Musings About Things on Frank’s Birthday

Happy Birthday to Frank! Happy Birthday to Frank!

I have the honor of being married to a man that has a 30 year old mind encased in a 65 year old body. His mind is sharp and more active than ever, his learning curve continues to go through the ceiling, his dreams and aspirations are never ending, there are just

days he wishes his body would keep up. In our discussions recently we have pondered how others meet up with an aging body. We really don’t ‘see’ ourselves as aging or even getting older. There are still so many things we want to do and learn, the list only grows longer instead of shorter. But time marches on and our bodies are aging. Some things we didn’t used to give much thought to, now present more of a challenge, some of them much more of a challenge. We still set goals of what we want to get accomplished in a day, but the amounts we are able to complete just aren’t as much as they used to be. Sometimes that’s frustrating, sometimes is surprising, and sometimes it’s just downright disgusting. The aches and pains tend to interrupt things when we keep pushing and pushing to get something finished, even when we know it is past time to stop for the day. Such is this thing we call life. We’ve heard about it for many years now, and it would seem it is now our turn to experience it for ourselves.

We got an interesting envelop in the mail today. We have been waiting for the inevitable W4’s and 1099’s to arrive so that we can see how much we have to pay the piper this year. In years past we had our withholding set up at the highest rate so that we would get a tax refund. For the past five or six years we have changed our withholding to the lowest rate. We would rather owe at the end of the year instead of face the possibility of the feds deciding it would be a good year to start keeping, instead of disbursing, 

the refunds to help feed their ever insatiable appetite for spending The People’s money. Well, the envelope we received today was from the Oklahoma Tax Commission which informed us we will have to pay federal taxes on last year’s state refund. What?? Enough is enough, folks. When are they going to start taxing how much we pay in taxes, how many breaths we take, and how often we go to the bathroom? After all, we are using up oxygen when we breathe, not to mention how much each exhalation we complete is adding to the devastating, Earth killing global warming! We probably shouldn’t even talk about how much water is used each time we go to the bathroom. But they have already regulated that by limiting the amount of water you are able to use with each and every flush.

It saddens us to see the state of families now days. So many people are caught up in the world. The shiny, dazzling, fast paced world has so much to offer in the way of activities and distractions. Over Christmas, a family we know had scheduled a vacation to Cancun, a once in a lifetime trip.

But they left their two year old daughter with grandma, for a week, at Christmas. I guess she would just be too much in the way. What will this girl think when she is older and the family is sitting around looking at the pictures from this ‘once in a lifetime vacation’ and reliving what a good time they had, and she realizes that she wasn’t there? That she wasn’t wanted there? That she would have been in the way? What does that say to a child? When I asked the grandmother how the girl was managing, being away from her parents and brothers, the answer astounded me again. The only person this girl ever cries for is her grandmother, not her parents. This grandmother takes care of the girl most weekdays while her mother attends nursing school, which is very admirable on both their parts. And it’s great this little girl is very comfortable and happy with her grandmother. But to think she has bonded more with her grandmother than with her parents bothers me. What does that say for this family? And so many other families in our society?

We saw a young man yesterday that Frank has known for a number of years. He has read some of this blog, and has shown an interest in radio communications, using GMRS and MURS. The last time Frank saw him they talked about the possibility of getting a ham license. But yesterday

when Frank saw him and asked about using radios, the young man just smiled and said he hadn’t been doing anything with them. When Frank reminded him that time may be short to get things set up, the young man laughed at him. Laughed at him like he was humoring someone that either wasn’t quite right in the head, or didn’t know what he was talking about. Laughed at the possibility that something devastating may come to pass in our country and world. There are many people out there that have this very same attitude. These same people that rush to the store in a panic right before the big storm comes through, only to find the shelves bare and people fighting over the last case of bottled water. The experience Frank had with this young man bothered him. It bothered him to think that this young man, his wife and young daughter may not make it when the time comes. He may think back and remember the warnings he received and did not heed, and because of that, unspeakable tragedy may be visited upon his family. 

