November 19, 2009

Huh? What?!? You've Got To Be Kidding!!!

I found the following news story the other day and thought it was just so crazy. If I couldn't hang my clothes out to dry in the warm air and sunshine each summer, I just don't know what I'd do.

Carin Froehlich has help from her granddaughter Ava as they hang some laundry in the front yard of her residence in Perkasie Reuters –By Jon Hurdle – Wed Nov 18, 11:32 am ET

PERKASIE, Pennsylvania (Reuters) – Carin Froehlich pegs her laundry to three clotheslines strung between trees outside her 18th-century farmhouse, knowing that her actions annoy local officials who have asked her to stop.

Froehlich is among the growing number of people across America fighting for the right to dry their laundry outside against a rising tide of housing associations who oppose the practice despite its energy-saving green appeal.

Although there are no formal laws in this southeast Pennsylvania town against drying laundry outside, a town official called Froehlich to ask her to stop drying clothes in the sun. And she received two anonymous notes from neighbors saying they did not want to see her underwear flapping about.

"They said it made the place look like trailer trash," she said, in her yard across the street from a row of neat, suburban houses. "They said they didn't want to look at my 'unmentionables.'"

Froehlich says she hangs her underwear inside. The effervescent 54-year-old is one of a growing number of Americans demanding the right to dry laundry on clotheslines despite local rules and a culture that frowns on it.

Their interests are represented by Project Laundry List, a group that argues people can save money and reduce carbon emissions by not using their electric or gas dryers, according to the group's executive director, Alexander Lee.

Widespread adoption of clotheslines could significantly reduce U.S. energy consumption, argued Lee, who said dryer use accounts for about 6 percent of U.S. residential electricity use.

Florida, Utah, Maine, Vermont, Colorado, and Hawaii have passed laws restricting the rights of local authorities to stop residents using clotheslines. Another five states are considering similar measures, said Lee, 35, a former lawyer who quit to run the non-profit group.

'RIGHT TO HANG'

His principal opponents are the housing associations such as condominiums and townhouse communities that are home to an estimated 60 million Americans, or about 20 percent of the population. About half of those organizations have 'no hanging' rules, Lee said, and enforce them with fines.

Carl Weiner, a lawyer for about 50 homeowners associations in suburban Philadelphia, said the no-hanging rules are usually included by the communities' developers along with regulations such as a ban on sheds or commercial vehicles.

The no-hanging rules are an aesthetic issue, Weiner said.

"The consensus in most communities is that people don't want to see everybody else's laundry."

He said opposition to clotheslines may ease as more people understand it can save energy and reduce greenhouse gases.

"There is more awareness of impact on the environment," he said. "I would not be surprised to see people questioning these restrictions."

For Froehlich, the "right to hang" is the embodiment of the American tradition of freedom.

"If my husband has a right to have guns in the house, I have a right to hang laundry," said Froehlich, who is writing a book on the subject.

Besides, it saves money. Line-drying laundry for a family of five saves $83 a month in electric bills, she said.

Kevin Firth, who owns a two-bedroom condominium in a Dublin, Pennsylvania housing association, said he was fined $100 by the association for putting up a clothesline in a common area.

"It made me angry and upset," said Firth, a 27-year-old carpenter. "I like having the laundry drying in the sun. It's something I have always done since I was a little kid."

(Editing by Mark Egan and Paul Simao)

April 24, 2009

Raising Monarchs

In May look for milkweed plants. On the underneath side of a leaf you may find a tiny, yellow-green oval. That's a Monarch egg. Clip that stalk. Put the stalk in a water-filled vase and watch for the egg to hatch a few days later. Keep feeding your caterpillar milkweed leaves by changing out the milkweed stalks for new ones. When the caterpillar is almost 2 inches long, it's time for it to form its chrysalis. Try placing the vase under a small table. The milkweed leaves need to brush the bottom of the table. The caterpillar will crawl onto the bottom of the table and form its chrysalis. Once the chrysalis turns black (after 1-2 weeks), you'll know your butterfly will emerge in the next 24 hours. Once it emerges and its wings have dried (don't touch it during this phase!), you can coax it onto your hand with sugar water. Then it's time to take it outside and release it!!

