29 March 2010

Garden party.........

It's not exactly the party you are thinking of, but it is definitely a party in my garden. A planting party. It's cold here in the mountains of northern California and our growing season is pretty short, especially when it comes to tomatoes and melons ---- actually there are only a few plants that are not frost tender this time of year. I planted my peas last week, and they should be fine as will the rhubarb plant. I also put in 1 tomato plant and used one of those wall-o-water thingys around it to keep the plant warm at night where it is still getting into the low 20s. I have used these W-O-Ws before and they work very well. Now pepper plants are also very tender but I wanted to see if I could get one planted this early and have it survive. I paid a buck for a small bell pepper plant in a peat pot and put it in the ground at the same time as my tomato plant. In addition to the wall-o-water, I used a plastic milk jug with the bottom cut off and no cap. The order is: pepper plant, milk jug, wall-o-water. My thoughts are that you should use plants in peat pots so you can plant pot and all. This will prevent shock. So far my little pepper plant has survived and thrived. I am thrilled with the results. We had a storm come through this past weekend so I am anxious to see what happens when the night time temps drop even lower, possibly into the teens as it usually does after a storm. If all is well I will be planting my entire garden this coming Saturday ----- a full 2 months before normal planting time in our area. Wouldn't it be wondeful if this works?  I will keep you posted on the results!  Thanks for stopping by.

22 March 2010

Making butter.............

Hey!  Good morning!  I'm so glad you came back to visit.  Now that you know a few things about me and my family, I want to get down to business.  Today we are making butter. Yes - you can make your own butter and it couldn't be easier.  Really!  Trust The Frugal Queen!  Just take 2 cups of heavy whipping cream and put it in your food processor for about 10 minutes.  It might take less, depending on your model.  Once your cream has magically turned yellow and buttery  just squeeze as much moisture out of it as you can and add about 1/4 teaspoon of salt if desired. A piece of cheesecloth works, but a spatula works better. The more moisture you can get out, the longer it will last.  Well ---- this is butter for Pete's sake, it probably won't last long, especially if you slather it on some bread you have whipped up in your bread machine.  It is truly that easy.  Way back when I lived in a little town of 73 people there was  a family who raised cows for milking and I bought my milk from them.  It came in gallon jars and had this thick layer of cream at the top.  The food processor was a new kitchen gadget for me at the time and I was trying to make whipped cream, not understanding that the processor wouldn't incorporate enough air into it to make it white and fluffy.  But it did make butter!  I turned my back for a second or two and when I looked back ------ no whipped cream, but the butter was done!!!

And speaking of butter, I ran across a recipe for making spreadable butter.  Another easy peasy thing to do.  Nothing coming from this blog will NOT be easy.  I am as into EASY as I am into FRUGAL.  If it isn't easy to do, you won't find it here.  Perhaps I am just LAZY --- but as Alton Brown says, "That's OK by me, too".  Just put a cube ( 1/2 cup) of room temperature butter (if you are not into making your own, store bought will do!!) into your food processor along with 1/2 cup olive oil (or canola) . Whizz away until blended well. If it doesn't blend to your liking, add 2 tablespoons of water. Store in a pretty little dish in your refrigerator.  Now how easy was that?  Not only does this make it easier to spread, it also stretches your butter budget.  Have a great day! 

Oh, but before you go, I must show you a picture of the little Princess riding in her carriage..............usually she is by herself, but that sweet human face peeking through is my grandson Fletcher.  His dad talked him into taking a ride in my bike trailer with Toonie Mae. I can visualize some cute scrapbook pages out of the pictures I took of these two!

15 March 2010

Meet my kids..............

