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~

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Camper Cleaned ~ Crochet Time ~ . . . from the handiwork journal

The camper got a good cleaning, but we still need to clean the top canvas.  That's another day for us.

The floor was swept and mopped with my favorite cleaner.
Here are a few photos of some new items I crocheted for the upcoming Farmer's Market.  I've already sold a set of crocheted nesting baskets, and one pig ornament.

Crocheted nesting baskets.  The aqua baskets were sold.

Mug/coaster set, Harley Davidson inspired, with a removable motorcycle charm on the front.

Drink cups with lid and coasters to match.  A few more to make.

More mug and coaster sets. A few more to make.

Harry Potter Inspired Cup Cozies.  Woke up to find one gone.  Daughter stole it. Ugh. Kids.

More cup cozies to make, and possibly some crocheted earrings and matching necklaces.  It's just a matter of time.  The chicken coop needs cleaned, the tomatoes need checked, hot peppers and green peppers and berries need checked, garlic bed needs to be cleaned up and replanted's gonna have to wait until this market day is over (other than picking what needs picking).

I'm looking up info on how to get my tax ID to open my Etsy to the public.  I'm researching how to do the shipping costs too.  You never know, I may be trying it out for a year.  Stay tuned.  I'm a bit concerned on shipping the mug sets, considering I'd have to invest in packaging, so there's a lot to consider in everything.  

Hubby's cousin stopped in for a loooooong porch chat yesterday, so I lost time (although very much enjoyed her visit) with my handiwork progress.  Speaking of handiwork, I purchased a new canopy (ours broke a few years back), and bought a commercial grade one.  It arrived last week broken in two places.  Sigh.  I returned it, and they re-ordered it, with a discount.  We'll be giving it a try after the market day, but really needed it for the market day.  I'll be borrowing one until it arrives.  Then we'll take it camping to see how well it works compared to the flimsy cheaper grade ones we owned.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Nothin! ~ Hittin' the Road

There is nothin' goin' on here at the homestead that is actually "homesteady."  

There has been nothing but weeding and crochet work going on here.  Literally.  One small flower bed is weeded, but took an entire morning. And the snakes...oh the snakes are everywhere this year.  From big bad boys to babies....everywhere.  I'm pretty sure I gave some folks driving by, a laugh.  Imagine me doing the "Eeeeek!" snake dance when driving by.

It's been a mouse year too.  The barn cats have happily left me porch presents on way too many occasions.  Some days it's parts and some days it's the whole package.  Tiger (indoor cat) has been on the mouse hunt too.  Good kitties.

Weeding has been a most dreaded job lately this year.  I picked a measly 3# of tomatoes.  A far cry from 45# on a typical garden day.  Just a really, really bad year for us.  The carrots, beets, and sweet potatoes are still underground.  

We woke up to fog Friday morning.  Lots of it.  See that corn?  It is as far left and right as you can turn you head.  The crop duster plane was back to spray the soybeans again.  I was actually shocked that they were spraying so late in the season too.  I ran out and took my bedding off the clothesline real quick.  They spray the soybeans so often it's getting scary.  Just one more reason we may pack up and move.  Way too many chemicals around us.

Hubby and I woke up Friday debating our plans - camping, poker run, yard and garden work.  We couldn't even decide by the time he left for work, which is odd for me. 

We spontaneously decided to go camping.  I took a jar of hot banana pepper relish, and we used it on almost everything, including breakfast burritos.  We had a very relaxing time and actually slept in.  I did a bit of crocheting too.

I have been offered another craft show opportunity, but it's the very next day after the one I signed on to do.  Not sure if I want to commit to the entire weekend of it or not yet.  Here is what I've been making lately.....

Lots of rooster Christmas tree ornaments.

Created a pig Christmas tree ornament, and quite proud of how it turned out.  No pattern either.  Created my own. Now Hubby says I need to make cow ornaments.  We'll see.

How was your weekend?  We are back home and back to weeding, but possible rain today.  I have to go out to the camper and clean the inside before the rain arrives.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Homemade Madagascar Vanilla Extract

I've been making my homemade vanilla for years.  I simply purchase madagascar vanilla beans (non-gmo, organic), and organic vodka.  I'll admit, it's become more difficult to find an organic grain vodka, but make sure it's grain, not a potato vodka.

Place 1 cup of vodka in a pint canning jar.*

Slice 5 vanilla beans down the center of each, and then cut each bean in half. 

Place vanilla beans into the vodka filled canning jar.

Place lid/rim on and store in a cool, dark location for 3-6 months.

Shake the jar once a day.

Strain, and store in amber glass bottles.

It makes a wonderful gift for Christmas, so start early, and have it ready in time.  I purchased amber bottles, created my own label, and it was very much appreciated.  Include recipes, or the recipe to make it when gifting.

*use any glass jar that will hold 1 cup of liquid and still leave room for shaking the jar.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Travel Pouch Christmas Gift Idea

Hopefully it's not to small of print for you to read.  Something neat for someone traveling.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

No gardening work

Monday's are typically the worst days of the week for Hubby and Youngest.  I try to get something sweet baked, but early morning started with a kitchen full of dirty dishes.  We were lazy for sure.  We were stressed over the car accident, and it was cold out and raining the entire time, so we all (after getting the car home) pulled on comfy clothes and watched movies. 

Hubby and I watched Smokey and the Bandit, and our daughter watched her favorite movies in another room.  I crocheted, and for once, started and finished an entire scarf.  It's a Harry Potter Gryffindor scarf. The young crowd goes goo-goo over these.  Who knew?  

