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~

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Chimney Sweep and other homestead happenings. . .

The chimney and wood stove has finally been cleaned.  This year the cost was $199.00. Last year it was $179.00 and the year before $159.00.  I see a $20 hike pattern here, but there are very few companies that do this in my area (and who are reliable).  Self sufficiency comes with it's own price, and there are no short cuts when it comes to responsibility.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Medicinal Herbs ~ Tea Time


Some days I don't look up an herbal/medicinal tea recipe.  I simply open my encyclopedia on herbs and pick a few I harvest, and brew the tea.
 


I think I picked this one up at a book sale years ago.  Not sure.  It contains a good amount of information on all herbs, but I noticed if I looked up "Stinging Nettle" it only mentions the medicinal use for asthma and regrowth of hair. No mention of allergies, poor circulation or other ailments.



Yesterday's tea was nettle/peppermint.  Nettle grows here wild and the peppermint I grow from organic seeds.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Unwinds ~ Rain

I'm sharing some jewelry I got for Christmas.  The necklace is made from a 45 casing, and the earrings shotgun shells.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas ~ Anniversary

We had a wonderful Christmas day at our homestead.  Aside from my oldest two kids being in a 4 car accident (caused by one car) the afternoon of Christmas Eve, totaling the car that Oldest Daughter was in, and maybe Son's, running out of foil was a minor issue.   Oh, and Hubby got called into work at 6pm on Christmas evening, too.

Thankfully, I keep the camper stocked.  We popped up the camper and fetched a new roll of foil for covering Christmas Even dinner and the breakfast dishes for Christmas day.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve has Arrived

The outside Christmas lights have been put up.  Zuri caught a glimpse of Hubby climbing up the ladder and let out a "stranger danger" bark.   

Oldest daughter has been over two times with her new puppy Mia (hope I am spelling that right).  She is also 4 months old.  So, here in the photo, is Mia, Zuri and King.  All relaxing after a fun day of puppy play.  Jesse actually showed the first signs of playing with them, by playing with Mia.   It was refreshing to see Jesse join the fun for once.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Let the baking begin....

Before we got started, I had to empty a canning jar of homemade vanilla.  It smells so good!

 New cookie this season - whiskey caramel cookies.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Random Tidbits

I washed up and dried one last batch of sage for this season.  This past summer has taught me to harvest more than enough when I can.  The weather here dipped to the high 20's and it snowed, but not enough to stick.  

We have an upcoming full week ahead of us.  Its the week of December that tends to overwhelm me.  We have a birthday to celebrate, followed by Christmas Eve, followed by Christmas day, followed by our wedding anniversary.  It would be lovely to take a one night getaway, but we tend to give ourselves an island trip later in spring. 

I still need to find out what Youngest wants for dinner on her 14th birthday.  Hard to believe it's arriving so fast.  It feels like I had her just yesterday.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Homestead Happenings

The puppies sleep all night, but get up between 5:30am and 6:30am.  Not a big deal really.  Today they slept until almost 7am.  It helps me get up and going and back to intentional exercise (again).  They don't like going in their crates while I work out, so I've been testing their behavior by blocking them into the kitchen where I can mostly see them.  So far so good.  I have noticed they have exceptional hearing, which is always important when you want "guard" dogs.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Herbal Bath Tea ~ Peppermint

I have only posted one herbal bath tea, and it was difficult to find again.  Blogger is having a few issues I guess.

Herbal Bath Tea ~ Cold and Flu


I purchased chemical and tag free "press n' brew" bags for tea making, but will mostly use them for traveling, and for bath teas.  We used muslin before, but ended up with tea leaves in the bath water each time.  By the way,

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Dead Mouse and other Homestead Happenings

Oh dear, I have had practically nothing to share lately.  No new recipes, no new concoctions of herbs, or even anything remotely exciting.

Unless you count the night that King proudly brought in a dead, flattened mouse.  Two girls went ballistic and screamed for me (or their Dad who conveniently ignored them) to come rescue them.   

I found one daughter holding one puppy, and one holding the other and both screaming and pointing to the dead mouse.  I removed it of course, even while they were screaming at me while doing it.  I had gloves on, but they still couldn't watch.  I told them when they grow up and have kids, they'll be able to do almost anything without gagging. 

Puppy nap time - Zuri with her head on top of King.  They both are growing so fast already.  King still thinks he's a lap dog, so this will be interesting.  King has learned "speak" already.  He's been easy to train in that department.  He's very vocal.  Zuri is such a doll.  I just hope she can hold up to her end if protection is needed.  She is so calm for me.  

They are partners in crime.  This weeks casualties?  One church youth group flyer that they kept pulling off the fridge, along with the clip magnet.  I had to go in search of their toys to get them to stop.  Oh, and one chewed our 19 year-old's computer charge cord in half. Not their fault.  Daughter just forgot to put it up.  I told the kids to put stuff up as if they were baby goats in the house.

Hubby and I have gotten the tree limbs split and stacked, so we are ready to tackle that one tree when school is out for Christmas.  This Saturday however, he'll be putting Duaghter's car back together. 

