Monday, January 30, 2012

Computer Issues

My computer is on the blink. Having it repaired, hope to be back online soon.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Accomplished Projects Around the Homestead

In the mail yesterday I received my Bioset from Johnny's Seeds. Currently I have started mung bean and alfalfa sprouts. Curious to see how well this works. Yummy salads and sandwiches here we come.

An ongoing problem around here has been rain. Yes, rain is great for our soil and for filling up our well. Over the past two months it has rained alot. More rain than actual sunny days. Which means my poor chickens have been walking around in alot of muck, except in their coops of course. Scott hung a tarp high over part of the Buff's run to help reduce some of the muddy muck. Today we finally have sun after 5 days of dreariness and rain. Thank you God for this beautiful day. We needed it so bad.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Food Storage

We live in a small cabin. Storage is at a premium. So we have to make use of every little nook and crany for food storage, or make it up as we go along. In the past six months stocking food has been a priority for us. Of course only when the funds are available. I have only purchased items that I know we will eat.

Yesterday was a big shopping day. $289.00 was spent. I informed the hubby that this needs to last us for at least two weeks. No shopping except for bananas, bread, and milk. $40.00 of the $289.00 was two pair of work jeans for Scott and a tarp to go over part of the chicken run. Last night I did cook the first of our dried potatoes from this past summer. Actually I have cooked some in a soup that Scott ate but this was the first real dish. I re hydrated the scalloped potatoes in water for 3-4 hours and then made a cheesy scalloped potatoes side dish for dinner. The consistency turned out just right. So this summer I see alot more drying of potatoes.

Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe Vera Juice has been a recent find for me. I use it for my acid reflux. My reflux has gotten so bad that I had to see a gastro specialist in December. Currently I take a prescription acid reducer in the morning and the gastro doctor added an over the counter one at night to try for three months. I have what is actually consider secondary symptoms. Irritated tongue and roof of mouth as well as sore throat especially when swallowing food instead of the routine burning in the throat or stomach. A couple of months ago I started drinking the aloe vera juice morning and night. At first it was hard to tell if it was helping because of all the other medication I am on. But recently I ran out of it and was off the juice for 5-7 days. My sore throat came back. I picked juice up yesterday and upped my dose to 1 1/2 oz. twice yesterday and could already see a difference today. My gastro doctor has no confidence in the aloe vera juice helping. I don't understand why so many doctors have a problem with endorsing alternative methods for healing. There are about 250 types of aloe vera plants so don't try to make it on your own. A specific type is needed so please get the one from a health food store, etc.

Indoor Gardening

Our indoor gardening experiment officially started last night. I planted spinach, oak leaf, and a mixed salad blend. If I haven't mentioned before I love my greens. I eat salads probably 4-5 times a week. If this works I will be a very happy woman. The possibility of fresh greens all year just makes me giddy. Plus I ordered my bioset to grow sprouts for the chickens and my salads. It should be here next week.

Each plastic container has the possibility of 6 seedlings to grow. Scott placed a small window screen material on the bottom elevated by about 1 1/2 inches to allow for drainage. I will keep you posted on the progress.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Eating Whole Foods

A journey I have chosen for this year is trying to eat more whole foods. I am the first to admit that I am the worst vegetable eater around. Grace eats a fair variety of fruits and vegetables but my oldest eats very little. Since he was little his menu consisted of about 10 different items and at 21 it is still close to the same. This year I am focused to try a new vegetable, fruit, grain, etc. each week, especially when the produce starts rolling in for our garden. Don't get me wrong, I do eat alot of greens, shredded carrots, apples, bananas, and nuts. Citrus fruits are out of the picture for me because of my severe acid reflux. In the past couple of months I have changed to snacking on nuts, fruit, and yogurt covered raisins in place of bakery items, chips and crackers. All sweets are usually made by me at home. But I really want to push things farther. I want to do 2-3 meatless meals a week. The other 4 days a week we can have meat but would like to purchase humanely raised and organic meats. As I said in the beginning this is a journey and I am sure I won't be perfect about it all the time. But some is better than none.

Typical Thursday

Each day of the week has a certain flow to it for us. Today being Thursday we have a couple of classes outside the home to work in to our schedule. Thursdays are more of a Fine Arts kind of day with a little bit of book work mixed in. Grace's favorite day because I don't schedule any math. Typically we do a bit of book work before lunch:

Science - Correct missed questioned from yesterday. Read a certain amount of pages and answer more questions. Currently finishing up the last lessons in Exploring Anatomy from Jeannie Fulbright.
Nature Study - Read a lesson from Mary's Meadow which is a Discovering Nature Series from Queen Homeschool. Today's lesson is about bulbs. Grace will find four different types of flowers that grow from bulbs, draw a picture of each, and write down their latin names.
Art - Finish art homework from Monday's drawing class. Working on hands in different poses.
Vocabulary - An activity from Wordly Wise grade 7.
Independent Reading - 30 minutes from The Hunger Games or Naruto.

