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~

Sunday, July 31, 2011

More of the Organic Farm Tour

I was so busy asking questions yesterday, I did not take enough photos.  However, my daughter (one of them) did.  Check them out at her blog:
Live as a Teen Farmgirl

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Organic Farm Tour

We just got back from touring Lindsey Graham's Organic Farm.  He 100% grass feeds and pasture feeds his animals.  
Meet "Ruby" the Farm watchdog.  Hazel is around our feet, where you can't see her, and getting some lovin'.


Here are two heritage breed hogs.  These are gilts, and the one in the back is due to give birth soon.


Here, owner Lindsey Graham, shows us around the pasture.  He explained how to properly grass feed the cattle, and move them from one area to another.  Here is shows us a "tractor" used to house the turkeys.  We ordered our Thanksgiving turkey today also.


Here are the cattle, which preferred to remain inside due to the heat today.


Here is a close up of a turkey.  They are being moved from their coop to out in the pasture today, according to the owner.  They look a lot like a meat chicken, but with a longer neck.


Graham Farms/Omega Meats, offered us this free tour, and insists that his customers come out as well.  I went home with 2 lbs. of his bacon.  I can't wait to taste it.  I guess the pork tenderloin is so good, and has the perfect balance of good fat, that I have to be put on a waiting list for a few.  


It was nice for another farmgirl friend to join us in our tour.  We later visited The Ludwig Mill, and General Store.  We sat in rockers on the front porch and cooled off with some Italian ice and ice cream.
The scene from the porch was so relaxing and beautiful.

While leaving, we watched the canal boat pull in.





The canal boat is pulled by mules, alongside on land.

The ride there and back, through the countryside, was also relaxing.  We saw many photo opportunities and actually stopped once to photograph this old barn.

If you look in the center area of the photo, we were greeted by goats, that suddenly appeared after we stopped.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Zucchini Facials, Weeding, Canning, Chickens, and Goat Tricks

The zucchini facials we did were fantastic. If you are trying to save money on expenses, but still want to do something special for yourself, you really should try it.  We have extra made up, and keep it in the refrigerator.  I am having another facial done tonight.  After these very hot days in the garden, my face deserved it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Makin' Progress

Enjoying Tatting

I took my tatting to the dentist appointment this morning.  It's now about a foot long.   It was fun to use my sitting time practicing it.  There was one gentlemen there, taking numerous looks at what my hands were doing.  Maybe I will inspire someone to tat, or once I'm much better at it, offer lessons at our historical center. 

It is so fun!  I can't wait to learn more.  I checked my handy dandy bookshelf, and found I had a book on Tatting.  I must have purchased it at a book sale, as it is a discarded library book from another city.  It was written in 1979 by a woman in Iowa.  Most of the photos inside the book are in black and white, but have instructions as well.  

I also have the tatting needle instructions from Mary Jane's Stitching Room book.  As soon as I finish this chain (3 feet), I will move on to learning more.

As I sit and type this update, my two older daughters are outside, teaching our younger goat tricks - hilarious to watch.  She sure does love those goat treats.   She is doing circles on the top of a stump.  I am sure there will be some updates on my 14 year-old daughter's blog soon.

The weather is a teensy bit cooler and I have not yet checked the garden.  I am sure there is a few zucchini's out there.  Speaking of zucchini, my girls had a "Pamper Party" last night.  They made a facial mask with my last zucchini, and they pampered themselves.  If my duaghter does not blog the recipe herself (the one mentioned above), I will try to get it posted.  Tonight, it's my turn to have a zucchini facial. 

Garden update:  I visited my garden and UGH.  Weeds, weeds and weeds.  Next year we are doing more newspaper or plastic.  Each year it gets bigger too.  In 2 1/2 hours, and with the help of my 14 year-old daughter, we can now see our onions, some green beans, the peas drying on the string fence we made, and I can now see my broccoli (even brought some in tonight).  We have not made a "dent" in the garden weeds.  Tomorrow, and possibly the next 3-4 days, I will be in the garden.  However, I do see more cucmbers that need picked tomorrow.  

More cucumbers mean more canning, and I have 3-day pickles soaking for canning tomorrow.  I'm not sure how to fit this all in, but somehow we will.

Now.....if I could just get time to get a fence around my strawberries.  My barred rocks are having a hay-day in my strawberry patch.  Grrr! 

