Friday, July 8, 2011

Playing Taps for My KitchenAid and Other Miscellany

Back when I was a child bride, Hubby Dear loved to indulge me by buying kitchen equipment that we could not afford. I've never been one for jewelry, but I always want the latest, greatest kitchen gadget. For Christmas one year, he bought me the mixer of my dreams - a KitchenAid Professional 600

Rest in Peace, dear KitchenAid 

My KitchenAid served me well for over ten years. I was never totally happy with the job it did kneading bread dough; the dough seemed to just ride around and around the dough hook rather than get kneaded. Last week, I was making a double batch of EZ Whole Wheat Bread in it and things got truly ugly. First, I smelled a "hot" smell. I turned the mixer off for a minute or two, but I still had 7-8 minutes of kneading left, so I felt like I had to turn it back on. Big mistake. Smoke began pouring out and it quit running. I hoped that it would begin working again after a long cool down, but, alas, it seems like I killed it really and truly.

Hubby Dear and I debated fixing up my KitchenAid vs. buying a new mixer. From the research I did, it seems like it can be just about as expensive to fix a stand mixer as it would be to buy a new one. If I'm going to have to spend hundreds of dollars anyway, I'd just as soon get a new mixer, preferably one that is better for making bread. So I'm getting a Bosch

I don't think the Bosch will look very cute on my counter, but the fact that you can make up to 6 loaves of bread in it at once more than makes up for that! This month, many Bosch retailers are offering a $50 rebate, which helps make it more reasonable. Still, it's quite an investment. I hope it lasts me a decade like its predecessor.

I bought an aloe plant this week, too. Much easier on the budget than a Bosch! ;)

Aloe vera

I'm not much on houseplants - if I can't eat it, I'm not interested in messing with it - but it seems like my neglect won't kill it.  As I read here, aloe plants need a bit of sun and very little water. I think I can do that. Here are some of the uses of aloe plants. I think an aloe plant is an excellent addition to our first aid supplies.  

I was walking through the garden the other day and I ran smackdab into this:

Yuck! A Tomato Hornworm!

This is the first time we have ever had tomato hornworms in our garden. I can safely say that they are one of the most disgusting garden pests I have ever seen. Not only are they disgusting, but they are also very destructive. They can reduce a healthy tomato plant to a skeleton in 24-48 hours. Tomato hornworms are found most often on tomato plants (surprise), but they also like potatoes and peppers, which are members of the same botanical family.

Picking them off by hand is the preferred method of dealing with this pest. Yeah, um, no. I'm not going to do that. Have I ever mentioned that I have a serious phobia of caterpillars and butterflies? (Really. Long story involving a traumatic childhood incident.) This is the biggest, most foul caterpillar I've ever seen, and I have no intention of touching one if I can help it. Hubby Dear did remove it from the plant and then he sprayed our tomato plants with Neem Py (an organic-approved pesticide with neem oil and a bit of pyrethrin).

I was nervous that our outrageously healthy tomato plants would be consumed overnight, but when the next day dawned, everything seemed OK.

Last night, however, we saw three hornworms. There were two on two different tomato plants and one on our potatoes. Ick! Hubby Dear picked them off and then he dusted the tomatoes and potatoes with Bt, another organic-approved pesticide. Bt is actually a bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis, that kills caterpillars. I'm crossing my fingers that this does the trick. I will cry if my tomatoes get ruined before we ever get to eat them, and by caterpillars to boot!

That's my week in a nutshell. What prepping/gardening/food storage -related things have you been up to?


  1. I never have the heart to squish those darn hornworms (shudder), so I tend to drop them in a bucket and then either (1) let them bake in the sun or (2) put about 2" of water in the bucket and let them drown. If I had chickens, that's where they'd end up, but otherwise I'll just transplant them and deal with em once they've croaked. Lol! Good luck with your battle!

    City Roots, Country Life

  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks these things are nasty! Next year I'll have some chickens to feed these things to, though I'd like to hope this is a one year occurence!

  3. I've been lurking on your blog for awhile, but had to come out to comment about the hornworm!!!

    I agree with the other posters; nasty little buggers!! Many years ago I had a garden in our backyard in Indiana. I started the first year with just a little area right outside the breakfast room window (then later expanded into a 5 x 10 area in the back corner of the yard). But the year that the tomato plants were just outside the window, one bright sunny morning we watched a beautiful male Cardinal hop around the tomato plants/cages trying to get a hornworm that was snacking on my plants. It was almost worth the small amount of damage that the caterpillar did to watch the bird at less than 4 feet distance (through the window of course).

    Good luck with your invaders. When I don't have a hubby around for picking off the nasties-duty, I like a nice blast from the hose to dislodge the nasties, then a whack with the shovel. Make nice fodder for the compost!!!

  4. Margaret - I bet that was neat to watch that Cardinal go after the hornworm. Thanks for the tip about using a hose and shovel. I'll definitely remember that!

  5. Ok, I have to comment, I too found the little buggers on my tomato plant the day, except he wasn't little, he was about 3 inches long and as fat as my thumb. I plucked him off and stepped on him, he made this nasty pop sound. It was so gross. I need to find a better way to dispose of them.

  6. Anonymous - Yuck! You get high marks for your bravery. I haven't gotten up the courage to touch one (even with gloves on) yet. Hubby Dear has been pulling them off and putting them in a bowl of soapy water. That's probably the least gross way. The Bt seems to have done the trick because we haven't seen any hornworms since.

  7. I've battled hornworms a few times. Once I got a nasty case of them inside a greenhouse. Ack! I've always just pulled them off and set them in the birdbath or on the feeder for the birds to find. However, now I live in a new neighborhood, where all the trees are still young and small, so we don't have very many birds yet. I don't know what I'll do with them if I get them again this year.

  8. You will so LOVE your Bosch! I grew up with Kitchen-Aid. Had one for years. Then I sold it and got a Bosch 2 years ago. NEVER miss the Kitchen aid. I use the Bosch several times a week. (And I'm a widow)!!
    I think it looks wonderful sitting on the counter.