Dec 18, 2012

Tuesday Morning in the Valley

The coffee is fresh and hot off the stove.  The woodstove is all fired up and there's hoarfrost on the trees this morning.  We had a pack of timberwolves on the edge of the pasture this morning.  The youngstock are close to the house, so I'm not too worried.  We have a couple of good sized donkeys that hate canines and are great guard animals.  They sound an alarm for the whole township to hear when something's not right.

I'm blessed to have a bunch of young friends coming over today to help make sugar cookies.  God has blessed me with children in my home even though my own are not.  He is so good. 

Yesterday was tree finding day.  I was blessed again to be able to go with some friends to find trees for everyone.  An old satellite dish (remember the kind you can use for a chicken coop roof?), was hooked behind the pickup, we all piled in and away we went.  Over the river and through the woods and not one casualty-except the three trees.

The critters are awaiting breakfast and I need to make a run into town this morning before the cookie makers get here.

Merry Christmas.

Dec 16, 2012

Monkey Hat and Stuff

I finished the monkey hat.  I didn't have a model so I stuck it on the baby doll without a home.  She's been sitting in my kitchen for six months and I haven't been able to find a little girl who wants to take her home, so she's agreed to model for me while she waits.
Hat's a bit big for her.
I also finished a dishcloth with an evergreen pattern-for my neighbor who decorates in a woodsy theme.
And I have to post a picture of my Christmas cactus because it's blooming on time.   This is a rare treat for me.  Usually it's a Thanksgiving cactus or a Valentine's cactus.
I guess this was one of those "show and tell" posts. 
God bless.

Dec 10, 2012

Earwarmers for everyone

Here's a fast, easy project for Christmas presents-earwarmers.  There are so many patterns on line.  The filet looking earwarmer pattern is found at www.crochetspot.com/crochet-pattern-flowered-ear-warmer/  .  The other pattern is at http://morrowsunshine.blogspot.ca/2012/01/comfy-roomy-ear-warmer.html . 

We're doing a lot of homemade this year for Christmas.  Next up-monkey hats.  (Pictures to follow.)

Blessed Christmas.

Nov 28, 2012

More Bartered Blessings

One thing I've learned while living this "homesteading" lifestyle is that we can't do it all.  We may have tried it all, but not everything at the same time.  For instance, I haven't raised pigs in many years and may not ever again, but I've tried it. I raised bees for three years, long enough to realize that it's not my passion.  I now by local honey from a friend who does like those bees.  That's where barter and trade come in.

Yesterday I took my dog to the vet-80 miles away-and picked up some meat for a friend from a butcher up there.  The butcher blessed me with a box of tallow for helping to "clean out" his freezer.  After dropping off the meat at my friend's house, she blessed me with a bunch of bacon and a ham or two.  She also gifted me with a box of pig fat for making soap.  I have it rendering on the stove right now.  I'll be sending soaps to the butcher and my pig-raising friend.  See how great this works?

My honey is a professional barterer. :) He is so gifted that he can help out almost anywhere there's a need.  People would rather give him  something than pay him and that's usually a really good thing.

So you don't have to do it all.  That's what friends and community are there to help with.

Nov 26, 2012

Making New Memories

I think I've become a real stick in the mud.  I like curling up with a blanket and a movie in the evening and falling asleep on  the couch.  (This way I never run out of movies to watch as I never actually see them.)

When our daughter's friend called Saturday night and asked if we'd like to go to Bentleyville for the evening I did the unthinkable, I said yes. And I'm glad I did. 

The snow was falling and the temp was a perfect 18 above.  It was beautiful.
Bentleyville is a village of lights set up every Christmas season down on the Bayfront.  Admission is free and you are offered free hot chocolate, cookies, popcorn and marshmallows to roast.
Here's our daughter and her friend.
The lit walkways are beautiful.

Afterwards it was up to Buffalo Wings for snacks.  We've decided to make this a new tradition.  We're meeting here next year, same time. 

It's time to try new things and make new memories.

Nov 21, 2012

A Homemade Thanksgiving

Well, the pies are in the oven and the rolls and breads are waiting their turn.  I was going over the menu and started to count all of the ingredients that go into this dinner that come from our homestead.  I get a weird thrill when I do this, so bear with me.
Menu:
Porketta-from the store
Stuffing-from the store (hard to stuff a porketta :)  )
vegies and dip-only homegrown carrots here, and homemade dip with homegrown herbs
pickles-homegrown dill, beet, garlic and dilly bean pickles
potatoes and gravy-homegrown potatoes with homemade butter
cranberries-haven't figured out how to grow these yet.   lol
squash-from our garden
horseradish-homegrown
apple pie-using homegrown, home rendered lard and our own apples
pumpkin pie-ditto for the crust and our own pumpkins
peas and carrots-our carrots, store bought peas
rolls-homegrown wheat

Maybe next year I'll challenge myself to only use ingredients from our homestead, but that would mean I'd probably have to raise turkeys.  I'm thinking most people who read this are of the same mindset, so how do your ingredients tally up?