The dishes sat though, so first thing Monday morning, I had a messy kitchen to clean up before I did any baking, other cleaning or laundry.  Boy were we lazy.  I had a ton to wash.  Sunday morning, I made homemade biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs and fried potatoes.  Yeah, lots of dishes, plus I had made more poultices.

The rain continued (sigh) Monday as well.  I scrambled around to find places to dry laundry.  

Dishes were done and some blueberry muffins were baked.  More dirty dishes were made.

Nothing really exciting in the homesteading department.  It was a make it/refill it sort of day.  I had to refill my jars of homemade vanilla, mullein tincture and organic ground cinnamon.  I made homemade shampoo too.

Good news.  We are not required to replace the airbags in the car, we'll get reimbursed for the towing, and we just have to replace the windshield. Whew!

The rain continued to fall, clouds covered, and it was a high of 62°F.  It sure felt strange to be wearing heavier clothing, and getting my winter robe out at night.  Today, it'll be a it warmer and we are to get some sunshine.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Cool Down and Tidbits

The weather finally gave us some relief with the recent heat, but the rain came with it.  Too wet now to weed.  Not that I'm complaining, ha ha!  The rain forced us to cancel a motorcycle poker run Saturday.  Actually, the event was canceled along with other area events.  The rain wasn't supposed to arrive until late Saturday, but we woke up to rain at 7am.

I'm so organized that it took me a half hour to find the large tote of cotton yarn, ha ha!  Literally.  Had me laughing too.  

I'm busy crocheting more mug/coaster sets.  I have set a confirmed date this month for a Farmer's Market event.  I already have a scarf order for a Christmas present too.  I still need more mugs, but our weekend was a bit of a shock.  I'll try later this week to locate some.

Not much going on here but rain. Lots of rain. We didn't get the 30mph winds they said we would, nor the torrential rainfall, but we did get lots of rain.  To be honest, it felt like winter to us after this last 100°F heat wave.

Friday night I found out at the last minute we were dog sitting.  Yep.  Dog sitting.  For our nephew and his wife.  I wasn't too keen on it, but I wasn't asked either.  But, family helps out family.  It also gave me the chance to see how soon we want to get another dog.  Other than her chasing Tiger, she did pretty well as far as behavior.

There is a reason for things to happen.  We were in town, just pulling into the grocery store, when we got the call.  We should have been on the motorcycle poker run, but like I said....things happen for a reason.

It was our 19 year-old.  She had just been in a car accident and was sobbing.  We zipped right over to the other side of town (a huge event was going on so downtown was shut down and we had to go around, taking side streets).

She is okay, the other driver is okay (barely a scratch), but her car may be getting junked.  The hood has a few dents and the air bags cracked her windshield.  It runs, drives etc but since the air bags deployed she may be buying a new car.  The cost to replace the airbags is very high, and insurance may require they be replaced.  Her hands were pinched under the airbags, and it bruised her wrists.  The Mom that I am, went straight home and whipped up several comfrey poultices for her.  We await the insurance now.  Her car is completely drive-able, but the future of it all depends on the laws regarding airbags.  If we have to spend $800 or more for the airbags, I'm pretty sure we'll sell the engine and parts and spend that money on a newer car.  

The other driver actually got out and pulled her from her car, because he thought her car was on fire.  There was so much dust from the airbags deploying, that both of them thought her car was on fire. 

We are just glad she is okay, but she is very shook up about the whole thing.  It was her first car accident. 

So, all in all, the weekend was us sitting around literally.  We had plans to build a new ramp for the chicken run, but we spent Sunday trying to find a trailer to get Daughter's car from the towing service (they towed it due to the airbags being deployed, so that was $100 plus $15 for every day it sat there.)  We literally drove it home (no towing required), but prayed Hubby didn't get a ticket for a busted windshield.

We were pretty shook up ourselves, although we did very well to contain our emotions around our Daughter.  An adult beverage awaited us Saturday night.

So, how was your weekend? How is the weather at your homestead?  Our 62°F felt like 32°F, but I'm told we'll heat back up again in a week or so.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

I like to freeze these uncooked, because they cook up pretty quickly.  It's a great way to use zucchini too.  I double this and use my large pampered chef cookie scoop, getting about 34 to 35 meatballs.

Turkey Zucchini Meatballs
1 lb. ground turkey, organic
1 cup shredded zucchini*
1 tsp. homemade Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp. homemade garlic powder
1/2 tsp. homemade onion powder
1/4 tsp. organic (or homemade) crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

*if using thawed, frozen shredded zucchini, squeeze out liquid before adding.

Shape into balls and freeze or cook.  To freeze, I put them on a try and freeze, then remove and freeze in an airtight freezer container or freezer bag.

To Bake (thawed):
Preheat oven to 400°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a pampered chef stoneware bar pan.  Bake 16-18 minutes, or until done.

To Bake Frozen:
Bake 20-25 minutes or until done.

I like to bake the meatballs about an hour to an hour and a half, prior to dinner.  Place them in a crock pot on low and top with a sauce.

Sauces we love:
Homemade marinara sauce
Hot pepper mustard sauce
Home canned BBQ sauce
Mixing home canned ketchup with home canned grape jelly

We've also considered using our habanero/apricot jelly in place of grape, as well as our hot pepper jelly.  It all depends on what you like.  It make a super easy meal.

These sauces are terrific with beef/pork meatballs as well.