Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Washing Cucumbers in a Vintage Wringer Washer Maytag Washing Machine

Hello and welcome to my blog......I want to tell you the story about washing cucumbers. Approximately a year ago I bought this book by Stephanie Thurow. Well in fact I got it around July 2017. I read it from cover to cover, still trying different recipes. In the beginning there is a story about washing your cucumbers in a wringer washer...….well I was sold. That was it I was determined to find a wringer washer. I looked everywhere from Craigslist, Ebay , Etsy, my daughter Alexis was even looking too on Facebook. Bruce would look also. I would find beautiful washers in like new condition and they would be way to far....like Arizona.....Kansas....California....not exactly somewhere where Bruce would agree to go and pick it up. I would stop looking for awhile, then go back at it. Finally one evening Bruce comes across a newly refurbished one in Maryland.....ahhhhhhh….CALL THEM! He called and this man who lives in an Amish community had recently refurbished this Maytag 1956 (I think that's what he said) even a new plug of course the man spent an hour on the phone with Bruce and telling him everything he did.....I think Bruce even learn something new about vintage washers.....maybe a little more than he ever intended. 
Which if you like to can or make fermented foods this is A MUST HAVE! This is the book by Stephanie Thurow 

So we talked to the man on Tuesday night and made an appointment for Thursday mid day to arrive at his house to see the washer. We left early that morning and since the gentleman was within an hour of the National Aquarium in Baltimore so we decided to make it a day. Let me tell you and beautiful place if you have never been it is a must see!!! We had such a blast and got to see the dolphin show too. See pics below of some of the adventures. 
So this washer purchase was right on time......we had rows of cucumbers ready and if any of you have had to clean them with all the little pricky nubs and not to mention pick them talk about needing long sleeves and gloves....but do you think I do that.....nope I just tough it out and keep on going.....then when my arms and hands are scratched up....I say why did I do that....every time. This washer takes care of all that, plus cleans them well. 

here are some of our pickling pickles that are parthenocarpy (as we have grown them in the high tunnel)   it basically means they fruit without fertilization. Since honey bees do not go into a high tunnel, but bumble bees do and other pollinators.....but maybe a bit less production....we use the parthencarpic cucumber seeds from Baker Creek called Monika. They produce an over abundance of cucumbers and as I type this are still producing...however not as many and many of the plants have done their duties. I didn't exactly want to self pollinate all the cukes so these seeds are the best option. Outside we use regular seeds different types and they do quite well....although many of them get away from me and I have these huge really long cukes….you know the ones. 
This is one batch of cucumbers 

You have to add water enough to cover so that it does not tear them up.....as in break them in half or just make them harder to cut 

You can see there is ample space around the cukes and they are not beating each other 

The water after the first washing 

I scooped it out but Bruce said " you don't need to the opening is wide enough, for the stuff to pass thru. The agitator comes off and you can clean under the drain area. He hooked it up with a valve so it drains properly instead of me lifting buckets......or him. 

This is how dirty the water gets 
plus I rinse them again with the sink spray nozzle 
This is some of the cucumbers 

Bruce uses this old slicer to cut the cucumbers. The slicer was actually my mom and dads when my mom was married to my dad. They divorced when I was five and I am fifty now.....so you know its old! IT IS NOT safe. I DO NOT recommend it at all! Bruce has a butter knife stuck in it to hold it on. 

                  Here is the video of him USING it and trust me...……..NOT SAFE

Once the batches of cucumbers are in the buckets you soak them in lime pickling powder that you buy on Amazon, or in your grocery store. NOT AT A FEED AND SEED STORE for your garden, although some of the feed and seed stores sell canning supplies so this lime would be in the canning section.  Trust me I get that question a lot where do you get the lime.  

One they have soaked and rinsed numerous times and soaked...…...then you make the brine and soak the cucumbers.

this is a 24 quart pot full of soon to be pickles 

Putting the pickles in the jars 
the sweet and spicy pickles in the jar 

These are the Monika parthencarpic seeds grown in the high tunnel which you can see do quite well and look really nice too. 

