Friday, August 26, 2016

Cut a Rope With Itself

So you find yourself in a situation where you need to cut a rope, but you don't have anything to cut it with. When would this ever happen?  I don't know, but that's not the point. The point is, if you ever are in a situation where you need to cut a rope, you can impress everyone with this little trick. 

Step on one end of the rope, leave some slack and step on the rope with your other foot.  Then loop the rope through the slack and pull up. 

Start sawing back and forth and, depending on how thick your rope is, in a minute or two you will have caused enough friction to "saw" the rope.

The rope is suppose to be cut on the slack part where you were sawing back and forth.  This picture shows how successful we were with that. Only one strand of the rope was cut.

We cut the rope with the part that we were sawing with.  Not sure how it worked this way so we tried other types of rope, aka yarn, and the same thing happened.  Either way, we ended up with two pieces. The only problem is if it cuts with the sawing part of the rope you can't measure how long your two pieces will be.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

We Visited A Zoo

 Last week we took a day trip up north for our last big hurrah of the summer before Dancer started school this week.  Truth be told it was one of our only hurrahs of the summer, seems no one has the same days available anymore. We went to a zoo/wildlife/petting zoo place.

Dancer and I posed sweetly on the bear's lap for a picture.  

And then realized, what are we doing, we're sitting on a bear's lap!

Dancer ain't afraid of no bear!

Dad is so hard core he flossed the bear's teeth. 

My picture with Spark.  I guess this is all you get with a 15 year old.

 I did get a picture of both the kids and Paul Bunyan.

On to the petting zoo.  This camel knows where the treats come from and he wanted Dancer to feed him.

Dancer with Mother Goose

The parakeet house was one of the coolest things I have ever seen.  It is a large, screened building with about 75 parakeets in it. All the birds fly from one side of the building to the other in a big swoop.  If you stood with your arms out a bunch of them would land on arm.

They also loved my shoes for some reason.  I don't have any food on them so not sure what the attraction was.  I had to shake them off to get them to leave because they were starting to creep me out.

Not sure why there was a table in there, but as soon as Spark sat down the table filled up with birds.

The cutest thing we saw there was a mom kangaroo giving her little joey a bath in her pouch.

We finished the day off with a Chinese buffet and now we are back to the grind.

New Mother Fail

New chicks are so adorable!!! and fragile we found out this year.

This mother, who was all get any closer and I'll peck both your eyes out, hatched four eggs.  By the time she got done being the mom, usually about three or four weeks, she had one that survived.  That will happen when your favorite place to hang out is in front of the llama and goat feeder.

The chick rearing antics of this mother made us ecstatic when another mother hen came proudly strutting out of the wood pile with about 16 chicks.  Little did we know that she was going to be an even worse mother.  She hauled her chicks on the road where the traffic roars by at 55 mph, through the garden where they couldn't figure out how to get through the fencing, back by the pine trees where the raccoons live and anywhere else perilous she could find.   Two of her chicks are still alive, amazingly, because even though she isn't mothering them anymore, they are still dare devils.  When they are at their regular stomping grounds down by the swamp, where who knows what could jump out and eat them, I hear them laughing in the face of danger.

Chickens - not the sharpest tools in the shed.  That must be why it only takes 21 days for an egg to hatch, any longer and chickens would be extinct. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

4-H Favorite Food Show Potato Salad

Favorite food show is a project where you highlight one of your favorite foods by constucting a theme (Spark's was obviously 4th of July) and complete a menu around it and then present it to a judge. This year Spark chose Potato Salad.  You can never go wrong with homemade potato salad and this year it won him a blue ribbon.  I can actually brag about our potato salad recipe because when there is a potluck, often times we will get requests for our dish to be potato salad. It's not a family secret so here is the potato salad recipe.

Spark's potato salad was a little harder to make this year than usual because our stove died and we haven't gotten around to getting a new one. To boil the eggs and potatoes he had to haul out the camping stove so he had a little extra twist to tell about his dish. The rest of his meal was a burger, baked beans, chips, sweet iced tea and, if you can see the little flag on the top of napkin, mini Resees Peanut Butter Cups arranged as a flag.

To complete his theme he wore a USA t-shirt.

Besides making the food the kids also need to know what nutrients are in the the meal, how much it costs and anything else the judge can think up.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Dutch Oven Pizza

Step 1: Before starting the fire to make the coals to go around the Dutch Oven, remove your cat from the top of your fire pit.

Step 2: After starting the fire, bring your dog out to enjoy the evening with you. Don't forget a pillow for her to lay on because the chair is cold.

Step 3: Spray the inside of the oven with cooking spray or rub with butter.  Spread out the pizza dough and smear with pizza sauce.

Step 4: Layer on the toppings.

Step 5: Bake.  Have plenty of coals or this takes a long time to get done. 

We were baking rolls in our other oven and could have used way more coals.  It took a good 50 minutes for this to get done and it was torture waiting that long.

Step 6: Slice and enjoy!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Dementia Awareness

Grandma Shirley lives in a memory care unit where they do a lot of really neat activities with the residents. Last week a group of kids came visiting and they had a painting day, kinda like those wine painting parties, but I think minus the wine. ;)  The pictures are going to be displayed at a local grocery store next week to promote dementia awareness. This is Grandma with her beautiful painting.  She was always artistic and I am so glad that she still has the opportunity to express that side of herself. When I saw her and said I wanted to take her picture with her picture she didn't remember painting it, but she did in the moment.  And that is where people with dementia live, in the moment. So thankful that where she lives they understand that.

