Brewing Green Tea

     Getting all my info together for this post made me say to myself  "uh, why aren't you drinking more green tea?"  I don't drink it as much as I should.  I used to hate green tea until I learned how to brew it correctly, and I had to practice.  I had to make myself drink it for a while until I learned to like it.  Hey, I had to make myself learn how to like coffee back in's the same deal.

    The health benefits of green tea are many.  There has been study after study done -- I'll let you do the research -- google "health benefits of a cup of green tea".  But, there is one main reason I like to drink it.  It calms me down.  It's the theonine in it.  Theonine makes you mellow and unanxious (I don't think that's a word :-).  Some of the other reasons I should be drinking it -- it is traditionally used to help control blood sugar and it helps to lower cholesterol and triglycerides.  For those two benefits alone I should be drinking it.

     So, here's how I make my green tea.

I start with a tea pot made for brewing loose leaf tea.
There is a basket that fits inside to hold the tea.

I buy a good quality loose leaf tea.
This is Frontier (the brand) "Gunpowder" green tea.
I buy it by the # at my local health food store.
I also like the Frontier Jasmine green tea, and I buy their decaf
green tea for late afternoon brewing.

Water gets heated in my stove top pot to barely boiling.
If you use too hot of water (boiling) the tea will get bitter.
When it is hot,  I rinse the loose leaf tea pot with some
 hot water to warm it.

Then I fill the basket of the pot about 1/3 full (or less) -- it's going to expand.

Now start filling the pot with water.  It takes a bit as the water seeps through the tea. get the idea.  When it's full put the lid on.
Now I put the timer on for exactly 2 minutes.
Longer than 2 minutes, the tea will be bitter.
Less than 2 minutes, not many polyphenols (antioxidants) -- the main reason for drinking it.
Take the tea basket out.

The pot holds about 3 cups of tea.  Drink them all to get the medicinal benefits.
It is amazing how long the tea stays hot in the pot. 
 But, if it gets cold, I still will drink it down as "medicine".

                        After a couple days of drinking tea, a calm comes over worth it.


Linked To:  Homestead Barn Hop


Sunday in Pictures

Never in a million years will you guess why I am sterilizing wing feathers.

Susan over at e-i-e-i-omg! is hosting an apron sew-off.  We're all making an apron to be
ready the week before Thanksgiving.  I don't sew.  However,  there was so much talk about
 "duct tape" I decided "what the heck".  This stash of denim material I bought at Goodwill for less
than $1.00 a yard.   ......about 2 years ago.  (I was going to make some curtains.)
I think it's time to do something else with it. 
And if I make a mistake there will be plenty left to start over again :-)
Come and join us!  Hop over to Susan's here and let her know "you're in".

"Like Daddy, like son".
A really poor quality old picture I "doctored" up.
Son Matthew and Grandson Ryan.
The picture is about 3 years old.  # 4 was Brett Farve.
They now would both have a #12 on their jerseys :-)  .....Aaron Rodgers.

 From another autumn -- maybe 10 years ago.  My broodmare
SWM Abra Aziz (full arab) and her colt SWM Romeo (1/2 arab, 1/2 appaloosa).



Decorating With Winterberry

     I love using these red berries for fall and winter decorating.   They stay fresh looking for a long time, and when they finally do dry, they still look beautiful.  Winterberry will hang on the cut branches all winter if they are not disturbed. 

Winterberry bushes with the leaves gone.
      Right now in Northeastern Wisconsin the wet ditches are loaded with winterberries.  If you pick them before the leaves are off, the leaves stay on too!  Hand picking leaves off one by one is not fun, so I always wait until the leaves fall.  If you wait too long though, the birds will have them gone or the berries will fall off of the growing bush.  Cutting the bush does not harm it.  It will only grow twice as big next year!

     If you cut a branch with berries on, they will stay on all winter, in the house or outside.  When I am done decorating with them, out to the chickens they go.  A special treat for them.

