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~

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Photography Updates ~ Planting Day


Once again, I have been lucky to find antique dish towels at low prices.  The one below is now being used in the kitchen, along with 7 flour sack towels I have embroidered.







I have one more barn series to embroider, and then it’s off to finish a few pillows.  Speaking of pillows, I found 2 nice ones at a thrift store for $.20 each.  One will be the head for our female scarecrow, and the other will be made into an apron or possibly something else.

During our recent disconnect to reconnect weekend, we stopped at a thrift store on the way home.  I had more fun in that store than in a downtown Amish store.  I found tons of fabric scraps sold at very low prices, embroidery threads, embroidery hoops, yarn, and even Amish handmade aprons ($1.00).  I was able to buy a pair of bib overalls half prices ($1.75), a red and white gingham shirt ($1.00) and a hat for our scarecrow also.

Today, however, it’s not raining.  We have to take advantage of this weather and plant more in the garden, till up more area, mow, and so many other unfinished projects.  I am adding two new herbs to my herb garden as well.  It’s a good thing I must be at home today, 
because our gas prices have jumped to $4.15/gallon.  Getting a horse a buggy is still not out of the realm of our homestead possibilities.  Prices will however, put a damper on my drives to the big city to get pictures developed.

I have been practicing my photography, and it’s been a bit harder than I thought.  Although I love it, it takes patience to get the right picture taken. 



 This was the only bird photo that turned out somewhat good.  They are so difficult to get a good shot of.  They zip in and out so fast.  There were so many of them flying around.  The males are a bright red.  This cardinal is a female.  I took this photo from the cabin's front porch.  The slightest noise sends the birds off.  I hope to return and get a good photo of a male and female together.

Link for a pillowcase apron:  craftster, vintage pillowcase apron

Friday, April 29, 2011

New to the Flower Beds

This is what the new orange tulips looked like before the storms arrived.  They are new to the flower bed, and that is why you see them in bloom before tulips bloom here.  They will have a short life this spring, but next spring they will be back for the spring season.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Storm and Power Outage

I woke up at 4:00am to the sounds of tornado winds.  After taking inventory on outside barn cats, checking the barn doors, and porch furniture, the power went out.  

In my mind ,I quickly took notes on things we need to be better prepared for disaster, and for self-sufficient living.

1.    Generator
2.    Wash tub
3.    Well with hand pump (so water will be available when the electric cannot run the pump).

I am very prepared at drying clothes without a dryer or electric, but I do not have a back up plan for washing clothing.  The well and hand pump would provide water for us, and the farm animals, and would not require electricity.  The wash tub would come in handy year round, and the generator would be a way to keep the food in the refrigerator/freezers cold/frozen.

I think the kids will realize that taking showers promptly, and not waiting until the last minute has its benefits.  Luckily, only one was too lazy to shower last night.  It also pays to have your dishes washed promptly and animal bowls filled before retiring for the night.  One of these days, they will all realize that.

I, on the other hand, was pretty calm.  I have oil lamps, candles, matches, camping lanterns with batteries, extra jugs of water, and so forth.  They one thing I forgot about, was a way to make coffee.  



I guess I could always heat water over a candle or the wood burner, but a wood cooking stove would be nice too.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Disconnect to Reconnect Weekend

 Where I spent most of my weekend relaxing.


The bridge and uphill climb to the cabin.  When my husband booked this retreat for us, he had no idea that we had to climb a hill to get there.  It wasn't fun with my bum foot, but once I got up there I went straight to the rocking chair on the porch, or the one inside with a foot rest.  It was extremely peaceful and secluded.

 Although I would love to share all 88 scenery photos I took, I can share this one.  A fat squirrel stealing sunflower seeds from the bird feeder outside the cabin window.  It appears he has visited here more than once. Ha ha ha!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Color


These tulips are new to my flower beds this spring.  I love flowers and the peaceful feelings they give.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Off my feet ~ It's going to be a long 6-8 weeks ahead


I did a dumb thing.  I went and hurt myself, stretching a tendon on my foot, the wrong way.  The doctor is telling me it takes 6-8 weeks to heal it.  I am told to give my foot a rest and no working out except swimming (not happening anyway) and the exercise bike at the gym.

I’m already struggling with kids and providing help, but my son has surprised me.  He mailed a package for me this morning, and stopped at the library.  He brought back a stack of books and it’s been very welcoming.

Here is a list of what I have to read:

“The Have-More” Plan by Ed and Carolyn Robison (1973)
The Good Life, Helen and Scott Nearing’s Sixty Years of Self-Sufficient Living
Basic Techniques of Photography, The Ansel Adams Guide Book 1
Where Women Create, by Jo Packham
A Dozen 12-Hour Doiles by Judy Teague-Treece
The Ultimate Guide to Homesteading by Nicole Faires
A is for Apron, by Nathalie Mornu
The Big Book of Dishcloths, Pot Holders and Scrubbies, Annies Attic
Have You Filled a Bucket Today? By Carol McCloud (bedtime story for youngest)
And
The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published, by Arielle Eckstut and David  Henry Sterry

There you have it.  Most of my interests in my trip to the library, and more.  Most of these books I had pre-ordered, but I had no idea they were ready to pick up. 

Thankfully, my son is helping with the kid goat, hanging my laundry out on the clothesline (it has finally stopped raining), bringing in wood, doing dishes and more.  I just hope they can all pitch in.

I have to say, I’ve already started reading The Good Life, and I am very much enjoying it.  There is so much to learn from books.

Warming Up ~ Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup


The weather has been colder, raining, and more rain.  It’s typical weather for here.  Last year, we had so much rain, we lost half of our carrots and beets in the garden.  

To supplement our food supply, we are raising meat chickens for the first time.  It will be interesting, and most likely a permanent change in our lifestyle.  After reading about what companies do to chickens, what the feed them, what they inject in them, we decided it was time to raise our own.





Nothing tastes better than a homemade meal, made from organic, and other safe ingredients.  This was made using part water and part free range/organic chicken broth (much lower in sodium than typical store broth/stock), Amish made noodles, organic onions, carrots, celery, hormone/anti-biotic free chicken, thyme from my own herb garden and salt and pepper.  The only ingredient I questioned, was the bay leaf I put in also.  

After making meal like this, I add notes to my journal, so we can make changes.  Changes such as making our own noodles more often, growing celery ourselves, raising meat chickens, drying more herbs and so forth.  By making a meal and looking at each ingredient, I can create healthier meals, and help our family become more self-sufficient.  For example, the broth/stock.  Once I have our meat chickens butchered, I can make my own stock and can it.  

It can all be done by ourselves, it just takes more time, and it's all worth it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Finishing the Unfinished


This week, my master bedroom is on the flylady’s schedule to clean.  I spent as much time in there as I could, but with 2 sick children, it slowed down by noon.

My bedroom is where my mother’s old sewing machine is, and there are unfinished projects screaming at me to finish them.  I did succeed in finishing this pillow.


The front of the pillow was sent to me by a friend, who surprised me with a package of fun mail.  The pillow insert was given to me by my sister-in-law, and the backing material was in my craft supplies.  It’s funny how this project all came together.  The backing fabric has been in my supplies since 1998, when I sewed my first pair of kitchen curtains.