What to do with those leftover wine corks? Make an ornament for your tree or to attach to packages as a gift for someone elses tree! It took me a couple of tries, but I eventually got this worked out and was pleased with the results.
Green Floral Wire
To make an ornament, drill a hole through the center of the cork lengthwise using a small drill bit. If the tassel has a hanging loop, cut this off of the tassel. Cut a length of floral wire (about 8″ is plenty) and slip one end into the top of the tassel. Twist [...]
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I’ve read that you need a cream separator and butter churn to make goat milk butter, but we’ve come up with a method that doesn’t require either of these pieces of equipment. Instead, we manually separate the cream from the goat milk and use a KitchenAid mixer to churn the butter.
It takes a few days, but the cream in the goat milk does separate and rise to the top of the jars we use for storing the milk; so we just spoon the cream off and add it to a freezer container of accumulating cream. We store the cream in the freezer to keep [...]
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After extracting 83 pounds of honey from the honey bee hive the first time (see Honey Harvest), the question comes up – how can you substitute honey for sugar when baking?
It turns out that you can, but you’re adding liquid – so the recipe has to be adjusted to accommodate the liquid. You can substitute honey for up to half the granulated sugar in a recipe, but for every cup of honey that’s used; the nonsweet liquid should be reduced by 1/4 cup, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda should be added, and the oven temperature should be lowered by 25°F.
So far, this has worked for us – what other rules of thumb [...]
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Making ricotta cheese at home is really simple and since we’ve got a supply of fresh milk; I decided to make some and flavor it with herbs as a cheese spread for our last party with friends. I flavored the freshly made ricotta with scallions (2 diced), fresh dill (2 tablespoon chopped), fresh chives (1 tablespoon chopped), 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. It was delicious! Since ricotta has a delicate flavor by itself, there are about a million different ways that it can be flavored and used, just make sure to allow time in advance so that it can [...]
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We’re nearly out of commercial glass cleaner, and Randy keeps trying to buy more – so I had to prove that a homemade glass cleaner could be concocted that would work just as well as the commercial version. And, be so inexpensive that you’d be crazy to go pay $5.50 for it (that’s what a bottle of Windex® was going for at the store).
Homemade glass cleaner recipes generally start with vinegar and water, and then add alcohol and/or cornstarch. I know, cornstarch? But, having tried recipes of vinegar/water, vinegar/water/alcohol, and vinegar/water/alcohol/cornstarch, the last concoction is the clear winner – and it really [...]
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Our growing season is drawing to a close, so it’s a good time to preserve some of the summertime flavor by making herbal vinegar. It’s simple to make and can add a wonderful shot of freshness to wintertime salad dressings, marinades, gravies, and sauces.
Herbs that make good vinegar include basil, bay, dill, fennel, garlic, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, rosemary, sage, savory, tarragon, and thyme. Flowers can also be used to make vinegar; and varieties to try include carnation, clover, elder flowers, lavender, nasturtium, primrose, rose, rosemary flowers, thyme flowers, and sweet violets.
To make herbal vinegar, cut fresh, perfect looking herbs; and [...]
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It drives me crazy to pick up a “simple” product like bath soaking crystals and find a list of ingredients like this: sodium sesquicarbonate, pentasodium triphosphate, aloe vera gel, fragrance, sodium lauroyl lactylate, isopropyl palmitate, mineral oil, peg-b quaternium-15, PG, blue 1, and yellow 10. What am I really going to be soaking in? So, I’m on a mission to start making our own homemade versions; they cost less and I’ll have some idea of what they’re made of.
Here’s a recipe for a simple bath soak:
2 cups baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
1 cup Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate)
2 tablespoons ground ginger
5 drops essential oil [...]
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As the cold weather returns, and we start getting the woolens out of closets; I’m reminded that lavender is a natural moth repellent, is much safer than moth balls, and needs harvesting now for bouquets, sachets, and lavender wands.
The lavender for bouquets and sachets needs to be dried, but lavender wands should be done now with fresh-supple lavender. Here’s how, along with some pictures of the process.
Gather 13 or more (it needs to be an odd number for the weaving to work right) 15″ long stems of fresh lavender, and strip all the leaves from the stem. Harvesting early in the day, but after the [...]
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We like feeding the birds in winter, but don’t like paying a fortune for seed and suet. Here’s an easy and inexpensive recipe for homemade suet that the birds seem to love. Using this, we see quite a variety of woodpeckers that don’t ever visit the normal feeders. It does take them a few days to find the suet once we hang it out though.
1 cup crunchy peanut butter 2 cups “quick cook” oatmeal
2 cups cornmeal 1 1/2 cups lard
1 cup white flour 1/3 cup sugar
Melt the peanut butter and lard together over low heat, and then mix [...]
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