It’s not like it’s the first time we have been laughed at and ridiculed for the way we live and the warnings we share with others. We had people thinking we were nuts way back before Y2K when we wanted to grow

our own food, live off the beaten path and be much more self-reliant. Then Y2K came along and we did the best we could to be ready for the long term. Our location wasn’t the best survival location, but we prepared the best we could. Most folks just couldn’t fathom the depth of our preparedness and why we would even consider going to such lengths. They laughed then, and we knew, should a devastating collapse come upon the world that we were much better prepared than they. Not only had we tried to gather ‘stuff’, we began very serious preparations of our minds, which is by far the most important aspect of preparation that you can undertake. 

Since Y2K, the experiences we have had and the learning we have pursued have changed our lives. Literally. It is with heavy hearts that we continue to see the vast majority of people ignoring the warning signs all about us, from the economy to the fascist government that is quickly

suffocating every form of freedom, independence and self-reliance that it can possibly rape, pillage and steal from The People. There have been so many instances of people going along with the actions of the government only to find out they are being lead like lambs to the slaughter. They stare around in wide eyed wonder, and their life is snuffed out in an instant. Is that what awaits the Sheeple? I really can’t say for sure, but it sure does appear that way. If we live to see the day, the great and dreadful day, of the collapse of our society, country and world, my heart will cry with anguish for those that are not ready. For those that will continue to refuse to look reality in the eye without blinking and turning away. For those that simply will not make it. I mourn for them already.

There are many things in this life that we give thanks for every single day. We give thanks for another day. We give thanks for our warm home and

a roof over our heads. We give thanks for the food on our table. We give thanks for God watching out for us and guiding us every day of our lives. We give thanks that we have been brought to this place at this time in the history of our world. And on this day, I give thanks to God for bringing me into the life of the man you know as Frank. He has blessed me for these many years with his knowledge, skill, generosity, integrity, honesty, willingness to serve others through his military service, law enforcement work, volunteer EMT and Firefighter work, dedication to family, his love for God, and his love for me.

Happy Birthday Frank!
Love,
Fern

A Very Simple Lotion, Failures & Success

A day or so after we made our simple lip balm, I tried my hand at making a simple lotion. I got the recipe from Leigh over at 5 Acres & A Dream. It’s in her latest ebooklet, How To Make An Herbal Salve, which is part of The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos, she’s been writing. I wanted something very simple, with few ingredients, that I could make from things I normally keep on hand. Leigh’s recipe fit the bill.

Trying to make a simple lotion is a continuation of our attempt to minimize the chemicals we ingest or absorb into our bodies. And, once again, I was amazed just how easy it is to make this lotion, even though it failed the second time I made it. But that’s getting ahead of myself. I forgot to take any pictures while I made the first batch.

The recipe calls for one cup of herbal tea. I had recently read that lemon balm and peppermint are good for your skin, and I happened to have a few leaves here and there growing out in the herb bed, so I picked them to use in my tea. I brought the water to boiling, turned off the fire, added the herbs and let them steep for about five minutes.

Next, I took 3/4 cup of oil, I used olive oil, and melted 2 tbsp. of beeswax in it. After the tea was ready, I blended it into the oil, until it was well blended. Leigh uses a blender. I used a slotted spoon. I wasn’t sure how long to stir it, and I knew I wouldn’t get the same consistency as a blender, but I thought it worked out well.


Frank and I were pleased with the results. This lotion is definitely oilier than any over the counter lotion we have used. But, if you give it a few minutes it will soak in and works very well.

 
So, the other day I thought I would make another batch since we have already used up more than half of the first batch. I picked more lemon balm and peppermint, even though there wasn’t much left out there. 

 

Made my tea, melted the beeswax and got ready to mix it together. 

This time I used the KitchenAid with the whip attachment to ‘blend’ the tea into the oil. After I thought it was well blended, it started to solidify on the sides of the bowl, I poured it into my half pint jars. 

