Friday, August 24, 2012

Saving Seeds

Yesterday, while doing my weekly shopping, I decided to go to the local Mart store, and see if they had any seeds still. I always buy my seeds around August, as it's cheaper and I just store them until the spring. To my surprise, I was to late! They were sold out! There went those plans!

With the season's fruit still being somewhat cheap, I decided to start looking for a way to save the seeds from the produce I've bought. I've just bought a couple of cucumbers, some bell peppers, and some tomatoes, from the local Farmers Market. I didn't plant a garden this year, after just having a baby, so I've had to rely on the produce from the Market.

After searching online, I found some easy ways to save the seeds from your produce, including this one from TipNut

When saving seeds from this year’s harvest for next year’s, you’ll find best results with heirloom tomatoes rather than hybrids (hybrids are typically the ones you purchase in grocery stores and regular greenhouse seedlings). Once you make your initial purchase of heirlooms, you’ll be able to do this year after year. Farmers markets are a great place to find them.
Here’s how you do it:
  • Cut tomatoes in half then squeeze out the pulp into a clear glass container (wide mouth mason jar or small bowl for example).
  • Add a couple tablespoons of water (double the amount if there isn’t much juice) then cover jar or container with a piece of cheesecloth (a coffee filter will work well too), secure in place with an elastic band.
  • Leave the container to sit at room temperature for about 4 or 5 days until you notice a layer of white scum/mold form on the top (this process is fermenting).
  • Skim off the white scum then pour into a large bowl, fill with cool water and let sit for a minute or two. Pour off the water, keeping the seeds that are resting on the bottom and allowing the ones floating on top to pour off (the ones floating on top are not viable).
  • Pour the saved batch into a fine sieve or strainer and rinse under cool running water until they are clean and no pulp or gel remains (stir and shake the sieve while doing this to help speed up the process).
  • Tap the sieve a few times to remove excess water then pour them onto a paper plate or coffee filter. Arrange them so that they are in a single layer.
  • Allow to dry for about a week to 10 days, stirring the batch every day gently with your finger to help promote an even drying process.
  • Once they’re fully dry, store them in a glass jar (sealed), envelope or packets and keep in a cool, dark location until ready to use.
A few tips:
  • Don’t mix different varieties…make sure to save only one variety of tomatoes per container (if saving more than one variety, make sure to label the container). Wash all tools and hands well before moving on to the next variety.
  • Select healthy and prized specimens that are really ripe for the best results, this will give you a better chance of preserving quality seeds for next season’s crop.
  • Removing all the gel/coating before drying is necessary because this is what prevents them from germinating.
  • They can last for quite awhile when properly stored and can still produce impressive yields up to 5 years after being first dried
Pretty easy sounding, right? I also found this LINK   on saving seeds for beginners. I plan on buying some cantaloupe, watermelon, and some other veggies and fruits this week, so I can start saving the seeds.

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Google Fiber is Coming!

My husband is a huge technology guy.  I've made no secret about his knowledge of computers, about how he is THE guy to go to about anything computers. I'm not just saying that, I could give you about 5 dozen people, off the top of my head, who he has helped. He knows what he's talking about. I say all this to tell you about his latest venture, into Google Fiber. When he heard about Google Fiber, back a couple of years ago, he was really hoping that it was going to be coming to Kansas soon. Then, Kansas won the bid to put the fiber in, he was excited! His voice was heard loud and clear, on the internet, about Google Fiber, that he was even interviewed about it, on the news.

Since then, my husband has been doing everything that he can to raise awareness in our community; so that we can get Google Fiber where we live. He has become an Ambassador,getting the word out that Google Fiber is coming! He has gone to meetings, at the Google Fiber  building, worked his butt off, got his company involved in working with Google Fiber, and much more. And, finally the day comes when he gets this email:

From: Google Fiber Team <>
Date: Mon, Aug 20, 2012 at 4:57 PM
Subject: Congratulations, your area is going to get some Fiber!
To: H************

Google Fiber

your area is going to get some Fiber!

