Nature is all I can do


Well, life is pretty weird right now. I need to leave where I have been, I have no money or ability to earn some (have you tried working while going through detox and PAWS), no where to go and I’m detoxing off Xanax and already in PAWS for opiates. Life is just flipping dandy. Ya know that saying that God won’t give you more than you can handle…well that is just horseshit. I have had plenty in life that has made me be how I am. I give I give I give. Just because you are alive doesn’t equate to really living. Yeah, I’m still a living breathing being, but I am not able to live my life at all how I would like right now. Not even close.

So, I’m trying to act like I’m not totally off my rocker. I’m trying to find a place for my dog (she is definitely going to make a great companion for someone if I no longer can provide for her) as well as someone to trap and relocate Hazel Hideycat. I’m still watering all the plant life around here.

I’m not sure if anyone will keep up with the flowers and trees, or feeding the hummingbirds, but I can’t take care of it anymore. It’s obvious when you view the photos that I am not capable of keeping it all done. Just not enough knowledge, energy or money. But someone, if they want,  will be having some squash and some lettuce and cucumbers and beautiful flowers.

Not to mention the lovely medicine I’ve been growing. I have donated that to a friend. If I am able to manage being here now and then, we’ll share in the reaping of the harvest. If I am unable to come back when I leave…which is hopefully very soon…then they will be his. I really am quite proud of them. I’ve tended them for 3 months and 3 days. I’ve loved them and nurtured them and fed them and talked to them. I have no doubt if I would have been able to do what I thought I I was going to be able to do here, I would have been in good shape after harvest.

Evidently this is not the place for me.  Just like so many others places.   Me being here is a drain.  Me being anywhere that is not by myself is a drain.  I do not want that for my life.  If I can’t be self sufficient then there is not purpose.  Everyone here can contribute more than I can. I am no longer needed. I’ve served my purpose and now it’s time to move on.  People have homes, income and a place to do what they choose.  I made it great for quite a few folks.

So, for the time being I am working on getting the older little trailer in condition to put what I absolutely need to have to survive into. Really grateful for my son’s ability to build a new bed. I’ll just be moving my clothes and personal items over. Then I can clean out my 5th wheel and sell it as ready to live in with a mattress and dishes and everything. That will put a few pesos in my pocket for whatever is next in life.

The next 48 hours should be really interesting. I have not been without a Xanax at bedtime for over a few years. I was down to 1mg, but now I’m completely out and I am not going to get more. I also am going to do all I can to stay out of a detox center or a hospital. I would much rather hike into the wilderness and find my way there and let whatever happens, happen. I am tired of trying to live the way I have been. I would rather tie myself to a tree and cry and scream and rant and rave all alone than put that upon anyone else.

If I knew of a safe place to go, where they wouldn’t just put me back on meds, I would go there. If I knew of a place where I could be safe, where I could know some true security, I would go there. I’ve never known a place of safety and security at all in my life. Just when I think being safe is okay, sharing who I really am is okay….it ends up destroying me. Being alone is going to be the only way I can have some semblance of sanity. I have no trust in anyone or anything except for animals and plants. They never lie. They show how they are cared for. Humans show what they are about. It has nothing to do with me or anything I do. They just are how they are. So now…I take a leap into another place.

deb camp jump

Jumping from a bridge at Lake Billy Chinook at age 44


I choose to make 2015 be a year of peace for me, and freedom!

A bit of snow, some fog, and plenty of views to enjoy here in Williams.

A bit of snow, some fog, and plenty of views to enjoy here in Williams.

After days of consideration and prayer I have come to the decision to not make any changes regarding my community page, Ms. Ladybug and Her Layers. I have worked too hard on personal recovery from my past issues to be intimidated by someone whose only reason for contact was to in some way benefit their self. I do not know exactly what their scheme is nor do I care, but I know this person well enough after 18 months of nearly daily contact to know they didn’t contact me just to be nice. They want something.

