Homesteading Gumption Traps

Here’s another post from Digger!  I think I’ve got him hooked on this blogging stuff. ;)

According to Wikipedia “a gumption trap is an event or mindset that can cause a person to lose enthusiasm and become discouraged from starting or continuing a project.”  I could go on at length in this subject as I’m painfully familiar with it, but I’m afraid the length and breadth of it as a whole would soon intimidate my intentions of sharing insight gleaned from experience, thus leading to boredom and disinterest on my part and ultimately leaving this draft saved but unfinished for years before finally being deleted.  So why bring it up?  Well…

I’m always fiddlin’ around with some new interest, and always have every intention of finishing whatever that particular interest might be.  Far off in the back of my mind (where I don’t dare contemplate too deeply) there is a fond fantasy that someday I’ll start a project and work at it until it’s done without some distraction pulling me away.  I really don’t mind being distracted for the most part given that it’s typically caused by friends or family either with a need, or simply seeking fellowship; but what it means in the end is that I generally have half a dozen projects laying around the place cluttering things up.  Right now there’s a big hunk of aluminum on the lathe I’m trying to turn into a sanding disc for the shopsmith. (It’s made out of beer cans, but that’s another story)  Yea,…  It’s been there for about five weeks.

DiskLast Saturday while I was working on it Grace came out and asked if I could make her a tool that would cut the core out of apple slices…  It really only took a few minutes to grab one of those cheap (and dead) l.e.d. flashlights, chuck it up in the lathe to cut the ends off, and sharpen one end.  No problem.  The gumption trap came when I took the tool inside for her to use.  She was drying the apple slices in the dehydrator and making applesauce, which of course I needed to taste test. (Oh man did it smell good!)

Apple CorerNow look,… What I’m about to say isn’t derogatory in the least; Grace and I are best friends and I’m honored to be spending my life with her,…  BUT!  When we are both at home it can be hard for either of us to stay focused on whatever task may be at hand.  I have no idea what we talked about for an hour and a half that day, but we did.  We can talk about anything!  It could be the stupidist (is that a word?) subject in the world and we just chuckle and keep going.  Typically this is great, but it has drawbacks.  I remember one Saturday morning she came to me and sternly said; “You have to go to work today!”.  There was a long pause while I just stared at her.  I didn’t need to go to work that day.  So then she said “I have too much to do; YOU have to leave.”  And pointed at the door.  I don’t exactly know what she meant to do with that day in particular, but I got the message and made myself scarce. (probably a bunch of cookin’ for some church function, a birthday barbeque, or some other thing such as the like.  Frankly I can never keep up.)  I get it, and so does she, and now you might begin to appreciate how easy it is to spring the gumption trap around here.

Bird

Case in point; I nearly stepped on this little guy leaving for work the other morning. I have no idea where it came from but it was way too cold. An hour later I’d figured out the cab of my old dump truck was warm and cat proof. I didn’t know if it would find it’s way out the cracked window when I went to work, but it did.

For most folks there’s a line between the things that need done, and the things we want done.  When my wife gets involved that line gets kinda blurry.  Take her chickens for example.  We discussed raising chickens for a long time.  She did all the research and decided on the breed she wanted, and I was good with all that.  I kept telling her “when we have the facilities for chickens you can order them.”  What does she do?  Yea,… she goes right on ahead and orders them!  It’s summer time; I’m busy trying to get as many jobs done as I can before another winter sets in, and we have no place for a bunch of chicks! (I don’t care how cute they are!)  When she told me she’d gone ahead and done it, all I could do was laugh.  I really didn’t want to hear that the only way we were ever going to get prepared for the little buggers was to have them on their way.  I didn’t want to hear it because she was right.  I hate that!  This crafty little maneuver goes to show how familiar the Queen is with gumption traps as well.

DSCN3703 (600x800) (480x640)

This is me finally getting around to turning our storage shed into a chicken coop.

