Category Archives: Family

Butter One Of The Good Guy’s?

A study in the British Medical Journal revealed that while those who avoided butter in favor of vegetable oil spreads saw their cholesterol levels drop, [however]the result didn’t translate to a lower risk of heart disease or premature death.

The study, a reappraisal of data from a randomized controlled trial from 1968 to 1973, looked at 9,570 participants who replaced saturated fat in their diets with vegetable oil, which is rich in linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat. While the vegetable oil group saw cholesterol levels drop by 13.8 per cent, it failed to have the same effect on their risk of death in fact, they actually had a higher risk than those who consumed the butter.

Dr Forouhi said,”saturated fats are not the villains previously thought. One large study from McMaster University in Canada last August found no evidence that eating higher amounts of saturated fat raised the risk of death, but it did find eating more trans-fats was linked to increased risk of death and heart disease.

Rick Miller consultant dietitian, said “We need to move away from the idea of consuming single nutrients to thinking about eating more heart healthy foods,” That means a combination of saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats for heart health. “These include omega-3 fatty acids from fish such as salmon, herring and tuna, or plant based sources such as walnuts, flaxseed and canola oils, avocados, olives and olive oils, and dairy products such as whole milk and eggs.”

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Garden Bug

It’s 2.25am and the wind is rolling a garbage can around outside, awaking me and my 2 trusty guard dogs. It’s 73(23C) degrees, wind is holding steady at 25 gusting to 37mph. I guess I better go catch that garbage can and tie it to a fence post or it will soon be in Kansas.

guard dogs

Caution: Guard Dogs at work

Here’s a little know bit of folk lore. Cucumber Magic: If grubs and slugs are ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices of cucumber in a small aluminum pie pan, place it in your garden and soon your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area. I don’t know if this really works, but, it’s worth a try.

Sue Shekutat herbs can help control insects and keep your patio or garden area free of pests! {Another worthwhile experiment you can try in your garden.
Worst thing that can happen is you will have a lot on nice herbs to be harvested for use in your kitchen.

whats bugging me

Dalmatian Pyrethrum Chrysan-themum cinerarifolium. This variety of chrysanthemum is the source for many natural insecticides for flying and crawling insects. It is one of the least harmful to mammals or birds, but the dried flowers of the pyrethrum daisy will kill or stun the insects the moment it touches them. It is one of the safest pesticides to use on pests and their bedding to keep fleas and ticks away. The powder is the result of drying and crushing the flowers.

English Pennyroyal Mentha pulegium. A small leaved herb that has spikes of lavender flowers, pennyroyal is a member of the mint family. Ground pennyroyal is one of the most effective tick deterrents available. Dust powder made from the leaves around areas where the pet sleeps and plays.

Feverfew Chrysanthemum parth-enium. Feverfew blooms midsummer through fall. The flower heads are used to make a pesticide.

Lavender Lavandula angustifolia. Most know lavender as a beautiful aromatic herb that is used to scent food, soaps, cosmetics and many other products. If you dry bunches of lavender and hang them in the closet, they will repel moths and make your clothes smell good at the same time.

Lemon Basil Ocimum basilcum v. citriodorum. An aromatic herb with small pretty flowers and lemony fragrance, lemon basil is a fine culinary herb. When planted in the garden close to tomatoes, it deters white flies.

Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris. Mugwort leaves are used to repel moths. They can be made into sachets or dried and hung in the top of the closet.

Peppermint Mentha piperita. Peppermint helps repel ants, aphids, flea beetles, cabbage worms, squash bugs and white flies. Plant it near susceptible plants or make a tea from the crushed leaves and spray it on infested plants.

Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis. Rosemary leaves dried and powdered are used as a flea and tick repellent. Dust the powder around where your pet sleeps.

Sage Salvia officinalis. Sage is helpful planted next to cabbage to improve the taste and repel cabbage worms and moths.

Tansy Tanacetum vulgare. Leaves are used to repel ants and moths in sachets or when strewn around. The small yellow flowers are used in potpourri.

Wormwood Artemisia absinithium. Grows tall with gray silky foliage and spikes of small flowers. Powdered dust made from the leaves and sprinkled on plants and soil will deter many insects. It is not toxic; the bugs just don’t like the fragrance.

Tansy, rue and anise are good at repelling aphids.
Chamomile and hyssop will help discourage cabbage moths on your cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli.
Basil and dill planted near your tomato plants will help keep tomato hornworms away. Dill and fennel are also good food plants for butterflies, particularly the swallowtail. They lure the caterpillars from other plants.