And why should I be fearful of this person? I did no wrong to them. Except to verbalize and be honest about their behaviors. Such as: I witnessed this person using a business license and bank accounts to hide from child support services as well as to hide money so they could have welfare benefits such as food stamps and medical benefits even when their business grossed nearly 8 times the allowable guideline limits. This person also had with held taxes for their business employees, but never paid them because they were using the money for their own interests.

No…I am not going to shut down my page, hide in any way, or feel threatened by someone who has shown many people their true colors of self serving and narcisstic behaviors. I truly wish more of this person’s friends and acquaintances really knew how much this person has used them and abused them along the way. I also wish there was a way I could warn any woman who may be swayed by this person’s charismatic personality. When even a church bishop says they are concerned for the women in their church because of this person’s known history of taking advantage of women…well, that says something. I am not afraid of you and know you for what you really are. I know all the despicable things you’ve done and I am not afraid of you.

So…read my page all you want. I share so many wonderful things with over a thousand folks who follow my page, and they happily share their goodness with me too. I will not ever let another person frighten me, threaten me, or in any way intimidate me. Those days are in the past. It’s a new year and I am claiming it as one of growth and strength for me! 🙂 And for all of you too!!! Thanks friends for all you have shared with me and how you stuck by me through many challenges over the time we’ve been acquainted. It is because of you that I can speak out the truth and feel no fear. God bless you all.

NOW…with that out of the way, I also have a tasty winter soup to share with you. I found a nice couple of Organic Grass fed sirloin steaks with a 30% discount at the grocery the other day, and that was my start. Here you go!

A hearty zesty mouthful of flavors!

A hearty zesty mouthful of flavors!

Beef Barley Mushroom soup

2 tblspn EVOO
1/2 yellow onion diced
5-6 cloves garlic minced
1 lb Organic grass fed top sirloin (it was on sale!) – diced into bite size pieces
1 slice thick bacon
6 Baby Portebella Mushrooms sliced
4 cups beef broth
1 12-oz bottle Pale Ale Beer
1 can organic diced tomatoes
1 cup rinsed dried barley
Large Pinch Oregano
Large pinch Basil
Large pinch thyme
2 Bay leaves
3-4 twists of sea salt grinder
Pepper – I used a pepper blend in a grinder to taste
3 tblspoons homemade sauerkraut juice
1/2 tablespoon hot horsheradish
1 Fuji apple diced
2 tablespoons worchestershire sauce
2 carrots sliced 1/8 inch or so
1/2 cup diced red and yellow bell peppers
1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger juice/bits

Saute onions and garlic in EVOO about 3 minutes on med-high in CI Dutch oven. Add diced meat and cook until it looses it’s pink color. Set aside.

Sauteed onions, garlic and beef in EVOO

Sauteed onions, garlic and beef in EVOO

In cast iron skillet fry 1 slice bacon until skillet has sheen of fat on it. Lay mushroom slices on hot skillet and watch until they begin to leak out their moisture, about 2-3 minutes. Turn. Cook another 2 minutes. Pour into dutch oven with beef mix. Repeat, bacon and mushrooms until all mushrooms cooked.


Add all liquid ingredients and barley then cook about 10 minutes on medium. Then add the rest of the ingredients and put on simmer until carrots are tender to your liking, about 45 minutes for me. Add a large pinch of fresh parsley if you have it during the last few minutes. I did have to add quite a bit of water (2 cups or more) as the barley kept soaking up the liquid. This soup made a great dinner for me as it was. It would also go nicely with a green salad and some fresh bread, but I wasn’t that hungry. The soup satisfied me in numerous ways aside from just filling the empty hole in my belly. It had a wonderful aroma and I also enjoyed the heat generated by the efforts of cooking and having the stove on!

