Pioneer Woman at Heart

One Flourishing, Frugal and Fun Family!

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 28, 2010

Diving right into Autumn with a touch of Winter

I'm making our family recipe for Hot cranberry punch for the family today.  The kids will be very excited to find a nice hot autumn drink simmering on the stove.

I also took whatever I had on hand and created a delicious pumpkin cake - minus frosting.
 Of course I had to try a small piece to make sure it tasted okay.  With one child now home sick, I have the DVD, "All is Calm" playing on the TV for her and I.  If you love winter scenes, especially peaceful ones, light falling snow, accompanied by peaceful music (some Christmas music), you'll really enjoy it.  In a way, it the music has be getting excited about the upcoming holidays.  It makes me feel like making Christmas tree ornaments instead of cleaning (and what I should be doing right now).

Deer Season ~ Chickens ~ Homemade Noodles

Most of the surrounding corn fields have been harvested, but a few remain.  Yesterday, as I was enjoying my "porch time" I was lucky to see a deer across the property, walking along the edge of a corn field.  I called for the kids to see and they too enjoyed the moment.  Later in the evening, while my 16 year-old was working on the computer, she screamed for me.  I was too late, but two of the kids saw two doe up close and personal.  They came right through our property, from the woods, and crossed the street.  They were not little either.  I caught a glimpse of the backside of the second one running away.

I hope we don't have to bring our porch furniture in too soon this fall, because we are really enjoying the beauty we see out here.  Our barn cats even come to the porch when we have our "porch  time" alone or together.  They seem to enjoy the company.

The chickens however, are getting pretty naughty.  They have discovered the mulch in my front flower beds and have kicked it everywhere.  They are about the healthiest chickens I know, because they are not restricted to where they roam.  Rooster is getting pretty smart too.  As soon as I chase him out of the flower beds, along with his "women" he will run around into a circle, and run right back to the flower beds.  I had to laugh yesterday when they tried to get into the barn cat food, and one cat was eating.  Rooster got chased away and hissed at.

Today, it's raining and cooler out.  I won't be splitting firewood, or hanging my laundry out, but will be focusing on a clutter spot to clean up and writing.  In weather situations like these, I do wash laundry, but hang them on my indoor clothesline and drying racks.

We enjoyed our homemade noodles for dinner last night.  I have to say, the tasted pretty good.  I purchased clearance priced beef stew meat, and cooked it in the slow cooker, creating tasty beef and broth.  The kids, and my husband, all had seconds, and then blamed me for their tummy aches! Ha ha ha ha!  I do believe we will be making homemade noodles on a regular basis.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fabulous Friday

I'm taking advantage of today's wind.  It's a good day to hang laundry on the line, and then sit back and write.  My son continues to earn more than me on one particular Web site.  I think he's taught me a thing or two about choosing the right topic to write about.  I guess we can all learn from each, regardless of age.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Old Barns ~ A Peek Inside

Here is a peek into the inside of one our our barns.  Amazingly, it's been repaired over the years several times, holding it together.  Look at the tin can lid used to repair the corner.  The roof is the original wood logs, and a bird made a mud nest on a hanging wire.  We think the original house and barns were built around 1954, making this house about 56 years old if we are correct.  I am very intrigued with the barns and will be taking more photos of another barn.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Another Crocheted Blanket ~ Started last Sunday

"Why honey, I have no idea how that yarn ended up in the shopping cart!"

More Garden Bounty ~ Loving It!

The Lord blessed us even more.  Our garden is still producing enough tomatoes to make Spanish rice, along with green peppers.  I also picked several butternut, yellow, and acorn squash.  It will feed us for quite a few meals.  I was also able to pick several cayenne peppers, which will go into the freezer for winter meals.

The chickens have once again blessed us with an abundance of eggs, so another angel food cake and a batch of homemade noodles are in order for this week's chores.  I believe I will go back out and treat my chickens to some garden greens.  Tonight we will enjoy those eggs, scrambled with fried potatoes and onion (and other herbs and spices from my herb gardens.

