Prairie Views

~ Dreamy abstraction in Four Square House on the Pairie

Month: April 2012

Roller Crimper and other ideas

While I was exploring the web today looking for more information on sustainable agriculture. I began reading about the roller crimpers being used to knock down the plants growing to grow vegetables to create a cover crop mulch. I have seen this concept before but never read any of the articles. This is the first year I will began growing cover crops in my planning so I decided to read up on the information.  The farmers in this area do use no-till methods for planting but I have used it because it seemed weeds were a problem and I have not seen any use a roller crimper. It does promise to be a good way to plant into cover plants but the roller crimpers made are very large to be pulled by tractors.

Because I do not have a large tractor and my garden is not accessible even for something to be pulled by our mower so I need to come up with something else. My garden is now 4 foot wide beds with a walking space of one foot  between the beds. I found one crimper that is a simple hand made one but I would really like something I could roll.

I am always on the look out for undervalued fruit and vegetable crops that could help boost your bottom line. I was reading Uncommon fruit: Delectable, pest-resistant, exotic and attractive. I had been complicating the paw paw and  currants for a year or so but he had this one fruit that I think would be hard to sell. The Medlar just does not look appealing and could be considered appalling by some. I have began researching this further to find marketable products from this fruit. You can make from wine to jelly so I am thinking of ordering some trees to give it a try.

No, it does not seem food is going up but it is.

It seems that every time I go into the Grocery store food has gone up. However, you will notice that some items have actually gone down. Mark Perry a professor at of economics and finance in the School of Management at the Flint campus of the University of Michigan has created a  chart I posted below showing some price changes. However, other products not shown have gone up considerably.

Item % Change Feb. 2011-Feb. 2012
Lettuce -30.1%
Cabbage -26.7%
Tomatoes -21.8%
Broccoli -18.9%
Strawberries -15.6%
Oranges -13.9%
Peppers -12.3%
Bologna -11.8%
Lemons -11.1%
Potatoes, Frozen -7.7%
Pears -6.3%
Butter -5.5%
Grapes -4.1%
Rice -3.9%
Bananas -3.5%
Round Roast -3.4%
Chicken Breast -2.2%
Apples -2.2%
Ham -0.8%
Grapefruit -0.5%


Corn Debate

All right, so the debate is only be among myself but I am an a contemplating  how I will grow my corn this year. I was reading about a farms growing the corn in plugs and then transplanting. My previous experience with corn has been that it cannot be transplanted but apparently it works good for early corn. I am also considering a plastic or biodegradable mulch to prevent weeds. I am sure others have the same problem but I really have a major problem with weeds and need to find ways to lower the need to weed all of the time. I really do not want to use plastic because you end up with plastic you must dispose of later and prefer some else. It is also costly and I am planning on planting a soy bean  ground cover in July. I will revisit this topic in a couple of weeks when I transplant.

Sugar, Who would had know?

I have had an problem with high blood pressure for too many years to remember. It has been a source of frustration with all of the lifestyle changes I had done to help reduce the blood pressure. Nothing seemed to work. I reduced my salt to less than 1500 a day. I have was walking 5 miles per day at one pointing. Very frustrating to do this for so many years without any results. The only thing that helped was medication and then I would have problems with dehydration, being tired and too low of an pulse. My pulse was 20 last time I went to the doctor and they were wondering if I was feeling well.

A couple of weeks ago I was watching a program about research on the affect sugar has on your blood pressure. The study found that fructose is a major factor in high blood pressure. We all know it is in just about every product in processed food and more so because it is used with food marketed low fat and the corn syrup industry has overtaken the cane sugar due to Government assistance . I have never been really big on all of the drinks with sugar or eating a lot of sugar products so I have to look other places where I was getting this extra sugar. I began looking at my cereal and other items I eat and stopped using them to see if it will help.