This is a hearty  soup that has a unique flavor that has a bit of savory zestiness to it. I know the ingredient list is a bit long, but I happened to have all these ingredients on hand. And that my friends…is how I put together a soup. Digging around the cabinets this afternoon seeing what I had that would work with the discounted organic beef I picked up the other day led to my inspiration. I have really been making a mindful effort to buy organic and as local as possible. I do watch for discount’s at Grocery Outlet, Safeway, Fred Meyers as well as Cartwright’s Meats. This package was  marked down 30% because of a pull date. While still a bit spendy for my meat budget, I rarely buy beef unless it is discounted. This soup cost me about $20 for the whole pot. I will have to freeze or share a lot of it as it made a pretty full pot! Much healthier and less expensive than any hearty organic soup on the market and it only took about 20 minutes of prep and cook time! I hope you enjoy it too.

Don't forget the liquid barley...and hops!!!

Don’t forget the liquid barley…and hops!!!

Waste not, want not…using what I have!


Last week I responded to a local ad regarding a bartering offer and I ended up being gifted some plant starts.  A very kind woman took me to her greenhouse and explained how some things in life had been challenging this spring and she wasn’t going to be able to market her plants.  The “need” in the barter request was being fulfilled by another resource.  She said to take any starts I thought I could use or would want since I had responded to the ad and been willing to do the barter.  There were hundreds of tomatoes and peppers of all kinds imaginable.  Various herbs.  It was a wonderful place for me to be…just standing there in that greenhouse with such beauty in the bounty of food all those plants represented.

I tried to be realistic.  I thought about what I could and would do with tomatoes and peppers.  Salsa, spaghetti sauce, canned tomatoes, dried peppers.   I ended up with about 15 tomato plants and the same amount in peppers.  I had 6 pony packs which had cilantro, parsley, fennel, basil, another parsley and another herb that I am unsure what it is.  I think there were 3 squash plants that when I saw them at first I thought they were geraniums.  Might still be geraniums.  These plants aren’t marked. The woman had left me alone and said to help myself.

Butterfly pepper

Butterfly on the pepper plant in the garden.

Because I lost last years garden bounty, I have been hesitant to plant all my seeds and starts in the ground.  I am a renter, and I am anticipating I will be leaving here at some, I just don’t know when.  I was offered a place to garden in one of the many growing areas on this property and I utilized that.  A couple of days ago I planted 6 tomatoes and 5 peppers and 3 pony packs of the parsley and cilantro and basil in the area I cleaned out to use .  I still had LOTS more to plant. I wanted to have a mobile garden.  One I could take with me if I were to move before harvest time.  I did have some black pots I have acquired as well as I intended to make planters with old pallets.  I have been collecting some pallets over the last few weeks.  Figuring out how to use them was the next line of thought.  That was my goal this afternoon.

Do you know how hard it is to dismantle old pallets?  They are put together to STAY put together. The have a bazillion nails in them.  Nails that aren’t easy to get out. I took apart 2 pallets a few weeks ago and realized I just don’t have the strength to do that kind of hard repetitive work.  So I had to figure out a way where I would just cut them without removing the nails.   After numerous searches on the web this is what I came up with.

I cut the pallet into three pieces.  I then cut to size and nailed into place some empty feed bags.  I have used these feed bags to add decor to the walls of my coop also!  The shorter ones are filled with organic potting soil and planted with the herbs.  As a “filler” in the taller one (to conserve on the cost of plant mix) I went and scooped up some of the old straw/shavings/chicken poop that was scattered after the last two cleanings of the coop.  The bottom layer is 9 months old and really breaking down well.  The top layer is still fairly dry and has been sitting for over 2 months.  I believe that anything sending roots down further than the 8 inches will find that the stuff underneath has broken down more and will allow for nice long root systems.  Another experiment for me to monitor.

