Category Archives: Family

New England Fall Foliage Vacations

new england fall color Vermont Department of Tourism said “3.5 million foliage tourists spend about $460,000, a quarter of the overall annual visitor spending during the six week Fall foliage season.
New Hampshire and Massachusetts said “state officials estimate that combined visitor spending totals more than $4.6 billion during the Fall foliage season.

Vermont Vacation com will provide weekly foliage reports, best tips for driving tours and a foliage tracker.

Classic foliage routes include Route 7 in Vermont.
Coast road U.S. Hwy. 1 in Maine.
Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire.
Route 2 through the Pioneer Valley in Massachusetts.

Download Yankee Magazine’s free LeafPeepr app This app tracks crowdsourced foliage reports to tell you where color is about to peak, at peak or past peak.

Country life is a good life.

Happy Fall gardening

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Xeriscape™ Catchy Name – Common Sense

Many parts of the US are suffering from a long running dry spell. It is past time for states, cities, homeowners associations to re-look and reconsider how public areas, business and home landscaping is regulated.

In this old guys opinion the days of large lush green lawns and water hogging landscape plants is no longer a viable plan.

Even if you live in an area that receives adequate rainfall, soil and water conservation should be high on your garden and landscaping plan.

Terms like Xeriscape™ Zeroscape, Permaculture and Sustainable agriculture {Gardens and Landscapes} are popping up everywhere. What they all have in common is getting the most bang for your $buck. They are also nothing new! It is relearning what our parents and grandparents knew from childhood.
In the days before cities and farms had ‘electric’ powered pumps capable of lifting millions of gallons of water from deep underground.

In my childhood living in the country. No one had nice green grass lawns. Front yards were reserved for a few mostly wildflowers, maybe a hollyhock or two and an assortment of native fruit bearing vines, bushes and trees. Many plants, both native and those developed, improved and planted for flowering gardens or for food supply.

When is a weed a wild flower? Well that all depends on which side of the fence your standing on.
When it is growing where you want it to grow and produces a flower that you like seeing it’s a wild flower.
Other wise it’s a weed. Almost all weeds produce wildly colorful flowers and will freely reseed and come back in greater masses next growing season.

Wildflowers will grow and even thrive with little or no attention from you. You need not worry about watering, fertilizing or tilling around them. After all they were a weed before you planted it in your landscape!

Wild Sand Cherry in bloom

Wild Plum mid July

Small native fruiting plants like Sand Cherry and Native American plums are a great addition to your landscape. Many farmers and ranchers consider these plants to be weeds and go to great lengths to kill them out of their fields and pastures.

After their first year or so in your landscape they will need no special care, water or fertilizers to provide a flashy show of flowers in the spring and then a nice crop of fresh fruit in late summer or early fall.

Be a good boy and eat your weeds. Many of the plants we call weeds are edible in salads raw or cooked like Spinach. They are a healthy and free addition to any salad or home cooked meal.

Edible Weeds and Native Plants by Healthy Home Gardening.

Edible Weeds by Landscape-America.com

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Lost Chicks – Big Porch, Tiny Chicks

bantam chicks Not the smartest thing I have done this century. In self defense, it has been 4 years sense I have raised Bantam chickens.

Michelle L. grin … volunteered to stop by our local farm store and pick-up 10 assorted straight run Bantam chicks for me. Hehehe, it’s time for farmer store to clear out their poultry young-ens. Before the first cool fall and cold winter weather arrives.

Being the chicken expert that I am. I can tell you with 100% confidence that I have 4 yellow ones, 2 grayest chicks and 4 of assorted brown and yellow markings as well as 5 (I think) have feathered feet.

In O-I forgot mode, I setup an old rabbit cage to use as my brooder. Heat lamp [ok] Feeders [ok], self-watering containers [ok]. Wow … that was easy. Ready for the chicks to arrive.

Michelle L. chicks and 50# bag of egg crumbles are here. Chicks into the brooder, checking each chicks butt for crusting, dipping each chicks beak into the water(that is to show these not so bright birds) where the water contained is located. Job almost done, only leaving me to adjust the heat lamp to achieve a nice toasty 99%F at 2 inches above the brooder floor.

