One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

One mother making ends meet and surviving today's recession by writing. One family learning to live off the land, cut back on expenses, and to live a simpler and a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

Adopted Motto

"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~

Monday, October 22, 2018

Happy Homemaker Monday

Good morning!  I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom today.  It's been quite a long time since I joined.  I have a long list of possible "to-do's" so it'll be interesting as to what I actually get done.  I'll link up as soon as she posts this morning.  I was up at 5:20am, so hence my early post.

The weather outside is . . .
This isn't from today, but from yesterday as the "winter" rain and wind rolled in.  It's cold again today.  

On the breakfast plate this morning . . .
Blueberry pancakes, sausage and eggs

As I look outside my window . . .
See that broken window in my one barn (in the above photo)?  Yeah...gotta cover it with thick plastic for the winter, so I can get it replaced in the spring.  
Clear and sunny skies today, but cold, cold, cold.

Right now I am . . .
Folding towels.

As I look around the house . . .
It definitely needs cleaned up.  We took the day off of work yesterday and ran errands.

On today's to do list . . . 
. . . in not particular order ~ my week long list
-feed and water the chickens, open the run
-feed barn cats
-feed dogs
-start oil infusion for a lotion
-slice garlic and put it in the dehydrator
-stoke fire, empty ash pan, fetch more wood
-dig up remaining non-useable beets and carrots in the garden
-bake a frittata
-clean a bathroom
-fix the sweeper
-freeze more of the ripening tomatoes
-clean the study, dust, vacuum etc.
-change out the front room curtains
-go through more library books
-start on homemade Christmas gifts for the kids
-restock crafting items for a possible Nov. craft show
-dinner prep

Deep clean list
-clean more woodwork
-move bedroom furniture, dust, vacuum, shampoo
-kitchen desk clean up, shred papers

Currently reading . . . 
"Snow, Stars and Wild Honey," by  George P. Morrill

On the TV . . .
Movies we rented from daughter's work place

On the menu this week . . .
Ha ha ha ha!  Oh, I have no idea.  Maybe chicken in the crock pot with mustard sauce and roasted brussel sprouts one day.  

What I am creating at the moment . . .
A crocheted headband for my oldest daughter.

New recipe I tried or want to try . . .
I have a long list of try-it's, but have very little time to do that lately - chocolate rum truffles, homemade chocolate marshmallows...the list is long.

Favorite photo from the camera. . . 
A recent sunrise view from the front porch.

Prayers, Inspirational Quotes, or Devotionals. . .

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. Mark Twain

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Went straight from summer to winter...

We've had a few beautiful sunrises at our place lately.

Mia, wanting to play as soon as I sat down to knit a bit.

Made my first Einkorn chocolate chip cookies.  I didn't have whole wheat, but they tasted great!

Started up the wood stove once again, but had to use my clothes dryer for the first time in a looooong time.  It was cold and it rained.  At least the garlic is getting a good watering.

Cleaned all the straw out of my emergency chicken coop (adjacent to the main one), because the rat (or something) came back and starting chewing a new hole. Grr!  Re-set the trap.

While embarking on the mission to do the dishes, I found 45 other things that needed done (while mentally making a list of other things that needed done).  Isn't that how it always goes.  I walked into the garage to see if we had newspaper, and noticed garlic hanging.  Oops.  Brought that in right away.

Got the mail, and my beautiful bling wallet arrived!  Thank you so much for the give away Goatldi!

Snow was predicted, along with the rain and wind, so I trimmed the tops of the zinnias (no time to pull the plant), and brought in what little bit I could of green onion and chives to freeze.

One of the books I brought home from a recent library loot trip.  Once again, gaining more recipes.  There may be a few gems in this book.

Overall, Saturday was sort of a strange day after 3pm.    Our oldest daughter called to check in her dog Mia.  She's out of town for a few more weeks.  One daughter and her boyfriend came out to pick up her mail, and drop off some bandannas for her dog Jesse.  After they left, my youngest daughter left for a birthday party.  

