Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Excalibur!

All I can say is WOW! If you have never tried dehydrated pineapple - find a natural food store and try some from there. After living near Indpls, IN - I had tried dried pineapple from Trader Joes - that is GOOD - but so is the dehydrated - and SO much cheaper! What is even better is there is nothing added to it - just plain pineapple! No sugar, no preservatives - nothing! Now, it is 2 a.m. and I am still up as I am too excited to sleep - why? First time making fruit leather. Not fruit rolls or rolled up sugar - no sir! Just peaches and applesauce! It is so good I just can't describe it! They are still dehydrating since we didn't check our timing - but we couldn't wait and pulled some of the dried fruit off the edges! YUM! This was our first time making them and I didn't read all the directions all the way through - so we mixed peaches with applesauce 50/50 - we could have done pure peach and just poured it on the sheets - but.... I had read that some fruits had to be mixed with others - didn't read everything. Peaches can be done alone, but boy is the combo awesome too! We have done bananas, strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, gala apples, peaches and peach/apple fruit leathers - so far they are all out of the park! The first attempt - well, the fruit only lasted about 24 hours - lol - only because it was eaten so fast! I have a feeling this load of awesomeness won't last much longer! Its ok - we have more fruit to go in it tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

ITS HERE!!! Excalibur Dehydrator 3926T

IT CAME TODAY! The Excalibur Dehydrator 3926T We got fresh fruit from the store and we are ready to try both dried fruit and fruit leathers! I am so excited. Tomorrow will be the first day for the dehydrator and it will take 8-12 hours to get results less for the fruit leathers. We will try different ideas and keep track of what works and tastes the best!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

who am I

Living vicariously - can be almost just as fun until you are alone.... then it is all just living. I'm trying to refocus on who I am, who I want to be and what I should be doing. The horses were always my passion, I can't be around them very easily now - either I can't do any lifting or I can't breathe - family, I wanted a large family....., cooking, I used to cook for all the volunteers and before that family and in laws, ............ I'm hoping to re-learn who I am..... I recently chatted with someone who let me know I was not alone. A relative had been in a diabetic coma and afterwards was all out of "sync" and trying to figure out who they were. It does make me feel better and to know that I am not alone, but it is still very frustrating. It is like I aged 10 years when I was in the coma. I was fine (all things considered) and had very few aches and pains prior and now I have hip problems aches and pains all over, I don't sleep well - before I could sleep anytime, anywhere and through anything! I know God has a plan, but I have so much jealousy and fear and just unknown feelings that I am at a loss.....

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

looking for Mashed Potato Bread Recipe

I had a very old time recipe that had been passed down for generations - I have unfortunately lost it. It was for Mashed Potato bread and you used the water from boiling the potatoes plus using the Mashed Potatoes. It was for a large batch of bread that you could divide the dough into 4 or 6 loaves to freeze for thawing out at later times. It was a great dough for using to make cinnamon rolls, pizza dough - just about anything. I'll be searching, but if anyone has a dough that sounds like this one and would like to share it would be greatly appreciated. ******************************* I'm still waiting on my dehydrator - on pins and needles waiting for it - so I have been doing research to see how to make different items and how to go about dehydrating different vegetables that we are growing and of course those fruit leathers I am dreaming about. -------------------------------- The ducks and geese are growing by leaps and bounds! Oh My! They are almost fully feathered. The Pekin ducks ARE fully feathered. They are going out in the yard free choice and follow us back to the shelter with no prodding whatsoever! In fact if they see one of the grand babies they run for the shelter! They just want to pet them or hold them, but are not allowed to by themselves yet. but they run towards them and they know where to go for shelter!! They are just so fun to see and to watch them grow and become real birds and no longer babies. We are still weeks away from getting eggs...... hmmmm can we dehydrate those too??? Just in case we get overloaded and don't get the excess sold! :-)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Excalibur Dehydrator 3926T

SO EXCITED! The dehydrator is ordered and hopefully on its way to being shipped to Indiana! I've ordered a couple books and already excited about making lots of wholesome snacks. I can't imagine giving up my chocolate - but hey - you never know. Looking forward to lots of different things, to try making pineapple chips or pieces or slices or whatever dehydrated pineapple is called. It will be interesting to try drying tomatoes - still a lot of testing to be done before all the vegetables start coming in from the garden.. We have cucumbers and tomatoes growing along with tons of snap peas. We finally got the sunflowers planted and I hope we can get homemade sunflower seeds! Even if we do nothing but feed them to the ducks and geese it will be fun. Hopefully the next time you see Excalibur in the post line - it will be with results!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Swimming Pools, Dehydrators or Breadmakers!

