickling cucumbers, it calls for 4 - 5 lbs of freshly picked cucumbers.  Will post that recipe next summer when we make pickles again, there are additional things to add.

M & S
Uptown Grange

Monday, November 2, 2015

Pumpkin Puree

GrEaT pumpkin adventures on the Grange.

One of our local stores and the one that Grange man just happens to love had pumpkins on sale for $0.01 {yes, one penny} each, not per pound, just each. Holy cow, can you imagine…well, we did, I sent Grange man and Doodles up there to get a few and they were already back to regular price, figure’s that our luck. They did come back with 2 pumpkins though, in addition to the pumpkin that Doodles already picked up a few days before Halloween, so we had a total of 3 pumpkins.

The plan I had for these pumpkins was to simply them to puree them. Some recommend that you buy the smaller pumpkins but I figured, WHY!?! if you get the bigger pumpkins it means more puree.  {I'm wishing we would have got the smaller pumpkins...I honestly don't know what I am going to do with all this puree}  The pumpkins were about the size of a volleyball and basketball. Not unreasonably sized, GrEaT for carving, but that isn’t what we were going to do with them.

I had this image in my mind of the awesome smell of pumpkin wafting through the house as they baked. To me pumpkin is a smell that defines fall….but without the nutmeg and other spices it really doesn’t have a smell or even much of a that was a bummer.

Grange man helped me out, he cut off the tops and we gutted them the best we could. {We saved the seeds to bake later…recipe to follow}. Then he cut them in half and then half again and then in half again. We had 4 baking sheets of cut up pumpkin. Yes, it was a tad bit overwhelming.

Roasted Pumpkin Puree Steps

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Whole Pumpkins {however many you are ambitious enough to bake and the size you prefer}

3. Cut out top of pumpkin {like you normally do}

4. You can either cut in half and gut pumpkin or you can do it the old fashion way by gutting from the top

5. Cut up into manageable chunks {4” to 5” square or triangular} you can put these upside down or right side up on your baking sheets

6. Bake from 45 – 60 minutes or until fork soft

7. Let cool

8. Remove pumpkin skin and slice into 1 – 1 ½ inch chunks

9. Put into food processor with the grater attachment and the chop attachment to get a fine puree

Depending upon how much you are processing, you can either remove the puree directly out of the mixer or pour into a bowl. We made a bunch so we poured ours into a bowl and repeated step 9 until all of the pumpkin was pureed.

This is our first 2 you can see we've only filled 2 bags and we have much more to go...oy vey!
10. Put about 1-2 cups into a freezer zip lock sandwich bag {Grange man decided to make some of them extra full}

11. Lay flat and freeze

I’ll share recipes when I get a chance to start making stuff with the pumpkin puree. I love pumpkin and so does Doodles, the dogs even love pumpkin so they will get some dog treats made for them too. They got to get in on the act too and had a few chunks every now and then.

Grange man just kept saying “I sure hope you like pumpkin”…."because that is a lot of pumpkin"

M & S
Uptown Grange