I'm looking forward to a zucchini facial. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Needle Tatting

Last winter I attempted to teach myself how to tat.  Just as I did with knitting, I bought a "how to" kit to start, and hated it.  So, I went to the local craft store and purchased my very own tatting needles.

Cucumbers and Zucchini

I sliced up yet more cucumbers for another batch of 3-day pickles. 
 
I also canned 2 more jars of zucchini relish (Thank you Candy!  We love your recipe).  Our green peppers are coming in fast with all this rain.  However, the rain is killing off a few zucchini plants and cucumbers.

I picked 2 nice sized Kohlrabi, which will make another nice garden Frittata.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pickle Party!

We grilled burgers and had a pickle party to taste all 3 different pickles I canned.  We also have Fridge Pickles in the fridge.  We all know what those taste like, so we popped the tops of 3 cans.  Although, I did tell the family the pickles should really sit for a week, so the spices can do their work.  we opened them anyway.

View From My Porch

.................this is living life - taking time to see the early morning dew drip, while sipping hot coffee on the porch.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Phew! More Cucumbers

Well, I don't have a photo, but I canned another 8 quarts of 3-day pickles this morning.  

Yesterday I picked another 27 cucumbers and will be gifting those to others for now.

Yesterday I picked 2 pounds of broccoli, blanched and froze that too.




These are all previous, and very hot (in the 100's) canning days.  I took the beet juice and used it to dye some material.  It's not the color I was looking for, so I may try tea-bags next, along with canned blueberry juice.

The kids hand cranked the ice cream on one of our hottest days - 102°, heat index up to 115°.  They were sweating, but really enjoyed the ice cream.  Delicious! 

As you can see, we are back to up and running with a new computer tower, and a bit poorer in the pocket book. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Garden Surprised Us Again ~ Long Canning Day

Yesterday I canned another batch of Queen Anne's Lace Jelly.  I kept looking out and seeing it all over, so it blessed us again. I really didn't have much to can from the garden, but today was another story.

I picked over 50 cucumbers this morning, along with a Kohlrabi and a bowl of green beans.  I also cut 2 zucchini.  After I prepared cucumbers, that later made 8 pints of Bread and Butter pickles, I dug up many beets.  Those will make Spiced Pickled Beets, and then I get to cut up more cucumbers to try yet another pickle recipe.  And after all of that, I am roasting the remaining picked beets with onion and rosemary for dinner.  

Very early this morning, I had already prepared my soaked navy beans for homemade baked beans using locally made sorghum.  I will either have to cook up my green beans for another side, or blanch and freeze them too.  We are going to be trying our 2 types of canned relishes on hormel hot dogs at dinner also.

And in between all of that, I heated ingredients for homemade ice cream, which we will be hand churning later tonight.  It is 100° here today, but the heat index feels like 110°.  The ice cream will be a nice treat.


I had to send my daughter to the store for 2 bags of ice. I've had to chip ice 3-4 times a day.  We give it to the chickens to keep them from dying of heat exhaustion.  When our watermelon is in, I'll treat them to that also.  The goats were treated with chipped ice today and they gobbled it up.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Computer Crashed

I am not sure when I will be back in full swing.  Our computer has gone to computer heaven.  I am able to use computers at the library, but not upload photos.

 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Creative Uses For An Abundance of Canned Relish

1. Add to Potato Salad
2. Add to Egg Salad
3. Add to Tuna Salad
4. Add to Chicken Salad
5. Mix into mashed rutabega/potatoes/turnips
6. Side dish for meats
7. Mix into cream cheese or sour cream for dips or spreads
8. Mix with mayonnaise to make Tartar Sauce
9. Mix into various ingredients for homemade salad dressing
10. Of course enjoy on hot dogs and burgers (or mix them into your meat to make burgers)
11. Mix into cooked beans
12. Mix into cooked rice, spanish rice or other rice dishes
13.Take some camping and add to foil packets with meat or other vegetables.
14.Use it to flavor meat marinades or glazes
15.How about adding them to soups or lettuce salads?


Got any more ideas to share?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Garden Cooking

I canned 8 pints of Easy Dill Pickles today.  I also had 3 medium sized zucchini and a bunch more cucumbers.  

We made a recipe from Mother Earth News Web site, and it was delicious.

Quinoa - Zucchini Cakes with Summer Herbs

And with a few of my larger cucumbers, I made a cold salad:

Greek Pasta Salad


The salad was okay, but lacked something.  I think I may use fresh minced garlic vs. garlic salt.  There just seemed to be something missing in the taste, but otherwise good.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cucumbers Galore!