Don’t laugh.. Using my blender I ground up a few cups of egg crumbles to fill my 2 feeders.
Hint: Grinding egg crumbles for standard size chicks(chickens) is not necessary.
Mmmmm being frugal, not cheap, I want pay the same price for a 5# bag of ‘chick starter’ as I pay for a 50# bag of egg crumbles.
After all the hype on the bag, the real difference in chick starter and egg crumbles is the medication added to starter mix.
If you buy healthy chicks, keep your chicks and their brooder clean. Provide clean water and fresh clean feed daily ‘In My Humble Opinion’ and 60 years of raising chickens, man made medications are not needed.
Do your part and it is seldom you will have a sick chick.

Project complete. All I need do now is feed and water them a couple of times each day.
Wrong answer! Brooder ‘rabbit cage’ is setting on my chest deep freezer in an enclosed porch. Eeeek… I left the door open, did a snake find and devour my 4 missing chicks?
Did you notice when I said I was in I forgot mode?
Bet you didn’t know that 1 or 2 day old Bantam chicks can walk through the wire of a cage constructed out of 1X2 inch welded wire.

In a slight panic I’m looking around and under everything on the porch, but no chicks are to be found. Calling in better eyes and someone that has less trouble looking under shelf’s, deep freezer Michelle L. to my rescue.

That did not workout well at all. 30 minutes into our combined search, Grin… Michelle L. found my AWOL(Absent Without Leave) chicks. It seems they walked off the top of my deep freezer and safely landed in an open bag of egg crumbles.

Card board has been cut, fitted and duct taped to the inside of my brooder. Problem Fixed.

Life in the country is good.

Happy Fall gardening

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Poultry – Red Crayola – Big Chief Notepad

Flock Planning is a must if you plan to be successful with your new or replacement birds.
If you can find birds locally this is a good thing. No postage cost, much less stress on your young chicks, ducklings goslings or keets. As a rule this gives you an opportunity to pick and choose your birds by breed and color markings.
Another plus to starting / replenishing your flock is that your new birds(chickens) will start laying in early spring, waterfowl may not lay before early summer.

Personally I like choosing birds that are at least a week old, two or more weeks of age is better. At this age the sick or cripple birds have been identified and eliminated from the healthy birds. I have enough hens to provide all the eggs we can eat, However, I enjoy watching my chickens and want to rebuild my Bantam flock.

Starting now allows you time to get your birds out of brooders and fully feathered before the first ‘real’ cold weather of winter.

My plan is to purchase 10 assorted straight run chicks. Past experience tells me I will not get more than 4 or 5 pullets out of 10 chicks. The plus side of this is I will have 4-5 hens that often go broody allowing me to hatch of next years replacement birds at almost no additional cost to ne. Bantams can successfully hatch 8 sometimes 10 bantam size eggs and 4 to 6 standard size chicken eggs.

Just because I have been babbling about chickens.
Don’t forget the same information applies to Ducks, Geese, Guineas and Turkey keets Poults.

Important Message It seems that I made a fowl call. The Proper term for a turkey chick is a Poult, not keet.
Thats the second time I have screwed up. I vidily remember doing that again in July 14, 1966 :-)

Country life is a good life.

Happy Fall gardening

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Roosters – Toads And Crickets

I love being an early riser.
4am, windows are open and I feel the cool early morning air creeping across my bear feet. I can smell the honeysuckle near my back gate.
Rooster has decided it is time for his hens to go to work. Crowing at about 45 second intervals.
Far in the distance I hear the alpha male coyote calling his pack home before first light. If I listen very carefully I hear the high pitched yelps of the pack members as they meet and greet those that they have been separated from during a long night’s hunt.

I sometimes hear Jack D. Ass Smile(some even call him a donkey), calling out to his friends across the west fence. Wherever they may be, they answer Jacks call.

Pork chop and short rib work in rhythm, opening and slamming shut lids to their (self) feeded. Flip, flap, flip, flap.

Day time temperatures are still holding, 95-103 degrees. But, the smell of Fall is on the morning breeze.

Grin … Country life is a good life.

Happy Fall gardening

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Antibacterial Soap – Rubber Spatula – Toothpaste

What do Antibacterial Soap, Rubber Spatula, Whiting Toothpaste have in common? All of them may not function as safely as you have been told.

The Food Drug Administration, FDA said “antibacterial soap doesn’t really help that much, antibacterial ingredients like triclosan may spur antibacterial resistance.”