A great day! Getting woke up out of a dead sleep to go swimming! Can't beat that - since it was almost noon and the temperature was already insanely hot. I played with our neighbor, Kelsey and the grand children in the water for at least an hour. In invigorated me enough to come home, rearrange my room to better accommodate the dog crate and to clean up some much needed laundry and craft projects. So, my laundry is done! I have clean clothes, clean sheets and my room is in some sort of organized state. Life couldn't be better! I would love to have a swimming pool - but NOT NOW! I can not imagine having a pool without a locked fence totally enclosing it. SO that will have to wait for a few years - or till next year when there are no children at this end of the property! Until then I am concentrating on how to save on groceries and making more wholesome prepared meals. I love bread and cooking, so I have done a lot of research on bread machines. I have done TONS of research on a food dehydrator and I am convinced the Excalibur 3526T is the one to buy - unless you want a larger one then I highly recommend the 3926T - they both have thermostats and timers, much needed if you plan on doing much dehydrating. Years ago I had a cheaper model dehydrator - the kind that has the heater and fan from the bottom - that requires rotating shelves, etc and can also cause blending of flavors. The Excalibur does not do that. It is located in the back of the unit which makes for better and more even distribution of heat. I can hardly wait to get one and start making fruit leathers, jerky, dried tomatoes, banana chips, apple chips, and even better dried pineapple!!! I'm torn between a couple different bread makers. Panasonic SD-YD250 and the Cuisinart CBK-200 I'm hoping to get some feedback from other bread makers to see what they have and they like before I purchase mine. But I hope to get one soon - its something else I can do to help around the house.... and I love to bake!

Friday, May 25, 2012

WOW! The Foodsaver Gamesaver Silver came in today! It is for vacuum packing food. We hope to save a lot of money by buying in quantity and then making smaller packages and freezing them. So we played with it - like a new toy - when it came in. We just packaged up some nuts we had and tested it out. Worked great! So, off to the grocery, we were headed there after making out our menu. I was able to save .25 per pound on the ground chuck we were going to buy since we purchased it in bulk instead of one and two pound packages! It may not be a lot, but it adds up over time. Shortly after getting the groceries put away I also had the ground chuck separated into smaller size packages and vacuum packed! The ribs? Oh yeah, they are packed away and in the freezer too. Now we need to continue our couponing, watch for meat sales and hmmm still need that food dehydrator to make our own home made nutritious snacks. As for the rest of the day - extremely hot out, no pool to jump into, so I stayed indoors most of the day! Of course I am tired of staying in all day, that is all I have done for the last year plus. So much of it I don't remember - just being on oxygen and dragging a tube around in the house and a tank around outside.... Am I getting old or is it something else? I hurt all the time. I didn't used to hurt like I do now - at least before the coma. I couldn't breathe, but I was smoking back then. I'm no longer smoking, I still can't breathe; worse yet, I hurt all over. I'm still trying to find the upside to getting older and being "retired" I saw this rhyme and wondered exactly what it meant to me... so many thoughts go through my mind. Don't be someone's... Down time, spare time Part time or sometime If they can't be there for you all the time, then they're not even worth your time!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What a day, while my sleeping patterns are still screwed up - I am trying to be more useful around the house and working outside when it is decent weather. Today I actually cooked dinner. BBQ chicken cooked on the grill - with chicken rice (Zattaran), baked beans and cranberry sauce. I passed on the baked beans and cranberry - but loved the BBQ chicken and rice. I think I am going to try my hand a cooking a little more often. I used to love to cook - and baked a lot too - after that I checked out my new Black and Decker weed trimmer and loved it! The battery operated model is so lightweight and easy to use. I have very little strength or stamina since being in a coma a year ago and this one was so easy to handle and carry. I was able to tackle the weeds all around the house and even around the one planter area where we have roses! It was awesome! It was a great day - of course waiting until it cooled off helped a lot. Tomorrow/today is going to be even hotter and the week will just keep warming up in the 90's for the next 5 days so, most of my work will be done indoors or anything out side will be done as it cools off for the day....

