June 2011 Chickens in the Road Newsletter

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*Feature: Morning in the Farmyard

*Kitchen Extra: A New Gasket

*My Favorite Thing Right Now: Black Gold

*Recent Highlights: A Deflowering, Rosemary Remembrance Cake, Wild Mullein, and More

*Sneak Peek: Art!

*Farm Bell Recipes: Monthly Contributor Giveaways

*Blast from the Past: Milk Mouth

*Feature: Morning in the Farmyard

The chickens are up early. They peck across the grass, happy in the day. Roosters crow. Mommies and lambs wake. Big sheep want to graze in the dew. Little sheep want to bounce. Bounce and hop and leap. Little sheep love new days. They didn’t know there was going to be another one! Where did it come from? They dance. Goats peek, wondering if it’s worth their time to get up yet. Maybe not. They’ll think about it again in another hour. Birds chatter in the trees. The sun burns a hole in the clouds and shines over the hills.

Chicks chirp.

Donkeys bray somewhere down in the meadow.

A pretty brown cow moos at the gate. It’s time to milk.

Babies do their own milking.

It’s morning in the farmyard and all is well.

*Kitchen Extra: A New Gasket

I have a 16-quart Mirro-Matic pressure cooker/canner. The gasket started looking “ribbony” –meaning, it was kinda wavy along the edges. It didn’t look like that last year or the year before, sat flat, so I thought it was time for a new gasket. On the Mirro-Matic parts page in the booklet that came with it, it lists the 16-quart as using a 9882S gasket.

So I ordered this gasket here, which says it fits a 9882S Mirro. I put the new gasket in, oiled it, tried to can some sauce. The lid went on the way it should, in the locked position, but never sealed fully locked. You could move it. I finally gave up and put the sauce away to try again another day. The next day, before giving up on the new gasket, calling the company, searching the internet for another gasket seller, spending money (!) and so on, I went back to the website where I bought the new gasket to see if I could find a clue. Operator error is always a possibility….. I’ve never used a brand new gasket before.

The instructions at the website say this: “Soak gasket in hot water 10-15 minutes before using. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Lubricate gasket lightly with cooking oil or shortening the first 1 or 2 times only. Place pressure cooker gasket in lid of pressure cooker. (If gasket is a little big this is typical of Mirro pressure cooker gaskets.) Lay the gasket out as flat as you can get it to lay, not looped in one place but wavy all the way around. Put lid on pressure cooker, go ahead and use pressure cooker or boil water in pressure cooker and let cool. The new gasket will seal to lid.”

When I used the new gasket the first time, I did all of that EXCEPT soaking it in hot water 10-15 minutes first. Perhaps that is key. So, I followed the instructions exactly that next morning, including the step I left out of soaking the gasket in hot water first. I didn’t re-can my sauce yet as I wanted to test first, so I just used water in the canner. It came to pressure! (And in a normal timely way.) And I had my pressure canner back!

I wrote about this incident on the Chickens in the Road forum and other members reported having had the same problem with gaskets, so I wanted to share this in the newsletter. One member also remembered that her mother always soaked her gasket each year before canning season. If you’re having trouble with your pressure canner, whether it’s a new gasket or you just haven’t used your canner in a while, try soaking the gasket!

*My Favorite Thing Right Now: Black Gold

I’m hunting for treasure.

My obsession for the month has been raspberries. Old-fashioned black raspberries. And lots of ’em. More than I could have imagined! See Walks with Berries, if you missed it. And hang on. July is blackberry time!

*Recent Highlights: A Deflowering, Rosemary Remembrance Cake, Wild Mullein, and More

Barn: Beulah Petunia got all fancied up (We Decided on a Flower) and went down the road to see her beau! She got well and suitably Deflowered, so I’m hoping for a calf. I was very, very happy for her to come home. Find all my farm animal stories here.

Cooking: I’ve been straightening out my storage in The Freezer Section, baking Rosemary Remembrance Cake, and staging a Kitchen Rebellion. Don’t miss a thing in my kitchen! Get all my recipes.

Country Living: I have another high school Graduate–how did that happen? Meanwhile, I’ve been pondering This Life (self-sustainable) and starting the Countdown to the Retreat! See all my country living stories.

House & Garden: Learn all about The Wild Mullein and I, see me break down and actually do some gardening when Calling Johnny Pie-Seed doesn’t help, and keep up with my progress on the downstairs project. Browse all my posts in house & garden.

*Sneak Peak: Art!

I have an artist!

I posted, Calling All Artists, and was thrilled when Kelly Walker of Kelly Walker Studios took me up on my offer of a farm stay and workshops in exchange for art in my downstairs project. Kelly created the beautiful painting of Annabelle (above) as a lamb, and has painted some of my other farm animals in the past. I know she will do amazing things for me, and I can’t wait to show you the process step-by-step as it happens!

*Farm Bell Recipes: Monthly Contributor Giveaways

In case you missed it, Farm Bell Recipes blog contributors are now eligible (and automatically entered) in a giveaway each month in which one contributor will be drawn (by random.org, using the days of the month that posts run) to receive a prize. Each month’s prize (and previous month’s winner) is listed here in the newsletter and on the Farm Bell Recipes blog submission page, updated each month. (If you submit a post, you will be notified in advance as to when your post will run. Posts run as space is available and are subject to editorial approval.)

If you’re not sure how to submit a blog post, you can find a tutorial on submitting blog posts to Farm Bell Recipes here. The prize for the July contributor giveaway is a yogurt maker. The June contributor giveaway winner of a dehydrator was Larissa!

To submit a blog post and get more information, go here.

June 2011 Farm Bell Recipes blog contributors:

Annesaneries — anne’s-âneries
Charley Cooke — Cooke’s Frontier
CindyP — Chippewa Creek ~ Our Life Simplified
Dreamingofpoultry — Dreaming of Poultry
Farmershae — The Broken Badger
Heather B – I Wanna Farm
Kerrie — City Girl Farming
Larissa — The Henway
Mom 2 Girls
Robin from Rurification — Rurification
Sheryl — Providence Acres
The Southern Lady Cooks — The Southern Lady Cooks

THANK YOU! Please give them a visit!

*Blast from the Past: Milk Mouth

My sweet lamb-pup!


No, not the new lamb-pup (you didn’t miss Annabelle’s new puppy, did you?)–the OLD lamb-pup, Annabelle herself. One thing I miss with this new lamb-pup is the bonding a lamb does with you when it’s bottle-fed. Babies love their mamas, and this time it’s not me and a bottle. Look back at some of the fun with Annabelle when she was a pup in Milk Mouth.


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*I’m giving away a Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving once a week (sometimes more!) so don’t forget to watch the blog for The Ball Blue Book Project days.

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