Friday, June 26, 2015

Rhubarb Ketchup

What a surprisingly yummy treat this was!
I always love a fun new condiment, and this Rhubarb Ketchup was just the ticket.



I have rhubarb coming out my ears--my new house has a plant, my mother has the 2 largest plants I have EVER seen, and my in-laws who are also in town have a very large, robust plant that they said I could have as much of it as I want. 
Which is perfect for a rhubarb-lover such as myself. ;)

So far this season, we've had rhubarb crisp, and I have canned 2 batches of my favorite orange-rhubarb jam, a batch of Rhubarb Victoria Sauce (more on that later--holy smokes that stuff is good on vanilla ice cream!), and now a batch of this rhubarb ketchup. And I still have buckets of this delectable little stalk!

I brought a bottle of this rhubarb ketchup to our church BBQ last night and it was gone pretty quick--I certainly enjoyed it on my burger. :)

I've also tried it on crackers with cheese--also fantastic.



I think it is much more like a chutney than an actual ketchup--it is chunky. The flavor is great though--tangy with lots of depth of flavor due to all the many spices in it. We used fire-roasted tomatoes too, and I thought that was great.

I think it'd be fun to make a batch with some cayenne pepper or other hot spice to really add some heat!

Anyway, if you are swimming in rhubarb and like to have fun with your condiments, then this is the recipe for you! Perfect for summer snacking and BBQs. And, depending on your personal preference, you can can  it or you can just keep it in your fridge. Easy peasy.

Rhubarb Ketchup
Taste of Home

4 c. diced fresh or frozen rhubarb
3 medium onions, chopped
1 c. white vinegar
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
28 oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained (we used fire-roasted)
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp pickling spice enclosed in cheesecloth OR what we did was use a dash couple of dashes of cinnamon, cloves, dill, dried mustard, allspice, coriander, and 1 bay leaf--turned out great without the fuss of the cheesecloth

1. Combine everything into a pot and cook until it is thick--ours took almost 2 hours.
2. Then you can either put it in containers and keep it in the fridge for a few weeks, or process it in a water bath canner for 15 minutes (plus altitude adjustment--we're up high so I processed it for 25 minutes total).



 

 Enjoy!

 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Putting up a fence for the goats!

Yep, you read right, we're getting goats!
"Why?" You might ask.
Well, for lots of reasons. 
For one, I have always wanted a goat. I don't know what it is, but I just like them. I think they are adorable.
For two, our kids want them. And we're pretty much into making their wildest dreams come true. (Well, to an extend--we have nixed all their dreams of owning a horse until they are grown-ups themselves. and cats--no cats at this house.)
For three, we think it is good for them to learn to love and take care of other living things. 
For four, we have pastures, what else are we going to do with them? 
For five, the only other thing we would do with them is mow them--so lets get something that will mow it for us! Makes perfectly good sense to us!
For six, they are cheap and easy to take care of.

So yeah, we're getting goats. :) 

The only downside is getting ready for them--so we just held a fence-raising party of sorts. 

First, my three little girls and I bought some seriously heavy fencing. That stuff is no joke.

Then we got some manly men to come help us to the farm work, aka, my husband's dad, brother, and brother-in-law.





 

 

We didn't let them have all the fun though--my mother-in-law was in the thick of the thorny wild rose bushes and some other sort of thorny bush, clearing out a path to the fence. She and I hammered in a number of nails ourselves. 

The younger girls had a great time fetching water, supervising and playing.

 


And what kind of a fence-raising party would it be if there wasn't some sort of feast? 

We had three different kinds of kabobs, corn on the cob, watermelon, Tabbouleh, broccoli salad, ginger-cider lemonade and some mighty-fine homemade vanilla ice cream to go with the rhubarb crisp. Feast indeed!



It ended up being a lot more work than I personally expected, and we were SO thankful they came out to help us.

Now we just need a little goat house and some goats!! 



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

New house, new way to water

Well, I've mentioned a lot lately about how we were buying a new house and working on it--getting the girls' rooms ready, (here and here) etc. (more on that later!)

Well, this post isn't about all the fun decorating and house projects we've been up to--it's about watering our yard. Sounds kind of boring, right? Well, I thought it was seriously fun and so did my kids! 

This new house has some pastures and we get to water the pastures by flood irrigating! Talk about fun day--the kids got on their water shoes and stomped and splashed around all.day.long. 

 


We even met some new neighbor friends and had them over to play too.






Here is the irrigation gate. 
Bright and early (like 6 AM) in the morning I headed out there and started turning the wheel. It was everything a beautiful summer morning should be--warm yet crisp and fresh. I had to climb over the pasture fence and start cranking the wheel. As the gate lifted higher and higher, you could hear this great gurgling noise as the water rushed into our small irrigation ditch which overflows into our pasture land.



So fun and so satisfying. ;) 
 


There were even some wild roses to add to the beauty of the experience. :)
 

Maybe the glamor will wear off someday, but for now, I am so happy to be in our new house. I love the house and I love the land.
And, I love watering it. :)


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Three years later: Rag Rug update

I've had a lot of questions about this fun rag rug I made a few years ago.

 


Lots of people want to know if it is worth the effort (because, man it was a long project) and if it can withstand the test of time, so I decided to take a picture to show you how it is doing 3 years later. We re-created a moment. Here it is when my middle daughter was only 2 1/2.



And here it is now that she is approaching 5 1/2. 
 

Ha! Such a cute girl who has grown so much but changed little. :)
 
 You can see a few things about the rug. 
The pros:
She still loves it. 
It still looks cute and has not fallen apart
So many memories of sitting on that rug reading stories at the end of the day!

The cons:
The fabric is pretty matted. 
Strips do fall out, and I do have to put them back in. 


I have never put it into the washing machine--I think that would destroy it. Once I really felt like it needed to be cleaned, so I put it into a bathtub full of soapy water and washed it by hand. That worked great.

The verdict: Totally worth the effort and I'm so glad I made it!
Also, as I've mentioned lots lately, we are moving and redoing the girls' rooms, and this rug (I am pretty sure) will still look cute in her new room despite the decorating overhaul. yay!

Here is the original post if you want that link, but here are the instructions below again just for kicks!


The rug really was simple to make, just time-consuming. Basically, I used strips of quilting fabric (1000s of them. I have no way of actually knowing how much I used, but I would estimate around 15 yards!) cut about 1 inch x 5 inches. I stuffed these strips into an old non-skid rug mat (purchased at Big Lots, but also available at big box stores like Walmart or Kmart) that was about 2.5 feet by 3.5 feet and voila! I didn't even bother tying the strips. I still think this was the right choice, but about once every 3 days or so my 2-year-old pulls out a strip or two. No biggy though, just shove them back in. Over time, the fabric does fray, but it's pretty minimal.

You can see the rug mat in this image and about how often I skipped holes. Obviously, I certainly could have made it more full by skipping less holes, but there really wasn't a need to make it any more full (and in all honesty, I was ready to move onto something else!).



Here's an image-tutorial of how to make one yourself: 



Hope you enjoy this fun project! Linda over at Craftaholics Anonymous selected it for a feature--head on over and check out her great blog. :)



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