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Country music

So have you ever been around baby ducks or chickens or full grown peacocks? If you are lucky enough to live in the country and have a love of animals - and birds - they are really awesome to watch and listen to. I had heard of the noise the peacocks made - but until this summer had never really paid attention at the zoos or other visiting places. It is so cool - like roosters, some people don't like it and other people can not imagine living without hearing it in the background. I grew up in the country - but never had anything more than cats and dogs - oh I had a salamander and a rabbit, but they died eventually, and mine just didn't seem to have much personality. My friend had geese and I was around them a little and liked the noise they made but never really paid much attention. Now I see how calming they can be and how listening to them is relaxing. Some people talk about how quiet it is in the country - lol - I guess they aren't really listening. The poultry, the owls, crickets - they have their own music to hear. I do know it sure beats the heck out of listening to traffic, trains, and sirens.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Howls, Trowels, and Spurs: Gardening

Howls, Trowels, and Spurs: Gardening: Here I will put information that I want to share regarding different gardening ideas, flowers and any other tidbits!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What a life - it is busy to say the least. Today I was up early - NOT sure what that was about. But I got some plants repotted into planters and watered the ones that were dying of thirst! Then took a much needed nap - it was quite hot and the sun was up high by the time I finished! After a much needed nap I found that Kelsey had already started putting together the sandbox that arrived via UPS today! She has never been much on tools and such so I was GREATLY surprised at how well she had done and watching the kids at the same time! Katelynn kept telling her mom that she was building a great house! It turned out beautiful! Daddy is going to pick up the 700 pounds of sand that is needed to fill it tomorrow and boy are they going to have fun! The children play in the sand now - we don't have soil, but sand for dirt - so having play sand in a box will be even more fun! I got some more plants into pots and watered even more flowers after Kelsey moved the heavy hose for me. The house is looking beautiful if I do say so myself! We do have lilacs planted into large pots for her house and I just don't know where to put the weigelea bush/plant so it is still in a large pot too! We hooked up the sprinkler to the hose so we could properly water the garden - but the vegetables are growing great so far!! It is only May and we already have green beans and sugar snap peas along with strawberries coming in!!! This is the first year for the strawberries so they are tiny, tiny, next year they should be awesome. What all is in the garden, romaine lettuce, head lettuce, green beans, sugar snap beans, cucumber, a few carrots, roma tomatoes, big boy tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, sun flower seeds are going in tomorrow.... The ducks have a new house thanks to a great friend and neighbor - she recycled a former dog house that was larger than most dog houses - actually longer than most with a door in the center - perfect for ducks since they don't roost..... make that ducks AND geese. We have a total of 15 - 9 ducks and 6 geese. I know the geese are Toulouse and either African or Embden - they are beautiful so it doesn't matter and all extremely friendly too! The ducks are hmm Rouen, Pekin, and Khaki - all so adorable! I still want wood ducks when the time is right! Then we get to the chickens...... we bought some Bantams - sort of an accident - but they will be great pets anyway - not so much for the eggs, that is for sure!!! I beleive most of the Bantams are Barred Rock, but will have to double check... As for full size chickens, we have at least two of each of the following Black Australorp, Buff Orpington, Barred Rock and a Leghorn cross. Kelsey picked them out so I will have to check on other breeds - but these are all layer hens and one rosster so we can hear him crow - nothing I like better than listening to a rooster crow - some people hate it, but it reminds me I am in the country and loving it! We will keep chickens at both our houses and also sell cage free - partially free range - organic eggs to those lucky enough to find them available. OH - if you like to bake - try the duck eggs! They are totally awesome! Duck eggs are just about the same size as an extra large egg or even a little smaller as they are thinner - but they make everything you bake better! More moist - everything - just better all around. We have sorely missed having duck eggs. We will have goose eggs too - and they are equal to about 3 large chicken eggs for each goose egg. More research to do on dehydrating and vacuum air packing food for storage - later!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

camp fire - bonfire

Well, I have learned one thing - even though I am off oxygen during the day does not mean I am "invincible"

