Thursday, September 28, 2017

Mustang Wine

I just realized that I never did a post about making the Mustang Wine!  I was gifted a five gallon bucket of mustang grapes by a friend back in July and was so excited to try making wine with it.  I found a fairly simple recipe (I used the one for a sweet red) and loosely followed it, although I did add sugar several times trying to sweeten it up.  
This was after 7 days of stirring these grapes in the five gallon bucket.  It bubbled fairly constantly during the whole time.

 After the 7 days it was time to strain off the grapes. It took several pressings to get all of them out. So, so tart! Strained again and put into the 5 gallon carboy after adding sugar, and left for a month.
 After one month we re-racked to remove some of the sediment, moving all of the wine into 3 one gallon carboys. There was a LOT of sediment.  More sugar added! Very tart, still.

 After another month we tasted and it was perfect! Not too sweet, but not too tart.  It got a thumbs up, even from John! High praise, he's not one for sweet wine.
 Sterilizing bottles in the oven before bottling the wine.
 Using the corker. 
 After corking we put PVC shrink caps over the top, and then label.  Now we'll wait until Thanksgiving to break these out!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Pepper Sauce -- hot stuff!

We pulled out all of the hot peppers yesterday before the rains came -- I'm cleaning up the rest of the garden and the potted garden, getting ready to put everything in the greenhouse as soon as the weather permits.  We'll have hot weather for at least another month, I'm sure, but the days are already getting a bit better.

I followed this basic quick sauce recipe: 15 Minute Homemade Hot Sauce, and then changed it up to match what we had to use. I had a pile of Aji Golden, Aji Angelo, and about 4 jalapeno peppers. First I cut the tops off, deseeded them (by the way, a grapefruit spoon works so great for this!), and put them in a saucepan.  Then I added the vinegar, salt and garlic.  John added cilantro, cumin, chopped onions and apricots.  Then we simmered it for about 20 minutes, put the whole thing into the blender until it was smooth.  Whew -- should have seen the smoke coming out of the blender! ha!  
Taste test went VERY well -- I tried it straight from the spoon, and John put some on a taco chip. A quick burn that disappears pretty quickly - leaving a nice fruity/peppery after-taste.  I think we'll use this often!  

Monday, September 25, 2017


8) Feelings are important too.

If you think thoughts have all the power in your life, think again. Feelings cause us to do some pretty amazing things, and some not so amazing things. Pay attention to how you feel instead of trying to trick yourself into hiding from your feelings.
-----20 Brutal Truths

Saturday, September 23, 2017

More truths....

7) Trying to be perfect will kill you.

Standing in front of the mirror pointing out your flaws will make you old before your time. Don’t waste another second trying to be anything except what you are right now.
--- 20 Brutal Truths
Did you notice I skipped #6? 

6) Making everyone happy is for the birds. Don’t worry about trying to make people happy. People will never be happy. You do you before your time runs out.

I didn't like this one, and don't agree with it.  It doesn't cost you anything to try to make others happy, just don't kick yourself if it doesn't work. Some people truly will never be happy, true, but others are. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Spending time....

5) Spending money is less effective than spending time.

If you want to make a real difference in the world, donate your time and save your money for a rainy day. Spending time with people impacts them in ways you cannot even imagine. There is always more money, but there is never enough time.
--- 20 Brutal Truths

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Remember this.....

4) Searching for happiness prevents you from finding it.

Unless you are living in the here and now, you are wasting your life. Stop chasing tomorrow and start enjoying today.
---- 20 Brutal Truths

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Third thing to remember.....

3) Money doesn’t make you happy.

No matter how hard you try, money will not buy you happiness. Life is about living, not accumulating. Stop spending your money on crap.
--- 20 Brutal Truths

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Fall/Winter Garden Log -- September 17, 2017

Finished up the garden this past week, although I'm still doing some mulching and, of course, weeding already. Sigh...

