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~

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pumpkin Pie and Rag Rollers

I kept about 3 cups crushed, homemade graham crackers.  I also have about 3 cups puree pumpkin I kept for making 2 homemade pumpkin pies.  I may post picture of those pies later, or tomorrow.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cooler Weather, Rising Food Prices and Homemade Honey Graham Crackers

I love this cooler weather.  We officially started our fall wood splitting last night.  Even though I had a very long day of work and a bazillion "to-do" items on my "to-do" list, I still went out to help.  We are going to need to wood too.


Today I went to the store to get a few items we needed, and looked at the price of wood pellets - a whopping $5.00/bag (40 lb.).  Last year we paid $3.58/bag.  I was absolutely shocked.  Corn was over $6.00/bag and was not affordable last year either (to burn). 

I am already baking almost daily, so I will have to figure out more ways to cut down our costs.  Maybe next year we can increase our meat chicken supply, our layers, and possible raise beef.  I am already searching for recipes on making butter with our goat's milk.   





Today, I baked homemade graham crackers.  I will need 3 cups of them saved for homemade graham crust pumpkin pies tomorrow.  It's already hard to keep the kids from eating what I need.  I guess I could always make more tomorrow.  These are made from whole wheat flour and raw honey.  Yum. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Pumpkins, Carrots and A Horse

While I was out taking laundry down, I thought I better double check the garden.  It's been raining here and everything is a soggy mess.

I pulled on my mucking boots, and slushed out to the back squash garden.  I found a few more pumpkins, and believe it or not, 3 carrots.  I thought for sure I pulled all of them.

I washed off those tasty carrots and blessed Peanut (our goat in milk) a treat.  She gobbled them down.  The younger goats are not interested in that type of food just yet, but our goat in milk, and our billy goat, love veggies.

I roasted several of the pie pumpkins, pureed them and they have blessed the freezer "pantry" now.  I can take out what I need for future baking.
Tiger, came right out to the kitchen when I sliced the first pumpkin.  I think he can smell squash a mile away.  We gave him the nickname "squash boy."  He looooves veggies, especially squash.  He's nibbling on some pumpkin in the photo.

The freezer was blessed with 12 1/2 cups of pureed pumpkin.  I appreciate my pumpkin a lot more now.  It's now easy cutting all of them, cutting out the seeds, roasting, skinning and then making puree.  It took all morning, and in between the roasting time, I was able to do a bit of bathroom cleaning.  Phew!  Now if I can just get my writing done.



The pantry was also blessed with a 1/2 pint jar full of dried rosemary, and about 1/4 cup of dried oregano.  With all this rain, I was able to cut several more stalks of rosemary to dry.  I may even cut some more thyme and oregano today.

Now for the horse part of the post.  Last night my daughter went to the stable.  She arrived right when her horse was having a "small episode of colic" and I had no clue what it was.  Later I found out, and it's a very bad thing to happen to a horse, considering they can not throw up.  Ugh. We found out the stable has sand, and sand can't be digested.  

Luckily, with my daughter's timing, and some medication, the horse is okay.  Phew!  There are so many things I have yet to learn.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Because.....

. . . an unexpected baking/cooking day.

Because I had a 1/2 jar of canned sweet pickle relish that needed to be eaten. . .

I used it to make a pasta salad.  I found veggie spirals on sale for $1.00 a bag.

Because I had pear butter that needed eaten . . .

I used a portion of it, cutting the oil in half, to make 2 loaves of Pumpkin bread.


Because I had 3 quarts of goat's milk . . .

I made another crock pot full of cooked steel cut oats.  The kids eat this for after school snacks now.

Because I still have more of that fresh goat's milk, fresh green peppers producing in the garden, and a few last carrots . . .


I made a double batch of Confetti Corn Muffins. Yum!

Because I had extra cranberries in my freezer . . .

I made a big pot of hot cranberry punch.  The kids will be excited to see it when they get home today.  It's raining and cold and miserable here today.  It will perk them up and put a little sunshine in their day.  I like to stock up on fresh cranberries when they get marked down at the end of each season.  I put them in the freezer and use them for punch and baking.

