Category Archives: Family

Holiday Season Planning

OK… It’s not the Holiday season — yet. But it soon will be. So with that in mind I have listed a few links to older postings that you may find entertaining if not useful.

I don’t intend to sound like the old guy I am, but, holidays are and should be foremost for family and friends.
Your children, grand children and in some cases great grand children will in adult life remember the time, food and fun had being served homemade, handmade holiday treats. What they won’t remember is that large bag of store bought candy / snacks you served.

Take time out of your self made, self important schedule and spend time this holiday season with family and friends.
Not to put to fine a point on this, but, the world as we know it will not change or end if you take time out to spend ‘at home’ with friends and family.
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Pioneer Woman Popcorn Balls
Traditional Popcorn Balls
Hint Put a wooden skewer in each popcorn ball.

Candy Apples
Caramel Apples
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Easy candied Apples
Old-fashioned style candied apples
Caramel, Chocolate and Candy Apples
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Carving Your Pumpkin – Jack-O-Lantren – Toasted/Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Winter Squash and Pumpkin – Harvesting & Storing
Pumpkins – They Can Do It All
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Rumtopf and Romkrukke

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High fat cheese – Secret to a healthy life?

University of Copenhagen found that eating cheese could help to improve health by increasing our levels of “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol which is thought to offer protection against cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Researchers conducted a cheese test with 139 adults to discover how full fat cheese can affect our bodies in different ways.

They split the subjects up into three groups. The first group were told to eat 80g of regular high-fat cheese every day, the second group ate 80g of reduced-fat cheese, while the third group didn’t eat cheese and ate 90g of bread and jam each day instead.

The researchers report, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that while none of the groups experienced a change in their levels of “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol which is thought to be counterproductive to good heart health, those that ate the regular high fat cheese saw an increase in their levels of “good” HDL cholesterol.

A small 2015 study found that cheese could be the key to a faster metabolism and reduced obesity. 2012 research suggested Roquefort cheese helped guard against cardiovascular disease, leading to good health and longevity, while in 2009 an Australian study suggested a diet high in dairy products, such as cheese, could help overweight people lose weight.

California New Law – Farting Cows Are Violating Pollution Laws

California Gov. Jerry Brown kept up his assault on farming and business has pushed through a law to reduce cow fart emissions from dairy farms.

Brown’s approval of Senate Bill 1383 goes after short-lived climate pollutants, which include methane, cow farts!

Brown said “these gases don’t linger in the atmosphere, they still make people sick and hasten global warming. We’re protecting people’s lungs and their health.”

Senate Bill 1383 requires dairy farmers have to cut methane emissions to
40 percent below 2013
levels by 2030.

California Air Resources Board can also now regulate bovine flatulence, as long as there are practical ways to reduce the cows’ belching and breaking wind.

Composting also has to go up by 50 percent within four years to curb methane from organic waste.
The state’s head of the National Federation of Independent Business rails against the “arbitrary” limits and says they’re a “direct assault on California’s dairy industry,”

FBI Issues Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) Alert

Photo found on FaceBook and found it to good not to pass on.

2016-08-26 21_30_54-Settings

Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is dangerous a chemical that will cause steel corrosion(rust), in large volumes can damage soils, homes and businesses(flooding). When exposed to heat it can cause skin burns. If inhaled it can cause death(drowning).
It is an industrial solvent used in fire retardant materials and can be found in the waste from nuclear power plants.
DHMO contributes to the greenhouse effect. May cause severe burns. Contributes to the erosion of our natural landscape. Accelerates corrosion and rusting of many metals. May cause electrical failures and decreased effectiveness of automobile brakes.

Grin…. It is simply unbelievable the number of people that have swallowed this long time hoax.

Dihydrogen monoxide hoax involves calling water by the unfamiliar chemical name “dihydrogen monoxide” (DHMO), and listing some of water’s effects in an alarming manner, such as the fact that it accelerates corrosion and can cause severe burns. The hoax often calls for dihydrogen monoxide to be regulated, labeled as hazardous, or banned. It illustrates how the lack of scientific literacy and an exaggerated analysis can lead to misplaced fears.
dihydrogen monoxide(DHMO) = H2O = water

The hoax gained renewed popularity in the late 1990s when a 14-year-old student collected anti-DHMO petitions for a science project about gullibility.

