Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Easy Knit Loop Scarf Using Homespun Thick and Quick

I love the look of the loop scarves being sold in stores, so I had to make my own. Then I had to make my daughter one and next I’ll be making one for my future daughter-in-law.

The wonderful thing about these scarves is that they are so warm and so easy to knit. I can wrap it around twice for a loose fit or I can wrap it around thrice for a tight, warmer fit.

Yarn: Homespun Thick and Quick (super bulky 6)

Needles: US 17

Cast on 16 stitches, leaving a 12 inch tail.

Knit every row until you have about 36 inches left of yarn. Bind off.

It will look like you’ve made a long, thick scarf. Bring both ends together and sew them using the leftover yarn. Weave in excess and you are done.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Basic Cornmeal Pancakes

I used to make these pancakes all the time for my older kids. Now that they eat a wider variety of breakfast food, I make these about once a month.

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 tbsp melted butter

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, mix together milk, egg, and butter. Pour into dry ingredients and mix. Cook the pancakes on a hot and lightly greased griddle. Serve immediately with maple syrup.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

7 Ways Beginning Writers Can Make Money Online

The decision to become an online writer can be daunting, at first. Take baby steps and learn one platform at a time. Spend time writing for a content site and learning what brings in hits and what doesn't. Start your own blog or website and earn an income through Adsense or Amazon Associates. Create your own courses, teaching others the skills you already have. It doesn't matter what you choose, as long as you stop dreaming about becoming a writer and take the actual steps to become one.

1. HubPages

Since the closing of Squidoo and the downfall of Bubblews, HubPages remains the strongest online content site for beginners to write for. Write articles on just about everything and get involved in the community. In time, you will be able to build up a good passive income on articles that will continue to bring in an income month after month.

2. Fiverr

Sell your writing skills on Fiverr. Offer to write blog posts, articles, and even press releases.

3. Kindle Books

Write Kindle books. This is my favorite way to create a passive income. Even beginning writers can write a book and put it up for sale on Amazon's Kindle.

4. Udemy

Put your talents and writing skills to use by creating online courses. Teach people new skills and get paid for it.

5. Zemandi

Zemandi doesn't pay much, but it is fairly easy to use and as you get more work accepted, you learn how to write blog posts and content that will sell.

6. Google Adsense

Apply for Google Adsense. With an Adsense account, you can monetize your blog and use it to make money on content websites.

7. Amazon Associates

Sign up for Amazon Associates and get a percentage from the sales you make through your website. Set up a blog on Google's Blogger for free and write book reviews. Link the reviews to their pages on Amazon. Build up a Twitter account and link to your reviews and directly to your books on your Twitter page.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Easy Knit Charity Hats for Women

I make these easy to knit hats for myself, my family, and to donate to various charities. I’ve made the instructions as simple as I could and included information on how to make small, medium, and large hats just by changing the knitting needle size.

I use medium worsted yarn. Red Heart’s Super Saver yard works great, as well as many other brands of worsted weight yarn.

YARN: Medium (4) worsted yarn.

NEEDLES: Size 7 (4.5 mm) makes a small. Size 8 (5 mm) makes a medium. Size 9 (5.5 mm) makes a large.

Cast on 70, leaving a long tail (about 12 inches) for sewing up the seam.

Begin with the hat’s brim.

Row 1: Knit 1, Purl 1 across.

Knit row 1 six times (6 rows total).

For the body of the hat, knit every row until the hat measures 9 to 10 inches in height.

Bind off and leave a long tail (about 12 inches) for closing the top of the hat.

To put the hat together, lay it out on a flat surface. Bring right sides together so that the wrong sides are facing out. This is important if you made a striped hat with leftover yarns. Pin side edges together (if you need to), making sure the knit rows are matching. Sew up the side of the hat, starting at the brim. Knot at end to hold the seam.

Use the bind off tail to weave in and out of the last row. Pull tight to gather the hat's top and knot in place. Weave in the ends and turn right side out.

Pompoms can be made from extra yarn and attached to the tops, if desired.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Why Do Apples Rot Inside Before They Drop?

Few things are more upsetting than seeing your homegrown apples (Malus domestica) fall from the tree without knowing why they are dropping. The quickest way to discover the cause of the sudden drop is to cut open a fallen apple to see if there is any sign of rot or mold in the core. Moldy core is a  fungal disease that affects an apple tree’s fruit, rotting the apples on the inside. Apples  grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 through 8 and many apple cultivars or varieties are susceptible to moldy core.