Winterberries begin the transition from summer flower pots
into fall/Christmas pots.  Before the dirt is frozen hard in the
pots (mid Nov.), pine boughs will replace the flower greens and
the winterberries will be the center of the display.
The start of winter decorating at the office.

The start of winter decorating at the house.


Need a Funny Caption

What's your caption for this week?

Last week:

"What Pileated Woodpecker?"

Last week's caption coined by Mama Pea over at:
A Home Grown Journal
Thanks for playing Mama Pea!

I was kept chuckling all week! Check here
in the comments for all the great captions.
Thank-You everyone for playing!

This was a friends cat.  "Putters" put on
a whole photo shoot for me :-)


Beef Jerky Recipe

2 # ground lean beef or venison
1 # ground chicken, turkey, or duck
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

You can certainly use all beef or venison.  I mix it really well with my hands.  Fill the jerky gun, and use the "ribbon" fitting.  Fill the dehydrator trays.  (Three lbs. of ground meat fills the four trays of my dehydrator.) 

(Where's the "cure" you ask?  If that's the main reason you haven't been making jerky, well, come on down!  I hate sodium nitrite.  Imagine my surprise when at my Master Food Preserver Class, Barbara Ingham, Wisconsin's Extension food scientist and our teacher, said I didn't have to use it!  There was a catch.  Without cure in it, you will store it in the refrigerator.  If you are going on a camping trip, etc., it will keep for 2 weeks out of the refrigerator, but not indefinitely.  This more than covers me for a day long shopping trip, or Rick for a day of pheasant hunting.)

After filling the dehydrator, set it at 145 - 155 degrees for at least 4 hours.  Then place the dried strips on a baking sheet and bake in a pre-heated 275 degree oven for 10 minutes.  This last step makes sure that bugs such as Salmonella and E. coli are killed.  Jerky should not end up "crispy".  When you bend it, it shouldn't snap in half -- that is the kind of jerky you chew, and chew, and chew.

Done jerky will have fibers that still hold together when you bend it.
If it snaps -- overdone.
You now have a traveling piece of protein!

 Linked To: Homestead Barn Hop



Beef & ? Jerky

If you have a dehydrator you MUST make jerky :-)
It's way too easy and tastes so good.  Pick up a jerky gun...about $15.00,
and then it's "have protein, will travel".
Beats a soy protein bar any day.

Four trays of jerky drying as I speak.



Ice Fishing Sunflower Seeds

 ......or Road Trip Sunflower Seeds
 ......or Fly Fishing Sunflower Seeds
 ......or Redneck Sunflower Seeds?  :-)

     Whatever you want to call them, you'll never get fat eating roasted in the shell sunflower seeds.  They are fun to eat when you want to stay awake, or just give your mouth a work out, or if you like to spit; but you sure won't eat them fast enough to get fat!

     Three years in a row I have tried to dry sunflower seeds.  This is the first year I have a harvest.  Oh, they've grown just fine all 3 years.  The harvesting is the tricky part.  Harvest too early -- the seed doesn't develop inside the hull.  Harvest too late -- the birds have a feast.  According to the National Sunflower Association you are suppose to let the sunflower head dry on the stem.  I'm thinking that just doesn't work for mammoth sunflowers.  Every year they have molded on me before drying, whether I leave them on the stem or cut the head off and try to dry them in the garage.  The black oil sunflowers I did let dry on the stems.  When I went to harvest them I realized the finches had eaten their winter supply of bird seed a smidge early!  They were 90 % gone.

     This year I harvested my mammoth sunflowers and took the seed off the head right away.  I let them dry in the house on newspaper.  Finally I have a harvest.  Some will be bird seed for the winter, some will be chicken food when it's 20 below zero (I only feed small amounts of sunflowers when it's really cold out, otherwise there is just too much fat in them for feeding to chickens in any amount.), and some have been roasted in the shell .

