Pumpkin Seed Taste Test


My husband LOVES Halloween and we have FIVE kids, so that means LOTS of jack-o-lanterns.  And LOTS of seeds. I checked out THIS POST to remind myself how to cook them.  I was really dreading unloading the oven of all my cast iron.  Two dutch ovens plus skillets and lids?  Ugh.

Luckily for me, Step 9 of that post listed 4 different ways to cook them: bake, broil, microwave, and skillet.  So, I decided to employ my toaster oven, microwave, and range.

All three competitors were soaked in salt water for two hours.

All three competitors were tossed in Sonny Salt, a seasoned salt brand we love, and olive oil.

The first batch was microwaved at one minute intervals, stirring in between until crisp.
The second batch was broiled in the toaster oven on 400 and stirred periodically until crisp.

The third batch was sauteed in the skillet, much in the same fashion that I do our popcorn.


Five out of seven Caswells participated in the taste test.  Unanimously, regardless of how I rearranged the options, number three won.  Sauteed in oil until crisp.  “This one tastes like popcorn!”  “This is the one making the house smell so good!”

All Time Best #10: Weed Killing!

In honor of our 1000th post in October 2014, we are counting down our most popular posts of all time. Each has received over 100K hits, and some as high as 500K! This week, at #10, is “Weed Killing!”


It’s an herbicide drift eliminator! Ever try to kill something lame and accidentally injure your awesome stuff? If you’ve ever had a dog that wasn’t supposed to scratch his face, you have the perfect solution to your problem!

Oh, and here’s the recipe for my weed killer…

Ivory’s Non-Selective Herbicide

2c vinegar
1 T liquid soap
1 T salt
Dog cone

Mix first three ingredients in spray bottle. Will kill anything it touches. Place doggie cone over weeds. Spray, don’t pour or nothing will grow there for a while.

Reishi Revelation and a Milestone

IMG_6910Back in 2008, or maybe 2007, we really can’t remember, Deanna and I had a phone conversation that was the jumping off point for this website. As I recall, we took the common blogger recommendation to stockpile a few posts before we went “live” to make it look like we’d been at this for longer than a minute when the first few people happened to click on us.

Once we had a respectable number of posts, maybe four or five! we started publishing. It was very exciting. We checked Site Meter obsessively those first few days and weeks, and were amazed when we got 100 hits in one day. Imagine! 100 people reading our words! It was a kick.

All that is to say, drumroll, please:

This is our one thousandth post.

Deanna, we should really get together and read them all in a marathon session. How about matching 1000 Posts t-shirts? I’d settle for girls’ lunch out.

That said, our 1000th post can’t be about just that. It should be about something we talked about in that seminal phone conversation: Remember how we both realized we wanted to grow mushrooms? See that fallen giant oak in the picture?

Tired of carefully inoculating logs with mushroom spawn one day (it’s hard work!), I took some leftover spawn and just rubbed it all over that tree trunk. I tucked it in cracks and crevices and basically forgot about it. It was the mushrooming equivalent of a hail mary pass. I really didn’t think any of it would take hold.

IMG_5418I was wrong.

IMG_5424Wonderfully wrong.

IMG_5408Six-and-a-half pounds of fresh Reishi, (Ganoderma lucidum) wrong.

It took two years for the stump to fruit, but it was a very nice surprise.

This blog has been such a nice surprise for us, too. Deanna and I are grateful for all of our readers. Thank you for taking time out of your busy days to read, to comment, to join in as we muddle through, make do, and sometimes just hurl one blindly in the general direction of the end zone.

Deanna, I raise a cup of reishi tea to you in salute and thanks for being there though a thousand posts, a thousand technical glitches, and a thousand (at least) phone calls and strange experiments.

Here’s to another thousand posts!