Wednesday, December 31, 2008

food storage talk and new to twitter

I was just analyzing my food storage. Wondering what I needed to stock up on again for a few months. Somehow, December was a good month and I put away quite a bit more food than I thought I would. I got my fats - shortening, oils, and cooking sprays - built up again. The stock isn't huge, I don't want them to go rancid, but I've got enough to last me until spring at least. That is a good feeling.

It is a great time to take inventory and assess what you need at this time in anticipation of a New Year.

What sorts of things are you succeeding at and what things do you need to focus on?

I need some dry powdered milk in my storage. (Just in case I find a good recipe that calls for powdered milk. I don't think I could ever drink the stuff straight.)

Happy New Year!!

And I just joined Twitter - feel free to follow me. (Click on the link in the top right corner.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dry Pack Canning

My sister-in-law got use of a dry pack canner the other day, so I took advantage and borrowed it for a minute to pack some oats and popcorn. (Shown in pictures is the packing of oats.)

First we filled the 10# cans full... we used the red bucket to easily catch whatever we spilled.

Oxygen packs were placed to keep the product fresh.

Next come the lidsThis is how we seal the lid on the cans - with this great canner machine. It spins around and seals the lid on.

Here is the final product - labels and all. Great, huh? I'm happy to have a few extra things in storage and safely packaged.
Have you ever used a dry pack canner before?

Friday, December 12, 2008


I am still here. We have been busy with craft fairs. My last scheduled craft fair is tomorrow - if you are in Jackson Hole, WY, please stop by the Virginian Convention Center and say hello. We are hoping the snow doesn't cause too much trouble tomorrow - if it shows up. There are several inches predicted.

We had a bread class today. A good time was had by all. One of my favorite moments was the cinnamon roll treats we got to sample at the end - I always love a good cinnamon roll.

Though, don't get me wrong, the company and conversation was good, too.

I'll talk to you again soon - after this next craft fair.


Monday, December 1, 2008

FREE Bread Classes Available

I've decided to teach {FREE} bread classes to all who want to come and refine their bread techniques, or who want to learn about different kinds of wheat, grinders and flour, or who just need a social outing!

Wanna come?

We just had a class last week. We had a LOT of fun and learned lots of tricks. It was a hands-on class, so you know how to "feel" when the bread is ready when you try this at home. It was a totally custom class. We chose to work with hard red wheat and spelt. We learned to make bread and then voted to make cinnamon rolls with the extra. We swapped recipes, talked and shopped while the bread rose and then when the cinnamon rolls were done baking, we each got to eat one.
They were DELICIOUS!!

More classes are available upon request.
I have a few scheduled and would be happy to work something out to fit your schedule.

It is a lot of fun and I hope you'll join us for a class sometime soon.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Treadin' Water & Fats

Does anyone else feel like you are just treading water when it come to keeping up with food storage?

Some people really think I am the expert. I guess, in a way I can be an expert - I have great advice, but right now, I need to follow it better. My three boys are growing and eating SO much more everyday I am starting to wonder if I'll have enough food for the time frame that I'd planned. I can't imagine how it will be when they are in their teenage years! It already seems like the eat all day long. Maybe it will be better because they will be able to make their own food instead of needing my constant supervision for every little thing? But then, they will just inhale more, right?

I think I need to recalculate. Or maybe just start praying for miracles - like that miracle in the Bible where the oil and flour never quite ran out for that lady who shared all that she had - that last cake that was supposed to be for her son.

On another note... I do hope everyone had time to be grateful and celebrate the harvest on that wonderful Thanksgiving Day. I am so grateful {this year, especially} to be able to get together with family and enjoy all the time spent with them. I love being with family.
And I can't wait to decorate for Christmas at my house. Christmas means magic to me.

I am focusing on oils right now. I finally went to WinCo today and decided to finally stock up on oils - I got 4 cooking sprays (big ones), 2 cans of shortening (with no trans fat!) and 1 bottle of canola oil to add to my collection of stored fats already downstairs.
(Does stored fats sound funny to anyone else but me? I'm laughing really hard about it right now.)

By the way - I use the cooking spray oils a LOT in my bread making, so I go through it really fast.

Until later...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Upcoming Holiday Wishes

The talk this week is of Thanksgiving, Christmas and Black Friday.