This is only about 1/3 of the cucumbers I picked this morning.  I've been in the kitchen ever since.

 
This was a totally unexpected day.  I had no idea how busy the bees have been, underneath those cucumber leaves.  I am so glad I peeked today.  Although they were larger than I'd like for pickles, I made them anyway.  We cut one up and tasted it.  Delicious!

I prepared 8 quarts of refrigerator pickles, and still had more cucumbers.
While I sent the girls to town for celery seed, I canned grape jelly. 


When the girls returned, I canned my first sweet pickle relish - 6 pints.


And I still have more cucumbers.........


It's 7:47pm and I am done for the day.  Now I need to go take my laundry off the line.  My three older kids are gone for the night (one went camping for several days), and my husband is gone.  That leaves my 12 and 9 year old to help.  Guess they are doing the folding for me.  It's 89° in my kitchen and I am ready to stop.  Tomorrow may very well bring on another canning day.



Modge Podge of Events

Well.  What's a farmgirl to do when she is stressed to the gills?

 And.............

 My favorite way to de-stress (and yes those are really my very own gloves)  I had a plan to box in a fight one time before I turned 40, but with moving twice, it never happened.

Besides, this farmgirl needs to get back in shape.  I seem to have lost it over and over and need to find it again ( ha ha ha). Once we get back into a routine, we get right back out of it, due to "life."  All it takes, is hearing my kids make fun of my flabby arms and thighs.  And I'm back out working the speed bag until my arms feel like falling off.  Then again, every day "stress" sends me there anyway.

Yesterday I took some of the kids to have a picnic and play-date in a park about 1/2 hour from home.  I sat under a picnic shelter, crocheting with a cool breeze coming through.  However, I should have been playing on the equipment with them.  After we get home, I see a video they took while playing on the "fort."  It was a large fort, so it's hard to see everything.  You know those play phones on play equipment?  The ones where one person talks at one end, where you can't see them, and another listens somewhere else?  Well, my very well behaved and innocent children did something.  One talked and one listened.  The one listening, was telling a girl to come over and listen too.

The girl leans down and my talking daughter spouts out, "This is Jesus!" and on an on they went.  

I guess next time, I will be playing along with them.  

When we got home they were bored again already.  So, two of them went out back and built this:
For information on what Farmerette and a Young Cultivator is, click on MaryJane's Farm.


It's still standing this morning, and the barn cats love it too.  Last night we were admiring it, and laughed when we saw that the barn cats were playing with lightening bugs.  It was so cute to watch them.

Today, I must get more jelly made.  I look out and see these

.......and think, I just can't let that go to waste. Even though mother nature brings it back every year, I look at them different now.  Just like dandelions.  I laugh when I over hear town people complaining about lawn care, and killing dandelions.  I am blessed not to have to worry about that, with living in the country.  I can choose to let them grow, and use them.  And have the freedom to not use chemicals on my lawn.  Life can't get better than that.

As for the quilt road trip, I am still waiting for more information, and e-mails back from the historical society.  

Friday, July 15, 2011

Family Quilt Goes On a Road Trip

I am not sure on the details of this quilt, and have sent e-mails to extended family for help.  I do know that my Mom, and two Aunt's used it on their bed as girls.  And yes they shared one bed.  


Backside

I'm waiting to find out if my grandmother or my great grandmother made this.  I think I was told it was made from old clothes and rags.  Back then, nothing was thrown out, so you know this is very old.  I was worried about taking it out and putting it on the line for the photos, but wanted to e-mail the historical society. 

Which brings me to the "road trip" part.  Because of the quilts history and fragile state, I am attempting to donate it to a historical society in my grandparents county.  Their original house burned down several years ago, and is not even standing.  Gosh that brings back memories.  Grandma's house smell, is still in the blanket.  I have not washed it, because the material would just fall apart.

Here is a close up of the pattern that was used.  The material is a bit faded, but this quilt is by far, heavier than any blanket you could buy today.  

As soon as I have more information, I'll be updating on the road trip and where it's going for display.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Again, The Toad Returns

Even after the kids took this toad clear out to the woods, it was right back in the pot the next day.  Clearly, this toad is not giving up on this new home. 

