Archive for January, 2008

30
Jan
08

A warm and windy weekend…

In Kansas you learn fast you have to take the good with the bad.  If you have a 72 degree in January with gusts up to 30 mph, you still think it is a nice day.  We took advantage of the nice weather over the weekend and got quite a bit done.

Friday, Randy was off work because he had worked really late the night before.  So, we went to a town 30 minutes away to get our passport pictures taken and saw a girl I went to high school with and had a nice chat.  Randy and I went out for a nice lunch and spent the remainder of the afternoon hanging out together and stopped to visit our neighbors on our way home.  Saturday, we picked up limbs around our house from the ice storm.  We are MAYBE a quarter of the way done.  It is really a mess.  Sunday, we spent the better part of the day building our shute. 

Halfway There

The finished product.

Here are the girls and Hank just relaxing and doing some cud chewing while we worked and slaved on their shute.  Randy tried to lure them down the shute with a bucket of corn at feeding time.  Our registered Texel ewe, June, was the only one who followed and got hand fed a bite of corn.

Here are the Banties roaming.  We have chicken wire between the dogs and where the chickens roam.  The little black dog in the background doesn’t look like much, but he is a cold-blooded killer.  Notice the ice we have been scooping out of our stock tank.  The sad looking cedar trees have been converted to back scratchers for the girls, notice all the wool.

Sunday, we were invited to Mom and Dad’s for dinner so after we finished up our evening chores we headed down there the hang out with them and eat.  I also took a few pictures of his baby lambs to send to my cousins in North Carolina. 

Spooky and I had a little photo shoot two weeks ago, so I thought I would share.

Gotta love camera strings.

and of course a self portrait

This is what our older, wiser cat, Cooter, thought of the photo shoot.  He high tailed it out of my reach.

I have also started using some of the things I got in my Mountain Rose Herbs order.  Their coconut oil is wonderful and less expensive than I could find it anywhere else (even including shipping).  I used my citric acid to make mozzarella over the weekend.  And hope to get in my lip balm tubes I ordered on eBay so I can make lip balm this weekend.

We have started using Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar on our dog’s food to try to combat some skin allergies Koal is having.  We use one teaspoon morning and evening.  We didn’t know if they would eat their food with the ACV on it, but it hasn’t affected their eating at all, and Koal is a very picky eater.  Hopefully it will help neutralize their little systems. 

Monday was house cleaning day since it didn’t get done Friday.  I also made homemade corn tortillas (I’ll post this a little bit later), enchilada sauce, and crockpot enchilladas.  I also made mozzarella, cream cheese, yogurt, and kefir, so I had a pretty productive day. 

Now it’s back to the office to work!

23
Jan
08

Earth-Friendly Products

I have been searching the internet for recipes, sources, and ideas for making my own beauty products.  I have come across a couple interesting sites I thought I would pass along: 

More than Alive     This site offers bulk herbs, recipes, and some wonderful books.

Kitchen Cosmetics     Recipes

Abundant Earth      Anything organic or recycled (mattresses, blankets, candles, etc.)

Mrs. Meyer’s     We had some problems getting our kitten, Spooky, to use the litter box.  We use the cheap litter with no fragrance and thought this may be the problem.  So, I bought some of Mrs. Meyer’s Pet Litter Freshener.  It made all the difference in the world.  Now Spooky uses the litter box like he is supposed to.  After reading the label I discovered it is baking soda with clary sage, chamomile, lavender, grapefruit, cypress, and orange essential oils added.  Hmmm, you think I could make this for less than $4.99 a bottle?  Me too.

We are hoping to finish up our passport process with pictures on Friday and going to the post office Saturday to turn in our paperwork and pay.  Then, if we decide we want to go to Canada while we are visiting family in Michigan, we can.  If we decide we want to go to Norway with my in-laws, we can.  Or if by some unbelievable chance we plan a trip to Ireland, we are all set.

22
Jan
08

Happiness…

 

This is from Mercola on Simple Secrets of How to be Happy.  I found it enlightening and thought I would pass it along.  They are things we all probably know, but could use a nice litte reminder.

These are the principles I use to be happy. They work for me, and I hope they work for you:

1) Improve your relationships with friends and family – Happiness starts at home. Start by improving your relationship with your parents, brothers, sisters, and children. Smile when you greet them, do things for them, don’t allow them to get angry with you. Maintaining healthy loving relationships and friendships can promote happiness. Remember that love makes you beautiful.