Today I filled my rosemary jar half way, and have cut even more to dry before the first frost arrives.

I'm baking Butternut Squash Muffins with our home grown squash.  Here's my version of several I have read on the Internet.

Butternut Squash Muffins

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup white granulated or organic sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice (see note*)
Whisk the above ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.

Peel and remove seeds from butternut squash.  Chop into 2 cups of butternut squash, place in saucepan with enough water to cover squash.  Boil until tender (20-25 minutes).  Remove from heat, drain excess water, and puree in a blender or food processor.  You could also hand mash them with your potato masher.

In another medium mixing bowl, whisk:
2 eggs, farm fresh or organic
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup non-fat plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. organic or homemade applesauce

Add the squash to the egg/milk mixture.

Gently fold the wet mixture with the dry, until moist.

Spray muffin tins with organic olive oil non-stick spray.  Fill muffin tins with batter, approximately 1/2 full.  Bake at 400°F. for 18-20 minutes or until done (check by inserting a wooden toothpick in the center of a muffin to see if the batter is baked completely).  My muffins only took about 18 minutes to bake.

Note:  Pumpkin pie spice is very expensive and you don't get very much.  Make your own spice mix to save money.  You can also use 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice along with 1 tsp. ground cinnamon and 1 tsp. ground nutmeg.  I'm still tweaking this recipe.  Espeically the flavor.  It seems to need a bit of zip to it or maybe some walnuts added.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Homemade Egg Noodles

Our homemade egg noodles are

Barn kitty hurt by raccoon

We accidentally left the cat food outside overnight and our youngest barn kitty was hurt by a raccoon.  It was a baby raccoon that came to the porch at 5:30am, and ate up the cat food, fighting off our cats.

At first the poor kitty's leg was swollen and we saw no signs of any marks, but after keeping him in the garage for 2 days, we located it.  Afraid to give him any aspirin, because too much can poison him, we are treating the cut, and keeping him nearby us.  We take him outside for sunshine and fresh air, and he stays right by the door.

We are praying he recovers, and that we never forget to bring the cat food inside at night.

Clean Eating Wins Again ~ Minestrone Soup with Quinoa

For dinner, we made Minestrone Soup with Quinoa, from Clean Eating Magazine.  It was the first time for any of us to eat Fennel also.  The recipe calls for plum tomatoes, peeled, and seeded.  I did not do that.  I had roma tomatoes from the garden and simply used those.  I used fresh Thyme and Basil from my herb gardens.  It's time to start growing them inside for winter use (fresh).

I was surprised that I could function, with my hands, enough to chop the vegetables, but I did.  The soup did not really fill my kids up, so for us it would be a side dish.  The best part of the recipes is that it does not require a store bought chicken or beef broth.  The vegetables and herbs create a wonderful flavor, and all without the sodium.  We give this recipe "2 thumbs up."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Farm Fresh Eggs ~ So Good!

Due to a surplus of our chicken eggs, I am using whites to make homemade angel food cake and the yokes to make homemade noodles.   This will be the first time making either of these.

Here is the final results of the cake!  Unfortunately my children refuse to allow me to share my family age old recipe, but Citrus Angel Cake is similar.  This is my start at avoiding cake mixes in a box and making them from scratch in a self-sufficient, healthier way.  One more benefit of raising chickens for eggs.

With the weather being a bit nicer, other than today's rainfall, we are able to let the chickens free range from early morning to night.  However, they sometimes will lay eggs outside in the grass so we keep their roost open too.

We are pretty sure we will raise meat chickens and turkeys next season.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wood splitting progress

I measured my stack of cut wood today.  I'm not quite halfway to one cord of wood.  My wood pile measures 7 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 1 1/2 feet.  I'm done for today.  Phew!

Writing, writing and writing

I have found another Web site to write articles for.  Meanwhile, I have also encourage my 18 year-old son to write for it as well.  In the last two days he has applied for two job openings.  I've lost count on how many he's applied for.  He has not been called for one interview, even after making follow-up calls.  Because the managers are getting upset with people you call back, he has resorted focusing on applying and hoping for the best.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Spicy Sorghum Molasses Cookies

Despite working hard with splitting wood today, I made the family Spicy Sorghum Molasses Cookies.  They are in the Bear Wallow cookies for using honey, sorghum etc.  If you are lucky to still find real sorghum, these cookies are delicious.