To clarify her perspective:  She’s been waiting for a mud room I’d promised to build on the end of our home since it was set up.  “Before the snow flies,” I’d promised.  That was seven years ago.  (Thank you Lord for patient women!)  We only have lawn because she said it was time we had a lawn.  When she said it I looked at her and immediately realized that it really WAS time.  Never mind the fact that it’s the first week in August.  It’ll be fine.  And it was; because I babysat that seedling grass for a week and a half! (BIG gumption trap!)  But hey,…  If you want to see grass seed germinate and grow in three days, just plant it when it’s over one hundred degrees outside.  Oh, and keep it wet.  Really, I mean that part.

This summer it was Cornish Cross meat chickens.  Grace wanted them to be the right size for the girls to take to the fair, and this meant ordering them on the right date.  I didn’t argue this time.  I just resigned myself to the inevitable and waited for a want to become a need…  Now don’t get me wrong,… I like the idea of raising our own meat chickens.  It’s nice to know what they’ve been fed and that they haven’t been shot full of antibiotics, or worse.  By the way, she did her homework (to the extent that she knew more than the vet at the fair) and has several posts on the subject if your curious.

Sure enough, after three weeks having been confined in an old playpen IN MY SHOP, the “need” came.  I’d begun to wonder if the heat lamp weren’t in fact a grow light given their phenomenal rate of growth.  I’m tellin’ ya, these things grow FAST, and had already begun to outgrow the playpen.  They couldn’t be turned loose with the laying hens, so new accommodations were needed.  This wasn’t a surprise; we’d talked about clearing out one side of the barn for them, but that never happened.  (Several gumption traps there.)  Now that it was time, the chore seemed daunting, and beings Grace really liked the idea of keeping them on the grass, I began to consider potential alternatives. (I’m thinking quick, cheap, and easy.)  There’s an old canopy off a pickup I don’t own anymore that would work, but it was in the same side of the barn we’d considered clearing out before.  By the time I’d have managed to get the thing dug out, the chore I was trying to avoid would have been half done.  Besides, it’s made of fiberglass which means it’s heavy, making it hard to move around for my ladies; and given I was the one rationalizing the most logical course of action to take I decided that the barn is an awful long ways from any lawn we’d want these chickens on…  I chewed on it awhile longer trying not to think about all the other things on my plate, and finally decided to build a “chicken tractor“.  I don’t think chicken tractor accurately describes what I built, but it met the needed requirements, and way better still; the Queen was happy!  I ripped some old lumber on the table saw, grabbed the screw gun, and by the end of the day had a 3′x3′x8′ frame.  This is about the time the girls insisted it needed some paint. (Another gumption trap!)

Painting 2Some scrap chip board cut into triangles for gussets on the corners gave it enough structural integrity to be moved around the yard without falling apart, and hardware cloth I bought at the hardware store (umm… is there a correlation there?) wrapped three sides and covered the door at one end.  We learned the hard way that standard chicken wire allows chicks to stick their heads through the mesh making a fine snack for any of the dozen or so barn cats we have running around. (Can’t have that happen again!)  The bottom was obviously meant to be open, but what about the top?  The chickens couldn’t get out, but the cats and other critters would be able to get in if left open.  It needed to be covered but light enough to move around easily, so tin or plywood was out.  Cornish Cross also need shade, so wire alone was also out.  I had a rare epiphany and asked Grace to go find one of the living room drapes she’d become disenchanted with.  These were factory drapes that came with the red double wide, and at least for the living room just didn’t suit.  In my mind the dimensions seemed about right, and I was sure they’d be sturdy enough, so why not?  We both laughed when we spread it over the top of the chicken tractor; it was a perfect fit!…  By the way; the chicken tractor is still sitting exactly where it was when we removed the Cornish Cross to be butchered.  That was two months ago!…  Oh yea,…  That must have been about the time Papa Dave limped his broken combine up to the shop!

Gumption Trap

 

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Easy Slow Cooker Applesauce With a Twist!

My mom picked up two boxes of apples for me the other day and now it’s Saturday and I have time to deal with them!!

ApplesI made slow cooker applesauce last month and ABSOLUTELY loved it!  So I knew that was where most of these apples would end up.  The rest are being dried, eaten in lunches, and maybe I’ll make some apple cake.

