October 31, 2011 by Scooter
Fall is here and the leaves are falling… and what else makes for great compost… but leaves!! Not wanting to have any of our newly raked piles go to waste… we spent an afternoon building a compost bin in hopes that some of that leafy mulch will turn into gardener’s gold come spring!
$$ – (Under $26)
4 shipping pallets – Side of the road… (free)
8 wooden (or metal) stakes/ posts – Habitat for Humanity Outlet… ($)
Window Screen (optional) – Home Depot … ($)
Wire – Home Depot… ($)
We picked up 4 old fencing posts and decided we could cut them in half to get the 8 stakes that we needed…
Next, we stood the pallets up on their sides to form a square and then hammered in the posts at each end of the pallets. We also drilled 3 of the 4 pallets together for extra stability. The forth pallet gets wired to the other three on the one side to act as a hinge for opening and closing.
Since we have dogs that like to eat just about anything, and squirrels that make a mess of our yard… we decided to line the inside with screen mesh to help prevent spilling out… Using a staple gun, this was secured down…keeping in mind of the pallet that will swing open.
Category DIY Projects | Tags: compost,DIY,Fall,garden,leaves,organic | 2 Comments
October 24, 2011 by Scooter
Its a week until Halloween!… and we live in a house, in a neighborhood, with lots of kids… so lets google zombie pumpkins and see what comes up:)… I found this Zombie Pumpkin Project over at Martha Stewart.
$$ – (Under $15)
2 White Pumpkins – Grocery Store/ Pumpkin Patch… ($6)
Plastic balls – Thrift Store… ($3)
Paint/ Markers – Lying around the house… (free)
Knife / Miniature Saw
I found these beautiful white pumpkins while grocery shopping…
For the eyes, hold saw at an angle and cut 2 cone-shaped holes into the pumpkin. The diameter of the holes should be slightly smaller than the eyeballs’ diameter.
Since I could not find plastic eyeballs, I ended up picking up a giant bag of colored plastic balls (like the ones you jumped in as a kid) at a thrift store. I had markers and paint in the closet, and decided we would have a little art project making these eyeballs 🙂
Next, carve a mouth… There are templates over on Martha’s website…
She also did this Mouse Motel which I had to throw into our mix! I found the mice at a halloween store for under $1 each..
Of course, the neighbors had warned us that the squirrels will eat the pumpkins if we leave them out… sure enough, within 24 hours the zombie pumpkins had their eyes gnawed on, which zombie-fyed them even more :)… But we brought them inside to enjoy until Halloween night 🙂
Category DIY Projects | Tags: carving,decoration,Fall,Halloween,pumpkins,spooky,trick or treat,zombies | Comments Off on Zombie Pumpkins
October 18, 2011 by Scooter
This weekend I decided that I wanted to make Concord Grape Jam after reading the tutorial on it over at The Hungry Moose Blog. As detailed as their recipe was with all the visuals… I still managed to mess this one up. Mine came out way too runny and only managed to make half the amount :(… Though it was still delicious, I may need to invest in a better strainer (this was the part I found to be the most difficult)… or possibly a food mill.
Concord Grape Jam
makes 4 pints
3 lbs. concord grapes
3 cups sugar
2 Tbls. lemon juice
1. Skin the Grapes
2. Puree the Grape Skins
Put skins and 1 cup of sugar in the food processor and process them on high for a minute or two.
3. Cook the Concord Grape Jam
Put the pureed skins, peeled grapes, lemon juice and the remaining 2 cups of sugar in a medium pot over high heat and bring it to a boil. Stir occasionally.
Once it reaches boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
After 20 minutes, your jam will have thickened and reduced.
4. Strain the Jam
Before you start, grab a plate and put it in the freezer. You’ll need it to test the jam in a few minutes.
With a spatula, push the jam through a strainer in a large, heat-proof bowl. You should be left with seedy pulp…
5. Run the Plate Test
6. Jar your Jam!
Ladle your warm jam into clean, sterilized jars. Let them cool to room temperature, then cover them and pop them in the fridge.
Category Canning and Preserving | Tags: canning,Fall,grapes,jars,kitchen,preserving | Comments Off on Concord Grape Jam