Monday, October 23, 2017

WEEKEND TRAVEL - 10-14-17

I'm finally getting back in here. Truth is, I've been traveling just not getting in here to post pictures - or much of anything else. And today is a quick fly through as we prepare to start stripping  out the garden. I can NOT believe we are talking wind chills in the teens for later this week. Really? It's not even Halloween!!

So today we are laying the mulch for a new strawberry bed I'll need next spring and scheduling delivery of the 30 hay bales I need for the spring as well. We'll get them set into place and they should be ready for feeding/ planting on schedule when the time comes.

In the mean time, I thought I'd take you with me to where I was last weekend. For almost 20 years I've been attending the Ozark Creative Writers Conference in Eureka Springs MO. This is a true meeting of the minds as writing conferences go. This year marked our 51st year! That's a feat in itself.

For 50 of those years we have met at Best Western Inn of the Ozarks. This is the only hotel I will stay in when traveling to the 'stair-step town'. The staff is always pleasant, easy to work with and like family. Once you stay there you'll understand why they have a 4 Star rating across the board.

This was our table on Saturday night at the Awards Banquet. 
The two gentlemen, John (L) & Tom (R) were new friends we made this year.


Are you an Indian Jones fan? Max McCoy is the man behind those amazing stories. 
Beyond talented!

A cross between our Cassville MO writers group and Oghma Creative
We're a cross over. as 4 of the 5 you see in this picture belong to both groups.

L - R:
Max McCoy, Kim McCoy (Max's wife) Johnny Boggs


The Bard of the South
Ricky Pittman

If you ever aspire to be a writer in any genre, THIS is the conference you want to put on your list of ones to attend - the TOP of your list just a step below genre specific. 


Monday, September 11, 2017

WEEKEND TRAVELS - Colton's Steakhouse - West Plains MO


If I'd been thinking instead of cleaning/ gardening on Saturday I'd have taken you to Logger's Day in Birch Tree MO. But I was focused on getting spring bulbs in the ground and finally getting planting dirt on the new Butterfly garden I'm putting in. And I hadn't planned to go anywhere on Sunday. I had already made two trips to West Plains in as many days and was looking forward to staying home for awhile... then I went to Facebook. There are many reasons I don't go there often but I'm glad I did this time. I saw a notice that The Journey would be in West Plains for a Pardners In Good Deeds promotion... a project the brainchild of Cowboy Rick.


Seeing this beautifully restored stagecoach always puts a lump in my throat and a tear to my eye. Especially after having researched her 'journey' for an article I wrote. You can read the article on-line in the Spring 2017 issue of Saddlebag Dispatches magazine. The Journey - The Story of an 1880s Wells Fargo Stagecoach

The stagecoach resides at Silver Dollar City - Branson MO, where Rick first rode in her as a young boy. She will be the prominent attraction during their National Crafts & Cowboy Festival featuring the finest craftsmen and authentic cowboys, September 13 - October 28th. Cowboy Rick and his wife Arkansas Bev will be on hand the entire seven weeks. Plan to spend a day or two at the festival and tell them Kelly's Country sent you out!

Country Blessings!
Kelly

Monday, August 21, 2017

TOTAL ECLIPSE... sort of



As you'll see from the map below, we fell in the 90% range for an eclipse.


Photo courtesty of www.astroadventures.net

Adrian kept a semi-vigilant watch with me. She's 9 and loves anything having to do with outdoors. Abby at only 5 didn't get the significance of what she was seeing. She thought the eclipse was some place we were going to. 

We missed the 90% mark by a couple of minutes. The sky took on a grayish tone as if a storm were moving in. The temperature dropped from 96* F to 86* F.  Then it was gone. After Bob and Abby gave up, having 'missed' the 'total', Adrian and I continued to view the passing on and off until the end. 

While not the most 'exciting' thing I've ever watched, knowing that something like that was happening held a 'wow' factor I couldn't ignore. I was happy the temperature dropped so we could view the eclipse without melting. Mother Earth knows what she's doing. 

Were you able to view the eclipse in person? Or were you one of the millions watching from the comfort of an air conditioned room viewing on your television screen. Either is fine. But I'd love to hear from you and what you thought of the experience.

Blessings
Kelly

Monday, August 7, 2017

WEEKEND TRAVELS - Pizza Sauce

While this is supposed to be a Weekend Travels post, most of our traveling these days is out to the garden. 


As I told you last week, I was putting Adrian in charge of washing all of those tomatoes she and Abby picked. This batch became half of a batch of pizza sauce. Making sauce has changed a lot from when I was learning how to can.

After the tomatoes were washed, I dropped them in scald water to slip the skins then into a sink of cold water to stop the cooking and help further release the skins. I peeled/ cored each one, cut them up then dropped them into the food processor where they were turned into a thin puree.