I am very excited for Thanksgiving and getting even more excited about Christmas.
What about you? Are you getting excited? Is it going to be a happy holiday season for you and your family?

I worry about what the economy is doing - I am hoping that my blogging friends find all well during these holidays and that you are all permitted to celebrate as you please.

On a side note, if you need ideas for Christmas gifts, don't forget to check out my favorite websites for bread ingredients and tools for making excellent bread ( and of course there are some great Christmas deals if you need a grain mill or a Bosch - or better yet, a combination of the two!
And then everyone can give/receive the best hand cream I've EVER used in my life! (See I'm working on putting together an excellent holiday special - any suggestions? ;)
I'd love to hear what you would like for Christmas.

Have you noticed that $0.99 a can for large cans of pumpkin is a deal? It is on sale for only a few more days. If you use pumpkin at all and didn't bottle it yourself this year, you might want to check that out.

Otherwise, I've been trying to restock my personal supply of yeast (I like to keep at least 2 one pound bricks of SAF yeast on the shelf) and other bread making ingredients (such as dough enhancer and honey).

Happy Shopping...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I have been in craft fair mode for several weeks now. I've done a few already and am now getting ready to do one of the biggest ones in the Idaho Falls area (in Idaho, of course).

So, if you can make it, come see me on Saturday, Nov. 22 at Bonneville High School. I'll be in a hallway somewhere (not the gym) peddling Geneva Springs (Skin Cream) products.

I am looking forward to it. It really is a great craft fair.

p.s. Heather - are you still looking for Clear Jel? I bought some extra if you need it. I got it in Utah last weekend and really, I am working on becoming a vendor for it. (I just found a decent source to work with.)
Let me know - we could meet up at the craft fair.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Clear Jel

Today's Question:
Where do you get Clear Jel for making the pie filling recipes?

I get mine in Rexburg, Idaho at a local health food store. If you want directions, call me (390-0595)
They get a large quantity and then repackage it into smaller quantities - so it is labeled with their own label and packaged into ziploc bags.
I've also gotten it in Logan, Utah at Kitchen Kneads.

I'm working on finding a good source so I can sell it on my HiStakes-Spelt website. Wish me luck on that. My ultimate plan is to have a supply of canning items - bottles, lids, clear jel, the works so I can help all my friends who want to pursue the art of canning. I'll let you know when I find it.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Election Results and first food storage assignment

I've been so tied up in the results of the election, I've forgotten to post!

Now that that is over, maybe I can get on with the rest of the important things in my life.

Have you noticed sales at the grocery stores? I prefer to buy Western Family brand items. I love their taste and quality and especially the price.

November tends to be a baking kind of month, so we will look forward to adding baking items to our food storage this month.

Cake mixes are on sale for $0.69 this week. That is a great price to stock up for the winter
and Cooking Oil is a decent price.

So, this week's assignment - take $10 and stock up on those two items for your food storage - what ever you might need in the quantities you might need. Don't over do it, just get a supply for a few months time. We'll do more soon. If you don't eat cake, you can stock up on oil. (But don't you need a supply for making a birthday cake sometime during the year?)

Happy stocking!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Agriculture Challenged - Read this before you VOTE

We found this article very disturbing... I like to eat and would prefer not to go out of the farming business over this. Tell me what you think after reading it...
(p.s. This article came from Farm Futures News online)

Obama Comments on Agriculture Challenged

McCain-Palin ag committee says it is troubled by Obama's statements to Time magazine.
Jason Vance

On Friday leaders of the McCain-Palin 2008 Farm & Ranch Committee held a telephone press conference to challenge statements about agriculture made by Barack Obama to Time magazine.

"I think he really doesn't understand agriculture," said Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa. "I'm asking people to think twice if they are in agriculture about voting for Senator Obama."

The quote in question, which was published recently in Time started as a question about U.S. energy policy, and in his answer Obama made the following comments:

"I was just reading an article in the New York Times by Michael Pollen about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. And in the mean time, it's creating monocultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs because they're contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in healthcare costs. That's just one sector of the economy. You think about the same thing is true on transportation. The same thing is true on how we construct our buildings. The same is true across the board."