Bear Wallow Books 

Information about Sorghum Syrup

Splitting my first cord of wood

I have already split wood before today (by hand), but am making a goal to split one cord by myself.  For every woman out there who has ever split a cord of wood by hand, I give you a great big hug.  My fingers, thumbs, and wrists are so sore after today.  We had many stump pieces about 3 feet wide by about 1 1/2 feet tall, that needed split.  I definitely won't be splitting a full cord today.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Finished Project ~ Crocheted blanket

I have a very happy 8 year-old daughter today.  I finished her crocheted blanket, and she is so excited to curl up in it.  I didn't get the chance to make final measurements (she ran off with it too fast - ha ha!), but it fits the top of a king mattress.  I simply chose a pattern from an old library book, and chose colors at the store.  Now I am so used to crocheting every night, I'm not sure what I will do with myself.  I will be starting the next blanket for my 16 year-old daughter.  She is deciding on colors for me to work with.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Septic Tank Update ~ Still without hot water

Well, as I sit here, we are still without hot water.  However we can use and flush toilets and can now turn the well, the water pump, and the water softener on.  In the process of digging and looking for the septic tank (which by the way is going to be marked and mapped out for sure!), the propane line was cut.  After 3 days, we now have to call the gas company.  They used piping that is specifically made for propane only, and is not available in stores, so our hired help cannot repair it.  A call has been made to them, and I sure hope it's covered under what we pay to lease the tank and order propane.  I'm told that we pay extra for incidents like ours.

The pioneer that I am, found a way to wash up anyway.  I washed my hair in the kitchen sink with cold water, and then heated water for us to wash up with.  It's nice to be able to use our toilets, but sure wish we could have an old-fashioned outhouse as a back up too.   The kids would not have any problem using one either.  After taking them camping, where only port-a-potty toilets (no showers) were provided, they are now more eager to have any type of toilet to use.  It sure makes you count your blessings too.

The kids heated up water to hand wash the dishes yesterday as well.  However, I need more hot water to scrub and disinfect our shower floors and tub.  I'm going to need a lot more than one pot of water.

We will investing in a campfire tripod soon.  That way, we can heat water or cook outside if we get into predicaments with this old farm house again.

Journal Writing

I started another writing journal.  This time it's a "camping" journal, to record each camping trip. Of course, I will have to design a home decorated cover for it.  I've even saved our reservation paper that is placed on our post for our site.  One of my daughter's, who is 8 years-old, started journaling on our camping trips also.  She wanted to write after she watched me write.  We carried our journals in our hiking backpack so the kids could record and identify plants.  It's true that you influence your kids just by what they see you doing.

My 18 year-old son, who still has not been able to get hired for his first job ever, started freelance writing recently.  He's more up-to-date on current events, video games, movies and topics such as that, and he is earning money already.  He's had journalism classes, and photo journalism type courses, at his career center school.  He's not new at writing or journalism and it has been a positive influence on him while applying for job positions.  I don't recommend this for kids who have zero experience at writing.  However, if one is interested I suggest joining a free writing group or taking any classes on writing before doing this.  There's more to it than just typing out a story or article.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Camping and Hiking ~ What a way to rejuvenate!

I chose the same camping area for our labor day weekend camping trip.  The plan was to go alone, or with just a few kids, but my husband felt it would "not be safe."  In all honestly, I think he was a bit taken back and maybe jealous, and just wanted to go too. Ha ha ha!

There were more hiking trails that we wanted, or should I say, I wanted to hike.  The scenery was beautiful.  Even though we were a bit too close to private homes, you never knew it on the hikes.  Just gorgeous weather too.

I attempted to help the younger two learn to whistle with a piece of grass, but not one of us could do it.  I think my brother can do it, so we'll see if he can teach us.  The girls however, can whistle quite good in an acorn shell now.  They have even used a pop bottle top to whistle.  They learned a lot on this trip.