 

Very quickly it started to separate. Tea on the bottom, olive oil and beeswax on the top. I scooped it out and remelted everything, stirred it with my slotted spoon, and poured it back into the jars. It separated again. I looked at the recipe over and over and tried to figure out what I had done differently to no avail. So, on the counter, taking up space, my failed lotion sat for almost a week. The other day Frank asked me if it had anywhere else it could be. But I told him for now, it was just sitting there until I could figure out what to do differently with it.

 Well, this morning it was time. I didn’t have the time to go out searching for more lemon balm and peppermint, so I used some store bought chamomile and made up a cup of tea.



I scooped off the olive oil and beeswax from the failed batch, remelted it again, and poured out the old tea. This time I didn’t bother with the Kitchen Aid. I figured if it didn’t work, I would dump it all out and try again another time.

After I poured the tea into the oils, I stirred and stirred with my slotted spoon. The mixture looked exactly like the failed batch and I didn’t think it would work. I have been researching a lot about making soap lately, reading and watching YouTubes. I have learned what getting your soap to trace means. It’s when you have stirred it long enough for it to become a thick, pudding consistency that will hold it’s shape when you run a spoon across the top. What does this have to do with making lotion? Well, as I stood there stirring and stirring, I wondered if I cooled the lotion down enough for the oils to start solidifying, would they begin to blend with the tea the way they were supposed to? So I put the pan into a sink of cold water to cool it down as I stirred and stirred. My arm was getting tired.


It worked. As the oils began to solidify, the tea started to blend into the mixture. I tried stirring with my left hand, but kept splashing droplets here and there on the counter. So, I stirred and stirred until it was time to stop.

There are still tiny, little pockets that look like moisture, but this time, the lotion actually looks rather creamy, like you would expect from a commercial lotion. I really couldn’t care less if it looked like a commercial lotion, but since that is what I have used all my life, it is what I have come to expect a lotion to look like. The consistency of the first batch is more like a salve than a lotion, but this batch is creamier, even though the ingredients are the same. Interesting.


There are many things that I have long dreamed and thought of doing. Making lotion wasn’t one of them. But, you know what? I think it is so neat, and fun, and healthier, and just really cool. I made a very simple lotion from ingredients I keep on hand, thanks to all the folks out there that share what they know and do, so I can do it too. What a great life!

Until next time – Fern

Under Construction

There has been some really great weather here for about a week now, and we have been taking advantage of it. We have been building some loft shelving in the building that replaced the old red shed. This will give us more storage space for light duty items, as well as utilize our space more efficiently.

All of this work leads Frank to finalize the plans for our solar panel installation, which is very exciting. As we get closer to having everything prepared for this project more research, planning and figuring have to be done to make sure we have everything we need. Some of the ideas we have had during this planning phase have created some changes for the better.

While we spend more time outside in the wonderful sunshine and 76* weather on this balmy January 28th, we aren’t spending much time preparing anything for the blog. We hope you’ll understand. Please enjoy a few pictures from around the farm, while one of our long term dreams is under construction.

Scruffy

Tiger and Pretty playing in the herb bed.

Little Bit enjoying a piece of sunshine while One Stripe enjoys a meal.

Our always faithful, Pearl.

Blackberry beginning to bud

The beautiful hills

Water flowing in the branch in the yard

Sunset through the radio antennas

Knitting a baby afghan

We’re finally getting plenty of eggs.

The bread jar

Sunset reflecting toward the east

Long may she wave

Little Bit

Time to make pots for our seedlings

Enjoy these relatively peaceful days that we have been given. Dream big, plan well, work hard and your rewards will be very gratifying. All we can do and learn now may make life just a little bit easier when TEOTWAWKI comes knocking. Are you ready to answer that door?

