Posts tagged ‘self sustaining’

Quick Hello – cleaning, music, babies, mom crafts and more

I hope you are having a wonderful August! The fair just closed, which to me, always feels like the official close of summer. I know I said no posts this month but I’m avoiding housework. :)

The Artistic Mother: A Practical Guide to Fitting Creativity into Your LifeDo you want to join me in working through this beautiful art book for moms Come over to my other blog Blog Schmog and join us?

I’d like to work through the 12 week art course with other moms. Would you like to order the book and blog your progress too? I can tell you in advance, I won’t be accomplishing it in 12 weeks. It will be more of a here and there process. But the “homework” is manageable even if you want to keep to the schedule. Order yours and look it over. I want to start in September sometime.

Here is what I’ve been up to in random order…

  • The hogs are filling out. We just went to the farmer to get another 900lbs of grain that should finish them off by Thanksgiving.

I still have a very sad garden. :( The only things I’ve been able to harvest are red potatoes and a few golf ball sized onions. The carrots are ready. It seems only below ground vegetables worked this year. I am holding out hope for some tomatoes, garlic and my squash plants have little baby zucchini, summer squash and pie pumpkins on them so keep growing!

  • Baby is growing. I guess I’m making skin right now! Yesterday I got my first dizzy spell. That’s never happened before, that I can remember. It’s funny how mushy my brain is too. I went to my first appointment at 12wks. I knew all the pertinent dates, even conception but I still had myself all messed up. My midwife did the calculations and she said, “Jess you are 16wks not 12, we need to draw blood today.” I’m a month further along than I originally thought. Must be another girl. :) Too funny!
  • On birthing… I was talking to a friend of ours who is an anesthesiologist and telling him my birth stories, including the one time I got an epidural. I told him that I’ve decided (through personal experience, assisting a mother in her hospital birth and extensive research) that birthing naturally is a matter of education and being confident in what God made our bodies to do. I love this quote on Dayspring’s website, “Childbirth should be viewed as a natural undertaking in life, not a medical crisis…” Here is what my friend, whose career is largely dependant on epidurals said, “If more mothers educated themselves I’d be out of a job.”
  • As we “speak” I’m rocking out with our favorite net radio station www.christianrock.net
  • Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Call it nesting or fall cleaning but I’m on a rampage to get my basement cleared out so we can finish the drywall and floors. I’m hoping to acid wash the concrete and get the majority of the unfinished space usable by the time baby comes. Has anyone ever done the acid wash? NO I’m not doing it but I can coach my hubby on how to do it rather than having to hire it out. Seriously, how hard can it be? As long as you don ‘t melt your shoes right? :-]
  • Requests I’ve had for future blog posts… my testimony, baby bump pictures and my favorite gluten free pizza crust recipe. Any other requests? I’m not guaranteeing anything! ;)

August 30, 2010 at 12:07 pm 7 comments

More Tomato Harvest Ideas

Here is my un-recipe for home grown tomato sauce to be used for spaghetti, pizza sauce, casserole’s… anything your little heart desires!

Continue Reading September 29, 2009 at 11:46 am 1 comment

Way cool root cellar!

Okay I know I’ve always got some crazy idea cooked up that my husband has to help me either justify (plan, save and eventually possibly DO), magnify (look intently into the pro’s and often con’s of said project) or on occasion build-ify (just do it)!  I’m hoping this might be in the build-ify department.

This way cool earthbag dome can be constructed using mostly materials I have here at the house…

soil

rock

bags (animal food bags in my case)

I can’t wait to try it out!  Hopefully it won’t have to go under the microscope first and I can report back on construction at some point! :)

July 29, 2009 at 2:58 pm 3 comments

Garden Scavenger Hunt

In my garden this week I found a few volunteers so I though it would be fun to show you and see if you can identify the impostors.

Maybe this isn’t a scavenger hunt. I don’t know what to call it but the object is to look at my garden pictures and find which thing does not belong.

One of these things is not like the other.

1. Here is my mint patch, can you find the impostor and identify it?

mint

 quiz1

2. The first picture below is a sweet pepper and the second is a volunteer in the pepper row, can you identify it?

pepper

 

quiz2

3. I have ten red onion plants with another stray plant in that row too, can you tell what the second picture is?

onion

quiz3

4.  In this picture you might see leaves of another plant happily growing in the shade of my cucumber.

cucumber

5. Here in the cilantro is a happy imposter that I promptly pulled out after taking this picture.

cilantro

6. Below is the corn field and a plant that I purposely put between rows to save room, can you identify it? 

7.You may see yet another inter-cropper in this picture.

corn

8. Here is one more plant I intercropped at the other end of the corn field can you name it?

corn2

Happy hunting!  I will mail seeds to anyone who can correctly identify all of these plants by Monday 7/13/09.  If you get all eight correct I will email you to get your address.  Have fun :)

July 10, 2009 at 2:09 pm 5 comments

Saturday’s Surprise: Rasberries!