Says Missouri Governor Matt Blunt: "I think this shows a real lack of understanting and a lack of judgement. Barack Obama specifically cited this idea that American farmers are responsible for global warming arguing that American agriculture produced more greenhouse gases than American transportation. That's just not true, that is a statement that is not factual."

Blunt says that he thinks Obama says one thing in one place and the exact opposite somewhere else depending on who he percieves his audience is.

Charlie Kruse, Missouri Farm Bureau president and co-chair of the McCain-Palin 2008 Farm and Ranch Committee, is troubled by the statements and also offended by them.

"Senator Obama seems to suggest that agriculture is responsible for everything from diabetes to obesity to heart diesease," Kruse said. "Another troubling part of this is he tries to connect all of this it seems to me to our use of fossil fuels in agriculture. That right there tells me he doesn't have an understanding of agriculture."

Kruse said that he believes practically every clear thinking person in this country knows and understands that we are the best fed and best clothed country in the history of the world because of the hard work of farmers and ranchers.

"I'm not interested in an explanation from Senator Obama about why he made these comments. I would just say it is a concern and quite frankly it is frightening that he would say these things in the first place," Kruse said. "I don't want a person like this representing me as President of the United States. One of the many things that impresses me about Senator John McCain, is he'll tell you what he thinks and he'll say the same thing in a small community of 200 people in the Heartland that he says in New York City and Los Angeles."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Apple Pie Filling Recipe

Apple Pie Filling Recipe

As promised, here is the recipe. It will be in similar fashion to the peach pie filling recipe: one set of ingredients needed for one quart and another set needed for seven quarts.

Ingredients needed for one quart:
Blanched, sliced fresh apples - 3-1/2 cups
Granulated sugar - 3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons
Clear Jel - 1/4 cup
Cinnamon - 1/2 teaspoon
Cold water - 1/2 cup
Apple juice - 3/4 cup
Bottled lemon juice - 2 Tablespoons
Nutmeg - 1/8 teaspoon
Yellow food coloring (optional) 1 drop

Ingredients needed for seven quarts:
Blanched, sliced fresh apples - 6 quarts
Granulated sugar - 5-1/2 cups
Clear Jel - 1-1/2 cups
Cinnamon - 1 Tablespoon
Cold water - 2-1/2 cups
Apple juice - 5 cups
Bottled lemon juice - 3/4 cups
Nutmeg - 1 teaspoon
Yellow food coloring (optional) 7 drops

Instructions for either set of ingredients:
Use firm, crisp apples. If apples lack tartness, use an additional 1/4 cup lemon juice for each 6 quarts of slices.
Wash, peel and core apples. Prepare slices 1/2 inch wide and place in water containing ascorbic acid to prevent browning (note: I skip the ascorbic acid part.)

Place apples in boiling water (no more than 6 cups in 1 gallon boiling water at a time). Boil each batch 1 minute after the water returns to a boil. Drain but keep heated fruit in a covered bowl or pot. (This is called "blanching" your apples.)

Combine sugar, Clear Jel, and cinnamon in large kettle with water and apple juice. If desired, food coloring and nutmeg may be added. Stir and cook on medium high heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Fold in drained, blanched apple slices immediately and then fill quart jars with mixture without delay, leaving 1 inch headspace. Adjust lids and process immediately for 40 minutes in a boiling water canner.

NOTE: Do NOT use Ultra-Jel. It is only for cold or low heat procedures. You MUST use Clear-Jel.

This recipe comes from my mom through the Ag Extension Office.

Enjoy. And thanks for the reminder to get this recipe out. =)

Oh, and another note... we love to use this not only for pies, but for crisps, cobblers, and toppings on ice cream, and cheesecake. I'm making myself hungry!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Spelt and Hard White Wheat available

Did I ever mention that we have this years harvest of spelt now available and ready for sale (and shipping). We also have hard white wheat bagged and ready.

Spelt is available in 25 lb and 50 lb bags.
Hard White Wheat is available in 50 lb bags and 45 lb buckets (all ready for storage).

For prices, go here:

Talk to you again soon.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Apple Pie Filling

My boys asked me if they could help me put away the apple pie filling.
"No, not yet," I replied.
Then the oldest said, "Oh, you have to take more pictures?"
"Yes, I have to take more pictures." =)

He knows the program. I have to take pictures to prove how pretty everything is and that it is so completely possible to do. And I love to have show and tell with my blog and blogger friends.