 There's a lot to be thankful for.  Our lives have been tossed to and fro, but our God has been faithful. He will see us through to the end.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Nov 20, 2012

Bottling Apple Cider Vinegar

For the last four years I've been making apple cider vinegar with cores and peels.  I found a recipe here.  It works great.  I put some down to ferment two months ago and today I bottled it up.
This is a picture of store bought and homemade.  The lighter colored jug on the right is homemade and the other is store bought.  Because it's made with peelings and cores it doesn't get as strong as vinegar made with juice.  It still has the same properties, though and is still good for you.  I get about two gallons each fall.

I thought I'd also post a picture of a Boston Marrow squash that we grew this summer.  It's the largest squash that I've ever grown.  Boston Marrow is an heirloom type of Hubbard.
The peanut butter jar is to give you some kind of scale.  The squash looks a bit like Jimmy from Vegietales.  :)
For sure saving seeds from this guy.

Lord bless.
From Glory Farm

Nov 19, 2012

November 19th

Things are still a bit stressful here, but slowly solutions are coming.  I'm suffering from uncertainty as to some of the decisions that we have had to make.  Praying for God's peace to fill my home and my soul.  I know that all we can do is live out our faith to the best of our ability and with God's help, what others do is a decision only they can make.  I am learning how very important and powerful prayer is and what a responsibility. 

On to happier subjects....I'm getting a new barn!  I know that we just put up a barn for the goats and the milk cow, but somehow it's now filled with tractors, a motorcycle, two riding lawnmowers, a church pew and a mess of lumber. 

This is the barn that we put up last summer.  I don't have a more recent picture, but it's more finished than this now and much fuller.

The barn that we're moving over here is a wooden one, 20x24 and has three rooms in it-a chicken coop (with nice nesting boxes), a grainery, and another room where I hope to keep my goats.  I am excited.  This building is free from a neighbor who just wants it off of his property because it needs new siding.  What a gift!  I'll get pictures next time we go over to work on it.

Thanksgiving is coming up fast.  We're having all of the standards except no turkey.  I took a poll and everyone would rather have porketta than turkey, so porketta it is.  After discussing the menu with our guests, I've found that most don't care for cranberries, sweet potatoes, peas and carrots, etc.  Some don't even like the mashed potatoes-me :).  But it's tradition and so I'll cook it all up because that's just what we do in my family.  And we'll eat it, because we're good at that in my family, too.

We have so much to be thankful for.  Life doesn't always turn out like we think it will, but we have a constant, our Lord, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He never leaves us nor forsakes us. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

Nov 8, 2012

A Different Hope

When facing stress and sorrow some people eat, some drink, I adopt new animals.  My honey is slightly amused which is why he lets me do this.

So...introducing our newest addition-
I've named her Hope.  She's an angora doe.  I don't have any black angoras and am excited to have her and my other doe bred next spring. 

Next....a puppy!  :) ???

Nov 3, 2012

Hope

I don't often post much about my personal life on here but today I covet your prayers for my family.  We are all going through the most horrendous thing we've ever had to deal with and "The gates of hell shall not prevail"  against us.  It's about more than hope, it's about faith.  As things get worked out, I'll share more of the details, but for now I would be so thankful if you would pray for my honey and I and all four of our children, that we make it though this and glorify God through it all.

Last night as I was wallowing in self pity I looked over toward the livingroom window and saw this--
My tea plant it blooming in my livingroom and is full of buds.

And remember my gardening experiment? With all of the snow and cold temps, look what came up a few days ago--
Do you see those little lettuce seedling in there?  Amazing to me as we've had temps below 20 degrees at night.  I'm going to water these and keep you posted as to their progress.

Hope springs eternal.

Oct 27, 2012

Experiment (con't.)

Well, I guess I get a little carried away when I read some of these books.  My little coldframe is just that-very cold.  Three days after I planted it we had snow and we continue to have snow a little every day.  Sometimes I forget that global warming hasn't hit here yet. 
This morning the hoses are all frozen, manure has frozen to the grain trough and the cattle water had to be broke open.  Our three weeks of fall are over, but they were the most beautiful three weeks of the year.

Oct 22, 2012

Gardening Experiments

Don't you love trying new things?  This year I tried growing Quinoa.  That experiment didn't work.
I recently read "The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency used by the Mormon Pioneers".  It's a good read and he has some ideas and information in there that I didn't have before.
The author has some good ideas for extending the harvest for us short season gardeners.

Today I set  up a "rustic" cold frame with a hot water jug to help keep it heated at night.
I need to fasten this to the house with a hinge, yet.  I planted various kinds of lettuce and spinach in here and I'm hopeful that we will be growing lettuce into December.  This is on the south side of my house right next to my other experiment-trying to save seed from biennials.  I have carrots and beets planted and I just mulched them.  I'm hoping they'll come up for the second year and provide me with seed. 

I guess the picture of this experiment isn't too exciting.  I'll report back on these experiments as they progress.  Or not.