I was home alone with the dogs until Hubby got off of his long 10 hour day work shift.  It was sort of strange.  Too quiet if you ask me, and that was when the weather started to change.  I got another arm load of wood and kept the house toasty.  I brought in a few things off the porch and stored them for winter, but I'll need reinforcements to put the larger items away.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Tidbits ~ Ham and Pea Pasta

I'm very concerned about Hubby.  His long hours have totally exhausted him and he's not feeling well. Wednesday night was the first time he would try one of my tinctures for sinus pressure (and it worked and he wanted it this morning).  I brewed a tea infusion for him, for exhaustion.  He was willing to trudge out to the coop and help me fix that hole, but I could tell he didn't want to do anything but eat dinner and lay in bed.

As the holidays approach, I thought it would great to share this comfort food recipe we love.  Although homemade noodles are wonderful, I made it this time with organic/non-gmo macaroni noodles.

Have leftover ham?  Make this delicious garden to table casserole!

Ham and Pea Pasta

1 cup diced  home grown onions
1 Tbsp. of organic butter*  
Saute together until onions are clear, then add 1 cup diced ham, and cook about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

3 cups organic/non-gmo pasta (cook and drain while you saute onions).  I like to use homemade pasta if I have it on hand.  Lately, I've found inexpensive organic pasta at our local store.

In a large mixing bowl mix the following ingredients:
1 "can" of homemade cream of chicken soup*
1 cup of home raised milk, or organic milk
2 1/2 cups organic shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup homegrown garden peas, cooked and drained*
1/2 tsp. homemade onion powder
1/2 tsp. homemade garlic powder
 - thyme, to your taste
 - salt and pepper
Add the cooked onions and ham, and cooked and drained macaroni noodles.  Mix well.

Pour into an oiled or sprayed (non-stick organic spray) 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  Bake for 35 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle homemade dried onion flakes on top (optional).  Bake 10 more minutes.

Optional:  add 1/2 cup organic sour cream to the mix

*organic cream of chicken from the grocery can be used, or you can make your own (Simply Scratch online recipes)  You can also substitute with homemade condensed cream of celery soup.

*frozen organic peas can be used, simply thaw prior to adding

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Brrrr! ~ Chicken Coop Repair ~ Carrots

To all of you who read through yesterday's long post, thank you for your dedication and patience to read through it.  Today's post will be much shorter.

It's was gonna be a cold night last night (second freeze warning), so I trudged out to the barn and brought in more wood.  Hubby is already starting to show the signs of sleep deprivation and exhaustion.  He's a grouch.  He apologized, but he'll need a lot of rest after this long work week.  

It was a chilly 30°F this morning, and the wood stove was going strong.  In October.  So odd.

The coop got a good cleaning, and I stuffed the roost with extra straw.  I had to wait a bit for the temperature to rise, but it was still cold out there.  The ladies and gent will want the warmth in this cooler weather. 

I had to fix their coop ladder too, and as I fixed it I noticed a hole chewed through the chicken wire.   It's between the main coop and the emergency smaller coop (door is shut on it, so it must have a hole in the ceiling of the loft inside).  I haven't gotten eggs for about 5 days now, so do you all think this could be work of a rat?  Possibly living up in the loft?  Hubby and I set traps and fixed the hole.  I'm pretty sure it's a rat.  Just one more thing to deal with right now. First time for this to happen in 10 years.  We have plans to build a new coop, but we have a lot on the "board" right now. 

Carrots were blanched and put into the freezer.  I had to buy them this year, but I have a good start at a winter supply.  I got 5 lbs. put up so far - about 5 meals.

I replaced the smoke alarm batteries.

