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    • Wed, Mar 30, 2016 - 05:19pm

      #3

      Mary Aceves

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      Joined: Aug 23 2010

      Posts: 132

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      onions, eggplant, sweet potatoes,

    I have had good results dehydrating onions.  I like sweet Vidalia onions, so when they are in season I buy a lot.  If they are not boiled first they will discolor, so I let them blanche about 3 minutes then chill them under cold water and dip them in lemon juice before putting them on the dehydrator trays. .  They don't have the awful smell everyone complains about that way either.

     

    Eggplant can be tricky to cook, and having it prepared in advance is very convenient.  I put peeled and sliced eggplant in water with lemon, then put on the dehydrator trays.  They are just like paper when they are done and will absorb whatever you cook them with.

     

    Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and pumpkin are all done the same way.  They have to be cooked before they are dried.  You can cook until just done and slice them or cook some more and mash them down and dry them as flakes. They keep that nice orange color too when dried.  Either way is very convenient.  They are pre-cooked, so consider that when cooking with them.

     

    Dehydrated hash browns are  very convenient.  I buy the frozen hash browns that only have a treatment for discoloration and nothing else.  I put them straight on trays, spray some water to thaw them, then into the dehydrator they go.  

     

    Like Wendy said, peppers  are easy to dehydrate. Just slice and put on trays and into the dehydrator.  Any chili pepper will probably bother your eyes, so be careful with those.

     

    Tomatoes aren't hard.  The best for dehydrating are the meaty type that don't have much juice.  Romas and cherry tomatoes can work too.  Slice into half or fourths, and just dry.  I think the Italian custom is to partially dehydrate, then put them in oil instead of water. Dehydrated they are, well, dry.  They are good for soups, stews, and cooked dishes.

     

    You can get purchased raisins and dehydrate them down further, until they are hard and not sticky.  They should last longer that way.  We don't grow grapes much around here, but grapes can be sliced and dehydrated.

    Raspberries are very pretty dehydrated.

    Blueberries are tricky, because the skins are so tough.  You can boil them and then pop the skins, or put them in the blender and mix them with something like applesauce or bananas to make a leather.

    Apples and bananas are classic for dehydration.  Add some lemon juice to keep the color.

    If you want to make candy, you can dehydrate watermelon.  Slice, remove the black seeds, dry,  and it will shrink way down. Takes a long time, but you end up with an ugly Jolly Rancher.

     

    Dehydrated vegetables will last a long time if they are properly stored.  I use glass canning jars and use both the oxygen absorbers and the Food Saver jar contraption.  The double sealed jars have not failed me, the single method jars sometimes start to take in air.  Also keep them in a dark, cool, dry place–light will cause discoloration, heat will speed deterioration, and humidity will ruin the effect of dehydration.  They say that properly stored they will last 20 years.  All I know about is five years and those look pretty good.  Check on your jars from time to time,so if you are losing a seal (push down the lid of the jar–if it moves it's lose) go ahead and pull those from storage to use soon.  You can reseal them in the kitchen so they don't continue to deteriorate while you decide what to do with them.

     

    If you don't have a dehydrator but want to play anyway, Harmony House dehydrated foods are very good quality and you can put them up the same way.

     

     

    • Thu, Feb 13, 2014 - 09:38pm

      #4

      Mary Aceves

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      Joined: Aug 23 2010

      Posts: 132

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      Augusta

    Augusta got slammed.  I have food and water, a propane stove, gas heat with a battery thermostat, hot water and plenty to eat—–but I am really bored!  Looking out the window watching trees fall is good for a while, and watching the dog jump around on the ice is fun. I read a book, made a fire… I don't like to remember how many of my favorite activities rely on some electricity.  Apparently the light show last night was transformers exploding. 

    My son came to pick me up so we could go save the vaccines from his clinic and get them into another refrigerator.  I wouldn't have skated out in my car, but his truck is set up for this kind of thing. That's where I am now, at the clinic with electricity, all alone.

    We went out for lunch—McDonald's was so crazy full, people could barely fit inside and there were two lanes of customers outside.  So we found a Wendy's open-also full, but since they aren't taking credit cards, not so much.  People said they had gone to the grocery stores that were open but nothing was on the shelves.

    I'll be OK–there's a lot of things worse than boredom.  I suppose I'll go home…I have flashlights and candles and plenty to eat if I can heat water.  The rest of the city is in much worse shape than I am.

    • Tue, Nov 05, 2013 - 04:42pm

      #3

      Mary Aceves

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      education rant

    I was an adjunct professor once—two years of unpredictable hours and income, very low on the academic social ladder, no benefits, reading stories of people on welfare making more than me.  That was more than twenty years ago, before I jumped into public education.  Part time professorship has always been a risky business.

    He has other links to his articles about professors who don't keep office hours, who embarrass students in front of the class, of classes taught by graduate assistants,  of classes so large that the students never get to meet the professor.  On top of all of that, the student is going deeper and deeper into debt.

