Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Saving the Tin Pan

I absolutely love my old tinware, especially the frying pans. Like my cast iron, the tin is versatile too. I can take it from the stove, to the fireplace, to the grill or the campfire.

However,  every once in awhile a pan gets some rust. Either it didn't dry well or somehow got some dampness in it that sat.

I have found that I can save the pan if it isn't too awfully bad, with a steel wool soap pad and vegetable or olive oil.

I simply clean the rusted area with a little water and the soap pad. This may take a few washings. In between washings, dry quickly on a warm stove burner.  When rust has gone, generously rub the surface with the vegetable or olive oil and let sit for a few hours. Then, wipe out any oil that may be "floating" yet in the pan. The pan should not be wet with oil when you put it away.

When you put the pans away, layer waxed paper between to keep bottoms clean. It also doesn't hurt to do this occasionally as a rust prevention step.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Homemade Peanut Butter Balls

Yummm..... We were making peanut butter balls earlier this week. And they are so easy.

1 reg. sized jar peanut butter (approx. 16 oz...and ounce or two more or less won't matter)
1 bag confectioner sugar
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips (16 oz)

You will also need a mixing bowl, double boiler, cookie sheets, waxed paper and skewers.

Mix the peanut butter and sugar together in a bowl until it forms a well mixed dough. Form into walnut sized balls. Allow to firm in refrigerator or cool place. (Note that some will add a stick of melted margarine to this mix as well. This is optional. It can make the candy very rich.)

Meanwhile, melt chocolate over double boiler. Add shortening to allow easier dipping and give
slight gloss. Start with 1 teaspoon of shortening then add more in smaller increments if necessary.

When peanut butter balls are firm insert skewer and dip into chocolate. Set back on cookie sheet. Return full tray to cool area to allow chocolate to harden. (Note that if peanut butter balls crack in half, they are too cold. Allow to warm up slightly, just until skewer may be inserted without cracking the candy.)

Candy may be frozen.


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Keeping Lettuce Fresh

Because the weather was changing (for the worse I might add...cold.....) I ended up picking the rest of the lettuce so that, if we did get a freeze (ugh!) I wouldn't lose the greens. But there was so much there, still. I had given lettuce away till everyone who wanted some, was fully stocked. I only have so much room in the fridge and you certainly can't freeze it like you can with collards or spinach. And, there is also the problem of keeping it fresh for an extended period of time.

I ended up cutting the roots off 1/2 of the lettuce, standing in a bowl, filling it with water so that the stems were submersed, then putting the entire thing in the fridge. With the second 1/2 of the lettuce, I left the roots on, stood the greens, roots and all, into a small, plastic bucket, filled with water and placed in a protected place on the porch where it can stay cool (as the lettuce is cold tolerant but not freeze tolerant). So far both methods are working well.

The reason why I cut the roots off of the lettuce that I keep in the fridge is for ease of use. Just grab from fridge without having to take the time to remove the roots. But keeping the roots on the bunch I still have outside is with the hopes that having the roots still attached will further prolong the life of the lettuce.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Bee Blog

Very, very, very early this morning (at midnight because of time differences), I had an interview with Gary from Kiwimana Beekeeping Supplies in New Zealand, for their podcast. It was lots of fun and I really enjoyed talking with him.

Check out their blog at http://kiwimana.co.nz  and while you're there, check out their website and podcast links.

I'll be posting the date that the podcast will air.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Homesteading Educator Speaker Finder

Check it out!

I am now on the speaker list for Homesteading Education.

Find Me Here!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Late Night

It is a late night working on the next book for the Backyard Farming Series, which will be on cattle. "Goats" is scheduled to come out in November!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Last of the Harvest

Unfortunately, it is that time of year again. Harvesting the last of the garden. Although I continue to have some various Italian lettuce in yet (which I will need to cover at night once the temperature drops), I removed the mini gourds and cayenne peppers that were left.

