Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Time To Get Some Corn In The Freezer!

Some garden produce I freeze I'm so so about.  It's okay, but not great.  Corn does not fall into that category.  Farm fresh corn, blanched and frozen, tastes exactly like ... well, like ... corn on the cob! It's a 'must have' for the freezer for me each year.

All it it takes is the time to boil the water, six minutes to blanch and you are ready to cut those niblets off and bag 'em! ~

For the full instructions on how to blanch your own; click on  How Easy Is It To Freeze Corn?

The only mucky part of the business was cutting the corn off the cobs with a knife.  Not anymore!

This amazing Oxo Good Grips Corn Peeler made the job a breeze. ~

It took about 5 rows of corn off, neat as a pin, with each swipe.  You can tell I've been using it already by the bits stuck on the blade.  The niblets were nice and even and there was no cutting into the cob by accident.  Bit of a bumber for the chickens, who didn't get to pick off all at the corn bits that were left over as usual.  Don't go feeling all sorry for them and reporting me to the chicken branch of PETA!  I threw them a few cobs to make up for it.

My Oxo Good Grips Corn Peeler was a gift, but I'm so hot on it I went looking for it on It's $9.99 and shipping is free if you include it with another $35 order.  Amazon has a whole bunch of discounts on orders over $25, so it pays to look for the Add On labels when you are shopping on that site and combine orders with friends whenever you can.'

I'll be ordering one of these for all my organic food loving friends and any of the kids in the family who wear braces.  Yay, they can have corn on the cob again!

I feel ridiculously good at this time of year, when I see nature's bounty going into jars and freezer bags. ~

I have to put a little disclaimer here.  As of today, I'm an affiliate.  I'm not totally sure what that means, but my blogging friends told me to do it.  If you bought a gazillion of these things I might get rich, or at least make enough money to pay my blog hosting fees.

I sure hope this doesn't bother any of you and I promise never to link to a product that I haven't used and loved myself!

Monday, 18 August 2014

Playing Hooky

It's been a very rainy, cold summer in Ontario and there haven't been nearly enough days for this.~

Yesterday was so cold you had to wear a jacket to go outside in the middle of the day.  So, when the sun shone bright and warm today and my sister and brother in law suggested we head out on the river, I was all for it!

Sure I meant to keep doing this, but the sun and waves were calling my name. ~

In fact, it looks like the whole village put down their sealer jars and headed out into the sun!

I thought you just might want to play hooky with us!

While most people like to go down to the busy end of the river, where all the camps are, you need traffic lights to negotiate the boat traffic.  ~

We're going to stay up at my end of the river where very few daytrippers venture. ~

I hope you brought a camera because it's teeming with wildlife up here.  Great blue herons watch us from the shoreline and the Grand River snapping turtles sun themselves on fallen logs, without bothering to turn their heads as we pass.

On the next dock over from mine, a neighbour baits his fishing rod. ~

I see his wife and daughters are taking time off for a little glide up stream. ~

Instead of chatting over the fence today, neighbour after neighbour waves from their dock or boat.  Not a lawn mower runs in the village.  Not a house has an industrious person working away inside.

The sun sets and I don't feel the least bit of guilt.

If ever there was a day to put in a gratitude journal, this would be it! ~

And, if it's sunny again tomorrow, I'll do it all over again!

I'm sharing the fun with:  Inspire Me Monday

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Check Out This Paint Tip!

Who doesn't hate painting around door hardware?  It's way too much trouble to take the knob off or even loosen the plate to paint under it! ~

I was cutting little notches in Frog Tape so it would fit in a nice circle on the metal plate.  My friend, Wendy, couldn't see what I was doing and thought I was doing something altogether different.

She thought I was putting an elastic band around the plate.  Bingo!  Brilliant!  It works! ~

The elastic forms itself perfectly to the plate and is tight enough to make sure no paint bleeds underneath.  It's a breeze to remove and it's free with broccoli! ~

Thank you, Wendy, for that brilliant idea.  You saved me time, money and gave me a use for my elastic band hoarding habit!

Thursday, 7 August 2014

And The Winner Of The Chicken Hunger Games Is .....

Today was merge the chickens with Kay and Anne day.  I dread this process because chickens can be very, very mean to each other.  I'm talking blood spraying, chickens screaming, me screaming and me screaming some more!

Anne has spent the last week fighting through the chain link fence with any of the new gals who ventured near it.  I swear she thinks she's a rooster.  That must be why she's never laid an egg in her life!

This is the beginning of a fight between a Rhode Island Red (Anne) and a New Hampshire Red (Josie).  Up go the feathers, the screaming match starts and the beaks go for blood. ~

Neither state won because Camryn came in with that huge beak and Anne had to call for a medic. In case you are wondering, I'm the medic. ~

If you get chickens, make sure you get some of this styptic powder.  You have to get the bleeding stopped or all the chickens will go after the injured one. Anne was wearing quite a bit of this stuff! ~

Kay has been getting mighty peeved at waiting for me to put her in the coop when she wants to lay an egg. Today, she told Anne to peck on the patio door and get me out there pronto. ~

I can't keep running out and shuffling chickens in and out of the coop all day so I decided it was time they all kissed and made up.  I was determined to stay calm.  Maybe they would catch my good vibes and stay calm as well.  Guess what?  It worked!

Kay pecked everyone on the butt if they came near the food or looked at her sideways.  A couple of the new girls took offence and tried to start a fight.  Kay looked at them with disdain and they gave it up.  She didn't have to worry because Anne ALWAYS has her back covered!

