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No Candy Making Skills Needed February 3, 2018

Posted by liajo in chocolate, comfort food, good things, granddaughters, How to tips, life.
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dark-brown-milk-candy.jpgMy granddaughters don’t always agree on everything, but chocolate is usually something they can agree on.  So yesterday making chocolate bark was the project of the day.

I love baking, but candy making is not my thing.  I’ve never been good at it.  However, anyone, even preschoolers, can make a good chocolate bark.  There is no candy thermometer, no soft ball stage, just some fun.

Here are the very easy instructions.  Melt chocolate chips in the microwave.  You know how, 30 seconds, stir, repeat until melted.  I did put about a teaspoon of Crisco in because it makes the melted chips easier to work with.

Pour into a parchment lined baking sheet and spread to the thickness you want.

Top with whatever.  We did dried cranberries and shaved almonds.  Press these into the chocolate just a little.

Put in either the freezer or refrigerator until hard, about an hour.

Break into pieces and eat.  It is pretty yummy and way simple.

The chocolate bark project was a success!

 

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Making memories February 1, 2018

Posted by liajo in crafts, good things, granddaughters, insects, life, seasons, weather.
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christmas-crafts1I love playing outside with my granddaughters.  It’s a great excuse to literally play in the dirt, or sandbox again.  Chasing miller moths, butterflies, and grasshoppers.  But it’s had to do those things in the winter and two little preschoolers shouldn’t be outside too long.

So we make our memories inside.  Craft time is great.  A little glue, some construction paper, and glitter made out of dyed Epsom salt.  Add a few buttons and stickers and popsicle sticks and we can make almost anything.  It’s a lot of fun and their mom, my daughter, gets all these wonderful things to decorate her mantel with.  Each girl has a memory box, and some of their creations go there after being displayed.  Some of them go into moms decoration box for use again next year.

If you haven’t crafted with a preschooler in a while I would suggest doing it.  It’s almost as much fun as playing in the dirt.

It’s been awhile January 20, 2018

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, good things, life.
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So it doens’t look like blogging held my interest in 2009.  I’m hoping that has changed, lots of other thing have changed.

Bubba and Allie are no longer my gardening buddies.  They have both passed on to doggie after life.

I have two new gardening buddies, my granddaughters.  Aged 5 and 3 they love to be outside and love playing in dirt, picking strawberries and chasing faries.

A garden seen through a childs eye is truly a beautiful thing.

Funny Story April 11, 2009

Posted by liajo in Bubba & Allie, good things, Greenhouse Gardening, life.
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Wednesday was a beautiful day here so I decided to get in some yard work.  One of things I wanted to get done was some prep work in the vegetable garden.  groupwinter06I can’t go outside without the dogs, Bubba and Allie wanting to come with me, so we all went out back.

I was in the fenced garden clearing out all the coverings I had left on the beds during the winter.  I also had a pocket full of trash that had blown in.  Needing to dump the ground covering material in the compost pile and throw the trash away I came out of the garden. 

There was Allie wagging her tail and running around.  But no Bubba, I didn’t see him anywhere.  So I asked Allie “Where’s your brother, where’s the Bubba dog?”

greenhousesAs soon as I said his name Bubba comes a running, from the greenhouse.  Now at the end of fall I knew I had gotten the greenhouse ready for winter and all zipped down tight.  But somehow Bubba got the front zipper up just enough so he could go inside.  I’m guessing to lay on the warm, dry ground.

After putting both dogs in the house I checked to greenhouse.  Bubba had done no damage, there really wasn’t anything to damage.  I also check the thermometer that I had put in the ground.  It was reading 80 degrees.

I didn’t plant in the greenhouse this winter and hadn’t gotten it ready yet to move the tomato seedlings into.  But it’s being used, as an over sized dogie sauna.

Up dates April 8, 2009

Posted by liajo in Bubba & Allie, crafts, garden thoughts and ideas, good things, life.
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The tree guys are coming today to start removing the old tree.  It’s exciting and sad at the same time.  I’m sorry to see it go but at an estimated 120 years old it had a good life and we won’t have to worry about it damaging our house in a wind storm.

All the tomato seedlings are doing great.  The first pepper seedling popped up yesterday.  Now I’m just waiting for more.  I’ll keep a close eye on them the next couple of days.

Bubba is finally regulated on his insulin and diet.  He has lost about 4 pounds and doesn’t have to go to the vet again for 3 months.  I know he’s happy about that.  He’s such a good boy for the vet techs but we know he hates having to spend the day there.

