52 Comments

  1. ccr in MA
    June 17, 2016 @ 11:16 am

    Elvis certainly loves Paul! I mean, sharing her fuzzy ball?

    Reply

  2. Melinda
    June 17, 2016 @ 11:24 am

    I never comment but feel you should know how much I appreciate your efforts to educate me about things like pesticides and animal testing.

    Reply

  3. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
    June 17, 2016 @ 11:25 am

    Elvis sharing is a very good thing! Usually cats bond with one person and that’s it. That’s the way it was with out three cats. Oh they’ll tolerate being petted and cooed by others but their little hearts belong to one person. NOW!! Where were you with your canner idea when I had a kitchen full of steam trying to can dozens and dozens of green beans, tomatoes, applesauce, etc. That could have saved many so many hours. Paul could even have come over and sealed the jars 🙂 Nah, I wouldn’t ask that of the both of you but I would certainly have come over and borrowed yours. Have a great weekend.

    Reply

  4. Penny
    June 17, 2016 @ 11:35 am

    Bless you, you are fabulous and make my entire week!

    Reply

  5. Jeannette Olton
    June 17, 2016 @ 11:36 am

    When you freeze the liquefied tomatoes how do you keep the jars from breaking in the freezer. I have tried freezing liquids in jars and have lost at least 50% to breakage.

    Also, I just have to tell you how much I love reading your posts!!

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      June 17, 2016 @ 11:42 am

      SPACE! I fought the laws of thermodynamics a couple of times because I felt like I *should* be able to fit more in… but nature is an uncompromising woman, (which I respect) so I’ve learned to leave more space than I think I need.

      Reply

  6. Dianne Averill
    June 17, 2016 @ 11:49 am

    We don’t grow kale, but we grow tons of other stuff, and we freeze it all (except whole onions, celeriac and turnips). We do skin the tomatoes, and then put everything into plastic zipper bags. We freeze squash, zucchini, peppers, chopped onions and more. The herbs we grow get tied in bunches and hung from a rack in the kitchen. They smell wonderful, and when they are dry we use them in cooking.

    Reply

  7. Deborah
    June 17, 2016 @ 12:02 pm

    Thank you for adding your blog voice to bring greater awareness to the cruelty humans do to animals, sometimes due to the marketing distraction techniques (LOOK at the FLOWERS, not at the dead bodies of insects, birds, rodents and predators!) of big business – we must know so we can vote with our purchasing choices.

    I love seeing your name on (from reacting to) Marc Ching’s Animal Wellness FB page – he is very brave to document the horror so we can never become complacent and forget the atrocities and tell ourselves that it was never that bad.

    Sounds like Elvis is planning to make some sacrifices for her Dad this Father’s Day!

    ~Deborah

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      June 17, 2016 @ 12:08 pm

      Ah! I’m so glad to know that people who read here know who Marc Ching is!! He is a hero!! I cannot imagine the PTSD and depression that must come with his work, and I am in awe of him.
      xoxo

      p.s.- leaving his FB page for anyone not aware of Yulin dog festival.
      https://www.facebook.com/animalhopeandwellness/

      Reply

      • Deborah
        June 17, 2016 @ 12:12 pm

        Yes he is a hero – though he denies it!
        Thank you for posting his FB page!

        xoxo

        Reply

  8. Pattie C
    June 17, 2016 @ 12:09 pm

    I used your dead bird picture and the blurb about Scotts on my facebook page. Just letting you know.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      June 17, 2016 @ 12:31 pm

      thanks for spreading the word!! amazing what these companies will do to the planet we all inhabit!!

      Reply

      • Dan McArdle
        June 17, 2016 @ 9:29 pm

        I am so sorry to object in any way to your amazing work educating us on how the animal world is under attack. I really value this work. I learned that circuses still keep big cats, to my shock and horror, from you. I don’t want to be a huge wimp.