Until next time – Fern
 

Planning the Garden & Changing the Way We Eat

These beautiful, sunny 65* January days only attribute to the spring fever I get every year about this time. Frank and I got out a vegetable list yesterday and started planning the garden for this year. Over the past two months we have made some fairly drastic changes in the way we eat. We’re not calling it a diet, because this is the way we plan on eating for the rest of our lives. You see, we are both over weight, and it is way past time to do something about it. Something permanent. Not something that will last a while, help us lose a few pounds, then go back to the way we used to eat and gain it back. This is a permanent change and we are very excited about it. And from another perspective, if we truly believe that our country and world is in for a very serious collapse, which we do believe, then we need to be healthier and better able to deal with the physical challenges that will come when we are in long term survival mode. 

That being said, we have made some fairly significant changes in what we will be growing, not only for ourselves, but for our animals as well. We will not be growing potatoes, sweet potatoes or corn this year. They are very starchy and full of carbohydrates that we really do not need. There are other vegetable choices that will provide us with the energy we need, along with many other nutrients, that don’t have the significant carbohydrate load. There are some vegetables that we haven’t been very successful at growing, that we are going to get very serious about. Things such as cabbage, broccoli, spinach, lettuce, onions and winter squash. I have looked into buying some green lace wings and lady bugs to try and increase the predatory insect population while at the same time decreasing the cabbage worms and aphids. Since we are both home full-time now, the garden will also get more attention than it did with only few minutes during the evenings on weekdays and weekends. I’m hoping that will make a big difference.

Each year as I start to think about rotating crops in our small garden, I pull out last year’s map to make sure I remember what was growing where then. Last year’s map is one of the messiest ones yet, but it still contains the data I need for this year.

After Frank and I made the list of vegetables we want to grow, I went back and separated this list into early cool weather plants, and warm weather plants that won’t go outside until after the last frost. Most of these will be grown as seedlings, but a few will still be directly seeded into the ground. We have found that growing seedlings, even with beets and carrots, gives them a much better survival rate than direct seeding, which is the traditional way to plant. If we give them a good start as seedlings, they survive the early spring weeds much better and we get more harvest for our efforts.

After we made our list, and lists of lists, I got out last year’s map along with this document that contains companion plant data for the vegetables we grow. I have several garden books that cover this information that I was referring to over and over. So, I kept looking up the same information time and again. After a few years I put everything on this document and printed it out for my notebook, which is much quicker to reference.

I use it every year when choosing locations of vegetables. Companion planting really is effective. Before I knew beets were inhibited by pole beans, I planted two rows of beets on either side of my pole bean trellis. They all died and I didn’t know why until I started incorporating companion planting into our garden design. This is another example of layers of knowledge. The more I learn, the higher our vegetable yield becomes, and the more I realize I don’t know.

Armed with our list of vegetables, last year’s map and my companion plant list, I am ready to map out this year’s garden. Initially I do it in pencil, because I always have to move something. Either I put it too close to last year’s planting, or next door to something it doesn’t get along with too well. But after a little jockeying around, everything usually falls into place. I thought I had everything on this map and was satisfied with the results until I realized I had left out the tomatoes, which means I had left out some of the carrots. I have the companion planting book Carrots Love Tomatoes, and they really do. Some of the best carrots we have grown have been on either side of the tomato trellis.

Taking down trellis, end of summer 2013

Speaking of trellises. We use stock panels on t-posts. Each year at the end of the season, we take them down and stack them beside the garden. Then after we have everything tilled up for the last time and ready for planting in the spring, we install the panels and t-posts wherever we want the trellis to be for that year. There are just about as many ways to trellis tomatoes and beans as there are gardeners, and this way works very well for us. It’s easy to pick from either side of the panel, and we don’t have any trouble even with some of the strong winds and thunderstorms we get here sometimes. One of the trellises will initially be for the sugar snap peas. After our last average frost, which is April 1st, I will plant beans in amongst the peas to take over the trellis when the peas are finished. I did this with peas and tomatoes last year. 

Since we haven’t had any luck with fall planted winter squash for the past two years, I will be planting my winter squash in the spring when I plant the yellow summer squash. We would like to get as many winter squash as possible to store for both us and the animals. The same goes for the mangel beets, which are an old time traditional animal feed.

