Monday, April 30, 2012

April 2012 Groceries: End of the Month

Sad to say, but this month I have gone over my $450 Grocery Budget, but true to my word, I only purchased milk at the Food Store this last week.

Food Store
Total: $9.98

Editing to add...found a receipt hiding in my purse....$12.76(chocolate/sweets binge...blushing here!)
That brings me to my Grand Total: $494.04.

This is $44.04 over my intended budget!
  • In order to stay on budget, I really do have to keep track and be aware of what I buy, constantly!
  • Start keeping track from the start of the month

  • Menu Planning is good for knowing "what's for dinner?" and not having to come up with a new idea each night when the clock's running

  • Keep away from the junk food! (ok, you can have *just a little*, but not like this last month!)
  • Don't shop hungry/with kids if you can help it

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mulling over Wheat-Free for the Entire Family...

After reading Wheat Belly, by William Davis, MD, I have been reflecting on my diet and that of my family.

I would like to take wheat out of the entire family's at-home eating regimen and watch for changes.

I am not going to toss out or give away all of our wheat-containing foods. For one thing, I can't afford to do that.

What I am thinking about doing, though, is simply not buying them for a month and seeing what happens.

This will take some very intentional menu planning, grocery shopping, and maybe a little more work in the kitchen (at least to start out with) to get the whole family on board.

I plan to have our family get together and talk about this, and why I want to do this, so that we can be on the same page. The kids are getting old enough to realize that what we eat does affect our bodies(thanks to allergies). What they don't understand is why they hear a certain food is dubbed "good" in some circles and why other circles say that same food is "bad". So, we will have some discussion on that I am sure. (We've already had that discussion over the topic of chocolate, and I had to explain why not all chocolate is created equal.)

So, if everyone can get on board, and if I can get my ducks in a row,  I may be doing a Wheat-Free Family May Menu.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Book Review: Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD

I just finished reading Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD.

William Davis, MD is a cardiologist who has found that promoting a wheat-free diet in his patients has led to improved health.

Davis is of the opinion that wheat is over-consumed in our society, since it is ubiquitous in the American diet. It is touted as health food and people are encouraged to eat more whole grains. He shows how wheat has been developed over the last half-century and is not nearly as natural or healthy as it is claimed to be.  Our bodies, in consuming so much of it, become more prone to heart disease, diabetes, and a whole host of other health problems, regardless of whether we are plagued by full-blown Celiac Disease.

Davis challenges the reader to remove wheat from their diet for a month and to watch for positive changes in the body.  He has a simple list of what to eat and what not to eat, and a few recipes at the end of the book to help get the reader started.

With  my health challenges over the last few years, I found this book to be affirming.  As readers here might already know, I have been eating Gluten-free for a year now, after years of dealing with food allergies and various immune system problems. I try to avoid Genetically Modified foods, but so far wheat hasn't been put on that list. But maybe it should be on the GMO list; though it doesn't have genes from other species blasted into it, it has been unnaturally changed in a laboratory in a much shorter time than would have ever happened naturally.  I find Davis' explanation and observations of the development of modern wheat to shed a little bit more light on the reasons my immune system ( whole body in general, really) dislikes wheat, and why it gives me  "brain fog" and heartburn and makes me  hungry all the time, rather than classic Celiac symptoms.

Dr. Davis focuses on avoiding wheat in his diet recommendations, and replacing that wheat with vegetables, nuts, seeds, meat, eggs and cheese. I can get on board with that!
He tells the reader to avoid "gluten-free" foods. I was confused at this suggestion at first, but then figured out that what he meant was to avoid the highly processed "gluten-free" foods that are mainly starches and not Real Foods.  If you replace wheat with starches, you will have the same junky diet leading to heart disease, diabetes, etc. (and let's face it, highly processed food really isn't the best for us) If you are Celiac, eating this "junky gluten-free" diet would be better than eating gluten, as far as your intestinal health is concerned, but you would still be at risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, etc. due to the junk.

One thing that I personally cannot get on board with in his book is his support of artificial sweeteners and his stance against all sugars. My own stance is that natural sugars are better than, say, Splenda or Nutrasweet or even Truvia(GMO corn additives). But I suppose in the grand scheme of things, if one gives up most bad things, there is room for a little "cheat" here and there and most people's bodies can handle it. And I have to agree on one thing: Sugar/Sweetener (whatever the source) in moderation is key. 

