Our Mission

To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Happy New Year-Almost and a Review

Since moving up here, March will be my three year anniversary, it's hard not to see the changes to this homestead property. Our main goal to live a more organic, self sufficient lifestyle is slowly taking shape. A lot more slowly than I expected. But there's something to be said for a slow and steady pace. I've learned a lot about this property and location.

Doing things on a shoe string budget has not been ideal. If things had gone along with my original five-ten year plan, we would have been a lot farther along with our progress, but you what they say about plans when it collides with Murphy's Law. To digress here, I often mention Murphy's Law on this blog. That's because I'm Irish (by marriage) and a Murphey. It seems to fit when things don't go as planned. But back to my review of the last three years of change to this endeavor.

We hit some major financial roadblocks along the way. First was Mel losing her job. Not that she was bringing in huge amounts of money (less than $400 every week), but it allowed her to mostly meet her own bills. My income was from a government Social Security Disability and a monthly retirement check. Not that this is a small sum of monthly income, but it was enough to meet my bills. The nest eggs I had upon my husband's death included my old homestead and a sizeable stamp collection.Both would need to be sold to get the money from them. The property was appraised at twice the purchase price. But it sold for less than the original price we bought it to get out from under the mortgage with the added burden of Mel's financial burden added to mine was too great. The stamp collection is still waiting for a buyer at 30% of market value ($125 K). It's a huge collection of pre-1940 world wide stamps, letters,EFO, and such.

But all in all, this Cockeyed Homestead is paid for with no mortgage. Yearly property taxes are $200 versus the property taxes on my old homestead of $1200 per year. The property is not ideal for a homestead by any stretch of the imagination. We have a 100' drop of a ravine leading down to the spring fed creek with only 1/4 acre of semi flat land to do anything with. We are 100' drop from the main road with a very long driveway. It's a challenge during the winter months with the snow and ice with my front wheel drive Toyota Sienna mini van.

My first focus was on the angora rabbits, chickens and food. Nothing is as bleak as sitting on your homestead with no money coming in (besides your standard amount) and having a empty pantry. The chickens and angoras, Mel had. I processed my hens and brought my meat rabbits and an angora. The whole idea behind self sufficiency is producing income and to meet our needs from the homestead.The rabbits and chickens pay their own way with fiber and egg sale throughout the year.

The fact that this property was left abandoned for a minimum of ten years was a plus for organically grown food stuffs (gardening). But the fact that it was abandoned for so long meant the whole area was overgrown badly with vegetation that has to be cleared. It only takes money, right?

The first nest egg I got was back payment from my Social Security Disability. That went to buy a small repoed storage building (8x10) and changing the garden layout from one hardiboard 4x8 raised bed and one 20' row. We intended to use the storage building as a rabbitry. Heavy additions of peat moss, compost, and perlite went into the heavy clay soil to loosen it for planting. We built three 4x6 raised beds and scattered the remaining area with straw and manure. Mel turned all of this in by hand with a garden fork. It was the beginning of our self sustainable, organic garden. This first year, we only planted the raised beds. I had to relearn how to garden in this north Georgia climate zone. We planted a variety of plants to see which would grow the best. While Mel had dabbled with growing plants to harvest over two years, she wasn't focused on production like I was. I wanted to make every inch count.

The next big nest egg came from the sale of my old homestead. It wasn't much but it did provide for a much needed driveway, a new rabbitry barn, a new chicken coop and run, and 1/4 acre of additional cleared and terraced land to plant an orchard. It also took care of some much needed household repairs/replacement like plumbing and electrical work.

Now, we are back to nickles and dimes to work our way to a self sufficient, organic lifestyle with some major infrastructure items taken care of. As you can imagine, there are still tons of things that need to be done. I'm saving my pennies by growing fruit trees from store bought fruit and nuts to grow. This will take a long time to do unless I find established fruit trees like I did with the apple trees last year. Still bargains happen. Until then, I'll let my seedlings grow. We've got time and we aren't going anywhere. We're in this for the long haul.

We still need to extend the driveway and add another car park area to the back side of the house. This is a luxury and convenience expense. Since the barn/workshop is complete now, except for the feed store room, we can always park in the old car park area and trudge to the house. This will be easier after I get my foot fixed. I'm still waiting on that. Hopefully by next winter.

Meanwhile, Mel will be working on the feed storage room. We've already obtained the heavy blue pallets for the floor. Now it's gathering enough feed sacks for the interior and exterior walls and building the walls. Since she is using pallets, some will have to be ripped apart to have enough supports and planks to do the walls inside and out. I will have to buy some (6) 4x8 sheets of plywood for the roof and floor, but that's chump change when it comes to construction costs.

In three years, we have become self sufficient in 75% of our vegetable and fruit intake for a year. Next year, I'm shooting for 97% with the addition of two dairy goats. Only 97% because we like some vegetables and fruits that won't grow here like bananas, pineapples, wheat and sugar. The orchard area is plantable now (or will be in the spring) for vegetables while awaiting fruit and nut trees, and more berries and grapes. I'm aiming for 50% of livestock hay and feed for the animals. But even if we have to buy the seeds to sprout the other 50% that's not bad. That means more profits for us to utilize for future projects. We should get a higher yield this fall of all. The orchard soil is better with fewer Mother Nature planted weeds. Not bad for two years of labor.

Mel and Whirling Dervish have already polished off a gallon of my homemade wine. I think its a hit. At this rate of consumption, they'll go through my 5 1/2 gallons of wine in no time. Next year, I'll make 10 gallons worth. Lushes that they are. Just joking, I do want some to share. Of course, that will mean a larger sugar purchase too. I've got almost a year to budget that in. Considering I use sugar to make syrups, jams, jellies, baking, Mel's sweet tea, and wine all real, good for you food with only 50 lbs of sugar a year, I'm doing really well in that area. So an extra twenty pounds of sugar is no hardship. Wine costs a whole lot more in the grocery or liquor stores almost the price for one commercial bottle is equaled to the cost of 20 lbs of sugar.

