Sunday, September 27, 2009

How to Build a Scarecrow- Part 2

O.K., Now you have to figure out what you are going
to use for the head. There are lots of options;
pillowcases, pumpkins, paper mache, etc...
I had an old gourd kicking around from my
gourd crafting days so I decided to use that.
I cut a whole in the tip and slipped it over
the end of the board-easy. Then I gave her
some long curly locks- amaranth from the garden
glued on with hot glue.

This is the really fun part. You get to totally
customize your scarecrow- the sky's the limit!
My girl got a thrift store hat, some eucalyptus pod
eyes and buttons and a basket over her arm
for carrying all her wonderful flowers and produce!

We engraved a pumpkin to include in her display with
her motto: "Eat Your Veggies".

Here she is installed as part of our Harvest Festival display
at Rutiz Family Farms in Arroyo Grande. We have
two names for her , "Vegerella" and "Autumn", she
answers to both.
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How to Build a Scarecrow-Part 1

I have made several scarecrows over the
past few years and the most frustrating
part of the whole thing was trying to
get the stake firmly enough into the
ground so that the whole thing didn't list to
one side or fall over completely. What
a headache! This year I asked the hubster
to build a free standing and sturdy frame.
It took him about 10 minutes and made all
the difference in the world. Materials used:
2 wooden grape stakes, four triangular
pieces of plywood and a few screws.

Now you have to decide what shape and
position your scarecrow will take and build up
the frame with other materials to get the
shape you are looking for. In this case, I
was building a girl scarecrow wearing a skirt,
and I knew I wanted her skirt to flare out
so I had to build something that would
hold the fabric up. My solution: chicken
wire and zip ties! Zip ties are one of my
new favorite things. They really made
attaching the chicken wire so much easier.
I could have used chicken wire for the
arms too but elected not too. Really you
can sculpt the chicken wire to get any
shape you want. Just be careful- the little
cut edges can scratch you up good.

Here is the fun part!
Start dressing up your scarecrow. I used
all burlap sacks for mine, after all she
is a farm girl! Once again I used zip
ties to attach the clothes to the frame and
the chicken wire underneath.

Step 4: STUFF
Once you get the scarecrow's attire
figured out, you can stuff it. I used straw but you
could use plastic bags, old clothes or whatever.
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

We Be Jammin!

It is getting to the end of raspberry season and my pantry is
not close to being full of raspberry jam
we made jam. The morning was lovely out at the
farm in the berry patch and the best part was I
had it all to myself!

Love the color!

The princess wanted her picture taken too! I tried a
few different low sugar recipes today and found
enough 'goldies' out in the field to make a
small batch of golden raspberry jam. we shall see
if their unique flavor comes through
in the jam.
Here is the jam recipe I like most so far:


6 cups crushed fresh raspberries
1 box Ball no sugar pectin(1.75 oz.)
3 T. fresh lemon juice
3 cups granulated sugar
Stir berries, lemon juice and pectin together in
large pot. Heat over med-high heat until
it reaches a rolling boil. Add sugar.
Bring back to rolling boil and boil for
three minutes. Ladle into sterilized jars
wipe lip clean, and seal with lid and ring.
Process in a canner filled with boiling
water for five minutes (for 1/2 pint jars).
Remove from canner
and let cool completely before moving.
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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Salute to Flatbread

Flatbread restaurant in Los Alamos is my favorite restaurant.
The food is from local farmers and producers and
the menu is seasonally inspired.

To honor their efforts we made some pumpkins for
them in the Rutiz Farms pumpkin patch.

Flatbread is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings but
my favorite night is Sunday because there are more seasonal
specials. If it is nice, I recommend the patio and
order and try lots of different dishes. And by all
means, save room for dessert!
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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Homemade Vanilla

Making homemade vanilla sounds very 'gourmet' but it
is super easy. Yesterday, my friend Laurie and I got together
and made a couple of gallons worth.
To avoid spending a fortune making the
divine amber nectar, buy your beans in bulk. I bought
150 high quality vanilla beans on Ebay for about
50 bucks. The little vacumn packed bundles
arrived in the mail in about a week.

The next step is rounding up some tall glass containers
(large canning jars with lids work just fine) and some
vodka (cheap is fine). For a quart jar we put in about 10-12
split vanilla beans. We filled the jar with vodka and then put the
lid or stopper on. By Christmas, we will have plenty of
great vanilla to give away as gifts and to use in our
holiday baking. I wonder if we made enough?
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