Beetles and squash bugs on your squash and cucumbers? Plant mint, oregano or tansy nearby. Catnip and savory will discourage flea beetles and bean beetles on your bean plants.
Parsley and rosemary will keep carrot flies away from your carrots.

Used dried herbs to make fragrant potpourri or sachets that will repel insects in the closet or storage chests.
Mint, rosemary, rue, tansy, thyme, wormwood, southernwood, lavender, pennyroyal and lemon geranium are all excellent at repelling moths that get into your clothes. Put the dried herbs in a cloth bag {cheese cloth} that is loosely woven enough to let the air circulate and let it hang from a hanger in the closet or tuck it into a drawer or chest. When it comes time to get out your winter clothes, they’ll smell good and be moth free.

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German Rumtopf – Danish Romkrukke

Tony's Rumtopf

(German)Rumtopf (Danish) Romkrukke, which literally means rum pot, is a German and Danish dessert, traditionally eaten around Christmas.

A mixture of various kinds of fruit, high strength rum, and sugar is filled into a large stoneware pot (the eponymous rum pot) and matured for several months until the fruit is very soft and completely saturated with rum. Suitable fruit includes berries, cherries, plums and apricots.
Overproof rum should be 100-110 proof (50-55% alcohol by volume), which is not always commonly available in all regions, but you can prepared it by blending more common commercially available 151 proof and 80 proof rums.

In a pinch use Dark Rum 50 percent (100 proof) is the tradition base alcohol for Rumtopf, however you may also find regions using whiskey, bourbon, or vodka as it's base alcohol.
Many say that a bottle of white wine must be added at least 1 month before using the fruit and drinking the alcohol cocktails.

The Fruit. Any fresh fruit that you like can be used, however soft fruits like bananas, citrus fruit, oranges and such should be avoided. Dark colored fruit and berries will discolor your Rumtopf and apples should be avoided, they turn an unpleasing brown color.

Use fresh that is in season. Adding layer upon layer as spring turns to summer and summer to fall.
Peel, pit, slice and dice fruit into large bite size pieces. Leave small size fruit like cherries, strawberries, raspberries and grapes skin on and whole. Caution, never, never stir or mix your layered rumtopf pot fruits. Watch your rumtopf pot and keep fruit covered by an inch or so of Rum, topping off your pot as needed.

The Sugar. Brown or white cane sugar, (Hint: avoid beet sugar). If you have a liking for really sweet desserts, then you should make your rumtopf using a 1 part fruit to 1 part rum. That’s 1 cup of sugar for every cup of fruit you add to your rumtopf pot. I like mine a bit less sweet and I use a 2 to 1 mix, 2 cups fruit to 1 cup of sugar and a clear rum, not a dark rum.

The Alcohol. Your rumtopf’s base flavor will be determined by your choice of alcohol. Rum, dark or light colored, bourbon, (southern comfort works well), many use vodka allowing the fruit to be the main flavor producing element. Always use 100 proof alcohol.

Getting started. Your first batch of fruit, mix together equal measures of fruit and sugar in a large bowl. So 2 cups of fruit get 2 cups of sugar. Let stand for 15 minutes, then place the fruit, sugar and any juices in a smooth layer on the bottom of the pot. Pour in enough rum to cover all the fruit by about an inch. Set in a cool, dark place.

Repeat this process for the remaining fruit as it comes into season, except the proportion of fruit to sugar changes to 2 to 1. So 2 cups of fruit would get 1 cup of sugar. Layer all new fruit nicely over the last layer without mixing. Add additional rum to cover by one inch. Keep adding fruit, sugar and rum through the summer and fall, stopping around mid to late October.

Let your Rumtopf rest until (in the USA) Thanksgiving, continue to serve and enjoy rumtopf through December and New Years day. You can begin enjoying your rumtopf alone, over ice cream, steamed puddings, cheesecake, pancakes or waffles.

Strain the ruby colored liquor and enjoy it as a cordial or cocktail drink. serve with a small piece of fruit in the glass for that extra special look.

Recommended Fruit.
May and June: raspberries, strawberries, sweet cherries, maybe even a bit of pineapple.
July: apricots, peaches, nectarines, currants, American wild plumbs.
August: sour cherries, yellow and purple plums, more peaches.
September: purple plums, pears early producing white and red seedless grapes.
October: Late harvest red and green seedless grapes, fall harvest strawberries.