I also want to start making a lot of products I buy at the grocery store like vanilla extract. I recently bought a bottle of pure vanilla extract. Wow! It was expensive. I'll have to source vanilla beans for this. The only thing else I need is vodka at least 90 proof. Now this is something I haven't bought in 30+ years. I imagine there will be a sticker shock at the price of this too. There are other extracts to make also. I can get some pretty nice bottles at the Dollar Tree for it to go into or leave them in their wide mouth qt jars. Online I found a recipe for corn syrup. Since we've started growing our own Non GMO corn, it's a no brainer to get this GMO laden product off our pantry shelf. I'll just have to plant two dozen more corn plants to make the syrup and the short fall of corn to process to be 100% self sustainable in this too. If only I could grow my own vanilla beans, but we are not in the right zone for that.

So that is my review of future past. I know things may not have gone the way I planned. Isn't that the case most times? But in the end, we'll get there. One baby step at a time God willing. One small blessing at a time.

Y'all have a blessed day!
Jo









Saturday, December 29, 2018

Uh Oh! And Oh Nooo!

 Oh! And Oh Noo! And Murphy's law strikes again.

as you read last week, I traveled back home this week for Christmas. I took my laptop with me. The Motel- Super 8, had free wifi. My laptop worked fine. I packed in my bag for the ride home.

Arriving home, I plugged it in and got ready to answer my email that arrived while I was driving the 6 hr drive back. My keyboard died. I have no idea how this happened. I'm typing this with the on screen keyboard. It's more of a pain than typing one handed.

Because of my experience with Murphy's Law, I bought the extended warranty with this computer. Now I just have to figure out how to use it.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Cooking with Chef Jo: Cockeyed Devilished Ham

Did Santa bring you what you wanted?
You cooked a Christmas ham and you have leftovers coming out your ears. Isn't that always the way it goes even after sending home bunches of plates home with everyone?

I do several things with my leftovers. I'll slice the leftovers a couple of different ways. First in slices thick and thin for sealing and freezing for sandwiches or ham steaks. For those nights later, on when I'm too tired to cook and I'm hungry. I'll cut them in large 1"-2" chunks and pressure can some in pint jars. Pint jars come in handy for making deviled ham, and ham salads or even to add to soups, or use it for meals as the main attraction long after the not-ham-again feeling has left you. I always save the bones too. Nothing is better to add to a pot of greens or beans later. You can even use several to make bone broth for your food stores. I'm not telling you anything new. You came here today for a recipe or Cooking/preserving how-to.So on to my recipe.

For this you'll need two lbs of bits and pieces of ham. Usually this is not a problem when you bought a bone in ham. There's usually plenty left on the bone to get this. You are going to dice about half into 1/4" to 1/2" cubes and grind the rest. But hold off grinding it just yet.

Cockeyed Devilished Ham
Quantity- approximately 2 1/2 lbs

2 lbs of ham, prepared as above
1/2 a large onion, about 1 cup diced
4 ribs of celery, about 1/2 cup diced
4 hard boiled eggs, peeled and rough chopped
1/3 cup pickle relish
2 tsp parsley
2 good shakes of hot sauce (Tabasco, or Sriracha) add more if you like it really hot
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbs Gluden's spicy brown mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

How to
  •  Mix 1 lb of ham with onions, celery, pickle relish, and eggs in a bowl.
  • In your food processor, blender, or meat grinder, grind this mixture until it is very fine almost a paste.
  • Mix in your cubed ham and stir well.
  • At this point, you can divide the mixture in half (unless you are feeding a crowd), seal it, and freeze it for later use.
  • Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
To Serve
Spread on bread or toast with a slice of fresh tomato and lettuce leaf. Or, mix the cup of devilish ham into 1/2 lb of cooked pasta for a salad. Or, scoop on top of a green salad with cherry tomatoes.

You can even substitute beef, or poultry, or whatever leftover meat you have for the ham. Enjoy!

Y'all have a blessed day!
Jo


Sunday, December 23, 2018

Cockeyed Spinning

 Merry Christmas y'all~ I'm on the road homeward bound. Remember- 
Keep Christ in Christmas!

Preparing fiber to spin is quite labor intensive when dealing with sheep's wool. It has to be washed to get most of the lanolin, vegetable matter, and other things out of the wool. Then it is combed and possibly blended with other fibers before you can sit at your spinning wheel.

Before I moved here I bought a whole merino fleece. I think the total weight was 7 lbs of usable fiber by the time I skirted it and got the second cuts (very short fibers) out of it. I used the suint method of washing the
wool. The suint method is a hands off, less labor intensive way of cleaning sheep's wool. It's basically a rain water fermentation process that takes a full week to halfway accomplish. After it's soaked and rinsed, it is sun dried. It sure beats the traditional way of washing wool in the sink bit by bit and matching water temperatures so the wool doesn't felt.

After it's dry, there may be another step or two involved before the actual spinning can take place. The sheep's wool has to be aerated or picked into fluffy clouds so that it doesn't clump. I've bought a picker for this. If you are spinning locks, that's a different type of spinning all together. Then, you have a choice whether to spin from a cloud or comb it out into batts or rolags. Combing the fibers aligns all the fibers in the same direction. Before my stroke, I spun in all the different variations.

Since my strokes, I prefer batts or rolags. It's just easier to draw and spin. I predraft my fiber to make up for my one handedness. I can hold the bulk down in my lap with my affected arm. It took me two years to teach myself spinning one-handed to get  a fairly consistent end product. I'd been spinning on my great-great-grandmother's wheel since I learned how to spin as a child. When I got that spinning wheel upon my mother's death, my love of spinning became a winter pastime for me. I was determined to get it back after my first and subsequent strokes.

Once I conquered spinning one handed, I donated my great-great-grandmother's wheel to a museum. It had become rickety with age and and to have a craftsman rebuild it would have taken away from it's antique value of the wheel. I bought an electric spinning wheel from Heavenly Handspinning. Jan and her husband are terrific people. Great customer service! And because I ordered it as a birthday present for me, she threw in a free carrying case for me. Now, they live just 30 minutes away from me since I moved up to north GA. No more shipping charges and a quick road trip for me. LOL

I rarely work with sheep's wool anymore. I only use it to blend merino wool with my angora. I buy it in roving form and pick it apart. This will change if we get the Baby Doll sheep I want in the future. But now, I mainly work with angora and/or alpaca fiber for spinning. Neither one has lanolin to have to wash out so no more washing before spinning. Both fibers are very easy to felt so I save the washing for after I've spun it into yarn. I'll comb it out with hand cards and go to my spinning wheel. It's a much simpler process.