After lunch we head off to her mixed media art class for an hour. Once we get home from art class if there is any book work left to be finished this would be the time to take care of it. Later this afternoon we have a two hour practice with ministry drama team. Preparing for another performance on Febuary 1st. In between all of this I am sure she will be working on the computer any time she can fit in. Grace spends hours using her bamboo pad to draw on the computer and well as other graphic arts software.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Celebrating a Birthday

Today is my mom's 70th birthday. Grace and myself took the day off from school to spend with her. The plan was to do a little shopping then go out to lunch. Mom really wanted to visit Belk's to see what they had on the clearance racks and stopped at the Clinque counter instead. She mentioned that she wanted some really good makeup. The Clinque employee could not have been any nicer. Mom got a make over then made her purchases. I had been contemplating taking Grace to the dermatologist for acne but decided to ask for advice here while waiting on mom. After mom finished Grace sat in the chair and had her face cleansed, moisturized and a light touch of foundation and lip gloss applied. I decided it was worth the money to help Grace and the acne situation. We all remember what growing up was like. Anywho, the pic above is of both the girls after their makeovers. They loved it. We all had a great time being together.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

What Puppy Lives For

Puppy (whose real name is Angel but only gets called puppy) lives to chase sticks in the back yard. It has gotten to the point that she refuses to go down the deck stairs to use the restroom unless I throw a stick for her. Scott collected a bucket of sticks and sat it right outside the door. Now we are in business. She really is the funniest thing. She will be inside but the minute she hears any of the outside equipment start running, she knows that Scott is out there and will throw her sticks. This was a daily occurrence as long as it wasn't raining, but now that Scott is not here during the week days she seems a little lost. I find her hanging out at the door looking for him. Today was beautiful so many a stick was thrown and chased down.

Seed Lists Finished

So far I have received 8 seed catalogs so far in this new year. It is always fun pouring over the catalogs and deciding what we want to grown in the garden for the upcoming year. I settled on three different companies to order from, with the exception of the mushroom plugs that we haven't decided on yet. First lists is for Johnny's Selected Seeds.
Ridgeline Romaine
Crispino Iceburg
Bioset Kitchen Salad Garden (for growing sprouts)
Red Gold Early Potatoes
Alfalfa Seeds for Sprouting
Mung Bean Seeds for Sprouting
Buckwheat Seeds for Sprouting

Next is my largest list from Seed Savers.
Climbing French Bean
Lazy Housewife Bean
Bronze Arrowhead Lettuce
Forellenschluss Lettuce
Australian Brown Onion
American Spinach
Crystal Apple Cucumbers
Lemon Balm
Peppers in Transplant Form (Jimmy Nardello's and Orange Bell)
Tomatoes in Tramsplant Form (Amish Paste)
Desiree Red Potatoes

Last but not least will be coming from R.H. Shumway's.
Chicken Lettuce Mix
Old Timey Heritage Blend Greens
Bonvivant Meschlin Blend
Corn Salad
Sprout Mix
Herb Mill
Yukon Gold Potatoes
Silver Queen Corn
Goliath Field Corn for the chickens
Danvers Halflong Cucumbers

I will be ordering this every 2-4 weeks when we get paid.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

To My Blogging Friends

Please don't think that I am not responding to your comments but I am having alot of trouble the past couple of days commenting on your blogs. Hope to get it corrected soon.

Friday, January 13, 2012

So Much Running Through My Head These Days

So many projects we want to accomplish. So many future dreams we want to achieve. The past two weeks have been a real adjustment for our family. Hubby is now back to working five days a week. The previous year was a great break on working three days a week with the same pay and benefits. We were able to accomplish so much with all the extra time we had, now not so much. Me and Grace miss having him around the house, miss his extra help, miss going out to lunch, etc. All this upheaval has brought to light alot of discussions and plan making. A two year goal has been established. Why two years? Well, most of our consumer debt should be gone 24 months. All car and motorcycle notes will be paid in full. Car insurance will be readjusted to liability only. Our one credit card will be paid off. More savings (hopefully) will be stashed in the bank. One loan will be paid in full. This will leave us with just house note, electricity, netflix, phone, car insurance, gas for transportation, tithe to church, food, and health insurance. We are hoping to bring hubby closer to home with a different job. The drive five days a week is killing him. Two and a half hours each day. Not to mention transportation costs. We want to enlarge the garden and egg production to do some farmers markets. Also considering growing mushrooms on our very shaded, woody lot for extra income. Time to really tighten the belt. This next week we will be eating out of the pantry. Other than milk and bread and maybe some cheese, no other purchases from the grocery store until Friday. Only one day a week for eating out, probably after church on Sundays. No clothing purchases (we really have all we need). This will be tough because we already are very much cut back in expenses. As far as I am concerned two years can't come fast enough.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

