Archive for the 'Homemaking' Category

30
Apr
11

Homestead and Blogging Update…

I know some of you have posted comments, and they haven’t been showing up in a timely fashion.  I’m sorry about that.  We are no longer allowed to access social networking sites at work and that includes my blog unfortunately.  I have to approve comments before they can be posted to my blog, so I can only do that from Mom’s store, a hot spot, or the local library and I just don’t make it there with our laptop very often.  I am reading your comments and promise to post them as soon as I can.  I love the comments and don’t want anyone discouraged and not commenting.

We finally got some much needed rain.  Our pasture was in serious need of rain after being burned off and not a drop had fallen since.  Now with upper 70s in our forecast there is hope our pasture will grow.  The sheep usually get to go out on pasture the first of May, but that will not be the case this year due to lack of rain.  Our hay supply is dwindling with only two weeks’ worth left.  Hay will be in short supply due to a dry spring.  I sure prices will reflect this also.  It may be a long hard year as fuel, hay, and everything else continue to rise. 

Brick patio we built in our backyard.

 

A planter built from grain elevator buckets and filled with flowers from mom’s store.

I just wanted to give everyone a quick update and let you know the situation with your comments and my infrequent postings.  I will try to post as often as I can, but with no internet service at home it is difficult at times.

 

02
Apr
11

Homemade Disinfectant…

With a little lamb (or two) in the house some disinfecting was in order.  My homemade disinfectant was getting low, so I whipped up another batch while I was home on Friday.

On the left is a 1:1 mix of white vinegar (the cheap stuff) and distilled water in a spray bottle.  I added sweet orange, grapefruit, and tea tree oil for scent and extra germ fighting power.  You can’t see it, but on the hydrogen peroxide bottle I put a spray nozzle. 

I spray either the vinegar mix and then the peroxide or the peroxide and then the vinegar mix.  Let set a few minutes and wipe clean.  I use this on the dog crate (or laundry basket) after we’ve had lambs, cats, chickens, or on rare occasions one of our dogs in them.  I also use this to clean our kitchen and bathroom.  The vinegar smell dissipates once dry.

26
Jan
10

Furniture Polish…

I have tried other recipes for homemade furniture polish and this is by far my favorite.  I use olive oil from Sam’s….nothing fancy.

Furniture Polish:

 1 cup olive oil

1 t lemon essential oil

     **I didn’t have lemon, so I used 25 drops grapefruit e.o. and 25 drops lavender e.o.

Shake well before use.

I store mine in a pint-sized wide-mouth canning jar.

27
Mar
08

Lots to do and company coming…

We have been really busy around our homestead the past couple of weeks/months. 

Garden:

We are putting the garden in and some of the things are getting off to a late start due to a lack of fencing.  We needed to fence our free-range chickens out of the garden, but instead they are on a short break from their free-range status until we can get fencing around the garden.

So far we have potatoes, onion, peas, greens, beets, radishes, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower planted in the garden.

Randy borrowed a roto-tiller from our neighbors and was tilling the garden (and before you say anything I don’t like deep tilling the garden and suggested not turning the soil anymore than necessary).  Eh hem, so he was roto-tilling the garden and the engine locked up, piston broke, etc.  $150-$200 and a few hours of labor later the roto-tiller should be purring like a kitten again.

Yard work:

I managed to get the fruit trees sprayed with an organic dormant oil spray from Gardens Alive.  It has to stay above 45 degrees for 24 hours in order for the spray to work.  Sadly, yesterday was about the first calm day with a predicted low above 45.

Pasture:

Dad came down with the tractor and disk and worked up a bottom area of our pasture that seemed to only grow poke, devil’s claws, stickers, and cheat.  Yesterday evening, I headed down there with a big bucket of turnip seeds and my little lawn fertilizer spreader to throw some turnip seed around.  The plan is to have turnips for the sheep to eat soon and follow up by planting grass.  We’re a little late, but that’s kind of our theme this season.  I have no idea how many seeds got thrown, where they got thrown for sure, if they will come up, and what it will look like if they do, but it is done and we got a tiny bit of moisture last night and today to help the little guys grow.

