Thursday, August 28, 2008

Inside the Combine

On this occasion, we are visiting "dad" and riding with him for a minute. Maybe I shouldn't say we try to squish my whole family in the cab. Good thing we are small.
We are harvesting grain and are just finishing one little section - not the whole field, nor the whole harvest. We still have lots to go.
So, this is us - farming. I thought you might enjoy being a part of it all.


video

Monday, August 25, 2008

Spelt is priced higher because...

Question of the Day:
Why is spelt significantly higher priced than wheat? It's just about the same stuff less the gluten-

Answer:
Spelt is higher priced because it is much more difficult to harvest. We harvest it the same, but it is still in the head after it goes through the combine, so we have to ship it far away to get it specially "dehulled" (taken out of the grain head) and then bagged and shipped back. And not to mention the fact that because it is hard to harvest, it is hard in turn, to get seed to grow the stuff (which turns out to be expensive to purchase). And not everyone wants to grow spelt because it doesn't have excellent yields like other wheats.

Grain is much easier, you just harvest it though the combine, clean out the chaff, bag it and you are done.

So why do we grow spelt if regular white or red wheat are much easier?

Well, someone has to do it. =)

Does that help?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Truck Farm

Today's Question:
Do we have produce for sale? Is it still in season or is it all gone?

Answer:
Yes. We are still running our truck farm in Idaho. Currently, we have beans, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, and potatoes - red, yellow, and russets. (All taste really good.)

The corn situation is looking good, it is just slow to really come on this year. Monday, we should have a good crop ready for sale. It should be about $4.00/dz. Lately, we haven't had very many ready and are just salivating getting ready for the good crop to be ready.

There will be a longer growing season this year - provided the weather cooperates.

And we will have pumpkins - lots of them - during pumpkin season.

If I think of other produce that we have and I forgot to tell you about, I will write a note later.

MOST IMPORTANTLY:
If you are local and want to come get some produce, contact me to place an order (if it going to be semi-large). Or if you are close to Rigby, Idaho, we "set up shop" every Saturday by Scotty's Hardware, starting somewhere between 9:30-10:00 am and go until we run out of stuff. (Corn usually goes fast.)

p.s. Anyone know about the peach crop in Utah? Was it damaged due to frost? Are the prices outrageous? Curious minds want to know.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Magic Beans in My Kitchen

I have magic beans. They must be purple bush beans. But they are magic. They grow just like a green string bean should only they are eggplant purple rather than green.

So, I processed them just like normal green beans - snapped them and washed them and prepared them for pressure cooking/canning. Here they are - proof - all pretty and ready to go, all in jars (still purple).

Not until I put boiling hot water in my jars to cover the beans did they even hint that they were normal green beans.
And magically, when they came out of the pressure cooker/canner, they were no longer purple. They were green! Amazing and magical. Turned out I got 14 quarts and all of them sealed.
It makes me really happy when they all seal. I usually have one that doesn't want to seal.
Aren't they pretty? I really enjoy the art of canning. It is a lot of work, but I love admiring and then eating the fruits of my labors. Food tastes better that way.

Does anyone really can (or preserve food) much anymore?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Spelt Harvest

The long awaited time has arrived. We started slowly harvesting spelt. Our first load has been transported far away to be cleaned and packaged. If you are anxiously awaiting and have signed up on my list (www.histakes-spelt.com/spelt.php), you will be alerted when it is on its way back. The time is coming!

I've taken a few pictures to share with you the beauty of Idaho havest time...

This is one of our wheat fields that makes me sing "America The Beautiful" as it turns from green to amber! I love watching the grain ripen and change colors.
This is actually spelt. This part is about ready for harvest!
And here we are - havesting. The combine just went past, the guys are making sure it is thrashing right, and we are in business for harvesting. I love havest in Idaho.

And just to add to the mood, this was our sunset tonight

Happy harvesting!

p.s. If I'm not such a faithful blogger in the next little while, it is because I am out driving a combine. I will catch up as soon as my employer will let me have a break. ;)

Friday, August 15, 2008

List of Personal Hygiene Supplies for 3 Months Storage

Thank you to those who participated in our poll. I think it was great to get feedback on how many items we use in our households. I have a terrible memory when it comes to time and dates, so remembering when I opened that last tube of toothpaste and figuring out how long it took me to use it is not an easy task. So, thanks for your help.

(And for the record, we pretty much all agreed on how many items we needed)

So, as you add personal hygiene products to your food storage or "emergency" storage or just storage, this is my recommendation for how many items you need to keep on your shelf (if you use one, then replace it and always have this number on your shelf):

These numbers are on a per person basis:
  • Deodorant: 2 sticks
  • Toothpaste: 2 tubes
  • Laundry Soap: 3 boxes/botttles of 32 load capacity
  • Shampoo/Conditioner: 1 bottle of each