I have finally made myself something

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Another Barn Discovery

I apologize in advance for the fuzzy photo, but these pulleys are way at the top and I was on the ground photographing them.  They are the original wood pulleys, still intact.  I took a quick picture for our album.

 There is one more at the very top peek of the barn too.

Once again, we have someone interested in the barn.  What's left of it, minus what we'll take from it.  Not sure if it will happen, but we'll seeThis will be the umpteenth person to look it over.  It is a lot of work, but I would like to see it reused as much as possible. 


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Twenty Plus

 I have fallen onto the band wagon of the 20+ questions.  Enjoy! You'll need a cup of something to read through this.  I hope it entertains you today.
 
1.  Do you like bleu cheese?  Yes, but only mixed with whiskey and butter to slab onto a grilled steak.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Random Tidbits ~ Baking Tip

(Puppy nap time)
 
The other day I was up before 5:00am, and not because of dogs.  I just couldn't sleep for some reason, and then the phone rang - fog delay.  I was able to get a few good hours of writing in while the pups slept.  The pups pretty much sleep like this when the are worn out from play time.

I had to laugh at King one day.  He had a squeaky dog bone toy in is mouth and was barking at the same time, trying to get Jesse to play.  Jesse wanted none of it, but the sound King was making was hilarious.  Like he was saying "pretty please?" to Jesse.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Library Loot ~ Beginner Medicinal Herbal Book


I've been borrowing books from the library, over and over, contemplating which is the best medicinal herb book to purchase and have on hand (along with handicraft pattern books).  The above stack came in all at once, and my loving Hubby picked them up for me.  He was struggling to get in the house with them, ha ha!  I had to explain, how it saves us money. 



I do like the recipes in this book - Medicinal Herbs, A Beginner's Guide, by Rosemary Gladstar.  I think I've shared this book before also.  I have one of her books with herbal tea recipes and make the teas.  This book remains on my wish list, unless another one interests me.



These other three have many recipes that may be useful for us too.  There is a headache tea I'd like to try, and a few others, but need a few more herbs planted next year.  For now, I'll borrow these again.

In the process of borrowing books on growing mustards, and making mustards, I located more herbal recipes for meals here.  I actually found enough that I am making a binder for all recipes with herbs (because my recipe box in my kitchen has exploded).


I checked my library account again - 7 more books were in.   The bottom one may be the one home manual I need to buy regarding medicinal herbs.   Most of these I am flipping through quickly, but taking notes and checking costs.  I'm also looking at the recipes.  I do not want to buy a book that has strange ingredients that I do not grow or cannot buy organic at a good price either.  

Now...if I can find a book that contains a great length of information on using turmeric for pain and other health issues, I'll be even happier. 

I have been madly working on handmade Christmas gifts for the girls, writing, and puppy training. 

Last night's dinner?  Homemade meatballs baked and warmed in the crock pot with home canned hot pepper mustard sauce, and roasted brussel sprouts with onions and garlic.   

 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Surprise Mail

Mail delivered this absolutely adorable hand knitted miniature sweater Christmas tree ornament!  It came with it's own hanger too.  And a lovely card to go with it.  It totally made my day!  Thank you Mama Pea!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Surprise Visit ~ Moon Passing Venus ~ Surprise Road Trip

Warning:  It's a "grab a cup of ...." kind of blog post today.
 
I was taking bets as to how many people would notice, including our kids that were not home, the work we did on Sunday.

They noticed.  Whew.  Looks so nice when I look out my window now.  It's that kind of relief when you see a messy room all cleaned up.

Our 19 year-old surprised us with a visit last Sunday night.  First thing she said, was "I noticed you don't have any outside lights up."

Guilty.

We had zero time with all the outside work.  She insisted we at least put some up around the front porch. We did not.  We ended up taking a road trip.

Monday, December 7, 2015

One Big Job Complete ~ Whiskey Sticks

In July of 2014, we came home to this.  Free wood.  Delivered for free.  Pieces were bigger and taller than myself, and wide.  Very wide.
Guess what?

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Homemade Herbal Lip Balm ~ 2nd Making ~ Uses for a Salad Spinner


Like most of you, my hands, face, and lips are feeling dried up and awful already (cold and wind).  My younger two girls love the homemade lip balm, and we are almost out of homemade hand lotion.  That is now on my to-do list now also.

The last time I made the lip balm I used small plastic, round containers. 

 This time I used lip balm tubes.  I used 10 of them.

Friday, December 4, 2015

. . . from the handiwork journal

Now, first of all, I have no business in starting any of these new fun projects, but I did.  I still have a baby blanket that is not finished.  Remember the granny square one?  I put it away and plum forgot again.  I have to use different white yarn so we'll see if it even turns out right when I do finish it.  

So.... 


Cup of coffee anyone?  This one was a bit of a challenge for me, and my coffee is sitting up a bit too high in the cup, but I'm glad I'm venturing into toys for kids.  This would even make a nice pin cushion for someone who sews and loves coffee.  Heck, it could be hot chocolate.  I could crochet mini marshmallows on top.  I mean it's a play toy, so we can play all sorts of make believe.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

What's in the Jar? ~ Random Tidbits

Guess what I am making next? 