    Then he criticizes the MOOCs.  All his points are valid.  The professor does sell his expertise to hundreds of thousands of students who probably would never go to his school and take his course.  Half of them are not even in his country.  I am taking a class now with about a hundred thousand students in it.

    I would like to say this again:  These MOOCs are not for lazy students who want information spoon fed to them.  There is no professor to calm down emotional kids.  The work in some classes is on a very high level and peer review of compositions is often brutal.  There is no effort to use special effects or to make it entertaining.  There is no real credit at the end when you have finished.  There is no "cheat control", but if you aren't getting a credit anyway, it is very easy to get out of it.  The dropout rate is very high.

    However, there are so many classes, you should be able to find one that interests you.  You can turn on captions or rerun the video if the professor makes no sense at all to you.  The readings are usually free, right there on line.  You can learn to be conversant on topics you never studied when you were in school, and you can be exposed to ideas you had never been exposed to.

    These universities are expecting there to be a big shift in the future towards more mechanized education.  Perhaps there will be a student body that does two years of work on line and two years on campus.  Maybe students will do lectures on line and practicums with the teachers.  It would free the teacher to do more than lecture–to really teach students, to actively work with them, to have those office hours and paid time for research.

    Right now these classes are offered for free.  I doubt that they will continue to do this indefinitely.  After they work out the "bugs" I am sure they will charge a fee that will still be accessible to people all over the world, maybe about the value of one of their college textbooks.

    It's going to be a brave new world out there….

    • Thu, Oct 03, 2013 - 04:13pm

      #23

      Mary Aceves

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      education

    I agree, Ken.

    I was an ESL teacher, teaching English to the new kids from other countries.  How long should that take?

    We used to phase the students out after a few years as their skills improved.  Now there is a test that is harder than the grade level testing so that the students have to be better than the American kids to get out of that class.  That puts low performing kids who have been in the U.S. for say, 10 years, in the same class with the new students.  They get all the benefits of a special  student that doesn't know English when in fact the problem is more lack of motivation.

    It was time for me to retire.

     

    • Fri, Sep 20, 2013 - 01:59pm

      #7

      Mary Aceves

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      tomato hornworm

    A tomato hornworm.

    I wish all the pests were as easy to rid of as he is.  Scary looking, but easy to find and pick off.  The butterfly stage is big too—reminds me of an ugly hummingbird.  You see them darting around in strangest places, like Walmart parking lots, just looking for  another tomato to devour.

    • Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - 06:43pm

      #12

      Mary Aceves

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      If they are out of the sun

    If they are out of the sun and away from direct heat, an established colony with lots of moisture can go above 90 degrees F.  I cover the bin with a wet towel or bring it in the house if it gets above 95 degrees, but it hasn't this year.

    • Thu, Sep 12, 2013 - 04:27pm

      #6

      Mary Aceves

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      new worm bin

    I have all of the systems on Jason's post and a couple I made myself.  I like the Worm Farm 360 the best, with a set of extra  trays.  The system is small and the trays shallow, so eventually you will be running 7 trays on top of each other.  To harvest a tray, put that finished tray on top, shine a light on it, and let the worms move down into a working level.  They will dive down to avoid the light and the tray will be vacated and easier to harvest.  I use a screen too, to avoid clumping and big pieces.  In warm weather that is about every two weeks.

    You will still have coccoons in that compost you just took out.  You can worry about them and pick them out, not worry and use it anyway, or set it aside and let those little worms hatch in a "nursery" bin like one of Jason's.

    I put new bedding in the tray below my working trays so that any drip goes down into that–so I don't have a mess at the bottom of the system and it is ready to be the new tray when the time is right.

    I have the Can O Worms too.  It is large and bulky, the trays are heavy, it takes longer to get the tray ready to harvest, and there is too much leachate in the bottom of the system.  I have to psych myself up before digging into it.  It does work, and is the model these other systems are copying.

    I think the homemade bins are harder to handle and take more work.  I use them though.  I have some for baby worms, and I have some to finish off compost from the larger compost bin.  It would be easier to have a die off in one of these too.  

    Remember if you have a die off of mature worms, the coccoons are very resilient–they don't all hatch at once, and they will repopulate your system if you give them a chance.

    • Mon, Aug 26, 2013 - 01:34pm

      #2

      Mary Aceves

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      wrong preps

    I planted drought resistant plants and prepared for another long, hot, dry summer like we've had the last two years. Instead, we got a cool, rainy summer with so much water the garden started to mildew on the vine and new bugs showed up.

    Climate "change" means we have to be ready for anything, I suppose.

    • Mon, Aug 19, 2013 - 02:46am

      #1667

      Mary Aceves

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      disturbing

    That is a very disturbing article.  I am afraid she is right, and that it explains why deniers are so passionate in their denial of climate change.

    • Sun, Jul 14, 2013 - 12:46am

      #4

      Mary Aceves

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      clemson

    Thank you.  I'll check it out.

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