Sarah Joy Albrecht

Fridge Snapshot : Prolonging the Life of Poultry

Sep
17

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An election is coming. Universal peace is declared, and the foxes have a sincere interest in prolonging the lives of the poultry. – George Eliot

This is my current fridge interior. Yes, that bag says “Chicken Guts” and, yes, there are two whole chickens being brined in that enormous metal bowl.

After roasting these brined chickens tomorrow, their remains will join up with “Chicken Guts” and be boiled into gallons of lovely homemade broth.

Meanwhile in Washington…

Bwak! Bwak!

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Christmas in July: Used Books from Amazon

Jul
26

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  • Becoming a Father by William Sears (Reading this for work.)
  • Bubby’s Homemade Pies by Ron Silver and Jen Bervin (I had borrowed it from the library until I could no longer renew… love this comprehensive book on pies!)
  • The Yellow Pages Guide to Educational Field Trips (updated from Everything from A-Z Field Trips) by Gregg Harris (Homeschooling resource for the field trip group I am forming.)
  • Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family by Kim Brenneman (Need I explain?)
  • One Thing NOT To Do When Moving an Elderly Relative To a Retirement Community

    Jun
    08

    As I quietly observe a dear friend as she gets ready to move to a retirement community next week, there is one thing I have noticed that is happening that seems to silently pain her.

    It is jarring enough that I feel that someone needs to put this cautionary thought out there for others to consider:

    Do NOT clean out the “junk” in the house while the elderly person still lives there.

    It can wait.

    It has sat there for years, and it’s not going anywhere.

    There is no rush.

    Really.

    Many elderly men and women have lived through a time when saving non-perishable food and little bits of scrap used to fix things was critical for their survival. Respect this.

    When younger generations throw away “junk”, they are essentially throwing out their elderly relative’s security blanket.

    What conversations can even be generated from an in-your-face mass purge?

    Not very productive ones.

    “Why do you have all this STUFF?”

    “Look at all this expired food!”

    “These parts are too old to be used to fix anything. They belong in the trash!”

    Take it to heart that a person’s possessions are part of them. They are the items that their owner has hand selected and stored for whatever reason. Thoughts and feelings went into their acquisition. There is an emotional attachment. Cleaning out a person’s house of these items is a privilege — not an episode of Hoarders.

    As the elderly person stands in their yard, helplessly watching as boxes of items they can no longer lift are being thrown to the curb, it has the potential to send a very terrible message to them. They may already be burying feelings of worthlessness, and it’s very easy for them to project that their relatives feel the same way about them.

    You’re expired.

    You are too old to be useful.

    You belong in the trash.

    Furthermore, elderly people hate to feel like a burden. While younger generations are used to networking to get jobs done, elderly men and women — especially the strong ones who live alone and who are very reluctantly being moved — feel very frustrated when others have to labor at their expense. “It’s my fault my family has to be working so hard to clean up my mess on this hot day!”

    Instead…

    Help them say goodbye to their house, as if they are saying goodbye to an old friend — because they are are.

    Ignore the dusty canned goods and boxes of rusted nuts and bolts and instead focus good memories that have occurred in their house.

    Praise them for all of the years they have cared for the house. Help them to select important items to bring along to their new home, and offer to take items — no matter how silly they may seem to you — to people whom they want to “bless”.

    Leave with them with the lasting impression and hope-giving thought of, “I have done well in my former home, and I will do well in my new home. I am valuable. I am loved.”

    Later, when they are settled, go ahead and rent that dumpster. Throw things away with a clear conscience. When they ask about their house when you visit them at their new place, just lovingly smile and say what they would humbly say to you, “Don’t worry about it. It was nothing.”

    Primroses are Coffee Drinkers

    Mar
    30

    But, tender blossom, why so pale?
    Dost hear stern Winter in the gale?
    And didst thou tempt the ungentle sky
    To catch one vernal glance and die?
    – Excerpt from The Primrose by Samuel Coleridge

    I love primroses.

    Apparently, primroses love coffee.

    After a four months at home and on a water diet, my once-brilliant primroses were producing pale blossoms.