        But I can’t handle dead animal pictures on some days. Would it be possible to add ( a huge hassle, I know) technology that fuzzes out such things until you click, with a trigger warning? Or a warning at the beginning of the post? Am I being horrible asking such a question? Isn’t seeing things like this without expecting them part of being educated? I don’t know!

        Reply

  9. Jamie
    June 17, 2016 @ 12:11 pm

    Tell me how I can freeze fresh basil! The sun is getting hot down here in Texas, and my plants will be burned soon.

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      June 17, 2016 @ 12:30 pm

      I run it through the food processor with some garlic (totally optional, I grow it, so it’s sort of handy) add a bit of water to get a pesto-like consistency. Put into a mason jar, vacuum seal, freeze…

      OR if you don’t want to bother with the vacuum seal business, just put into small plastic containers to freeze, (or you can use ice cube trays for tiny single servings) once frozen, pop them out and wrap WELL (air is the enemy!) in saran wrap, then place all servings into freezer bag.
      Hopefully that all makes sense.

      Reply

      • Bobbles
        June 21, 2016 @ 3:48 am

        I freeze my basil zizzed with a bit of olive oil and some chopped garlic. I fill ice cube trays and freeze, then put the cubes into reusable snack bags that my DIL makes (https://www.etsy.com/shop/GreenThumbBrownBag?ref=pr_faveshops). Then I can pull however many cubes I need and it’ll last me all year. I do the same with many other of my herbs.

        Reply

  10. judy
    June 17, 2016 @ 12:48 pm

    I am reminded that if we look to the past humans managed to feed themselves quite well without resorting to any chemistry but natures. We had to accept that a certain percentage of food animals would not prosper and not all fruits and vegetables would look perfect. I remember as a kid in the forties discovering a small worm in my apple and being told by my mother to “eat around him”. Worms gotta eat too. I took him to the garden and scraped him in. Even as a little kid I knew worms were good in the garden. I can’t say that being so hot in the summer and cold in the winter was preferable to todays HVAC systems but I wonder if each generations comforts spell a future generations woes.

    What goes around does inevitably seem to come around. I think all of the ads for “stuff” and the constant push to buy buy buy or you can’t possibly compete and be happy causes so many of our problems. Stores filled to overflowing with stuff made by slaves, huge container ships plying the Oceans with stuff we once were smart enough to make ourselves. And Climate change is going to rear up and smack a future generation square in the gut. And what do we see from the “News” programs?

    Blather, Baloney and puppies to make us all believe that everything is perfect in this best of all possible Worlds. With voices like yours Victoria perhaps it will help-it certainly can’t hurt. Thank You

    Reply

  11. Serenity
    June 17, 2016 @ 1:15 pm

    I freeze greens all the time. I put them in a big ziploc bag. Occasionally I may have freezer burn, but it’s nothing I can’t overscome with seasoning

    Reply

  12. Kay
    June 17, 2016 @ 1:43 pm

    I agree mostly about all the insecticides, etc. If you were to wonder about our commitment to no chemicals, all you’d need to do is take a look at our lawn. With the profusion of weeds, it wouldn’t even have to be a good look–a passing glance would do. However, I have had Lyme disease once and do not care to have it again, so we have made an exception for tick control in our borders, which are the ideal environment for deer ticks. We are overrun with deer. As far as I can tell, the other bugs and the birds are still thriving.

    Reply

  13. Alena
    June 17, 2016 @ 1:52 pm

    Hi Victoria,
    Thanks for mentioning the Yulin dog festival – what a horror of horrors! As well as the other damages we humans so effectively inflict on animals.
    I just made my “mid-year” resolution (LOL) to freeze more stuff. What do you use the liquified tomatoes for, other than in soups and in pasta sauce? Each year, I think I should make a tons of pasta sauce (in early fall) and freeze it for winter, but I never do. Would have never thought of freezing kale but I don’t have the air-sucking thingy and I am not sure if I want to invest into yet another gizmo. 🙂

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      June 17, 2016 @ 1:58 pm

      Mostly for sauce-ish stuff… I’ll add zucchini/carrots/garlic/butternut squash… whatever I have so that the veg to tomato sauce is more ratio of veg, then put over whatever… grains, lentils, potato… etc.