I'm not sure if we will camp again before winter, because the nights are getting much cooler here.  A guess if we dressed a bit warmer at night we might be able to.

Once again we cooked all of our meals over the campfire.  We cooked a few different foods like corn on the cob.  I would not have known to soak the corn without reading one of MaryJane Butters books.  The corn turned out delicious.  We also made mini apple pies, and egg, cheese, sausage whole wheat muffin sandwiches over the campfire. We also made pizzas on our campfire using our camper griddle pans.  We can cook just about anything on them.

I also invested in these metal plates and cups, and even utensils.  They fit nicely into our prepared camping tote.  Now we are camping a bit more "green" by eliminating all of our paper/styrofoam plates, cups and plastic eating utensils.  I taught the girls how to wash the dishes by heating water over the fire.

The only problem was coming home.  We came home to find out the septic was backing up.  At around 10:00pm last night, a group of men digging up the yard finally found the septic tank lid.  We are making a map, marking that little booger with something, so we can find it again.  That was a long day!  Today they will come and empty it for us.  It's been 2 days and 1 night without toilets, and I can hear all of the kids (and my husband) say to me "you always wanted to live like a pioneer!"  Ha ha ha ha!  In 10 years we will be laughing and joking about this.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Long skirts and chicken poo

Are you wondering what these two items have in common?  Well, when wearing long skirts and walking to and fro from house to barn etc., always keep one hand free.  Why?  So you can hike up your skirt to avoid dragging it in chicken poo (ugh!).  Just part of prairie girl life.

Live Simply

I made a quick trip to the store yesterday for must needed toilet paper.  While I was there I saw some very nice wall decor items.  Each picture was $9.99 each.  The one that caught my eye the most, was a wall sign that said "Live Simply."

Those 2 words are just how I am and how I live.  Seeing that sign made wonder if I could make a sign myself.  Maybe with old barn wood and embroidery?  Now that I have finished my first embroidery sampler, I may add this to my winter crafting list.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

New Muffin Recipe ~ Carrots from the garden

Even though today holds much more activity than I'd like, I am still baking an after school snack for the kids.  It is also a lunch packing for some, including my husband.  I'm baking Morning Glory Muffins I, using carrots from the garden, whole wheat flour from a local stone mill (preservative free), organic apple, apple butter from a local orchard (until I learn to make it myself), and of course our farm fresh eggs!  I can't wait to taste them.  They are packed with nutrition, so I hope the family likes them too.  These might be something to take along on camping trips and trail hikes. 

I'm also using the last of our garden carrots to may a "skinny" scalloped potato recipe from the Clean Eating Magazine.  I'd be using garden potatoes for this, but we have depleted our supply for this year.  We are definitely adding more to the garden next year.

I'm back with an update on the muffin recipe.  I could just go to allrecipes and rate it also, but wanted to share with my followers.  These are perfect for breakfast, and a great way to start the day writing!

To cut back on expenses and paper waste, I use muffin pans sprayed with organic olive oil non-stick stray.  They are delicious!  If you don't mind grating carrots and chopping apples, these are very good and good for you.

The chickens are happy too!  They are nibbling on peelings from baking these.

Cats have invaded my writing space

Yesterday, I was just about to sit in my chair to write, when I noticed a butterscotch feline cleaning himself.  It was as if he was saying "this is my chair."  So, instead of writing at that moment, I chose to walk on the treadmill.  Just before I sat up from putting my walking shoes on, there was an oreo cookie colored feline sprawled out on the treadmill!  I had to laugh.  They are such loving cats, and have such funny behavior.  If they aren't chasing either others tails, they are hanging around for some lovin'.  They didn't stop taking over my space at all either.  After walking and showering, there was an oreo colored feline sprawled on my computer chair.  Last night, while crocheting a blanket for my youngest, her butterscotch colored cat, jumped on the bed and sprawled out over the blanket.  I think he knows who is getting the blanket - ha ha ha!