I said this was easy and I do mean EASY.  I peeled and sliced enough apples to fill my 6 quart slow cooker to almost over flowing.

 DSCN9682 (480x640)

Now for the twist….. I’ve been looking for more ways to use my homemade pumpkin pie spice mix so I added somewhere between 1 and 2 tablespoons to the crock pot and turned it on high for 4 hours (on low for 8 to 9 hours works too).  Oh how I wish you could have smelled the aroma coming from my crock pot! After 4 hours I stirred up the apples and let them cool for a bit.  If you like your applesauce a little lumpy you can leave it as is or you can blend it for a smooth consistency.  It took about 30 seconds with an immersion blender.  That’s it….I ended up with about 8 cups of  wonderful, fall flavored applesauce, no sugar needed!

Easy Slow Cooker ApplesauceWe eat most of this as fast as I can make it, but if you want you could freeze or can your applesauce for later. :)

Apple Sauce1

5.0 from 2 reviews
Easy Slow Cooker Applesauce With a Twist!
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • apples
  • pumpkin pie spice
Instructions
  1. Peel and slice enough apples to fill your slow cooker. Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice on the apples and cook them for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Let it cool off a bit and blend smooth with an immersion blender. My 6 quart crock pot made 8 cups of applesauce.

 

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Pumpkin Chip Bread or Muffins

Here is the first recipe I’m sharing that uses my homemade pumpkin pie spice mix.  This is so perfect for a cool fall day, and as a bonus it will make your house smell like fall too!

Pumpkin Chip Bread

Pumpkin Chip Bread or Muffins
 
Author:
Recipe type: Quick Bread
Ingredients
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup butter - melted
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
  • 1 cup chocolate chips plus ¼ cup for sprinkling on top
Instructions
  1. In a mixer or large bowl combine the pumpkin, vanilla, eggs, butter and yogurt. In a separate bowl stir together flours, sugar, salt, baking powder & soda, and Pumpkin Pie Spice mix. Pour dry ingredients into the mixer and blend well. Fold in the 1 cup of chocolate chips. Grease a loaf pan, pour batter in and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 75 minutes.

Pumpkin Chip BatterNote: If you don’t have plain yogurt you could substitute sour cream and you could also substitute apple sauce for the butter.  I used organic sugar but sucanat would also work.  I also used a little less sugar and chocolate chips and it was still yummy, yummy!

Pumpkin Chip MuffinsInstead of bread you can make muffins.  These are the jumbo muffins and they took about 30 minutes to get done.  The smaller regular size muffins take about 20 minutes.  Be sure to grease your muffin tins and fill them about 2/3 full…..yummm!

This recipes was adapted from: Java Cupcake

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A Chicken Named Traveler

I am very excited to announce that this is the VERY FIRST guest post here at the Red Double Wide.  The best part is, that it was written by my husband!  I had a blast reading this post even though I had already heard the story first hand.  If you enjoy it too, please leave a comment to let him know!

 

Hello! I’m the husband of the “Queen”.  Here she calls me “Digger”, elsewhere she calls me other things.  If you haven’t guessed; I’m a subgrade contractor (think heavy equipment) and I dig for customers all over this county, but this story isn’t about me.  A good friend of mine was helping to finish excavation of a painfully slow trench on Saturday while I ran some errands.  He’s a contractor as well, and we have been working together quite a bit the last few years.  So much so the girls have taken to calling him “Uncle Tom”, but this story isn’t about him either.

I returned to the jobsite from home near noon; a twenty plus minute commute, several miles of which is gravel and none to smooth.  I parked next to the customers shop and followed the trenchline down the hill and through the trees to where Tom was still digging.  He seemed content enough to keep scratching away at the dense clay subsoil, so I headed back up the hill for tools to level a transformer pad.  That’s when I saw the chicken…

TravelerNow please understand that my brain didn’t process what my eyes were seeing straight away.  My eyes are used to seeing chickens running around all the time, especially this particular breed of chicken, but I’m thinking about the work at hand.  It’s Saturday (a day I prefer to spend with family), half my day was ate up due to prior obligations, and Tom is here trying to help me get caught up before the utility company shows up Monday morning to install.