I did the same trick on the big black pots I used.  I filled them about 1/2 full with the partially composted coop mix and then topped them off with the Organic Plant Mix.  I worked until I ran out of the 2 bags of soil I had and it was almost dark.  I think I planted about 14 pots.  Some of them have double duty with more than one plant in it.  It felt so good to accomplish this.  I have been very slow to get going with planting a garden of any type, and yet when God provided all that I needed to do so, I had to get out there and do my part!  I am grateful for this woman’s generosity.

IN the midst of doing this planting I realized I had not eaten anything except for the Latte I had treated myself to when I was running errands in town.  I had received a FREE coupon a week ago.  Free is always good, but that free drink wasn’t going to give me the energy I needed to get this job done.  I had no ideas of what sounded good.  I just needed food.

What I had that needed to be used

Peppers, onion, Portabella mushroom, mayonnaise, avocado, fresh tomato and potato, basil, Organic Seed Bread, Mozzarella cheese

I opened up my little fridge and started searching.  What you see in the picture is what I pulled out  that needed to be used so it wouldn’t go bad or to waste over the weekend.  There were 3 peppers and a little bit of red onion that was left over and then the Portobello mushroom that my friend had given me the other day.  Hmmm…a sandwich sounded good….what kind could I throw together with this stuff?  I continued to rummage and found the little bit of the homemade mayonnaise with avocado added I had made last week and it was still good, but wouldn’t be for much longer.   My boyfriend had said something about a Philly Beefsteak Sandwich earlier and those peppers and onions triggered the idea into action!  An epic Portabella Philly Sandwich was about to be born!  A sandwich of this magnitude needs to be served with some chips.  But I didn’t have chips.  Yet I had bought an organic russet just today on my trip to Cartwright Meats.  I had also bought 3 of their Bacon Wrapped sirloin with hopes of a BBQ over the weekend.  They are only $3.49 each every Friday!

The chips: Turn oven to 450 degrees.  I used my stoneware bake pan and heated it also during the preheat time.  The chips were made by slicing on a mandolin and soaking in rice vinegar and water brine for 20 minutes. I drained the water off using a salad spinner to get them really dry! This was some good exercise for arms!  Then I drizzled some EVOO on and made sure all the slices had some oil.  I sprinkled Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime blend all over the chips.  I opened the oven and spread them out as single level as I could.  I cooked for 10 minutes and then turned them and cooked another 10 minutes.  This was the perfect amount of time to make the sandwich.

This is how the sandwich was made!!!

Slice 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 green pepper and 1/2 small red onion.  Saute in cast iron skillet on medium heat in 1 tbsp. EVOO until onions are carmelized.  Remove from heat (I used my 12 inch cast iron and only put 1/2 the pan over heat so I just pushed the pepper onion mix on the unheated side to keep warm).  There should be just a small glaze of the oil left seen in the’s barely there. Slice washed and stemmed mushroom and lay sliced into hot pan.  Put one slice of Organic Seed bread in the toaster.  Turn the mushroom after about 1 minute when it is just seared.  Spread lightly with homemade mayo.  Stir mushrooms with peppers to combine all in pan and add 3 sprigs of fresh basil and cook one more minute. Take off heat and squeeze half a lime over the entire pan of food. Scoop onto toasted bread.  Place 1 ounce sliced mozzarella cheese on top of grilled veggies and place under broiler until cheese is melted.  Add sliced tomatoes and a spread more of the mayonnaise. Top with avocado and a sprinkle of fresh ground pepper and sea salt.

Portabella Philly Sandwich

Portabella Philly Sandwich

I hope you give this a try as a substitute for the traditional Philly Steak Sandwich.  The only thing I will change in my recipe for next time is to have a nice hoagie roll instead of the seed bread.  This has some juiciness to it and the bread didn’t hold up through the time it took me to take a few photos and eat it!  A hefty roll will be much better!  And it would make it portable!  Portable plants and portable Portabella Philly sandwich!

It is a Chickie kind of day!