Because so many of the peppers came in late, most were still green. HUGE, but green. However if I just set them out in a cool place, out of the way on a counter, they should turn red and hopefully have some heat. Once the peppers have turned, I will harvest and save some seeds then dry the peppers. After they are good and dry, into the grinder they will go to be turned into cayenne pepper powder.

I have been giving some of the cute little gourds to friends for fall decorating. Some I will dry, some I will harvest seeds from for next year.

It should be mentioned that if you use a coffee grinder to grind spices, designate that grinder for spices and herbs only. Do to the oils left behind, if you were to go ahead and grind coffee beans in it, you may find a surprise in taste. (Pepper flavored coffee anyone?)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Shameless Self Promotion!

My latest books came out in August and September. They may be purchased from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major book sellers, as well as directly from the publisher Hatherleigh Press.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Taking Root

The meyer lemon tree (which is potted) had a small sprout near the base of the trunk. Needless to say, I didn't want it there so I carefully removed it. However, it looked like such the perfect little tree, that I put it into a small pot to see if it might just root as soon as I removed it from the trunk so the wound on the cutting would be fresh. (Although if necessary, the end can be snipped off again.)

Maybe it will, maybe it won't, but it is worth a try. I did try to give another piece a try earlier this summer, and it was doing fine  untill.....I forgot to bring it in during a few days of heavy rain, and it was so small, it drowned.

Do I actually need 2 lemon trees should this one take? Not really. But I can't resist the challenge. And if it is successful, then I can have 2 nice trees and lots of lemons.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Brief Break to Deal with Coconuts!

At the property in Florida where my parents are, a big bunch of coconuts broke off with their branch.  Although they were really not ready to harvest,  we decided to give it a go anyway to see what we would get.

We didn't do too badly. Even at this early stage, we got a bit of coconut meat and coconut water.....all of which went into the freezer.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

More Drying.......

Lots of drying going on here. This batch has a mix of green tomatoes and small ornamental peppers (which actually taste like bell pepper). The green tomatoes went into the dried tomato and bell pepper in oil mix while the ornamentals went into a good, dry container for future use.

The dried tomatoes in oil were so very good with my homemade feta cheese!

Drying is really a great way to preserve foods, especially if you have no space to store canned foods and/or are out of freezer space. Simply add water to rehydrate to a pliable form.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Seed Saving

Gathering and saving garlic chive seed.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Further Adventures in Cheese Making

As I said a few days ago, I began a quest to learn cheese making. Since there are no workshops on this subject where I am, I took it upon myself to teach myself. I've been learning a lot and having a blast as I do. I even created my own cheese recipe after a mistake making one cheese proved delicious in the end. And yes, I've replicated it!

Since the farmer cheese, I have since made feta as well, and was able to cut into my cheddar wheel (yum!). I even marinated some of my feta in oil and fresh herbs with some black olives (the only ingredient besides the oil that I did not grow or make) and some of my dried tomatoes, trying to replicate a feta mix that I love but have not been able to find any longer. I think I've hit it! (yay!)

While it should sit for a week or two, I couldn't resist and tried a piece after only a few days. It was soooo good. But it really does need to sit just a tad more.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Cheese Making

This season I decided to begin making cheese. I have actually been practicing with store purchased milk until I have gotten more comfortable with the process.

My first effort was farmer's cheese with garlic and dill. Very good crumbled onto salad or as a snack. It is a very easy cheese to make, creating the curds with vinegar.

Stay tuned for further efforts as well as some of the end results for this year's food drying.

Monday, August 5, 2013

New Online Classes Coming

I will be listing some new, online classes soon. Most will be single sessions.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Planting Sweet Potato

I planted some sweet potatoes in large pots the other day. Really quite easy, as the photos show.

I will be looking for fingerling size from these pots.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


There will be more online workshops being offered. I will be posting a listing with courses offered, times, dates and fees.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

RV Garden Revisited

NAll the rain has been a bit rough on the plants, but they are not doing too badly. They are not quite to where they were last year growth wise, but it is just lucky that they have not been drowned out yet.

