Category Archives: Family

Quick and Easy Winter Soup

Leek and potato soup:

2 – large leeks
2 – medium potatoes peeled and course chopped
1 – pint stock – or use 1 – stock cube (use the stock you like, beef, chicken or vegetable)
Salt (Taste ‘Before) adding salt, stock often contains salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground white or black pepper
Optional 2 – tablespoons butter
Optional – fresh mushrooms course chopped (thin sliced)

Course slice leeks and sauté them in 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil or melted butter.
Pour in the stock, add the potatoes and mushrooms. Simmer for about 25 minutes.
Soup is ready when the potatoes are soft and tender.
Top off with additional stock if needed.
Optional – Make this into a ‘cream’ soup. Blend in 4 ounces (1/2 cup) of cream. Do not boil.
Serve warm with toasted buttered garlic bread or saltine crackers.

Chili soup:

1 – 15 ounce can Wolf brand chili (with or without beans)
15 – ounces water
1 – Tablespoon chili powder
1 – Tablespoon dried oregano

Optional: 2 – tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
Optional: 1 – tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
Optional: 1 or 2 – fine diced fresh hot or mild green or red pepper.
Optional: Fine diced onion to taste.

Heat chili soup to a simmer.

Serve hot topped with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, warm soft flour tortilla’s, corn chips or saltine crackers.
Optional: Serve with a side dipping dish of green or red salsa hot or mild, the kind you like.

Chili pepper consumption could help you live longer

hot-red-pepper Chili pepper report The American Heart Association said “research has suggested that regular chili pepper consumers could have longer lifespans due to the fruit’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anticancer and blood-glucose regulating properties. These factors play a role in reducing a person’s risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease or cancer.

570,000 health records were included in these studies, which included people from the U.S., Italy, China and Iran. The people who ate chili peppers regularly had a 26% relative reduction in cardiovascular mortality; 23% relative reduction in cancer mortality; and 25% relative reduction in all-cause mortality.

Thanksgiving food safety

Covid-19, government dictated lock-downs and self quarantines, smaller family gatherings has caused turkey growers and markets to have a shortage of smaller (6-10 pound) turkeys.
Shop and buy your turkey soon for your best selection.

This post has become an annual posting in hopes it will help keep you and your family safe. Food handling, thawing times, cooking time / temperatures and safe storing of any thanksgiving day food leftovers.

For some this is old information and is considered plain common sense. For others this will be their first time dealing with such a large bird and safely handling so many side dishes for one meal.
turkey
Butterball Turkey Talk provides a free service to answer your questions about proper handling, thawing and cooking Turkey.
You can reach them by telephone, email or via live chat line.
Butterball also has a informative page of FAQ’s that you may find useful.

Butterball said:
FROZEN WHOLE TURKEY
Thaw in refrigerator (not at room temperature). Place unopened turkey, breast side up, on a tray in refrigerator and follow our refrigerator thawing instructions. Allow at least 24 hours for every 4 pounds.

To thaw more quickly, place unopened turkey breast down in sink filled with cold tap water. Allow 30 minutes per pound. Change water every 30 minutes to keep surface of turkey cold.

When thawed, keep in refrigerator up to 4 days until ready to cook.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) has a nice and very informative fact sheet as well as a useful PDF file on the safe handling, cooking, Storage and re-heating of Turkey.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) A Consumer Guide to Safely Roasting a Turkey USDA’s information applies to any poultry, Turkey, Chicken, Duck, Goose and so on that you may plan on cooking and serving to your family.

For more information about food safety, call: USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854). 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or
E-mail: mphotline.fsis@usda.gov Or “Ask Karen,” FSIS’ Web-based automated response system – available 24/7 at http://www.fsis.usda.gov.

Hints:
Allow 1 pound of turkey per person.

Thawing In the Refrigerator (40 °F or below)
Allow approximately 24 hours for every 4 to 5 pounds
4 to 12 pounds 1 to 3 days
12 to 16 pounds 3 to 4 days
16 to 20 pounds 4 to 5 days
20 to 24 pounds 5 to 6 days
Roasting Time
4 to 8 pounds (breast) 1½ to 3¼ hours
8 to 12 pounds 2¾ to 3 hours
12 to 14 pounds 3 to 3¾ hours
14 to 18 pounds 3¾ to 4¼ hours
18 to 20 pounds 4¼ to 4½ hours
20 to 24 pounds 4½ to 5 hours

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Alternate methods to cook Turkey / poultry Grilling a Turkey, Covered Gas Grill, Covered Charcoal Grill, Smoking a Turkey, Deep Fat Frying a Turkey.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Basics: Safe Cooking Turkey A PDF file. Great 1 page tip sheet on cooking Turkey / Poultry.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Turkey Roasting Chart Everything you will ever need to know about Roasting your Turkey.
Hint:
Reheating Your Turkey
In the Oven
Set the oven temperature no lower than 325 °F.
Reheat turkey to an internal temperature of 165 °F. Use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature.
To keep the turkey moist, add a little broth or water and cover.