September 2014

We planted a larger than usual patch of cowpeas, purple hull peas, last summer which actually grew pretty well even though the grass overtook most of the patch during Frank’s back surgery and recovery. Many, many peas dried and went to seed in this patch, so we expect they will come up again this summer. Because of that, this will be one time that we won’t rotate this crop. We make it a standard, rather strict practice not to grow the same crop in the same place two years in a row, but instead of pulling up many volunteer pea plants, this year, we will replant the peas here and let them share space with the expected volunteer plants.

July 2014

We will be growing a fair sized patch of sunflowers again this summer for the chickens, goats and pigs. (The pigs will be joining us in a few months.) The amount of sunflowers we can grow in the garden will not be enough to provide a lot of animal feed, but will be a supplement, and it’s good practice. If our plans work out to get a larger area ready to plant in one of the pastures, we will grow many more sunflowers, cowpeas, maybe some field corn, beets, winter squash, turnips and carrots there. All for animal feed. That would be a dream come true. We have had plans for this pasture for many years.

This year I will plant the spinach, lettuce, celery, celeriac, leeks, collards and swiss chard in the herb bed. There is room there to do small successive plantings, and that will leave more space in the main garden for the larger vegetables. I will also work at getting more herbs established in the herb bed again this year. There are many things that are started, and some of the annuals are reseeding themselves, which is the goal. The weeds and grass had a hayday last summer during Frank’s recovery as well. But there are many things still growing in amongst the weeds that we hope to give more attention to this summer.

There is much to learn, study and do to provide a good, balanced adequate diet. I continue to try to determine the nutritional content of the vegetables we are growing, to make sure we are getting what we need to be healthy, active people. Because when the time comes that we must depend upon our little patch of dirt for our sustenance, I want to be ready. I want to know how to coax that nutrition out of the ground. I want to be able to put a healthy, satisfying, life sustaining meal on the table in front of my husband. I want to live.

Until next time – Fern

Surprise Vegetable of the Year

October 23rd

The humble turnip is the winner. Fern and I have been married a little over three decades, and we tried turnips at least once a decade. The first time, when we were in college, we were financially poor. One day at the grocery store, we bought a turnip. We took that thing home, cut it up in little chunks, boiled it up like you would mashed potatoes, added butter, salt, and pepper, took one bite, and that was it. That was basically how it went for three decades.

A couple of years back, a man brought a bunch of turnips to church, fresh out of the ground. That was the third decade. So, we basically came to the conclusion that turnips, to our palates, offer an undesirable experience. 

But, one day while at the local feed store, the owner was out planting turnips in his pasture. Never having been shy in the

October 7th

question pool, I asked him why. After getting that look, that you normally get when you realize you have just asked the most unbelievably stupid question, he told me that his cattle would eat the greens all winter long if he would rotate his pastures. Okay. I’m a big city boy, but I’ve been around cattle on and off now for about 30 years, and I’m used to that look from these all-knowing country fellows. But I had still never heard of what he was talking about. So, Fern and I did a little research and found that this was a common technique from days gone by. You see, he uses techniques that were used before every farmer had their own hay equipment and a 500 gallon diesel tank. But it works for him and he doesn’t buy, bale, haul, store or use the diesel to produce hay. He rotates pastures and grows turnips. Well, actually he doesn’t grow turnips, he grows the greens.

Well, at the same time, since Fern and I have a pretty good idea what’s coming in the future, we have been looking into different forms of feed for livestock when the commercial grain is gone. Interesting as it is, we humans have very short memories. People did feed their animals before commercial grains came along. Most livestock are more than happy to eat turnips, rutabagas, beets, sunflower seeds, carrots and a large variety of things that we don’t take the time to produce anymore because grains are so cheap. But the fact of the matter is, these animals stomachs are not designed to process grain. They are designed to process not only the greens from these vegetables, but also the vegetables growing in the ground themselves. 

