Thursday, November 8, 2012

Spiced Rum Update

It's been two weeks since I started my rum. It smells great and a small taste of it proves to be plenty spicy for me. Maybe a little too much cinnamon or black pepper, but I think it will work nicely for mixed drinks and eggnog.

The vanilla extract, it is looking and smelling great too! It has about 6 more weeks to go!
Spiced rum with spices
Spiced rum-filtered
Vanilla Extract

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Why's It Always the Rum!?

So I've got my spiced rum spicing away. I looked on the Internet and came up with this recipe using a few as inspiration. Most recipes suggest using a gold rum. At the liquor store they suggested Pusser's Rum as a nice rum
for drinking. (At least the British navy found it good enough to give every sailor a pint-a-day ration of it for 300 years.) Well, I'll just say we weren't too impressed. So I decided to try making it into spiced rum.

Many of my spices I received from friends in the Caribbean. The cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, and cloves to be specific. Did you know that mace is the covering of the nutmeg shell? I used it in place of the ground nutmeg this time.

Spiced Rum

750 ml bottle gold rum
2 vanilla beans, split
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
6 whole allspice
6 black peppercorns
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3 slices orange peel (3 inches long, no pith-the white)
Peeled ginger about a 1" cube-may have to cut to fit into bottle

Pour about 1/4-1/2 cup of the rum out to make room for other ingredients. Add everything to the bottle and replace the rum you poured out. (Use any left for rum and Coke.) Replace lid and gently shake. After a week, taste test. Let the rum steep until. It is to your liking. 2 or more months is fine. When ready, strain through a cheese cloth lined funnel and put back into the bottle.

Use any spices you like in any quantities. Also any citrus you may prefer.

I included a picture if my latest batch of vanilla extract. This is after just one day.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Little Vanilla Crazy

Last week I bought some vanilla beans in bulk. This week I have gone a little nuts with them.

First I made vanilla sugar. Never made this before, but sounds good to me.

Next came more extract. Not that I have finished what I had previously made, but this batch is to share. Maybe.

I just finished making vanilla salt. It may sound a little weird, but I think it would be really good on salted caramel.

Here are the recipes:


750 ml bottle vodka
20 vanilla beans

Split vanilla beans almost in half. Add to vodka bottle. You will need to remove some of the vodka beforehand so it doesn't overflow. 1/4-1/2 cup should do. Add it back and use the extra to make a cocktail :).
Shake occasionally. Place in cool dark spot to steep. Wait 2-6 months.


2 cups sugar
2 vanilla beans

Place sugar into food processor. Half and scrape vanilla bean pods and add seeds to sugar. Pulse just until evenly incorporated. Place scraped pods into a clean quart jar and cover with sugar. Seal tightly and let it sit for at least two weeks. It may slightly harden. Just shake jar to loosen.
Use like regular sugar.


3 vanilla beans
1 cup Maldon salt-or any flaky sea salt (Williams-Sonoma or

Split and scrape beans. Work the seeds into the salt by hand. Divide the salt between two half-pint jars and add pods in. Seal with a tight lid. It is ready to use. Think salted caramel mocha.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Just over 1 1/4 inch this beautiful Sabbath morning! The peppers, sweet potatoes, and squash love it. So do the sunflowers, but it may be too little, too late for the tomatoes.

Thursday, August 2, 2012


That's what my garden is trying to do.  Nothing is blooming, much  less producing.  Well, the blister bugs seem to be producing quite well.  Since nothing is blooming right now I went ahead and used some Sevin to get rid of the blister bugs.  They rank right up there with ticks and snakes.  I guess at least snakes serve a purpose.  On that note, they aren't serving much of a purpose around here right now.  Jeff stepped out the front door last night and a rat ran across his feet.  Elijah's golf club took over the role of the snake.  Snakes, ticks, rats, blister bugs:  pretty much in that order.