Thank You Wikipedia.
Snopes.com DHMO hoax

Put on a smile.
Happy Gardening

Ruger Targis .177 Caliber Air Rifle Review

The Ruger Targis is priced from as little as $90.00 to as much as $200.00. I got mine at Walmart for $89.00.

It should be noted that this rifle ‘Is Not’ manufactured by Ruger, it is manufactured under contract by Umarex to Ruger specifications.

Targus is equipped with their proprietary SilencAIR 5-chamber noise dampener. Even equipped with this noise damper this high velocity air rifle is not noise less. At first it was ‘loud’ however after about 250 pellets being fired it is much quieter, about 1/2 as loud as it was on my first shot.

It is a heavy pellet rifle weighing in at almost 10 Lbs. Young people, some women and old guys may want to invest in a sling when going afield.

It comes with a 4X32 scope (mine was made in China). It’s about what you would expect from a low cost accessory and works fine for viewing targets within the range of the rifle and beyond.
Don’t whine about a free scope not being up to Leupold or Bushnell optical and quality standards.

Front and rear sighs are fiber optic. Rear sight is Adjustable for both windage and elevation. Front sight is red fiber and rear site is green fiber making proper sight alignment fast and easy.
Since I am targeting ‘mostly’ rats and cottontail rabbits at ranges of less that 40 yards I am considering removing the scope. No complaints with the scope but I am not into competition shooting. I really don’t need a scope or the added bulk of having a mounted scope.
Grin … I’m getting old but I can still see a rat at 25 yards without a scope.

Trigger pull is a heavy at about 3.3 lbs., non-adjustable and has a very long free travel pull length. Trigger pull is adjustable, however it still has a long free pull length. I have become accustomed to it’s pull length and don’t find it overly troublesome.

Cocking a Targis requires 30+ lbs. of effort. Some younger people, women and some old guys may find it bothersome. However keep in mind this is a high velocity air rifle up to 1,200 fps.
This must also be taken in to consideration when thinking about it’s loud report and substantial, for an air rifle, recoil.

Specifications
Caliber 0.177″ (4.5mm)
Loudness Medium (less after a few hundred pellets have been fired)
Barrel Length 18.7″
Overall Length 44.85″
Shot Capacity Single shot
Cocking Effort 30 lbs.
Barrel Rifled
Front Sight Fiber Optic
Rear Sight Adjustable for windage and elevation
Scopeable Weaver/Picatinny (came with a 4X32 scope, marked Ruger but is made in China)
Trigger Two-stage with adjustable take-up
Buttplate Rubber
Suggested use Small game hunting/target shooting
Trigger Pull 3.3 lbs
Action Break over barrel, Spring piston air delivery
Safety Automatic
Weight 9.85 lbs.
Velocity 1200 fps using alloy pellets, 1000 fps/lead pellets (less as pellet weight increases)
Stock Synthetic
Grip Ambidextrous
Color Black
Sling Not included, can be purchased separately

You will never win cash for precision competition shooting using the Ruger Targis. It is a low cost, entry level, high velocity, well made air rifle suitable for taking small game, riding your barn yard of rodents and for fun target shooting.
It’s main limitation is the 30+ lbs. required for cocking.
At 25 yards my shot pattern is about the size of a nickle. It does ‘through’ a wild pellet a inch or so off target from time to time but I suspect that is more a pellet or shooter problem than a rifle problem.

Pellets, you can spend a little or a lot. Choosing your pellet type and brand has a lot to do with what is the main thing you will be using your rifle for. Hunting or target shooting and at what range(s).

Target shooting is often fixed at no more that 20 yards and sometimes much less if you are using your basement or backyard for your gun range. Light weight pellets will achieve your highest muzzle velocity and are fine for punching holes in paper targets.

Hunting small game and rodent control in my opinion is better accomplished using heaver weight pellets in the 7 – 8 grain weight class. Heaver is not always better. In my opinion pellets exceeding 10.5 grain are better used in high power PCP(Pre-Charged Pneumatic) type pellet rifles.
I have found the Crosman premier 7.9 grain pellet works well in my Targis. The plus side is they are one of the lest expensive pellets to buy. I bought 2 – 500 pellet cans at Walmart for $6.95 a can making my cost less than 1 1/2 cents a shot.