With any luck I’ll get a load of manure to add to my compost this weekend.  The last several weekends have been crappy weather (pardon the pun) so we couldn’t get it.  Along with the manure I’ll get some straw to use as mulch.  It’s all coming from a local dairy farm. 

Great news, the afghan is done.  I finished it Monday night.  Now I need another project to keep me busy at night. 

And after 13 years in this house we are finally doing something to the kitchen.  Paint, some new cabinets and counter tops and a new floor.  The old floor is from about 1950.  It sucks

Proceed with Caution April 1, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, How to tips.
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organic20produceIt seems like everyone is looking for ways to save money, and many have decided that growing their own food would be a great way to do that.  I agree, I haven’t bought a tomato product in years.  But if your new to vegetable gardening please proceed with caution.

One local gardening expert was on the news saying anyone could grow their own vegetables with an investment of $30 or less.  I think the money estimate may be kind of low. 

And besides money you need to consider time.  Watering, mulching, weeding, pruning, staking and even harvesting, it all takes time.  I love doing it but my husband considers it a form of punishment.  He helps with fence building and greenhouse building and then heads inside and waits to eat the fresh produce.

In order for the garden to be sustainable through the winter you need to plant a lot, and know how to store it.  Last year I had about 12 tomato plants for 2 people.  That’s a lot of tomatoes,  and they’d rot if I didn’t preserve them.  My favorite way of persevering is drying.  I dried pounds of tomatoes and zucchini which I then froze in single serving.  Their great in all sorts of dishes.

Trust me, I want everyone that has a yard, patio or window sill to grow a garden.  But I also realize that as fun as I think my growing gardens are, they aren’t every ones idea of fun.  I also want all these new gardeners to keep gardening for years to come. 

So plant your seed, but realize the true cost pay off may be a couple years down the road.

Naming the garden March 29, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, good things.
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ffgp133I think I’m going to name my gardens this year.  And with all the additional beds going in this year “garden” just doesn’t seem to cover it.  I haven’t decided for sure, but I think I’ll name it “Park Ave Farms.”

We actually live on Park Ave and the place is turning into a vegetable farm. 

Maybe I’ll have a nice sign made up and put it in one of the new vegetable beds that will be taking the place of the front lawn this year.

What do you think, is a farm name just to over the top?  Or is it carrying on a tradition, all the homestead and farms used to have names.

Life after Death March 15, 2009

Posted by liajo in garden thoughts and ideas, good things, life.
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In about 2 weeks the old tree will be gone, or most of it anyway.  But the old dear will continue to give and add to our lives after it’s own life is over.tree_photo1

It will kind of be like a tree organ donor program. 

The tree guys will cut some of it up and leave for us to use as fire wood in the fire pit.  So this summer when friends and family gather around to enjoy each others company, the old tree will be adding to the warmth of the evening.

The tree guys will mulch some of it.  I’ll keep a small amount and they’ll sale the rest locally.  So our old tree will be providing water conservation and weed control all over the area.

There is no way the stump can come out without damaging the foundation of our house and that of our neighbors, so it will stay.  We’re going to leave it about 3 feet high and make a table top on it.  I’ll use that as a potting area.

So in many ways the old dear will enjoy a full life after it’s death.  I kind of like that idea.

Collecting Pee March 14, 2009

Posted by liajo in Bubba & Allie, life.
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That’s right, I said collecting pee.  We need to test Bubba’s urine for his blood sugar levels this weekend.  Definitely something easier said than done.anatomy-anotated_jack_russell

My husband tried on Friday a couple times with no success.  Every time he went outside with him, Bubba just sat there.  No pee forth coming.

I tried a couple times today with the same outcome.  None.

Then it hit me.  We needed to take both him and his sister out front on leases.  Finally, he peed on the neighbors fence (he has always been particle to fences) and I was right there with the cup.  He did kick it out of my hands, but enough stayed in the cup to test.

Now we just need to do it again two or three more times.

Believe It Or Not March 11, 2009

Posted by liajo in crafts, good things, life.
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0012So I’m in the craft department of our local Walmart getting yarn to ffinish my latest afghan.  I can’t find the reddish color that I need in my usual brand (go figure) so I start checking other brands.

That’s when I found Carron Simply Soft Eco, yarn made from (get this) recycled plastic bottles.  I found the color that I needed (it’s wine county in the picture) and a new product.

I came home and checked out Carron’s website www.carron.com.  If I had used Carron to make the whole afghan I would have kept at least 10 bottles out of a land fill. 

I figure that if my mom (the afghan queen) starts using Carron’s she can single handily empty a land fill of all it’s plastic bottles in a year.