Because it's raining. . .


The towels are getting dried inside on drying racks.

and......because our camping trip was an affordable $18.00/night, we may take the girls canoeing/camping one more time this year.  The older kids can drive out and meet up with us for canoeing.  Because Pampered Chef sells the thickest hot pad mitts I know of, I am passing mine onto the camping tote for my hubby.  He burned his fingers with the hot pads (cheap, old, and store bought) ones that were already in my camping tote.  I will put some of my own crocheted ones in my kitchen to replace them (or save up to buy new mitts, he he!).


All this, just because.

One more "because"

Because it was only $1.00, I bought this book and absolutely love reading the real stories of real people.


Got Books?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall Campout

My hubby and I took our two younger kids to a state park fall campout this weekend.  It was a load of fun - absolutely the best camping trip yet with the kids!

I had my doubts as it rained all day Friday.  I still packed up and away we went, and headed out about 6pm Friday night.

That night we decided to skip a fire and watch the campground moonlight movie.  They have an outdoor amphitheater, and the movie was Harry and the Henderson's.  They served ice cream, rootbeer floats, and popcorn.  After that we simply went to bed.

The next morning we had trouble getting our fire going - took forever to get breakfast made.  After that we drove down to the boat launch and they offered free canoe rentals for 2 hours.  Only 4 canoes went out that morning.

My 9 year-old was a bit hesitant, so I stayed with her while hubby and my 12 year-old went out.  She later regrets not going out.


When we returned, we participated in cookie decorating.  The cookies were in the shape of a Sasquatch and they provided brown frosting and mini-chocolate chips to decorate them with.


After that they painted small pie pumpkins with paint, and then we had a short break in the day.  


While we had our break in the day, we worked on our scarecrow.  They held a contest for this event, and provided supplies.  We are new to this, while other campers brought items to spruce up their scarecrow.  We dug into our tote and used an old curtain for an apron, a hankie with clothespins to look like a pocket, braided twine for hair, flowers for eyes, nose and even put flowers in the pocket.  We stuffed her with tall wild grass.  The is sporting my 9 year-old's bandanna. 


Hubby and I took turns cooking and adding items to the Dutch Oven Chili we were making.  Meanwhile, the girls took part in a Floating Donut contest.


The had one minute to eat an entire donut off of a string to win.  Two other girls won.

Then the campground offered archery as another activity.  My girls have never done this and were thrilled to participate.  They actually did extremely well, and were consistent with their arrows.  They both want to start participating in archery and archery contests now.

 Unfortunately, this activity was for kids only.  Bummer.




Then they judged the chili cookoff, and allowed us to eat, prior to announcing the winners.  Unfortunately, ours did not win.  There is always next year.


The chili cookoff, followed by the campground potluck, was followed by hay rides.  


It did not end there.  After we had a break to go back and wash up our dishes, they offered a campfire sing-along, at the horse campfire area.  A gentleman played a guitar, and we sang songs around the campfire, and made s'mores.  At that time, they announced the winners of the Scariest, Funniest, and Most Traditional Scarecrows.  Our "Harrietta" scarecrow, won first place (tied with another scarecrow).  


We brought her home to display on our porch.  Her head is a paper bag, so she can't get wet.


Overall, our campsite was a mushy mess, but we still had fun.  It rained while we cooked our last breakfast, but we still had fun.  In fact, the girls were begging us to get them out of school, for one more day of camping.  Sadly, there were no activities at the campground today.  


We may go again next fall.


While were were camping, my two older girls took their dogs to another town, for a  Humane Society "Mutt Strutt."  They raised money for the Humane Society and were able to walk their dogs, along with many more, for several hours.  Depending on the dates of next year's Fall Campout, I may be taking our 3rd dog to the "Mutt Strutt" next year.  







Friday, September 23, 2011

Letters of a Homesteader

I've been watching the DVD's from Frontier House.  It's very interesting to watch, and see what these people really miss from their "real" lives.  