I finally caved in, and took my tree out.  It's now in another container, leaving this home for the relentless toad.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

True Homestead Meals

We are making great strides to get our meals back to unprocessed, natural, and healthier meals.  We have many steps to make yet, but have gained over the last year. 

Tonight we are roasting two chickens we raised ourselves for meat, along with garden grown potatoes, and onion.  Soon we can add our carrots, but they are not up yet.  For a side, I picked a bowl full of green and wax beans.  I can season all of the food with herbs for the garden. 

It feels so liberating to know I can feed my family without buying something from the store.  Although I know that stores need support, there is a limit to what we buy. Anyone can sell anything to make a buck, but it's the buyer who needs to be alert and conscience when choosing what to buy.


While weeding the beets, carrots, more green beans and zucchini, I noticed we have a 3 inch zucchini already growing.  It will add to the meals, and desserts, nicely.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Organizing and Getting Projects Finished

I am working my way through my craft supplies, and finally started a set of flour sack towels for my 9 year-old's hope chest.  I just found out that my 12 year-old wants the same ones, but with black and gray cats.   These particular ones, will have orange cats, to match her own cat, Tiger.


Tiger, as a baby.

I also crocheted a bath rug, from 3 skeins of thick macrame yarn.  I purchased them at a Goodwill many years ago,and had not done anything with them.  
This was a bit of a challenge.  This type of yarn frays and I had to knot each end, and then weave the ends in.  Either way, I made a useful bath rug, and used supplies I already had. 

More projects to finish yet.  I also taught my 9 year-old to sew a button on, and to hand sew.  Now, all she talks about, is when we are going to rent the cabin again, and sit in our "rockers and sew." Ha ha ha!  She is such a "mini-me" through and through.  Now she wants to learn to do embroidery.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Backyard Camp Out

 The tent area.

The Campfire Cooking Area

Six girls camped out and cooked some of the food (some fell off the grill (ha ha ha!) over the fire.  This morning, they made coffee over the fire, and waited patiently for it.  Here is the recipe they made.  It's from a 1969 cookbook that my mother gave me many years ago.  I forgot I had it on my bookshelf, but the kids found it.

Cafe Au Lait
Brew 4 cups of coffee in the way you prefer.  Heat 1 quart of milk in a saucepan until bubbles appear at the edges.  With both liquids hot, pour them simultaneously into cups.  Add sugar and cinnamon, if desired (they did add this and it was delicious.  According to them, it was "refreshing" for a hot drink.  Makes 8 cups.
(Cookbook for Family Camping, by Elizabeth Williams, 1969)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Horse Show

Oldest daughter brings home more ribbons

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A View From My Porch

Toad Does Not Give Up

I can't tell you how many times we have removed the toad from my tree pots.  He/she has now made a home in the other pot.  We removed him/her from there and yesterday it was sitting on the edge of the rim.


No matter where we put this toad, including way out in the vegetable garden, it finds its way back to my redbud tree pot.  I may have to replant this tree into another container, but that toad will probably burrow into it too.  Our best guess, is that this toad is a Mom, and has eggs buried in there.  I guess time will tell.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Queen Anne's Lace Jelly

If my kids think I went nutso, by making the Dandelion Coffee, the Dandelion Jelly, and the Milkweed Flower Bud Quiche, they will really think I've fallen off my rocker now.

I have been going through old cookbooks, and reducing my supply.  I found a recipe for Queen Anne's Lace Jelly.  

Instead of cleaning my much needed bathroom, I walked around the property and plucked about 18-19 full heads of Queen Anne's Lace (not to be confused with Hemlock).

I soaked them in water to remove unwanted "guests" and then rinsed them twice.

Chillover Blueberry Sherbet


 We are experimenting with Chillover Powder (alternative for animal gelatin), and have come up with this recipe to share.  Again, it's all experimental.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Wild Berries

 (Before Baking)
2 Wild black raspberry pies made from about 16 cups of berries.  Yum!  Oh....the first one had way too much liquid and was served in a bowl with ice cream.  Everyone laughed, but it's the first time for me making pies with these berries.  Now if I can get them to help pick about 10 more cups, I can make jelly also.  Amazing how far wild berries will supply us.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Eating Weeds

"You're feeding us weeds??!!" screamed my husband.

"Yep."

Here are photos of the milkweed flower buds after I boiled them.
 For the recipe:  Crustless Milkweed Flower Quiche

 Just before it went into the oven
After this went into the oven, I found out I may want to coarsely chop the buds.  That will be for the next time.