First Project Complete for the New Year

My new indoor garden. This is actually the first step toward an indoor garden. We had to enclose the grow lights and growing area in a cabinet to keep the three pesky indoor cats from eating all the fruits of our labor. One cabinet has been built to test the theory of growing greens and herbs with the grown lights inside during the winter months and to start off seedlings.

A better picture of the inside. Sometime this week I will buy something cheap to use as pots and probably start planting spinach and some other choice greens to see what happens. I love salad and eat it probably 3-4 times a week. It is the one produce item that would really set me back if I started eating seasonally. Also since we have no sun in our yard (due to wooded lot) we need to be a little more creative with some of our growing techniques. I will keep you posted on any progress. Keeping our fingers crossed.

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Creations by Grace

Christmas Pic I Forgot to Share

I didn't take many pictures this Christmas. It seems as each year goes by I take less and less, especially now that the kids are getting older. My dad commissioned Scott to paint the above painting for my mom for Christmas. Mom loves folk art and dad wanted something to represent the family. So Scott painted our own version of the family tree with each family member represented by a different breed of chicken. Needless to say it is hanging in my mom's kitchen and she loves it.

Travis and my niece Danielle. They were born three months apart and both turned 21 this year. So proud of both of them.

Grace and Travis. These days it is hard to get a picture with both of them in it.

Opening presents at mom and dad's house.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What I am Up To

What I am reading: Lots of gardening books and catalogs. Picked up a couple of YA Fiction books to read and will share once I finish.

What we are reading: Over the holidays we finished the fourth book of Peter and the Starcatchers series. Hope to purchase the new fifth book in a couple of weeks. In the meantime we have started reading aloud The Son of Neptune.

What I am watching: Okay here comes some of my very guilty pleasures. Started watching "24" with Netflix and have become addicted. Currently on season 7, I hear there will be a "24" movie out at the theater summer of 2012. Another show I am addicted to is "Justified". I was trying to wait on Netflix to release season two but just decided to purchase from Amazon instant video so I could be caught up when the new season starts in a couple of weeks.

Upcoming events: Grace starts back with her art lessons, and drama ministry practices this week. We have a big performance this Sunday. Also another party with the drama ministry team and some friends spending the weekend with us.

Projects: Scott has started hanging shelves for food storage and hopefully this week will start building our indoor greenhouse for greens and sprouts.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Prepping for the New Year

We were blessed to receive some money for Christmas. A list of prepping items was already floating around the house as a wish list. Here is a list of upcoming projects that the money will fund:

Pond to raise catfish - the pond is already built and catching rain water to fill it up. A large quantity of activated charcoal was purchased to filter the water. Hoping to have the pond full of water in the next month. So the next step will be building the filter and purchasing the catfish.

Upgrades on chicken coops - this was mentioned in the previous post and just about finished.

Food Storage - Extra food was purchased this month to expand our food storage. But we still have a long way to go.

Indoor garden - grow lights have been purchased to create an indoor growing opportunity for greens and herbs.

Garden supplies - The garden will be bigger this year. Seed orders will start going out the end of January. I hope to grow a couple of extra rows this year for our church's food pantry and to use to barter with a friend that has raw milk and butter.

Growing the flock - We will either let the game fowl sit on eggs and give us some more chicks or buy 6 more from the local feed store in the spring. Love raising baby chicks and building a larger flock.

Buying a truck - we are looking in to buying a used truck sometime this year to help haul wood, etc. We do have a friend that has two trucks that we might actually just be able to barter the use of it and give them eggs and veggies from the garden.

Weekend Projects

Now that hubby has started back to a 5 day a week schedule, projects around the homestead have been pushed to the weekends. Luckily this weekend is a three day holiday weekend. This next week will be the first really cold week of the winter with lows in 20's. So that means winterizing the coops with home made heat lamps and plastic around the sides. Also the Buffs run is too small so we bought chicken wire to enlarge it. Tomorrow will be loading up on wood for the upcoming cold week to burn in the two wood stoves. We also bought supplies to make to start growing greens and herbs inside the house with grow lights. (As I mentioned before we live in a very wooded area and don't get sunlight in the yard enough to grow a garden). Happy New Year!