(What am I going to blog about when I am done blogging about canning? I'll have to get creative until next year?)

So, here is the apple pie filling:

Pretty, huh? I love looking at the beautiful apple slices in there.

I always blog when I am completely busy or completely tired. Today, I'm tired and hope my blogging isn't lacking too much of wit or information. I apologize if it is. I'll be more awake after we complete the potato harvest. At least that is the goal --- only one more day to go? (We are praying and hoping to finish on Saturday, probably really late and early into the morning.)

I'll post the actual recipe later. Watch for it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Apple Juice

More canning of apples:

Today's Show and Tell: Apple Juice

My favorite part of these pictures is the color variance. Isn't it cool how much the colors can change depending on the batch of apples and the variety we used? Isn't it pretty?

I think we ended up with 3 very distinct colors of juice.

CONFESSION: This is the first time I have EVER bottled apple juice - or any juice for that matter. It was SOOO--- easy! Why haven't I done this before? It only takes 10 minutes in a water bath canner (a.k.a cold pack canner?)

And why did I have so much juice, you ask?
From the day we made applesauce. I used my juicer and put some of the juice back into my applesauce, but still had tons left over. We had some nice, juicy apples, I guess.

(Did you watch the one minute long Johnny Appleseed clip? "...The Lord is good to me..."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tribute to Johnny Appleseed

I've been canning apples for the last three days and today, when my mom came over to help for a bit, she reminded me of this song and movie - Disney's Johnny Appleseed. And, she got this song stuck in my head - from the movie. Go here to hear it and even watch a few clips of the video:

What a fun video. Brings back good memories of peeling apples for pies as a kid.

The apples are plentiful for us this year. Our trees produced wonderful apples and the birds or bugs didn't even get too many of them.

Today's show and tell: Applesauce

The apples were beautiful, red and sweet. And they made good sauce - the brown is mostly natural, with very little help from the added cinnamon.

Side note: I keep doing "canning classes." In fact, one was the other day, doing applesauce.
We frequently discussed how applesauce really isn't that hard to make, it is just such a long process for what doesn't seem like a lot of bottles canned at the end of the day.

Are you familiar with canning applesauce? I am assuming you are. If not, let me know and I'll be more specific.

Here are a few tips I've learned:

** Use a juicer to cook down your apples. Many people I know use a stock pot to cook down apples and then end up burning several batches of the apples. Use a juicer. You only have to worry about keeping the bottom full of water. And as a bonus - you get apple juice to either put back into your applesauce or to drink or to bottle and use for later.

** Use a "Victorian Strainer" or even a good Back to Basics Tomato Strainer has the capabilities to make good sauce.

** Don't fret about making a huge sticky mess while doing applesauce. It happens to most people who face up to the challenge.

Are those good tips? The most important one is the juicer tip.

I love homemade applesauce!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Peach Pie Filling Recipe

I've had enough requests to share my recipe. Rather than email to those who really care, I'm just going to blog it.

Before we start, there is one thing you need to know: there are two recipes here - one to make 1 quart of filling (1 pie/cobbler/whatever) and then to make 7 quarts. You just need to choose if you are going to can 7 quarts and enjoy the pie filling later, or if you just need enough to make a killer dessert tonight. Ready?

Ingredients and quantities needed for 7 quarts (canning load):
Sliced fresh peaches 6 qts
Granulated sugar 7 cups
Clear Jel 2 cups
Cold water 8 cups
Cinnamon (optional) 1 tsp.
Almond extract (optional, but YUMMY) 1 tsp.
Bottled lemon juice 1 & 3/4 cups

Now, ingredients for 1 quart:
Sliced fresh peaches 3 & 1/2 cups
Granulated sugar 1 cup
Clear Jel 1/4 cup
Cold water 3/4 cup
Cinnamon (optional) 1/8 tsp.
Almond extract (optional, but YUMMY) 1/8 tsp.
Bottled lemon juice 1/4 cup

Select ripe, but firm peaches. Peel peaches - to loosen skin, submerge peaches in boiling water for approximately 30-60 seconds, then place in cold water for 20 seconds. Slip off skins and prepare slices 1/2 inch thick.
For fresh fruit, place 6 cups at a time1 gallon of boiling water. Boil each batch 1 minute afte rthe water returns to a boil. Drain, but keep heated fruit in a covered bowl or pot.
Combine water, sugar, Clear Jel, and, if desired, cinnamon and/or almond extract in a large kettle. Stir and cook over medium high heat until mixture thickens and begin to bubble. Add lemon juice and boil sauce 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Fold in drained peach slices and continue to heat mixture for 3 minutes. Fill jars without delay, leaving 1 inch headspace. Adjust lids and process immediately.
Recommended process time for peach pie filling in a boiling water canner: 40 minutes.