→The lettuces are in:
Little Gem -
Yugoslavian Red Butterhead - Seed Savers Exchange
Green Ice -
Salad Bowl Red -
→The choys:
Shanghai Green - Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds 
Extra Dwarf Pak Choy - Saved Seeds (orig. Baker Creek)
→The kales:
Tronchuda - Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Lacinato -
Halbhoher Gruner Krauser - Seed Savers Exchange
→The beans:
Tendergreen Improved - Ferry Morse
Calima - Pinetree Garden Seeds

I went ahead and bought nursery plants to get these in - mine are not ANYWHERE near big enough to plant, and I'm not even sure they ever will be. These are all from Bonnie Plants and they cost $3.78 a pack of 6, so they are 63 cents each. No tax because Vegetables! Yea!

Savoy Cabbage
Ruby Red Perfection Cabbage

Artwork Broccoli
Lieutenant Broccoli

Next up, potting up some vegetables for the greenhouse this winter.

More things to remember.....

2) Everyone around you is going to die.

Hug your mom and dad and tell your sister you love her. They won’t be there someday when you finally look up from that smartphone. Tell people that matter to you that they matter.

--- "20 Brutal Truths"

Monday, September 18, 2017

Things to remember.....

You’ll stop living some day.

We all want to think we are invincible, but we aren’t. Stop wishing away your days and start enjoying what is going on right now.
--- "20 Brutal Truths"

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Fall/Winter Garden Log -- September 12, 2017

Fall garden planting has been progressing.  I'm planting one bed a day -- NOT a race, not a race! ha! John's following behind me and putting in the water system.  (Full disclosure, he's helping with a lot of the prep too.) Love him!

Here's what we have planted so far:

Does anyone know how to post an Excel file in Blogger and have it save the formatting? I can't figure it out, so I too a picture of the file instead. I feel so dumb right now. There has to be a way to do it.

I listed the carrots in the last post, so here's what's in Row 2:

Pink Plume Celery - Seed Savers Exchange
Golden Celery -
Palco Spinach - Territorial Seed
Matador Viking Spinach -
American Spinach - Seed Savers Exchange
Red Kitten Spinach - Johnny's Select Seeds
Golden Beets -
White Beets -
Rainbow Chard - Ferry Morse

Today we planted green beans (I had a few seeds left over from the spring garden, so decided to use those up.) I hope we have time to get a crop before any freezes.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Fall/Winter Garden Log -- September 7, 2017

I'm finally feeling good enough to venture outside a bit.  I've been anxious to get started on our Fall and Winter garden! John has been such a great help in getting the garden tilled and ready for me to plant.  He was out there today helping me along, too, and is hooking up the automatic water sprinklers as we go. 

Today we prepped and planted the carrots. There are 5 different varieties of carrots in this bed - Amarillo, Dragon, Sugar Snax, St. Valery, and Chantenay Red Core.

I also potted up one of the banana trees that we got back in April.  That little tiny plant (I think it was all of about 6 inches tall when it came in the mail) has grown to about 3 foot! I'll be moving all three of them into bigger pots in the next few days and they will spend the winter in the greenhouse.
This is the Dwarf Orinoco banana. It's looking very healthy -- hoping for good things next spring.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Where I've Been

I recently had surgery on my eye-lids and have been hiding out at home ever since. It's been 6 days now, and I go back to see the surgeon tomorrow.  I'd like to say it went smoothly and was "no trouble at all" but that wouldn't be true.  

I've been bothered for years by a very droopy eyelid on my right side, so much so that I have trouble driving and seeing anything on my right peripheral side. I've had a few scary events that made me decide to get this looked at to see if there was anything we could do about it, otherwise I may not be able to drive well.  

Well, of course, I found out its a fairly common problem and I was referred to a surgeon.  She did a bilateral direct eyebrow lift on both eyes, since she said my left was starting to do the same thing and I'd just have to come back for that one in the future.

Don't quite know what I was expecting, but the recovery has been a LOT harder then I thought it was going to be - for one thing I look a real FRIGHT! Not only the stitches which cover the entire length of my eyebrows, but the swelling and bruising that came along with it.  My whole face has been puffy and my eye sockets have turned a sickly greenish hue. My eyelids have also been very puffy, but they are starting to get better.  I've been using ice packs and saline washes and lots of pain killer. It's getting better, but slowly.