As my feet carried me several steps closer to the truck, my mind was thinking; “Huh,… someone around here has the same breed of chicken we do.”  My next thought was the fact that “around here” was nothing but woods.  No close neighbors, no buildings aside from the customers new shop, and most notably there are no fences.  Nothing but overgrown pine, scrub oak, and now a loose chicken accustomed to a free range life.  Uh oh…!

I tried to call Grace thinking she could count her chickens and tell me if one is missing (or more to the point, hoping one isn’t), but no answer.  I called the owner of the property (who lives 2,000 mi. away) to ask if he’d ever seen chickens roaming around this place, but he was sure he hadn’t.  The small flicker of hope I’d had vanished.  I told him “I think I have a problem.  One of the Queens’ chickens stowed away on my truck, and I’m staring at it right now.”  His immediate laughter made it clear he understood just how much fun trying to catch a chicken in the thick brush covering this hillside would be.  The small pine and oak had grown like dog hair, and,… well,… you do the math.

When he stopped laughing we touched briefly on the project, and then he asked a favor.  Would I mind disposing of some fruit he’d left in a cooler outside the door the week before?  “No problem”, I said, and immediately filed that little chore away for later.  I had to figure out what to do with this dang chicken!

I knew what had happened.  There’s a fair gap between the bottom of the dump bed and the top of the fuel tank between the frame rails on my truck.  Just about the right height for a chicken.  For some reason OUR chickens feel compelled to jump up in there periodically, scratch around at nothing I can see, and bail out again at their leisure.  I don’t know why; they’re chickens!  They do all kinds of goofy stuff I can’t explain.  Typically they leave when I start the truck, so no problem.  Anyway, that’s HOW she got here, (and boy howdy that must of been some ride) but now what do I do about it?

Goldie

This is not Traveler, it’s actually Goldie but this shows you where she held on for dear life during the bumpy ride!

I briefly considered how much trouble I’d be in with Grace when I got home if I simply ignored the bird and went back to work.  Yea, right.  Capture was a must and I knew it, but I couldn’t just walk up and catch the dang thing; I had to corner it somehow.  This was looking like a two man job.  I took a deep breath, glared hard at the chicken (willing it to stay put), and let out a sigh of resignation.  As much as I didn’t want to interrupt Tom’s progress I headed back down the trenchline to recruit his help.  When I explained the situation he laughed out loud…  Why does everyone think this is funny?

By the time we got back up to the truck the chicken was gone (of course).  Tom went right, and I went left hoping to surround the general area we thought it must be in.  This is about the time Grace decided to return my call.  She was still in town and not yet finished shopping.  I explained what was going on,… SHE didn’t laugh.  I’d already been considering just what to do with the little bugger once caught, but the options were few, and there was NO WAY I was turning a chicken loose in the cab of my truck.  I asked if she could bring the carrier we use to transfer critters out to us after she got home.  “Sure, fine”, but she wouldn’t be home for a few more hours.  As my eyes searched the acres of woods for the small brown bird I said, “This could take that long.”

I heard it!  The sound came from the direction Tom had gone and I followed it through the trees.  I saw the little trouble maker just before I saw Tom…  Now, to better understand what I was seeing, you need to know that Uncle Tom is not a small man.  Well over six feet tall and something beyond two hundred pounds,… on his hands and knees crawling through the brush making chicken noises!  Not only that, but the sounds he was making were remarkably convincing.  It occurred to me that what I’d heard may not have been the chicken at all.  I struggled to stifle my laughter not wanting to alarm the bird, and began maneuvering to trap it between us.

