Archive for the ‘Home & Ranch’ Category

How to store potatoes, sweet potatoes/yams, and true yams

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

Red potatoes

By Catherine Haug, April 20, 2017 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons).

Most grocers keep true potatoes in the refrigerated produce section, and sweet potatoes at room temperature, both under bright lights. But this doesn’t mean that’s where you should store them at home.

When stored improperly, “they might look OK; but when  cooked, they may emit harmful properties that they wouldn’t have, otherwise. They can become not just slightly shrunken and wrinkly, but potentially toxic.” Why?

How should they be stored? (more…)

Spring Cleaning: how to avoid potentially deadly hantavirus infection

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

By Catherine Haug, April 13, 2017

Yesterday’s Daily Inter Lake had an interesting piece by Kathryn Houghton, titled “Spring Cleaning. Officials: Rats carrying hantavirus can be deadly.” (1) This caught my eye because it’s time to clean out my garage from all the salty dirt brought in on my car’s tires, and also to sort through my old moving boxes (after moving them from storage in Portland) for my enameled cookware.

You can read the complete article at reference (1) below, but here are the highlights.

  • Rodents (not just rats) carry the virus.
  • Montana has one of the highest rates of infection in the US. About 25% of Montana’s cases have resulted in death.
  • The virus is spread in dusty air; sweeping, vacuuming and other cleaning activities can stir up dust infected by saliva, urine or droppings from infected rodents.
  • Symptoms include: fatigue, fever, muscle aches early in the cycle. As the pulmonary disease progresses, symptoms will include coughing and extreme shortness of breath.
  • Precautions: see below.

(more…)

Kalispell 10 acre farm, on creek, for sale

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

 

Olin’s farm house

By Catherine Haug, March 25, 2017 (Photos, right and below, from Olin)

The following is from Olin, a member of our email list:

Who’s your farmer? Does someone out there want to start a small orchard or veggie farm?

Life throws changes and I need to move our family to the Great Falls area for off farm income.  My wife and I are selling our ten acre place here, [south of] Kalispell.  I’ve put a lot of effort into planting things here and  want to pass the torch to someone who wants to keep this land in ag.  There is an NRCS EQIP grant for a high tunnel greenhouse. This could be a good fit for the right person, couple, or team of people willing to live communally.   Plenty of ground and different kinds of terrain for multiple hands and multiple ventures. Deer fence is up… take it from here.

We are asking $375K, higher if we have to end up listing with a realtor.  We’ll have pictures available shortly, please contact me if your interested.

For more about this property, and for owner’s contact information, see printable pdf file: Olin’s PropertyDescription. See another photo, next. (more…)

Kitchen Hint: Baking with parchment paper

Sunday, March 19th, 2017

Strained lard in parchment paper-lined mold

by Catherine Haug, March 19, 2017 (photo, right by Cat and Shelli, for our tutorial on rendering lard)

This hint comes from Janet and Edd Blacker of our core team:

“We have found that using parchment paper on cookie sheets and other pans in the oven when baking things works great.  No sticking and it makes the pans easier to clean.

It’s important to use actual parchment paper, not waxed paper for several reasons; read on for those and for other kitchen uses of parchment paper. (more…)

Good candles, bad candles

Saturday, March 18th, 2017

Melted Beeswax

By Catherine Haug, March 18, 2017 (Photo, right, by Cat and Shelli R., for our posting on Cheesemaking: Waxing the Round)

The other day on a MTPR program (don’t recall which one), I caught the message that ‘not all candles are created equal, and most are loaded with toxins.’ Today’s Daily Inter Lake has a short article about this in the ‘At Home” section, by Kimi Harris, from Mother Nature Network: 5 reasons to switch to beeswax candles (1). Not only are they non-toxic, but they may also help purify indoor air.

While beeswax candles may cost a bit more than toxic candles, they burn longer, have a fragrance with a hint of honey, and are available in most communities. Many beekeepers make beeswax candles and sell them in local stores/farmers markets. Here in the Flathead, Trailhead Supply (3) sells candles harvested and handcrafted by Glacier County Honey Co. (Babb, MT). The Good Food Store in Missoula also sells beeswax candles.

Or make your own; see Mother Earth News (2) for details. See Candle Supplies for Home  for beeswax sources in the Flathead.

References

  1. Mother Nature Network: mnn.com/your-home/at-home/blogs/5-reasons-you-should-switch-to-beeswax-candles
  2. Mother Earth News, Making Beeswax Candles by Jennifer Ford: motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/making-beeswax-candles-zbcz1403
  3. Trailhead Supply: trailheadsupply.com; 860 N. Meridian Road #A11, Kalispell MT
  4. Candle Supplies for Home (4) candlesuppliesforhome.com/supplies/montana/kalispell.html

Kitchen Hint: Homemade laundry soap for HE (high-efficiency) washers

Sunday, February 12th, 2017

Kirk’s Castile bar soap

By Catherine Haug, February 12, 2017 (image, right from Amazon (1))

Back in 2013 we had a gathering with Sheree Tompkins on Homemade Laundry Soap. Her recipe can be used in standard or HE (high-efficiency) washers because it is a low-suds recipe. This posting offers another HE option, from Wellness Mamma (2).

Like Sheree’s recipe, this one also requires grating a bar of real soap, such as Kirk’s Castile pictured above, Dr Bronner’s Pure Castile bar soap, homemade soap (see also Gathering Summary: Making Soap at Home, by Kathy Mansfield, January 26, 2011). Fels Naphtha is an old-fashioned option but has some questionable ingredients if you care about the environment.

Also included is Wellness Mamma’s borax-free laundry cleaner (two ingredients added separately to the washer). (more…)