Mel mentioned before I moved in with her, that she wanted to learn how to spin. She even built her own spindle and then a spinning wheel. I bought her an Ashford Traveler wheel (first picture) the first Christmas together. She's slowly working up to spinning on it after almost three years. She first had to learn the basics of fiber prep before spinning. That's how my grandmother and mother taught me. First things first. She already knew how to groom the rabbits.

I can now enjoy watching TV while I spin again, while with her it still takes heavy focus. There's a definite learning curve getting you foot and hands moving in different directions. The focus is the hard part for her with her ADD issues, but she'll get there with time and practice. Her favorite way to spin is from a cloud of fiber. This, for her, produces a single ply, thick and thin yarn. I prefer consistent sized strands that are plied together. I've had a lifetime to gain this ability. If she keeps at it, she'll be there in no time.

In truth, our differences make a blended cockeyed homestead work. To each their own with a common goal in mind. She'll have an idea for this or that, and I'll guide and egg her on slowly until completion. It's like this for preserving food stuff too. Mel bought a 23-qt pressure canner and a water bath canner before I got here, but she never canned anything with them. She had nary a canning jar around. The same thing went for her dehydrator, meat and grain grinders. Along comes Jo who knew how to use such items and brought her own as well. I put all of them to use.Come to find out, she detests preserving food stuff. Just helping me, she would look heavenward for patience. That's okay. Together, we have a storeroom and freezer filled with food. We both love that. Two different outlooks for a common goal.

That's it for this week.
Y'all have a blessed day.
Jo







Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Cooking with Chef Jo: Cockeyed Oyster Dressing

I'm a transplanted southerner. To me dressing is based on bread. Here in the south the base for dressing is cornbread. So I combine both in mine.

This brings another question to mind. Are you still buying commercial poultry seasoning? Why? It's so much better if you make your own. Hopefully from your own, home grown herbs.

 
Homemade Poultry Seasoning
2 tsp ground sage
1 1/2 tsp ground thyme
1 tsp marjoram
3/4 tsp tsp ground rosemary
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground pepper

How to
Mix well. Pour into clean, dry, air tight container.
To Store
I just recycle the old spice containers to put my herbs and blends in. I keep in my pantry because it's always cool and dark. Sunlight and heat destroys the essential oils/flavor of herbs and spices.

We love turkey! I cook it several times a year without a holiday. In a couple of years, I hope to be raising my own, but only prefer the dark meat. They'll definitely be heritage breeds without the huge breasts. Is there any better side dish for turkey than dressing or stuffing? I can't think of one except for maybe cranberry sauce or relish.

When stuffing or dressing is on the menu, I start a couple days before with my preparations. I'll make a batch of corn muffins and an extra loaf of bread. I always let these age at least a day or two before making dressing. The drier it is, the easier it is to crumble. It will also suck up the good flavors like butter and broth into these base ingredients that I add to my dressing.

I like a lot of vegetables in mine. If you don't, divide the amount given by half.

Jo's Oyster Dressing
9"x13" pan or 9 heaping servings


Ingredients
1 pint of fresh raw oysters, I partially steam these for easier cutting. Reserve the liquid
2 large onions, diced small about 1/2" sized pieces
1 bunch of celery, diced small about  1/2" pieces
8 ozs of mushroom, cut or sliced in 1/2" pieces
12 cornbread muffins, broken up into 1" pieces
1 half of standard loaf pan of bread, broken up into 1" pieces
1 tbs poultry seasoning
1 bunch chives, snipped into 1/4" pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced or 2 tsp ground garlic powder
2 tsp ground sage (optional)
 a good handful of parsley, chopped or 2 tbs dried parsley flakes
2 tsp salt*
1 tsp black pepper
2 qt turkey or chicken broth
2 sticks of butter

 How to
  •  Combine bread and cornbread crumbles in a large bowl.
  • Add seasoning, herbs, salt and pepper to the bread mixture. Reserve 1/2 tsp of salt. Toss to distribute well. In a skillet, melt the butter and add the onions, celery, garlic, mushrooms and the half tsp of reserved salt. Cook until onions are translucent, about fifteen minutes on medium heat.
  • Toss vegetable mixture and buttery broth into the bread mixture.
  • Add diced, steamed oysters. 
  • Toss well until combined.
  • Add oyster juice to turkey broth. Mix well.
  • Sprinkle in turkey broth mixture a little at a time, tossing between each addition. The last half pint of liquid you may need a spoon to mix it in.
  • Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes uncovered if you like a crisp top and edges, or cover with foil if you do not.
To serve
Top with more parsley. Have plenty of gravy available. This can also be used as a stuffing for inside the bird. It also freezes well. Enjoy!

Y'all have a blessed day!
Jo



Sunday, December 16, 2018

A Long Winter's Rest-Not in Homesteading

Santa's catching some ZZZs
During winter things slow down, but not on a homestead. Winters are spent caring for your animals and doing all the things you weren't able to accomplish during the year. The only thing getting a long winter's rest is the garden and orchard. It should be sleeping soundly with temps in the teens at night.

For the rest of us, we're just as busy as any other time. We do switch gears though. We switch the rabbits and chickens from their automatic waterers to water bottles and buckets ahead of freezing temperatures. All the animals get a thick layer of straw added to their enclosures. The rabbit cages will be mucked out weekly now to compensate. The chicken house will continue with deep bedding. The circulating, cooling fans come down and are replaced by lights. It gets dark mighty early and people need light to keep from tripping over things that jump out at them in the dark (a bale of hay, a rake, a table, hoses, and even a suspended rabbit cages <grin>). One side of the rabbit barn roofing tarp (windward) will be pulled down and fastened.

Egg production slows down supposedly, but it hasn't with our two=year old hens. I'm still getting six to eight eggs a day coming up on the winter solstice (December 21st). Not a bad haul for ten hens. Houdini went on to his next stage of life...pressure canned and into our stomachs. That's okay, the hens have spoken and we listened. Poor fellow was having a hard time getting any between Lil Red and the hens beating him up. Maybe, we'll try again in the spring for a total Buff Orpington line of chickens, or not. We only have two Buff hens left.

Look at the drumsticks on him!
This leaves us with Lil Red as our only rooster. He's content with his eight hens in the run and roost. I still want a Silkie hen because of their broodiness so I can quit buying chicks. Maybe, our Buffs will go broody next year along with Gimpy/Broody. We'll have to build some brood/setting boxes for them separate from the other chickens and a run big enough for mama and chicks to be protected from the rest of the flock. From experience, I know their cannibal nature. This way they won't be harassed and kicked out of their nests by the other hens.

Since we opened the gate in Gimpy and Gimpy II's habitat, everyone wants to lay their eggs in there now. But since we've put the other chickens back in their coop and run, it's easier on the two, older New Hampshire Reds (Gimpy & Gimpy II) to have their habitat to themselves. They are still producing eggs into their fourth year (one every other day). They are our special pets. Mel hatched them out and they are the only two left.
Video featuring Gimpy!

These were only the short term projects quickly remedied. The long term, all winter long, that replaces the garden deals with angora fiber/yarn production and needlework. I've got a dog sweater/coat on my loom right now, a second one for Nnyus and the one for Herbie to go next. Mel is crocheting a new bathroom rug for her bathroom in cream and lime green cotton yarn. Many hours will be sort of "wasted" spinning in front of the television during the coldest winter months. That's the only "rest" we get in winter. The television rots our brains but our fingers are nimble.

Mel has finished her expanding the floor in her workshop. This project was put on hold while we put the orchard and garden to bed. Her next big project is to build a storeroom out of pallets in the workshop for the extra feed and hay for our Cockeyed Critters. This is a total recycled materials project. We'll be putting down extra sturdy blue pallets for the base floor. We'll be breaking down pallets all winter long for the walls and siding. Luckily, we have a never ending supply of free pallets. We'll be using washed feed sacks as a weather barrier both inside and out. For insulation, you know those umpteen dozens of air sacks and Styrofoam pieces and peanuts that you get when you order or buy something, and people fill up landfills with? You got it. We are reusing those between the feed sacks. Eventually, we'll be adding more pallet wood slats to the inside walls too.We'll even try to reuse the nails the best we can, but we much prefer screws. The only thing we'll have to buy is the plywood for the top and some spray foam or caulk to fill in the cracks. We're trying for a rodent proof room. Just to be safe, I'll buy a 3-gallon bucket of rat killer to put in the room.


Another short project is taking all the aluminum soda cans to the recycling center for cash. Before I came here Mel just crushed and trashed them. I got her to start saving them. Last year, we took a full year's worth of soda cans. Yeah, Mel and I have to have our sodas. We tried Kombucha, but it didn't curb our addiction. Mel was surprised that saving just the cans netted us a $54 profit. Now she saves cans religiously, but not so much to pick them up from the side of the roadways. We turn them in just in time for Christmas spending monies or it'll be put towards one month of electric bills.

I'll be canning some also. What is their to can during winter? I'll can up dry beans, leftover soups and stews, all those tomatoes just taking up space in my freezer that need to be sauced too. They'll be quick meals heated on our wood stove.

Having the wood stove going for winter, there's a dry heat in the house. To combat this, I can or put my water bath canner on the stove to add humidity. Coming from south Georgia, humidity was never a problem. Rarely did the humidity drop below fifty percent. But at this higher elevation, the humidity the other day was two (2) percent outside! I've never seen it that low except for AZ. Without the canners going, it's way too dry in the house.

In spinning yarn, especially angora and alpaca, moisture is the enemy and the friend. Unlike sheep's wool, there is no lanolin in either of these fibers so it's fly away tendencies are high. Coupled with a low crimp ratio, we use spray bottles filled with water and a glycerin mix to help make these fibers easily spinable. I prefer glycerin over oil. It's water soluble so it rinses out of the yarn when washed after spinning.

Halo= fuzziness
While in the garden I reuse spray bottles, but for our wool prep spray, I spend the money at the Dollar Tree for a non BPA spray bottle which is smaller. It only takes a little spritz to condition the fiber for spinning with the lower humidity of winter plus the wood stove. The fiber slides through my fingers much easier. The fly away nature of
the fiber is contained without felting the fiber. Once the yarn is washed and dried, the classic halo of angora is restored.

Well, now I'm rambling so it's time to stop.

Y'all have a blessed day!
Jo




Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Cooking with Chef Jo: Canning Dried Beans- The No Soak Method

When it comes to price nothing beats dried beans. Pound for pound it's a great source of protein and fiber to your diet. But who has the time to cook dried beans? Sure, you can put them in your crockpot. But you'd have to remember to do it first thing in the morning. I don't know about your homestead, but mornings are hectic around here. Then you'll have a huge mess of cooked beans to eat before they go bad or you've got them coming out of your ears because you ate them all. Honestly, anything more than a serving or two is too much.

Did you know a 1 cup serving of cooked dried beans with 1/2 a cup of rice form a complete amino acid chain aka protein?

I can our dried beans in pint jars each winter. I calculate how many jars of assorted beans we eat for a year. That includes the number of jars needed for recipes too. Some of the dried beans I can are: black eyed peas, kidney beans, black turtle beans, lima beans, and red beans... to name a few.Then, there are the mixtures like Hoppin' John and 16 bean soup that come together so quick with a jar of precooked, jarred beans. Ready to eat bean dishes like baked beans and chili beans that are heat and eat side dishes.

I used to follow the Ball Canning Book religiously. I'd presoak and precook my beans before pressure canning them. Then I found an easier way, the no soak method. It saved me so much time! It's so simple too. I wash and pick through my dried beans as usual.

For pints jars-
1/2 cup dried beans
1/2 tsp salt
Enough water to fill the jar leaving 1" head space.

For quart jars-
1 cup dried beans
1 tsp salt 
Enough water to fill jar to 1" head space.

I used spend a large amount of time boiling water to fill the jars too. Not anymore, just plain nonchlorinated water. For us, it's just tap water. We have a fresh spring water well. I use plain water to can my dried beans, but if you want to add broth just omit the salt. I don't want to limit my flavor profile by using broth.

It's still cold outside so while I'm preparing my beans for canning, I'm also my White Beans and Ham Soup. I'll also can this up to enjoy later too.

Jo's White Beans and Ham Soup
Makes approximately 3 gallons 







Ingredients
3 lbs of dried white beans (Navy, Great Northern, small white beans)
7 slices of bacon (hickory or apple wood smoked) chopped
2 large onion, diced about 3 cups
3 carrots, diced about 1 cup
6 ribs of celery, leaves and all diced  about 1 1/2 cups
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 large bay leaves
1 tbs dry mustard
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
3 qts chicken broth
1 gallon water
8 cups ham, diced

 How to
  • The night before wash and pick through the dried beans. Let soak overnight.
  • The next morning drain beans. 
  • In 16 qt stock pot, brown bacon over medium heat.
  • Remove bacon from pot. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Cook until the onions and celery are translucent.
  • Add bacon back into the pot and stir well.
  • Add chicken broth.
  • Use a stick blender the blend the bacon vegetable mixture into small pieces.
  • Add remaining ingredients and beans except the ham into the pot.
  • Bring to a boil. Continue boiling for 1 hour.
  • Turn off the heat and let soup sit on the burner for 1 hour.
  • After the hour's rest, turn the heat to medium and simmer for 2 hours.
  • Check the beans, they should be tender. If not, continue cooking until beans are tender.
  • Once the beans are tender, remove the bay leaves.
  • Ladle out six cups of beans.
  • Using a stick blender, blend remaining beans in the pot until smooth. This will thicken the soup.
  • Return beans back into the soup and add ham. 
  • Stir well
  • If canning this recipe, ladle into clean, hot jars. Pressure can jars, your altitude, 65 minutes for pints, 90 minutes for quarts. Canning will make this soup thicker.
 To Serve
Add 1/2 a jar of half and half or milk to the soup and top with chopped green onions. Serve with crusty bread.

Have a blessed day!
Jo

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Cockeyed Christmas Gift Wrapping with Creativity Gene

Before my stroke, gift wrapping was no problem. But gift wrapping post stroke being left with one functioning hand and arm is a nightmare. Thanks Barb, for the topic of this blog and Christmas is upon us once again.

Regular gift wrapping post stroke involves using nose, knee, elbow, or whatever other body part you can use to help hold the paper while you tear tape, position it, and press it down to hold it together. Being a contortionist would help, but I am not one.  It was too much work when dealing with upwards of ten presents to wrap for the holidays birthdays were bad enough.

Pre-stroke
Now being an extraordinary, creative person, my gifts were a feast for the eyes. Plain and ordinary gift wrapping wouldn't do.You see I did a Japanese gift wrapping technique of folded paper for my gift
Ribbons & bows added later
wrapping. Intricate pleats and folds were made into the wrapping paper for each and every present I gave. No plain ribbons or bows either. Pleats that formed triangles, squares, crosses, and hexagons were all within my realm of talents. Each present had a gift attached to the wrapping as well. Be it a hair clip, a refrigerator magnet, X-stitched or crocheted  ornaments, or something to keep and use...a double gift. Maybe a little hint as to what was inside. A case of my hand crafted beer had a bottle opener on the bow for my brother-in-law. My homemade wine for my stepmother handmade redneck corkscrew (a 4" screw, a screw driver, and a pair of pliers). Hand quilted potholders for the bean pot and bowl set I made for my newlywed nephew and his wife.You see our family does handmade gifts to exchange among ourselves whenever we can. We would go bankrupt buy gifts for each other. I have seven brothers and sisters between natural and adopted siblings, their children and spouses alone equal THIRTY-ONE plus their children is a passel of gifts to swap. Even if I only did my immediate family of my children, spouses, and grandchildren, I'm talking about EIGHTEEN gifts. It's enough to put a serious hurting on anyone's wallet having to buy one present a piece. Let alone wrapping those presents one-handed. Nobody gets only one present, and siblings and parents (grandparents) are always included.

2012
So the first year after my stroke, it was your standard gift bags. None were gorgeous or special. Anyone could stuff a present into a premade box or bag. But what's a one-handed person to do? I've never been a fan of premade boxes. Although colorful, after a while you end up with several presents in the same printed box. Nothing original or creative about them. Totally impersonal. It gnawed at my creative, extraordinary in nature. How could I make these special like my old gift wrapping? I couldn't. Being two weeks out from my second (third) stroke, it was impossible.

2013-2016
The next three years after my first stroke, I tried a different approach. I used rubber stamps to decorate plain gift bags and boxes. It added color, glitter, and decorated them. It was better, but no where near as creative as my Japanese pleated gift wrap. It did have some duplication of designs. How many different rubber stamps and ink can you buy for just one holiday? Every year they came out with four or five new stamps to keep things fresher. There is a limit because you have to store them all for the next year. It turned out to be more expensive than any other option in stamps alone.

2017
For 2017, I sewed fabric gift bags. I was definitely more creative. There are a small ton of holiday fabrics to pick from. I could customize the sizes of the bags too. Each were creative and unique. There isn't a local fabric store in town besides Walmart. So I had to go to a neighboring city to find a Joann's or Michaels to get the variety of fabric, notions, and ribbons to make them unique.

2018
That brings us to this year 2018. I could have done the same as last year, but decided to do something different, but the same...sort of. If you do the same thing every year it's not creative, just repetitious and boring. I'm going back to paper gift bags. The twist, I downloaded a pattern to make the bags myself. I can use store bought Christmas gift wrap and plain paper lining to strengthen the bags. I would create them myself. With the holes at the top, I can thread an assortment of ribbons. The pattern is simple enough with very few cuts and folds. All of the folds are straight. A glue stick to put it all together, and I'm done.

I could even make them out of Christmas fabric, iron-on interfacing, and fabric glue next Christmas. I thought about it too late for this year. I could even change the pattern a bit and add a closure flap. But next year, I'm trying a new crafty/old crafty thing for Christmas too, so fabric bags will be more appropriate. For now this cures my creative, unique, handmade gift wrapping bug.

Maybe by next Christmas, I'll have some use of my nonfunctioning hand and fingers back again to go back to my Japanese folded paper wrapping technique. It's two more days until my neurosurgeon gives the final thumbs up for the rhizotomy and schedules me for surgery. I can only hope and pray.

Y'all have a blessed day.
Jo

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Cooking with Chef Jo: Cockeyed Christmas Ornaments From the Pantry

For several decades I've made salt dough ornaments for my Christmas trees and wreathes. I happened upon a recipe for cinnamon ornaments this year and thought I'd combine the recipes. These are nonedible, but the combination of these two recipes will make them durable and smell good enough to eat.

For this recipe, I'll shop in my pantry and craft supply shelves to get everything I need. No special trips to the store.