Fruit to Avoid. Melons and bananas are too soft and watery. Dark berries like blackberries and blueberries can discolor the other fruit. Citrus fruit like oranges and grapefruit can make the Rumtopf sour and bitter. Apples turn an unpleasant brown color.
pint of rumtopf
Hint: Try using spiced dark rum, or add a cinnamon stick, some whole cloves or a star anise sometime in September or October.
Hint. Maybe you would like to make a few 1/2 or pint jars of rumtopf as holiday or house warming gifts.

Rumtopf Cocktail. Mix 1 part rumtopf juice with 2 parts German or other sparkling wine or champagne in champagne glasses. Add a couple pieces of fruit and enjoy in moderation. Grinning, call a friend or taxi to get home!

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Stage(Stagger) Planting – Maximizing Your Garden

Most of {us} home gardeners fall short and don’t think and plan ahead to our garden harvest. We tend to plant too much of our seed and seedlings all on the same day causing us to have to much of one vegetable ready for harvest on the same day! What we ‘really’ should be doing is stage planting only a few seeds and seedlings every 7 to 10 days to spread out harvest out over a much longer time period. Extending our harvest out over several weeks or even several months.

Stage planting works well for ‘almost’ all of our garden vegetables. Executed properly we can harvest table ready fresh vegetables over the entire spring, summer and well into fall with little or no surplus vegetables.
The only real disadvantage ‘problem’ with stage planting is insect control. Over an extended period, insect populations will build up to a point that cucumber beetles, squash bugs and vine bores may be eating more of your vegetables than you are.

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Birds Of A Feather – Don’t Flock Together

At the end of March I had 6 pair of Purple Martins hanging around my new martin House and about the same number of Hummingbirds visiting my feeders. Then we had 3 or 4 days of cool rainy days and winds gusting to 60+ mph and all but 1 Hummingbird and 1 pair of Martins moved on to a more hospitable home site.

I have one lone Hummingbird coming to my feeders now. O-where have all the Hummingbirds gone? It seems that I now have only one pair of Martins nesting here this year. That’s the way it go’s some years. Maybe I have better luck next season.

serveimage WX guy is still saying we may be in for some severe thunder storms late this afternoon, but the good news is that as of this morning it looks like I will be on the west edge of the severe storm area. They say that some areas may see 80 mph winds and hail the size of softballs! Grin… one hailstone that size will demolish my new Martin house.

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First Earth Day Predictions

1970, the first Earth Day. Environmentalists put fourth their grim predictions.

1: “Civilization Will End Within 15 Or 30 Years”
Harvard biologist Dr. George Wald warned that civilization would soon end “unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

2: “100-200 Million People Per Year Will Be Starving To Death During The Next Ten Years”
Stanford professor Dr. Paul Ehrlich declared that mass starvation was imminent.
His dire predictions failed to materialize as the number of people living in poverty has significantly declined and the amount of food per person has steadily increased.

3: “Population Will Inevitably And Completely Outstrip Food Supplies.
Paul Ehrlich has consistently failed to revise his predictions when confronted with the fact that they did not occur.”

4: “Demographers Agree Almost Unanimously that in Thirty Years, The Entire World Will Be In Famine.”
Environmentalists truly believed in a scientific consensus predicting global famine due to population growth in the developing world, especially in India.

“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions,” Peter Gunter, a professor at North Texas State University, said ”By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.”

5: “In A Decade, Urban Dwellers Will Have To Wear Gas Masks To Survive Air Pollution”
Life magazine stated that scientist had “solid experimental and theoretical evidence” to believe that “in a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution… by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching Earth by one half.”

6: “Childbearing [Will Be] A Punishable Crime Against Society, Unless The Parents Hold A Government License.”
David Brower, the first executive director of The Sierra Club made the above claim and went on to say that “all potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.”
Brower was also essential in founding Friends of the Earth.

7: “By The Year 2000 … There Won’t Be Any More Crude Oil.”
On Earth Day in 1970 ecologist Kenneth Watt famously predicted that the world would run out of oil saying, “You’ll drive up to the pump and say, ‘Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, ‘I am very sorry, there isn’t any.”

Just an old guys opinion but I believe mankind and planet earth are more resourceful and more resilient than the Doom and Groomers think.

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Strawberries – May Be Killing You

Strawberries have officially replaced apples as the most pesticide ridden produce.

According to the 2016 Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Shopper’s Guide, nearly all “conventional” strawberry samples 98% tested by federal officials had detectable pesticide residues. In addition to that, 40% of all strawberries had residues of 10 or more pesticides.

Some of the chemicals detected on strawberries are linked to cancer, reproductive and developmental damage, hormone disruption and neurological problems.