2) Be an optimist – Optimism generates good feelings.

3) Develop a genuine smile and laugh a lot – Act happy – It works. Smile into the mirror for a half hour without stopping. Smiling makes you happy and the more you smile the more happy you become. We all like people who smile. It also makes us more attractive.

4) Pray – Become religious or spiritual – This only works if you believe in God. If you want to be happy then ask God to make you happy. Prayer helps you accomplish things.

5) Be generous and share with others – Give more than you receive because being generous will make you happy.

6) Treat time as a friend – Don’t watch the clock.

7) Exercise your mind – Keep yourself busy with some new project or ideas.

8) Work your body – Exercise regularly. Studies show that aerobic exercise is an antidote for mild depression and anxiety. “Happy minds reside in sound bodies,” says Dr. Myers.

9) Have fun in life – Keep cool under pressure.

10) Pursue achievable goals.

11) Have high confidence in yourself.

12) Respect the disadvantaged.

13) Age gracefully.

14) Give compliments – Take every opportunity to be complimentary. Want to make someone like you? Every time you meet a person smile and give them a compliment.

15) Be honest – With honesty comes openness. People respect honest and open minded people.

16) Keep an open mind – Most people seem to think that they know everything that they need to know. There’s plenty of wisdom to go around.

17) Treat difficulties as challenges –Life’s an adventure and every obstacle in life is one of its challenges. Treat life as a game. What fun would a game be if you could never lose?

22
Jan
08

Lavender Linen Spray

I LOVE this recipe and use it every night before bed.  Just one spray on your pillow at night is perfect.

Lavender Linen Spray:

3 cups Distilled Water

3 oz. Vodka

15-30 drops Lavender Essential Oil

1 Amber Glass Spray Bottle

Sterilize the glass container by placing it in boiling water for 3 minutes.  Allow to cool.  Pour distilled water and vodka into the glass bottle, using a funnel if needed.  Add the lavender essential oil and stir or shake until mixed.

Oh, I about forgot to mention.  Look for the mini bottles of Vodka near the checkout at your local liquor store.  They are either 1.7 oz or 2.7 oz, I can’t remember, but buying one or two of these would save you from buying a pint.

22
Jan
08

Monday at Home…

Monday I was home by myself.  It was extremely cold, so I tried to get chores over with early in the morning so I wouldn’t have to dread them any longer.  I drug a hose out of the building and everyone got fresh water, fresh salt and mineral, and I Everyone was doing well.  The sheep and llama don’t seem to mind the cold very much.

I got a slow start on housework when I returned indoors.  It was just one of those days I was really dragging.  I baked bread, walked on the treadmill, worked on our taxes, and did some reading and note taking.

In the afternoon I made another loaf of bread called:

Quick Sourdough Bread

I used all olive oil (4 T.) instead of butter just because it was easier, whole wheat bread flour, and sucanat instead of sugar. 

Any tricks on how to measure out flour without having to sifted would be wonderful.  I think I would make this again if I didn’t have to sift three cups of flour.  It’s not bad.  Mine didn’t need 40 minutes to bake, however.

I also whipped up a pot of Broccoli Soup that was really good.  I used “fresh” cream I had frozen and it worked great.  We had Sloppy Joes and Broccoli Soup for dinner.  It was a perfect day for soup since it was so cold and yucky outside. 

Sloppy Joes:

½ lb hamburger

1 cup beans, cooked (I use leftover pinto, black, whatever I have)

Ketchup, Mustard, and Sucanat to taste

Served on homemade bread with canned sweet green tomatoes, Yum!

As promised, here is the ketchup recipe I used this summer to can homemade ketchup from tomatoes out of our garden.

Ketchup:

2 gal. tomato pulp

*This consists of the juice, ran through a food mill, and boiled hard for one hour, you should have 2 gallons remaining once it’s boiled.

1 cup cane juice crystals

1 cup sucanat

3 cups white vinegar (could possibly be decreased so it’s thicker)

1 t. ginger

1 t. allspice

1 t. ground mustard

1 t. cinnamon

3 T. sea salt

Tomato Paste

Once you have boiled the tomato juice hard for one hour, add one add sugars, spices, and salt.  Boil for another 30 minutes.  Bottle and seal.

