• Canning,  Food,  Garden

    Tomato Canning – My Favorite Tips

    As we start getting more tomatoes than we can eat, I sauce them in the food processor and put the sauce in half gallon ice cream containers in the freezer. When we run out of freezer space, it’s time to can! If you’re new to canning tomatoes, here’s the official instructions. This year we also picked up three boxes of canning tomatoes (read: busted and bruised) at the end of the farmers market for $10. I DO NOT: take off seeds and skins. I’m sure they’re full of nutrients, but more importantly, I don’t mind a chunky sauce and un-chunking the sauce is a serious amount of work. I bring…

  • Food,  Garden

    How to Process Amaranth

    We planted Hopi Red  Dye Amaranth this year and last year. It’s SUCH a beautiful plant and probably our most asked about plant. It gets about 6-7 feet tall with no fuss. I think it’s a great plant just as a decorative xeriscaping. But it’s also edible! And hot pink! It does however, crowd and re-seed a bit vigorously, but it’s not that hard to pull out or mow when it’s small. You can eat the scarlet leaves raw when it’s small, and eat them cooked as it gets bigger. And of course, hypothetically, you can eat the grain. I got it, in fact, because I liked the idea of growing…

  • Canning,  Food,  Garden

    Mulberry Picking

    I adore berries! Mulberries, to me, are the most adult-tasting berry. They aren’t super sweet or super tart, but have a really pleasant mellowness to them. Not as bitter as blackberries can be. I like them best in sorbets (with a sweetish wine – port, white wine, or cheap country wine of any sort!) or frozen dropped into my cereal bowl. They are also good in yogurt. I have never canned or baked much with them, because I think you’d have to add so much lemon juice and sugar it wouldn’t have that subtle mulberry taste.   Saturday morning we went to the park behind my house that is teeming…

  • Canning,  Food,  Garden,  Quilts,  Uncategorized

    Cherry Blossoms and Other Berries

    I’m not sure exactly why I love cherry blossoms, since they are responsible for a terrible, horrible, no good sinus infection I got once while coordinating an event in DC. Luckily I had a good team that took over when I went down. Cherry blossoms 1; Dana 0. These flowers are cheesy, but I like them. I keep wanting to think of ways to class them up, but maybe they are fine sweet and simple. And in the realm of berries that don’t try to kill me, I got a goumi bush last fall, which apparently is invasive in much of the US! Very frustrating to learn that, but the…

  • Garden,  Recipes

    Homemade Frozen Potato Hashbrown Recipe

    I’ve actually been very busy with making things for Christmas, finishing up 2012 quilt orders and traveling all across creation for the holidays.  While in Western Massachusetts visiting some old friends, we were told to make a pilgrimage to The Barn in Greenfield, which is a surplus grocery store, aka, my DREAMland. I have actually had dreams about surplus grocery stores. Essentially, they buy dinged, dented and about-to-expire products and sell them at wholesale prices.  Since organic foods are more expensive, they are way more likely to not sell at the regular store and end up in these bargain stores. Basically, a hippie paradise. Among other things (like pounds of…

  • Food,  Garden,  Other Stuff I Made,  Quilts

    Roll On, Ohio!

    Woody Guthrie wrote the song “Roll On, Columbia”  in 1941 as an advertisement for hydroelectric power.  As much as I don’t generally like product placement, it’s a fun song to sing about wherever you are. This weekend I took an urban tour of Ohio, top to bottom, Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland. Glancing at facebook this morning, I see that many of my friends were adventuring through dramatic woods, mountains, rock climbing. When did I start going to so many cities? When I was younger I was pretty terrified of cities, and the mix of exhilaration and exploration and “I AM HAVING AN EXPERIENCE HERE, RIGHT NOW” I got when I did nervously…

  • Beer,  Food,  Garden

    How’s It Growing?

    I want to obsess over my yard for a moment. I have always lived in small towns or rural areas until I moved to Charleston, WV, which at around 50,000 people isn’t that powerful of a city. So, I was wondering if I’d be miserable moving to Columbus, which has over a million people in the metro area. But, I’m not! I love it! We have a tiny house with a south facing yard next to a river. Aaand we are within walking distance to a vegan bakery! I often say though, you can take a girl out of the country, but you can’t take the trash out of her…

  • Garden,  Quilts

    Wednesday In Progress

    Today in the sewing world I am working on a back for my Sampler Quilt. Here’s what I have so far: I think what will happen to it is that I will make the left white part smaller, and more white and then more strips of small boxes on the right.  I am waiting because I’ll be keeping this quilt so there’s no rush, except there is a rush, because I love being DONE with quilts. I want to get some quilty energy back before I just cobble something together. I was thinking, looking at this picture, “Am I picking this design because it is the fastest thing I can…

  • Garden,  Tutorials

    How to Keep Track of Your Seeds and Garden Schemes

    The sunflower above grew from our bird feeder and was a big success with neighborhood birds and squirrels. I am by no means any kind of expert gardener, but I am a robust amateur. I just got back from a trip to Florida which got me itchin’ for SUMMERTIME. (and, incidentally, itchin’ from a lot of fire ant bites, but that’s another story). I just put in our order for 2012 seeds, which is pretty small since I save a lot of our seeds. However, there are a few things that I want to try new varieties of (like a more disease resistant cucumber) and a few things I have never…

  • Garden,  Process Pledge,  Quilts

    Quilt Party!

    I have been busy as a bee with my quilts lately. I have three full-size quilt tops that are all pressed and needing to be basted so I can quilt them.  I usually don’t mind the basting process, but it’s too mucky and cold out to baste on the deck, and these are all too big for my bedroom basting system, which means that basting will involve some micro-level scrubbing of the kitchen floor. Because sometimes quilting involves scrubbing the kitchen floor. Does anyone want a tutorial or pictures showing this quilting process? It also involves a lot of this, my old frenemy, the piles of threads and scrips and…