Oct 17, 2012

25 ways (or more) to save money

Patrice over at  Rural Revolution has listed 25 ways to cut your budget.  I'm getting on board and listing some ways we save money.  Some of these may be duplicates of what she's already posted, but I'll try and be original.

  • Try to stay away from using credit cards.  The interest really adds up.
  • We grow all of our own herbs and 90% of our vegetables each year.  This is my contribution since I don't have an outside job.
  • We raise chickens and beef cattle and have our own supply of fresh meat and eggs, better and cheaper than the grocery store.
  • Cook from scratch.  Time consuming, but much more frugal and healthier.
  • Buy baking supplies in bulk from the local food co-op.
  • No cell phones and no dish TV.  We do spend on movies we buy or rent.
  • Homeschooling-we buy curriculum second hand and don't need to spend a fortune on school clothes.
  • Lawn mowing-we hardly ever mow our yard.  Terrible, I know, but life is just too busy and so I guess we save on gas and wear and tear on our mower.
  • Our lawnmowers, 3-wheeler, tractors were all either bartered for or bought very cheaply because they needed repairs.  This works for us as my honey fixed them all up.
  • We don't use the clothes dryer (most of the time), or the dishwasher.  This saves on our electric bill.
  • We have wood heat to supplement our high efficiency propane furnace.  When it hits -40 neither one will keep the house warm by itself.
  • Plastic up all of the windows for winter, and bank the house with snow. 
  • We cut our wood off of our back forty.  Cheap heat.
  • Reusing plastic bags.  It's a small thing, but I don't like buying plastic products.
  • Starting all of my garden plants from seed in the house each spring.
  • Saving most of our own garden seeds year to year.
  • Milk our own cow and make butter, cheese, sour cream, etc.
  • Sew tablecloths, curtains, clothes from material found at the thrift store.
  • Grow our own animal feed-hay, oats, pumpkins. (This does mean an investment in those tractors I mentioned previously.)
  • Buy pig fat from the local butcher to render into lard.  He charges twenty five cents a pound. This is great for baking and frying.
  • Make our own soap from this lard and goat's milk.
  • Shear our rabbits and goats to spin into yarn.  This makes nice mittens and such for presents and cuts down on Christmas costs.
  • Give home canned goods, herbal mixtures, and homemade teas for gifts. There are many homemade gifts that people actually like.
  • Buy groceries at two week intervals or more.  This cuts down on impulse buying.
  • Make a menu for this two week period so that you know exactly what you need to get at the store and use only the coupons for the products you would normally buy.
  • Buy extra of the items that you know you use when they go on sale.  It's nice to have this stash in the cellar. 
  • Every once in awhile call your insurance agent and see if you qualify for a cheaper rate, or call other agents and compare prices.
  • We don't buy paper napkins or paper towels.  I make cloth napkins and use rags for spills and washing windows.
I know these ideas can't be used by everyone, but I hope you found one or two that you hadn't thought of before.

Oct 6, 2012

Canning Coleslaw

What do you do with your extra cabbage?  I know a lot of people make sauerkraut.  I do like homemade sauerkraut, but for a bit of variety, I also can coleslaw.  I thought I'd share the recipe I got from a blogging friend.

1 medium head of cabbage
1 large carrot
1 small onion
1 teaspoon salt

Syrup:
1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed

Shred together vegetables.  Add the salt.  Let stand 1 hour.  Drain water from vegetables.

Boil syrup ingredients together for 1 minute, cool.  Add syrup to vegetables.  Pack into quart or pint jars and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

I drain this and add a tad of mayonnaise before I use it.



This year's batch has some purple cabbage mixed in.

Oct 3, 2012

Old Wheat

I was reading over at The Deliberate Agrarian about modernized wheat.  I had never heard about our modern wheat being so much different from the wheat grown in the 1800s. 

I started looking on line for information and  there's quite a bit out there.  Modern wheat has been selected and bred for high yield and high gluten.  Some people think that this may be causing all of the issues, such as gluten intolerance and celiac disease, that are so common right now.  

I found this information over at The Sustainable Seed Company.

What makes heirloom grains so special? Heirloom grains, (generally speaking are those over 50 years of age) are still very adaptable. Meaning, unlike many of todays hybrid wheats these heritage wheats have a huge genetic background allowing them to fight off pests and adapt to local growing conditions over generations. Why is that so important? Because as petroleum becomes even more expensive transporting such a heavy food commodity, most grains will once again be grown locally. To do this you will need locally adapted varieties of heritage grain. That is a big reason, but another important one is the flavor. Many heirloom grains retain unique and rich flavors that were sacrificed in modern hybrids for high yields.

After doing some research, I'm thinking I may trade in my spring red wheat for some kamut.  I need to look into it some more and would love any advice you may have on growing grains.  The weather here is cold, we're a zone 3.  Winter wheat has never worked for me, but then again, I just might not know what I'm doing.  Any wheat growers out there?  How about barley growers? Another grain on my list.

Thanks.