I got this recipe from my mom.

I just made this recipe for the one quart to make a "fresh" peach crisp. It is divine! I used way more peaches than it called for in the 1 quart recipe, and I didn't boil them before combining them with the sauce. I just heated them with the sauce after it was thickened. It turned out wonderfully. I feel guilty eating almost the entire thing! =)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Grain Mills: VitalMill vs. NutriMill

Have you heard of the new VitalMill? It has been around for a few months, I'm just slow at talking about it. Since it is still relatively new, I decided to do a little comparison for you between the "new guy" and the "favored unit." If you are looking at grain mills, this is a must read.

The VitalMill:

The Nutrimill:
Are you ready for the comparison so you can become an expert and thus know which grain mill best fits your needs? Here goes!

First, the VitalMill features:
  • VitalMill grinds non-oily grain (wheat, rye, spelt, millet, rice, corn, beans, quinoa, amaranth & oats
  • 20 cup bowl capacity
  • Strong, durable stainless steel milling heads
  • Self cleaning chamber
  • Free-flow air design. It will not overheat.
  • Hopper extension for larger capacity and quieter milling
  • Wide opening access mill lid
  • Easy grip handle
  • Clog free - no gumming, no jamming, no plugging
  • ETL approval (US & Canada)
  • 5 year warranty

Now the NutriMill features:
  • Nutrimill grinds wheat (both hard and soft), oats, rice, triticale, kamut, spelt, dried pinto beans, popcorn, split peas, buckwheat, barley, rye, millet, sorghum, dried mung beans and soybeans!
  • Over 20 cup bowl capacity (largest available)
  • Ergonomically designed control knobs and bowl handles for safe and easy use
  • 1:1 ratio for milling grain into flour: fill the hopper once and get a bowl full of fresh flour!
  • TruTrack (tm) bowl locking system - connects right every time
  • Patent Pending TruFeed (tm) - precision grain flow control
  • Easy grip hopper lid for easy access and quieter operation
  • World's first variable, high speed mill motor
  • # 3xAirFlow (tm) - for improved motor cooling and longer mill life
  • Improved texture control - from fine flour to cereal grain
  • Nutrimill can be turned on with grain already in the hopper, and can even be switched off and back on again with grain still in the milling chamber without plugging!
  • Lifetime Manufacturer's Warranty: This great warranty includes the Nutrimill's stainless steel milling heads!
So there are the basics. It has also been noted that the VitalMill is still quite noisy - especially compared to the NutriMill, however, if you are on a budget, get some earplugs, and the VitalMill will do a very nice job at milling your flour.

Until next time,
Happy shopping.

p.s. And to see more grain mills or to purchase on of these (on sale now in time for Christmas) check out our Grain Mills page:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Freezer Jam - Apricot

So, I inherited a lot of apricots last month. I couldn't eat them all by myself. They were very large and tasty, so I decided to make freezer jam with them. I made SEVERAL batches of jam. (It's been about a month, so I don't remember exactly how many I did and I am not in the mood to go dig into my freezer and count them. oh well...)

If you need encouragement for making freezer jam - it is way easy. It really takes closer to 45 minutes by the time you stir everything and get the sugar dissolved. The package claims it only takes 30 minutes. Not true. But they aren't far off. Scroll down for a killer recipe using apricot or peach jam.

Ready? Here is my most favorite killer recipe for using apricot or peach jam:


Cut 2 uncooked chicken breasts in 1/2 inch squares.
Toss with 3 Tablespoons taco seasoning. Brown in oil.

1 - 1-1/4 c. salsa
1/2 - 3/4 c. peach or apricot jam

Simmer together and serve over rice.