See how healthy the vines are and the baby fruit 
Almost ready cucumbers 

Ready for sure cucumbers 

Ready too 

It was a wonderful year for cucumbers 

You can see how tiny the pickling cucumbers are 

Also when it was time to dig potatoes I decided I was going to use the washer for this too

It worked great......clean potatoes and less hand work for me 

Here the boys were digging the potatoes

The potatoes were really dirty too I brushed them off a bit first once the dirt dried on them 

We had an excellent time at The National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland 

The dolphin show 

more of the dolphin show 

I just loved the jellyfish so relaxing and mesmerizing 
                                               Just look how beautiful these jellyfish are
So as you can see what a long ride to get my dream washer for washing cucumbers and potatoes turned into a day of fun....I was so excited to finally get this washer I had goosebumps of excitement. 

It certainly is a great addition to any homestead....you can even turn these washers into gas run motors to use outside.   

Thanks for looking.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Why I wear my Bee Suit NOW

I was told from before we started keeping bees you don't need to wear a suit...they aren't aggressive, you just need to a natural beekeeper, they will be gentle, no worries, if you get stung its doesn't hurt......it never swells...….you build up tolerances to it......need I say more!???? 
So for the longest time I DIDN'T wear a suit because I was going to be a "real" live beekeeper..... with no suit and very little smoke. 
Bruce on the other hand was always in his suit and gloves and lots of smoke. I would get stung every now and then but mostly no. It was him that actually would get stung more than me...he could be just standing there and they would sting him. He would swell up and I was forever putting lavender essential oil on his sting areas. Sometimes some of them would be so swollen he would have to use ice packs and take diphenhydramine products. I would say "I just don't get it why when you get stung why they swell so much?" The area would be so red and inflamed and extremely swollen. This went on for several years. Then one day in October right after the boys and Skylar carved their pumpkins in the fall of 2016 I was feeding the bees and as always taking pictures and yes I get some of best bee pics while working with the bees.....so Bruce popped off the inner cover and I was wearing NO SUIT....
Yep you heard me right ...phone in hand and one of more irritated (if that's what you would say) they are just much much more protective and a large colony. Out flies this super fast bee and you guessed it right for lip.....she got my upper lip and within minuets it was SWOLLEN.    
Skylar was here at the time while mommy was in Germany and she remined me every morning "grandma your lip is still BIG" it lasted for approximately four-fives days and was actually quite painful as the swelling was in an area that is highly sensitive with many nerve endings and serve as a tactile area. Of course I know some people like to let bees sting them for apitherapy, which is why I was never concerned about it if I got stung...and I never swelled anyway.....well before this day. 

There for awhile I still didn't wear my suit.....I know hard headed and actually I really hate my suit....I know strong words....it is EXTEMELY HOT, heavy and very awkward. It was the suit that we got in a combo type deal when we first began......and yes it is in dire straights at this moment.....but as anyone knows running a farm you have to put out "fires" as they happen.  Otherwise known as the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Bruce calls them "fires" because they take first place in what has to be done....and as long they suit is still in working condition and has no holes.....but I tell you I have come so close to just buying that beautiful pink cool (in temperature) suit.....plus who wants to feel like bag of potatoes as my suit is defiantly the wrong size. Then in the late fall and early winter its all good as it is warmer. Maybe one day I can get that pretty pink bee suit.

I used to think again it was funny how I could work with the bees and not wear the suit. SO I would take pictures of this nuc and Colten is wearing the suit. 

Here we are sometime back when we were working and I am like "no SUit" hello WAS I BRAVE. 
Well that has now since changed the more colonies we have the more chances have increased and as I said before I didn't swell....well now I do. 

 This bee sting was on the neck and when I would lay down to sleep I would have to prop myself up as my throat swelled slightly and I felt as if I had trouble breathing....it may have all been phycological….but none the same it hurt and did cause swelling.

This one I got last summer and it was my first hand swelling. 

This was recent and this is a whole other story...….I am getting ready to share with you. 

The shoe is one of my size nine Birkys so as you can see this one got me right after the bear attack. Which was one of the most adrenaline filled days I have had in quite sometime. Well it was more like a panic zone.....