      Reply

  14. Laura
    June 17, 2016 @ 1:59 pm

    I love reading your blog, seeing the email always makes me smile, even as I’m clicking. That said, has something changed in your formatting? Your header overlays 2″ of my visible screen, which is only 6″, and the advertising box on the bottom takes another 2″, leaving only 2″ of visible text at a time. So much white space in your header, is that triple space between the top line, Home …. House Projects….Read from Beginning, and the bottom line, Diversions? I understand why you need the 2″ advertising at the bottom, but this is the first time I’ve got tired reading, it’s difficult to do so 2″ at a time. How do I make your header disappear?

    Reply

    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      June 17, 2016 @ 2:38 pm

      Hey- THANKS for taking the time to let me know this!! I did change themes, and some layout stuff, and I checked all the devices I have access to, but of course that’s not all of them.

      Can you tell me what browser/device you’re using? That way I can try to see what you are seeing.
      Thanks for helping me fix this!!

      Reply

    • Laura
      June 28, 2016 @ 4:54 pm

      Hi, we’ve been north, house hunting, so I am just seeing this now. I am on a MacBook Pro, using Chrome, but everything is fine. I had been infected with a nasty malware that caused all sorts of problems, but now that it has been purged, your header is normal, ads are on the side, and I can read your latest post with ease and joy. Love the new kitchen color, what is it?

      We’ve been house hunting in the PNW, opened escrow this morning on house #8. Of the seven offers we’ve made since April, five were rejected by sellers and two we withdrew after failed inspections. In the fullness of time, we will do kitchen and some baths, but for now I will be content to pack and go. I want a dining room table that seats at least 9, so I’m already checking Craigslist up there. I learn from the master.

      Reply

  15. Lisa
    June 17, 2016 @ 3:37 pm

    Doesn’t kale taste, um—nasty?

    Reply

    • Alena
      June 20, 2016 @ 10:30 am

      Hi Lisa,
      Not at all. Of course, I cannot predict how your taste buds will react but I don’t find it nasty at all. I frequently make green smoothing that consist mostly from kale and spinach (or only kale or only spinach, depending on what I have) with some blueberries and strawberries throw in for a bit of sweeter taste.
      I also add hemp pellets (hmm, not sure what to call those – they are little chunks of hemp that I buy at a health food store, they contain a lot of protein [for a veg]). I usually make enough for 2 days but I found out the smoothie is still good on day 3 (if I accidentally forget about it).
      Try it!

      Reply

  16. Liz Thomas
    June 17, 2016 @ 3:55 pm

    And now I love you even more because of your passion and concern for our animals and our environment!!!!!

    Reply

  17. Wendy
    June 17, 2016 @ 4:06 pm

    I do can our tomatoes and salsa but I do not remove seeds or skin. I process them into tomato slurry and pressure can that to use for sauce all year. I can put down 80 lbs of tomatoes in a weekend this way and my picky eating kids have never said boo about the change. It all tastes like tomatoes indeed!

    Reply

  18. bluesuedeshoe
    June 17, 2016 @ 5:13 pm

    Adore that kale technique!!! Will be planting more next year and using your method. Girlfriend dries it. She uses just a touch of olive oil to keep her herb and garlic mix on it, then lines a cookie tin with wax paper and stores them in a cool dark place. Most of it is used in the winter in soups and it sure tastes good to me!

    Also all best to Elvis, been pulling for him here in CT.