These sunflower seeds have been drying about 3 weeks now.
There is about 1 1/2 qts. of seed.  I sifted out the chaff.

There was plenty of stuff I didn't want mixed in.
     The National Sunflower Association says to cover the unshelled seeds with salted water using 1/4 - 1/2 cup of salt per 1/2 gal. of water.  The first batch I made I used 1/4 cup salt per 1/2 gal. of water.  I didn't want them too salty, but I thought they ended up not salty enough, so this time I used the 1/2 cup of salt.

I rinsed the seeds well before putting them in the salted water.
I weighted the seeds into the water with a dish, and let them soak overnight.

     In the morning I drained off the water, added 3 TBL. of melted butter, sprinkled some seasoned salt to taste (at least 1 TBL) and mixed it well so every seed was coated.  I spread them evenly over a cookie pan and baked them in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown.  I stirred them about every 10 minutes.

     The first batch of seeds I roasted, I thought I would slow roast them.  So, I put the oven at 300 degrees and roasted them till golden.  Turns out it is harder to get the seeds out that way.  The second batch I roasted at 350 degrees.  At this temperature the hulls get very crispy, so when you crack it open in your mouth the seed just pops right out.  Much easier to eat them if you don't have to work that seed out of the shell.

I'm very happy with the results.
I have visions of grandchildren spitting sunflower shells......


Linked To: Farm Friend Friday


Need a Funny Caption

     This week's picture I have had on the blog before, but, I wasn't asking for captions then.  I had to re-post it because I KNOW there are some good captions out there!  :-)

     What's your caption for this week?

Last Week:

"you WILL fear me."

Last week's caption coined by Sharon

I also enjoyed:
...look into my eyes....   by Candy C, and
yeah, I look good!  Deal with it.   by labbie1

This is a picture of "Charles" who I believe was "dropped off"
at our house years ago.  We found him on our porch. 
 He was a huge angora, and about a year after he took up  residence
we decided to "look under there".  Turns out he was a she. 
 Name was changed to Charlene.  :-)  She was the nicest cat ever.



Sunday in Pictures

Supper was homegrown ham, organic homegrown
Yukon gold potatoes,  and the last fresh picking of green beans. YUM.

After supper and before making caramel apples, we got the kids busy with coloring.
Check out Gracie's line-up of stuffed animals watching her color.

"Color wars"
Side note......Packers are knew that right?

Making caramel apples for dessert was a hit.

Gracie made hers quick and dug right in.



Need A Funny Caption

What's your caption for this week?

Last week:

"Is that the new Z7 Xtreme Tactical Bow with
Harmonic Stabilizer, String suppressors, Zebra
Barracuda Bowstring, and SphereLock Pivoting
Limb cup system??  Gotta Have IT!!"

Last week's caption coined by my niece-in-law
(married to my nephew) Christy, over at:
                                                     The life of a southern yankee mother and wife
Very funny Christy!!!!

All last week's captions (in the comments section) here.

This is a picture of my Grandson Brayden
when he was 5 months old.
I do believe Grandma was a little too close
with the flash of the camera!  :-)


Sunday in Pictures

I live in a corn field!
Not really -- we have a strip of 5 acres along the edge of the ridge.
80 acres of corn.  Not ours.  ...and not touched by frost yet.
Two blocks down the hill all the corn has  froze.

My Mom's quilt at the quilt show put on by the Shawano Area Quilters.
Mom in an avid quilter.
 Mom and Dad live 5 minutes from me.

Camouflage duck flock.....sort of.
It's that time of year....getting ready to make the flock smaller.
I really only want to end up with max, 7 ducks for the winter.

....and guess what?  Nine of Nine is a drake.  See the sex feathers that curl up in his tail?
All the boys have them.  Out of the 12 new ducklings this year.  Seven are drakes.
He is one lucky duck.   I don't think two drakes is wise, but I will let him remain. 
Especially since I made such a big deal about him on my blog :-)
Nine of Nine's birth story here.