Pioneer life can be romanticized so easily, and often we forget about their extremely hard work. I of course, know the hard physical work of splitting wood, hauling wood, and other chore challenges of self-sufficiency.  There are yet, going without things, that we have not completely experienced.  We are, however, learning and teaching ourselves about the "how-to" of making things ourselves.  I often think about the "what if" when baking, such as what would I do without flour, sugar, or salt.

I recently found the entire book of Elinore Pruitt Steward, on-line, to read for free.


Letters of a Woman Homesteader (click on it to be directed)


I love to read about the history, real life situations, of the pioneers.  I often learn simply by reading those true life stories. 


At the beginning of the DVD, the Frontier House shows the families going through clothing and supplies they will need.  One woman pulled out embroidery and said she had no idea how to do it, and also stated that she made fun of her co-workers who did do embroidery. 


That is so true about being laughed at.  However, more and more, people are asking me questions about what I am making, who taught me, how I learned etc.   


I also checked out a library book about pioneers in Canada.  I'll be back to share the title and author later.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Green Tomato Cake

Even though the recipe said to use an electric mixer, I did not.

Even though I did not have an entire 2 1/2 cups of diced green tomatoes....

I still baked my first tomato cake.  I was drizzling the frosting when the the first two kids got home from school.

"OHHH!  That looks so good!  That would be great with coffee!" one of them said.

Of course they kept telling me to stop reminding them it had green tomatoes in it too.  Ha ha ha!  It was pretty good too. I did not have enough butter to make the brown butter frosting, but simply used powdered sugar and goat's milk instead. 

I had been out in the garden to check on things.  I saw one tomato plant had sprouted new tomatoes and I just couldn't let them go to waste.  I also brought in about a dozen more green peppers.



I made another crock pot full of steel cut oats and goat's milk.  This morning, my daughter said she milked the goat in 15 minutes and got over a quart of milk.  She's really becoming a pro at this.  


This morning, after the first bus left, I took one of the dogs out.  I ran back in for my camera.  There was a layer of fog over the fields that was kind of neat.




When I told the kids I should take a picture, and that it was pretty they said, "Mom it would be better if it came with a 2 hour fog delay."

Before I came back inside, I was watching the goats.  The early cool air must be firing up everyone today with energy.  They were playing queen of the stump.
 
After I came inside, I looked back out and saw Peanut standing on that small stump.  In fact, she's still standing on it now.  I think we should find them a wider stump to play on.  

Meanwhile, the dogs are fired up with the cool weather, and Jesse is barreling around the house all excited now.  Even Tiger, my youngest daughter's cat is flying through the kitchen, skidding around corners.  It's definitely perfect camping weather.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Project Catch-Up Day ~ Or So I Thought

Yesterday I thought I could work on some unfinished projects while the dinner potatoes got fried.  Ha!  For the first time every, I had a bad crafting day.  I was too much in a hurry to get some embroidery done.

I have to get this towel finished before the pattern fades away.  I started to outline the cat in gray, but with the color of green I used on the dress, it appeared as a moss green cat.  

So, after doing the bottom feet, tail and one paw, I started to take it out.  I re-did one paw in black, and it looks much better.  Now I need to take two paws and a tail back out. 

This is the first time I have had a long, frustrating crafting day.  I decided that I was not even going to work on tatting - no way at all.  I did get some knitting done, but I still have a crocheted blanket to finish.

I tried to teach my 12 year-old daughter how to do it, but she whined, "Moooooom! You made everyone elses!"
Guess I can't get out that that one, huh?

While I was out on my porch, having afternoon devotions, followed by my crafting experience, my son pointed out a blimp flying over.  I got these neat photos of it:


 Just thought I'd share!

I have one sick daughter home today.  I hope it's just a passing virus.  Time will tell.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Unwelcome Guests

Wolf Spider

Grass Spider

We get both of these types of spiders in our house.  Every time we come across one we call my son, who rescues it.  However, today, the grass spider got the shoe.  I had to borrow a photo on-line to show you what they look like.  They are not small either.

