Ward House

Cordials are brewing

Yesterday, Kathie inspired me with her cordial comments; so much so that before heading out to class I started two cordials, raspberry and one with lemon balm and lavender.  The lemon balm is only a half pint as the heat has caused the lavender blooms to turn brown (don’t think I’ve ever seen this happen before) and mint bugs have been munching on the lemon balm (planted next to).  No pix, sorry.  The recipes I am using can be found on the right side column under Must Remembers titled *Hic.

This morning, Ronnie harvested three cherry tomatoes from the garden – yippee!  This is a hybrid plant so there can be no seed saving – these little fruits are pretty.  And tasty.  Again, no pictures.  With classes consuming much of my time, garden time has been not as frequent as I would like.  The next semester, that begins the latter part of August, will have mostly at home studies thus allowing more time outside while the sun is shining and then study time inside when the sun sets.  Potatoes have not done much this year and we are not sure why – a load of manure, tilled under and allowed to sit over the winter, will correct many of our gardening challenges (or so I believe); dill is blooming, beans growing, grapes ripening, etc.

While on the cordial kick, JoyceAnn of Feather Spirits introduced this next website to me.  Her article about plantain reminded me that we have a slew of this herb growing in the yard and… I believe I can make some salve.  This recipe seems easy enough:

Healing salve: In large non-metallic pan place 1lb. of entire Plantain plant chopped, and 1 cup lard, cover, cook down on low heat till all is mushy and green. Strain while hot, cool and use for burns, insect bites, rashes, and all sores. Note: used as night cream for wrinkles.

Walmart carries lard; perhaps I can snag some this weekend.  Why not now, you ask?  Cause tomorrow we are headed out on the bike to ride; no particular destination, just ride and stop when we are ready.  Other bikes are joining us so it will not be quite as spontaneous as if Ronnie and I were going solo, still be a nice, cheap get-away.  We will return on Sunday, about the time when the girls are returning from spending a week with their dad.   I hope to have more soon, including my current knitting project.  Perhaps a delayed post for tomorrow or over the weekend.

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July 15, 2010 Posted by | Cooking, Gardening, herbs, recipes | , , , , | 1 Comment

He is ready

He being our steer.  Ready meaning he is about 27 months old, weights in at 1400 lbs, and is ready to visit the abattoir.  We spoke to two different abattoirs and decided on T&E Meats.  The price is based on hanging weight, not on the hoof, and for vacuum packed beef, we will pay 65 cents/lb.  The other abattoir charges 40 cents/lb, which would save some cash yet they have a very restricted schedule and we have heard from others that one really needs to be mindfull and VERY specific (make sure we receive what we requested).  I was very impressed with Joe with T&E; he explained everything including, I needed to get the birth records for the steer.  For beef that are 30+ months old they are required to dispose of the back bone as mad cow cooties live there.  Because steer mature at different rates, without the birth records proving he is under 30 months old, if he has his 4 permanent incisors, they will have to treat him as a 30+ steer and all our cuts will be boneless.

Part of what I would like to keep from this steer is the kidney fat to try my hand at making soap;  Seven Trees has a great article about tallow.  Soap is not discussed in this article, though some other great ideas are discussed.

My window at work

To help pay for this steer, the Belarus is for sale.  She’s kinda big for our .5 acres and that cash can be put to use elsewhere.

Ronnie has also mentioned, upon his return, that he is going to sell his motorcycle; we’ll see if that thought is still in his head once he returns from his Myrtle beach trip with his brother.  Hopefully they will have better weather than we; it is forecast to rain all this week!!  And here I was concerned that it was going to be a dry hot summer!!

May 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment