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Friday, January 17, 2014

Comments, questions, and answers

I have had several sweet comments on my last several blog post. It is nice to know people still read the nonsense.
Jennifer has posed a few questions on my soap making post asking about molds and such. I use really just what ever looks like it will hold the amount of soap I am making at the time. It may be a Velveeta cheese box or a soup box I have cut an taped to reshape into the size I want at the moment. A nice wooden mold would certainly be nice. Maybe I can ask hubby to make me one when he gets in the shop this winter to finish Liam's toy box. I am gonna plunder around some yard sales and such too and try to find a cheap miter box with a back saw to cut soap. I know at some hardware stores you can buy the cheap inaccurate ones that are not good for precision wood work and that is kinda what I am lookin for. It would make for cutting nice even slices of soap. Not that I mind if my soap is funky shaped. Also in soap making I do not keep an extra set or special set of pans dedicated just to soap making. After all it is just soap and most of us use soap of some sort to wash our dishes so does it matter that you have had soap in your pan. Although to make soap you do need to steer clear of anything aluminum. I use stainless steel stock pots to make soap. I think my small one holds about 3 or 4 quarts. Just need enough room to hold all the soap volume when it is mixed together. I need to buy another stick blender for soap and lotion makin tho. I gave Amoy my other one to use to make food for lil Liam at home. That lil man is growing way too fast. Cant wait to see him again in April for his birthday. And yes Jenny we think that lil fellow is pretty special too. I sure have missed you as well and all our long fone calls till the fone battery dies. I will call you someday when I can get time to stay home for more than a few busy days at a time. Geez, I ain't even home right now. House sitting again.
Deja I am glad the pina colada jam turned out good for ya. I am not sure about cutting the sugar in jam and jelly recipes. It has something to do with the pectin/sugar ratio that makes it set nicely without being tough and rubbery. Also when buying sugar for jam and jelly making, make sure it is "cane" sugar. You can get both cane and beet sugar. They differ in molecular structure and beet sugar will not set in jams and jellies. I know at one time I noticed 25 lb bags of sugar at a Kroger store and thought about getting it as the price was much cheaper. But after I got to looking closely, no where on the bag did it say cane sugar so I was suspicious that it was beet sugar and decided it was not worth the money not to mention a product that would be for the most part useless to me. So be aware when purchasing sugar.

Here it is winter time. Not to mention near the end of January already. Its about time to get started pruning grape vines and fruit trees. Maybe we can manage to get those chores behind us in a couple weeks. Weather permitting of course. This chick don't do well in really cold weather. I know what happened to me last time I got cold. I got this damn flu, sinus infection and bronchitis. I am better but no where near well from it. It seems this congestion just keeps hanging on. I don't sleep really well anyway and sure as heck don't when I wake myself up coughing. My ribs feel like someone took a ball bat to them. But trees and vines need pruned. I am not by any means a pro at tree pruning but will take advice from someone who has cared for fruit trees successfully. Our buddy Butch in west KY has many wonderful trees and his advice it to make sure there is good air circulation inside the trees. He highly recommends taking the center out of most fruit trees as that allows sunlight and air to get into the foliage and keeps down diseases. So when I prune ours that is my goal. Hopefully when we get this process started I can post some pictures. OK I know you are laughing because I always forget the camera when we do these kind of things. Maybe I can remember this time. Just maybe. When I prune grape vines I intend to start more cuttings from the Concords. I have a friend in Virginia that wants some starts and hopefully I can manage to get them going for her. Grape vines are pretty easy to start from cutting in spring. As soon as the cuts are in soil and in a warmer place they will start making leaves and thus make roots. Its winter time and I am getting itchy to get in dirt. Might be while getting in dirt tho as the weather forecast is for extreme cold and more snow for us in East Ky. I think Rodger said they have about 2 inches at home right now. In west Ky it is cold, not unbearable, just cold but no snow. I should be hibernating by now. Such is life..

Not much else happening around here. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


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