I went to make my bed this morning and one was curled up in my bed covers.  The difference between the two spiders, is that the grass spider can crawl up things - ewwww is right.
The other day, we discussed this, and I said to my 12 year old daughter, "just imagine what's in your clothes when you put them on."

"MOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! she cried.

I killed one the other day on the bedroom floor too.  We are getting more than we'd like inside this year.  I hope that's not a sign that we will have a hard winter.  

I guess I better be cleaning down any spider webs there may be in here.  Sheesh.  I opened a tool drawer and there was one in there too.

I guess it's that time of year where we need to check the insides of our shoes, boots and slippers, and shake out the blankets and clothes. 

Morning Wake Up Call ~ Missing the Gym

"Mom!"

"Huh?" I asked in a groggy, sleepy voice.

"You wanna still milk Peanut?"

"UGH"

That's right, I got woken up by my 14 year-old daughter.  She overslept, and was to be on a school bus at 6am for an all day farm display field trip.  

I walked out to the kitchen, and said to my husband, "why don't you go milk her?"

"Cause I don't have time. You always wanted to be a farmer," he said in a poor southern accent.

We had both set alarm clocks at 4:30am.  We were supposed to be at the gym, working out at 5am.  Somehow, my alarm did not go off.  

I was done milking by the time my husband drove past the barn in his truck to go to work.  

Peanut did great.  She loves to turn her head and watch me milk.  She got a bit restless when I had her about empty.  Little guy, Rue, did not cry like a baby when we put her in the stall to milk her either.  Misty however, was being a hog with the food, so I had to give Rue some more.  She's used to being all by herself, so she has to learn to share now.  The good part is, that Peanut protects Rue, and makes sure Misty doesn't eat all the food (when she's out there with both of them).

Now I need to get a shower since I smell like a billy goat.  I had to feed him too, when I was finished with the milking, and he's not smelling too bad anymore.  Just enough to make you want to shower it off.

The feeding didn't end there.  The barn cats were standing up against the house door, looking in.  As if they were saying, "where's our food?"

After that the house cats, the dogs, and soon the chickens will need their coop door opened. My husband reminded me of the weather we are having, in regards to the hen laying on her eggs.  I guess we'll see. It's pretty warm here today.

I guess I have to fit exercise in my day somehow now.  Hopefully tomorrow we will both be up at 4:30am. I can't go to the gym until after 3pm.  The gym is in our old high school, and closes after 9am.  I think I will walk on the treadmill, work the speed bag, and some other weights.  Maybe a bike ride too.  I have spent the entire summer with garden, I almost feel like playing hooky again, and just paying attention to myself for once.

Monday, September 19, 2011

November ~ NaNoWriMo

I really need to get a writing schedule going.  I participated in this last November, and my kids asked to read my story.  The novel has been under lock and key since then.


I've been random writing daily, in between chores and baking, to get a routine going.  I think I write more on my blog than anything - ha ha ha!


I best get back to work.  As soon as this rain and wet weather dry out, it's back to splitting wood, barn repairs, and finishing the goat shed.  Oh....and the chicken coop .....and..........


.........some long days ahead.  Winter will be here before I'm ready for it.

Motherly Chicken ~ Goat's Milk

We have one hen that refuses to leave her eggs.  My 14 year-old daughter wanted to let her sit on some.  It's colder now, so it's probably not going to work out too well, but we do have heat lamps.  We marked the eggs and it takes about 22 days to hatch, according to my husband.  We don't even know if these are fertilized, but will soon find out.  This hen is so motherly, she picks up straw with her beak and puts it in her nest underneath her.  My daughter and I saw her lay this egg right in front of us.  After my daughter marked it, the hen went back in the roost, and pushed them around with her beak, and sat back down on them.


We are getting about 2 quarts of milk a day from Peanut.  My daughter is enjoying it very much.  In fact, the goat does not even kick when she milks her, and she doesn't even use the hobble. 


We re-purposed an old wooden coffee table that was stored in the garage.  We butted it up against the side of one barn, and next to an old extended cattle feeder.  It's working out perfect for us.