Sep 18, 2012

The Fall Fest

Well, I accomplished what I had set out to do this spring.  I had a booth at two festivals this year.  I didn't sell so much, but I was able to give out all of my "farm" cards.

A dear friend, (the blacksmithing lady), made some frames for me to display my wares.  She's a huge pinterest fan and so some credit goes to that site also.

We took the idea and used chicken wire instead of cloth, that country look ya know.  I used clothespins to attach packages of herbs and teas and my aprons.  Sales were mediocre, but the company was great.  I need more inventory so that my stand doesn't look quite so sparse.

I came home exhausted and very sunburnt.

Sep 1, 2012

Minnesota Peaches??

Up here, where -40 is a very normal January temp, fruit is harder to grow.  I get excited every time I get melons from the garden, or plums on the trees.  This year I found a peach tree at the local nursery that is supposed to be good for zone 4.  Well, we're a zone 3, but I thought I'd try it anyways.
Only two peaches, but they sure tasted good.
We spit them both four ways so we could each get a taste. 
Now I need to baby that tree through the winter.  I'm sure hoping that it makes it.
There are also melons getting done in the garden-
And a couple of watermelons that might make it, I hope. 
Next year I hope to add a couple of pear trees to the orchard and maybe another apple tree. 

Have a great weekend.

Beware Zuchinni Hood

He's a distant relative of Robin.  He steals from the zuchinni rich and gives to anyone that is gullible enough to take his goods.  He hits parking lots and unlocked cars.  He leaves young, tender zuchinni on doorsteps and in church foyers.  I have been a victim of this crime on more than one occasion and I thought the warning should be passed along to others.  Last week I was hit again and found this on my doorstep--
A young, innocent zuchinni wrapped in swaddling paper and awaiting my arrival.

The clever Zuchinni Hood tried to disguise this one as a cucumber, but don't fall for it. 
I'm thinking of starting a VODOZ (victims of dropped off zuchinni) group.  But it is only for a short season and the worst of it is over around here.  I hope this helps to warn others.  ;))

Aug 20, 2012

Wild Hops

Last fall I discovered a patch of wild hops back in the woods.  I didn't get them picked in time, but this year I plan to harvest them and make a tea with them.
Here's a close up-

I think that they are almost ready to harvest.  The cones should feel papery and light and a bit dry.  If they have an odor and are slightly sticky they are ready.  Once I harvest them and dry them in my dehydrator, I'm going to use them for tea.

Hops aid insomnia, promotes appetite, (like I need that?), can relieve arthritis pain, relieves gas, and helps women produce more milk while breastfeeding. 

One more thing to add to my medicine cabinet.  Oh, hoppy day!

We're Getting There

Five years ago we started some major renovations on our  home.  We tore some down, put some up and gutted the rest.  We're still working on it.  Slow but sure.  My honey got the siding up on a couple of sides of the house.  Just thought I'd share.
This is the east side of the house four and a half years ago.
Here it is now-
We'll definitely be warmer this winter.  :))

Aug 15, 2012

Whitewater Rafting

It may not be the Colorado River, but it is plenty of adventure for us.  We took a ride down the St. Louis River and hit six rapids.  It was great. I never knew that I'd enjoy whitewater so much.
It's hard to see, but in this raft are two of our girls.  The one steering in back is our Elizabeth.  She looks a little stressed.  :)
And coming down next are my son and I.  We're both in yellow.  (I'm the one with the hat.  lol)

This trip was rather bittersweet as it was the last meeting of our 4-H club.  We're disbanding for lack of a leader.  We sure had a good time.

Aug 12, 2012

Let's Go To the Threshing Show

Every year, to celebrate our anniversary, we go to the local threshing show.  It's antique tractors, horse drawn implements, old houses, good food, a flea market and threshing machines.  I took a mess of pictures this year and so sit back and enjoy the show.
There were more vendors at the flea market this year than in years past.  We really didn't find anything that we needed, a coule of antique wrenches and a couple of books.
This is the row of antique John Deeres-the green row.
The red row.

I dream about owning this tractor.  Isn't it beautiful?
A nicely restored Silver King.
A Waterloo Boy kerosene tractor.
My honey took this one.  He is fond  of draglines.
This is hard to see, but it's a steam tractor driving a wood planer.
A view of the fields and some horses.
Can you guess what this is??
A 1917 Dane Baler.  This is a stationary baler with hand tie wires.


A beautiful set of horses.
This guy was my favorite, a dappled gray.
This is an old steam powered generator from an electric plant.  This thing shook the ground when it ran.
Horses pulling a one bottom plow.  These guys can really move.
Do you know what this steam tractor is being used for? (Check out the boxes by the garbage can.)

Yep, that's corn in that garbage can and this is the finished product.  It was delicious.
So there's my day at the show.  I went a bit crazy with the camera, but I hope you enjoyed the trip. I forgot to get a picture of a threshing machine....