If you'd like more instructions you can visit: Rearing Monarchs

Happy Spring!!

March 9, 2009

Healthy Guacamole

At this point you may be getting the impression that I'm starting a food blog. No worries, every post won't be about food. However, food is an important part of life and we all like to see what other people are eating and enjoying with their families. Well, if you're anything like me you do. I, myself, get in a rut from time to time and get weary of eating the same dishes over and over again. It's then that I go searching the net for new ideas.

I'm not a real avocado lover, but I know they're good for me. So, the way I go about getting those added nutrients in my diet is by making a healthy Guacamole Dip. Unfortunately, sometimes what you find in the store and even in some homemade recipes, are dips loaded with additives and bad fats from oils or sour cream. Tasty though it may be, good for the heart and waistline they're not!

This particular recipe comes from my Country Life Vegetarian Cookbook. I've taken the liberty of adding a couple of extra ingredients. For me, their recipe just lacked that extra punch of flavor that I needed. Feel free to experiment with the ingredients to suite your own taste, but try to avoid ingredients that are high in bad fats.

One of my favorite methods for enjoying this dip is by simply spreading it over toasted whole wheat bread. Mmm, mmmm! Other ideas (besides the usual tortilla chips) are using it as a spread on a sandwich or in a burrito wrap.

GUACAMOLE

2 c. mashed avocado (approx. 2 medium avocados)
1 t. garlic powder
1 1/2 t. onion powder
1 t. salt
1 - 1 1/2 T. lemon juice
3/4 c. finely chopped tomatoes
*1/8 t. cumin
*pinch or more of cayenne pepper

Scoop out avocados into bowl, mash well. Add remaining ingredients and mix together. Chill.

YIELD: 2 3/4 cups
Ingredients marked with an asterisk are my own special touch.

Picture borrowed from: CountryLiving

March 6, 2009

Southwestern Beans & Rice

I thought I'd share this recipe that I'm taking to Potluck tomorrow for church. The recipe comes from my Light and Tasty cookbook from Taste of Home. I've made it before and one gentleman in particular, always compliments me on it. I usually add some soy cheddar shreds and I'm even considering throwing in some multi grain Penne Pasta today. I may find that it'll need some added water if I go ahead with the pasta.

Southwestern Beans and Rice

1 medium green pepper, diced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. olive oil
2 1/2c. water
1 c. uncooked long grain rice
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/8 t. ground turmeric
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (10 ounces) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1 package (10 ounces) frozen corn, thawed

In a large nonstick skillet, saute the green pepper, onion and garlic in oil for 3 minutes. Stir in the broth, rice, cumin and turmeric; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Add beans, tomatoes and corn; heat through.

YIELD: 8 servings

Nutritional Analysis: One serving (3/4 cup) equals 198 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 1 mg cholesterol, 339 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 7 g protein.


Photo borrowed from: Knorr

February 5, 2009

Gardening Techniques and Tools

Well, it's bitter cold here in Northwest Indiana, but regardless, our minds are turned toward our vegetable garden. We've chosen all the various foods we will be growing and are waiting for the seeds to arrive. No doubt, I'll be cutting things a bit close this year due the fact that I haven't even begun my indoor seed starting yet. However, since the seeds haven't arrived I have little choice, but to wait.

In the meantime I've been scanning the Internet for various garden sites to glean as much information as possible in order to have the most productive garden. We've been gardening for several years, but we still feel somewhat like novices. There is so much to learn about gardening. So much so, that I think we'll be learning about it as long as we're alive.