Feeling a bit off, but thankfully not "sick" Hubby and I have opened a jar of our Four Thieves Vinegar and taken it for the last few days.  I am also sipping fresh ginger tea.  I know we both need rest so I took the rest of the day off.   Tuesday was a check it off task-type day (long day).  I wish I could say the same for Hubby, with the case of a day of rest.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

First Frost ~ Sweet Potatoes ~ The Last Dig

Mia was intrigued with my yarn.  She was sniffing it and wondering what it was as I crocheted.  So funny.  I tried to get some photos, but they just wouldn't sit still, ha ha!  Jesse is with us now too, and they get along well.  Tiger is just not happy.  He comes in my room at night to his "safe" space and curls up right next to me to get his "love" time now.

Oh my gosh, it was cold yesterday morning.  I had a ton of things that needed done, and it didn't heat up very fast.  We had a freeze warning last night, so the last of the jalapenos were picked, and we woke up to a temperature of 31°F.

I got soup beans into the crock pot, got my breakfast, and washed the dishes, in hopes to get to the garden.  A freeze warning is upon us now.   I dug up all the sweet potatoes.

Here's what they look like.  .  .

I harvested about half of what I normally get, but they are larger than I thought they'd get.  I didn't weigh them yet, but I am happy I got what I got.  They won't last all winter, but it's less I'll have to buy.

Apparently I fed a few rodents.  Thankfully, only losing about 3 or 4 this time.  It was rabbits.  Thanks to one of the dogs for letting me know.  The rabbits were living right along the west side of the garden.  

Hubby has been working 10 hour days (6 days straight), so I'm a one woman machine in getting everything done - hence why I don't have a rinse stand built yet.  

I literally saturated myself with the garden hose getting the sweet potatoes rinsed.  I had to dump them all out on the grass to do it, due to the wet mud on them.  When I was done I washed out the watering unit for the chickens and let the sweet potatoes dry off before bringing inside.  

Although my sleeves and pants were saturated, I rinsed off the 2 inches of mud on my muck boots and trudged out to fetch fire wood.  Several trips back and forth, I was done with enough for a few days.

Back inside I stripped and tossed my dirty clothes and jacket into the washer, to start putting away the clean dishes.  Oh the work continued.

I took a short medicinal tea break on the porch, and soaked up more sunshine.

I needed to prep a cabbage for dinner.  We were not impressed, so the cabbage will be fried with potatoes and bacon grease tonight.

On a side note, I had plans to put Mia on a tie out (prior to knowing that we'd get Jesse too (while in the garden), but I left them indoors.  They are behaving wonderfully, so I am thawing homemade dog treats to give them when I come in from a few hours of garden work.

Youngest Daughter got me good with the plastic rat.  Sigh.  I have to get her back, ha ha ha!  Little stinker.

I got a mullein tincture started.  I am getting pretty low in supply of that.  

I found some nice broad leaf plantain growing in the garden, so back out I went hoping I didn't get dirty (other than boots) to gather some of it.  Despite a frost.

It was blanched and put into the freezer for soup and stew.  I sliced it Julianne style so I only have to thaw it.  Sorry for the bad photo. I was trying to take the photo one-handed.  I stacked the leaves and sliced them like you would basil.  I then blanched them for 2 minutes, and put them in an ice bath for 2 minutes.  Drained them and put them in freezer bags in the freezer.

That's now all I got done.  A large batch of double blueberry pancakes were made ahead for breakfast.  I got about 4-5 times the amount in the photo.  Just need some sausage to go with it now.

Finished!  Got it done while taking a second short break.  Man I was so tired at the end of the day.  If forgot how much work wood takes, as well as working back to regular hours in the garden.  

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Teabag Tidbits

Grab a cup of tea and enjoy the tidbits for today:

We woke up to a chilly 34°F and our first frost of the season.

My Monday to-do list had to be re-adjusted.  Rain continued, and high winds kicked in, so less laundry was done and on drying racks indoors, more cauliflower was blanched and put in the freezer, more condensed homemade soups were made and into the freezer (cream of celery, cream of chicken), and more cleaning was done.  These condensed soups are so easy to make.  The recipes are on Simply Scratch online.

