Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Compost Happens...

It seems to me that some people take their compost bins very seriously. Don't get me wrong -we put everything possible into ours and believe that if everyone composted, the world would be a better place. I think when you start composting, you become more aware of what you are wasting and how your purchases/food waste impacts our environment. Check this amazing guy who pretty much spells it out for you, Jonathan Bloom, at Wasted Just imagine the amount of wasted food found in your local landfill...

Our compost isn't very scientific, we throw whole corn cobs, butter wrappers and all kinds of food items, non-chopped, into our compost bin. If it looks dry, we water it. If it needs a good turn, it gets turned. That's about it. It has never stunk enough for me to say, "Man, that compost stinks!". Composting this way may take a bit longer to really "live" -as I like to call it- but seeing how we are still town folk, and aren't in need of an abundant amount of fresh compost to liven up our large garden space, it works.

My dream/future compost area will contain three large bins and a nice big chopping block. When needed, I will make my way out to the compost bins in my muddy boots, pick up my big ol' knife -I like to think of it as a machete- and chop away at the weeks compost collection. After doing this, I will so lovingly turn it into the composting compost.

Yep, that's my dream compost. You may think this seems a little odd, to dream about future composting, but my compost dream represents so many life changes. Changes that include acres and a yearning for self-sufficiency. A life that provides what is needed and teaches us what truly is needed. The life that is so pressing to get to, I feel at times I am not doing enough to get there. I constantly have to remind myself that these things can take time and the right time will come for our family.

Until I have my dream composting area, I am happy with our system and will stick to it. Because, wouldn't cha know it, compost happens...even when you aren't looking.

Now Humanure...that a whole different ballgame we would love to get scientific about.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bday Surprise...for Me

Birthday surprise from my husband...a carriage ride through the old-town of Twin Falls. Complete with warm blankets, a bottle of wine and good company. The ride ended at a local pub, where a jazz band happened to be jammin'. Lance, you have set the bar high for next year...good luck!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Apple the Snow

I was surprised when I woke to snow on the garden last weekend. But even more so when it continued though the day and night. A great backdrop for another apple cider party. Good friends, fire pits in the snow and the sweet smell of cider. Could you ask for anything more on a Saturday evening?

In addition to processing the cider, I kept the press mashings and made "Apple Mash". After pulsing a bit in the food processor, I kept the mash at a good 150* for 40 minutes and then canned 14 qts of the yummy stuff. A hearty base for apple sauce, apple muffins and apple scones. My favorite part? Using every bit of the apple -minus the stem, I did pick those out.

The girls love it warm, with a dash of cinnamon and drop of maple syrup.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

HomeMade Goodness...Native Style

Check out this wonderful, native choke-cherry jelly given to us by one of Lance's clients. How wonderful it is to see and taste native. Expand your horizons and think out of the box...native style.

Also homemade by a friend for my birthday, this lovely Earth-friendly lemon-grass deodorant. It's just spectacular to smell so yummy...and to know that it did not come in a plastic container or from a large corporation. Beauty in small ways.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Apple Sauce...Preschool Style

Roxie made applesauce with her preschool class this month...such a great way to celebrate fall with the little ones. As for us, we're up for more apple cider making this weekend. This time around, I am keeping the apple mash to make apple sauce. MMM...good fall family fun!

Pop an OktoberFest Brew for me and I'll do the same for you out there in blogosphere land...Cheers!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Baker-ized...Coffee Tin

Another found object in the old warehouse, A vintage Baker-zied, Barrington Hall Steel Cut Coffee tin It took a little persuading to get the top of the tin off, but when we did we were excited to see that the tin had never actually been opened. The tin sounds hollow, but the seal is clearly untouched. Maybe it was a tin that was missed in the production line...who knows. A search of this item on eBay was a bit surprising. I found the exact tin with the bidding starting at $50.00 US dollars.

More on-line searching found that Baker-ized Barrington Hall coffee was a successful, early 1900s coffee company. During WWII the US government took over the company and converted productions to K-rations for the Allied troops. I was also able to dig up this 1918 Barrington Hall Baker-ized Coffee Ad with a WWI theme.

A search for info on the Good Housekeeping Bureau of Foods, Sanitation and Health conducted in 1914 tested and approved tab provided interesting FDA history. Mainly the large influence Harvey W. Wiley had with early food advocates back in the day.....

In the 1880s, when Wiley began his 50-year crusade for pure foods, America's marketplace was flooded with poor, often harmful products. With almost no government controls, unscrupulous manufacturers tampered with products, substituting cheap ingredients for those represented on labels: Honey was diluted with glucose syrup; olive oil was made with cottonseed; and "soothing syrups" given to babies were laced with morphine. The country was ready for reform … and for Wiley

All through the 1880s and 1890s, pure-food bills were introduced into Congress--largely through his work--and all were killed. Powerful lobbies had established themselves. To bring his cause to the public, and with a budget of $5,000, Wiley organized in 1902 a volunteer group of healthy young men, called the Poison Squad, who tested the effects of chemicals and adulterated foods on themselves. Women banded together, notably in the Federated Women's Clubs, for political clout. Major canners became supporters of the legislation and voluntarily abandoned the use of questionable chemicals. Finally, the battle was won on June 30, 1906, when President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Pure Food and Drugs Act, largely written by Wiley, who was then appointed to oversee its administration

There is history in everything, as long as you are willing to take the time to find it...

BarringtonHall Info found: Barrington Hall - Roswell
FDA history and Harvey W. Wiley info found: Harvey W. Wiley: Pioneer Consumer Activist

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Mouth Revolution

Lately, McDonald's has been advertising their McRib sandwiches, perhaps you have heard/seen this ad? Something about our stomachs asking for the McRib and McDonalds is listening...and bringing the McRib back. I hear this ad on the radio everyday it seems, we do not have cable -so perhaps it is on TV as well. As I switch the station (it just sounds so gross!) this favorite YouTube clip always comes to mind.

"If it ain't real...spit our your meal!"

Thursday, October 2, 2008


Lately, my day-job has included helping demolish and gut out an early 1900 warehouse to make way for a new showroom -very exciting stuff. The potential in these old district warehouses are limitless really. And I am so happy to be a part of the transformation. There is such life left in these old buildings and they were built to last.

We have found some interesting objects, from old lead pencils, wallets to these cool 1950 Shasta cans. There were five or six different flavors, but I kept my three favorite based on color detail. I have always been under the assumption that Shasta was just the off-brand of soda, so I was amazed when I went on-line to date the cans we found. Did you know that Shasta was started back in 1889 and was so named after the Shasta Springs? The springs were named after the Shasta Native American Tribe that lived in the Northern CA and Southern OR territory when the first settlers came through. Located about four hours north of San Francisco, where the natural spring was sourced, on Dec. 6th , 1889 the Mt. Shasta Mineral Springs Company also opened a health spa and resort...ahead of their time, eh?

Other fun facts: In the 1920's during Prohibition, Shasta expanded and was shipped to accounts by way of special glass-lined redwood tank cars. Expansion occurred because, "At Least Shasta was legal!" and a popular phrase of the speakeasies of the day was "I'll have a Shasta and whiskey". In the 1930's Shasta's "Pale Dry Ginger Ale Chases away depression". The 1940's had troops writing home, "Send me a Shasta Club Soda". Bringing me back to the cans we found; in the 1950's Shasta was the first to package soft drinks in metal cans, the exact cans you see in my picture above.

So now, after doing a bit of research, I have my facts and stand corrected.

Shasta info found at