Here are a few other things that weren't included in the poll that I think are necessary to include in your storage:
  • Body Soap (for bathing): 2 bars or bottles
  • Hand Soap (like at the sink): 1 bar per sink or 1 extra large jug of liquid soap
  • Toilet paper: I think this was discussed in a previous blog post, but I cannot remember what the numbers were...
  • Razors, for men or women: 3 of whatever kind you use (1 per month)
  • Shaving cream: 2 cans
  • Q-tips, 1 box
  • Toothbrushes: 1 extra, since you are supposed to rotate every 3 months
  • Bathroom cleaners: 1 extra bottle of each product you use.
If you have a baby, I also recommend you have a few extra essentials on hand:
  • Baby Shampoo: 1 bottle
  • Your favorite diaper rash ointment, or baby powder: 1 tube
  • Baby Tylenol: 1 bottle
  • Wipes: 1 extra package of however you buy them
  • Diapers: (just don't run out)
  • Lotion: 1 bottle
That should cover the basics. If I had to live off of it, I might survive. What do you think, did I miss much? Did I add too many things? or is it about right?
By the way, I know bathroom cleaners isn't really considered personal hygiene, but I know if my bathroom isn't clean, I sure don't feel clean, so I thought it was important to include it.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Spring Wheat vs. Winter Wheat

"Oh Beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain. For purple mountain majesty, above the fruited plain."

I love this time of year and I quite often find myself singing this song (above). The amber waves of grain trigger it. I love watching the grain turn from a lush green to a very soft green to deep gold to amber. I love harvesting food whether it be grain, apples, cherries, veggies, potatoes (ahh, the smell of potato dirt), or a variety of other foods. I love the changing seasons and colors... love it!

I've taken too long in answering today's question, but I think I have studied enough to provide a decent answer... ready?

QUESTION:
could you enlighten me on the difference between spring and winter wheat? I found some hard white spring wheat at Walmart here that I bought a bag of just to try it out. So wondering if winter will be similar.

ANSWER:
I know the difference between hard red spring and hard red winter is a difference in protein. The winter has a tiny bit less protein than spring wheat. Winter averages about 12% protein while spring wheat is closer to 14%. The winter wheat is a little harder than spring. And flour mills prefer to mix both spring and winter red wheats to make their flour blends that you buy from stores. The winter variety is better for baking (breads).
There isn't much difference between the soft white spring and soft white winter wheats. And as far as our research shows, there is not much difference between the hard white spring and winter varieties.

It is just a matter of taste and what you prefer to use.

So, what do you use in your baking?
  • Soft white wheat (spring and winter) is most often used for pastas.
  • Hard white (spring and winter) can be used for breads as well as specialty noodles
  • Hard Red is great for baking
  • Spelt (classified as hard red winter wheat) is great for some people who experience wheat allergies or just love the flavor over other varieties of wheat.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Homemade American Cherry Pie Filling

I was thinking baseball games, George Washington, and the Grand Old Flag as I worked last week. Did I even post anything? I cannot remember!

Here are a few things that took over my life for a few days: picking, pitting and canning cherry pie filling! YUMMM! It was totally worth every minute. And I made a little picture log for you: (Warning, you might become hungry and need to come visit so we can enjoy some cherry dessert together.)
________________________

This is only one of the buckets of cherries we picked. Aren't they beautiful?
This was my station for SEVERAL hours of pitting. I hand pitted my cherries. I had a cool antique tool that my mom used to use. I think I went faster when I just squished out the pits and didn't really care how pretty they turned out.


Pitted:
I just thought this was cool. This is the very beginnings of the sauce for the pie filling syrup or whatever it is called.

And now, into the canner for a long water bath.

The final product. I ended up with 19 quarts of cherry pie filling and it tastes wonderful. We only had one bottle break on us after we pulled it out of the water bath canning process (hate when that happens). And really, in the end, only one didn't seal. So, we made that for Sunday dinner's dessert. It was incredibly yummy. Wish you could have come and tasted it with us. We are all (in my family of boys) very proud of our accomplishments. This was a first. I've not done cherry pie filling before this.Need the recipe? It really isn't hard or too time consuming to do. Let me know and I'll send it to you.
I had a lot of distractions between kids and other things, so pitting the cherries took me longer than it should have. I almost think cherry pie filling is easier than apple pie filling.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

7 Layer Salad Recipe

7 layer salad

Would you like to know more? Envision in your head (or click on the link to see the recipe and the picture) that this lovely salad has peas (among other ingredients like waterchestnuts, lettuce, and a special, almost secret dressing).

History: I remember my mom made this salad at Thanksgiving dinner and some say for Christmas, too. I don't remember that part. Just Thanksgiving. It wasn't my favorite salad - ever - while I was growing up. It had too many green vegetables for me and it was a "grown-up" salad. Well, now that I've grown up and given it a second chance, it is really quite good. I enjoy eating and even making it.

I share it because it is one of those yummy pea recipes we like to make that I have been requested to share.

By the way, the link will take you to "The Taste of Joy" a very cute, delicious, and highly recommended food blog. Enjoy! And remember green vegetables are healthy for you! =)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

New peas and potatoes recipe


Just a great recipe for you, today - but you'll have to look in the comments section under the post for Recipe Ideas for Peas.
You will love it. New peas and potatoes is a hit and a perfect comfort food. Nice and creamy - and a great "harvest" meal.
What other pea recipes would you like me to share?

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