Snow is now in our next weekend forecast.  I'm not concerned.  We've had it in October before and it was light and melted quickly. I am concerned about how cold it got last night, but not cold enough to freeze thankfully.  

Good news!  Our 19 year-old daughter was promoted from Asst. manager to Manager of the video rental store she works at.  So proud of her for turning things around at that store.  

Poor Tiger.  His cat world has been turned upside down.  He went from "king of the house" to invaded by dogs.  He's okay with Jesse, but he's unsure of Mia.  He's often in our room with a wide bug-eyed look.  He'll adjust.

We had to laugh at our youngest daughter.  She kept telling us she didn't want dogs here, but lately she has bonded with Mia and is her new best friend.  We often hear her using baby talk with Mia. So funny.

ACK!  I haven't been on top of homemade Christmas gifts, and haven't even started back at it, on account of the last craft show. 

I recently heard on the news that toxin free nail polish may still contain toxins.  I guess I better do more research before I apply it this fall.  I typically treat myself to a little pampering after all the garden work is done.  My summer "nail polish" is dirt, ha ha!  I'd really like to influence the girls, into providing a toxin free nail polish in their future salons.

Sometimes it's good to have my kids ask me to crochet something.  It took me hours to find the pattern, so it's printed and in it's proper "home."  It gave me the motivation to file some herbal recipes, and pickling recipes too. It however, added one more item to my make it "to-do" list.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Tomatoes ~ Garlic ~ Plantain

Hubby and I were sipping coffee at 5am on the porch Friday morning (won't be many more mornings to do this), and the radio had garden talk and advice going on.  They gave advice on whether to pick your tomatoes and bring them in to ripen or have a tomato fight.   If you pick green tomatoes when it's in the 70's, they will ripen in two weeks.  If you pick them in the 50's, it will take 4 weeks. 

I decided to get out there and pick them all.  We had a frost warning, and after that they won't be any good.  The ladies and Stud Muffin Sparta had a hay day helping clean up too.

As for the garlic, it depended on the weather at 4:30pm when Hubby got home.  Rain was in the forecast.  We managed to toss down some peat moss, and get the garlic bed tilled just before rain arrived.  

Once the parsley left the dehydrator, plantain went in.  I'm hearing more people are getting bitten by spiders this year, and requiring doctor care.  It's also good to have on hand for a medicinal tea as well as a tincture.  It's good for colds, flu, bladder issues, bronchitis, etc.  You can also eat plantain for it's nutrition (calcium, vitamin K, A, C, and B-6, and more), but I have yet to try it.  I'm wondering if I should blanch some for winter?  I guess it depends on time, if we get a frost and so forth.  I'll be adding plantain to soups this winter as well.  It is highly nutritious.

It was perfect weather one day to get back to this job - removing nails, sawing them up, and stacking them for kindling.  We already have some cut and stacked.  

Got two quarts of pickled hot banana peppers made.

Current dishcloth on the knitting needles.

Saturday morning we woke up to a chilly 39° (felt like 34°F).  Due to the rain, no mowing could be done, nor gardening, but we still had a list.  First, work on our daughter's car, second pick more plantain if we didn't get a frost, fold laundry, run to the library, prepare more winter kindling, dog proof the house, clean bathrooms....and on and on.

Sunday the weather was a bit nicer.  We gained two dogs - Mia and Jesse.  Not sure how long we'll have Jesse, but it could be until June of next year.  Sunday morning Hubby helped me plant all the garlic.  Woot woot!  So happy to get it in the ground.  More mowing was done.  

It rained last night, so I was even happier not to have to water the garlic.  So happy that the sweet potatoes are still getting time to grow too.

It's too wet to work out in the garden today, but I have much to do inside as well.  I'm hoping for a good laundry drying day outside as the rain clears up.

Youngest got me with the plastic rat.  She stuck it in the cupboard and I opened it to get a glass.  Ha.  I'll have to find somewhere to hide it and get her now.