I am writing this much after the fact. A week after the fact to be precise. I was so excited last Friday because it was the scheduled day for baby chicks!!! M&E had approached me about a month before saying they were getting 35 baby chicks and if I wanted babies it would be best for us all to get them at the same time. That is, if we were going to house them all together for their start. Then their plans changed as they had a funeral to attend to and so they had to put off getting theirs for a few days.  I didn’t want to wait! So, I decided I could manage my few on my own.

I found a plastic tote, lined it with foam contact paper (so they wouldn’t slip) and stuck in the lids from jars for water and food. I safely secured a red heat lamp above it. I was ready to head to town to pick up my charges.

My chicks first home!

My chicks first home!

But first, I have a couple more chores to do at home. I converted a 5 gallon bucket into a nipple waterer for the coop. I had been wanting to do this. The old waterer broke when we had all the freezing weather. Then the setup I was using was so messy and nasty I couldn’t stand it. This is going to be so much nicer for keeping the coop dry and the waterer clean.

Drilled 3 holes, added 3 nipples and ready to hang!

Drilled 3 holes, added 3 nipples and ready to hang!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I also gave Grammy’s boots a new pair of shoelaces. These boots are over 40 years old…and they still are comfortable and keep my feet dry and sturdy when hiking around the property. I’ll save the old shoelaces and add them to my tote in the truck for emergencies! I also took my walk before heading to town and went almost 2 miles~!

Grammy's boots with new laces...good as new even after 40 years!

Grammy’s boots with new laces…good as new even after 40 years!

Of course if I go to town it means I have to do my grocery shopping and visit a few folks. With gas prices what they are I try to make my miles work for me. It is 25 miles just to get to town. First stop is to get some juices and easy foods for my friend who has been sick with the bug going around. He has not felt well for a couple days now and so I will get juice, sierra mist, crackers and some chicken soup for him.

After a little visit with my friend I went to Cartwright’s meat market. Every friday they have these great little bacon wrapped sirloin steaks for $3.79 each. Limit of 6. I had them wrap me up 3 separate packages with 2 steaks each in them. Not much else is really grabbing my eye so then I’m off to the Farmer’s Market. I needed some oranges and onions and a couple lemons. I’m almost out of my lemon/ginger/honey elixir that I keep in the fridge. Fresh greens, some mushrooms and a loaf of seeded whole wheat sourdough from Ashland Bakery. Now off to the grange.

I was grinning ear to ear upon arriving in the parking lot. I was so excited to be getting my first chicks. I checked in with the counter and told them I was going to gather a few supplies before I picked out my girls. I got some chick food, electrolytes and probiotics to add to the water, a small feeder and waterer and an extra light set-up, just in case. And of course, a thermometer. Now the fun part, choosing my girls. I was set up to get 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes and 2 Speckled Sussex. Of course, I had got the week wrong and the Sussex aren’t going to be here until next week (which is today). I got the 2 SLW and decided I needed one more to help them stay warm (right….one more is going to make a difference…it’s my rationale and I’m sticking to it). I picked out a pretty little Welsummer. They have pretty big brown eggs and I only have one Welsummer, so now I’ll have a pair! I like pairs. 🙂  I paid for all my supplies and chicks with egg money.

Egg money pays for the chicks and supplies.  My girls are paying their way and then some!!!

Egg money pays for the chicks and supplies. My girls are paying their way and then some!!!

Off we go to home.