There were even some volunteers that returned from last year: lettuce and arugula. Although the arugula is a bit spindly, after cutting it way back a few times it seems to be coming back nicely.

The grape tomatoes are starting and the cukes are blossoming. The regular tomatoes are also blossoming as well. And although the eggplant is blossoming in my farm garden, it isn't cooperating yet at the RV. Peppers had little buds as well.

As you can see, I do pack the plants into this small space. But results in the past have been excellent.

Maybe after the rain, the plants will start growing a bit better.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

RV Garden

Just put this year's vegetables in the garden at my parent's RV. Weather has been terrible however and it isn't doing quite as well as last year. I think the plants, except for the garlic, are getting stressed from all the wet weather and bouncing back and forth from warm to cold.

I will be doing more on RV gardening and following the progression of the garden this year. Meanwhle, enjoy photos of last year's garden!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Rain....Rain....Rain.......and More Rain.......

We have been getting dumped on here for over 24 hrs. While the lawn is like a sponge, the plants are loving it. Everything out in as a started plant is doing well, but anything put in as seed hasn't even started yet, except for a little sunflower.

The ground should be so much warmer by now, but we have been going from extreme to extreme. 90 degrees one day to 20 degrees below normal temp. only a few days later. Maybe the rains will give the seeds a good boost.

Also put my parent's RV vegetable garden in last weekend. I had started garlic for them in their garden area last year, so they would have a small harvest when they got back this year. A couple weeks ago it was beautiful with greenery around 18" or more in height. Then I came back a week later to find that someone had run the weed eater IN the garden (which is blocked and raised) and cut off the garlic tops. Grrr....... There was about 2" of a top left on each. However, it was up another 3" or 4" within a few days. I am hoping it will not affect the bulbs. The garden has been fenced!

Friday, May 10, 2013

More Planting

I went ahead and did some more planting yesterday. I really shouldn't as it is a bit early but I am tired of waiting.

Now I just have to start reminding the barn cats that they can't play in the garden for a while.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

And Here it Comes......

Yep! We have a cold front coming in. A few nights of the 30's. Guess I'll have to get my garden blankets out. Wouldn't you know. If I hadn't put a few things in, this probably would not have happened. Oh well, only 2 nights, so they say.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Probably Tempting Fate But......

I have started putting some things in already. Yes....we are still open to frost around here, but hopefully if that happens, we will get a good "heads up" from the weather man (not at 11:45pm as in the past) and I can just go out and cover.

So, what went in? I finally got the pansies in. Hopefully they will do well enough to get some nice, edible flowers from them for salads. Then, I just tried a couple tomato plants and hot peppers to see if I can get something a little earlier. I've been so tempted to do more, but, I'm pushing it going this early. Especially with the tomatoes and peppers.

Well, we'll have to wait and see!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Come On Over.......

Hey Everybody...Like me on my Facebook Fan Page and see other pertinent information that you will find useful. Maybe even some fun!

See You There!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Books to be Released in May

I am happy to announce that the following 2 books from my Backyard Farming series will be released the end of May. They may be found at all major bookstores, Amazon or through the publisher. Independent bookstores may contact as well if interested in carrying.

Starting the Salad Garden

Just purchased a flat of pansy yesterday for the salad garden. I don't usually like to purchase annuals, however I will make an exception when it comes to edible flowers. The pansies can be used in salads, as an edible garnish, even as cake decorations. As it is a rainy day today, these will be going in sometime tomorrow.

If you've always like the looks of annuals. but can't justify the cost for only one year of use, consider edibles. Tomorrow, I will be posting a list of some of the edible flowers.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

One More....

Just completed the first draft for another book. Check out my Facebook Fan Page for information on the first two, "Vegetable and Herb Gardening" and "Chickens" being released in May. If you have never gardened or had chickens before, these will be the perfect primers.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

DId the Dandys

As I posted earlier, I was going to try dandelion greens once again. this time picking the small, young leaves. Normally, I have not been able to find a way that I like them This time...SUCCESS!!!