EWG reports that each acre in California is treated with as much as 300 pounds of pesticides. More than 60 pounds are conventional chemicals that “may leave post harvest residues” but most are fumigants.
Strawberry dangers

I have to question how effective cold water washing of fruit and vegetables really is in removing pesticides.

EWG’s 2016 most contaminated fruit / vegetable list
1.Strawberries
2.Apples
3.Nectarines
4.Peaches
5.Celery
6.Grapes
7.Cherries
8.Spinach
9.Tomatoes
10.Bell peppers
11.Cherry tomatoes
12.Cucumbers

EWG’s least fruit / vegetable contaminated list
1.Avocados
2.Corn
3.Pineapples
4.Cabbage
5.Sweet Peas
6.Onions
7.Asparagus
8.Mangoes
9.Papayas
10.Kiwis
11.Eggplant
12.Honeydew
13.Grapefruit
14.Cantaloupe
15.Cauliflower

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Butter Lover? Here’s Some Good News

Melt unsalted butter until it boils and skimm off the white milk proteins at the top. The result is a golden liquid that tastes richer than regular butter, can be heated to a higher temperature without smoking, and can be kept in the fridge for weeks without turning rancid.

Health wise for starters, it just might help you lose weight. Compared to regular butter, it’s higher in conjugated lineolic acid, a fatty acid found in dairy and meat products that research has shown has the ability to target and burn belly fat.

Tummy troubles? Clarified butter could help with those, too. It’s rich in butyric acid, a fatty acid that studies suggest can ease abdominal pain, promote healthy gut bacteria, and reduce inflammation in people with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease and since it’s free of milk proteins, it’s usually well tolerated by people who have problems with dairy.

Clarified butter has the same number of calories as olive oil or coconut oil at 120 calories per Tbsp.
You could drizzle clarified butter over steamed vegetables, scrambled eggs, or even stir it into a bowl of oatmeal. But where it really shines is in things like stir-fries or seared meat or fish.

It’s one of the best oils to use for cooking because it’s smoke point is high—around 485°F. So it doesn’t burn like butter or break down into free radicals like other oils can.

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Fun News Reports

Q. Worst drivers by profession, based on the number of insurance claims they make?
A. Accountants

vegetarian Martin House update. I was afraid that I had waited to long into this years migration season to have Martins occupy the house, However, in he past 2 days I have 3 pair that are checking out my new housing complex. Hope ‘she’ likes the house and moves in for the summer.

Oklahoma Grasshopper Insect season will soon be upon us. Some old timers say due to such a warm winter grasshoppers may be more numerous and larger than normal.

american leech There are a number of other pest and parasites that are pestering Americans and should be avoided at all cost.

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Natural And Organic Foods – Know What The Labeling Means

USDA Organic Food Production Law
UK Organic Certifications

Natural does not mean organic?
The terms Natural and Organic are not interchangeable. Other truthful claims, such as free-range, hormone-free, and natural, can still appear on food labels. However, don’t confuse these terms with “organic.
Understanding Organic Labeling
National Organic Program Background and History Fact Sheet (PDF)

What is organic food? USDA said “Organic food is produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides or fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering, or ionizing radiation.
Before a product can be labeled ‘organic,’ a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified.
Consumer Brochure, USDA National Organic Program

U.S. FDA has no official, U.S. government regulated definition for the term natural pertaining to the natural products industry.
FDA refers to natural ingredients as “ingredients extracted directly from plants or animal products as opposed to being synthetically produced.”

USDA has a legal definition for “natural”, but it applies only to meat and poultry. Those products carrying the “natural” claim must not contain any artificial flavoring, color ingredients, chemical preservatives, or artificial or synthetic ingredients, and are only “minimally processed” defined by USDA as a process that does not fundamentally alter the raw product.”

In the absence of federal regulation, states from Rhode Island to Hawaii are considering laws to require labels on food items containing genetically modified ingredients.
Currently, only Connecticut and Maine have laws requiring labels for genetically modified food. Vermont’s new GMO labeling law becomes effective in July 2016.

Genetically Modified Foods Current FDA regulations only require products to be labeled with GMO content information if that product presents the threat of causing allergic reactions in humans.
The truth is if you eat anything not grown in your own garden, grown from certified Not GMO seeds or plants some of your food products are GMO’s.

Who knew that growing a tomato or cucumber could be so complicated? Heirlooms, Hybrids, GMO’s. What will be next in our effort to produce more food on less acreage, in an on going effort to feed an ever increasing hungry world population?

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