Hint:  It will need to infuse for 3-4 weeks and will be ready in the nick of time for Christmas day.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Bread Baking ~ Library visit

Rainy days are good for bread baking.  I made my first Jalapeno Cheddar Artisan bread the other day.  Yum!  If you'd like to try the recipe it's from Candy at Lazy J Bar C Blogspot  Delicious!  I baked it to go along with ham bone soup for dinner. 

The weather continues to be wet and cold here.  I made a trip to the library and brought home these:

Monday, November 30, 2015

Recycled Barn Wood ~ Recycled Pillows

Hubby and I had another prosperous morning in the chicken/goat barn.  We used odd pieces of barn siding (recycled from the big barn) to repair and fix up the barn doors.  You can see in the photo there are a few holes yet to cover, but the bottoms of the doors are looking much better (sharing photos soon I hope). 

. . . time and patience.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Barn Cleaning and Other Random Tidbits


Late Thursday, all day Friday and all day Saturday, the rain fell here.  We had one more moment of porch time.  Saturday, although cold, I stole a few moments out there too.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Buttering with Cranberries ~ Homemade Gift Idea

You'd think there would be a scientific term, for a syndrome defining chronic recipe collectors.  Specifically for those who collect new recipes to try, while attempting to try all the stashed recipes they already have.  It's an obsession I tell ya.

Sigh....

New recipes find me whether I want them or not lately. 


Cranberry butter was a new butter for me to make, and I located the recipe in a free newspaper on our last weekend getaway.

You can simply use it, freeze it or gift it.



I'm sharing the original recipe

Friday, November 27, 2015

Food Dehydrator Uses ~ Making Homemade Bread ~ New Side Dishes

In the past several years, I knew that my dehydrator had a temperature for rising bread dough.  It was not large enough, height-wise.

 My new one however, is perfect for rising bread.

 I placed a small tray of water in the bottom, removed all my racks but the bottom one, and covered the dough with a damp cloth.  My dehydrator has a clear door on it, so I can see the results without opening it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Finished!

 45 different scarp yarn colors, and 90 ends sewn in later......

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Random Tidbits

Today's weather is not as cold as yesterday.  I'm going to put a few folding lawn chairs back on the front porch.  I hear Thanksgiving day will be warm enough to sit there and relax a bit.

Hubby plans on working all day Thanksgiving day.  Not at his full-time job, but here.  We have a lot of brush to take care of yet.  Most likely I'll be working in the kitchen in outdoor work clothes, joining him when I can as well.  

I'm typing like a mad woman, to get caught back up with National Novel Writing Month.

Monday, November 23, 2015

It's Monday already?! ~ Journal Junkie

Where did the weekend go?

I'll admit it went fast, but it was very, very peaceful here this weekend.  The first time in the last two years.  What a relief for our family and our animals.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Homemade Croutons ~ Homemade Dry Italian Seasoning ~ Tidbits


It seemed as soon as we stocked some firewood by the house, the weather turned dreary, cold and then rain arrived.

 We woke up to this.  The sun is shining and the there is no wind.  It's actually a beautiful Sunday.  Warning....feeling talkative this morning.  Grab a cup of your favorite beverage.



Our grocery store is now selling an organic whole wheat (labeled non-gmo) bread.  I was lucky to get a loaf at a good price, which I made homemade croutons with.  Next batch I will try using homemade bread of some sort.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Porch Time ~ Work Time

Porch time was a bit cooler yesterday, but I had it no less. I honestly wanted one last moment out there before we put furniture away for winter (which is today).   I had most of my chores done, but decided to sneak it in early.  Just in case.

I wasn't sure what dinner time would bring, and I did not want to miss out on "5 minutes for me."

It was another good day to

Friday, November 20, 2015

Winter Prep Continues

It might take us much longer than most, but somehow we get most (or all) of our winter prep done.  Although, I'll admit, panic is creeping in, as time passes by.  

We have to remove the brush from the tree, and cut the remaining of it down, before we can set up our snow fence.  This weekend Hubby is hauling our second oldest daughter's car home for an all day Saturday repair.  That leaves our work undone.  I'm afraid the brush will be frozen to the ground come Sunday morning.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New Addition to the Homestead

Monday I went to town and brought back this guy.  


We adopted him from the dog shelter.  Hubby named him "Tank."  Although a common name for a rottweiler, we all fell in love with this guy.  The day I stopped, I initially went to look at a female mix.  I had some doubts, and looked at "Truman" who walked into the visiting room and put his head in my lap.  He had been picked up by the dog warden the day before.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Mini Retreat ~ Back to Reality World

Hubby surprised me and whisked me away over the weekend.  Even though he was feeling under the weather prior to the weekend, he took us away for that much needed (balance) time we need alone by ourselves.

I gave up my computer over the weekend, and wrote with pen and paper.  Which was a challenge, considering I wrote in the care with Hubby driving.  I hope I can read my hand writing today.  It will be a  challenge in itself to get caught back up.

Upon returning, we plunged directly into reality world.  No time to sip wine on the porch, or lounge around and read books either.  We dove right back in whether we wanted to or not.