Dec 18, 2012

Tuesday Morning in the Valley

The coffee is fresh and hot off the stove.  The woodstove is all fired up and there's hoarfrost on the trees this morning.  We had a pack of timberwolves on the edge of the pasture this morning.  The youngstock are close to the house, so I'm not too worried.  We have a couple of good sized donkeys that hate canines and are great guard animals.  They sound an alarm for the whole township to hear when something's not right.

I'm blessed to have a bunch of young friends coming over today to help make sugar cookies.  God has blessed me with children in my home even though my own are not.  He is so good. 

Yesterday was tree finding day.  I was blessed again to be able to go with some friends to find trees for everyone.  An old satellite dish (remember the kind you can use for a chicken coop roof?), was hooked behind the pickup, we all piled in and away we went.  Over the river and through the woods and not one casualty-except the three trees.

The critters are awaiting breakfast and I need to make a run into town this morning before the cookie makers get here.

Merry Christmas.

Dec 16, 2012

Monkey Hat and Stuff

I finished the monkey hat.  I didn't have a model so I stuck it on the baby doll without a home.  She's been sitting in my kitchen for six months and I haven't been able to find a little girl who wants to take her home, so she's agreed to model for me while she waits.
Hat's a bit big for her.
I also finished a dishcloth with an evergreen pattern-for my neighbor who decorates in a woodsy theme.
And I have to post a picture of my Christmas cactus because it's blooming on time.   This is a rare treat for me.  Usually it's a Thanksgiving cactus or a Valentine's cactus.
I guess this was one of those "show and tell" posts. 
God bless.

Dec 10, 2012

Earwarmers for everyone

Here's a fast, easy project for Christmas presents-earwarmers.  There are so many patterns on line.  The filet looking earwarmer pattern is found at www.crochetspot.com/crochet-pattern-flowered-ear-warmer/  .  The other pattern is at http://morrowsunshine.blogspot.ca/2012/01/comfy-roomy-ear-warmer.html . 

We're doing a lot of homemade this year for Christmas.  Next up-monkey hats.  (Pictures to follow.)

Blessed Christmas.

Nov 28, 2012

More Bartered Blessings

One thing I've learned while living this "homesteading" lifestyle is that we can't do it all.  We may have tried it all, but not everything at the same time.  For instance, I haven't raised pigs in many years and may not ever again, but I've tried it. I raised bees for three years, long enough to realize that it's not my passion.  I now by local honey from a friend who does like those bees.  That's where barter and trade come in.

Yesterday I took my dog to the vet-80 miles away-and picked up some meat for a friend from a butcher up there.  The butcher blessed me with a box of tallow for helping to "clean out" his freezer.  After dropping off the meat at my friend's house, she blessed me with a bunch of bacon and a ham or two.  She also gifted me with a box of pig fat for making soap.  I have it rendering on the stove right now.  I'll be sending soaps to the butcher and my pig-raising friend.  See how great this works?

My honey is a professional barterer. :) He is so gifted that he can help out almost anywhere there's a need.  People would rather give him  something than pay him and that's usually a really good thing.

So you don't have to do it all.  That's what friends and community are there to help with.

Nov 26, 2012

Making New Memories

I think I've become a real stick in the mud.  I like curling up with a blanket and a movie in the evening and falling asleep on  the couch.  (This way I never run out of movies to watch as I never actually see them.)

When our daughter's friend called Saturday night and asked if we'd like to go to Bentleyville for the evening I did the unthinkable, I said yes. And I'm glad I did. 

The snow was falling and the temp was a perfect 18 above.  It was beautiful.
Bentleyville is a village of lights set up every Christmas season down on the Bayfront.  Admission is free and you are offered free hot chocolate, cookies, popcorn and marshmallows to roast.
Here's our daughter and her friend.
The lit walkways are beautiful.

Afterwards it was up to Buffalo Wings for snacks.  We've decided to make this a new tradition.  We're meeting here next year, same time. 

It's time to try new things and make new memories.

Nov 21, 2012

A Homemade Thanksgiving

Well, the pies are in the oven and the rolls and breads are waiting their turn.  I was going over the menu and started to count all of the ingredients that go into this dinner that come from our homestead.  I get a weird thrill when I do this, so bear with me.
Menu:
Porketta-from the store
Stuffing-from the store (hard to stuff a porketta :)  )
vegies and dip-only homegrown carrots here, and homemade dip with homegrown herbs
pickles-homegrown dill, beet, garlic and dilly bean pickles
potatoes and gravy-homegrown potatoes with homemade butter
cranberries-haven't figured out how to grow these yet.   lol
squash-from our garden
horseradish-homegrown
apple pie-using homegrown, home rendered lard and our own apples
pumpkin pie-ditto for the crust and our own pumpkins
peas and carrots-our carrots, store bought peas
rolls-homegrown wheat

Maybe next year I'll challenge myself to only use ingredients from our homestead, but that would mean I'd probably have to raise turkeys.  I'm thinking most people who read this are of the same mindset, so how do your ingredients tally up?

