Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Help Wash Away My Problems

We are not destined to have a dishwasher.
Until 2001, appliances worked well for us, rarely a problem
unless it was user error (No, you can't put corn husks
down a garbage disposal!)  Well, you can but it is
a lot of work getting them out again.

Then we moved into a newly built house
which means all new appliances
that failed one by one, much earlier than anticipated.
Much earlier!

Jenn Air dual ovens - the display went out
  ( I  set the temperature and listen for the Ding
then have a grocery store wind up timer)
Jenn Air range with flat grill- auto light went out
   on the grill so I have to light it with a bbq lighter.
 Refrigerator- really nice one with whistles and bells. Broken
Refrigerator #2- cheapest model I could find.  Works so far
but the service guys that put on the handles tightened them
so much that the handle broke!  I gave up, let it dangle.
Dishwasher #1-  motor fell apart, the service tech said
 he'd never seen anything like it- out of warranty of course.
Dishwasher #2- Bosch, beautiful and quiet.  All of the models
before ours were recalled.  Ours was a month after the recall 
models even though we had the same symptoms.  Out of
warranty of course.  They could start switching out parts but
couldn't say what part was bad so we might pay as much to
experiment with it than a new dishwasher costs.

No new dishwasher.
I was through, done. 

In reading Consumer Reports, I found that appliances,
regardless of price, no longer had that service life that
we experienced growing up.  In fact, none really made it
10 years although some were thousands of dollars.
And here our 1950s refrigerator sits just cooling away in the garage.
I remember my grandmother's side by side  Kelvinator  (Foodarama?) which would
hold enough food for 4 families, ran for decades.  
Why can't I even get 5 years out of an appliance?
The only thing that has not broken is the trash compactor!

We hand washed dishes for the last three years 
and then took the plunge when we found a deal on a 
new model that someone ordered but backed out of.
My husband installed it and like Magic,
you could place your dishes into this big, black box,
push a button and they came out clean!!!

Except the glasses.
Oh, they were clean but coated in a cloudy film.
I tried liquid detergent, powdered detergent, hot water
and cooler water but nothing seems to help.
I  essentially wash the dishes before putting them into
the dishwasher. I don't put in pots and pans, mostly 
plates, silverware and glasses plus  a couple of bowls.

We have well water and use a softener.
We use a rinse agent- which is a required lubricant for our model.
I have suggestions of using vinegar in the bottom of the washer,
opening the door when the cycle is through (if I am right there),
adding a secondary rinse agent that helps with cloudiness.

Any other suggestions?
I can't have people drinking out of these glasses
and what is the point of the dishwasher if I can't wash
my glasses, that part fills up first between water, milk and coffee!

Let me know what you think.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

When Pumpkin isn't Pumpkin

If you know me well, you would have locked me up
in a padded room and thrown away the key!

"You can have the donuts," I said to my husband,
"they did something different this year and they 
don't taste the same."  

My husband asked me to explain further.
Well, not really, but in my mind he did so I continued.
"The pumpkin donuts are my favorites and this year
they taste more cinnamony.  Not bad, but not pumpkin,"
I said as I tried a second one just to see if I was right.
 Yep, I'm right.  Just not like last year.

My husband takes a donut of his own.
He chews and thinks about it.
Then, he looks right at me and says something like, 
"That's because they are CIDER donuts."


I guess that explains it.
I even looked on their website.
There are three types of Fall donuts.
You have to READ the BOX, they all look alike.

See what I mean, in the photo.
The packaging is the same.
They were on the same display, next to each other.
I was in too much of a hurry and I didn't read the box.

As you can see, I have two boxes and one is pumpkin!!!
I stopped in the next day and got the correct package.

Yummmmmm !!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Winter Weather Forecast Using Persimmon Seeds

The branches of the wild persimmon tree are hanging low
this time of year, heavy with ripening fruit sweet and sticky, 
that will become Fall treats for roaming deer, raccoon, 
opossum and other wildlife that happen by.