I got everything unloaded and the chicks settled into their little plastic home. Such cute little fluffy butts! They make the cutest little chirpy noises and they peck and stretch their legs and wings and lie down and look dead! Yes…they will lie on their sides all stretched out and if I wouldn’t have seen her breathing, I would have thought she was dead. But not dead…just sleeping. Which is what I needed to do! It has been a busy day and I have enjoyed all of it!!!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Saturday morning was a bright sunny day. My girls had survived the night. The temperature has stayed right around 93 degrees. They are eating and drinking and chirping and doing chicken stuff! They are so adorable. As are my full grown girls. I decided to go out for a walk and visit with the other animals on this gorgeous sunny Saturday. Spring is coming! The cows are a bit amourous…pretty frisky actually. In fact…this could be x-rated. Part of farm living. The smells, sounds and sights. If ya can’t handle it, you best not move to the country. Animals copulate. Yup! Sex. Right out in the open. They don’t care who is around and what is going on. Just leave them alone and they will do their thing. Even tho these cows are only little Dexter’s and weight much less than a full size cow…I am not going to get in the way of their efforts to poplulate the pasture! No one else is either. The sheep don’t pay any attention nor do the chickens. Over the course of an hour Mr. Cow was very loving to Mrs. Cow! Cow courtship is cute.

Cow courtship...awwwww...he is in LUST!!!

Cow courtship…awwwww…he is in LUST!!!

I have soups to make. I had bought mushrooms with the intention of making the mushroom soup I had before, but I also wanted to make a chicken soup. I used this recipe for my base. This soup is really yummy. I didn’t have shitake mushrooms, so I used baby portebellas. To conserve my energy and fuel for cooking I started both soups with the same base. This is how it went down.

Sliced, diced, chopped and ready to be seared in the pan!!!

Sliced, diced, chopped and ready to be seared in the pan!!!

The mushroom soup got started in my dutch oven on the stove. I put 1 quart of chicken broth, 1 quart of water and 2 teaspoons chicken broth granules in the pot with 2 bay leaves and 1 cup of barley and let boil on low with the lid off.

In my slow cooker I placed 1 cup of wild rice, 1 quart of chicken stock and 1 quart of water and 2 teaspoons chicken stock granules and turned on low and simmered for 2 hours.

I cut the portebella’s into slices and placed them in 3 cups of water and boiled for minute and then let them soak as described in the recipe.

The base for both soups:

1 cup celery diced
4 cups carrot diced
6 cloves garlic chopped
1 1/2 cups onion chopped

I cooked all the veggies how “The Shiksa” describes in the mushroom soup recipe in my cast iron skillet. I drained the portebella’s and chopped them fine and added them just like described for the shitakes. Then all the mushroom water got added. I poured 2/3 of the veggie mixture and almost all of the liquid into the dutch oven. The other 1/3 of the mixture went into the slow cooker.

This smells great.  Carmelized veggies for soup pots!!!  Yummy.

This smells great. Carmelized veggies for soup pots!!! Yummy.

I then cooked the crimini mushrooms as described and added them to the mushroom soup mixture with a little salt and pepper to taste. I had to add a total of 2 1/2 cups of water to this as it cooked over a period of 2 hours.

2/3 and all the juice into the mushroom pot, the rest into the Chicken soup pot.

2/3 and all the juice into the mushroom pot, the rest into the Chicken soup pot.

Into the crock pot went 2 cups chopped cooked chicken, 1 tablespoon tomatoe paste, 1 can diced tomatoes and a package of spinach. A large pinch (teaspoon) of basil and 1/2 teas salt and pepper. I let this cook on low overnight.

The chicken soup is ready to cook!  Slow cooker yumminess!

The chicken soup is ready to cook! Slow cooker yumminess!

Both soups turned out wonderful. While they were cooking I make some more of my honey/lemon/ginger elixir for the cold season. I decided to try some of the suggestions I”ve seen, and one jar got a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon added to it. The other jar received 3 cloves of garlic sliced into the mix. I will try both. I somehow managed to also get a pan of brownies baked while all this was going on. By the time I was all done with the dishes and the stove and oven were all turned off I could tell I was getting sick! A big spoonful of honey elixir, some airbornne, and a big jug of water and off to bed I went.

Honey/lemon/ginger elixir.  One with cinnamon, one with garlic.  I am ready for whatever comes!

