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Raised in a Barn…

Day-to-Day Life of a Country Mama

Fritters

Why couldn’t I have known about these sooner! In my quest to increase the number of vegetables our family eats, I read a tip about making vegetable and egg fritters for breakfast. I made a trial run with the girls for lunch. Even though I forgot an ingredient, they both loved the meal! 

Considering it can be like pulling teeth to get our oldest (almost 3) to eat vegetables, I am very excited and will be experiencing with these more. I had to laugh when I put the plate in front of her. She happily pronounced that it was a pancake and dug right in. She can call it whatever she likes, as long as I can hide her veggies in it. 

I’ll try making the fritters again with all the planned ingredients and share how I made them after that. They disappeared too quickly to get a picture of this time anyway…

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Beginning Basket

I’ve started my plarn basket! It will be made with white bags, but I started it with this dark bag so I could see how far plarn from one bag could go. My project will definitely take more than 20 bags. I’m not using a pattern, which means I am guessing on stitch increases for the bottom. I do have the stitches picked out that I want to use though. I am using a double crochet for the bottom. I’ll update as I go. 

Word of Wisdom 

If there is one thing I have learned this morning, it’s be careful not to make rookie mistakes. I forgot that jelly and jam recipes cannot be doubled for processing because of how infrequently I can it. Unfortunately, it took wasting a little over 8 cups of hand pressed grape juice, 6 cups of sugar, and about a day of work to have this lessen driven home. I do believe I’ll remember it next time though. 

What’s sad is I’d really hoped to salvage the double batch, but those hopes were dashed upon the rocks of distraction. I had turned the heat up some in hopes that it would help things along for gelling the massive amount. Irritable children then needed tending and, with Savannah’s potty training, it took more time than I had to keep the pot from sticking. As soon as I could, I rushed to the stove. As soon as I stepped in the kitchen I could smell that it was too late. It had scorched the bottom. Stirring only confirmed it. 

So now I have a canning mess to clean without the benefit of enjoying grape jelly. It’s frustrating, but it comes with the territory. Anyway, I’m off the clean the kitchen…

Processing Grapes

I’m building up some arm muscles this morning. Processing grapes for making jelly requires a good amount of it! These are a local wild variety called possum grapes. They don’t ripen this time of year, but I discovered them frozen. I’ve been working to clear out the freezer in our basement to make room for soon-coming meat. Mama had set these back to can later and told me I was welcome to them. I’m going to make them into jelly like I remember from childhood. It’ll certainly warm the house up on this cool, rainy day!

A Blooming Helper

It’s hard for me to believe that Savannah is almost three. Then sometimes, she does something that makes her seem older. Like this morning. 

We had a simple breakfast of cold cereal and had each finished our serving. Savannah asked for a little more so I gave her some as I checked my email. I looked up from clearing my inbox to realize that she had jumped down and run into the bathroom. I heard her opening the cabinet door where our hand towels are kept. She ran back with one and mopped up some milk she had accidentally spilled on the table. With a solemn look, she glanced at me and said “dry, dry.” 

This isn’t the first time she has tried to clean up somethin she spilled, but it’s still amazing to me. I know she has seen me clean up many spills and is imitating me. She is turning into quite the helper, but growing up way too fast. 

We do need to work on what to do with the towel after the spill is cleaned up though. She promptly took it back in to the cabinet to put it with the clean ones. Every day is something new and interesting!

Protein Pancakes

I have discovered how to sneak some extra protein into Savannah’s most recent favorite breakfast food: pancakes. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner! 

This morning when she asked for them yet again, I thought of the chocolate protein powder on our counter. I only put one scoop in to my basic recipe to see how it would do. They turned out good so I am thinking of adding a bit more next time. I may reduce the flour by the amount of protein powder I use to keep the ratio properly balanced. 

When it comes to getting an almost three-year-old to eat more healthy, sometimes you have to get creative. I’m working on it. Maybe by the time Caroline is this age I’ll have a list of sneaky and healthy tricks like this.  

Drying Herbs

I moved my parsley pot inside so it is still thriving. Before long, I’ll do my final harvest and dry the leaves. 

For now, I tried drying some that I had picked for cooking, but didn’t need. I hung it up with string in my kitchen until it was good and dry. Then I stripped and tore the leaves as I put them in a spice jar. The smell is wonderful. I can’t wait to use it for cooking. 

I also have some dried stevia. I picked up a start at the farmers market a few months back, but it died while we were gone. I saved the dried leaves to experiment with in tea combinations. I tried a tiny taste of one and was very surprised by how sweet it was. I look forward to trying to grow it again. I’m already on the lady’s list to buy another start. 

I am slowly getting better with using homegrown items. I look forward to changing my herb and tea cabinets over to ones I have raised. Now if only I can quit killing my plants…. 

Return of the King

I finally read Tolkien’s Return of the King. It was just as great as the previous two!! The characters concluded their tales with the same courage and determination as they had begun. I love how complete the story is. 

What truely is above and beyond for the close to the series is the numerous appendixes at the end. All I can say is wow. It has such detail. The fact that Tolkien made a complete historical timeline for each created race was incredible. And yet that is just one appendix. There is another for calendars, languages, and so on. (Yes, I do know I’m a complete nerd for reading the appendixes, but it was fascinating!) 

I don’t know what else to say about it without continuing to gush about what a wonderful close to the series it is. I guess I will have to just close with a suggestion that everyone read it. 

Making Plarn 

I am now making plarn (plastic yarn) from plastic bags I’d saved up for the purpose. I have heard of two methods. This is the one I used, which I found was prevalent in YouTube tutorials. 


First, I laid a plastic bag out on my craft table. Then I used my hands to smooth it out from bottom to top. The static cling it created helped keep the bag flat. 


Then I folded it in half and repeated the smoothing process. 


I folded it in half and smoothed it again. As you can see, the bag now formed an even strip. It was now ready to begin cutting. 


I trimmed the bottom seam and the top with handles. These trimmings go into a recycle bag. 


Then I began cutting the body of the bag into strips about an inch wide. (I am making this plarn for crouching a basket so I wanted it to be a little thicker.) Each smaller cut strip unfolds to be a loop of plastic. 


For stringing it together to make the actual plarn, I took an open loop and hold it behind the previous loop. 

 I ran the rest of the open loop through itself around the previous loop. I made sure that the two sides of the previous loop would be evenly split and gently pulled the knot snug. I had to be careful because if I pulled too hard, I could break the loop. 

I continued joining loops until I had a good number and then wound it into a ball. I leave an end out on the last loop so I can continue to add to it easily. 

I now have three plarn balls (one for each color of bags: white, yellow, and brown). The tutorial I watched on making plarn suggested 20 bags as enough for a “basic project.” My white ball has around that many so I may go ahead and begin making a basket. 

I hope this is of use to others interested in using those bags they keep forgetting to recycle. Check out YouTube for more tips on making plarn and using it in various projects. 

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