The "Shopping" Trip
  1. From my pantry I'll need: flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, applesauce, and cloves. I'll grab my parchment paper and baking sheet pans, and holiday cookies cutter from the inside pantry.
  2. From my craft supplies I'll need: puff paints, a bottle of glue, a spool of 1/4" ribbon or elastic cording, two rubber bands, and a straw.
  3. From the workshop, a bit of sand paper.

I tend to stick with one shape a year. This year it's gingerbread men. If I still had children and grandchildren around, it would be multiple shapes to allow for more creative expression. Since I keep one and distribute the rest among other family members two dozen will be plenty. So that how much the dough I'm making.

The Recipe
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup salt
1 cup ground cinnamon
1/2 tbs ground cloves nutmeg
1/2 tbs ground cloves
1/2 cup applesauce
1/8 cup all purpose glue (Elmers)
1//2 to 3/4 cup water

The How-to
  • Add all ingredients in a bowl and combine until a thick dough forms. Similar to cookie dough consistency, but drier. Add or subtract water to achieve this.
  • Place a rubber band around the ends of your rolling pin. You want your dough to be rolled out to 1/8" to 1/4".
  • The rubber band thickness should give you this thickness when doubled or tripled on the ends of your rolling pin.
  • Roll out your dough to 1/8" to 1/4" thick. A dusting of cinnamon on your rolling space will help your dough from sticking to the surface. Or you can roll between two sheets of parchment paper. Remember, the thicker you roll the dough, the longer it takes to dry.
  • Cut out the shapes and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet about 1" apart. Unlike regular cookies, these will not rise and spread. They will shrink.
  • Now take the straw and punch a hole in the top of each ornament. Don't worry if the hole looks too big. This is where you will thread the ribbon through during the decorating stage.
  • Bake 200 degrees for two hours, or leave them on the sheet and let them air dry for 4-5 days. I have an older gas stove so I leave the ornaments overnight to dry by the pilot light heat within my oven. After the time has elapsed, you will notice the ornaments gave shrunk a bit because the liquid has dried.
The Finishing Touches
Once the ornaments have dried and thoroughly cooled, you can decorate them as much or as little as you want. I always put my initials and the year it was made on the back of each ornament with a sharpie pen. Every artist signs their
work, don't they?

If you end up with sharp rough edges, just take a bit of sand paper to smooth it out.

Oh that ribbon you pulled from your craft supplies, cut it into 8" pieces. One for each ornament. Thread the ribbon through each hole and knot to form the hanging loop.


Y'all have a blessed day!
Jo


Sunday, December 2, 2018

We're Still at it- Putting the Orchard to Bed

We're down in the orchard this week again. We're a few weeks late with this project. The outside temperatures during the day are a brisk 40 ish degrees. The on and off again cold rains have put us behind. We're putting the orchard to bed for the winter. I bought two rounds of straw. They were cheap enough at $40 a round. That's a lot of straw and we're spreading it by hand! If we could just snap the twine and netting holding it all together and simply roll it out on the tiers it would be easier, but they are so blasted big and heavy, we can't.

We dumped one round on one side of the orchard and the other on the other side. About midway down on the five tier levels. We were thinking smarter than harder. We each grab a cart and wheel barrel full and spread it along each tier. Once we reach the other side, we do it again. This time with the other bale. It would go faster with many hands, but we've only got three so we keep plugging away at it. Between the two of us, we can cover a 4'x75' tier in a day laying the straw 12" deep. This is on top of the wheat, barley, oats, and wheat orchard grass we planted in the spring.

On top of the straw we are broadcasting bone meal, blood meal, and sifted manure and straw from the bunny barn and chicken coop to speed the composting process faster. The larger chunks have been broken down to where they are in usable 1/4" size. Mel built a compost/manure screen to do this. Then, we spread another 6" or so of straw on top.


Fresh chicken manure is nitrogen rich, but it will break down with the straw and rains so it will be plantable by spring.While most compost mixtures are 2:1 carbon to nitrogen our orchard leans more the 4:1 carbon to nitrogen using half aged to fresh chicken manure. Yes, chicken manure has that much nitrogen. The late fall/early winter rains will water it in.  Eventually, snowfall, will do their part in keeping the mixture moistened during winter.Thank you Mother Nature. Again, we are working smarter not harder.

How do I know this about fresh or half aged chicken manure? The straw bales that we seasoned and planted in last spring, we broke apart this fall. We seasoned them with hot chicken manure. They were cooking and fertilizing our Roma tomatoes all growing season. When we pulled the last of our tomatoes up, the bales fell apart. Other than a very thin outside layer of wheat straw, it was all compost inside. All I had to do was pull off the baling twine. Neat, huh! I figured to get two years use out of the bales, but that didn't happen.  Each of the bales were also full of earth worms, a double whammy of benefits. The same will be true with the orchard.

This should be the last time we have to do so much in the orchard to build up the heavy clay soil. They say, the third time is the charm, I'm hoping so. All will be tilled in to lighten the clay even more in the spring. The whole area will be sown with orchard grass and wheat to keep weed seeds from coming up in the orchard. We had fewer and fewer sprout the last two years. The whole area besides where the apple trees, fruiting bushes, and grapes are. We can now dig down a foot and not hit any hard, compacted clay or granite. That's been the whole point of doing this. It will only get better from here.

The year after, spring 2020, we'll be sowing dye source, wild flowers on the lower tier under the pecans and black walnut trees to hold unwanted weeds to get a foothold. They'll self sow themselves while the two-year old trees mature. I've read that there is concern that black walnut trees can poison and area for edible crops, but dye source flowers should do well. At least until the canopies of the trees block the sun. Then, we'll sow orchard grass back into that area and plant the wild flowers for dyes one tier up. But that's a job for four years from now.

Y'all have a blessed day!
Jo

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Cooking with Chef Jo: Soup's On

Welcome to the cooking recipes and how-to day at the Cockeyed Homestead!

Today is another soup's on day. Like last week, this recipe is another canning recipe too. As I've said, I don't know how to make a small batch of soup. So we eat what we want one night and I can the rest. You can freeze this also after it's fully cooked.

I mention last week that Mel loved a mixture of my chicken and vegetable and cream of mushroom soup. Last week, I gave you the recipe of my chicken and vegetable soup so this week, I'm following it up with my cream of mushroom soup.

