This is a blog about everyday life. Food, gardening, photography, and nature. What you won't find are pictures of lots of people.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Barn Charm

Linking with Tricia over at Bluff Area Daily .

I gathered some photos on my trip home for Thanksgiving.

Tobacco in Barn Meade County, Kentucky
 Since it is that time of year when people start stripping tobacco I thought I would feature a couple of barns with tobacco.  Years ago everyone who had land had a tobacco patch.  Many a family had their Christmas  off of the money when the tobacco (or toobacker as they say) sold in late November and December.  Now its hard to even find a barn with tobacco and even then it isn't much.

The last two photos were of a different barn.  These aren't the traditional barns and the tobacco is really small, but you get the idea. 

I love the musky aroma of tobacco curing in the open air.  Hand rolled cigs from tobacco like this doesn't stink either.  Imagine that.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Friday Fences

Linking up with Friday's Fences today.

Working Farm at Sunrise
Breckinridge County, Kentucky

 We have a toofer today!  Two for one photo for all you barn lovers and fence lovers out there.  And for TexWis girl ~ this shot was taken while "vehicular fencing".

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Green Tomato Ketchup

The leaves are mostly gone now, but the very early morning outside my window looks like this when the sun rises.

Its not always cold but the cooler temperatures and shorter days cause the tomatoes to stop producing and as a kid we gathered them all to make green tomato ketchup.  I haven't made this since my mother died 30 years ago.  My uncle shared the recipe and I made a batch.

First you grind up a mess of tomatoes.  Doesn't matter how many because its all done by eyeballing and taste.  Put on a kettle of water to boil.

 Add salt.  How much?  Well since this is my grandmother's recipe I'll use her words.  Add a "right smart" of salt and stir it up good.  Then you grind up the same amount (total) of apples, onion, pepper and cabbage.

Add salt to this and mix.  By now the water should be boiling and you scald the salted tomatoes rinsing them well.  Put them in a big pot then scald the apple, pepper, onion and cabbage mixture.  Mix everything well.

To this  mixture add pickling spices.  Make sure you bind them with cloth.  Otherwise the suble taste of the vegetables will be overwhelmed and you'll have pickle relish.

 Then add vinegar, maybe a cup per gallon of relish.  I add sugar to taste.

Cook this mixture until done.  In this case you want to cook it past the blanched stage.  Taste it.  The relish will sweeten and sour with age so err on the side of not too much.  It will be a bit bland but with time the spices and vinegar and sugar will pickle the tomatoes.

I wash jars and  put them in a hot (200 degree) oven and boil the lids.  Then I pack the jars and wait for them to seal.  If they seal I'm done, and if they don't I can give them a hot water bath or stick them in the fridge to eat first.  These all sealed.

In my family we ate this green tomato ketchup on beans and we used it instead of pickles in deviled eggs.  I will be very popular this Thanksgiving sharing this with my brothers!

I have many lovely memories working with my family.  I can still remember how we scalded the vegetables then hung them in an old pillowcase on the  clothes line to drain before we added the pickling ingredients.  I used a colander this time.

What was the last thing you put up from your garden?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Friday Fences

Linking to Friday Fences

Gourd Bird House in Fence
 Meade County, Kentucky


Which do you prefer?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

On my mind

Joining Rhonda at Down To Earth

I am enjoying the last days of fall before winter.

Maple trees make the best compost!

The lemon balm had a growth spurt so I'm making some wine from the leaves and white grape juice.

Have a great day!

Saturday, November 5, 2011


A couple of weeks ago Rose over at Greening The Rose shared her process of making sourdough starter.  As I had never done this, and I'm currently in love with All Things Fermented I joined in the challenge.

As it turned out my hard conversion from metric to english units were wrong, but it didn't matter.  I put a half cup of rye flour and water (boiled and cooled) in a quart jar and whisked it together.  I was delighted to find some fermentation beginning the very NEXT day!

Those little black dots are tiny bubbles! 

I had started a few days later than Rose so I could compare to her experience.  Hers was thicker.  As it turns out the dough gets thinner as it ferments, but it doesn't seem to matter if it is slushy.  Each day I "fed" the starter, or tried to feed in 24 hour intervals.  My starter didn't seem to mind if I waited too long, and it even survived a drowning once (water was standing on top one morning).  Along about the 3rd day I switched to unbleached white flour.

At this point I had an enthusiastic starter so the first chance I got I made a loaf of bread.  It turned out so well I kept feeding the starter which kept smelling more and more sour until yesterday when I made another loaf.  It turned out even better.

Most of the sourdough recipes I found online were metric and the conversions weren't handy amounts so I decided to go with a Betty Crocker recipe.  I figured I couldn't go wrong there.

Into the pan goes 1 cup of starter (mine is pourable like gravy), 1/2 c water (boiled and cooled), 3 cups unbleached white flour, 2 Tbs sugar, 1 1/2 tsp salt and a heaping tsp of yeast.

Set the machine to basic white bread with light crust setting and punched start.  Since the starter's water content varies I have to add some water so I watch as it begins to knead.

A peep a couple hours later shows me the bread is rising beautifully.

That isn't dirt in case you are wondering.  Its flour on the inside that got blown up before I added more water.

3 hours later.

The bread has a nice crust, not too brown.

It is nice and chewy, the perfect accompaniment for soup.

I sliced it up and put it in the freezer.  I don't think I will ever buy another loaf of bread.  This may not be true sourdough since I cheated and added yeast and used the bread machine, but lets face it, I would never have made it otherwise.  Unlike plain white or wheat bread this bread has a slightly sour taste and a nice elasticity.  It will make awesome sandwiches.

Thanks to Rose for getting me started.  Come to think of it, Rose gave me the bread machine jam recipe too!  I can see some buttered toast and blackberry jam in my future......

Friday, November 4, 2011

This is on my mind

Linking with Rhonda's weekly "On my mind photo" over at Down To Earth.

A few weeks ago I drove past a house with birdhouses.  Painted gourd birdhouses.

No sign of birds, but I think these are meant to be purple martin houses.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Today's date is a palindrome.  You know, like :

Madam I'm Adam

Do geese see God

Never odd or even

Go hang a salami I'm a lasagne hog

Kay, a red nude peeped under a yak

Dennis sinned

What was the last date that was a palindrome?