Dessert Sushi

The 4-H camp counselors made these for evening snack at the bonfine to complment their Under the Sea theme.  The ingredents are: Rice Krispies, fruit roll ups, Swedish fish, gummy worms, marshmallows and butter.

Make a regular Rice Krispie bar recipe.  Smoosh it out flat on a big baking sheet.  Quickly, very quickly, while they are still warm, put on Swedish fish and gummy worms.  Roll the sushi up the long way to make a long roll.  Wrap the fruit roll ups on the outside of the roll, this helps to hold it together.  Put it in the freezer for about five minutes until hard enough to cut. Slice with a surrated knife.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Dutch Oven Maiden Meal

We have been scouring the thrift stores for a Dutch oven the last few months with no luck in finding one.  People must not part with them, or else it is going to go the other way and now that we finally bought one I will start seeing them for sale everywhere. We choose a traditional cast iron one with legs and the curved handle.  They make really fancy ones, but those come with quite the price tag so we went with one priced in the middle of the road.

First step in using the oven is seasoning it.  Just spray that baby all over with some Pam.  Bam, done!

For our first delicious delight, we threw in sausage, apples, a bag of cabbage and onion.  Dump it in, stir it up.

The coals to bake it need to be made before you put them on the oven.  To make them, burn logs in the fire and when they are black and charcoalish, lay them on the ground and then load some on the lid.

For the oven to bake the meal there needs to be heat from the bottom and the top.  Turn the oven every 15 minutes to avoid hot spots where your meal is burned on one side of the oven and raw on the other.  This goes for the lid as well, give that a little spin when you turn the pot.

When you are going to check how it's going in there, the suspense will be killing you, the cover needs to be completely cleaned off.  Remove all the embers and dust off the top or the meal will be adulterated with coals and ash. 

The end result was so worth the hour it took to cook this.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Dancer goes to camp

Things changed this year when Dancer was getting ready to go to camp. When she was younger I use to help her get ready, make sure she had everything she needed and brought her to camp. This year she planned out her entire session she's teaching by herself, got all the supplies together, packed her dufflebag and loaded up her car. Only thing we did was take her out to lunch before she left at McDonalds.

Then she got in her car and drove off. This is the last year she can be a counselor, if she wants to go again she has to wait a year until she's 21 years old to be a chaperone. Spark will be a first year counselor this year, he goes on Wednesday and we will be bringing him. Dad is going to be the camp nurse for two of the days so we will see Dancer and Spark during the week or I would really be sad at Dancer's new independence.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Vanilla Fire Starters

These fire starters are made with those cotton face cleaning pads instead of cotton balls. These stack really well and a lot would fit in a sandwich Ziploc bag and take up less room in your camping supplies.

Melt down a candle, they don't have to be vanilla like my title says.  Actually, they would be prettier with another colored candle, but vanilla is my favorite scent so that's what we had on hand.  

Our stove is broken so when I put the paper plate in to melt the wax in the "toaster" oven, surprisingly the plate started to "toast." Wasn't thinking there.  Anyway, once the wax melts, dip the cotton pad in the wax until it is completely saturated. Lay it on wax paper or some other nonporous surface so they don't stick what ever you put them on to harden.  

Try number two.  Make an aluminum foil bowl to melt the candle in.  "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work" Thomas Edison  See, we are getting smarter and it only took us one fail.

 And now the test, did it work?  Sure did, and it only used one match. We proceeded to have to have perhaps the world's smallest bonfire.  It burned quite a while though, about five minutes so you would have plenty of time to get a fire going if you didn't have all the wood handy or your tinder was a bit wet.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Car Snowman

This is the car snowman that sits in the corner of our dashboard.  He has been there so long I really don't even see him anymore, or her I guess because she wears a necklace we found in a geocache. In the winter she fits right in with our below freezing temps and in the summer it makes us feel cooler. It's the little things that make us happy :)

Monday, May 30, 2016

Stacked Front Porch Planter

Most of the parts to the planter in the order from bottom to top of the picture how I stacked them together, I added one more saucer and pot not pictured. No need for all of them to be the same color, because I have confidence I am going to keep all the plants alive and they are going to thrive so much on the porch that no one will even notice the non white pots.  Plus I am cheap and there was no way I was going to go out and buy new pots for a project when we have a shed full of old ones. Wait, I'll just tell people, if they ask, that I am so green I reused pots from other years, that sounds better than cheap.

First layer, pot with saucer in it and upside down pot on the saucer.  Fill in dirt around the saucer and insert plants

Second layer is saucer, large pot then another saucer to make a planting area. By putting the saucers in the large pots it also took way less potting mix which would have added a lot of weight and money to the project. I will have to water it a lot more often because less dirts means it will dry out faster, but if I decide to move it I won't need two men and small boy to lift it.

View from the side, just keep adding saucers and pots until it is the desired height.

Top view, can hardly wait for the flowers to start growing and make all the layers full and beautiful!