Several different fungal pathogens can cause moldy core in apples, including fungi from the Alternaria, Stemphylium  and Cladosporium genera. These fungal pathogens become a problem when the apple trees are blooming during wet weather or when there is dry weather in the early summer that is followed by a rainy late summer. Lush tree growth can also help harbor the detrimental fungus.


While infection can occur at any time, even after the apples are picked and placed in cold storage, it is most common for the fungus to infect the apple’s core or seed cavity by first colonizing the blossoms after they have just opened. The fungus enters into the developing fruit through the calyx or bottom opening. The moldy fungus usually stays contained within the apple's core, but if the moldy core fungus penetrates into the apple’s flesh, dry core rot will infect the entire apple, causing it to rot.


It is nearly impossible to detect moldy core just by looking at the tree and its fruit. The disease is not spotted on the outside of the fruit, on its skin, and it is not detected until the fruit is cut open. Sometimes the apples infected with moldy core will ripen prematurely and drop from the tree, but to find the cause of the problem, the fruit must be inspected for symptoms of moldy core.


There is very little you can do to save the fruit after moldy core has been detected. Attempts have been made to fight off the fungus with fungicides during the tree’s blooming cycle, but the results have been erratic and the practice is not recommended. The best method for combatting moldy core is to prevent or decrease further fungal problems. Pruning and tree training are recommended to improve the tree’s air circulation and sunlight.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Animals That Eat Blueberries

There is nothing more disappointing than discovering that something, other than yourself, has eaten your blueberries. There are numerous animals that will eat the blueberries you’ve planted. Here are a few of the common ones.


Birds love blueberries and will eat an entire crop if you don’t take measures against them. Netting is the most common way to protect your blueberry bushes from birds. A light frame is set up over the tops of the bushes and the netting is draped over the frame and down to the ground, protecting the entire bush from birds trying to get into or under the netting. The netting is only removed when it is time to harvest the berries.


While rabbits will occasionally eat the blueberry fruit, they cause most damage to the bushes young branches. During the winter months, rabbits will eat low growing blueberry branches when other food is hard to find. To prevent rabbits from eating your blueberry bushes, surround the bushes with fine chicken wire fence. Keep the fencing clear of snow to prevent rabbit from getting over the fencing when the snow gets high.


Skunks are nocturnal animals that eat many types of food, including berries. Skunks cannot climb fences, so putting up a chicken wire fence around your blueberry bushes will prevent them from getting to the ripe berries. Skunks can burrow, so bury a portion of the fence underground to prevent them from digging under the fence. Killing a healthy skunk is not recommended because skunks are known for eating other pests, such as wasps and bees, grasshoppers, potato bugs, and even snakes.


Chipmunks will gladly steal some blueberries from your bushes, if you let them. While electric fencing may help keep these small rodents away from your berry bushes, a simpler route is to put up a hardware cloth fence. The hardware cloth fence should be one foot above the ground with one foot buried below the ground to prevent chipmunks from burrowing under it. Repellant sprays are not safe for human consumption and should not be used on the blueberry bushes.


Bears will eat blueberries and many other kinds of berries while they are in season. As an important source of food, black bears can eat up to 30,000 berries in a single day. To keep bears away from your blueberry bushes, install an electrical fence around around your orchard and gardening area. Picking the blueberries as soon as they are ripe will also help keep away bears looking to eat ripe fruit.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Spanish Cream Recipe Topped with Sliced Peaches

Here is a delicious chilled dessert you can make for your family. The spanish cream can be topped with many different fruits, including berries, but I prefer to top it with either fresh or canned peach slices.

Makes 4 servings.

  • 1 Tbsp plain gelatin
  • 2 cups milk, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Soften the gelatin in a small dish containing 1/4 cup milk. Put the remaining milk, 1-3/4 cups, into a saucepan and scald over medium-high heat. Turn off the burner and add the gelatin mix, sugar, and salt. Stir until dissolved. Beat egg yolks lightly. Add a spoonful of the hot mixture and mix together. Pour yolk mixture into the saucepan and turn burner on at low. Stir mixture over low heat until it becomes a custard thick enough to coat a spoon. Turn off burner and remove the pan from the heat. Stir in vanilla. Let mixture cool and set. Beat mixture until fluffy. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mixture. Fill individual serving cups and chill in the refrigerator until firm. Serve topped with peaches and berries.