 These wild persimmons are quite a bit smaller than 
your grocery store variety, full of heavy brown seeds
that provide a glimpse into the upcoming winter weather
if you believe in folk legend.  It's at least as accurate as
the forecasters so I'll lean towards the persimmon's story.

If you wait until they are very ripe the seeds will be easier 
to open.  They should be soft and sort of orange in color.
Break open the fruit and touch your tongue to the sweet
pulp.  (Yes, this is required!) then slide a few seeds
into your palm being careful to not let them slip away.

Rinse the seeds under running water with the drain plug in
and try to score the gooey casing that covers the seeds.  If you
are successful, pull off that coating to get to the dry seed.

Some people will try to open the seeds with a knife.
Don't, unless you are really, super careful or you might find
you need a bandage or two.  I use a pliers.

  Place the seed sideways with the seam of the seed
between the top and bottom of the pliers and then 
gently squeeze until the seed begins to open a little.
Then you can peel it apart to find the little treasure within.

If you see a Spoon or Shovel shape= heavy snow, cold winter
If you see a Fork (a spoon with tines) then winter will be mild,
perhaps with light, fluffy snow.
If you see a Knife shape- cold, icy winds will blow.

It looks like we're in for some heavy, wet snow this year.

You must use persimmons grown locally to find your forecast.

I just wish I had a 4th choice- 
BBQ Tongs shaped
You know,  for a warm winter with Bermuda shorts and tank tops!

Good luck with your own forecast!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bird's Story- A photo book

 Bird- My Shutterfly Photo Book

 Bird was our special needs chick, discovered at a 
farm supply store, blind, deformed and unable to eat or drink
as she tried to compete with the other hatchlings.
I took her home and raised her during her short six months.
Many of you followed her journey as our house chicken
and know how very special she was.

You can follow her story in brief at the link below.
Be sure to choose Full Screen to read the text 
more easily.  I hope you enjoy her.

Shutterfly has some great offers.
Right now there are 50 free prints for new customers.  
I also received 50% off the photobook but it may have 
expired, sign up and look through because you will have
other offers.  I just received a coupon for another photo 
book through Shutterfly free- I pay only tax and shipping
so I have book two on the say.

I hope you enjoy Bird's story.
I'm so happy I now have her story in print!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The $6 Potato

 Two potatoes are sitting at the bar.
One potato says to the other,
"Hey, you're hot!"

Get it, Hot Potato??

They were not so hot yesterday at $5.99 a piece!
I walked off without my lunch (again) so my option
was to skip lunch or eat at the (subsidized) company cafeteria
managed by a large food service company.  We don't
have enough time to drive somewhere and eat unless
you take an extra long lunch.

One option was the potato bar - it was normal baking potatoes,
not  the red ones pictured here.  For your $6 you got toppings
such as butter, sour cream, black olives, cheese, mushrooms, etc.

Sorry, a $6 potato is too dear for me!
And this is subsidized by the company !!
The cafeteria worker told my co-workers that it's normally $8.50.

I opted for a small salad (leaves and cheese only) from the salad bar.
I purchased a container of 2 boiled eggs separately (not at 
salad bar weights) and chopped them into the salad.
Plus bought a drink.
For less than $6.

The sandwich/grill line was much too long and they have 
only one worker at that station- always. They make any custom
sandwich, wrap, grill hamburgers, etc.  By the time they go 
through all that, your lunch break 
is about over by the time you get your food.

My co-worker bought the potato and  had to microwave it,
it wasn't even hot.

I'm just thinking that I have a tower in my side yard
that I need to dig up and harvest my potatoes.
  I think I'll make my own potato bar.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

She's Gonna Blow!

She's Gonna Blow!

"Whatever you do," I said to my husband as I was leaving
yesterday morning, "don't get near the biscuit tin,
it's going to explode soon!

Sure enough, I received a call later on in the day.
I was right, the tube exploded sending biscuit dough 
flying 5-6 ft across the kitchen!