It should be noted that all rifles ‘Do Not’ handle pellets the same. Some rifles hate some brands / styles / weight pellets and will not hold a good shot pattern. Only through experimentation will you discover the pellet your rifle likes best.

While I’m on pellets. Please don’t whine if you find a few pellets with bent skirts or a pellet fits tighter or looser in your rifle chamber. You and your rifle are not well paid, well trained professional snipers. It’s a ‘hobby’ rifle and should be seen and treated as such.
The most important thing is to Have Fun, Enjoy your new air rifle.
Grin … It is unlikely you will miss a meal if you don’t bring home a rabbit.

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Pickling Vegetables

USDA – Preparing and Canning Fermented Foods and Pickled Vegetables
Nearing the end of the gardening season you find that you have a great number of vegetables that need to be harvested and preserved for winters dinner table. Of course you may decide to freeze or can much of your garden surplus but pickling vegetables is also a good choice and so easy to do.

Everyone knows about pickled cucumbers, but what about pickled asparagus, broccoli, okra, peppers, radishes, or zucchini? Or maybe fermenting and canning a few jars of cabbage(sauerkraut). Almost all vegetables and many fruits can be pickled using the same basic recipe and procedure.

Hint Pickling salt is highly recommended and can be found in most supermarkets. However fermented and non-fermented pickles may be safely made using either iodized or non-iodized table salt. Be aware that the non-caking materials added to table salts may make the brine cloudy. Flake salt varies in density and is not recommended for use in canning or fermenting vegetables.

PICKLED ASPARAGUS
10 lbs asparagus
6 large garlic cloves
4-1/2 cups water
4-1/2 cups white distilled vinegar (5%)
6 small hot peppers (optional)
1/2 cup canning salt
3 tsp dill seed
Wash asparagus well, but gently, under running water. Cut stems from the bottom to leave spears with tips that fit into the canning jar, leaving a little more than 1/2-inch headspace. Peel and wash garlic cloves. Place a garlic clove at the bottom of each jar, and tightly pack asparagus into hot jars with the blunt ends down. In an 8 quart saucepan, combine water, vinegar, hot peppers (optional), salt and dill seed. Bring to a boil. Place one hot pepper (if used) in each jar over asparagus spears. Pour boiling hot pickling brine over spears, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed.
Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process in a boiling water bath for 10 to 15 minutes.

PICKLED DILL BEANS
4 lbs fresh tender green or yellow beans (5 to 6 inches long)
8 to 16 heads fresh dill
8 cloves garlic (optional)
1/2 cup canning or pickling salt
4 cups white vinegar (5%)
4 cups water
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes (optional)
8 pints
Wash and trim ends from beans and cut to 4-inch lengths. In each hot sterile pint jar, place 1 to 2 dill heads and, if desired, 1 clove of garlic. Place whole beans upright in jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Trim beans to ensure proper fit, if necessary.
Combine salt, vinegar, water, and pepper flakes (if desired). Bring to a boil. Add hot solution to beans, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed.
Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process.

PICKLED BEETS
7 lbs of 2- to 2-1/2-inch diameter beets
4 cups vinegar (5%)
1-1/2 tsp canning or pickling salt
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
4 to 6 onions (2- to 2-1/2-inch diameter), if desired
8 pints
Trim off beet tops, leaving 1 inch of stem and roots to prevent bleeding of color.
Wash thoroughly. Sort for size. Cover similar sizes together with boiling water and cook until tender (about 25 to 30 minutes).
Caution Drain and discard liquid.
Cool beets. Trim off roots and stems and slip off skins. Slice into 1/4-inch slices. Peel and thinly slice onions. Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, and fresh water. Put spices in cheesecloth bag and add to vinegar mixture. Bring to a boil. Add beets and onions. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove spice bag. Fill hot jars with beets and onions, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Add hot vinegar solution, allowing 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process in boiling water bath 10-15 minutes.
Variation:
For pickled whole baby beets, follow above directions but use beets that are 1-to
1-1/2 inches in diameter. Pack whole; do not slice. Onions may be omitted.