With the goat's milk, we are saving $5.00-$6.00/gallon for organic milk.  We use about a gallon a day with our large family, so this is another step towards self-sufficiency.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sunflower Power

I used pieces of cheese cloth to cover the head of my sun flowers, and tied it on with string saved from feed bags.  Hopefully the birds won't get to them anymore.

I'm now on the hunt for recipes using sun flower seeds.  I mentioned, to the family, that foxtail grass seeds, and the other red flower we found, is edible.  My  husband looked at the kids and said, "you guys can all take the first bite." He's just a big chicken when it comes to foraging. Although, he is up for mushroom hunting.  We may be taking a mushroom hunting class to familiarize ourselves with what is edible and what is not.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Road Trip ~ Newest Addition To The Farm

We are heading out today, to bring home a new member to the farm.  Stay tuned for updates.  It's about a 1 hour and 15 minute drive one way.  This should be a fun day around here.

We are finally back.  We originally called about a mini-lamancha goat, and when I got to talking to the woman, she also had a full sized purebred lamancha she wanted to sell, which was what we really needed.

When we got there, we were talking about our billy goat, and she mentioned her purebred Nigerian wether.  She tried to sell him, but could not, and was thinking he would be going to the butcher.  She asked if we would like to take him, free of charge, for a buddy for our billy.  
Meet Peanut (left) and Rue (short for Rudy on the right).



Then, as we were getting ready to leave, we found out a nearby neighbor had about 50 guinea hens.  We drove over, but the younger ones, in the roost, were already asked for.  There was no way we'd catch the bigger ones.  Some day we'll have 2 of those too.  We almost did today.

I have to say, that little Rue sure is loud.  I'm so glad we brought him home though.  The two newbies stick together, and follow me around in the pen.  Misty, is testing them both, and getting put in her place.  Hopefully, they will all get along.

We are excited, because Peanut is in milk, and we now have fresh goat milk.  YAY! 

Homemade Pumpkin Butter Results ~ Sun Flower Seeds


My 5 pumpkins resulted in 9 pints of pumpkin butter.  After researching canning recipes, I decided to heat my lids, after sterilizing jars, and simply attach the lids.  I allowed them to cool, and then moved them to the refrigerator.  They will last up to 6 months this way.  

Canning is not recommended.  In fact, I plan to take the last of the pumpkins, and make pumpkin puree to freeze.  Then I can simply take it out to make pumpkin waffles, pumpkin bread, muffins, or pumpkin pie.  There are tons of pumpkin recipes to try it with.  

Having always purchased sunflower seeds from a store, my husband was actually "giddy" when I shared these with him.


"We grew those?" he squealed like a little kid getting candy (ha ha ha!)

I will have to start covering some of them with cheese cloth.  The birds are starting to get into them, and they are not all ready to harvest.

And once again, I am shocked at the fresh taste these little guys had.  So much better than what you buy in the stores.  Hubby wants a whole field of these now - ha ha ha ha!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Homemade Pumpkin Butter Making


This was the first year for us to grow our own pie pumpkins (baking pumpkins).  Last year we grew the type the kids could carve out for fall.

The weird weather this year, caused our pumpkin production to be less than what we thought.  We even had less of our spaghetti squash this year.  It was simply too wet.

We were blessed to have enough baking pumpkins to make pumpkin butter and possible bake a few pies.


There is something so gratifying to grow the pumpkins and make pumpkin butter myself.  Nothing is wasted.  The pumpkin seeds are saved and roasted, and the the goats will get treated to some pumpkin skins (and a few seeds), and any remaining will be composted.  I have to double check with my daughter, to make sure the goats can eat it first.  It sure feels good to not throw something in my trash, or have to recycle plastic, metal or glass.

Poisonous to Horses

I am so glad we are boarding Blondie at a stable right now, so that we can research the plants on the property (and get the fencing in place).

I am finding plants that can hurt horses, and we need to remove them.  Here are some of the poisonous plants that we found here (I have milkweed growing along the creek and isn't near where the horse will go, or the goats):


and Dogbane (no photo yet).  I guess we have some work to do.