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Vegetable Dehydration – Tomatoes

Dried Tomatoes

Dried Tomatoes

Almost all vegetables work really well for dehydration. When I first began learning the tricks of dehydrating, my first tomatoes were producing faster than we could eat them up. Since they don’t require any special preparation (no blanching), they are one of the easiest veges to dry for storage.

Simply slicing them about 1/4″ thick and arranging them on the dehydrator trays, then letting them dry overnight produced wonderful, bright-red, delicious slices of summer. When you eat a dried tomato, you’ll be surprised at the very distinct flavor. Since tomatoes are used in so many things we make [...]

Restoring a WWII Clark Airborne Tractor aka Dozer

Used as a chicken roost by the former owner...

Used as a chicken roost by the former owner…

Why the heck would I want to do that? I have been doing research for a book I am writing on the 139th Airborne Engineer Battalion. They were the combat engineer element of the 17th Airborne Division who fought just west of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, and they rode in gliders during Operation VARSITY as the 17th Airborne Division invaded Germany on 24 March 1945.

As I pored through the archival material at the National Archives I came upon an entry that said simply: “AIRBORNE CLARK TRACTOR [...]

Things to Do on the Homestead

Things to do on the homestead when I retire

Aside from the normal day-to-day life maintenance things we all have to do, and the extra tasks of managing the homestead; garden, animals, trees, water collection, firewood procurement, we plan on leading a life rich with adventurous projects and time-consuming activities. Among them are the practical applications such as welding and blacksmithing, and vehicle maintenance. But there are others, such as learning how to make a timber frame home, fully restoring a WWII Clark Airborne Bulldozer, learning glass blowing, brick making, sculpting and a host of other things.

Practical

There are [...]

Precious Water

Colorado Trout Stream

Colorado Trout Stream

A homestead without water is not worth much. Without your own source of water you are reliant on someone else, your savings/income or yet another government entity to provide you life’s most precious commodity. Checked the price of bottled water lately? A trip into the gas station food mart reveals that water costs 3-5 times more than gas. Granted you can find it cheaper in the food store by the case, but why do we pay such outlandish prices for bottled water? Do we not pay taxes to have clean and healthy water piped into our homes? [...]

Dehydrating from your Garden

A small sampling of my dehydrated goodies...

A small sampling of my dehydrated goodies…

Since we left Ft. Worth, I’ve not had a garden. It has been something I’ve missed a great deal. However, almost 15 months since our departure, I’m still enjoying the fruits from that garden because of dehydration. I initially got interested in dehydration from a website called Dehydrate2Store.com. Tammy Gangloff, the owner of the site, has wonderful videos showing tips and techniques for getting started with dehydrating, her preferred equipment and supplies and ways to use the dehydrated foods.

Thank you, Ronco!

Like many folks who fell prey to late-night TV advertising [...]

Advent is Drawing to a Close…

Christmas Ornament

Preparations for Christmas are almost complete in our household… As the boys get older, they do more and more of the decorating and gift-wrapping than ever. This year, our oldest boy put up and decorated the tree single-handedly. Both boys have taken turns wrapping presents… for each other and for us. I can understand now why my Mother always enlisted one or more of us kids to do the gift-wrapping at Christmastime…

There is a very respectable pile of presents under the tree now (including a carburetor for the bulldozer and a lot of airsoft equipment)  and two very happy [...]

Finding the Right Piece of Land

Demographics

Demographics

We spent a lot of time trying to figure out where we were going to homestead. There were several practical, personal and emotional considerations. Of course, financial capacity will drive the eventual choice, but the full spectrum of $/acre within a given region can be rather wide. Each of these factors had its influence on where we decided to purchase and finally build. Having moved 18 times during 30 years of service with the military we had the opportunity to live in and travel through many countries, states and regions. Each location in which we spent time had [...]

Discount Kitchen Cabinets

SketchUp plan

During the design phase of the houseplans, the kitchen is always my domain. I pull out my grid paper, mechanical pencils, and, using standard cabinet sizes, draw out my plan. This takes many iterations and, even now, is subject to change.

I’m very flexible about particular cabinet sizes, depending on what I can buy for a very good price. As many people will do when beginning a project like this, I took my initial kitchen dimensions and started with booklets picked up for free from Home Depot. I think people have the idea that buying cabinets from Home Depot [...]

Pecan Trees for the Homestead

photo courtesy of Dohmann Pecan Farms, Alvin, TX

photo courtesy of Dohmann Pecan Farms, Alvin, TX

Pecan trees are a part of our plan for the homestead. New Mexico is the 3rd largest producer of pecans (after Georgia and Texas), so they grow quite well in the region. We plan to plant several of the trees on the 5 acres, and to eventually produce pecans for our own use and for sale or trade. On a good year, a mature (15 year) pecan tree can produce 50 pounds of nuts per tree. Older trees can produce 100-200 pounds of nuts per year if well-watered and fertilized.

Pecan [...]

Divinity perfected…

Yummy, white fluffiness... melts in your mouth.

Yummy, white fluffiness… melts in your mouth.

As long as I can remember, my Mom’s Divinity was a candy we all looked forward to at Christmastime. Guaranteed to send a diabetic into sugar shock, its light fluffiness never fails to satisfy that sweet tooth craving.

Once I was old enough to help with Christmas candy-making and baking, I always took part in helping to prepare this recipe. Mom always made several batches of it each year so that she could share with neighbors and friends, so there were several opportunities to learn the skill along the way. So, I never [...]