I had gotten this book from the local library, but I plan on getting my own copy of it so that I can re-read, highlight, underline and write notes in the margins. There is a ton of information in this book, and I would definitely recommend it to my health-seeking friends!

Here's to good health!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 2012 Menu Plan

I had posted my menu plan for weeks 1-3 earlier this month. I did deviate a little from the week 3 plan, but not overmuch.  I like a little leniency in  my menu planning. :)

April 2012, Week 4 Dinner Menu

Monday: Hamburger Rice Stroganoff (ended up not having it last week), Mixed veggies with pastured butter, sliced cucumbers

Tuesday: Corned Beef and Cabbage in the crockpot, Carrots and dip

Wednesday: Turkey meat (from the big ol' turkey I'd roasted and portioned out earlier this month) in a frozen-vegetable Stir-fry, Rice

Thursday: Turkey Kielbasa, Veggies (cauliflower and carrots, roasted?), Pasta?

Friday: Pizzas (frozen ones for the family, homemade/GF one for myself)

The following Monday, I plan on doing something with the chicken I have in the freezer that needs eating.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 2012 Groceries: Weeks 3-4

Popping in for an update on my grocery spending. At the time of my last grocery post, I had spent $222 on groceries. I've got a bunch of receipts here, so let's see how I'm doing.

Local grocery S=Sale
Celery hearts
Blue Cheese salad dressing
3lb bag of Gala apples
S fresh mushrooms
S 3 cucumbers

S 2 blocks Cheddar
Laughing Cow cheese-garlic/herb

2 cans mushrooms
2 cans green chilies

Corned Beef-because I didn't get much at all this year and still have a hankering for it
Hormel nitrate-free Turkey lunchmeat
Hormel pepperoni sticks--going to try these instead of the other kind I tried and see if they bother me
S Honey ham lunchmeat (because it was on sale and the Hormel nitrate-free is so expensive at this store...compromise)
S Chicken Nuggets

2 bags small tortillas
3 bags burrito tortillas
loaf French Bread for "fancy sandwiches" for Family Night
2 loaves bread
S Cap'n Crunch and off-brand Honey Nut Cheerios (kids really didn't like this...weird, but that's probably good!)

S 2 Lay's potato chips
S 2 bags white corn tortilla chips
S 4 Totino's frozen combination pizzas (so I can only make my own gf pizza on Family Night)

S 4 Honest Teas
S 8-pack of Dr. of many reasons not to go shopping when hungry and w/kids!

Total: $102.38

Food Store
3 half-gallons Organic Valley milk
3 dozen eggs
Chili powder
Sweets 'n Beets chips by Terra Nova (not a hit w/the kids)
Dried Figs
2 bags/boxes GF crackers (nuts/flax, NOT starches)
and a myriad of other things that I can't remember at this time
Total: $57.82

Food Store
4 boxes tea
2 half-gallons milk
Total $27.13

A mess of bagels, granola bars, cereal, RW Knudsen juices, Cocoa powder, chocolate chips, gourmet chocolate-covered potato chips (meh), yogurts, pack of cookies, pink sweetener, 2 packs Turkey kielbasa, hfcs-free jelly, canned beans, pasta
Total: $61.97

So.... $222+$102.38 + $57.82 + $27.13 + $61.97 = $471.30 Total so far

Bummer, I've gone over my $450 goal for the month. I'm thinking if I'd not purchased so many junk-food sale items, I'd be within budget.  Looking at that one shopping trip with the kids, I really spent a lot more than I had planned to...and was snookered into the "sales" was a before-dinner shop. Making a note to myself NOT to shop then if I can help it! (and I can help it....but I had put off a separate shopping trip, thinking to save gas $ and another trip into town....turns out that I may actually have saved more money if I had shopped sans children and earlier in the day).

Another thing I notice is how much wheat is in that one shopping trip! I've recently finished reading Wheat Belly, by William Davis, MD, and all the wheat in my cart (even though I personally am GF) is really standing out to me.


I will go to the store and get some milk this week, since we used the last of it this morning. That's all I will get.