    Reply

  19. cath
    June 17, 2016 @ 6:20 pm

    I have a Foodsaver that is half dead. The vacuum works, but the heating element doesn’t, so I can’t seal bags. I can vacuum containers. I don’t bother much. If you read comments about Foodsavers, lots of people have problems with them. They’re frustratingly unreliable. But, your idea is interesting. So nice to have the washing and chopping step of prepping kale out of the way when you’re making dinner. Do you dress up to cook in your beautiful kitchen? And dance from one side of the room to the other? I’m such a schlub, I guess I like to live your life vicariously by reading your blog. Carry on. Need to see kale in front of big fancy things.

    Reply

  20. Vickie
    June 17, 2016 @ 6:25 pm

    We have several fruit trees and we don’t spray them. Most people don’t understand but my sweet mother in law once said. “If bugs won’t eat it why would you want to”. We just eat the good parts and compost the rest. Easy!

    Reply

  21. Santerra Holler
    June 17, 2016 @ 6:47 pm

    I subscribed to you because I too love the Free section of Craigslist and was delighted to have my obsession justified by a complete stranger on the other side of the country via a hilarious blog.

    But I am BEYOND THE MOON to learn that you are also vegan and aren’t afraid to use your furniture related blog as a platform to speak on pressing animal suffering issues. Leather, wool and silk are not a part of my life because they don’t need to be and I’m also tired of seeing these fashion bloggers promote those products when there are so many alternatives (samsies for meat and dairy products – hello Gardein and cashew cheese. Get on my level, world) BRAVO and keep up your great work.

    Reply

    • judy
      June 19, 2016 @ 1:23 pm

      what are samsies and the Gardin and other products you named? I can’t see your comment above me so excuse the misspelling but where do you find the alternate products? thanks

      Reply

  22. fixitchick
    June 17, 2016 @ 6:59 pm

    We’re learning to garden. It’s my first real yard, and a whole 2 udsa zones from the rest of my gardening attempts, so it’s trial and error, mostly error. My idea for the kitchen yard is to cage it in with small gauge carpenters cloth, to keep the predators out, but I’ve no idea if that is practical or not. The lady from the plant store is supposed to come out to consult and tell me where to put things [or not to put them]. Everything is in planters for now, since even weeds don’t do well in our yard. I’m also looking for ground cover that isn’t grass. I keep looking at stuff that grows in the cracks of parking lots for something that isn’t ugly, or too tall. Because if it isn’t pretty, doesn’t smell good, or I cant eat it I don’t want to exert the effort on it.

    Reply

  23. Kit
    June 17, 2016 @ 7:40 pm

    Where are pictures of new kitty? Preferably cuddled with Elvis as well as alone.

    Reply

  24. Stacey
    June 17, 2016 @ 7:43 pm

    I cannot tell you what a kindred soul I have found in you!!! I started reading your blog because I found the relationship you have with Paul to be so wonderful and funny and I love how he tolerates your craziness – it reminds me of my own husband – but now that you are encouraging empathy and action against the animals that share this earth with us and suffer because of our actions – I have yet another reason to devour your posts!!! Please do not stop fighting against animal suffering! I am so happy you are getting your beautiful message across to such a wide audience! Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

    Reply

  25. judy
    June 17, 2016 @ 7:44 pm

    Our development.3,800 homes, first PUD in American begun in the seventies-zoned in on a homeowner who had the nerve to plant veggies in his front yard instead of grass-ya know for like his herd of grazing farm animals. That got so much flack that they backed off and allowed? him a modified front planting area but it had to be ….like…. attractive…cause the heavens might fall if it looked a little scraggly. Is there a ground cover that looks similar to grass but doesn’t need a nursemaid and big bucks to look good.

    Reply

  26. Laura C
    June 17, 2016 @ 8:21 pm

    My almost 20 year old asked me about a month ago why our grass wasn’t as green and pretty as all of our neighbors. I told her it was because we chose not to poison our weeds since it also poisons the bugs and the birds that eat them! She was cool with that and I just tell our neighbors that our dull green grass just makes theirs look better to everyone else…so we are doing them a favor by not fertilizing! (I also hand pick those nasty, ugly tomato bugs off our tomato plants rather than putting poison on the food we are going to eat.)