I am one of those people who thinks everyone should
have a dog. Or two. Since I am just starting out with this personal blog adventure, I wanted you to meet my family. Now this isn't my human family. I have 2 wonderful sons, 3 fabulous grandchildren, and 5 wonderful step grands, and I love them dearly. The family I am talking about is the family that I have now. The ones who live with me on a daily basis. My two dogs, AKA my "kids". My Bostahuahua, Toonie Mae Hound Princess Dog of Burney and Charlie, my wire hair fox terrier. I made up that breed name, the Bostahuahua. You see, Tooners is a Boston terrier and chihuahua cross. I am pretty sure she isn't one of those deliberate "designer dogs", more the product of a one night stand, but if this isn't a legit breed, it should be. Wonderful little dog. She's the mascot for my nail salon and most of my clients say hello to her before they do me. And they notice if I leave her home. Which hardly ever happened until I got Charlie. Charlie doesn't like the smell of acrylic so I only bring him with me to the salon for a half day on occasion, when acrylics aren't on the menu. I sometimes leave The Princess home to keep him company. She is not fond of this treatment and lets me know her displeasure, but she gets over it fast enough. But I digress. I am fostering Charlie in hopes of adopting him sometime down the line. He is the casualty of divorce, the father of the family leaving and then the mother ending up leaving a few months later abandoning this sweetheart in the backyard to whatever fate handed him. Not sure how long he had been in that backyard but when he came to live with me, he was extremely thin and fearful. But he holds no grudge and has not let that horrible treatment interfere with his chance at a new life. Dogs are so resilient! The heartless cruelty that some people can impose on helpless creatures is something I will never understand. There is NO excuse for this. None. But I won't get on my soapbox on that subject. At least not now. So here are my two "kids" in all their sweetness. I am sure you will get to know them a lot better as we head further down the path of our new life.
I do not intend to let life's circumstances deter me from marching on into a new life either. Yes, times are tough, but I am tougher. The dogs and I will be fine and everyday has something to be thankful for. Well, maybe a snowy day when it is almost spring could bring a setback :-), but we are nothing if not resilient. This too shall pass. I thank you for stopping by and please do so again. Have a wonderful, week, and please.........count your blessings! Adios from the Three Amigos.

08 March 2010

My single life

Thank you for stopping by my blog. This endeavor to share my life with the world will focus on the single life. My single life. My life with my two dogs, Toonie Mae Hound Princess Dog of Burney, and Charlie, the wire hair fox terrier that I am fostering for our local dog rescue group and hoping to adopt sometime in the future. He's older, was abandoned, and is hard of hearing and partially blind in one eye. A little worse for wear, but settling into our humble household and has become a treasured member of my family. Toonie Mae is also a rescued dog that I have had 6+ years. She is a sweetheart, truly a Princess, afraid of nothing, and I try to pattern my life after her stellar attitude. Not the princess part, but her lack of fear, her idea that a nap can fix anything, and an attitude that all will be well.

My thoughts, at this point, are to post this on-line journal approximately once a week. It will be a ragtag mix of my personal journey, my dogs' lives, some tips (well probably a lot of tips) on how I get by, maybe a recipe or two, some tidbits of advice. ..... well, you get the idea. A bit of this and a bit of that.

First a brief background. I was married for 14 years and did not, at this point in my life, think I would be heading into my golden years alone. But booze, and affairs, and bad choices made my husband decide that he would rather end our marriage. I can't understand why he thought my objections to these things were unreasonable. Do you? The marriage was not a particularly good one even before these things started and upon reading through my personal journals my eyes were opened to what I should have seen coming. However, I had decided to tough it out, but, as bad things go, this one went. So I found myself on my own. I let my lawyer lead -- isn't that what they are supposed to do? -- and ended up with enough money to buy a little house built in the early 40s. This is a good thing, but on the other hand he, meaning the ex, pulled some "maneuvers", and I took some bad advice from my lawyer and did not pursue alimony. The process of our divorce went on and on and I just wanted to get it over with. Not the best choice, but on the other hand I do not have to confront him or deal with him any longer and had I chosen to go to court with the pursuit of living expenses I would most likely have had to deal with him forever. So I continue to try and support myself with a struggling nail salon and looking for a part-time position to fill in the gaps of my money woes. I have been through a medical transcription course that has proven not to work for me, but that is another post. This is a tough economy and I live in a small town with not much in the way of opportunities, but, like the Tooners would say if she could talk, "It's all life, my dear, carry on." So I do.

So what happened next? I moved to my little house by the creek, changed my name back to my children's Sir name and life goes on. Please stop by again!