You know how it is, you find a great sale and buy too much.
With all good intentions I stocked up and lined the shelf
with several biscuit tubes- which we did use quite frequently.
Except for these last two.

  It's been a while as you might guess.
A long while.
Well, they went out with a bang, what more could a biscuit ask?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Avoiding County Lockup- What a Picture!

I swear I almost ended up in County Lock Up last week!
Really, I could see it happening
and a jury of photographers would have never convicted me
if it went to trial!

I stopped in at a Very Well Known Mass Merchandiser Big Box Store
to use their photo department.  I generally don't print too many pictures
but I was giving them to someone else and needed prints.
I used one of the banks of machines along the row, 
got my receipt but decided to stop in the next day for pickup
rather than wait the hour.

The Next Day
I arrived at the store and proceeded to the photo checkout counter
where I had to push a touch screen which would alert personnel
that someone needed assistance either with photo or a merchandise pickup.
After about 10  minutes someone finally asked if we needed help.
Yes. Why else would we be waiting in the line all by ourselves?

 When an employee arrived, he had no idea how to ring up photos.
He couldn't find the bar code and didn't know how much to charge.
"What about that huge blue sign above the counter that shows pricing," 
I suggested.  Ohhhh yeah, that works.

Except I had a 5 X 7 and there was no pricing to be found.
Not on the board,
Not on the receipt,
Not on the machines.
I think it displays only on screen but doesn't provide a summary on the receipt.

After three employees gathered to decide what to charge me,
one of them finally discovered the barcode.
I paid and took the photos out to view them.

Wait, I said, something is wrong.
Three of them (which I have printed before) turned out horrible.
They asked me- which machine did you use?
 One of them along the long bank of photo machines.
Where did they print out?
What?  How would I know?
Was it one of the printers in our back room?
Really?  You're asking ME which printer in the back room might have been used?
I have NO IDEA! 

Oh, and the 5 x 7 is fine but it cut the head off one of the chickens 
on the  4 x 6.
Oh, that's because you got a smaller size!
No, it doesn't work like that.  Photos are reduced keeping the proper size ratio.
Do you think they just cut the edges off to make it smaller?
Would your 8 x 10 of Aunt Lucy be reduced to a photo of her belly button
if you selected a 4 x 6?

See my two photos posted here?
One is BIG and the other SMALL.
The edges are still intact.

These are the people managing the PHOTO department?

I had about HAD IT by this time.
Please give me a refund for the four photos that are bad.
I will print them at Walgreens tomorrow.
(Which was a bad idea because they were 3 times the price).
I was Stressed to say the least - I have time constraints on these photos
and I thought getting them over the course of two days would be
sufficient for 1 hr photos.
I was wrong.

I did manage to control my temper
and avoid causing a scene that could have
left me pacing the floor behind bars in
the county lockup.

I signed up for Shutterfly.
Let's see if this goes any better, other than my horrible upload speed!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wickedly Easy Red Finish

I finally finished my wickedly easy red quilt!
I have been putting off quilting the borders 
and attaching the binding.  I did this on my home machine and practiced stitches.  Now I know what not to do. LOL!

My next project is a Halloween themed runner that has applique, something that is new to me. It should be fun.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Dehydrating Tomatoes

To preserve the harvest, especially as
the tomatoes are winding down and
we don't have enough to can at one time,
I slip them into the dehydrator as they ripen.

This is a Cherokee Purple with deep red
flesh and a reddish-purplish cast to the skin.

I have several other non-paste varieties which 
I have sliced about 1/4 inch thick and lined on
the dehydrator sheets so they are not touching.

They will greatly reduce in thickness and look difficult to remove.
To do so, I fold the sheet up just a little
so the sides begin to peel off the sheet
and then pluck them up as they begin to break loose.

Although I still had a single sheet of peppers dehydrating, 
I just added the rest of the trays with tomatoes and 
kicked up the temperature a slight notch.