PICKLED CARROTS
2-3/4 lbs peeled carrots (about 3-1/2 lbs as purchased)
5-1/2 cups white vinegar (5%)
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 tsp canning salt
8 tsp mustard seed
4 tsp celery seed
4 pints jars
Wash and peel carrots. Cut into rounds that are approximately 1/2 inch thick.
Combine vinegar, water, sugar and canning salt in an 8-quart Dutch oven or stockpot. Bring to a boil and boil 3 minutes. Add carrots and bring back to a boil. Then reduce heat to a simmer and heat until half-cooked (about 10 minutes). Meanwhile, place 2 teaspoons mustard seed and 1 teaspoon celery seed into each empty hot pint jar. Fill jars with hot carrots, leaving 1-inch headspace. Fill with hot pickling liquid, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process in boiling water bath 10-15 minutes.

PICKLED CAULIFLOWER OR BRUSSELS SPROUTS
12 cups of 1- to 2-inch cauliflower flowerets or small Brussels sprouts
4 cups white vinegar (5%)
2 cups sugar
2 cups thinly sliced onions
1 cup diced sweet red peppers
2 tbsp mustard seed
1 tbsp celery seed
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
9 half-pint jars
Wash cauliflower flowerets or Brussels sprouts (remove stems and blemished outer leaves) and boil in salt water (4 tsp canning salt per gallon of water) for 3 minutes for cauliflower and 4 minutes for Brussels sprouts. Drain and cool. Combine vinegar, sugar, onion, diced red pepper, and spices in large saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes.
Distribute onion and diced pepper among jars. Fill hot jars with pieces and pickling solution, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and adjust headspace if needed. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process in boiling water bath 10-15 minutes.

Hints on spices Feel free to experiment. Add spices you like. Things like red pepper flakes, celery seed, dill seed and so on. Use as much or as little as you like to each jar before packing and pouring hot vinegar to fill your canning/pickling jar.

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Blackberries – easy to grow in your home garden

Now is a good time to start preparing your berry patch site for early spring planting.

Blackberries are considered one of the easiest fruits to grow at home. They are a native species to the United States and grow as a small shrub or trailing vine. Berries from this plant are excellent for fresh table fruit, syrup, jams and jelly.

Site Selection for your Blackberry patch.
* Light requirements: Full Sun
* Soil: Blackberries prefer acidic to basic Ph(6.0-7.0), soil should be a well drained organic soil. They adapt to most soil types except alkaline and wet. If you have clay soil, you should amend your soil with organic matter. To increase the soil’s organic content, amend with mulch wet peat moss, well aged sawdust, straw or leaf litter.
* Blackberries are self pollinating and hardy in zones 4-9.

Blackberries tend to form thickets and are vigorously rooted. Locate the plants where you can control “volunteers.” Blackberries have long roots and can send up suckers many feet from the parent plant. Leave room to mow around the beds.

Generally speaking T-trellis Support is recommended.
t-tressis

Annual Pruning after the first year. Use hand held clippers when pruning. First year erect canes should be left unpruned. Second year canes should be pruned back to 40″-48″. Pruning encourages lateral branching and increases cane strength, so they don’t fall over in snow and wind. Pruning should be done early in the growing season to decrease wounds that cause cane blight. Lateral branches should be cut back to 12″-18″.

During the second year, remove dead, damaged, weak and rubbing canes. You should thin out healthy canes closer than 6″ apart. Any pruned or removed canes should be disposed to eliminate the spread of disease and insects.

Oklahoma Gardening Video planting blackberries.

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Beets Miss Used, Under Used And Abused – New goodies

Pickled beets
Small whole beets, blanch in boiling water for 1 minute pack in jar(s), add 1 tsp mustard seed, 6 cloves, (optional 1/2 tsp sugar)cover with a mixture of 3 parts cider vinegar and 1 part water.
Store in refrigerator for 2 to 5 days before eating.
Hint Leave root and 1/4 inch of tops on beets to prevent beets ‘bleeding’ turning your vinegar/water mixture red.

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, a Registered Dietitian said: Beets are gaining popularity as a superfood.
Beet juice consumption is associated with a decrease in blood pressure, which can be an effective way to treat cardiovascular conditions.
Beets are also one of the few vegetables that contain a group of pigments known as betalains, which display potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.

Its high fiber content (each cup of beets contains 4g of fiber), beets help to prevent constipation and promote healthy bowel movements.