There, I said it here, so I have to stick to it, right?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hatching Eggs: Day 1

Hubby and I decided that we would like to try a different heritage breed of chicken, and decided on Light Sussex.
This breed is a larger bird (meat potential) that lays brown eggs. They are a white bodied bird with black tail and head/neck feathers, somewhat similar in appearance to the Delawares we had.

We had tried Cornish Crosses but were not impressed with the early deaths we had (even though we followed the special feeding instructions) and the deaths we had in the last weeks before butchering time (chickens that were too heavy/lazy to get up and move).  The meat was fine, but I was not ok with the quality of life and the deaths. I don't believe it was anything we were doing wrong, as we raised Delawares at the same time in the same conditions(minus the special feeding instructions) and had an absolutely healthy flock of Delawares until the stray dogs got to them just before they were old enough to lay...

So anyway, Light Sussex is our current breed of choice.

It was a little difficult finding a source of these birds, as they are more common in the UK than in the US. After a little internet searching, we were able to find a source of hatching eggs at a good price from Survival Seed Sowers. We ordered 2 dozen and received 2 dozen + 1 extra egg. Two eggs didn't make the trip we have a total of 23 eggs in the incubator. I was impressed with the packaging. We have ordered eggs from other places before with more complicated packaging and they didn't fare quite as well!

When we received our eggs on Wednesday of this week, I removed them from the box and allowed them to rest from their journey.  In the meantime, I got the incubator set up and at a consistent temperature between 99.5-102*.

I removed the eggs from their packaging, marked them with a pencil with a "+" on one side and a "-" on the other (hubby later told me it was supposed to be "X" and "O"....*le sigh*) and set them in the Little Giant incubator last night (Thursday). 

We will turn them morning and evening up through day 18, and after that we will leave them alone and the incubator closed until (hopefully) hatching day.

I am hoping this experiment works well!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Review: Vitacost and Mr. Rebates

One way I am able to afford to get better vitamins and supplements for my family is to use and Mr. together.

With Vitacost alone, I often save around 50% off of the cost of what we buy. That's a huge chunk of cash! And, I usually only order a couple times a year, so I generally order enough to get the free shipping offer. There are often additional offers you can get--just google "Vitacost Coupon Codes" and check out the sites to find a good one that works for you.

Vitacost gives their customers the option of leaving feedback, so this helps me in deciding which products to buy. Unlike some other online retailers, Vitacost gives all of the information about the product that you would get by looking at it in the store. Plus, since you are already at the computer, you can research companies if you have any questions about allergies, etc., and not waste money and time in buying a product that won't work for you! They also have a 30 day money back guarantee if something doesn't work for you.

An additional way that I save on our Vitacost expense is to first log into my Mr. Rebates account and then go to Vitacost from my Mr. Rebates page and get an additional amount back (added to my Mr. Rebates account, which I can then have moved to my Paypal account or request a check in the mail).  The current rebate for Vitacost is 6%. There are numerous other websites that you can save money on with Mr. Rebates as well! Check it out!

Vitacost is currently doing a promotion where members can refer friends and both the friend and the member gets $10 towards their purchase at Vitacost! Win!

Click here to get your $10 towards Vitacost: Rewards

To sign up for Mr. Rebates, click here to get started: Mr. Rebates

Happy (frugal) Shopping! :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Gluten/Coffee Connection: My Personal Observations

This recent blog post on the Healthy Home Economist reports a finding that effects Gluten-free coffee lovers everywhere: 10% of coffee is a protein that cross reacts with gluten antibodies.

What does this mean?

In my mind(and I may be wrong on this correlation) it's somewhat similar to Oral Allergy Sensitivity, a condition where the person's body that has certain pollen allergies sort of misreads the proteins in certain foods because of a similarity in structure and reacts with (usually) itchy throat, ears, sneezing, runny nose, etc.. I've had lots of personal experience with OAS, unfortunately, and that cross-reaction makes sense to me.

The Coffee/Gluten situation effects the gut health and thus the immune system and the whole body.

I find this discovery intriguing. I didn't start drinking coffee until I was in college and got married. After having kids, the coffee intake increased (yawn), and so did my food allergies. I know that coffee was not the main contributor to my immune system having a heyday, but after quitting the coffee and feeling better.....and going through my allergy journey and current gluten-freeness...and having coffee as a treat last weekend and how I felt afterwards (yucky).... reading these findings makes everything make a little more sense to me. all my Gluten-Free friends out might want to re-think your morning drink of choice. Cut back or omit it, if you can, and see if it makes a difference for you!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April 2012 Menu Planning

I know I'm coming in late on the Menu Planning, but better late than never, right?