A word of warning, the powers that be DOES NOT RECOMMEND canning dairy. Do so at your own risk. I've been canning dairy products for years with no problem. But do what you will, you can always add it later when cooking. I'll add the substitutions in the recipe.

Once again, I'm making a large batch and canning it for later use. This soup can be eaten plain or added to various recipes. I always keep at least a case or two of pint jars of it on hand. My recipe is also concentrated so you will have to add milk if eating it plain.

Jo's Cream of Mushroom Soup
Makes 3 1/2 gallons of soup or approx 20 pints

20 lbs of mushrooms (assorted)
1 head of garlic, finely minced
1 onion, finely minced
5 ribs of celery, finely minced
2 tbs thyme, dried and crushed fine
1/2 gallon half and half (substitute water if not canning dairy)
8 qts stock (*vegetable, chicken, or beef stock)
1 cup cooking Clear-Jel or other canning approved thickener**
3 qts of water
2 sticks of butter (use the real stuff please or use vegetable oil if not canning dairy)
3 tsp salt, if you did not add it to your stock
Notes
* I usually use a combination of chicken bone broth and vegetable stock in mine.
** Do not use flour or corn starch substitute. It will break down in the canning and storing process.

Clean and slice your mushrooms into bite sized pieces. Remember, they will shrink when cooked. Finely mince your onions and garlic. Add to a hot stock pot with melted butter. Cook well until the onions and mushrooms are cooked and slightly browned. There will be yummy mushroom juices in the bottom of your pan. You want that too. It will take 10-15 minutes under medium heat. Keep stirring. You don't want this to burn.

Add your thyme and stir.

Reserve a qt of water. Add water and stock to the mushroom mixture. Bring to a boil.

Mix Clear-Jel with the reserved water. Mix until smooth.

Add Clear-Jel slurry to the soup. Stir well and bring to a boil.

Continue cooking until thickened over medium low heat until it's the consistency of a runny pudding. It coats the back of your spoon thickly.

Add the half and half. Simmer 30 minutes. Do not boil!

The liquid will be thinner, but will thicken up more in the canning and cooling process. Standard jarring technique for pressure canning. Clean hot jars. Your altitude for pressure setting. 65 minutes for pints, 90 minutes for quarts. Because I use chicken broth and half and half in my soup I can as if I was canning meats. I usually do this recipe in pint jars because the standard can of cream of mushroom soup is 15 1/2 ozs so it makes for easy substitutions in recipes.

To serve: add 1/2 a jar of milk to a pint of canned soup. Heat through and eat.
Enjoy!

Y'all have a blessed day!
Jo





Sunday, November 25, 2018

One of Those Kind of Days- Murphy's Law

I awoke this morning feeling great. I'd actually gotten eight hours sleep. I said good morning to my two cats, Lil Bit and Patches, who sleep with me on my twin sized bed. I dutifully gave them pets and rubs. I said good morning to Herbie, who again is sleeping in my room, and ruffled his ears.  It was a beautiful, sunny day although chilly (46 degrees). Yes, I had slept in a bit and the sun had already risen. I stretched my old bones and was greeted by the usual breakfast cereal-- snap, crackle and pop. Sounds great, right? It goes downhill from here.

I had a full day ahead of me, so I threw back the covers and thought I'd get started. I got my customary growl from Patches because she had to move so I could get up.  She jumped off the bed in her usual morning snit. I noticed that I only had one sock on. I searched the sheet and quilt for the wayward sock. It was nowhere to be found. I opened my sock drawer. It was within easy grab of my bed. None. Then, I saw the clothes hamper by the door. Fuming at my shortsightedness of not putting my clothes away the night before, I grabbed my pants from the end of the bed. Putting on my leg brace, the undeniable urge to urinate hits me. I hurriedly put on my shoes and headed to the bathroom half dressed.

I just barely make it. I reentered my bedroom and grabbed my flannel shirt forgetting to do up the buttons before I put it on. Grr! I take it off, do up the buttons and slide it on over my head. As usual the night's fire had burned out. The house was a wee bit chilly. I can hear the gusts of wind whipping around the trailer outside. I go to the wood stove to start a fire.

My digital thermometer reads 52 degrees inside, but my computer tells me it's 46 outside. It wasn't supposed to hit 60 until noon. A fire was definitely in order. I loaded the paper, kindling, and a few smaller splits of wood into the fire box. I no longer use matches but a bbq torch for better access. This was a new one with the child safety feature of a button you have to push before lighting the torch. I hate these. I can't light them, but I tried. After two attempts, I grabbed a cigarette lighter.  Before I could even close the door, the flame went out. I couldn't even catch paper on fire! I tried five times before I finally got it lit. Oh boy, I thought, today's going to be one of those kind of days.

I went into Mel's bedroom to wake her at 10 AM. I got a muffled, "I didn't get to sleep until 6 this morning." She wasn't getting up to do her chores so it was up to me. Now the rabbits and penned chickens have been without food since 8PM except for hay. They needed to be fed so I dutifully went out to do Mel's usual chore. As I exited the porch I was immediately swamped by chickens yelling at me about how hungry they were.

"Okay guys, follow me." I made my way to the rabbit barn where the trashcans of feed were kept. The wind had blown wet leaves onto the porch and ramps. I slid down the first ramp barely keeping my balance. It was the longest ramp at 10'. I reached the bottom unscathed and thankful. I stepped onto the landing by the food storage building. More leaves but I was careful. At my scream while sliding, the chickens scattered so I didn't have them to contend with. I reached the ground which was a muddy mess from the rains we'd had the day before.

I made it safely the ten feet to the bunny barn. Everyone was glad to see me. The rabbits rushed to and fro in their cages, Gimpy and her sister, Gimpy too, were squawking loudly, "I'm hungry!" I petted each of the chickens in turn as I opened each of the J feeders for the rabbits.I told them, "Just a minute, girls" as I made my way to the feed bins. We empty the feeders at night because of rats. I toss the chicken feed out of the bunny barn to the waiting chickens and pour a scoop of feed into Gimpy's feeder. Then I proceed to the rabbits. I filled all the J feeders with a cup of rabbit pellets. They'd have to wait on their greens. Since I was doing this chore, I wasn't picking their "salad" of weeds and grasses. Now, it's getting to be pretty slim pickings.