    Reply

  27. Lissy
    June 17, 2016 @ 8:40 pm

    For a heartbreaking but must read, so germane to your love and respect for all animals (even insects!), check out We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler.

    Reply

  28. Rachel L.
    June 17, 2016 @ 10:16 pm

    I think we could be kindred spirits like Anne of Green Gables and Diana Berry… Just think! We could drink raspberry cordial while freezing tomatoes and dressing up like princesses and searching for buried treasure in our 1890 house attic. Please come to Denver and help convince my husband that Craigslist is a GOOD thing!

    Reply

  29. Shanna
    June 18, 2016 @ 12:40 pm

    Love your blog as always. And extra love following you on Pinterest! Good book for your summer reading pleasure This Is not my beautiful life, by Victoria Fedden.

    Reply

  30. Shirley
    June 18, 2016 @ 5:54 pm

    To freeze tomatoes you can just wash, dry and freeze them whole. I do them on cookie sheets or in cake pans until hard and then transfer to bags. The skin protects them from freezer burn, the skin slips off when they are defrosted and the texture is much like cooked but with a much fresher taste.

    Reply

  31. Mary Alvarez
    June 19, 2016 @ 12:34 pm

    Awwww. Elvis sharing her fuzzy Paul is so lucky that is EPIC! Will have to try your method of freezing things. Interesting…That!

    Reply

  32. Kay
    June 22, 2016 @ 4:15 pm

    I don’t understand why a vegan wouldn’t use wool. Or the objection to raw milk from grass fed cows or eggs from pastured chickens. I can’t get a reasonable answer from two vegan nieces, who equate factory farming with the organic farm where we buy most of our food, and where I know how the cows and chickens live. Can you tell me why vegans object to carefully sourced animal products that do not require animal suffering or death?

    Reply

    • Stacey
      June 28, 2016 @ 12:10 pm

      hi Kay!! i’m a rather new vegan so I’m going to do my best to answer you! Wool is not completely free of animal suffering. Often times it is ripped off their bodies in the shearing process and they are kicked and beaten. PETA has secretly filmed sheep and bleeding on the floor as they are funneled through a mass shearing process. Ultimately, once they have declined in wool production, they are shipped off to slaughter. Here is a much better description than I just gave you: http://www.peta.org/living/fashion/whats-wrong-wool/

      As for carefully sourced milk and eggs – the key word is ‘carefully’. Many vegans shun all animal products I think because it’s easier. There is no way you can “mess up” by sourcing incorrectly. As someone who is a vegan for animal suffering reasons only, I am ok with VERY carefully sourced eggs -but milk was meant for baby cows. If you are drinking it – there is a baby out there that’s not getting it. Technically, it was meant for a bovine, not a human – so it doesn’t even make sense to me. In order to even produce milk, no matter how carefully sourced, a cow will have to be pregnant. Dairy cows suffer a life of constant pregnancy and birth, no matter how well cared for on an ‘organic farm’. They are impregnated over and over again, so they can continue to produce milk.

      I’m sorry to all vegans out there if I didn’t get this right – and I thank Kay for asking the question! I hope I was able to help! I welcome any corrections!! 🙂

      Reply

  33. judy
    June 23, 2016 @ 2:38 am

    the questions above are what bother me also. When my sons went through their ewwwe… stage about eating meat I had to inform them that the first thing we humans would have to do is kill billions of animals raised to be food cause who is going to feed and care for them when it’s no longer profitable?

    I guess we would have to maintain a supply for all of the predator animals in the wild and zoos etc. I have never eaten much meat but I cooked a meat starch vegetable diet for my family. There is a wonderful autistic woman who developed more humane methods of raising cattle , Grandin? Jennifer?