I wasn’t going to post today but I had a little surprise in the garden and I couldn’t wait to share it with you!

rasberries

RASPBERRIES!

They are green still but I’m so thrilled because these were transplanted from my mothers raspberry patch this (yes I said THIS) spring!  Can you believe they are producing?

PeeWee spotted one and…swoop

We did several different transplants and the ones that were planted with long wooden stems (that looked spent) produced leaves first and now raspberries in their very first season at our place! Yipee!

I did remember in my “mom brain” archives learning that rasberries fruit on old wood.  Now I have the proof or a miracle but either way…thanks Mom!

Oops, she got one!catch

 

July 4, 2009 at 7:47 pm 5 comments

Speaking of Honey Do’s

It is time to add on to my potato bed and I realized that the lincoln log system wasn’t going to work because the material I had laying around is old cedar fence posts.  When you try to notch the end it splits and falls apart.

Soooo….potato bed

Here is my new and improved potato bed system!  This would work well for any raised bed but with my potatoes I will continue to add rails until they are ripe for harvest and then take them down collecting loads of potatoes (I hope) along the way! ;)

Don’t you love the weeds?  Actually I have a volunteer sunflower (top, far left) and tons of marigolds (to help deter the deer) about to bud.

We found 4 long pieces of 2″ x 2″ cedar (one is pine so it will rot in a couple years and have to be replaced) and a bunch of old cedar fence boards.  Any 1″ wide (or less) material will work best but if you don’t use cedar you will need to paint or seal it and replace in a year or two.  Cedar should last longer and withstand the moisture.  I’ve used Hardy board (cement fiber siding) but it is hard to cut and work with.  Our fence boards are about 6″ wide.corner

Place the 2×2 corner inside of the slats and insert two screws through both boards on each side.  You may prefer to predrill the holes. 

I have burried most of the plant with a mixture of straw and dirt and will put up a new rail so that I can add even more dirt.  Each time the plants get about 6in more dirt and when necessary, more rails.

dirt

straw

rails

dirt

straw

rails

HARVEST!

June 26, 2009 at 2:53 pm 5 comments

In the garden now.

I made a big boo boo the other day.  I spent a good part of my day in the garden and though I don’t usually let the Bubba in with me he was especially curious as to what I was up to.  The boys all wanted a tour so I let them follow me around while I took a bunch of pictures of my new plants and since I can’t harvest yet it was a nice distraction.  We have some new things in the garden this year that I’ve never grown.  I had no idea what the red onions would look like…

onions

Thing 1 took one of the “leaf thingies” chopped it up and harvested it away in a small bowl with tin foil.  It is in the frig waiting to go into a stir fry or some soup.  The tops are very strong and Thing 2 spit it out saying “SPICY!”

Of course, the Bubba couldn’t wait to get in to the action so he snagged a couple leaves, half chewed them up and then spat onto the ground saying “Ack, ick!” just like he had seen Thing 2 do.

I had no idea how quickly I would be adding on to my potato “cage”…potato flour

Ack, we can’t have flowers!  I’ve actually got to re-build my frame because the original one is not working.  Hurry hurry, I’ve got to get those buds burried!  That’s a job the Thingles can do, they love to play in the dirt.

I am hopeful that the new varieties of corn that I purchased specifically for their short growing season will yield some sort of crop this year.  I have a 4×6 area of three different varieties! 

I’m a girl, I couldn’t make up my mind!!corn

I love the red stalks on this heirloom black mexican.

My cucumbers have a long way to climb up this repurposed crib rail and will hopefully provide shade so I can have a longer season of harvesting lettuce.cucumber

My peas also have a long long way to go.  The boys can’t wait to play in their tepee fort! peas

The boo boo was when I came to the herbs and showed the boys how to chew on a sprig of mint.  Now I’m having to follow the Bubba around everywhere, “NO not THAT leaf,” then in two seconds more when he has a handfull of weeds “NOT THAT EITHER!”  What a dumb idea mom!  I’ve now spent the better part of the last few days teaching him that not all plants are safe to eat!  

“You have to ASK first!”  I scold.  Its scarry, I was dumb! I’ve put the big boys on “plant patrol” and poor Bubba can’t quite get it he leans down to every green thing napweed, sunflower or otherwise then obediently looks over at me and asks “Please!?” just like I told him to do.

I think the tomato buds are pretty in a strange sort of way.  The big boys couldn’t resist touching the tiny green tomatoes on the sweet 100, they are now with the bowl of onion “leaf thingies”.tomato flowers

Despite the toddler sized setbacks I am quite please with our garden and Thing 1 claims to know all the plants by name!  I couldn’t be prouder… cillantro

…well maybe just a little, I AM quite proud of this tiny plant since until this year I’ve never had luck growing cilantro!