As every gardener knows, having a vegetable garden is hard work and can be taxing on the body. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing, but if I'm experiencing a lot of pain while gardening, it does little to motivate me to get out there and work it.

With the exception of one summer, we have always planted bush beans. The year I tried pole beans I wasn't very successful because the method I chose to support the beans was not great. As a result, I gave up and went back to what worked-- bush beans. With each passing year, we have been growing more produce to be stored up for the winter months. This means, more work and more bending. More bending means more pain in my lower back. Ouch!

Near the end of December I jumped on-line to search for a better way to support pole beans as I wanted to try and grow them again for this summer. That's when I found Donald. To use the phrase spoken often by The Pioneer Woman,
"lawsee mercy!" Donald has posted lots of instructional gardening videos. For me, his site is a gold mine. I've learned so much by watching his videos and I'm definitely going to try his technique for growing pole beans this summer. Check out these:




Be sure and watch how he supports his tomatoes too. In my opinion, it's brilliant. Just where was he when we were first starting out, anyway? :)

Today I visited the Growing Wisdom website. While there I saw this wonderful tool called the Hatfield Transplanter. Heard of it? It would certainly come in handy and save my back to boot. When I showed it to my husband he got pretty excited about it. He told me to find out how much it costs so we could get one. Well, as wonderful as it is, it's not in our budget right now so I'm putting it on our wish list for future purchases. I thought I share the video on how it's used. Prepare to be amazed.



December 24, 2008

Cranberry Goodness

It's that time of year. The time when Cranberries are plentiful. I wanted to share with you two of my favorite holiday recipes that are loaded with this deliciously, tart fruit.

CRANBERRY APPLE PIE

4 c. thinly sliced peeled baking apples
1 c. fresh or frozen cranberries
1 c. sugar
2 T. cornstarch
1 t. lemon juice
1 t. ground cinnamon
Pastry for double-crust pie (9 inches)
1 T. butter or margarine

METHOD:
In mixing bowl, combine apples, cranberries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice and cinnamon. Line a 9-inch pie pan with half of pastry. Spoon filling into crust; dot with butter. Top with a lattice crust. Bake at 400 for 40-50 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown. Yield: 8 servings


This next dessert is a cranberry crumb cake. It's light and easy to prepare. The flavor of cranberry comes through in every sweet-tart bite, and the streusel topping looks so pretty. Simply divine!!

CRANBERRY CRUMB CAKE
Yield: 9 servings

1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. plus 1/3 c. sugar, divided
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c. fat-free milk (or soy)
1 T. orange juice (or 1 t. orange extract)
1 T. oil
1/4 t. almond extract
2 c. fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped

TOPPING:

1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3 T. sugar
2 T. cold butter

METHOD:
In a bowl, combine the flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Combine the egg, milk, orange juice, oil and extract; stir into dry ingredients, Spoon into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray. Combine cranberries and remaining sugar; spoon over batter.
For topping, combine flour and sugar in a small bowl; cut in the butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over cranberries. Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes or until edges begin to pull away from sides of pan. Refrigerate leftovers.


These are both great country desserts and perfect to serve at Christmastime. I know this is Christmas eve and you have probably already baked all that you're going to, but do try these while cranberries are still easy to get. I don't think you'll be the least bit be disappointed.

Have a wonderful Christmas tomorrow, and may the New Year bring you more blessings than you can possibly dream of.

November 3, 2008

A Must See Video

In our home, we do not observe Halloween and I realize that the holiday has passed, but this video is still relevant and you really should see it. It's important that you read labels carefully before you make a food purchase. As for me, I plan to avoid any foods that come from China-- period!


*Notice*
The graphics that are used on this blog are not mine. Please be so kind as to visit the artist's sites and abide by their "TERMS OF USE". If you find any graphics that haven't been given proper credit or anything else that needs mended, please e-mail me so I can act promptly. I admire the artist's and their talent so I want to give the proper credit where it's due. Thanks very much!