 There's a lot to be thankful for.  Our lives have been tossed to and fro, but our God has been faithful. He will see us through to the end.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Nov 20, 2012

Bottling Apple Cider Vinegar

For the last four years I've been making apple cider vinegar with cores and peels.  I found a recipe here.  It works great.  I put some down to ferment two months ago and today I bottled it up.
This is a picture of store bought and homemade.  The lighter colored jug on the right is homemade and the other is store bought.  Because it's made with peelings and cores it doesn't get as strong as vinegar made with juice.  It still has the same properties, though and is still good for you.  I get about two gallons each fall.

I thought I'd also post a picture of a Boston Marrow squash that we grew this summer.  It's the largest squash that I've ever grown.  Boston Marrow is an heirloom type of Hubbard.
The peanut butter jar is to give you some kind of scale.  The squash looks a bit like Jimmy from Vegietales.  :)
For sure saving seeds from this guy.

Lord bless.
From Glory Farm

Nov 19, 2012

November 19th

Things are still a bit stressful here, but slowly solutions are coming.  I'm suffering from uncertainty as to some of the decisions that we have had to make.  Praying for God's peace to fill my home and my soul.  I know that all we can do is live out our faith to the best of our ability and with God's help, what others do is a decision only they can make.  I am learning how very important and powerful prayer is and what a responsibility. 

On to happier subjects....I'm getting a new barn!  I know that we just put up a barn for the goats and the milk cow, but somehow it's now filled with tractors, a motorcycle, two riding lawnmowers, a church pew and a mess of lumber. 

This is the barn that we put up last summer.  I don't have a more recent picture, but it's more finished than this now and much fuller.

The barn that we're moving over here is a wooden one, 20x24 and has three rooms in it-a chicken coop (with nice nesting boxes), a grainery, and another room where I hope to keep my goats.  I am excited.  This building is free from a neighbor who just wants it off of his property because it needs new siding.  What a gift!  I'll get pictures next time we go over to work on it.

Thanksgiving is coming up fast.  We're having all of the standards except no turkey.  I took a poll and everyone would rather have porketta than turkey, so porketta it is.  After discussing the menu with our guests, I've found that most don't care for cranberries, sweet potatoes, peas and carrots, etc.  Some don't even like the mashed potatoes-me :).  But it's tradition and so I'll cook it all up because that's just what we do in my family.  And we'll eat it, because we're good at that in my family, too.

We have so much to be thankful for.  Life doesn't always turn out like we think it will, but we have a constant, our Lord, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He never leaves us nor forsakes us. 

Happy Thanksgiving.

Nov 8, 2012

A Different Hope

When facing stress and sorrow some people eat, some drink, I adopt new animals.  My honey is slightly amused which is why he lets me do this.

So...introducing our newest addition-
I've named her Hope.  She's an angora doe.  I don't have any black angoras and am excited to have her and my other doe bred next spring. 

Next....a puppy!  :) ???

Nov 3, 2012

Hope

I don't often post much about my personal life on here but today I covet your prayers for my family.  We are all going through the most horrendous thing we've ever had to deal with and "The gates of hell shall not prevail"  against us.  It's about more than hope, it's about faith.  As things get worked out, I'll share more of the details, but for now I would be so thankful if you would pray for my honey and I and all four of our children, that we make it though this and glorify God through it all.

Last night as I was wallowing in self pity I looked over toward the livingroom window and saw this--
My tea plant it blooming in my livingroom and is full of buds.

And remember my gardening experiment? With all of the snow and cold temps, look what came up a few days ago--
Do you see those little lettuce seedling in there?  Amazing to me as we've had temps below 20 degrees at night.  I'm going to water these and keep you posted as to their progress.

Hope springs eternal.

Oct 27, 2012

Experiment (con't.)

Well, I guess I get a little carried away when I read some of these books.  My little coldframe is just that-very cold.  Three days after I planted it we had snow and we continue to have snow a little every day.  Sometimes I forget that global warming hasn't hit here yet. 
This morning the hoses are all frozen, manure has frozen to the grain trough and the cattle water had to be broke open.  Our three weeks of fall are over, but they were the most beautiful three weeks of the year.

Oct 22, 2012

Gardening Experiments

Don't you love trying new things?  This year I tried growing Quinoa.  That experiment didn't work.
I recently read "The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency used by the Mormon Pioneers".  It's a good read and he has some ideas and information in there that I didn't have before.
The author has some good ideas for extending the harvest for us short season gardeners.

Today I set  up a "rustic" cold frame with a hot water jug to help keep it heated at night.
I need to fasten this to the house with a hinge, yet.  I planted various kinds of lettuce and spinach in here and I'm hopeful that we will be growing lettuce into December.  This is on the south side of my house right next to my other experiment-trying to save seed from biennials.  I have carrots and beets planted and I just mulched them.  I'm hoping they'll come up for the second year and provide me with seed. 

I guess the picture of this experiment isn't too exciting.  I'll report back on these experiments as they progress.  Or not.