June 22, 2009 at 7:49 pm 17 comments

Saturday’s Surprise: This little piggies girlie!

piggieI’m a pig farmer now and Pee Wee is a girlie girl!

About the pigs…

I’ve had the wheels turning in my head about raising hogs for a few years now.  Last year I darn near got a couple to raise but wasn’t able to contact a farmer before the 4-H kids had the whole northern territory spoken for; pink, white, black, green… ha… they were gone like the wind before hooves even hit the ground.

This year I knew better and I contacted a farmer (best friend of my cousins husband) shortly after December, still he put me off long enough that I thought I’d been forgotten among the clovers but just Thursday I got the call.  “Jessie, it’s Ian, awh hay-uv yer howgs!”

“You’ve got WHAT?” I ghasped, I didn’t set up the pen or plan to get feed.  I hadn’t recently prepped my husband as such things require a fair bit of prepping.  He breaks out in hives and just about has a self induced anaphalactic meltdown whenever we have to spend any unexpected money.

Okay, so he is really not THAT bad and I am a pretty sorry tight wad myself but spending a couple hundred dollars on another of my “pets” (no I’m not going to tame them and walk them on leashes to market) gets the eyebrows in a bit of a furrow.  When I spring things on him he often bucks and then I humbly submit and we live happily ever after. ;)

The truth?  I throw big fat baby fits and we have heated debate, I plead my case, he pleads his and over closing remarks we realize somehow we ARE speaking the same language, fighting for the same right cause only coming at it from completely different angles.  Still dizzy from my tail spin I get a glimpse of his purpose and realize, he is fighting FOR me not AGAINST me and then we start to make sense.

Besides, what good would a couple 50lb pigs be if we couldn’t get groceries for the week.  To market to market to SELL a SCRAWNY pig!?

The outcome of our friendly debate!

The outcome of our friendly debate!

Well, after calling a truce we talked about it like civilized people and in the end we both agreed that it is worth the investment and wasn’t really the last minute thing it seemed to be on Thursday.  Although it begs the question are we “civilized people” if we raise hogs?  What is “civilized” anyway?  Tea and crumpets, cocktails and croquet or simply all those folks with running water and a roof over their head trying to make a living and livelihood as “aliens in the land”.  Actually running water may not always be a necessity, but that’s a different story and we aren’t talking necessity are we!?

Speaking of being civilized my other revelation for the day is that my little Pee Wee is becoming quite a girlie girl! 

It was bound to happen, the fourth of three boys and a tomboy mommy whose least favorite color is pink.  Although I do own two very pink shirts to wear with my cute camo capri’s.  I like to dress up and go on the town just like any girl but my idea of dress up is more like cute jeans, dangly earrings and a walk on the board walk followed by frilly coffee while we check out the classic cars parked at a local diner.  Or of course there’s always desert and swing dancing, or line dancing if I’ve downed enough coffee!  Town to me is home where you know everyone and most things stay the same.  I’m an idealist and I like the way “nostalgia” rolls off the tongue.

Girlie

My Girlie

Pee Wee is already beginning to turn that all around.  I even found myself day dreaming about shopping with her.  SHOPPING!  I don’t SHOP and pick out cute clothes or cute decorations for entertaining.  Sigh, I’d rather be getting dirty.

She also has decided she really likes chap stick.  The girl is 9mo old and every time she gets a glimpse of someones chap stick she reaches and makes a little grunt sound.  I’m sure that has something to do with the taste but even a sweet tooth proves my point doesn’t it?  What girl isn’t a fan of chocolate and strawberries?  That was truly all I craved when I was pregnant with her?  Coincidence, happenstance?  I think NOT!

Want to know what I craved with the boys?

The one thing I had never liked before.

The one thing that made me shudder at the though of it.

The thing with the most disgusting texture.

The very thing that now, after craving it through three, boy pregnancies I LOVE!

FISH!

I also discovered this week that she is fascinated with getting her hair brushed.  She has no hair but still, she loves to have the fuzz clinging to her little noggin brushed and brushed and brushed.  I’ve known for a while that she likes hair because one of the ways she self soothes is by winding my hair in her fingers or gently pulling at the little patch of hair on the back of her neck that didn’t get rubbed off in the “bald spot” stage so it is longer than the rest.  If you can picture it you might be thinking Joe Dirt!  Yes, my little girl has a mini mullet.  Ack!  I couldn’t cut it, she loves that “tail”!