    (Wouldn’t it be nice if plants came with owner’s manuals and trouble-shooting guides? If I ever start a gardening company, I’m going to include said manual, complete with the history of the species. For edibles, this guide will also include health benefits, food pairing ideas and a recipe or two.)

    With research, I learned that primroses like slightly alkaline soil.

    Three weeks ago, I started hydrating them with cold leftover coffee.

    With each new bloom, since being fed coffee, the intensity of color has increased with each bloom. Today’s bloom – the one on the far right – is the same vibrant red as when I originally purchased the plant.

    Even for acid-loving plants, however, too much acidity can be harmful.

    According to The Garden Helper, primroses thrive in soil with a pH of 6.5. My soil pH meter is packed somewhere in a box in our garage. If I find it, I’m definitely going to take a reading of the soil in my primrose pots.

    Happy plant, happy Sarah.

    Here are some of my favorite gardening links :

  • You Grow Girl
  • You Bet Your Garden
  • Moosey’s Country Garden
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    Spring Cleaning? 5 Tips for Managing Toys

    Mar
    25

    With five children, we have plenty of toys in our house. I know first-hand how overwhelming the toy mess can be!

    In my post at RealZest, I share five of my best tried-and-true toy tips we’ve been using for years that will help keep your home clean and keep kids from flitting endlessly from one toy to the next!

    Speaking of messes, I also offer an accountability challenge for parents.

    Here’s an excerpt:

    Toys are not fun when they’re all over the house. If you’re stepping on green army men, threatening to sell wayward dolls on eBay and are using items like daddy’s lighter as a body doubles for game pieces, the toys have taken over.

    Your children’s toys aren’t evil, they’re just a little misguided.

    Here are five ways to manage toys in your home so that they feed your children’s imaginations and not your trash cans.

    What are your best toy-management tips? Be sure to leave them in the comments over at RealZest. I look forward to interacting with you there!

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    For the Love of Honey

    Dec
    15

    Recently, we bought some Dutch Gold Orange Blossom Honey because it was on sale.

    The subtle orange flavor and the sweetness of honey was enough to turn me into a bit of a honey snob.

    During the kids’ chess club meeting at the library, I was perusing the food section and came across the book Honey: From Flower to Table by Stephanie Rosenbaum.

    Beginning with famous instances of honey use and ending with a helpful list of resources, this well-written book was a delightful, easy read. Its pages are filled with everything from the history of honey to beekeeping to flavor-crafting your hive’s honey with different flowers to recipes (both edible and inedible!) using honey.

    The photographs are beautiful. (It was a library book, otherwise I may have tried to lick the pages.) They inspired me to want to find vintage honey jars with impressions of bees and honeycombs just so that honey will hold a more prominent place in my kitchen.

    Below is one of the recipes from the book I’d like to try.

    Doesn’t it sounds perfectly soothing on a sore-throat day?

    Hot Honey Lemonade

    2 lemons
    3-4 whole cloves
    2 tablespoons honey, or to taste
    1 cup boiling water
    1 cinnamon stick

    Squeeze the juice of one lemon into a large mug. Slice the second lemon very thin. Poke cloves into a lemon slice and drop slices into the mug. Add the honey. Fill cup with hot water and stir with cinnamon stick until the honey has dissolved. Taste for sweetness and add more honey as necessary.

    Baklava, an Ottomon Turkish puffed-pastry filled with nuts and honey, has always been a favorite dessert of mine. The last time I ate it, savoring each bite, was at a progressive Christmas dinner in 2005. Thankfully, the dinner came with a recipe list from everyone’s offerings and I was excited to discover today that I still have the binder! All this thinking about honey has made me want to make my own. Stay tuned.

    Will you share your favorite honey recipe with me?

    PS: You may have noticed that the disappearance of honeybees has been in the news, with things like cell phone usage and climate change cited as the culprits.

    According to FastCompany.com it was discovered that the EPA knowingly allowed approval of a pesticide toxic to the natural plant pollinator, honeybees.
    In other words, the bees have been unwittingly dying from just doing their thing — pollinating crops. As this pollination process is important to farmers, it would seem that such a thing would be counter-productive at the very least.