I store the tomatoes in either sealed tubs
that have a gasket lined lid or in large screw top
tubs, the same as I do with dried potatoes.  

The flavor is very intense.  These are plain but 
you could add spices or herbs to flavor them and then
 grab a couple to put into soups, munch by themselves
or add to pastas, salads, pizza or for bruchetta.

The next batch of tomatoes is in the dehydrator and 
we still have more peppers to pick so the season is far from done.  
I'll have my sage and rosemary to add to the mix before frost comes as well.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

I Ventured Out

I ventured out on Friday after a suffering through a stomach
virus for the last couple of days.  I decided to take
just one more day off so I wouldn't infect everyone at work.
 I don't think I was quite ready to go far but took a stroll
through our local Agape House to see if there were any bargains.

And there were!
I picked up this new series of books that revolve around quilts,
I know it's Harlequin, and some people don't care for them,
 but they look to be nice mysteries and have a quilt theme.
I couldn't resist a cat mystery and I love MC Beaton novels!
Bargains at $0.50 !!

Then I found 8 salad plates for $1.00 that match my dishes!!
I need to find the same deal with the salad bowls too, 
I look every time I go past a resale shop.
I love stoneware and Mom had this pattern when I was a kid
so I grabbed a set a rock bottom prices at St Vincent DePaul resale
when I saw them awhile back.  I washed them and stacked them 
in the cabinet with the others so I'm covered for now.

It is a good place for dishware, kids clothing and nicknacks but 
not so great on clothing.  Books are great there, very inexpensive 
and they are categorized but the stock doesn't rotate much.
It's a good cause though so I love stopping in.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Ah Ha!! Caught Him!

I KNEW it!
See what I discovered when I unexpectedly opened the garage door?

My husband had run up to the farm supply store.
He thought I was too sick, sleeping in the recliner recovering
from this bug that I caught.

But he was wrong.

The TRACTOR was in the garage.
See the car thrown out into the elements,
the one out baking in the 95+ degree weather?
That is my car. The car that lives in the GARAGE.

Now I know what happens when I leave for work.
He brings Tractor into the garage where it is 
lovingly cared for and rests in comfort.
He probably redirects the A/C vents to keep it nice and cool.
Then I would image about 30 minutes before I am due home,
he likely drives it back to the tent shed as if nothing
ever happened!

 The man does love his tractor!

Really, he was making some repairs. He had to weld up
a bracket that had broken from the previous owner's repair
to the thingy you step on to get on the tractor.  (Yes, I know,
I'm pretty technical when it comes to tractor parts.)
He welded, he painted and his baby was better than before.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Dehydrated Peppers

My husband's square foot test garden was very successful this year.
He planted a pepper garden with varieties such as bell peppers,
 tabascos, jalapenos, moles, banannas, and poblanos and thai dragons.
   They took off like a rocket and most are just as hot too!

He has been harvesting and pickling or dehydrating them
 for future use.  Next in the dehydrator will be the recently
picked tomatoes sliced into wagon wheel shape.  Tom
loves how concentrated the tomato flavor becomes, almost
sweet.  He's been known to take a few to work for a mid-day meal.

We still have tomatillos to process plus all the rest of the peppers
that are still growing on the vine.  

I came down with a 24-48 hr virus and was sicker than a dog
yesterday, still a bit today but I know I am improving- I felt
like cleaning up the mess of cups and hard candy wrappers that I made 
while laying in my recliner and wishing I could keep something down, 
even water would have been nice.

We just returned from a trip to the gas station.  Where I live that is a combination gas station, grocery, restaurant and minor cleaning and hardware supplies plus
the required live bait.  When I am sick I always want a slush, sometimes
I can keep it down when all else fails.  I came home with my favorite,
blue raspberry!  I can feel the healing already.

I'm still on-and-off with my posts as I have some other
issues to deal with for a bit so pardon the sporadic publications.