Raw for shaved beet salad
Slicing the (raw) beets very thinly leaves them crisp without being too hard to chew. All you need is a vegetable peeler to shave the slices of beets to your desired thickness!
Beets and goat cheese is always a winning combination. Top with drizzles of balsamic vinegar and pinches of fresh herbs.

Roast for roasted beets
The roasting process helps to concentrate the sweetness, and the caramelization of beets’ natural sugar helps add a complexity of flavors.
Wrapped in foil while roasting so that they don’t dry out. Roast in a 400 degree oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, peel and season with balsamic vinegar and orange zest to taste.

Blend for Beet Juice
Beet juice is actually delicious and rich in fiber. One cup of beet juice contains about 5g of fiber and half the amount of sugar as compared to one cup of fresh orange juice.
Beets pair well with almost any fruit or vegetable and add a vibrant color to juice drinks. The classic recipe consist of Apples, Beets and Carrots blended together.

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Dangerous Temperature Reports – May Be The Norm For Others

Sometimes I just have to laugh when I see headlines like today’s weather report headline on UK’s The Telegraph web site.

UK weather: Killer heatwave feared as 93F temperatures loom this week

Grin The Telegraph needs a ‘good’ proof reader. The Telegraph said “The Met Office said that Sunday was the hottest day of the year at 82C, but that new highs were likely on Monday and Tuesday. I’m pretty sure it won’t reach 180F this week in the UK.

The list below is 30 year weather report averages for my area of Oklahoma. The place I choose to garden and live.

Days of 90 Degrees or Higher: 101
May averages 7 days over 91 and 0 days over 100
June averages 19 days over 91 and 3 days over 100
July averages 28 days over 91 and 11 of those days are over 100
August averages 27 days over 91 and 11 of those days are over 100
Days With Precipitation: 60
Thunderstorm Days: 50
Last Freeze in Spring: April 2
First Freeze in Autumn: November 6
Growing Season: 218 Days
Typically, there are about 4 events each year of hail exceeding one inch(25.4mm) in diameter
Average Monthly rain fall:
May 4 3/4 inches
June 2 1/4 inches
July 2 1/4 inches
August 2 1/2 inches

My Next 7 day forecast: T=98 – W=100 – T=102 – F=103 – S=98 and S=103

OK, OK, Please don’t tar and feather me.

I am well aware that UK gardeners do not normally have or even need air conditioners in their homes. But 90F is just not that hot. Use a bit of common sense.

Tips from the (US)CDC for Preventing Heat Related Illness
Drink more fluids (nonalcoholic), regardless of your activity level. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.
Don’t drink liquids that contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar, these actually cause you to lose more body fluid.
Stay indoors and, if at all possible, stay in an air conditioned place.
Electric fans provide comfort, but when the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat related illness. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.
Wear lightweight, light colored, loose fitting clothing.
NEVER leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle.
Although any one at any time can suffer from heat related illness, some people are at greater risk than others. Check regularly on:
Infants and young children
People aged 65 or older
Those who are physically ill, especially with heart disease or high blood pressure

If you must be out in the heat:
Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.
Cut down on exercise. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of cool, nonalcoholic fluids each hour.
Try to rest often in shady areas.
Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.

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Greek Style Summer Garden Salad

Tomato’s, Red Onions, Cucumbers garnish with cheese, I favor Feta cheese.

Use only very fresh home grown herbs, leafy greens and vegetables. It simply does not taste as good when made from market vegetables that were picked green in Mexico or Chile, shipped thousands of miles.

Garden Fresh – Greek Style Farmers {horiatiki} Salad
*3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*1½ tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice [in a pinch use white wine vinegar]
*1 clove minced garlic {optional}
*1 tablespoon fresh finely chopped oregano or ½ teaspoon dried oregano
*¼ teaspoon salt {optional}
*¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and extra for garnish {Optional} use sparingly
*3 tomatoes cut into wedges
*¼ red onion thin sliced into rings
*1 cucumber sliced into thick half moons de-seed if cucumbers are large
*½ green and or red sweet pepper—julienne {optional}
*4 oz (120g) feta cheese cut into small cubes [Use a cheese that you like]

Note: Add what ever garden fresh greens or herbs you have to this salad.

Put olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano and or or basel in a small jar with a tight fitting lid and shake to combine.
Place the salad ingredients in a large bowl, add cheese on top.
Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine just before serving.

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