Josie, Vivian and Camryn are free for the first time in their lives. ~

They may have been a little surprised to look back a the quarantine coop, that has been their home this past week, and see what frequently naps on the roof. ~

As long as they don't go in the coop while Kay is laying an egg, we have peace and harmony once again. Kay can yell louder and longer than any chicken I've ever known.  She struts and paces and lets them all know just who is running the show around here.  Step out of line and you'll get a peck on the butt.

Yes, Kay is the winner of the chicken hunger games.

All's well that ends well!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Gourmet Herb Butter For Steak

This time of year I begin to make herb flavoured butters to store in the freezer.  They are so simple to make, freeze beautifully and are a wonderful way to enjoy some summer freshness in the middle of a cold, Canadian winter.

One of my favourites is a recipe copied from a local bistro that puts a little pat of herb butter on each steak as it is served. ~

To make your own, you will need -

     1/2 cup unsalted butter
     1 TBSP finely chopped parsley
     1/8 TSP freshly ground black pepper
     1 TSP salt  (I used Himalayan sea salt)
     1 TBSP lemon juice

Mix the butter, parsley, salt and pepper together until well blended.

You can do this by hand or be as lazy as I am and mix it all up in a little chopper. ~

Add the lemon juice slowly to the mixture.  I put it in in thirds and gave it a spin with each addition.

Let the butter sit for around 30 minutes to absorb the flavours.  Let the herb butter firm up in the fridge if you are serving now or freeze it for later use.

Sometimes, I will roll the butter in a plastic wrap tube for the freezer but today I've used a small, ceramic condiment dish for freezing.  ~

Once it was frozen, I set the dish in warm water to release the cake of butter, sliced it into individual pats and put them in a freezer bag for long term storage.

Now I can remove just as many pats as I need at a time. ~

While you are at it, you may as well do some chive herb butter and you are all set for a baked potato.

The thought of winter doesn't seem all that bad any more!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Meet The New Gals!

Guess what I found in my chicken coop when I came home from dining at a friend's house last night?  I thought it very strange that Kay wasn't settled on her perch at 8:30 in the evening.  She's a stickler for an early bedtime and huffs and puffs at me if I'm late closing up the coop for the night.  She was pacing back and forth in front of the little quarantine coop.  As I reached down to pick her up and settle her in for the night, I realized my neighbour had delivered the chickens I was rescuing from an organic farm.

These poor ladies aren't laying up to commercial standards anymore and their days were numbered.

Vivian doesn't know what her fate was soon to be and looks unimpressed with the new digs. ~

These are all heritage breeds and she may be an Orpington.  She's named after an aunt that had hair that colour.  I think Auntie Viv would be okay with that.

It turns out Viv is a bit of a troublemaker.  The teenage girl next door brought the chickens home from the farm for me.  Since I wasn't home, she was worried the chickens would be uncomfortable in the cat carriers. Her dad told her not to let the chickens out but she figured they were fine in her rabbit run, with a 4' fence.

Viv flew out of there in a flash and the other two followed hot on her heels.  Now Mom, Dad and all three daughters were chasing wild chickens all over the village.  They told me those girls can certainly run!  I would give anything to have a picture of the dad racing through back yards with a pink butterfly net!  Yep, that's what he did.  The mom was shouting directions like, "We all have to work together to herd them into one spot." and "Everybody stop running in different directions.  We have to fan out and force them toward the coop."  From the tone of her voice when she told the tale, I don't think anyone listened to her.

This is Josie and I'm plum out of aunts to name my chickens after.  Josie is the last. ~

I think she may be a New Hampshire Red and they are noted for their aggression.  I can certainly tell you she gives a mean bite if you try to take an egg out from under her!

Just as I was out of auntie names to use, my niece asked if I would name a chicken after her some time. Wish fulfilled!  Meet Camryn and she's just as sweet tempered as my niece. ~

Kay and Ann are not pleased to be locked out of the run while the new gals get some exercise. ~

I'm pretty sure they were muttering about the indignity of having their supper al fresco.

For the next week I'll be shuffling chickens in and out of that run throughout the day, until they get used to each other.

In the meantime they have to content themselves with fluffing up their feathers and standing as tall as they can while they peck each other through the fence.

Let the Hunger Games begin! ~

I don't think my two coddled girls are going to win the fight with the gals from the big barn!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Dressing Up The Jam

With the computer being on the blink for a week, I've had lots time to gather this years raspberry crop and the first thing I did was make jam.  This is a bad thing because I love homemade raspberry jam and eat far too much of it!

The secret to great jam is adding some wild blackcaps if you can find them.

My friend, Wendy, was dressing her's up with a cute polka dot top made from cupcake liners and I thought I'd just steal that idea from her.

Mine were plain, old white but I thought I could fancy them up a bit with alphabet stamps. ~

This was so easy peasy and a wonderful way to do up sealer jars as gifts.  I fit the cupcake liner over the cap and screwed the ring on.  Of course, this was done after the jars had cooled and sealed. ~

Now, my jam wears the cutest, pleated mini skirt! ~

I'm still working on the computer issues and my niece (remember the delinquent 13 yr. old that was sent here last summer without any of her electronics?) is here for a week, so posting may be a bit hit and miss for a bit. You'll be glad to know the delinquent is here of her own free will this year and passed into high school with honours and awards.

I'd like to take credit for that but I'm thinking her dad slightly exaggerated the situation last year.  She sure never did anything close to as bad as I did as a teenager and look at me now.

I dress up jam jars for excitement!

I'm sharing with Make It Pretty MondayInspire Me MondayShow And Share PartyInspire Me Monday