To my surprise my blood pressure has come down to normal. Yesterday it was 120/86. I am still taking medications but I must say I am really excited how much it has gone down by limiting my extra fructose and other sugar content to 25 mg a day. I am going to get rid of all of my processed type foods and going to eat only homemade unless I can be reasonably sure the product does not contain corn syrup, agave syrup or any other form of fructose. I am still eating fruit but watching what fruit I eat because some contain more fructose than others. This change in eating habits has not been easy because it is a change to more vegetables instead of fruit but I am getting there.

Diet Changes and making yogurt

Other than maintaining a low fat, low salt diet I have been trying to reduce my sugar and especially my fructose intake. This means almost no processed foods. I have already reduce my use of processed foods a long time ago but from time to time purchased some foods for convenience,  some products took too much time to do and some could not be made like store bought so were rejected by household members.  These products are the ones you may consider to be healthy such as yogurt and whole wheat bread but due to the use of corn syrup in what seems like everything they will no longer acceptable for my lifestyle. This means a lot more work on my part but I am really hoping it will help with my blood pressure.  The problem with yogurt is so many of the recipes were too runny and not that smooth. I used to make the yogurt with skim milk and  dried milk added but really did not come out as hoped. However, I think I found a better way to make thicker and creamer yogurt. Now all I have to do is figure a way to flavor it without sugar or splenda but still keep the creamy texture and have a great taste. I think next time I will drain the yogurt better using s strainer to get all of the whey out and add flavor before making it in the yogurt maker. I am still experiment so please come back later to see what I discovered. My next goal is to make homemade cottage cheese.

Yogurt Recipe

Place 2 quarts of milk in a saucepan. Heat the milk to 180° F, Maintain the temperature for at least 20 minutes. This sterilizes to kill all microorganisms in the milk to prevent competition with the lactic acid bacteria (yoghurt culture)  and alters the milk’s whey proteins to help create a finer, denser consistency.  I also suggest using a double boiler to prevent scorching. After the heating let the milk cool until around 115° F degrees.  When cooled add at least 4 tablespoons of plain yogurt and one package of plain gelatin.  Mix in thoroughly. Place the mixture in your yogurt maker or an insulated bottle. After 4 hours the yogurt should be ready. Stain or pour out the whey for Greek yogurt, if desired.
The gelatin was added because it helps to stabilize the yogurt so you can leave it out.  I may try it without the gelatin later myself to see if there is a big difference.

A Start

I opened this blog a long time ago and never did anything with it. So in a way it is a new beginning.  My plan is to instead of have a number of blogs on blogger I am going to combine them into one. I will still be maintaining a web site and my photo site at Flickr. This blog will combine all of my interests in one stop. Why will this be better. I should be able to post one of my current projects, recipe, photos, trips or what ever is going on. This site will not be interesting to everyone and may even turn off some because it will have so many subjects posted but I hope some do enjoy the posts and maybe get some useful information for the blog.

Lamb Chops Old-Dutch Style

I prepared these today from Dutch Traditional Food Recipes but made changes and I must say they are really tasted good. I mostly changed the salt content so they are reduced in sodium. Since they are lamb chops they were still had some fat and I am sure the fat content is rather high. I believe this recipe would be equability good with pork chops but you would have to be careful with the cooking time to make sure they were cooked all the way.

2 lamb chops
Black pepper or a non salt spice mix like Mrs. Dash Traditional
2 tablespoons butter
1/8 cup finely diced onions
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 tsp. rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary or 1 teaspoon fresh
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
1 small bay leaf
1/4 cup red wine
1 cup salt free bouillon or broth
1 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon parsley
Rub the pepper on the chops.
Fry the chops in 1 tablespoon butter for 3 minutes on each side
Put the chop into a lightly butters oven dish and bake them for 12 to 15 minutes in a warm oven 235F/120C.
Remove the dish from the oven and over with foil or lid.
Saute the onions, garlic in the grease/butter left in the skillet. Mix the spices and wine. Bring to a boil and add the bouillon or broth. Bring to a boil again and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes. Mix in the cornstarch and when thicken pour through a sieve into a small pan.
Put the chops on serving plates and pour the sauce over.

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