I canned mine in pint jars although it was still pretty thin in consistency.  When I was ready to use it I took two pints of the ketchup, put it in a pan, added one 6 oz can of tomato paste, cooked on low until the tomato paste was dissolved, and then placed in a quart jar in the refrigerator.

Hope everyone is staying warm and had a nice weekend.

22
Jan
08

Friday…

I’m going to do something a little different this time around.  I’m going to make separate entries for the different days I was a away from the computer and couldn’t post them.

Friday it was really cold and windy here.  First thing in the morning I got started on laundry, cleaning the kitchen, made the bed, and baked bread.  Once the sun came up, around 7:30, I headed outside to do our chores which include feeding, watering, and changing the litter box for the cats, opening the door, feeding, and watering the chickens, and breaking the ice on the sheep’s water, looking them over really well, and turning off their building lights.  I also try to fill our four bird feeders at least twice a week with millet or sunflower seeds.  Then I head back inside to warm up with a cup of hot tea.

Dad and Randy went to an auction to look at a tractor for us, and a grain truck for Dad.  Dad’s hoses were frozen that morning and he couldn’t get his sheep watered.  So, once the sun had been out for an hour or so I headed down to their house to water his sheep.  An hour and a half and 16 tubs and stock tanks later everyone was watered, and I was on my way home.

Once I got home I still needed to vacuum the house, get dinner started and do the evening chores.  I vacuumed first then headed outside to do the chores.  We were out of corn, so I loaded up four five gallon buckets and headed to Grandma’s where the corn is kept.  I gave the sheep their corn, collected eggs, and fed the cats.  When I got inside Randy called to see if I had started dinner yet, “nope,” he suggested we go to dinner, just the two of us.  I can’t even remember the last time the two of us had gone to dinner together, probably on our California trip in September.  It was so nice.  We went to a nice little restaurant in a town 20 miles away (that’s about as close as it gets here).  We talked and laughed and just enjoyed each other’s company.

Remember the dog we found last week?  Well, no one had claimed him and his time was coming to an end.  So, we were debating what to do.  We felt responsible since we were the one’s who found him and picked him up.  So, we decided we would bring him home with us and as long as he got along with our dogs, couldn’t jump the fence, and didn’t harass the sheep, he could live with us.  We would go the next morning to pick him up and bring him home.

21
Jan
08

Sunday…

Sunday was cold and windy again.  Randy set a heater up in his shop and worked on the engine for a pickup he is trying to get up and running.  I stayed inside, walked on my treadmill and made lemon squares.  My cousin came over mid-morning with his loader and unloaded our orange VW Bus off the trailer so Dad could have his trailer back and Randy could start working on it. 

I wish I had taken pictures.  It was really amazing how he unloaded it in the wind and cold and didn’t hurt it a bit.

My Grandma invited us up for lunch since my cousins were out visiting, so we headed up there to eat and visit with everyone.  Afterwards my Aunt and Uncle came to our house to visit and check out the VW bus we are restoring.  Luckily the house was clean; my biggest fear of people dropping in is that our house will be messy.  Whew!

In the afternoon we watched the last of the playoffs (Chargers vs. Patriots).  Sorry if there are any Patriot fans out there, but I just keep thinking of the saying “cheaters never prosper” and wonder when it is going to kick in.  We were cheering for the Chargers all the way. 

In between games we ran to my cousin’s house to get a tool back he had borrowed and visited for awhile with them.  He has a nice round top shed with a hug wood burner inside.  It stays nice and toasty in there, but whenever we leave Randy and I struggle from the dry heat.  It really makes us rethink a cookstove or woodstove if we build a house.  Hopefully a big pot of water will balance it out.

We also stayed up for most of the Packers vs. Giants game.  My family (Dad, Mom, and Brother) are huge Packers fans, so Randy and I cheered relentlessly for the Giants.  Now the Super Bowl, Patriots vs. Giants, Go Giants!




Adopting one child won't change the world; but for that child, the world will change.

I am the wife to my wonderful husband and joint care giver to the many animals we have acquired on our small farm here on the prairie. This is a bit about our life on our farm. We are striving for simplicity and self-sufficiency, determined to become debt-free, trying to live in tune with the natural cycles of this earth, and challenging ourselves to transition to a diet based on traditional foods. It isn't always easy, and we don't always succeed, but it is a fun learning process. Join us as we stumble through learning how to provide for ourselves, get off the treadmill, and work toward a simpler way of life.

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