Oct 17, 2012

25 ways (or more) to save money

Patrice over at  Rural Revolution has listed 25 ways to cut your budget.  I'm getting on board and listing some ways we save money.  Some of these may be duplicates of what she's already posted, but I'll try and be original.

  • Try to stay away from using credit cards.  The interest really adds up.
  • We grow all of our own herbs and 90% of our vegetables each year.  This is my contribution since I don't have an outside job.
  • We raise chickens and beef cattle and have our own supply of fresh meat and eggs, better and cheaper than the grocery store.
  • Cook from scratch.  Time consuming, but much more frugal and healthier.
  • Buy baking supplies in bulk from the local food co-op.
  • No cell phones and no dish TV.  We do spend on movies we buy or rent.
  • Homeschooling-we buy curriculum second hand and don't need to spend a fortune on school clothes.
  • Lawn mowing-we hardly ever mow our yard.  Terrible, I know, but life is just too busy and so I guess we save on gas and wear and tear on our mower.
  • Our lawnmowers, 3-wheeler, tractors were all either bartered for or bought very cheaply because they needed repairs.  This works for us as my honey fixed them all up.
  • We don't use the clothes dryer (most of the time), or the dishwasher.  This saves on our electric bill.
  • We have wood heat to supplement our high efficiency propane furnace.  When it hits -40 neither one will keep the house warm by itself.
  • Plastic up all of the windows for winter, and bank the house with snow. 
  • We cut our wood off of our back forty.  Cheap heat.
  • Reusing plastic bags.  It's a small thing, but I don't like buying plastic products.
  • Starting all of my garden plants from seed in the house each spring.
  • Saving most of our own garden seeds year to year.
  • Milk our own cow and make butter, cheese, sour cream, etc.
  • Sew tablecloths, curtains, clothes from material found at the thrift store.
  • Grow our own animal feed-hay, oats, pumpkins. (This does mean an investment in those tractors I mentioned previously.)
  • Buy pig fat from the local butcher to render into lard.  He charges twenty five cents a pound. This is great for baking and frying.
  • Make our own soap from this lard and goat's milk.
  • Shear our rabbits and goats to spin into yarn.  This makes nice mittens and such for presents and cuts down on Christmas costs.
  • Give home canned goods, herbal mixtures, and homemade teas for gifts. There are many homemade gifts that people actually like.
  • Buy groceries at two week intervals or more.  This cuts down on impulse buying.
  • Make a menu for this two week period so that you know exactly what you need to get at the store and use only the coupons for the products you would normally buy.
  • Buy extra of the items that you know you use when they go on sale.  It's nice to have this stash in the cellar. 
  • Every once in awhile call your insurance agent and see if you qualify for a cheaper rate, or call other agents and compare prices.
  • We don't buy paper napkins or paper towels.  I make cloth napkins and use rags for spills and washing windows.
I know these ideas can't be used by everyone, but I hope you found one or two that you hadn't thought of before.

Oct 6, 2012

Canning Coleslaw

What do you do with your extra cabbage?  I know a lot of people make sauerkraut.  I do like homemade sauerkraut, but for a bit of variety, I also can coleslaw.  I thought I'd share the recipe I got from a blogging friend.

1 medium head of cabbage
1 large carrot
1 small onion
1 teaspoon salt

Syrup:
1 cup vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed

Shred together vegetables.  Add the salt.  Let stand 1 hour.  Drain water from vegetables.

Boil syrup ingredients together for 1 minute, cool.  Add syrup to vegetables.  Pack into quart or pint jars and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.

I drain this and add a tad of mayonnaise before I use it.



This year's batch has some purple cabbage mixed in.

Oct 3, 2012

Old Wheat

I was reading over at The Deliberate Agrarian about modernized wheat.  I had never heard about our modern wheat being so much different from the wheat grown in the 1800s. 

I started looking on line for information and  there's quite a bit out there.  Modern wheat has been selected and bred for high yield and high gluten.  Some people think that this may be causing all of the issues, such as gluten intolerance and celiac disease, that are so common right now.  

I found this information over at The Sustainable Seed Company.

What makes heirloom grains so special? Heirloom grains, (generally speaking are those over 50 years of age) are still very adaptable. Meaning, unlike many of todays hybrid wheats these heritage wheats have a huge genetic background allowing them to fight off pests and adapt to local growing conditions over generations. Why is that so important? Because as petroleum becomes even more expensive transporting such a heavy food commodity, most grains will once again be grown locally. To do this you will need locally adapted varieties of heritage grain. That is a big reason, but another important one is the flavor. Many heirloom grains retain unique and rich flavors that were sacrificed in modern hybrids for high yields.

After doing some research, I'm thinking I may trade in my spring red wheat for some kamut.  I need to look into it some more and would love any advice you may have on growing grains.  The weather here is cold, we're a zone 3.  Winter wheat has never worked for me, but then again, I just might not know what I'm doing.  Any wheat growers out there?  How about barley growers? Another grain on my list.

Thanks.

Sep 22, 2012

Fall

Fall-my favorite time of year.