To make a long story longer, when we were putting our garden to sleep this year, we decided to plant some turnips, carrots and beets on an experimental basis to see if the livestock would eat them. I’m going to focus on turnips here. We are still feeding our chickens turnip greens which they love. We are also starting to feed them the turnip itself, which they happily devour. We also grew and dried some corn this year. You give the chickens dried corn and a turnip, the corn will sit there and not get eaten, but the turnip will be gone.

Now, onto the goats. They will happily consume the turnip greens, and if we chop up the turnip itself, some of our goats will eat them and some of them won’t. But they also know that a bucket of grain is coming, too. It’s kind of like feeding a child, you make the child eat what you want them to eat, then they get desert. Having read the history of goats and turnips, I have no doubt that when the grain is gone, they will be happy to eat turnips. On a side note here, if your goats are expecting babies, be careful changing your feed ration during gestation.

November 23rd

Now, on to the crux of the story. I have always liked turnip greens, Fern has not. There is a lady at church that fixes up a big batch of turnip greens once a month at our potlucks. I get a big scoop, and now, Fern does too. What has caused this change and revelation? Well, one day we decided to cook some turnips, and we got the same results we have gotten for three decades now. Fern mentioned it in the post The Nutrition of Turnips, and a reader posted a very interesting comment. They said we needed to peel all of the outer layer off and it would remove the bitterness from the turnip. “When you peel the turnip be sure to get the translucent layer about an 1/8 of an inch under the skin. The peel will be about 1/4 inch thick. The translucent layer is what has the bitterness in it. Then slice and eat raw…no bitterness. In a stew the turnips now take on the taste of the gravy.”

Look at the line just beyond the knife tip.

We tried it. It is easy to see the line between the outer peel and the inner core, which had escaped our recognition up until now, because we were not looking for it. Now, I know this is comparing turnips to oranges, but imagine eating the peel of an orange, while you’re eating the orange. Now we peel the turnips, and they are actually a very pleasant vegetable.

November 23rd

That tells us that we can grow a much larger plot of turnips to feed chickens, goats and humans, not to mention the pigs coming in the future, but that’s a different story. The turnip is a good food, the greens and the bulb are highly nutritious, and we eat them very similar to potatoes. Soups, stews, and guess what, mashed with butter, salt and pepper. But it was that one comment from a reader that changed our perspective, and relationship to the turnip. This causes us to ponder the possibilities. Are there other things in life that could, with a very simple modification, affect the way we live and do business daily? The possibilities are endless.

December 21st


Fern talks about learning something everyday. We asked a couple of our friends if they knew that they could peel a turnip and remove the bitter part. Neither one of them had ever heard of it. So, how many other products are out there that we don’t consider or would never consider, that with just the smallest change on our part, could become an integral part of our lives? No pun intended here, but it’s certainly food for thought.

January 12th

I guess the reason that this is important to us is we have had at our fingertips for years, and didn’t know it, the ability to feed our livestock, but most importantly, feed ourselves. Yes, I know it’s a turnip, so what’s the big philosophical deal? The big deal is that this has opened up a new window for us. There may come a day someday, maybe someday soon, where that turnip may save our lives. We are excited to have learned how to grow this plant successfully. I can see where it’s going to be a major addition to our future lifestyle. It’s easy to grow, very few pests, really easy to harvest, it will provide us with greens, turnips, eggs, chicken meat, milk, butter, cream, red meat and cheese, all from the humble turnip. And in the future, it may provide us with pork chops and lard. Of course, don’t forget beets, carrots, rutabagas, parsnips and cowpeas. It’s opened our eyes and minds.