As far as the garden goes, I pulled up the black-eyed peas and cantaloupe last week.  My third round of squash plants are growing fine this time and the nasturtium does seem to be keeping the squash bugs at bay.  I've seen a few, but nothing like earlier in the summer.  The tomatoes are not taking the heat very well, or it may just be that we just discovered our watering system is not working right.  I have been hand watering for the past week.  Even with what little is left, that takes about 30 minutes.  What is left?  Tomatoes, sunflowers, squash, and Swiss chard.  I would like to start some fall plants but it is waaay too hot to do that.  It was 115 yesterday and should get to over 110 today.  No rain in at least a month and the highs have not dropped below 100 since July 17 (not below 105 for the last week).  This week is hotter than it was the same week last year, but we haven't had the same overall heat for the summer.  I don't think we will break the 63 days of 100 degrees this year, but we should get close to half that.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


All of my pepper varieties are doing very well. The bell peppers seem to be doing the best. Better than usual even. This year I have been using sea minerals as fertilizer I have three different colors planted, but all are still green. There are so many that the plants are being pulled over. I decided to go ahead and pick about 1/3 of them this morning. Here are a few pictures.

Monday, June 25, 2012


Here are a couple of pics from the last two days. I put up 15 pints of salsa, 6 pints of black-eyed peas, and 3 pints of carrots. That's 24 more pints that I canned last summer. Hoping the drought and the heat do not return.

Like (Black-eyed) Peas & Carrots

Late June and the heat has finally arrived. Weatherman said the heat dome has set up and for the next week, at least, we need to expect 100+ degrees temps here in central Oklahoma. By this time last year they had been around several weeks and everything was turning brown. Thanks to some decent spring rains, we can expect it to stay green a little while longer. The garden is doing great and looks really good.

Mornings are the time right now to get out and do the garden and yard work. This morning I picked black-eyed peas and my purple carrots. These purple carrots are only that way on the outside. Once they are peeled they look like any other carrot. You can find them that are purple throughout. They look really nice canned and in your salads.

While it is still cool this morning I had better go pull grass burrs. I sprayed them a couple of days ago but a few were headed out already. Unlike me, they love this heat.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Pulled the broccoli this morning. Then I planted some more squash where it had been along with some nasturtium. Supposedly that will keep the squash bugs away. We'll see. I picked the biggest bell pepper I think I have ever grown today (Sea Minerals?) as well as some pretty good sized jalapeƱos. The tomatoes are starting to come off too. That means fresh salsa for tonight's game 2 of the NBA finals (Thunder Up!). The strawberries are starting to make again but not a lot. The fridge smells like broccoli so I had better get it eaten or frozen. It is not a pleasant smell.

Gotta go. Thunder watch party at the house tonight!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

More Chard

I cut another grocery sack of Swiss chard this morning.  I need to get it frozen before it gets hot this afternoon.  Blanching all that will definitely heat up the house. (I still have the last chard to freeze as well.)  I got another good bunch from my broccoli plants.  I'm not sure if I am ready to pull them ar not.

While the mower was being repaired, we let the goats run the yard.  They stayed away from my flowers and garden for the most part, but they did finally find the tomatoes and gladiolus.  We put some smaller wire along the fence to keep them out of the tomatoes.  The gladiolus are just going to be gone.  I did however reap the benefits of teh goats eating away at the tomatoes.  They knocked off a few green tomatoes and we had that favorite southern delicacy of fried green tomatoes.  I had never had them before.  They were really good.  Kind of a pain and the house still smells like a deep fryer, so they won't be made too often.  Besides, I need ripe ones or salsa.

Drew, the dog, has become much more used to the goats and we actually have taught him to somewhat herd the goats.  I'll have to get video of that.  he is a German Shepard, so that is what he has been bred to do.  For no real training, he seems to be doing it quite well

So, I saw I had a visitor to the site from around my old stomping grounds of Elk City.  Someone from Erick, OK, home of Roger Miller. Howdy!

On a totally unrelated to gardening issue,  here is my kiddo with Kevin Durant before game 6 of the Western Conference Finals.  (He got to high five James Harden, The Beasrd as Elijah called him, as well!)  The Thunder beat the Spurs 107-99 to move on to the NBA Finals!  Thunder Up!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

More Mulch

So, I got the wheat straw put down. This straw is much better than last year's because they harvested it first. That should mean a lot less wheat coming up in the garden. I cut some Swiss chard. This year I have white, yellow, and red. I will freeze this first batch since I don't have any plans for it at the moment. The broccoli has slowed way down but I'm still getting a little. I'll give it another week and then I might plant something in its place. I may leave it empty for fall broccoli.
Mulched except for the upper right corner.  I just now planted my sunflowers there.



last of the broccoli

Guarding the Garden :-)

Friday, May 25, 2012


Now this is a bowl of broccoli. It's the first time in three summers we've gotten any worth talking about. Still more to come too!