An hour or so later, having repeatedly tried and failed to grab the dang thing (picture headlong, prostrate dive), we resorted to steering our quarry through the trees with long sticks back down the hill toward the truck.  Every cluck was a taunt!  This chicken was laughing at us, and it wouldn’t shut up!  We finally managed to push it out of the brush next to my trailer where it immediately took refuge.  It didn’t take long to realize retrieving her out from under the trailer with sticks was hopeless.  At this point Tom and I agreed that spending a beautiful Saturday afternoon being outsmarted by a chicken wasn’t our idea of recreation.  I shared that I was wishing one of my daughters were there.  She’d just call “Here chick, chick, chick.” and the thing would come a runnin’.  Or maybe my dog?  Nah, he’d fail to see the point.  A gun!…  Now there’s a tempting idea.

We sat on the trailer awhile considering options when I remembered the little favor the customer had asked of me.  The FRUIT!!!  Why had I not thought about the dang fruit until now?  I went and brought it back to the trailer where we set some out as bait a couple feet beyond the birds new sanctuary.  Tom sat on the trailer above it laying in wait.  Oh yea,… She wanted that sweet smelling fruit bad.  Really bad…  But this chicken was quick and cunning.  Several failed attempts later we decided to let “her” rest awhile. (Well,… it was hot!  She needed a break!)

I told Tom, “You know this chicken is going to be given a name when I bring it home.”  Tom knows the story of Stinky and is aware of a few other birds at my place that have been named and why.  He thought a moment, then looked at me with a grin and simply said “Traveler”.

FINALLY!!!  With an impressive snatch Tom had her!  The little beast was contained!  Victory was ours!  The intellectual prowess of two middle aged contractors had ultimately prevailed!  Umm,… So now what do we do with her?…  I hadn’t heard from Grace, and there was STILL no way that chicken was being set loose in the cab of my truck,…  So,…  “Let’s hogtie her”!  Tom had some string in his truck, and she really didn’t struggle all that bad while I tied her feet together.  He set her down next to the fruit and water, at which point she immediately stood up and started to quickly hop away.  Brilliant!…  I took a longer length of string and tied her to the trailer as a lead so she couldn’t get far.  In a few moments she succumbed to her defeat, realizing any attempt to escape was futile and settled for a feast of overly ripe peach and plumb.

I was finishing a couple small things on the project when Grace called.  She was still some while off and it was looking like I’d have to come back the next day to finish the trench anyway, so I told her to stay home and I’d be along soon.  I figured the bird could ride in the bed of my truck hogtied and tethered, but the Queen wasn’t very pleased with this suggestion.  I told her I’d figure something out and went back to finish up so “Traveler” could go home.

I wound up stealing the small Styrofoam cooler the fruit had been in from my customer, and still hogtied put the little pain in the butt inside.  She rode back with me without complaint on the passenger side floorboard; a piece of plywood for a lid kept her trapped, and yes, Traveler was very happy to be home.

TravelerUncle Tom kept digging for a few more hours after I left, and I finished the excavation Sunday after church (a day I strongly feel is for faith and family).  The family agreed with “Uncle Tom” as to what the perfect name for this chicken should be, so it remains…

 

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Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix

It’s that time of year again and I’ve been thinking about pumpkins a lot lately.  Mostly pumpkin desserts!  I’ve been a little obsessed with making my own spice blends, so what better blend for fall than pumpkin pie spice mix!

Pumpkin Pie Spice MixMaybe you already know exactly what you want to do with your pumpkin pie spice blend or maybe you need some ideas.  Of course you can make pumpkin pie…..but there are sooooooo many other yummy things to make with it.  I will have a few ideas and links at the bottom of this post, and in the next few weeks I will be posting some recipes using pumpkin pie spice.

Welcome to fall everyone!

5.0 from 3 reviews
Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
 
This will make ½ of a cup of Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
Author:
Cuisine: spice mix
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons ginger
  • 1 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon cloves
Instructions
  1. Just put spices into a small container or jar and shake.

You can easily double this recipe if you plan on using LOTS or to just make one teaspoon worth.  Here are the measurements: 1/2 tsp. cinnamon – 1/4 tsp. ginger – 1/8 tsp. nutmeg – 1/8 tsp. cloves

Pumpkin Pie SpiceNow for some ideas on how to use your homemade pumpkin pie spice mix.  Here is a post from theKitchn.com that is called 7 ways to use pumpkin pie spice.  The one for pumpkin spiced popcorn sounds especially delicious!  Some other ideas are to add it to smoothies, oatmeal, vanilla yogurt, roasted pumpkins seeds, coffee, or fall cookies!  Anyone else have any ideas?