United States Department Of Agricultural (USDA) Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures Use this chart and a food thermometer to ensure that meat, poultry, seafood, and other cooked foods reach a safe minimum internal temperature.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC 24/7: Saving Lives. Protecting People. Safely Prepare Your Holiday Meal Important cooking information to providing Safe food preparation information.

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s)

Garden Fresh Potatoes

North American gardeners grow potatoes that generally fall into 1 of 6 color categories.

University of Minnesota potato growing fact website has a lot of useful information on growing potatoes.

Blue skin with white or blue flesh
Brown skin with white or yellow flesh like
Purple skin with white, yellow or purple flesh
Red skin with white, yellow or red flesh
White skin with white or yellow flesh
Yellow skin with white or yellow flesh

Start your potato plants from tubers or pieces of tubers. Buy disease free seed tubers from a certified grower or seed distributor. Most garden centers carry seed potatoes in the spring.

Potatoes saved from your own garden may not be a good choice either. They can carry disease spores from the previous year. Although your garden may seem disease free, re-introducing more fungi or bacteria could cause crop failure for your potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant in the future.

Hint: Do not plant potatoes purchased at the grocery store, they may have been treat with chemicals to keep tubers dormant(prevents sprouting), in which case they will be slow to grow.
Diseases may also infect the potatoes, which can remain in your garden soil for many years. Also they may have been treated with pesticides to kill insects that can damage potatoes that have been placed in storage.

Plant your seed potato sections about 3 inches deep. The depth allows the potatoes to form without breaking the surface and causing green spots on the potatoes. When a tuber is exposed to light for an extended period of time, a poisonous alkaloid is produced that turns the potato green.

Before planting, add a fertilizer with a NPK rating 10-10-5. Mix the fertilizer in with the soil as you till to evenly disperse the fertilizer. If you use an organic fertilizer, such as cow or horse manure, make sure the manure is well-rotted or at least a year old. Fresh manure causes the planting bed to get too “hot” and burns the plants.
Potato seeds prefer a cooler temperature to set roots. The ideal soil temperature for planting seed potatoes is around 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hill soil up around plants as they grow. Tubers will form on thin stems, called stolons, which emerge from the main stems. The deeper in the soil the underground portion of the plant, the more stolons the plant may grow.

Potatoes are both water loving and heavy feeders of fertilizer. Moisture stress can cause knobby or hollow potatoes, and can prevent the plant from producing new tubers. Light soil is the best for growing large, smooth potatoes. Soak the soil thoroughly when watering, once or twice a week.

You can dig new potatoes about seven to eight weeks after planting. New potatoes will have formed above the seed piece you planted, so dig down about a foot, and turn the whole plant upside down to pick the tubers.
Harvest mature tubers after the plants have dried(look dead) or when tubers have reached full size.

First Thanksgiving Dinner menu

First Thanksgiving Dinner – Smithsonian magazine Pilgrims and Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony in 1621. Edward Winslow, an English leader who attended said: Besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison.
In addition to wildfowl and deer, the colonists and Wampanoag probably ate eels and shellfish, such as lobster, clams and mussels.

The forest provided chestnuts, walnuts and beechnuts. They grew flint corn (multicolored Indian corn). They grew beans, which they used from when they were small and green until when they were mature. They also had different sorts of pumpkins and squashes.

England not having turkeys it is likely that the Pilgrims favored swan, geese, ducks over turkey meat. It is also likely that passenger pigeons were on their menu.

Historians think Pilgrims stuffed birds with chunks of onion, herbs and shelled chestnuts. Pilgrims did not have white(Irish) potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, butter or wheat flour to make crusts for pies and tarts.

Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of the popular women’s magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book was a leading voice in establishing Thanksgiving as an annual event. Beginning in 1827, Hale petitioned 13 presidents, the last of whom was Abraham Lincoln. She pitched her idea to President Lincoln as a way to unite the country in the midst of the Civil War, and, in 1863, he made Thanksgiving a national holiday.

As for me and my family, this Thanksgiving we will have a small(10#) slow smoked/cooked turkey, mostly for the smaller members of our clan. Adults will feast on slow cooked/smoked beef brisket, racks of ribs and buckets of BBQ sauce, the mild and hot kind. Of course there will be ample assorted side dishes, ice cream and pie for all.

Post a comment and share your Thanksgiving menu.