Easy and VERY yummy! Enjoy!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Pretty Peaches Direct from Idaho

In an earlier post, I talked about going to the Boise area to get peaches and pears. Well, we've ended up going 3 times, plus trucking some in. The response has been amazing! We can hardly keep them in stock.

The fruit is beautiful and it has been a long time since I have had such sweet, wonderful fruit. I'm hooked. And I still have some more to do.

This first picture is of our garage after our first run to Boise. We were amazed how much we had here in our garage. And it was gone in a flash - with people anxiously picking up their fruit.

Peaches - closer up. I've learned a lot about later variety peaches this year. I've enjoyed all of them - Red Globes, J.H. Hales, Summer Ladies, and Elbertas have been our most favorites.

These are the Red Globes. I had my cousin over and we bottled 77 jars in one day - with 4 kids running around us. Talk about a marathon! We were worn out when we were done.

I tried peach pie filling this year. It is tasty! I used the Summer Ladies for this one and am glad I did. They were just right - firm, pretty and really tasty sweet. I'm drooling thinking about it. (Need the recipe? Email me and I'll send it to you revealing my secret ingredient(s).)
This is not the best picture (not clear at all) but I think you can tell the color difference between the Red Globe and these Summer Ladies. They have just a little more color to them.
I love peach season - especially when I can get inexpensive fruit and then also help my friends and neighbors get some, too. It has been a fun adventure.

We are talking about doing it more next year. (Getting more fruit.) So, if you missed out, plan on getting in on the action next year. (Unless you let me know soon - we are getting one more shipment together before we start potato harvest.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Quick update

I just want you to know I did not fall off the face of the earth- I've just been running crazy.

We made the "run" to the other side of the state of Idaho for Peaches and Pears, as I mentioned earlier. We had such a great response, we decided to make another run. So, off we go again.
I love Idaho Fruit - they come in real 1/2 bushel boxes for a great price rather than 1/3 bushel boxes for lots of money.

My cousin came over today and we had a marathon canning day. You will be impressed to know we did 11 batches of peaches today and 2 yesterday - grand total of 91, so far. We still each have at least one more full box to do something with. I am excited to make desserts, pie filling and waffles with mine. =)

I am anxious to show off pictures of our latest adventures and will do that soon. I think a good blog has pictures, so I'm taking them, I just need a little more time to post them.

Talk to you again soon... at this time of year I think of hundreds of things to post, but there just isn't enough time in the day for me to keep up with everything. I will do my best to post again soon.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fresh Peaches and Pears

Hello again. I decided to get peaches and pears for canning - anyone want some? I'm getting them for such a deal and would love to share.

Most people are selling them for at least $17-$24/ half bushel box. (Half bushel is about 24 lbs)
I can get them and sell them for $12/ half bushel.

Then I am also able to get pears for a deal, too. $13.50/ half bushel.

If you want them, I will deliver (meet you) anywhere from Boise to Rexburg, Idaho.

I am needing to go this week, so don't delay. I will place the order on Wednesday and go get them on Friday. Contact me on my business phone: 208-390-0595 or email:

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.

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-

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?

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.

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 (, 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?

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.

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.

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?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

White Wheat Available Soon

I was notified by my suppliers that we will have winter wheat available this fall. We are planning to get 50 lb bags prepared and possibly some 45 lb buckets (all ready for storage).

For current availability, check here: HiStakes Hard White Wheat

I need your help. Would anyone (you, friends, family) be interested in white wheat? or are you more interested in spelt? And would you prefer the buckets or bags?

Pricing for the white wheat would be in the neighborhood of $20-$25/ 50 lb bag and $25-$30/ 45 lb bucket. I'm not sure on the exact price, yet, but we will get that figured out really soon.

Any interest? Please comment and let me know.

Thanks for your help! Talk to you again soon.

Recipe Ideas for Peas

Just so you know, my husband LOVES, and I mean LOVES peas. So he is worrying that we don't have enough yet. I might be watching more movies and shelling lots more peas... we'll see if they are getting too old yet.

Today's Question:
Do you have any extra yummy recipes you use with your peas? Or do you just nuke them and add butter?

A lot of times, we just nuke (microwave) the peas and add a little butter and salt.