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September 2013 – A Month Of Photos From The Red Double Wide

Happy Fall Everyone!

The last days of summer went out with unusually hot temperatures, and the first days of fall came in very wet (for around here anyway).  September brought lots of changes with me going back to teaching at our local Christian School, and the girls going back to school there.  My poor garden has been severely neglected, (it’s more like a jungle than a garden) but as you can see we are still harvesting the benefits of our early summer work.

Onions

Harvest

Bread

Whole wheat bread and hamburger buns.

Saturday has become my, baking/laundry/blogging/gardening/chicken coop cleaning day!  I am trying to learn how to plan meals ahead of time and get as much done on the weekends as i can.  I want to keep cooking real food from scratch as much as possible with this new schedule.  This is a big challenge for me, as my organization skills are MINIMAL! (just ask my husband)  Good thing my girls are big enough to help and the men in the house are patient. :D

Peppers

Eggs

PumpkinI have learned that gardening is all about NEXT year.  So many things I want to change and do better next spring. I guess that’s part of the excitement of a garden. :)

StinkyThis past month I posted about butchering our Cornish Cross chickens and then I wrote a story about Stinky going to the fair.  After that post I had several people express concern about Stinky someday ending up in the cook pot.  I want to assure everyone that Stinky will live out her free range life here at the Red Double Wide with no fear of ending up in the cook pot! :D

Thanks for visiting and have a good week!

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Baked Whole Wheat Pancakes

One of my sisters sent me a baked pancake recipe the other day via Pinterest.  What a brilliant idea!!  As I mentioned before in my German Puff Pancake post I really dislike standing at the oven flipping pancakes FOREVER….while half of the family eats and the other half waits for a pancake.  There are times though that you just need a good ol’ fluffy  pancake and we’ve been loving my Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancake recipe.  As I slowly bounced this idea of baked pancakes around in my brain…I thought, why can’t I bake my own pancake recipe?  That would be the best of both worlds, a pancake that I already know we like and no flipping or waiting involved. :)

So I mixed up a batch of Fluffy Whole Wheat Pancakes.

Baked PancakesPoured the batter into a greased 13X9 inch pan.

Baked PancakesBaked it at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Whole Wheat Baked PancakesWho says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

Baked Whole Wheat PancakesThis got a thumbs up from everyone around here, including Uncle Tom.  :D

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Homemade Spiced Pear Butter

Spiced Pear ButterI’m a big fan of apple butter, so when I had a box of pears that needed to be used up quickly, pear butter kept coming to mind.  I looked up some recipes and then mixed, matched, and tweaked until I had a recipe I was happy with.  I have never made apple OR pear butter before and I was a bit skeptical at first.  But when I smelled that pot of yummyness bubbling on my stove I knew I had a winner!!

First peel and cut up 8 pounds of pears.  This was about 16 medium sized pears.

Spiced Pear ButterAdd just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan to keep them from sticking. About 1/2 a cup.  Cook on medium heat until they are soft, about 30 minutes.

Pear ButterLet the soft pears cool off a bit and then blend until you have a smooth consistency.  You could use a stick blender or a regular blender.

Pear Butter 1When you have a nice smooth “pear sauce” add the sugar, orange zest, nutmeg, orange juice, and almond extract.  Cook on medium heat until it reaches your desired thickness, stir often so it doesn’t stick to the pan.  It will take about an hour.  I let it cool then ladled it into clean pint size mason jars and put them in the freezer.

To can it: Ladle hot pear butter into sterile jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Seal with lids and rings.  Process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes to seal.   This made a little over 4 pints.  The recipe could easily be doubled or cut in half.