 Bikes got parked so we (as in grandkids) could take a "walk in the woods".



Foraging Chicken Food

       I make a special effort to forage some chicken food just because I like to see how happy it makes the chickens in the middle of winter.  I also like to think that a varied diet makes them healthier.  In late December and on, I'll start feeding them a handful a day of something foraged and stored up just for them.  I'll dry pig weed and clover all summer long in small bunches.  It helps keep my egg yolks a deep orange in the middle of winter.

       A couple of days ago I walked our recreational trail (a beautiful walk!) with a 5 gallon bucket looking for berries for the chickens.  I found: (excuse my fuzzy pics!)

 Highbush Cranberries. 
 The chickens love them (as do wild birds).
I made jelly out of them a couple years back.  I did not like it.
I understand that some varieties of  highbush cranberries taste
better than others.  The chickens don't care, they seem to relish them.
The leaves look like currant leaves.

...and I found some winterberries.
These aren't the flavor winterberry, but that is what they are called here.
Chickens love them.  (as do wild birds)
They also make a beautiful dried berry for holiday arrangements.
That's another post :-)

The Virginia Creeper was a beautiful red everywhere.......

And the Virginia Creeper had berries.
I DID NOT collect these!!  Can we say poisonous?
 (you knew that -- right Mama Pea & Erin?)
They look just like wild grapes, and in fact grow right in with
wild grapes!  The only way to really identify them especially after the leaves drop, is the red stem. 
Grapes do not have a red stem.  If someone offers you some wild grape jelly....ask them if they know
 what virginia creeper berries look like.  If they don't...I wouldn't eat it. :-)

     Any berries I collect will be air dried in the garage and then just stored in a bucket.  Highbush cranberries, winterberry, wild grapes, & rose hips, will all be dried for their winter buffet.  A good field guide for your area is really needed if you decide to go foraging.....but you should do it just to see the happy chickens!

.....dr momi

Linked To : Homestead Barn Hop
Linked To:  Frugal Day Sustainable Ways


Colloidal Silver

     I'm making colloidal silver.  I've been meaning to make some more, I've been out for a while.  I used to buy my colloidal silver until I learned how easy it is to make yourself.  I wish I could give you all the directions for making the generator yourself, but, ..... this is not a skill I possess :-)  All I do is set my silver rods in some distilled water and plug in the generator.  I bought my generator.

     This is what it looks like all set up.  In about 45 minutes the electrical current interacts with the silver, leaving particles of silver suspended in the water.  Colloidal silver is antibacterial and antiviral.  I let my sinus infection get out of control.  It was responding to elderberry just fine, and then I let too many days go by without a dose.  I woke up today with my head feeling 3x bigger than it is. 

     I will "snuff" the colloidal silver about 3x a day for a bit.  You could use a diluted colloidal silver in a netti pot (for cleansing the sinuses) too.  Colloidal silver has many uses.  I put it in a spray bottle, and spray my cutting board after raw meat was on it.  I spray between my toes after a shower to prevent athletes foot.  I'll gargle with it if I have a sore throat.

     Don't tell the kids -- they're all getting a spray bottle of homemade colloidal silver for Christmas :-)

This +This +This = ?

What am I making?

This plus....

this plus......

 this = ?
The answer later today :-)
Hint.....I have a major sinus infection.


Need A Funny Caption

What's your caption for this week?

"I didn't shake it too hard!"

Last week's caption coined by: Lady Farmer
over at The Pantry.  Thanks for playing Lady Farmer!

I had a blast with all the captions last week -- they kept me laughing!
 This is getting very hard to pick -- they were all so good.
Read all the captions here for a good chuckle.
This is my daughter's cat, Farrah.  Kristy brought her home with her from college one year.
Farrah kept climbing the Christmas tree!!

.....dr momi