Furthermore my little Pee Wee has no problem whatsoever allowing anyone and everyone to dote on her.  She has quite dexterous little fingers yet half the time if you try to hand her a piece of cereal she will hold up her hands and lean in while batting her feathery eyelashes and parting her pink little lips, “feed me!”

She loves nothing more than to be held and totted around and she lives for favors from her brothers.  That little girl has three small boys one big boy and a smitten mamma wrapped around two little fingers and that’s just in OUR household! 

Oh dear!  Not my daughter!?  I was going to have four boys!

Thank you Lord for you know best, I would have never guess how fun it is to have a little girl!

June 19, 2009 at 11:33 pm 14 comments

I did NOT stick to the plan.

You might remember this…garden

its my overly ambitious garden plan and yet even this was not enough for me!

I’ve had everything in the ground for over two weeks now and most everything looks great but I was getting impatient waiting for the cucumbers, bell peppers and a few other things to come up.  Yesterday it poured rain and today I have brand new baby cilantro, bell peppers and cucumbers!

But….

Before visiting the garden today I had an appointment in town, while there my Grandma and I with all four kids just happened to take a walk to a garden store of all places.  Now I’m sure you all know that was not planned!  We  just had to walk off our large helpings of ice cream and who would have known there is a great garden shop just a few blocks from Grandma’s house?  Oh dear, how many veggies can I carry?  Well, I’ve got three kids who walk on their own and the two of us that makes five new plants right?

I did get two of the one thing I was looking for.  Now that’s an interesting anomaly.  I really wanted to try eggplant this year even though I’m doubtful if I will like the texture.  Most people I have asked suggested getting a unique variety not the long Japanese type since I’m picky.  So of course when they had two different types I had to try one of each.

Wouldn’t you know they also had Early Girl Tomato’s.  I neglected to plant one this year and couldn’t pass her up.  Not to mention I’ve got five other tomatoes in my garden! ACK!  Thank goodness the cilantro came up.  Can you guess what everyone is getting for Christmas?  Canned salsa… you know you want some!

I also found a cute little plant that claims it is a deer resistant, drought tolerant and vigerous growing variety of ornamental rasberry.  Ooh, I couldn’t resist!

June 9, 2009 at 8:10 pm 5 comments

God Made Rainy Days…

God made rainy days so gardeners could get the housework done!

It is raining today and I’m happy because one, I can get some laundry done and maybe some baking and two, the rain is watering my new lawn for free!  We have an extremely volatile well situation, but that’s a story for another day.  Today I wanted to show you what I’ve been up to…

This is Tiger, helping me plant potato “seeds”.  I had my Hubby build a box for the potatoes and since they grow up, I just set them on the ground, then…

covered them with dirt.  As the plants grow I will add straw or any dried hay that the horses reject and more wooden rails (lincon log style) until the season is done.  The idea is that the potatoes will be easy to find in something loose like straw and instead of having to dig for hours in the field I can just take down the rails and hopefully the potatoes will spill out!  My grandma warned me about the sneaky nature of potatoes and how they will tunnel and bury themselves in your yard or garden.  She said, “I was digging up potatoes for years!”  I hope this works because I’d like to keep them somewhat contained.  I am hoping to build two of these boxes.

If you have a smaller garden or even a patio you can still grow potatoes!   Check out this guide.

May 11, 2009 at 9:55 am 5 comments

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Us and Our Thinglets

MATT - Food Creativity Consultant, Joyful Partner in Crime JESSIE - Photographer, Amateur Food Critic, Blog Author CAPTAIN OBVIOUS - formerly Thing 1 Thing 1 SCARFUNKLE - formerly Thing 2 IMG_3466 LOUD KIDDINGTON - formerly THE BUBBA 3 PEE WEE MINI ME BORN March 8, 2011

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Sourdough Update

Many of you have been checking back for results on my sourdough creation. At the moment it is still a science experiment, but a happy, bubbly experiment. Never fear, recipes will be here! I did make a beautiful, moist and delicious loaf of sourdough using yeast and a myriad of other ingredients but I'm still trying to create something more user friendly. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a starter on the counter that you could add 4 things to and have a loaf of bread by dinner? Mmmm! Attempt #1 - rose well but resulted in a dense chewy blob Attempt #2 - rose ok but was thin and lifeless then fell and another dense (not so chewy) blob Attempt #3 - to the dogs! Attempt #4 - A sourdough pancake success see post under what's for breakfast gluten-free goof? Ongoing - I've tried several more times and am going to try a completely different approach on the bread starting this week. (Mar 18). My sourdough is still happy on my counter and it makes great pancakes but it's a lot of work just for pancakes. Keep checking! April Update: She is still kickin and I'm still workin on a yeast free, gluten free sourdough loaf! May Update: My sourdough "pet" has been dried and retired until next baking season. I've traded her in for a hotter model, the BBQ! :)
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