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.
"Eat it up,
Wear it out,
Make it do,
Or go without."
~A Pioneer Sampler, by Barbara Greenwood~
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
If you have never picked wild berries, you have no idea how much work it is. My son went out there, with a sweat jacket on (to fight off prickers and mosquitoes) in 80 degree weather, and picked a quart by himself. I didn't take a photo of them, but they are smaller than what you buy in the store. Much smaller. After he came in, my husband went back out with two of the girls and brought more in.
I had 8 cups of wild black raspberries, and there are more out there yet. I lost my jelly recipe, so I still need to make grape, candy apple and other jellies, to re-stock our supply.
I cannot wait to have a root cellar. We do not have a basement in this old farm house either. Storage is a problem for this sort of thing. Then there is the septic and the buried propane tank. If we keep this place, it will be interesting as to where we dig for the root cellar. The couple that originally built this old farm house did not have kids. It was simply the two of them, thus no root cellar.
After canning the jam, I retreated to my bed to sleep off the allergy medications - blech! Then I somehow managed to finish off my very first Granny Square hand towel. This was meant to be placed in my "store" for sale, but I loved it so much it went right into my bathroom. I plan to add some to the kitchen too.
And speaking of "hands" and work, my daughter came in form the chicken coop. She has been introducing the barred rocks and Lola (tetratint) to the red hens.
With two roosters for each group of hens, they don't get along in the coop. We talked about letting our other rooster roam free, but the kids all squawked about his safety at night. So, they volunteered to place a red hen in with the others ever night and watch them.
The other day, while they were all outside free ranging, we kept hearing the roosters crow. They were having a "crow off" and crowing back and forth. Wish we got it on video.
To our surprise, on June 27, 2011, the barred rocks/Lola started laying eggs. We got our first two from them, and they are smaller of course.
I'm glad we got the different chickens, even though it's a tedious task to get them to get along. It's nice to look out and see them roam. One day, we actually had a driver stop on the 2-lane country highway, and watch them peck the ground. They were intrigued at Mazda, and his brilliant colors.
You can't really see the gorgeous green in his tail feathers, but he's a pretty handsome rooster.
Monday, June 27, 2011
Growing trees from seeds has been on the 100 things to do list. If you can't decide what to put on your list this summer (or for the year), here is a fun Web site with 52 projects:
The Original 52 Projects
Although my allergies have me down, I did step outside yesterday to blow bubbles with the kids. I didn't actually have to "blow" since the wind took care of that. It's a good thing, considering I'm having trouble breathing.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
We have not yet used our telescope for our star gazing. The clouds have taken over. Tonight might be a good night.
And as if I have all the time in the world, I have started another project. I may have to learn how to make a comfrey salve yet.
My knuckles are pretty sore from crocheting, knitting, and holding books. As soon as my allergies give me a break, I will be back to the garden for picking peas, lettuce and weeding the flower beds.
I purchased 5 heirloom Painted Lady Runner beans, and all five have come up. They will have blossoms on them, and that is why they are planted in the flower/herb beds.
And the Bee Balm I planted a few years ago, is finally going to have flowers this year.
Although I didn't take a photo, I have 2 of the heirloom redbud trees doing very nicely. The first ones were flooded out by the rains we had. However, a few more seeds have started to sprout. They are still small, so it will be a few years yet, but we have never planted trees from seeds before.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
I don't know how my youngest daughter sweet talked me into knitting her a scarf, but she did. This scarf has doubled it's length since I took the photo. The first trial scarf, I did in scrap brown yarn, was taken apart and put away for another project. I have to say that this one is turning out better and with a prettier yarn.
Now....if I could just finished the crocheted blankets, the hand towel, and ..... and .... and ....
It's all good!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
We decided to blow the dust off of our telescope, drop in a brand new battery, and read over the manual again. It's a bit cloudy today, so we may not get to star gaze tonight, but hopefully soon.
Star gazing is on my "100 things to do this summer" list. We've participated in many star gazing nights, and have visited many planetariums in our lifetime. I've checked out a field guide, from the library, relating to the stars also.
It's crochet mania day here also. I've had 2 blankets (one is a throw), on my "to-do" list for a few weeks. I can easily get sucked into new projects, and forget the ones I started.
Added about 4 inches to blanket #1
I have also crocheted wagon wheel coasters for July 4th, in red, white and blue. Look for photos soon, at my on-line store: Pioneer Patchwork Homespun
When blogger gets the "bugs" out of their system, I will try to load photos of the two blankets, our star gazing night, and more.
Update: as you can see, I am now able to load the photos. :) Yea!
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Bukisa, a while back, hooked their revenue earnings to anyone's Google adsense account. When they could not get my account to "hook up" and stopped replying to my inquiries, I removed my articles from their site also. And that leaves me with ListMyFive.com. Last month, my earnings dropped about 75% from the previous month, and absolutely no earnings for June so far. That leaves me with one site - Helium.