I do the cursory glance at everybody's waterers and then, the fun part of this chore begins. I begin by opening each rabbit's cage. They'll pop their heads out because they know what's coming. It's lovin' time. I'll pick up each rabbit and pet their heads, ruffle their ears doing an ear mite check. Give each big, loud smoochies on their noses while I check out their bellies, and my hand will run across their bodies and paws checking for problems. Then, it's back into their cage and on to the next one. Usually this is a two person job making it a quick chore. This morning it's just me.

I make my way up the ramp to the landing and make my way up the big ramp. I'm halfway up when my braced leg goes out beneath me. This time it was chicken poop under the leaves. I fall down hard landing on my functioning knee. A wave of pain traveled up to my hip. I knelled there for a few seconds, and finally sat down for a few minutes until the pain dissipated. The wet from the leaves soaked my jeans to the skin. I pulled myself upright and hobbled into the house.

The welcoming heat of the wood stove was absent. The fire had gone out. The whole stove was warm at best. I could put my hand on it. Growling, I repeat the process of earlier and relight the stove. Now, I'm checking it every twenty minutes to make sure it's still going. I doctored my skinned knee and put on another pair of dry underwear and pants. The fire is still going. It's almost as warm inside as outside now...somewhere around 60 degrees.


It's 1PM and Mel finally is awake, but tired from not enough sleep. She's going to be hung over the rest of the day. Meanwhile I still have my chores to do.

About 3 PM,  I'm still pulling up plants in the garden to put it to bed for the winter. There's so much to do before putting it to bed for the winter. I pulled at one of the tomato plants to put it into the compost bin. It couldn't be rooted that deep. It was planted in a straw bale. I pulled and it wasn't budging so I pulled harder. BOOM! I was on my butt in the garden when the roots finally gave way. Another pair of jeans soaked through to the skin by the time I finally got up. This time from the wet straw and compost I covered my garden with.

Ah heck, it'll wait until tomorrow. At this point, all the good feeling I had from the restful night's sleep fizzled. I limped inside the house to change yet again. The fire had died so no warmth to warm my aching body from two hard falls. I'm letting Mel fight with it this time. I'm fixing Pasta e Fagioli (one jar didn't seal properly)for supper with some sharp cheddar cheese toast. I'm keeping it simple. The way my day has been going, I'll just blog the rest of the day. Nothing can go wrong just blogging, right?

Y'all have a blessed day!
Jo

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

New Added Day to the Cockeyed Homestead Blog-Recipes n Cooking How tos

 I'm adding a new recipe day to my weekly blog. Recipes will be featured on Wednesdays. It's Cooking with Chef Jo. It seems to be a popular topic.

Is there any food more loving and comforting than a bowl of hot soup? When you are under the weather? When you are cold? When you are bone tired? When you are wet? Nothing will warm you or make you feel better faster.

Confession time, I don't know how to make a small pot of soup. By the time I add everything I want to... my pot is full or I've graduated to a larger pot. Today, I'm making my 16-qt stock pot full of soup to can and eat tonight.

Ours is not as pretty as this one, but it works!
Since the weather has turned colder, it's the perfect time to cook on our wood stove heater. Might as well have it do double duty, right? I do my bone broths this way too. Why not? Both require a long cooking time. Our old Suburban wood stove has a grate on top that opens up to reveal a cooking surface. The surface is old and rusted from years of use. Thank you Joe and Ellen for this stove. To combat this problem, Mel had replaced her gas stove when she bought this place so we has the old irons from it. Two fit perfectly on top of this wood stove.So I open the grate each winter for my canner pot full of water for humidity, and cook on the other iron.

We eat a lot of soups during the winter. One of Mel's favorites is a mixture of my cream of mushroom  and my chicken and vegetable soups. I went to our stores building and pulled my last jar of chicken and vegetable soup. Guess what I'm cooking on my wood stove? You got it.

It's super simple to make if you've canned or dehydrated your vegetables in advance, but easy enough if you haven't. It's just a lot of chopping. Now we culled Houdini a few months ago. I pressure cooked the old rooster to tenderize him. I also canned his meat. The meat is good and tender now. I canned this old bird to use for soups so I diced the meat into quart jars. Now for the recipe. I've include grocery store items for noncanners. :o)

Jo's Homemade Chicken and Vegetable** Soup 
Makes 14 qts, or 4 1/2 gallons of finished soup


2 quarts of chicken meat, or 3 lbs of diced chicken meat
6 large onions, diced
2 lbs of celery leaves and all, diced
10 cloves of garlic, minced or 3 tbs garlic powder
1 3" piece of ginger root, minced or 1 tbs ground ginger
2 lbs of carrots, diced
4 lbs potatoes, diced *(can substitutes turnips or parsnips for potatoes)
2 qt jars of diced tomatoes, or 2- 28 oz cans
2 qt jars of green beans, or 3-28oz cans
2 lbs of frozen peas
2 pint jars of whole kernel corn, or 2 cans
2 lbs cabbage or kale, diced into bite sized pieces
6 qts of chicken bone broth or stock
Enough water to fill the pot
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tbs oil
4 large bay leaves
2 tbs thyme
1 tbs oregano
1 tbs sage
1 tbs of kosher salt, adjust to taste
2 tsp black pepper

Coat chicken in flour. Brown the chicken in about a tbs of oil. Do this in batches. Yes, you can coat already cooked chicken. Remove chicken from the pot.

Add another tbs oil to the pot. Add onions, celery, garlic, carrots, 1/2 tsp of salt, and ginger. The salt will help the veges sweat faster. Stir cook until half way cooked. Add about two cups on broth. Scrap all the yummy goodies off the bottom of the pot.

Add remaining ingredients. Let cook for three hours loosely covered on medium heat. Stirring about every 30 minutes.

Now if you or canning this soup, When you add the remaining ingredients, stir well and ladle into jars. Pressure can per your altitude, 65 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts. I don't can on my wood stove because it's too hard to maintain the heat.

Notes-
* I'll use a combination of parsnips, turnips and potatoes when I'm canning this soup. The parsnips and turnip keep their shape better during the longer canning time.
** I don't peel my root vegetables. I just give them a good scrubbing. (except for the onions, garlic and ginger)

You can add noodles, rice, spatzelle, or dumplings later to jarred soups.

Enjoy!

Y'all have a blessed day!
Jo