When I was a girl we would have put the puree into a pot on the stove and spent several hours stirring the sauce to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan as we cooked it to the desired consistency. I've learned a good shortcut... My crock pot is my friend LOL

I poured the puree into my 6 qt (?) oval crock pot covered with a lint free towel (NO lid!) and set it to low. From there, I just let it cook down all day. Just before bedtime, I stirred in a packet of McCormick Spaghetti Sauce mix then let it continue to cook down throughout the night. The next morning I had perfect Pizza Sauce consistency. I could have continued to cook another 6 hours or so for tomato paste. As the tomatoes continue to ripen (I have nearly half of a 5 gal bucket waiting), I might make the next batch into paste and put into 1/2-sized jelly jars.

So far I've put up three pints of diced tomatoes from last year's haul and these lovely seven pints of Pizza Sauce:


Now all I have to do is rearrange some things on shelves downstairs and make room. Wish me luck!


Monday, July 31, 2017

LET THE CANNING BEGIN!

 As you know, the grandgirls are visiting for the entire summer. Adrian, the 9-year-old in the picture below is my gardening buddy. She has been since the age of two. Not only does she love to eat tomatoes but she enjoys caring for them. That includes picking off the horned worms. We've not seen any yet this year.

But the first thing she does after breakfast each morning is walk the row looking for ripe ones. Saturday, she took her 5- year-old sister, Abby, with her. They both came back to the house with their arms loaded:


My canning experience began when I was 9. I started as chief jar washer, complete with butter knife and a dish rag, in the galvanized laundry tub set up in the yard. I'll be using wide mouth pints straight from the jar. They'll just need a rinse then a scald.

The tomatoes will need washed before diving into the scalding bath to slip the skins. So I'm putting Adrian in charge of washing the tomatoes. From there, she'll get to see the rest of the process. Each summer she is able to visit she'll have a hand in more and more of the process. I will be surprised if she stops showing an interest in what I do, especially with the growing number in self-sufficiency. Even if she never uses the skill as an adult, I can say I passed on the things my 'step' mom taught me.

A final shot of the tomato row. The plants are beginning to cascade over the top of the cattle panel. To prevent them pinching, I bought pool noodles from $Tree. Bob used his knife to cut a slit down the side and slipped them over the top of the panel:


Our traveling around the Ozarks have included places like Chuck E Cheese. Not exactly 'travel' worthy for the majority. Bob and I did take the girls fishing at Twin Pines Conservation Dept. Abby caught her first fish - a decent sized Bluegill.  This picture shows the length. She has about 8" from the bottom of her shirt to the breast of her knee. 


I'm hoping to get the girls out to a couple of places this week while the days are cooler. 

How is your garden growing? Have a blog? I'd love to see what you're doing. 
Blessings
Kelly

Friday, June 16, 2017

EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS - First Aid Kit Part 2


After almost three years of just having stuff in a tote bag... and totally useless in case of a disaster, The First Aid bag is finally finished. This is a standard size school backpack with the one additional front pocket.  I took almost everything out of their packaging to compact things a bit. All of the gauze were packed by size in ziplock bags.  The contents are clearly visible and dry. Other items are packed according to their use, ie. personal hygene items, eye care, pain meds, ointments/ creams, etc. Packaging the items together according to their use in ziplock bags makes them easier to access without having to ruffle through the entire contents of the bag.

I've attached 2 whistles to the handle so they are easy to get to. Whistles are important should you be trapped in your safe spot in the aftermath of a tornado. A loud whistle will better allow rescuers to find you without taking a lot of your energy attempting to call for help. This also prevents you from inhaling debris dust when you are trying to call out.

Are you Prepared?

Monday, June 12, 2017

HOME GROWN FOOD SUMMIT - Free Webinars all week!



I will admit I should have posted this here last week when I signed up. But life has been a bit crazy. The grandgirls, Adrin 9 and Abby 5, arrived in Wichita on Wednesday. Over the course of 3 days I drove 1000 miles to bring my girls home for the summer. Was worth every mile. I could have cut the drive short by taking the toll way from OK to Wichita but I do NOT do tollways. I took the relaxed, scenic route and enjoyed the drive. On the way home, we came through Caldwell OK which is a stretch of the Chisolm Trail. I plan to go back. I also have a picture I'll share next week. 

But today is all about the HOMEGROWN FOOD SUMMIT taking place on-line this week. The webinars are FREE and include a series of speakers every day. (The sign up link above gives you all the details)


Each day's videos will be available for THAT day only. However, if you want to pay for the summit and have them available to watch at your convenience, there is a buy-in option. Though the buy-in option (early bird price, I believe) expires on Tuesday June 13th. The buy-in options also include bonuses. So look over the speaker list and decide if you can watch them all on their given day or of the information is worth your investment. 

I'm looking forward to several today, and I while I am not putting the Fresh Food Production Inside Earthships down, I think that will be good research info for a friend who writes Sci-Fi romance.

I hope you'll check out the trailer then sign up to join us. Only through participation can we keep these types of programs coming to us. I'm sure if there is a topic you'd like to see covered in the future, they'd love to hear from you.

Blessings!
Kelly