Spiced Pear Butter 2NOTE:  This recipe uses about half the amount of sugar that all the other recipes for pear butter call for.  It was PLENTY sweet for us but you could add more if you like.  The only thing I will do differently next time is cook it for longer, I would prefer it to be a bit thicker.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Homemade Spiced Pear Butter
 
Author:
Recipe type: Condiment
Ingredients
  • 8 pounds of pears - about 16 medium size pears
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1½ teaspoons almond extract
Instructions
  1. Wash, peel, core, and chop up 8 pounds of pears into a big pot.
  2. Add just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, about ½ a cup.
  3. Cook on medium heat until pears are soft. About a ½ hour.
  4. Let them cool off a bit then blend until smooth.
  5. Return to the pot and add sugar, orange zest, nutmeg, orange juice, and almond extract.
  6. Cook on medium heat until it reaches desired thickness.
  7. To can or freeze see instructions above.

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Stinky Goes To The Fair

This is a post for all you Stinky fans out there.  If you’ve never heard of Stinky and want to know how Stinky got her name and why she is so special to us, click here.

When my girls picked out the hens they wanted to take to the fair.  Stinky was an obvious choice.   She is the most docile of all our chickens (given her history) and very easy to handle.

Over the past few weeks Jo, has been packing her around, singing to her, and training her to stand on the picnic table.  When you show a chicken they should stand on the table in front of you without being held there.

Stinky 1A few times while Jo was “training” Stinky  I would hear her firmly say “Stinky, you stay right here, I’ll be right back”.  She would leave the chicken on the table, run in the house to tell me something “exciting” or grab something “important” and then run back out.  That darn chicken would stay right where she was told every time, and Jo seemed to have absolute confidence Stinky would be there when she got back every time!

When fair time rolled around, I was not worried about Stinky. :)

Stinky 4Here she is taking her first bath in preparation for the fair.

Stinky 5It must have been an exhausting experience because as soon as the bath was over she had a snooze….. :)

Stinky 6We started our drive to the fair with the hens in a kennel.  Stinky however, would not behave herself and kept picking on poor Goldie.  She wound up riding on Jo’s lap…  (I suspect a conspiracy here!)

Stinky at the fairJo made sure Stinky got plenty of outside time and they both met new friends.

Stinky's FriendsMeet two of Stinky’s new friends: Fire and Afro :D

Show time was a little nerve-wracking for both of them.  But all that “training” paid off!

Blue RibbonsWe always knew she was a blue ribbon chicken!!

Stinky back homeAfter four eventful days at the fair Stinky was VERY happy to be home with the rest of the ladies!

 

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Pear Smoothies – A Healthy Fall Treat!

Fall Smoothies

Fall is in the air!

On our way home from a shopping trip my mom and I stopped at a fruit stand.  Everything looked soooo good (I love this time of year)!   After some debating I settled on a box of pears and a box of apples.  The pears were really ripe and by the next morning I thought the fruit flies were going to pick up my kitchen and fly away.  I quickly started a big batch of pear butter (I’ll share that recipe later) and then I froze a bunch to use in future smoothies.  What was left, nicely fit in the fridge and we are still enjoying fresh pears and fall smoothies.  After putting up a couple fly strips, my kitchen is now (mostly) fly free again!

Here are two wonderful, healthy fall smoothies!

Cinnamon Pear Smoothie 

All you need is: 2 pears (cored and quartered) – 1 frozen banana (cut into pieces) – 1 cup of milk (any kind) – 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt1/2 cup oatmeal1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon – a pinch of nutmeg.

Cinnamon Pear SmoothiePut everything in a blender and puree until nice and smooth. This makes enough for 3 of us to have a nice size smoothie.

 

Apple and Pear Smoothie

You will need: 1 ripe pear (cored and quartered) – 2 apples (cored, peeled and cut into pieces) – 1 frozen banana (peeled & cut into pieces) – 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt – 1/2 cup of apple juice1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Pear Apple Smoothie 1Throw it all in the blender and puree until smooth.

 These make a healthy breakfast or snack….it’s like fall in a cup!

 

The Queen Of The Red Double Wide adapted these recipes from: AllRecipes.com and Good Food Channel

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