First I will let you know what we had for dinner last week, to the best of my recollection.

April 2012: Week 1 Dinner Menu

Monday: Hamburgers (bread for bun, mine was with Udi's but I now know I'd rather not use a bread product at all), Ore Ida Fries (yeah, I wimped out....but since I tested weak to the local grocer's potatoes and The Food Store was out of the organic potatoes that I tested fine with, I opted to take my chances with the Ore Ida GF option)

Tuesday: Macaroni Turkey Bake (using this recipe and tweaking it, making a Cream Soup Base....tweaking that to make it GF, using King Arthur GF Flour Mix), Romaine Salad, fresh veggie tray

Wednesday: Turkey Salad and Chips, Sandwiches for kids who wanted bread

Thursday: A.J.'s Heavenly Pizza

Friday: Hamburgers, Romaine Salad, Sweet Potato w/butter, sour cream, sprinkling of cinnamon sugar

April 2012: Week 2 Dinner Menu

Monday: Hamburger Rice Stroganoff, Romaine Salad (onions, mandarin oranges, slivered almonds as options), baby carrots and leftover chocolate cake for dessert

Tuesday: Hamburgers, Ore Ida Tater Tots, Romaine Salad and leftover dessert(tonight should take care of it!)

Wednesday: Sandwiches (egg salad, using Hain Pure Foods Safflower Mayo-no GMO's and less 'fake' ingredients), Terra Sweets & Beets Chips

Thursday: Pork Roast from the freezer, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Romaine Salad

Friday: Nachos "Grande" or Taco Salad, kids' choice. Using local ground beef, homemade taco seasoning (no GMO corn or gluten).

Saturday/Sunday: I may make a big pot of White/Green Chili using a lot of the leftover Pork Roast. And Cornbread! I might also make some pulled pork sandwiches, but am not sure the meat is fatty enough to do that...and the tomatoes in the sauce might get to us...we shall see...

April 2012: Week 3 Dinner Menu (Tentative, from what we have in the house now...)

Monday: Crockpot___________ or an Oven-Timed____________...Baked Spaghetti?

Tuesday: Bagel Pizzas for the kids (the kids hate the mini bagels and won't eat them for breakfast, so they might become the base for an easy dinner.) Some sort of meat, sauteed green beans/mushrooms/onions/garlic for hubby and I.

Wednesday: Sandwiches, fruit/veggies? Hummus?

Thursday: Hamburger Rice Stroganoff, maybe....or....something else... Meatballs? Meatloaf? Quinoa? Broccoli?

Friday: Homemade Pizza? "Fancy" sandwiches and chips and ice cream treat?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April 2012 Groceries: Weeks 1-2

I know it's late in the month to start with a Groceries topic, but I do have my receipts and I want to really keep track again to see how much I am spending.

I won't bore you with the details of price per item this time, and I can't remember every single thing I purchased at the health food store (they don't itemize other than Grocery, Freezer, etc).

Last month I happened to be in one of the larger towns of the area and went to Kroger(love that store!). Unfortunately, with the near-$4/gallon gas prices, I haven't been able to justify an only-for-groceries trip to Kroger this month. Instead, I have been sticking to the local Community Market and The Food Store(local health food store).

Here's what I've purchased so far at the local grocery (S=Sale):

S 2 bags baby carrots
S Fresh Pineapple
2 Lemons
2 Romaine Lettuce
2 Mushrooms
Sweet potatoes

S 4 lbs butter

2 packs flour tortillas
S 4 large tubs Daisy Cottage Cheese
S 3 16 oz tubs Daisy Sour Cream,
S 2 blocks cream cheese

S 3 blocks Muenster cheese
S 3 blocks Mozzarella
S 4 blocks Sharp Cheddar

S 3 dozen eggs (they're conventional, but that'll help shave off a little $ this month)

Parmesan cheese wedge

2 cans Cherry Pie Filling
Hodgson Mills GF Chocolate Cake Mix
S Nestle Chocolate Chips

