Saturday, June 23, 2012

robotic event

The boys participated in a Robotic competition at the Clark County Fairgrounds with their 4-H club.  Their team worked on programming the robot to complete certain tasks on the board.  Tasks were worth different points based on the complexity, and they had 2 1/2 minutes to get as much done as possible.

Getting ready to start

Off and running

Their award

Group photo of participants

This is their first year doing Lego Robotics, and they are really enjoying it.  In December, there will be a big competition with many teams participating, and they will be told in September what the challenges are.  This will give them about 3 months to design a robot and program it.  Over the summer, we hope to hone up on the skills needed so that when the time comes, they have enough knowledge to really have fun with the event.  This has been such a cool experience for them (and me!) by getting to see the work of other teams and how unique everyone's styles are.

Friday, June 22, 2012

duckling update

Our ducklings are getting so big it's hard to believe that they are only going on three weeks!  They are so sweet and funny that I can't get enough of them.  I love watching them waddle around, or swim in the tub Big J. set up for them, or snuggle down for a nap.  They are already eating small slugs (yay!), and I am anxious to have them get a bit bigger and set them loose in the garden for pest control. I had no idea that ducks could be so much fun.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

low sugar rhubarb jam update

A good friend gives me lots of rhubarb every year, and this year was no exception.  With another delivery of rhubarb coming next week, I have plenty to tinker around with and try out new recipes.

One new recipe was rhubarb syrup for seltzer water and drinks.  I like it, but it was a bit watery - it's used better as a juice in this case, and it is wonderful as such.  I'll have to try again with a different recipe and see how it turns out.

Another thing I updated was my low sugar Rhubarb jam recipe.  I like this version even more:

Low Sugar Rhubarb Jam - Take 2

6 1/2 cups diced rhubarb
2 cups water
2 TBSP. Lime Juice
3 cups sugar
1 box Mrs. Wages Lite Fruit Pectin

Add rhubarb, water, lime juice, and pectin to large sauce pan - stir and let sit for 10 minutes.
Bring to full boil, and add sugar.
Bring to a boil 1 minute, remove from heat.
Let sit three minutes, and stir to incorporate the rhubarb evenly through the mixture.
Process in half pint jars per your altitude according to directions on pectin box.

Makes 7 half pints, plus a bit extra for tasting.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

rose jam

My mom has a wonderful rose bush that is so pretty and fragrant.  A few years back, J. asked for transplant from this bush, and it has been growing hale and hearty at our place since.  The other day I was weeding around it and the smell reminded my of the hard rose flavored candies I enjoy and how long it's been since I've had them.  I got to thinking what else could be made with roses, and I thought about jam.  After doing some research on the internet, and making some jam which did not turn out at all based on the given recipe, I tinkered around and came up with a recipe that tastes and sets fabulously.  This is not low sugar, but I will try to get a basic recipe down for that and share it as well.

Rose Jam:
6-8 heavily petals old fashioned fragrant roses (the more fragrant, the better the flavor) - no sprays, and picked fresh in the morning
3 1/2 cups water
1/3 cup lime juice
4 cups. sugar
1 package Mrs. Wages fruit pectin

1) lightly wash the rose heads, and cut the petals off the rose into a large saucepan - leaving the white base of the petal on the head (this will add bitterness to your jam)
2) add water and lime juice, stir in pectin and let sit 10 minutes
3) bring to a boil over high heat
4) add sugar and bring to a boil - let boil one minute
5) remove pan from heat, and let sit a few minutes, then stir so rose petals are more evenly spread throughout the jam
6) ladle into sterile jars, seal, and process 5 minutes for half pints in water bath or steam canner

richly nuanced in flavor, this is an exotic delight

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

pretty irises

I love irises.  They smell so wonderful and add such a fantastic splash of color with minimal effort.  Here are my purple irises, but my color range is expanding.  Grandpa Ward brought me some yellow irises from his place.  Purple and Gold?  Sounds like UW colors to me.  Perfect!

Monday, June 4, 2012

so cute ducklings

A family that we are friends with gave us a dozen duck eggs to hatch.  Of these, eleven were viable, and 8 actually hatched!  We are over the moon for these sweet little critters.  They are simply adorable.  And, I can't believe how much more quiet they are than chicks.

A. and J. are both trying to get the ducklings to imprint on them.

Power napping

Already they love water.  I can't keep them out of their water bowl!

Big J. is talking of making a ramp for them to swim in our above ground water tank.  And making them a special house that is next to the tank so they have access to it anytime.  It's cute seeing how tickled he is with the babies; usually it's just me who is gaga over the fuzzy bugs.  To quote A. : They are adorableiz!