Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Pulling Out the Space Heaters, and Making FROG Jam

The leaves are falling fast and the sun lies to the south. It's nearly December.
My basil plants are dry as a bone. It's time to harvest some seeds from them.
Basil seeds are tiny and black. After cutting the dry stalks, I rub the flowers roughly between my hands to loosen the seeds. They drop through a sieve into a bowl.
I enjoy saving seeds. Seeds generally should be kept in the freezer or frig, not in a warm place.

Recently I heard a strange noise outside, next to the house. It sounded like someone was out there breaking sticks. Pop!! Pop, pop!!
We couldn't discern its source then, but yesterday I heard it again and traced it ... here:
Our central heat/AC unit was running,  but the fan wasn't turning. It was making that noise. Honestly, Adam and I have talked before about the certain death of our heat/AC unit, which was installed in 1996. Last night we tried our plan: heating with small oil heaters like this:
We have three small DeLonghi oil heaters that plug in the wall, plus one small DeLonghi electric heater. Our house is small (1100 square feet), and we can close off two rooms. Last night this arrangement worked fine, but it only went down to 40 degrees. The space heaters were set low, and we only used two of them.

Where we live, winters are mild but summers are severe. We will buy two window AC units before summer arrives and see how things go from there. We hope to save a good bit of money not using the old, non-economical central unit.

I made Henny Penny's F.R.O.G. jam!!
This is actually Henny's sister's recipe, I believe. No frogs were injured in the making of this jam, haha!
I'm so glad I had a bag of our figs in the freezer from last summer. Here's the recipe as I followed it:
F.R.O.G. Jam
6 cups chopped figs (I had a bit less.)
3 cups frozen raspberries
(I added some frozen strawberries to make up for
a lack of raspberries.)
5 cups sugar
zest from one orange
juice from one orange
3 tsp. finely grated ginger root
(I should have used more.)

Combine all ingredients in a heavy non-aluminum pot and bring to a boil over medium/med. high heat. Stir often and cook like this for 45 minutes, until jam thickens and turns darker.
Process in sterilized jars in whatever method
you're accustomed to.
Makes 4 pints.

It's a yummy jam. I think next time I'll use all strawberries, which I prefer to raspberries, plus they're easier to find frozen in their own bag. And more ginger. I'm so very excited to have a use for my figs, rather than just fig preservers, which neither of us like.

Look what Adam made for me!
That's a hackle. Didn't he do a nice job, especially on that wooden base? It works well. My problem is not my spinning tools; my problem is a lack of experience and skill. So now I need to get after it and learn HOW to spin. I tried a little:
I can tell it's over spun, and all different thicknesses. But it's a beginning!

Adam bought a bag of mixed beans at the store to make this for lunch:
Warm and bubbly. Winter comfort food.

Life on the farm is quiet, beautiful, peaceful. The chickens and dogs are happy. The sunlight slants across the pasture and through the trees, and I can hardly get enough of standing there, watching.

We should probably be doing more with our garden in the winter, as some of you are doing. Maybe another year. I've put my onion bed under some straw. Soon all these bedraggled plants will disappear back into the soil for the winter, and go to sleep. 


  1. Life on the farm sounds good. My little place is 675 sq. ft. I use a radiant heat heater which we found many, many years ago, curbside. We never had to use it on high down here, mostly low to mid range. Have one Friedrich's a.c. unit in the kitchen, which cools the whole little place to around 78 at my setting of 73. If I had the $$ I'd love to have one of those split a.c. units, as they are quiet and very energy efficient.

    Your frog jam looks yummy.

    Once you get the hang of working with your wool you'll be spinning like crazy and creating lovely pieces. Next thing we'll read about is your adding some sheep to your farm. :-)

    Happy fall/winter/Christmas holidays ~ FlowerLady

  2. So you're going to make F.S.O.G. jam next time? Ha ha!
    I was a little concerned at first, but it looks really good!
    That bean dish looks delish as well!
    That's another cozy hobby you're taking up. And then you'll weave that into something beautiful!
    Hope you stay warm enough! Enjoy your little farm. :)

  3. The sound of that jam makes my mouth water!

  4. FROG jam sounds treat! I've got a bunch of figs in the freezer plus a few raspberries, and ginger in a pot on the back porch! I have to say that we have a couple of those space heaters for places heat from the woodstoves don't get too, and they are a real help plus less expensive to run than the big heating unit. Beautiful hackle! Nicely made and a great gift.


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