Because you and your neighbors pre-registered, 
your fiberhood has reached its goal. That means
 you'll be one of the first neighborhoods in the nation 
with ultra high-speed Internet. But there's more you
 can do — the construction order for Kansas City
 will be determined by your fiberhood’s ranking on
 September 9. The more households to pre-register, 
the earlier we will begin connecting your fiberhood.
 You can help bring Fiber to your area even sooner
 by encouraging others to join up, too.

After September 9th, we will announce when you

 should expect us in your fiberhood and send more
 details about choosing your package. Until then,                                   
 check your fiberhood’s progress and join us at one
 of our local Kansas City events.

Thanks again for helping to bring Fiber to Kansas City.

- The Google Fiber Team

Boy, was he ever excited when he showed the email to me! But his work doesn't end here. He just came home, today, from a meeting at the Google Fiber store, learning new ways to help get the word out about how this can help so many people.

One thing that we want to raise awareness on, is that this isn't just for the schools and libraries, but also for the homeschooling families. Can you imagine how fast it would be to do the research you needed, on Google Fiber, instead of your normal internet speed? How fast could you look up the history of the Presidents? If you live in the Kansas City area, and are able to sign up for Google Fiber, why wouldn't you?  We're ecstatic about Google Fiber coming to our house, and can't wait! Let's do this! For the community, for the schools, for the libraries, for the homeschoolers!

Until Next Time,

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Breastfeeding Awareness

August 1-7 is Worldwide Breastfeeding Awareness week. Normally, during this time, I spend extra time helping new moms establish a supply, help pass out information to moms at the WIC office, and try to really make women aware of how good breastmilk is for your baby. This past week has been no different. I am blessed to be part of a great LLL group and we did alot of that this past week.

I am really encouraged by the way that people are trying to bring light to breastfeeding issues, and making sure that women understand that formula is not just a substitute for breastmilk. Don't get me wrong, I know some women who just couldn't breastfeed. They tried, but with work schedules or medical reasons, they couldn't, and I don't fault them a bit. I've consoled more then 1 new mom, who felt that she failed her baby. It's not a great feeling.

I think the problem today is a lack of support in the hospitals. I've shared my own story of how I was told by the hospital lactation consultant to use formula, because I was having alot of pain nursing. Instead of trying to help me find a way to stop it, she just wanted to throw formula at me. I'm not one to give up, and because I did my research, I knew that there was no way I was giving my baby formula. But, not every new mom knows where to look for the research, and because we're told that the hospitals are doing what's best for us, we just do as we're told.

St. Louis, MO has put up signs all over to support breastfeeding. I think one way that we can help new moms succeed in nursing to make it ok to nurse in public. Oh I know that it's legally ok, in fact most states have a law saying that a mom has the right to nurse in public, but I nurse in public and you get the rude people telling you how gross it is. It's not gross, it's normal, and I'm quick to set them straight.

Then you have people like Mayor Bloomburg who wants to lock up baby formula . While I don't doubt his intentions, I don't know that locking it up is the right thing to do. I think that if a mom requests formula, that it should be followed up with a visit from the lactation consultant to see if there are any issues, and see what they can do to help the mom breastfeed.

I also agree that the United States needs to get on board with extending maternity leave. I am very fortunate that I have such an amazing husband, who was so supportive of me quiting my job and staying home full time. But, there are so many families were that's not an option. The company I used to work for had a terrific breastfeeding room, were you could pump in private, and would allow you to break up your hour lunch so you could pump more during the day. I think more companies should follow suit. Trust me, a bathroom is NOT a suitable place to pump.

And finally, I think this is a terrific article.  I think more hospitals really do need to educate women that breast is not only best, but preferred. Most hospitals, and lactation consultants, are to quick to throw in the towel. God gave us the perfect food, for our babies, and people need to help women who are having a hard time producing or other problems. Not be so fast to throw a bottle of formula at them.

If you see a women nursing in public, please don't stare. I hope that in the next few years that we will not be so scandalized at the sight of a mom giving her child the perfect food, but will encourage her, help her and applaud her. It is a sacrifice, but it is so well worth it!

Until Next Time,

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