We’ll talk more later. Frank

Eggshells for the Garden

As I was browsing through some blogs the other day I came across a question about eggshells on Ask Jackie. Her response reminded me of how we used to bury our eggshells in our small composting area many, many years ago.
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“You can just set them out in an old carton until they are nice and dry then crush them and put them in a bucket until you can sprinkle them on your garden or dig them into your compost pile. Crushed egg shells add calcium to the soil and help prevent such problems as blossom end rot in tomatoes and squash. Good for you for thinking of it! Waste not; want not is our motto. — Jackie”
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We haven’t been saving eggshells here because I didn’t want to put them out in the garden and attract varmints. But the idea of letting them dry, and crushing them before adding them to the garden seemed like a great idea. And I really like the comment that said putting crushed eggshells around the base of the plants deterred snails. The snails have eaten my winter broccoli from the inside out leaving a slimy hollow stalk.

So, now I have another bucket for eggshells sitting next to a small cookie sheet covered in empty eggshells drying on a shelf. We use at least 9 or 10 eggs a day for animals and humans, so that will be a fair amount of calcium added to the garden soil. I will especially add them to the squash and tomato plants and see what a difference it makes.


Many people dry their eggshells and feed them back to their chickens. This may be an accepted practice, but it’s not one we choose to do. We avoid any practice that could encourage them to eat their own eggs. Our chickens don’t get anything that comes from chickens – egg scraps, eggshells, broth, or meat. We don’t consider it to be a healthy practice to consume your own species. You know, cannibalism. This is just our practice.

One more way to extend the usefulness of an otherwise discarded item. Isn’t life grand? It’s always giving us something to learn and something to put to good use.

Until next time – Fern
 

Frozen Tomato Salsa Experiment

Last summer in the midst of Frank’s recovery from back surgery and my gallbladder going out, I did not can one tomato. Not one. Instead, I froze about 12 to 15 gallons of whole tomatoes in freezer bags. That’s about all I could manage. Pick them, wash them off, pack them in a freezer bag, and put them in the freezer. About a month or so ago, we ran out of the previous year’s salsa we had canned, and we really like salsa. So I tried the frozen tomatoes to see how they would work in a fresh salsa.

As the tomatoes thawed, there was quite a bit of watery liquid. I thought about pouring some of it off, but decided to keep it this time. This gallon of tomatoes yielded six cups of tomato product. 

I got out my frozen jalapeno peppers. I didn’t get any peppers canned last summer either, but I did freeze up a quart of chopped peppers just for this possibility. Following my regular salsa recipe, which is scribbled on a piece of paper, with these frozen vegetables was all guess work. 

I splurged and bought some fresh cilantro for this batch of salsa, just because we really like it. My regular recipe calls for 5 onions, so I dutifully chopped up 5 onions. This was a mistake. 
 

The salsa looks great, but it turned out to be onion salsa instead of tomato salsa. The onion flavor was VERY strong. Luckily we like onions, but I found this salsa was better cooked into something than used as is.

We ran out of the onion salsa last week, so this week I got out another gallon of tomatoes. Thus begins experiment #2.

This time I poured off most of the watery liquid after the tomatoes thawed, and I only got 3 cups after I removed the skins and cores.

I used a few more frozen jalapenos, since the last batch was very mild aside from the over powering presence of onions.

Initially, I only used one onion, but there weren’t quite enough, or so I guessed. So I added another half of an onion I had in the frig. The reusable wraps are great.

I had fun taking a picture of adding the salt. Just because.

 

 This time I used some of the cilantro I dried last spring from the herb bed. I have read that dried isn’t near as strong as fresh, so I doubled the amount. I have also heard that dried isn’t worth using, so we will see after this has had a couple of days to sit and blend flavors.

 

I have my fingers crossed that this batch will taste much better. We seldom cook with tomatoes of any kind anymore, so I will keep using our frozen tomatoes for salsa until we can make some fresh next summer.

I really enjoy experiments like this. It gives us yet another opportunity to learn something new. I hope you’re planning for your garden, we certainly are. We’re going to leave potatoes out of our garden this year. Frank and I have introduced a low carbohydrate regimen into our diet. We plan this to be a life long change for the better. So our garden plans are changing somewhat to provide the new things we are eating. 

Until next time – Fern