Week end Olio – 10/31/2022

Every morning that there isn’t extra family in the house, I prepare myself a protein/berry smoothie. As I only make about a cup, the equipment of choice is an ancient (more than two decades old) Magic Bullet. This morning it quit. The motor still runs, but the plastic cog that spins the blade in the jar exploded into many tiny shards, contained below the blender cup, but rendering the motor useless. I can’t say it owed me anything, but this morning’s smoothie was not stellar as the frozen berries did not get blended into the liquid, ground seeds, and PB2 powder.

When I told hubby of its demise, he suggested I should replace it. Yesterday while in the grocer, I saw a “smoothie” maker that was basically a plastic jar with an attached immersion blender. This morning as we were headed to town to try to get our daily walk before the rain resumed, a look at that tool was in order. As I was about to add it to my basket, sitting back on the shelf near it was the newer version of the Magic Bullet (twice the price of the immersion blender). I hope the new one holds up as long as the old one did. It comes with one less blender blade and one more blender container, but otherwise looks very much like it’s predecessor.

Though not a big fan of electric small appliances, this one certainly gets nearly daily use.

And today was soap making day for us, and to have a few bars available at the Christmas Bazaar at the museum in early December. A couple of batches were made and are curing. It is a messy proposition that even after cleaning up requires an additional day for the pot and tools to finish saponifying before they can be cleaned tomorrow.

With daughter available to check in on hubby, I was able to attend a Fall Festival at a local State Park on Saturday to be the demonstration spinner in Colonial Costume and sell some of my wares, the next to last event before the cottage business shuts down in December.

The day was gorgeous, a couple of hats, some fingerless mitts, and a skein of yarn were sold along with a few body care products. November’s spindle challenge is using some of the yarns that have been spun and a couple of hats and more fingerless mitts will be knit from some yarn that has been previously spun and made available at the Christmas Bazaar.

Another routine week ahead with two trips to “the city” for appointments. Today is rainy and no walk was done, but time to clean up from the weekend and make the soap that I have been putting off for a couple of weeks.


Though I don’t generally share food after it has been prepared, you often see the results of the garden harvest and canned for storage produce. The success with the three sisters’ garden this year was poor, better than last year, but definitely not successful. The corn part of the long bed was initially planted with Bloody Butcher dent corn on one end, a short season sweet corn on the other end, covered with a long run of welded wire fence several inches above the soil surface to keep the crows from eating more than their share. Since a dent corn field is planted to the east of us, I had hoped they would go for the easy meal. Very little of the corn germinated, so it was replanted and a third white dent corn added, and again, poor germination and the pumpkins never did come up until so late in the season that they had no chance to produce. We got a few, very few ears of sweet corn that was not very full and mature, and this is all of the dent corn that the patch produced.

Once dried on the stalk, shucked and placed in this window sill in the utility room to further dry, last night it was slated to be ground. Years ago, hubby gave me this grinder for a gift at my request.

Until last night, it has only been used to coarsely grind whole corn for chicken scratch and it gives the right arm quite a workout. I thought about taking my few ears of dent corn to the museum with me tomorrow and using the corn sheller, but instead stood over the hopper and hand shelled all but one ear of the corn I grew. Played with the grinder settings and got the grind finer, but not commercial meal fine.

And I cranked, took a break, did other chores, returned and cranked some more until all of the corn had been ground. To my amazement, it ended up being enough to fill two quart jars with a cup left to cook this morning.

Last night, that cup of hand ground corn was set to soak in water in the Instant Pot in preparations to cook it as grits this morning for Son 1’s and my breakfast. Knowing that it would take at least 90 minutes on the stove top, the presoaking and Instant Pot meant it would be ready in about 35-40 minutes instead, including the pressurizing, cooking, and depressurizing. Much to our delight, it made a very good addition to a couple of scrambled eggs from my hens.

We each had a bowlful of homegrown, hand ground, fresh grits with a sprinkle of cheddar cheese and a good dollop of butter. Son 1 ate a second bowlful. The remaining two quarts of meal were put in the freezer to prevent them from turning rancid and more winter breakfasts of grits, and a few pans of cornbread will be enjoyed. So though I rarely show a finished meal, this one was homegrown (and enjoyed with a couple of slices of tomato purchased at the Farmer’s Market yesterday.)

Next year, more dent corn will be planted and hopefully produce more to grind. It is delicious.

The Ugly Pink Coat

Many years ago when I decided that there were to be chickens here, my wardrobe still reflected my prior life, living in a city and working in education. Yes, there were a couple pair of denim jeans, but outdoor wear was too nice to work in a dirty environment. Of course, retirement on a farm and not having to dress for a job every day changed some of that and pants became more functional than dress slacks, shirts of a fabric and style that were conducive to working in the garden and mucking out a coop, but outerwear did not really change, until the first winter that there were outdoor animals that needed care regardless of whether it was 2o degrees f or 90 degrees f.

As I was purchasing feed and bedding in Tractor Supply and the weather was beginning to take a turn for the cold, the huge center rack of the store was loaded with winter gear. For the most part, the clothing was camo. I don’t hunt, don’t want to be mistaken in the woods for a tree or a deer, so camo wouldn’t work for me. Almost year round, when I go out into the woods or walk the rural unpaved road, a blaze orange vest is part of my wardrobe. The non camo women’s options were very limited, the teal that I wanted was not available in my size, I didn’t want the Carhartt jumpsuit, so it ended up being the Ugly Pink Jacket. Now you need to understand, I don’t like pink, don’t wear pink, didn’t dress my daughter in pink, so for me to come home with a pink barn coat was a stretch, but it was cheaper than Carhartt, not camo, not a jump suit, but it was hooded and warm with lots of pockets for necessary tools (or to bring in freezing eggs).

The Ugly Pink Coat hangs on a hook in the utility room, right where it needs to be to go out to put on boots, gather feed, and deal with the feathered flock or do other chores that continue to be necessary year round. Most of the year, it just hangs there, but when it is needed, it is dragged out, zipped up, and keeps me warm. Last night, it got cold, today it stays cold, so for the first time this season, out came the Ugly Pink Coat. It looks like a few more days of use before it can be hung back on the hook for a while.

It is warm, it is faded, now at least a dozen years old, but though I am glad it is there, it is still UGLY!