Image

Bar’s Public Notice Sign Board

Raising laying hens – first coop or remodel is easy

Maximize egg production and growth rate of your meat birds by installing a coop light. Buy and install a simple timer. Set your timer to provide 16 hours light in your coop. One 60 or 100 watt bulb is all the light your coop will need.

Don’t forget to provide fresh water and an ample food supply inside your coop. Chickens Will Not go out of the coop into the darkness of night to eat or drink.
Hint: What ever you build or buy, make it covenant for ‘You’ to access. To clean, gather eggs and so on without the need to stoop low or crawl around on your hands and knees.
When possible make all gates and doors wide enough to get your wheel barrow in and out of the hen house and chickens runs.

Do it right the first time. Choosing the best coop wire. 1 inch X 2 inch or 1/2 inch X 1 inch utility wire is a good choice. Small mesh welded wire cost more than poultry netting but in the long run will be a cheaper ‘long term’ investment and a better choice. Poultry netting will rust and become useless in just a few years, 2 X 4 welded wire is strong but is not effective in keeping small chicks in nor is it a big obstacle to keep determined animals like cats, dogs, coyote, fox or raccoons out of your hen house.

It seems that after searching the Internet I find end listings on how to build a chicken coop but, most everyone wants to ‘Sell’ you a plan or blueprint.

You do not have to be an architect or construction engineer to construct a chicken coop. Anyone can do it. Keep in mind that you may need to scale any basic construction plan up or down to fit the flock size you want to maintain.
* Hint: Many storage shed plans are free to download and is a cost effective hen house by another name.
Cover windows with strong predator proof wire.

A secure coop is very important, it seems that everyone and everything likes the taste of chicken. Cats, dogs, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, opossums, fox and even a hawk or owl will take a small chicken given the chance to do so. Snakes can be a problem eating small chicks and always looking for a chance to take a few eggs. Other than stray dogs daylight predators are few, but after dark your chickens are ‘setting ducks’ just waiting to be eaten by a hungry predator.

What your chickens Really Need. Warm secure chickens produce many more eggs and gain more weight than chickens housed in a cold drafty coop. When building your coop be sure to close up any holes or cracks that allow a cold draft to enter your coop. Do not use calk or spray foam, chickens will peck at and eat calk or spray foam.
Unless you live above the arctic circle supplemental heating is generally not needed.
If you feel the need to heat your hen house consider enclosing a ‘milk house heater in strong wire or add a 250 watt heat lamp located 3 – 5 feet off the floor. Use caution, a heat space heater or heat lamp bulb that comes in contact with hay, straw etc. can catch your hen house on fire!

Some sites say chickens need about 2 square feet of coop floor space for each hen in your flock. I disagree and recommend 3 square feet ‘4 square feet is better’ of floor space for each laying hen. A 4X4 sheet of plywood = 16 square feet and should house no more than 4 or 5 chickens. Remember you will loose a few feet of floor space to nest boxes and roosting areas.
You must decide if 2 square feet or 4 square feet of floor space is best for housing you chicken flock.

Clean water is a must have thing. Don’t skimp, purchase or build large good quality freeze resistant water containers.
Feeders should be designed to prevent them from wasting feed or being of a design that allows them to set / roost on top of your feeders. Chickens Do Not go outdoors to poop! Given the opportunity they will poop in feed troughs and water containers! Hanging style containers work well. They can be raised higher off the floor as your flock grows.

Free Range or Penned hens? A chicken run is nothing more than a fenced in area that attaches to or surrounds your coop. Your chicken run should allow at least 10 square feet of run for each chicken in your flock. Thus 4 laying hens will need a minimum of 40 square feet of run. An 8 foot by 8 foot run will provide you with 64 square feet.
Free range is just what it sounds like. Free range chickens are free to range and forage anyplace they feel like going. Free range chickens seem to be healthier and consume much less store bought feed than penned chickens. However free ranging chickens are more likely to be taken by predators.

Allowed to free range chickens will eat large quantities of grass, weeds and every insect that they can catch! They scratch eating weed seeds worms and grubs.

13 free chicken coop plans
60 free chicken coop plans
65 free chicken coop plans

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Mediterranean style white bean soup

What you will need for this bean soup recipe.

1 lb. white beans
1 cup crushed, chopped or diced canned or fresh tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 large white or 2 smallish sized chopped/diced onions
3 small, course diced carrots
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt {start with 1 teaspoon add more to your taste}
1/4 teaspoon pepper, or to taste1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped herbs, such as parsley, oregano, basil or chives
8 cups water
* Optional 1/2 cup white wine
* Optional 4 cups chicken or beef broth and 4 cups water
* Optional 1 or 2 garlic cloves minced or finely chopped
* Optional 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes.

Soak beans over night, drain off the water and put beans in a saucepan with 8 cups water or 4 cups chicken or beef broth and 4 cups water.

Bring to a boil on medium-high heat, reduce heat and allow to simmer for 45 minutes on low heat.

Add remaining ingredients and cook gently for about an hour or until the beans and vegetables are tender. Add more water if needed.

Garnish soup with grated cheese, fresh chopped Chives, Oregano, Basil or Parsley. Use the kind of herbs and cheese you like as a garnish.

Serve with hard crust bread or buttered garlic bread.
Grin… Americans some time serve this soup with saltine crackers or fresh baked cornbread.

Sounds of Autumn and Chicken Coops

Summer has given way to Autumn/Fall cooler temperatures and a burst of color. Today has the feel of fall in the air. Cooler weather and the air has the smell of Autumn and a feel of dampness.

Long before first light I could hear the calls of wild geese each carefully following the one ahead as they wing their way south. This is always a sure sign that a cold winter blast is not far away.

Wild sun flowers in pastures and along roads are 4 to 6 feet tall bearing many 3 to 4 inch bright yellow flowers making a cool autumn day feel brighter and warmer.

Gardeners in their hast and busy schedule often fail to truly listen to all the fading sounds of summer and fall as winters cold winds approach. Don’t miss out on this once a year event. Stop look and listen, tune out all the sounds of our modern world and listen to what nature is telling you.

Chicken poop, nothing but poop. Now is a good time to get all that old litter and manure out of your chicken coop/hen house floors, nest boxes and roosting areas. Spread this chicken litter lightly on your garden plot and till it in or pile it on your compost pile. As the weather gets colder and nights get longer your chickens will spend more time in there coop. Now is a good time to sanitize your coop and spray or dust for mite control.

Close your hen house door and cover all windows, look for places you can see light entering your coop. Nail or glue wood trim to cover these holes that will allow the cold winds, rain and snow to enter your coop this winter. Don’t use calk or spray foam, your chickens will peck at and eat calk and spray foam.
Cold weather will send every mouse and rat within 1000 feet to seek winter shelter in and under your chicken coop. Put out mouse/rat bait now. Rat and mouse bait is a poison, insure the bait is in a place that your chickens flock and pets can not gain access to the bait.

Build or buy enough feeders and freeze proof waters dispensers to keep you flock supplied with fresh feed and water. Raise feeders and waters off the floor high enough that your chickens need to reach high to access feed and water. This will help your keep chickens from wasting feed or pooping in their feed and water containers.

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Kale – Good And Good For You

Kale is becoming one of American gardeners favorite green vegetables. Lettuce and spinach are being replaced by Kale as a favorite fresh salad and cooked table green.

Growing Kale Kale likes Full Sun and grows best in a loamy soil with a neutral pH to slightly alkaline soil.

Kale is a hardy, cool season green
that is part of the ‘cole’ cabbage family. It grows best in the spring and fall and can tolerate Fall frosts. Kale can be used in salads or as a garnish and is rich in minerals and vitamins A and C. You can plant kale anytime from early spring to early summer.

If you plant kale late in the summer you can harvest it from fall until the ground freezes in winter. Mix 1-1/2 cups of NPK 5-10-10 fertilizer per 25 feet of row into the top 3 to 4 inches of soil. Plant the seeds 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep into well-drained, light soil. After about 2 weeks, thin the seedlings so that they are spaced 8 to 12 inches apart. Water the plants regularly.
Mulch the soil heavily after the first freeze.
The plants may continue to produce leaves throughout the winter. Kale is ready to harvest when the leaves are about the size of your hand.

Avoid picking the terminal bud (found at the top center of the plant) this will help to keep the plant productive. The small, tender leaves can be eaten uncooked and used in salads. Cut and cook the larger leaves like spinach, remove the large tough leaf ribs before cooking.

Store kale as you would any other leafy green. Put kale in a bag and store it in the refrigerator. It should last about 1 week.

Consider planting,
* ‘Vates’, which is a hardy variety and does not yellow in cold weather. It also has curly, blue-green leaves.
* ‘Winterbor’, which resembles the ‘Vates’ variety, and it is frost tolerant.
* ‘Red Russian’, which has red, tender leaves and is an early crop.

brusselkale Source FOX News Report
A new hybrid from U.K. vegetable breeder Tozer Seeds that’s a hybrid (Not a GMO) of two super trendy vegetables, Brussels sprouts and kale.
BrusselKale is set to make its North American debut in Toronto later this month.
According to Tozer Seeds, the leafy green vegetable gets its “fantastic flavor by combining the complex taste of the Brussels sprout with the mild, sweet ‘nutty’ taste of the kale.”
Note: I have looked on Tozer Seeds web site and can’t seem to find this Brussels sprout/Kale hybrid listed in their catalog.

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