Review: Root Cellaring

This month’s book pick is for the avid gardener, and of course, anyone who is trying to find ways to live more simply. Mike and Nancy Bubel’s book, Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables, is a resourceful guide about natural cold storage for your fruits and vegetables.

Root cellaring makes it possible for you to enjoy your garden’s harvest in the dead of winter, long after the frost has set in. While preserving the harvest is one way to savor your garden through the year (such as canning or freezing), using a root cellar gives you another way to enjoy your harvest. And as the Bubels point out, it can save you money too. Continue reading

Peach Perfect Pickle Pitch Perfect!

Choose your size: 4 oz to 1 quart regular mouth jars available at Lehman’s in Kidron or at

Peaches are in season, and I know that I’ll be canning some soon.

Recently, I found some canned peaches and one lonely, dusty jar of pickled peaches that I had forgotten all about.

It was such a treat to contemplate, especially on a cold, damp, dreary afternoon. I pulled out some pork chops to cook up for dinner as a juicy piece of pork with a garlicky glaze is the perfect foil for the tart, spicy sweetness of the peaches.

I’ll pass on my Peach Perfect Pickle recipe but with a caveat. I include the directions for canning this pickle but if you do can it, you will lose some of the texture of the peach. It’s still good, mind you, but to fully appreciate this pickle you really should make up a batch and keep it on the shelf. My family can eat two quarts in a sitting but we are serious eaters and there are quite few of us. Continue reading

Things Looking Up For Country Life!

Greetings, everyone!

BarneycatonboardwalkYour patience while Country Life has been sorting out behind the scenes technology issues has been very appreciated. At this point, thanks to the hard work of Chris, our IT wizard, and Diane, our marketing team tech guru, we seem to be ready to roll.

Please be aware there may be some rough spots. You might have to re-register to post comments on entries. Please do so! Your opinions and thoughts are vital to us, and let us know the topics most important to you. Here on Country Life, you have the opportunity to engage with us and with each other in extended discussions. We can all learn and trade ideas easily, and we’d like to keep that happening here.

If you try to pull up a particular story, and it doesn’t quite work, try hitting the back button on your browser. Hit the link again, and it should work. Our foundation programming is ‘learning from scratch’, and links to some stories may be a little slow until everything evens out.

If you continue to have trouble, you can contact Country Life using the “Contact Us” email link below. Tell us what browser you’re using, and what issues you’re experiencing. If we can help, we will. We can’t provide personalized support to every person, but if we see a trend happening, it will give our programming folks an idea of where to look for problems.

We’re all on this journey of sustainable, sensible, thirfty, moderate and responsible living together. Keep in touch!

Easy How-To: Make Your Own Potato Flakes

potatoesBecause the ingredient list in commercial instant mashed potatoes is longer than my arm and mostly completely unpronounceable, and because we NEVER eat the whole bag of potatoes before they become something from a horror movie that gives me nightmares when I look into the potato box, I dehydrate a lot of spuds in various forms.

Costs to start
One 10 pound bag of potatoes (conventionally grown): cost $2.98

Gas for the stove and electricity for the dehydrator/grinder/lights so I can see, water to wash/boil/rinse with, fuel and maintenance portion for the grocery run during which I acquired these items, amortization cost of items used during the production: =/-$1.00
(Frankly, it’s less, but I’m gonna just be lazy about it, this is about dehydrating, not higher math with fractions)

Total cost for homemade potato goodness: $3.98. Continue reading

“Gypsy” Chickens Live It Up In The ‘Burbs

The 'coop', a replica vardo (gypsy wagon) gives the flock shade and is portable.

The ‘coop’, a replica vardo (gypsy wagon) gives the flock shade and is portable.

Just outside the city limits of Mansfield, Ohio, there are 13 chickens living the high life. Their coop, styled like a gypsy’s wagon (called a vardo), is custom-made from leftover lumber and other supplies. And their staff (so the chickens’ owner could be called) is having the time of her life raising this batch of roosters.

“They’re eventually going to the freezer. It’s all part of a goal to make our household as productive as I can,” says Ann. (Country Life won’t print her last name, to honor her privacy.) Continue reading