Tonight we will be docking tails and doctoring sheep.  Luckily a friend of Randy’s and my Dad will be there to help.  They will also start an hour before I get home, so hopefully they have it covered by the time I get home from work.  Randy’s mom and fiancé are visiting this weekend, so I have plenty of tidying up to do before they get here.

I know we eat differently than a lot of people, so I always panic when we have company and meals will have to be prepared.  I don’t want to freak anyone out with the meals we eat, but I also don’t want to completely change who we are for someone.  So, I will make some slight compromises which some are more of a convenience for me anyway (i.e. store bought tortillas). 

We will probably go out to eat once or twice.  His mom can’t sit still for long and insists on going “shopping” a lot.

Otherwise, on the menu:

Dinner:

*Fajitas (venison, shhh!) with homemade salsa, homemade yogurt, store bought ww tortillas (compromise/convenience), and homemade Spanish rice

*Roasted Chicken (raised on our farm) with baked potatoes, veggie, and homemade bread

Breakfast: 

*I hope to make ww pancakes one morning while they are here and maybe kefir smoothies another morning if anyone is feeling daring.

Snacks: 

*Organic raw veggies (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and celery) and homemade Ranch dressing

*Organic apples with organic peanut butter

*Organic bananas

*And possibly no-bake cookies if I’m feeling froggy!  I know they aren’t healthy, but man are they tasty.

We are supplementing a bottle lamb right now, so it will be fun for his mom to get to feed the little cutie.  Our blue heeler, Ash, can always squeeze in a game of fetch.  And our cat, Spooky, can always stand to be held and loved on.

I’ll try to take some pictures over the weekend, so I have some more interesting posts next week.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.

19
Feb
08

Pet Litter Freshener & Humidifier addition…

I was the only being who could walk upright (not including the chickens) on the farm Friday.  Breakfast consisted of old-fashioned organic oatmeal topped with raisins, walnuts, and one teaspoon sucanat. 

It was a whopping 15 degrees when I went out to do morning chores.  My morning chores consist of:

Breaking ice on the stock tanks

Turning off the barn lights

Looking over all the sheep for signs of sickness or labor

Breaking ice on the chickens water

Opening the chickens doors

Feeding and watering the cats

Letting the cats out to roam

Changing the litter box and sprinkling with Pet Litter Freshener

*I used to use Mrs. Meyer’s Pet Litter Freshener, now I just make my own.

Pet Litter Freshener:

1 cup Baking Soda

5 drops Orange Essential Oil (be careful with citrus EO as they can cause skin irritations

10 drops Lavender Essential Oil

We use the inexpensive litter or floor absorbent from the auto parts store, so this freshener helps keep down odor so the cats routinely use the litter box and don’t decide to go elsewhere.

Once inside I make our bed, continue doing laundry, and refill the humidifier.

Humidifier:

3 gallons of Water

20 drops Tea Tree Oil

20 drops Eucalyptus Oil

I’m also on a mission to consume more Red Raspberry Leaf Tea to help with cramping.  So at 5:30am, 8:30am, and 10:00am I treated myself to tea.

I managed to get our files organized and all our manuals (kitchen appliances, shop tools, etc.) filed away in a nice orderly fashion. 

Lunch consisted of leftover Crockpot Hawaiian Chicken and brown rice.  Oh, don’t forget breaking ice on the stock tanks.  I also check on the sheep every two hours since it’s lambing season.

In the afternoon I headed up to Grandma’s to get four five-gallon buckets of barley/corn for the sheep this week.  I also filled all four of our bird feeders with sunflower seeds.

By then it was time for evening chores which consist of:

Breaking ice on the stock tanks

Turning on the barn lights

Looking over all the sheep for signs of sickness or labor

Breaking ice on the chickens water

Feeding the chickens

Collecting eggs (or egg this time of year)

Feeding the cats

Cat Fight…..

Later in the evening just before dark we lock up the cats, chickens and the sheep for the night.

I also try to play fetch with our blue heeler, Ash, at least twice a day so she doesn’t drive Randy crazy the minute he walks through the door.

Like she tends to annoy Koal all day everyday.

Or how she annoys me by barking all day.  If you have ever heard a cattledog bark you will never for get it.  It’s a high-pitched yip that makes your temples ache.

So we aim for this…..

She’s a lot cuter when she’s shut down.

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.




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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