Honey/lemon/ginger elixir. One with cinnamon, one with garlic. I am ready for whatever comes!

I was grateful I had got all these things cooked up. As it turns out, I spent the next 4 days in bed and the soup and elixir were perfect! My appetite was not at all affected by my virus. I was so grateful to have healthy foods ready to eat, because I did not have the energy to prepare them. It was a heat and eat week, all the while watching and listening to and enjoying my new baby chicks.

The first of my chicks.  I have a feeling there will be many more chicks in my future!

The first of my chicks. I have a feeling there will be many more chicks in my future!

The speckled Sussex are in! Time for a trip to town. This time I don’t want to come home and get sick! Just a nice trip to town to get my chicks and stock up on a few items that got used up over the week. Hoping you enjoyed the soups!

Luscious Lemon Curd

A beautiful jar of yellow sunshine...Luscious Lemon Curd

A beautiful jar of yellow sunshine…Luscious Lemon Curd

Buttery luscious lemony goodness…and it has a name!!!  Have you ever heard of Lemon Curd?  Have you ever tasted Lemon Curd?  If you love a tangy lemony flavored pudding you will love Lemon Curd.

The beginnings to something decadent!

The beginnings to something decadent!

I think I had seen a jar of it in my grandmother’s or someone’s kitchen along the way but I don’t recall ever having been served it.  When I saw the picture of this Tangerine Curd ( last year on Pinterest I thought it sounded pretty yummy.  I re-visited that picture this last week and decided to give curd making a try.  This is a good time of year to buy citrus and I wanted to do something a bit different.

I knew if I was going to do this I wanted to at least make a few jars.  There was my first issue.  I didn’t have any of the 1/2 pint jars but one.  Jars is something I am still collecting and will be for some time I’m sure.  Fortunately I have a close neighbor (thank goodness for M&E) that was hesitantly willing to do a trade.  Canners want their jars.  I traded her 2 of my pint jars for 3 or her 1/2 pint jars, and she gets one back filled with curd.  Sounds like a good trade to me!

I had done a little research on the origins of citrus based curds.  It seems that it is a British preserve or jam type spread.  Something to serve with bisquits or scones.  Or even slathered on a big thick slice of toasted sourdough bread!  Yummy…my tummy is excited for this lemon explosion of taste and color.  It is mentioned in cookbooks and writings from the mid 1800’s.  It has also been refered to as a cheese.  It really is hard to decide what to call it, because it has components of a pudding, a butter spread, a filling, or a jam type substance.

I read a number of different recipes and they all seemed to be describing the making  of a slow cook scratch pudding. So that is the way I decided I would put this concoction together.  Like a pudding…that I was going to can.  Yes, I intended to can a couple of the jars.

First, get your jars ready.  I had 4  1/2 pint jars, an old glass lidded 1/2 pint jar, and a regular pint jar.  I intended to can the conventional 1/2 pint jars, freeze the pint jar and will eat out of the other jar first.  This will allow me to see how the curd holds up with different preserving styles.   I sterilized the jars and had them kept hot in an oven.  I also had my rings and lids simmering on the stove.

To make the Curd you need:

6 lemons (Meyer’s are the best, but whatever is available will work if they are juicy)

6 eggs (I had a few of those around)

1 cup butter (I used regular sweet butter)

You also need:

A zester or small grater for the lemon rind.  A medium sized saucepan with water about 1″ deep  and a bowl (I read somewhere that metal is best)to sit inside the pot without touching the bottom.   Or…you can use a double boiler! Also collect a whisk, juicer, measuring cups, wooden spoons, a strainer or jelly bag or cheesecloth to strain the pulp and seeds out of the juice.

First I zested the lemons.  Zest doesn’t stay fresh and colorful very long so don’t do this step until you are ready to put this together from start to finish.  I got about 3 tablespoons of zest from my lemons.

Rolling the lemons gets more juice out!

Rolling the lemons gets more juice out!

