Tag: DIY

Old and New: In a Pickle

 

pickle fermentation2021 puts conservatives and anyone right of Jane Fonda in a pickle. Some very bad old ideas are back in new and far more weaponized forms. Yet, the future does not ultimately belong to the left, nor need the next few years. We can bend the arc of history with time and effort. Speaking of time and effort, let’s talk pickles.

I grew up in a family that had a large vegetable garden every year, yard space provided. This necessarily led to freezing and canning. For whatever reason, cucumbers were never, to my memory, a part of my mother’s garden. We had plenty of squash, and tomatoes in places where they would ripen. Zucchini squash was shredded and packed into small freezer containers for use all through the winter months, hopefully used up just about when the next season’s crop was small, tender squash. Tomatoes went into larger Mason jars as stewed tomatoes, or chutney or governor’s sauce for meat. It took me a few decades to follow the family canning tradition.

I started canning about three years ago, driven by a surplus of lemons from a friend’s lemon tree and a desire to reproduce a tomato jelly recipe I had discovered at a microbrewery. I like good beer and started home brewing after my initial Army tour in West Germany, when it was West Germany. Put a pin in the home brewing. Accordingly, I also like trying new small breweries’ products. The Sleepy Dog Brewery had a tasting room at the front end of their brewery and food trucks on high volume nights. This included a pizza oven trailer, supplemented with pretzel dough buns topped with cream cheese and tomato jelly. So, a great deal on the right kind of tomatoes merged with a recipe search, generating my first batch of tomato jelly.

Check out the video on my Youtube Channel!

Join me as I make a mask at home out of one of my t-shirts!

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I shared a bit of sunshine in “Sunny sides,” describing preparing to make a cloth mask and a batch of lemon basil marmalade. I do not yet have the yellow dye in hand for my smiley face mask, but whipped up a old style cloth surgical style mask in accordance with directions from several sources. […]

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Chilling Out on the 4th of July

 

Two and a half years ago, I shared how my father acquired a cannon for holiday noisemaking and celebration in the story “Holiday Traditions: Entering the New Year with a Bang.”

As part of the Bicentennial Year, the Bellmore Johnson Tool Company re-released the Winchester Model 98 signal cannon, a 10-gauge blank-firing miniature cannon. They were all-metal, painted black, and fired by pulling a 10-foot lanyard. […] Firing produced a roar, a flash of flame, and cloud of smoke, and the cannon recoiled several feet.

The timing of the acquisition was critical. It was needed to celebrate the bicentennial of our nation’s Declaration of Independence. We also got a Betsy Ross flag to fly out front of our quarters on the Army post where we lived, which was pretty cool. But what was really cool, besides the homemade ice tea with fresh mint, was ice cream at the picnic held in the yard between quarters (houses).

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It’s almost been a year since we had a family get together that evolved into something more significant. In July 2015, we cooked dinner with my sisters-in-law one Saturday night. It was a fancier meal than we would normally make so my wife Michele Bledsoe brought her camera, intending to document the process. What began […]

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As the old axiom states, “necessity is the mother of invention.” Of course, today, necessity more typically begets ordering something from Amazon, but I digress. Sometimes, however, to solve a problem, we need to resort to our own ingrained ingenuity, using whatever we have available to fashion a solution. About a year ago, I channeled […]

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