Koeplinger WW Bread
Skippy Natural Peanut Butter

Heath Bars
Dark Chocolate M&M's (no comments here, please, I'm just being honest! ;))
York Peppermint Patties-for the kids to decorate a cake for Easter
Kraft Roka: dont' remember what this was

S 2 bags chips--Lays BBQ--one was NOT GF

S 2 bags Frozen Peas
1 bag Frozen Stir Fry Mix
1 bag Frozen Italian Blend Veggies

S 2 tubs frozen whipped topping

Here's what I've purchased from The Food Store:
1 lb local ground beef
Frozen organic pepper mix
Frozen organic mushroom mix
3 half-gallons of Organic Valley milk
1 Pastured Butter
2 tubs local(ish) honey
1 loaf Udi's Millet Chia bread
2 packages Tinkyada brown rice spaghetti
Oriental seasoning (bulk)
Smoked paprika (bulk)
Raw almonds (bulk)
Raw sunflower seeds (bulk)
Organic corn meal (bulk)
Raw pumpkin seeds(bulk)
GF Oats
Cherry Juice (to use in the water kefir)

Grocery Total so far is: $222

For protein needs, we have pork loin, ground beef, some chicken in the freezer. I roasted a turkey over a week ago and we ate off of it for a few days and I made stock from the carcass and froze that and what meat was left from it.  Eggs/dairy products in the fridge, and some canned meat/fish and beans in the pantry.

I have frozen veggies in the freezer from a sale last month. Also some frozen fruit and rhubarb and such that I need to do something with. Apples in the fridge from the Kroger trip where I bought like 10 lbs at $1/lb.

Now, to make a menu for the next week +...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Forgotten Favorite: Soft Boiled Eggs

Hubby and I went to Lehman's last weekend for our annual anniversary trip. I love this place---it is an Amish General Store and has all things non-electric, and inspires/challenges me to live a more simple life. The tons of things to check out around every corner is nice, too. It's like a giant bookstore/candy store/kitchen store/Amish crockery store/etc. in one!

While I was perusing the kitchen wares (of which there are many, and much of it modern---thanks to the tourist demand, lol) I came across some porcelain egg cups.  Holding one in my hand, I remembered my mom making us soft boiled eggs many mornings, and I decided I wanted to make some for my kids.  But I'm cheap, and rather practical, and didn't want a bunch of cups that had only one use cluttering up my cupboards...especially if the kids declare they hate soft boiled eggs after one go at it.

So, I looked around some more and found Pinch Bowls(which apparently aren't on the Lehman's website, on which I think they try to keep only the very simple things).  I had never seen these before, and had a lively discussion with a fellow shopper about their virtues.  I picked out a set of silicone ones, figuring I can use them to gather my spices before I start a recipe AND I can use them to hold the freshly soft boiled eggs to crack and eat them without burning fingers AND they nest AND I can freeze/bake/microwave and throw them in the dishwasher! Quadruple win! (and there's 4 of them for less than buying 4 of the actual egg cups)

Last night I had to Google how to cook a soft boiled egg (bring pot of water to boil, lower refrigerated egg into water, gently boil 5 minutes, remove) and tried it for myself this morning.


I think I will make some for the kids tomorrow morning (though I might let them cook a minute or so longer-still soft boiled, but the yolk will be more cooked).

Here's to Real Food!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Review: A.J.'s Gluten-Free Heavenly Pizza

Finding food that is Gluten-free in a regular restaurant can prove to be quite a challenge.  One thing many Gluten-free folks miss when they get off the gluten is pizza. Many of the GF pizza crust mixes aren't, let's face it, all that great. There are some good options, but all too often they require time in the kitchen.

Some days a girl wants to have the choice to Not Cook and still have a tasty GF meal.

I recently had the opportunity to try the Gluten Free pizza offered at A.J.'s Heavenly Pizza of Findlay, OH.  If there is an A.J.'s near you, call ahead to see if they offer Gluten Free Pizza, because not all places do. It's not listed in the local advertising flier, but they do currently have it in Findlay! If I remember correctly, they charge you for the next crust size up due to the higher cost of the Gluten Free crust.

My husband brought the pizza home after work, and I hate to say it, but I was so looking forward to eating it that I forgot to take a pic of the entire pizza for the blog. (oops) So, this is what you get:

As you can see, it's a thin crust pizza, and they bake it on an aluminum tray to avoid cross-contamination issues.