I then rolled each lemon under the palm of my hand back and forth a few times to get the juices easy to express.  I cut the lemons in half and using my handy dandy hand juicer I squeezed and twisted and pressed and swirled those lemons extracting as much of the zingy juice as I could. As the reservoir filled I dumped the contents into my jelly bag that was sitting over a 2 cup measurer. The juice and rinds were set to the side.

Fresh zest and lemon juice being strained.

Fresh zest and lemon juice being strained.

I took the metal bowl and cracked 3 whole eggs into it.  I also seperated three eggs and poured the yolks into the bowl with the other eggs and set the whites aside for another use another time.  I whisked the eggs quite vigarously.  I then added the sugar and all the lemon juice (this was 1 1/3 cups for me).  I whisked it some more and then added the butter and zest.

My sugar was a little beat up.  I had hauled baking supplies with me on my travels the week before Christmas.  Evidently it got a little damp in the box in the back of the pickup.  Whoops!  I hope the chunks will cook out.  This is the last of a 10 lb. bag I bought in August!  Over 4 months for one bag, and that was with holiday cooking!  Not bad in my conversion to honey, maple syrup and other natural sweeteners.  But not today.  Today was the real deal day!

Chunky Sugar.  The last of a bag I bought in August.

Chunky Sugar. The last of a bag I bought in August.

The water in the pan is on med-low and is barely at a simmer.  Just a few little bubbles causing the water to move slightly were visible.  I had placed a canning ring in the  bottom of the pan to keep the bowl from touching the bottom and for stability of the bowl. I put the bowl inside the pan and the process had begun.

Metal ring in bottom of pan.

Metal ring in bottom of pan.

This requires gentle stirring and NO RUSHING.  If you rush, you will have flecks of cooked egg in your curd.  A visual distraction to the beautiful smoothness I was working towards.  I used the whisk and just kept stirring in a figure 8 fashion, being sure to swirl up against the edges of the pan frequently.  If you hear the water bubbling…it is too hot.  You should not hear bubbles. If you do, turn the heat down and keep stirring.  You will see the lovely color and smooth richness before your eyes as it cooks into a molten pudding.  I cooked mine for about 10 minutes.  I used the metal spoon test.  I dropped some hot pudding onto the back of a metal spoon and it clung nicely to it, with no runniness and lumps.

A nice coating on the back of the metal is done!

A nice coating on the back of the metal is done!

I poured the curd into the prepared jars and placed the lids on them.  I put the 4 1/2 pint jars into the water canner.  They require a 20 minute processing time.

Canned lemon curd

Canned lemon curd

Now it was time for the taste test.  I made a piece of toast and slathered some of the sunshine yellowy goodness across it and had a bite.  Amazing.  A bright happy taste happening in my mouth.  Zingy but not too puckery. I see a cake in the future, with this as a filling.  But for now, I will just lick my lips after each bite of my elegant toast.

I need to find a few more jars.  I also have Tangelo’s and Grapefruit I wanted to try next!  I intend to just substitute the juice and zest from these other fruits and keep everything else in the recipe the same.

This recipe left me with lemon rinds, egg shells and egg whites that needed using.

All but 2 tbspns. of the lemon rinds were sliced and put in a crock and covered with vinegar.  They will become a lemon cleaner after sitting in the crock with a bag tied over the top for a few weeks.

The remaining lemon was chopped up very very fine and put in a small bowl with 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 2 tbspns of grapeseed oil.  I mixed all of this up and used it as an exfoliating scrub in my bath.  Made my skin feel so clean and smooth.

The egg shells will either be used in one of the chickens treats, or I may use them to start some of my herbs in.  The egg whites will be used in a chicken snack or in something I cook the next day or so.  Nothing got thrown away.  🙂

Off to finish up the Pork and Lentil soup that is in the crock pot.  Maybe that recipe will show up later.  Hope you all have a lovely day.