Elaine Larson, PhD, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University said “antibacterial soaps are ineffective at best, A decade ago she authored a double blind randomized clinical trial (the gold standard of study methods) comparing households that used antibacterial products to those without them. The result? There was no difference in the rates people got sick.

Stay safe: Elaine Larson said “Wash up with plain soap and water. Scrub well it’s the friction between your two hands that physically removes germs and sends the buggers down the drain.”

Hard wood V. Rubber spatula
Pull the spatula head off the handle before you wash. Forgetting to do so is one of the reasons the National Science Foundation, NSF declared the rubber spatula the number two dirtiest kitchen item. It was found to contain E. coli, yeast, and mold, not things you want to mix into your foods.

Stay safe: If your spatula is detachable, wash both pieces separately. If it’s a one piece spatula, you still need to take precautions because yeast can hide and grow in the joint. Make sure to give extra TLC to that section when washing.

Whitening toothpaste, more harm than good?
Clifton M. Carey, PhD, professor in the school of dental medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus said “Here’s the rub: you rely on toothpaste for fresh breath and fighting cavities, and many are designed to make your pearly whites white again. But just because whitening toothpastes are available over the counter doesn’t mean they’re completely harmless. Long term use of some of these toothpastes especially grittier ones designed to scrub off stains can wear away your enamel increase sensitivity.” (as well as directly causing tooth decay problems in later years.)

Stay safe: Look for whitening toothpastes with the American Dental Association’s ADA Seal of Acceptance, which is an indication that they gently polish teeth to remove surface stains. If your teeth feel more sensitive after beginning a new whitening product, stop using that product and see your dentist.

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The World From My Back Porch

chester pig Mr. York(shire) pig proudly wearing his blue ribbon, grunting and laughing remarks to Mrs. (chester)White pig. (They are cell mates at the County Fall Fair.) Look, Look.. we are healthier, leaner and in better physical condition that 60 percent of America’s adults and children.

Am I still on planet Earth? Or did I wake up on Venus?
Anna Hart, The Telegraph Wrote “I’m now happy to hear that half of 18-24 year olds confidently say they are neither straight nor gay, but somewhere in between.”

Summer will soon come to an end. have fun and enjoy our cooling weather and Soon to be seen, Fall Colors.

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Food – Water – Agriculture – Environment

Yes your right. I can’t seem to let this Almond milk thing go. If the reports are accurate and Almond milk contains only 2 percent Almonds. Mmmmmm that means in each 32 ounce(quart) of Almond milk there is less than one(1) ounce of Almonds. What the heck is used to fill the other 31 ounces in a quart of Almond milk?

Not knowing A thing about Almond except it is a nut. I did what any curious guy would do, I googled it.
What I discovered is shocking as well as disturbing.

Blue Diamond said their Almond Breeze beverage is made from an average of over 50 almonds per half gallon. Keep that number (50) in mind.

Business Insider web site said “it requires 1.1 gallons of water to produce one(1) Almond nut. No that is not a typo, 1.1 gallons.

Using this figure means Almond growers used 55 gallons of water to produce the 50 Almonds contained in 1/2 gallon of Almond milk.

Almonds environmentally friendly?
Almonds as sustainable agriculture?
Almond milk healthier than ‘real’ milk?

California’s Central Valley sinking due to groundwater pumping Data shows the ground is sinking nearly two inches per month in some places, putting roads, bridges and canals at risk of damage.

Mark Cowin, head of the California Department of Water Resources. added that groundwater levels are dropping to record lows up to 100 feet below previously measurements.

Just an old fat country boys opinion but if you remove(pump water) 100’s of feet of water from the subsoil structure, why are you acting surprised that the surface soil sinks to fill the void caused by massive water removal?

On your next trip to your supermarket fresh fruit and vegetable area try to keep these number in mind. Look at the fruit and vegetables and know it requires a great amount of irrigation water to feed you and your family.
Here are a few examples:
1 – Orange = 13.8 gallons water
1 – head Broccoli = 4.5 gallons water
1 – Walnut = 4.9 gallons water
1 – Tomato = 3.3 gallons water
1 – Almond = 1.1 gallons water
1 – Strawberry = .4 gallons water

Source: Chart by the guardian
Hint: 1 US gallon = 3.79 liters. 1 kilogram(kg) = 2.2 US pounds.