So let me tell you this story...…
I was working in the kitchen making jam and was just finishing up the room smelled like blackberries and still had wafts of honey depending on where you were in the kitchen. I had kept looking outside most of the day....and it being a super hot sunny day....the goats grazing the chickens clucking around fussing at the other hens and the fresh summer air I would feel on my skin as I would open the door to the kitchen to take things outside or go switch over the laundry next door. 
I stopped and said I want to go to the high tunnel before it gets dark....as it was roughly 6:30 ish and Bruce never wants to stop working he goes and goes and goes...….I always say I have other stuff to do.  Eventually I just have to quit or walk away....we work everyday from 5am to midnight and yes somedays less but majority of the days it is non stop from 5am to midnight. THIS IS WHY the things I want to do don't happen....unless I walk away of just quit to go do what else needs to be done. 
So he said yes that's a great idea I will go with you...which yes is more work but we are outside. So we had just got the greenhouse checked everything out then moved on to the high tunnel and as we were getting ready to proceed in the door Bruce spots a bear.....which mind you the day before as we were taking the two little boys to art camp we saw one hive tore up...I told Bruce it was bear....he said no. Probably a deer ran into a night. Or even a skunk they can tear up a hive too. No I said a bear. He still was not convinced. SO now momma was right again...….here in broad day light was this bear at one of the huge hive bodies knocking it over. That huge bear took one little tiny push and toppled over that entire colony like it was a feather.  Bruce ran back to the house and I stayed and as the black bear ran into the woods. This huge cloud of  swarming  extremely mad bees came flying my way as I was standing at the edge of the tunnel. I had on an apron as I had just left the kitchen and I threw it over my face. These bees where looking for anyone to attack as the bear ran off into the woods and their skin is so thick and just about impossible to penetrate. I'm sure bees went after the black bear too. I ran as fast as I could to the greenhouse pulled down the storm door opening and closed the door. The bees were dive bombing the greenhouse coming up through the floor....I had on a skirt and yes some had got me on the legs and the hand. Colten threw my suit in the door and hoped back on the four wheeler and Bruce was back in his suit trying to put the hive together. 
What an evening...….
The bear did come back around 11pm and Bruce had to fix the hive bodies yet again....not happy bees!!!

So this is what we found the morning on the way to take the boys to art camp. 

You can see this bear was looking for brood...which yes and honey but mostly they look for brood and this hive was struggling so we added more brood to the hive just the day before. 

 Yep Bear footprint 

This is the colony that was attacked by the bear two times as you can see lots of bees......

I was in my car taking this pic Bruce had just set them back up. 

So I got it in the eye.....and this is yet another reason you need to wear the suit. 


Bruce and planted entire field of wildflowers and sunflowers plus all the other stuff …….the bees have been loving the wildflowers this year along with lots other pollinators. 
So as you can see I REALLY DO LOVE THE BEES...….
I enjoy everything about it, I love what they do for everyone on the planet and want to keep them happy and safe...…

I even went as far as getting a honey bee tattoo 

I love my honeybee Tattoo. Done
 by Davy Sheets at Primal Tattoo in Carrolton Virginia. 
I hope you see why now I will continue to wear my bee suit and continue to be mindful of safety first. 

As of today it is raining again....off and on but very gloomy outside. I hope we have a market on Saturday but they just keep saying more rain. Bruce and I getting ready to finish up some pickles and go pick more butternut squash, we have a half of an acre to pick of nothing but butternut squash. YAY! 
Enjoy the rest of the week and HAPPY HUMP DAY!!!!!
No bee stings...……….LOL!!! 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Tomorrow on July 07, 2018 We will be at the Smithfield Farmers Market from 9-12

Hello everyone soo much to share so little time.  Seriously I get fussed at all the time since I don't post MUCH BUT HONESTLY I run out of time. I am getting there though.........so please understand. These are the sweet and spicy pickles I make.  

Look at those yummy pickles

John gave me some cucumbers and Bruce picked a bunch of ours too between them I had two more five gallon buckets of cucumbers soaking in lime. Plus I did a batch of watermelon rind pickles.  

TOMORROW we will be at the Smithfield Farmers Market behind the BSV Bank in Smithfield Virginia. 

The market is from 9-12

Tomorrow I will have the usual stuff plus we have a $5.00 special on the goat cheese for my 50th Birthday so come by to see us if ya can. 

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