This pizza was quite tasty! Even though it was a thin crust, it could still be picked up and eaten out-of-hand (something you can't do w/many gluten free pizza mix pizzas).  If I was willing to hand any over to my kids to eat, I am sure they would eat it without any problems(and for that matter, so would my husband)!

Overall, this pizza was a welcome treat in my---until now--Pizzeria deprived (unless I want to cheat and risk repercussions), Gluten-free life.  I haven't had any digestive or neurological issues like I had when, out of desperation, I cheated and ate regular pizza around Christmastime. I did take a digestive enzyme (more for the tomatoes that still sometimes give me problems) but I had taken one when I cheated and it didn't help much. So, for me, A.J.'s Gluten Free Heavenly Pizza is an option!

I am so glad to have this option open to me! Thank you, A.J.'s Heavenly Pizza of Findlay, OH! (I think you should promote your Gluten-Free option!)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Water Kefir: Round Two

This is the second round with my Water Kefir grains.
They are looking rather healthy, I think. See the new grains forming at the top? When I moved the jar, lots of bubbles rose up from the bottom, so I am thinking they are doing what they are supposed to do. The bottom of the jar holds the majority of my grains, which when strained, look like this:

I let the first batch sit for 3 days and wasn't greatly impressed with the results (though it wasn't horrible, either). I decided to let the second batch sit for 2 days to see what happens.

The result is a (to me) more palatable drink.  Your mileage may vary, and my first batch results might have differed from a regular 3-day ferment because the grains were dormant in my fridge for awhile before I got brave enough to start this adventure.

I put the entire second batch in a glass pitcher with a rubber seal, added some vanilla extract, and left it on the counter so that it could create bubbles and become a sort of Cream Soda.  There was pressure when I went to open it after 2 days, but nothing like opening a bottle of soda. Still, the kefir is palatable (maybe too sweet....I may cut back a tad on sugar---especially since I realized I'm not using an entire 2 quarts of water in my jar once I leave headspace at the top---companies must not make actual 2 quart jars anymore with their cutting back and all....).

I want to find some glass bottles with seals and clamps, old-fashioned style, to bottle the kefir and maybe make Ginger Beer with it.  Something to look into for sure! 

I think this will be a good summer project to do with the kids as well! :) I bet they will have fun creating different flavors! If I get individual bottles, they can make their own individual drinks!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Water Kefir Experiment Update

As promised, here are the results of my Water Kefir Experiment

First Batch:

I let the first batch sit for 3 days, strained it, and set another batch going.

This first batch was palatable, but not particularly something I would eagerly reach for as a refreshing beverage on its own.

I poured half in one pitcher and half in another.

In one pitcher, I added about half a cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice to about a quart of Water Kefir. Again, palatable, but not the awesome beverage I had hoped for.

In the other pitcher, I added about 1 tsp vanilla extract to the generous pint of Water Kefir and let this mixture sit on the counter for a day or two to increase the fizzy bubbles. This batch I found more favorable and I think I might be able to get the kids to at least try it, particularly if I can find some bottles to bottle it up in and hold more of the bubbles in so it's more like soda. (because I'm sneaky like that)

Monday, April 2, 2012

Water Kefir: My first try

For a year or two now, I have been considering making water kefir. Especially in the summertime, when it seems a lighter probiotic beverage is called for(rather than a milk-based one).   And I want to keep my probiotic intake up as I try to get my immune system and gut back to healthy status, so adding another option sounds good (especially since I can flavor the water kefir!).

I got some water kefir grains from an online friend and finally got around to doing something with them the other day. I am using Cultures for Health as my source of instructions.

I dissolved 1/2 cup of Turbinado sugar in some hot water on the stove, let it cool, then put the sugar water and the water kefir grains in a 2 quart jar and filled with water to about 2 inches from the top. I covered it with a cloth and rubber band to keep ants out (of which we have some in this old farm house these days...). I'm letting it sit 48 hours and then will test it to see how it is. I may let it sit another day, but no longer, as the instructions I have say not to let it sit out longer than 72 hours before feeding it again.

So, here it is on my counter, sitting pretty. I'll report in a few days as to how it is! :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

What's happening on Augsburger Farm?

This week: little hyacinths blooming...

Cats napping in the garden and stretching upon awakening...

And the lilacs are near to fully blooming!