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wow, so its been a few months since I posted. My only excuse is ...... I'm still thinking!! No excuses I just didn't post. So, this weekend is coming up and it is Mothers Day - I was asked what I wanted to do for Mothers Day and my thoughts were, I'm not a Mother. Yes, I had a son at the age of 16 and he was put up for adoption as I was just a child myself and in no way prepared or able to raise a child. It was a decision I was not really allowed to make (a different lifetime/life style back then), and while I know it was the best thing for him, I was also never able to have more children so missed out on being a mother - the one true job I wanted all my life. As I said in my earlier post I was Mama K to a lot of people and friends call me Mama K to this day. I love helping people and helping people grow and become better people, friends, etc. I have no expectations for Mothers Day, but appreciate being asked what I wanted to do - just enjoying my family is all I could ever ask for. My family at least the family I live with - a surrogate daughter and her husband and their 2 little girls. The girls call me Nana and I try to be the best Nana I can be. I love being a Nana to them and while it has its joys - it is also very tiring! Since being on a medical leave for the past year I have been slowly recovering from unknown illness. Unknown as in they never could figure out why I was unconscious and why I was so sick and in the hospital for so long. Being 54 and not as healthy as I should be, helping watch over 1 yr old and a 34 months (almost 3 yrs) yr old totally wears me out! The youngest one, she is very busy and has no fear - so my anxiety levels go through the roof!! The other little girl is also very busy and while both are dolls, she is like her daddy and loves cars! and flying - pretend flying cars, dolls, anything in her hands.... My limit on watching them indoors is about 3-4 hours. Outside.... about 30 minutes! Too much to get into and too many places to go. I was used to being on my own - quiet, tranquility, watching my TV shows when I wanted to, no TV when I wanted peaceful time.... now it is Barney and any other HUGE list of children's shows. Eating when I wanted, not sharing with sticky fingers - you get the idea! Welcome to Nana time! Yogurt in my hair - yep, sticky fingers needing kissed, yep - but all I need to hear to start my day when I walk out of my room is HI NANA! and those little girls come running to hug me. What a way to start the day - oh yeah, at least I don't have to get up at the break of dawn with them!! lol My nieces where my world, now and many years ago. They have grown up, all three are married, one has a darling daughter, one is expecting and the youngest just graduated from college. I miss them, I miss the times we used to have. I feel so estranged from them, like we have grown so far apart. We all grow and change, but my love for them will always be there....

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

new beginning

I keep going over why I wanted to start a blog - I guess one reason is to help people understand who I am - of course I am a lot of people rolled into one!

I am a very lucky person, especially since I passed out (?) in April of 2011.  I was found down when Tony sent a friend to check up on me when I couldn't be reached, all we know for sure is I checked my voice mail around noon that day and was then found down around 8 pm.  After being in a coma for 2 days and a total of 13 days of hospitalization I am still on medical leave from my full time volunteer position at Indiana Horse Rescue 8 months later.

That is where it starts - and why I am figuring out who I am.  I'm not totally nuts - I KNOW who I am!  I guess I am just re-defining myself.  For the last 15+ years I have been Kathryn Caldwell with Indiana Horse Rescue - but who am "I"  I was tough enough to care for many horses and carry tons of grain and hay, but who am "I" I could bid against kill buyers and cry with people when they adopted or donated horses, I cried when I knew we couldn't save a horse, but who am "I"  I taught nieces how to bake and cared for one niece while my SIL had brain surgery, then missed many years of their lives, I am Mama K for so many of my children, my family of friends.  I can give them advice be there mentor their friend their substitute mama - but who am "I"

My blog name came from loving my dog(s), gardening and of course Horses!!  That is a big part of who I am.  So now, we will see where this will take me and what I can discover about you my friends and how you help me be me and maybe be a better me and a better friend.