    I wish we prospered with just sunshine, water and fresh air-the whole eating,peeing defecating system seems downright unseemly, but there you are and we’re stuck with it until they come up with the one a day nourishment capsule.

    Also I think its very sad that we keep buying things like the apple phones made by virtually slave labor and that’s humans being used and horribly abused. We ought to make our own stuff, if for no other reason than defense against countries that have more and more power over us as we become more and more dependent on them for every darn product we own-from the car in the driveway to our clothes,furniture,electronics-dishes ,pots and pans-I swear I can’t find one thing in my home that doesn’t say made in China.

    Imagine if the huge container ships stopped chugging across the Pacific and into all the Seaports of America. The stores would empty in days if not hours in the ensuing panic. And then what would we pay for products? Because our capacity to make much of anything is gone Baby gone!
    Scary… And the two motives for foreign manufacturing. You don’t have to provide a safe work place or reasonable hours and you can beat and starve the workers who are not productive enough.

    You are not regulated on the crap you pump into the air or the poison you dump into the water. Greed and profit makes todays World go around and it doesn’t have to be this way.
    Many have just stopped buying and that’s why China is not experiencing exponential growth recently. Halleluiah! Sorry this is so verbose. I’m old and my time is at most a few years and I wish we could live up to our promise as a Nation. Simply- With Liberty And Justice For All. An honorable Creed and one to make us all proud. Beware when a blogger mounts her soapbox – she will find she has lots of company! You are all lovely kind people and I wish you all a long and Happy life. Vebs’ followers give me great Hope for the future of Mankind and our Beautiful Planet.

    Reply

    • Gail D.
      June 30, 2016 @ 7:12 pm

      Temple Grandin–she’s great!

      Reply

  34. judy
    June 23, 2016 @ 4:10 am

    Temple Grandin

    Reply

  35. Liz
    June 28, 2016 @ 12:32 pm

    What a great tip. I use that attachment for all sort of things but never thought to use it to prep greens for freezing. Thanks!

    Reply

  36. Tracy
    July 12, 2016 @ 11:14 am

    So I have an abundance of kale this year too. So I have actually been selling some to a local restaurant and they told me that their kale freezes sometimes (it is pre-cut in large bags when they don’t have local kale). Anyhow, it got me thinking that maybe I should be doing the same. It has been nice to sell some because it paid for all the plants that I put into my garden and such, but now I am going to try and freeze a little. I love that I read this too…just to further my decision that I will be freezing raw kale too. Woot Woot.

    Reply

  37. Karen Chaudoin
    July 14, 2016 @ 12:37 pm

    I have never been afraid of tomato seeds or the skin of tomatoes. Just this past week on NPR (The Splendid Table show I think?) a post was done taste difference when tomato seeds are in the sauce and a sauce without the seeds. The outcome is that people preferred the taste of the sauce with the seeds. I am on the side of nature and vote for keeping food as close to how nature grows it because they (Nature Elf Cooks) know better. When have I ever made a tomato from scratch?

    Reply

  38. Susan Humeston
    February 15, 2017 @ 10:13 am

    I have been on the pesticides soapbox for years. I have told anyone who will listen that calling a company like “ChemLawn” (what a name!!) to take care of your property is like committing suicide slowly while watching everything else die, except worthless grass, around you. Where do people think the poisons go? Duh! Into the groundwater we need to drink. Funny how I don’t get invited to parties…..LOL. I have lived in my house for 15 years and have never once used a pesticide. We don’t have fleas, we don’t have insect problems that can’t be solved by ladybugs, and I have an extensive butterfly/bird/bee friendly back yard. The front yard, as long as it is kept mowed, is green. It sure isn’t grass, but it is green, which is enough for where I live, but not for most homeowner’s Nazi associations. A lot of the time I just sit and wonder how the human race has survived for as long as it has.

    Reply

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