I made my typical angel hair pasta with garlic and oil (Capelli d'angelo con aglio e olio). I did a quick fry of the greens in a light oil with a little salt. I then added to the pasta dish and sprinkled with my favourite pasts cheese, Pecorino Romano (a sheep's milk cheese). That was it! The combination I have been looking for that would finally let me eat dandelion greens. But.....forgot to take a picture.

Trust me.....it was sooo good.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dandelion Greens

I noticed that the dandelion greens are coming out. Usually, they are a little too bitter for me, but I never tried them when they were this early and young. Will be picking some tomorrow to give them a try.
 Stay Tuned..........

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Re-purpose: Create a Mini Greenhouse

Help protect seedlings, cuttings and give them a protective boost. Re-purpose a used plastic soda bottle into a mini greenhouse. Simply cut the bottom  off of the bottle, put it carefully over the seedling or cutting (in the ground or in a pot) and sink it into the soil enough so as to allow the bottle to stand upright without falling over.

Should it get a little too warm in the bottle, unscrew the cap to let some air in. Then, screw the cap back in place later on. Or, remove the bottle for a bit, then replace it a few hours later or before nightfall.

Works great, and is reusable year to year.

                             This is an example of a mini greenhouse housing a fig cutting.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


The collards are begining to sprout already. I can't wait until weather turns so they can go out.

Tried to get a photo but sprout is too small yet to show up.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Colored Eggs

This year I actually did color eggs. Not just the shell, but the eggs. And everyone had fun with them for dinner.

All I did was peel the hard boiled eggs then drop the egg in dye. I used dyes that you can find in the cake decorating supply stores or anywhere that sells the supplies.

I used them for some fun deviled eggs made with Dijon and dill with chopped black olives topping some.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Starting Collard Greens

Started the seeds today. Just a couple plants but I usually get lots of greens from a single plant. Probably start a few more in another month.

Getting Our Free Workshops Online

I am working to get the free workshops online in June. I have posted on Go Fund Me for sponsors.
Take a look!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cleaning Up

Doing a little clean up outdoors (and indoors) in between writing. Plan to start some seeds this weekend, maybe some collards, lettuce and artichokes. Hopefully the plants will be well on their way for a smooth transplant in late May.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Snow is Melting

....and the spring flowers are coming through nicely. Hopefully we will start getting more normal temps and not have a spring that will be too cool and wet to plant.

  Don't forget to check out my Author's page on Facebook and "Like" me.  Link is top of page on the left! And thanks for your support.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Check It Out

There are a few new sites to check out. I have 2 books coming out in May. You can check it out on my Facebook Author's page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kim-Pezza/361305117317777# and from there you can also hit the link to the publisher's Facebook page for the series.

I'm excited about it, and hope you'll check it out. And keep checking back here for new blog posts. And "Like" me on Facebook!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Planting in Winter

Visiting my parents in Florida (hoping that I can also escape New York State and all the BS there soon as well), and have gotten them to combine decorative and edibles. I put in kale a few days ago, and the fig tree that I propagated for them is growing slow, but doing well. Their pineapple patch has been cleaned out with all the old spent plants removed and now we are waiting for those left to start producing. Usually get some very sweet fruit.

Coconuts are exploding this year, as are the tomatoes and Thai peppers. Mom gets some good harvests from the ginger as well. The collards around the fountain are ready to be picked and I may try a few hibiscus blossoms for tea. Harvesting lettuce from the containers.

We also have figs, tomatoes and hibiscus in pots, as well as peppers in pots. Trying a pineapple in a large pot as well, just to see how well it does in comparison to those in the patch.

This just shows how much you can really get into a small garden space, as they are water front and do have a small yard.

My first book (Vegetable and Herb Gardening) should be coming out this spring from Hatherleigh Press. It is part of their Backyard Farming series.