Sep 18, 2012

The Fall Fest

Well, I accomplished what I had set out to do this spring.  I had a booth at two festivals this year.  I didn't sell so much, but I was able to give out all of my "farm" cards.

A dear friend, (the blacksmithing lady), made some frames for me to display my wares.  She's a huge pinterest fan and so some credit goes to that site also.

We took the idea and used chicken wire instead of cloth, that country look ya know.  I used clothespins to attach packages of herbs and teas and my aprons.  Sales were mediocre, but the company was great.  I need more inventory so that my stand doesn't look quite so sparse.

I came home exhausted and very sunburnt.

Sep 2, 2012

Zuchinni Hood con't....

'Nuff said.  ;)

Sep 1, 2012

Minnesota Peaches??

Up here, where -40 is a very normal January temp, fruit is harder to grow.  I get excited every time I get melons from the garden, or plums on the trees.  This year I found a peach tree at the local nursery that is supposed to be good for zone 4.  Well, we're a zone 3, but I thought I'd try it anyways.
Only two peaches, but they sure tasted good.
We spit them both four ways so we could each get a taste. 
Now I need to baby that tree through the winter.  I'm sure hoping that it makes it.
There are also melons getting done in the garden-
And a couple of watermelons that might make it, I hope. 
Next year I hope to add a couple of pear trees to the orchard and maybe another apple tree. 

Have a great weekend.

Beware Zuchinni Hood

He's a distant relative of Robin.  He steals from the zuchinni rich and gives to anyone that is gullible enough to take his goods.  He hits parking lots and unlocked cars.  He leaves young, tender zuchinni on doorsteps and in church foyers.  I have been a victim of this crime on more than one occasion and I thought the warning should be passed along to others.  Last week I was hit again and found this on my doorstep--
A young, innocent zuchinni wrapped in swaddling paper and awaiting my arrival.

The clever Zuchinni Hood tried to disguise this one as a cucumber, but don't fall for it. 
I'm thinking of starting a VODOZ (victims of dropped off zuchinni) group.  But it is only for a short season and the worst of it is over around here.  I hope this helps to warn others.  ;))

Aug 20, 2012

Wild Hops

Last fall I discovered a patch of wild hops back in the woods.  I didn't get them picked in time, but this year I plan to harvest them and make a tea with them.
Here's a close up-

I think that they are almost ready to harvest.  The cones should feel papery and light and a bit dry.  If they have an odor and are slightly sticky they are ready.  Once I harvest them and dry them in my dehydrator, I'm going to use them for tea.

Hops aid insomnia, promotes appetite, (like I need that?), can relieve arthritis pain, relieves gas, and helps women produce more milk while breastfeeding. 

One more thing to add to my medicine cabinet.  Oh, hoppy day!

We're Getting There

Five years ago we started some major renovations on our  home.  We tore some down, put some up and gutted the rest.  We're still working on it.  Slow but sure.  My honey got the siding up on a couple of sides of the house.  Just thought I'd share.
This is the east side of the house four and a half years ago.
Here it is now-
We'll definitely be warmer this winter.  :))

Aug 15, 2012

Whitewater Rafting

It may not be the Colorado River, but it is plenty of adventure for us.  We took a ride down the St. Louis River and hit six rapids.  It was great. I never knew that I'd enjoy whitewater so much.
It's hard to see, but in this raft are two of our girls.  The one steering in back is our Elizabeth.  She looks a little stressed.  :)
And coming down next are my son and I.  We're both in yellow.  (I'm the one with the hat.  lol)

This trip was rather bittersweet as it was the last meeting of our 4-H club.  We're disbanding for lack of a leader.  We sure had a good time.

Aug 12, 2012

Let's Go To the Threshing Show

Every year, to celebrate our anniversary, we go to the local threshing show.  It's antique tractors, horse drawn implements, old houses, good food, a flea market and threshing machines.  I took a mess of pictures this year and so sit back and enjoy the show.
There were more vendors at the flea market this year than in years past.  We really didn't find anything that we needed, a coule of antique wrenches and a couple of books.
This is the row of antique John Deeres-the green row.
The red row.

I dream about owning this tractor.  Isn't it beautiful?
A nicely restored Silver King.
A Waterloo Boy kerosene tractor.
My honey took this one.  He is fond  of draglines.
This is hard to see, but it's a steam tractor driving a wood planer.
A view of the fields and some horses.
Can you guess what this is??
A 1917 Dane Baler.  This is a stationary baler with hand tie wires.


A beautiful set of horses.
This guy was my favorite, a dappled gray.
This is an old steam powered generator from an electric plant.  This thing shook the ground when it ran.
Horses pulling a one bottom plow.  These guys can really move.
Do you know what this steam tractor is being used for? (Check out the boxes by the garbage can.)

Yep, that's corn in that garbage can and this is the finished product.  It was delicious.
So there's my day at the show.  I went a bit crazy with the camera, but I hope you enjoyed the trip. I forgot to get a picture of a threshing machine....