Typical values for the volume of water required to produce common foodstuffs
Foodstuff Quantity Water consumption, litres
Chocolate 1 kg 17,196
Beef 1 kg 15,415
Sheep Meat 1 kg 10,412
Pork 1 kg 5,988
Butter 1 kg 5,553
Chicken meat 1 kg 4,325
Cheese 1 kg 3,178
Olives 1 kg 3,025
Rice 1 kg 2,497
Cotton 1 @ 250g 2,495
Pasta (dry) 1 kg 1,849
Bread 1 kg 1,608
Pizza 1 unit 1,239
Apple 1 kg 822
Banana 1 kg 790
Potatoes 1 kg 287
Milk 1 x 250ml glass 255
Cabbage 1 kg 237
Tomato 1 kg 214
Egg 1 196
Wine 1 x 250ml glass 109
Beer 1 x 250ml glass 74
Tea 1 x 250 ml cup 27

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Tortilla The Other Flat Bread – No Yeast Bread


Homemade Tortilla’s are a real family treat. Super easy to make, fresh and warm from your kitchen. Eat them as a bread replacement with any meal.
Make soft tacos filled with meats and fresh vegetables of your choice. Try them topped with a salad dressing, sour cream, grated cheese your choices are almost endless.

Tortilla’s are versatile. Make burritos filled with foods that your family likes to eat.
20 Burrito Recipes

Easy Tortilla Recipe
3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup lard or shortening {Lard is not a bad 4 letter word}
{In Mexico and many Mexican cooks only use Lard, never shorting.}
3/4 cup hot water

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Either by hand or with a pastry cutter, cut in the shortening till the mixture is crumbly. If the mixture looks more floury than crumbly, be sure to add just one or two more tablespoons of shortening till it is crumbly. Add about 3/4 cup hot water to the mixture, or just enough to make the ingredients look moist.

Knead the mixture making sure to rub the dough against the sides of the large mixing bowl to gather any clinging dough. If the dough still sticks to the side of the bowl, add a couple more tablespoons of flour until the dough forms a soft round shape. The dough is ready, let it rest. Cover it with a lightly moist dish towel, let it rest for an hour or more.
Pull the dough apart form into 10 to 12 balls. Lightly flour your rolling area, and roll each ball with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch thickness. Grin .. for me thinner is better.

Place each tortilla on a medium hot cast iron skillet. Cook for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until the tortilla does not look doughy.

WOW, For the next 7 minutes get this Free Bonus offer.
Sopapillas
Roll your Tortilla dough into 1/4 thick rounds. Cut into 4-6 wedge shaped pieces.
Heat 2 inches of oil to 375 degrees F in a heavy skillet or deep pot over medium high heat. Optional use a deep fat frier.

Fry a few of the sopapillas at a time, keeping an eye on maintaining the oil temperature. As the sopapillas puff up and rise to the surface, flip them over with a slotted spoon. Fry about 2 minutes on each side. Don’t burn your Sopapillas.

Carefully remove the sopapillas from the oil and drain on several layers of paper towels or a brown paper bag. Cool slightly.
Serve hot drizzled with honey. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar for that extra special treat.

Hint: It is easy to burn your tortillas. Reduce skillet or griddle temperature if necessary.

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Almond Milk – Not What You Think

Source Drink Almond Milk? You Need to Read This
Howard Waxman, a market research analyst at Packaged Facts said “almond milk is considered an outlier that became mainstream because more and more consumers are moving “off the grid.”

Almond milk is being marketed as a healthy premium product because it is made from almonds, when the real truth is it barely contains any almonds. This product is really developed from thickening agents to create a milk like substitute that tastes very much like milk. The wrongdoing is really hitting home on a large scale.”

The success of almond milk rests heavily on its health appeal to consumers.
Tracy Albert and Dimitrios Malaxianis are suing two of the largest almond milk producers in the U.S., Blue Diamond, and WhiteWave which make Silk and So Delicious, for improperly labeling their almond milk.

Albert is urging these corporations to come clean. She wants them to disclose on their packaging and websites that the products contain only 2% almonds, and remove all favorable health claims.

WhiteWave said they believe their labels are fully compliant and not misleading at all.
“We think consumers know what they are getting when they buy almond milk.
If these companies beleive thay are not misleading the consumer.
Label the product trufully.
CONTAINS 2 Percent Almonds

Let the consumer decide if your product is healthy or even fit for human consumption.

Think healthy Before you snack.

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