So, if you don't see me in the next month or so, that's why.  I hope it won't take that long, but the way its going, it just might. 
Picture below, but turn away if you're squeamish.

Mimi's Summer Day Camp, Day Nineteen -- Kid Cooks!

August 24, 2017

Today is the last day of summer camp! Boo!  We're making a meal for the Koenig's for their supper tonight.  First off we're going shopping at the HEB!  KT made our shopping list first before we left the house.  

 KT monitored the shopping list!

After shopping, we stopped at Chili's in Boerne for lunch!

When we got home we practiced setting a proper table.  The girls had paper plates and plastic utensils to practice with.  
 Then we started making our meal.  Joss started making the dessert so that it would have time to set up before supper time.  John and KT went on a bike ride while Joss and I worked in the kitchen.

We're making Vanilla Strawberry Whip - and from the samples I tried this one is going to be a big hit! She got this all whipped up and in the fridge.

 Mimi helped just a little by holding the containers for her.
 Joss helped by licking the beaters! ha!
 I got both of the girls one of these kid friendly knives - they do a fine job on 
things like fruit and vegetables.

Then KT came in and we started on the main dish.  We chose an Italian Pasta dish, since both of the girls will eat that with no coaxing! Gotta be practical!  KT did a really good job - frying the meat, and boiling the pasta.  

 Mixing in the pasta sauce.
 The girls got a cute little kitty timer for their future cooking endeavors!

KT cut and buttered the French bread, and Joss helped pack it in to the box for delivery.

 That's it. We finished just in time to pack it all in the car and deliver to their house.  The girls set the table before we left, and I wish I had gotten a picture of that, but I didn't.  They did a great job and the table looked very pretty all made up with the placemats, silverware and napkins.  

Summer camp is over for 2017.  I hope they had as good a time as we did!

Love you, girls!

Mimi's Summer Day Camp, Day Eighteen --- Kid Cooks!

August 23, 2017

Yes, we're having summer camp on a Wednesday this week. The girl's schedule is kind of crazy this week before school starts.  We started Kid Cooks week by making breakfast muffins.  You can tell that the girls have done this before.  These are a blueberry muffin mix, and they ate every last one of them with Grumpy's help (Mimi does not eat blueberries!) Yuck!

 After breakfast we got started on our Tea Party Luncheon.  We're having some pretty fancy tea foods for lunch today.  Joss is all ready to go in her chef's hat and apron.
 Joss made our dipped sugar cookies.  The recipe calls for dipping these in white chocolate, but we just used vanilla frosting instead that Joss stirred in a bit of milk to think it.  She did a great job at this, just dip and lay on waxed paper, then sprinkle on your choice of sprinkles!

 Next KT made our Marshmallow Ballerinas! These turned out so cute - she got the hang of it fast and made all of them herself.  We had a styrofoam base for her to stick them in to dry.

 We took a break after that and went for our final library trip of the summer (sad face!)  We spent a little extra time there today since it was our last for a while.
 Yes, they have kids cookbooks!

 Once we got home it was time to make the last of our luncheon food.  Joss is making heart shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Easy peasy!

 I'd give this girl a cooking show - she's so cute!

KT made our fruit cups for lunch.  She got real good at using the melon baller, too! We had grapes, blackberries, raspberries and watermelon.  KT learned how to wash all of the fruit before using it.

 We made a little decoration with the watermelon rind!

Next we made our tea - KT likes mint tea.  Both the girls brought their own tea sets to use, and I got out the tea cups that we bought at the thrift store last Saturday.  
 KT's lady bug tea set

 Mimi's lemon tea!
 Joss's Beauty and the Beast tea set

In the afternoon we made placemats for Thursday's cooking project.  The girls learned how to make a woven mat.  We all got involved making four mats.

It was a cloudy cooler day, so no swimming today, sadly.  We're making a meal for the Koenig family on Thursday, so see you then!