I will be looking at other sites now, and looking into other freelance sources of income. With my income down, I must search out ways to lower our costs even more.
I have gotten our electric bill down to $64.00 before, but it has yet to get that low again. I'm not sure why, other than it could be the water pump kicking on to water the garden, and the oven from baking bread.
When I say $64.00 for our bill, the actual amount of usage cost is about 1/2 of that. The other half is:
$4.00 - Customer Charge (what for? I have no idea)
$35.64 - Distribution Related Component (again, for what?)
and then there are cost recovery charges and then....and then....after all of that....the usage cost.
However, on my current bill, I read:
"The Public Utilities Commission of ***** in Case ****** approved a DSE2 (what??) charge of 0.2008 cents per kWh. Effective May 18, 2011.
Ironically, this goes into effect during the months when most people run air conditioning. It would be nice if they could put it in terms we could all understand, because I have no idea what the DSE2 stands for.
We have the highest electric in our county. The absolute highest, and it's really getting out of control. We are seriously looking into a wood burning stove for the kitchen. And it's not out of the realm for us to hook propane to the stove vs. electric also. Although those costs are rising also. So again, we are back to the wood burning cook stove.
I have found 3 appliances that we can unplug when not in use. It may help cut back that increase we've been slapped with.
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Yes I did. I just learned that an old pillow case works great for a "salad spinner." It won't do well for fruit, but for our homegrown, freshly picked lettuce, swiss chard and spinach, it did.
If the kids thought I was nuts a long time ago, they are in few more shocks. Ha ha ha!
taught myself to knit, and taught two of the girls. Worked more in my "possibilities" journal, and finished a DIY craft article.
taught the younger two girls how to make homemade biscuits, and each made their own.
made a batch of homemade tick repellant for the dogs.
~today I am thankful I bought knitting needles a few years at a cheap price
~today I am thankful for my bike
~today I am thankful the bountiful lettuce in the garden
Monday, June 13, 2011
After throwing my "How to Knit" kit in the "get rid of" box, I made one more effort to teach myself to knit. I found a series of "how to's" that were slow enough for me to catch on. Here is the first one, for anyone wanting to learn to knit. I am now teaching one of the willing, daughters to knit.
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Now that I am getting back into baking our breads myself, it feels pretty good. I love to bake, and the weather is much better today.
The farm repairs continue. Today it's a water spigot. When we bought this farm house, it did not have any outside water spigots on it. My husband installed one, but it had a 1/2 turn plastic handle. Unfortunately, someone who was helping us with the septic last year, cranked on it too hard, breaking it.
During the last week, when I needed to water the garden, it would not shut off. Even if we shut off the valves under the sink. I had to keep turning off the well, and back on when needed. Otherwise we'd be paying a high electric bill and lose a lot of water from the well.
The rain we received yesterday was a huge blessing. I was able to complete many indoor projects, including a recycled craft. I hope to submit it to a magazine next week.
I was also able to make a few more garden markers.
These are fun to make, and we add new ones each year. These are made by using cut pieces of wire hangers and pushed through two holes at the top. These slide easily in to the ground, and are reused year after year.
Friday, June 10, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
Yesterday temperatures soared in the high 90's and felt like 100°. We continue to go without air conditioning, and today have much cooler weather. Although thunderstorms are in the forecast, it feels so much better than the last two days. I may even have time to week the strawberry patch today.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Today the forecast is about the same - high of 96° and feels like 98-100°.
It was so hot that I had to water my petunias 3 times, and deadhead them 3 times.
Despite temperatures, we continue to keep our electric bill very low by eliminating air conditioning. We are suffering yes, but surviving. My 17 year old daughter said she's glad we don't use it anymore, or she would not want to ride her horse, or even go outside.
We simply drink lots of ice water, iced tea, and cool off with popsicles. We limit our activity and pretty much eliminate the garden work, other than early morning hours.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Monday, June 6, 2011
Meet Aurora (black calico) and Joey (golden tiger). They think the lawn furniture was put outside for their convenience.
Sunday, June 5, 2011
Other than an annoying air bubble in the center, and that it should have baked a few more minutes, it was the best bread yet. I can't wait to have a pastry cloth to make this baking easier and less messy.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Yesterday, I made a hair rinse using my sage. I decided to also make a leave-in conditioner for dry hair, using sage. Once my lavender starts producing more, I can utilize that as well.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Dried 6 bunches of thyme.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
My goal is to be able to add the cheese from my very own dairy source. Either a jersey cow or maybe the goats. I better put a bug in my husband's ear about getting a jersey cow. I can see so many ways we can reduce our processed, store bought foods, and make them healthier.