For something more creative than that? Try my secret to a great salad that could otherwise present itself as boring? Add peas. Just run the frozen peas under cool water so they thaw, and throw them into your salad. I dress up mandarin chicken salads this way, as well as plain old chef salad, dinner/lettuce salad, macaroni salad, 7 layer salad.... oh and don't forget just plain old pea salad. Yumm!
My other secret ingredients to a great salad? Almond slices and bacon bits (depending on the salad).

I'm making myself hungry thinking about all the ways I use peas. Anybody want to have a pea salad party?
My other favorite way to use them is either on the side or on top of fettuccine alfredo.

Anybody need the recipes? or are you getting the idea?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Peas in my Food Storage

Do you know the story of the ant and the grasshopper? I think of that story a lot these days and how I'm doing my best to be like the ant, diligently gathering a preparing for winter. I hope my feeble efforts are enough. Sometimes they seem very feeble.

We have been busy working on storing our peas these days. I won't tell you how many hours of movies we have watched just shelling the peas. I know it is a lot of work and I also have economist friends that tell me I'm wasting my time. It is more economical to buy them.

Well, I don't care. I agree it is a lot of work. I love teaching my children how to work and help and most importantly, how to enjoy eating fresh peas right from the pod. All of my kids (ages 3, 2, & 1) enjoy fresh peas.

I don't usually share pictures of my kids on this blog, but I really couldn't help myself this time. They were good helpers - they picked the fat pods off the plants, and then as we shelled them, they picked the peas out of the pods when I popped them open. Eventually, they figured out how to pop the pods open themselves.

This is what one of my freezer shelves looks like. 20 quart bags ready for winter.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Food Storage Crisis & Peas


I am living in "food storage crisis mode." Meaning, I am living off of my food storage as much as possible and don't buy much at the grocery store other than fresh fruits/vegetables and fresh dairy products. It happens to many, if you are prepared, things go a little easier.

Now What?

So, since I don't really have the resources to build much of a food storage, I at least am trying to maintain having at least one or two extra of the things I store. For example, small cans of fruit or vegetables that don't cost much, I try to maintain at least 5 extra on a good week (if I run out of what I have stored). For oils and things that last a little longer, I try to maintain at least one extra (or two if I find a good sale).

In the End

If you are also in crisis mode, I understand. I've been there lots. Hang in there and do what you can, and know you can confide in me, if you find you need someone who understands. Just do your best, and hopefully that will be enough.

p.s. I am freezing peas. I love frozen peas and our crop was a good one this year, so I am filling my freezer with as many peas as I can pick and shell. Does anyone else freeze or can (bottle) peas?

Recipe for freezing peas:
Pick peas
Shell peas
Wash peas
Boil water. Dump in peas. Cook for 3 minutes in boiling water. Remove from boiling water and immediately cool in cold water (in a sink?). Place peas in freezer safe ziploc bags. Squish air out of bags and seal. Write year on bags (for proper rotation purposes). Place bags in freezer. Done.

Easy. One tip: use strainers for cooking and cooling your peas. You will have less peas that try to escape.

Now I'm off to do my peas...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy Pioneer Day & Soap

Pioneer Day
Today, we celebrate Pioneer Day and the Pioneers crossing the country and settling in the west. It has also been a busy week with several family reunions. I hope you are all busy as well, and just wanted to give you a little insight into my life. July is a busy time of year...

Laundry Soap
I have been thinking a lot about food storage. The other day, you'll never believe it! I went to do laundry and had NO laundry soap anywhere in the house. Somehow, it had all magically, mystically disappeared. I had a few months stocked up, so I thought. So, now I need to focus on restocking my laundry soap. Good thing my sister-in-law bailed me out - she has her supply of laundry soap stocked up and ready for anything.

We were also talking, after the laundry soap thing, that some of the most necessary things are going to be things to keep up with your personal hygiene. Deodorant, shampoo, soap, laundry soap, dishwashing or just dish soap.

As I talk to people, they end up using their food storage during economic "crisis" times, when someone lost a job or during other financial troubles. If you have your food and personal hygiene storage, you will be able to survive for a little bit longer on what you have.

So, don't forget the little things as you stock up and work on that storage.

I think I'll start a new poll - here on the side of the blog... please help me fill it out and determine how much personal stuff we need for 3 months, and then for 1 year. I would love some help with this. I am having a hard time deciding how much toothpaste, and deodorant I need to stock up on.

What do you think?


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