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~

Thursday, October 31, 2013

From the Homesteading Journal . . . chimney sweep update

. . . . Peanut went into heat, and is now bred for a March due date.  She's so funny when in heat too. I heard her crying and crying and asked my daughter what was wrong with her.  Dumb question.  My daughter said that Peanut will flirt with Orion and even lay her head on the top of the fence to woo him.  So funny.  Misty will be next. (don't forget to click on "read more" to read more)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Barn Discovery

Our largest barn is set for destruction next year.    We have used this barn, and even updated parts on it over the last 5 years, but it's too much for us to invest in.  The loft has caved in from one of the storms as well.   The roof, on both sides, have been ripped off over the years from storms as well. If we had the money, we would save it, but we can't.

However, we are using parts of it to repair the other two barns.  Yesterday, I was walking Alias, and looked up at the barn.  For some odd reason, I discovered something I had never seen before.  It made me smile.

 Do you see anything yet?  Look to the upper right of the window.

Ha ha!  Now to you see it?  This made me laugh.  There are four license plates, from 1971, used to patch the barn.  When the barn comes down, I want to recycle those plates one more time.  Even after being used on this barn for 42 years.  I don't have a ladder tall enough to reach them either.  Phooey.  Anyway, I thought it was neat discovery.

Oh, and one araucana laid an egg the other day.  Yay!  Egg production is back on track.   

Just a note: we did put this barn up on craigslist for the free wood, and we got one response, who never got back with us.  I even contacted two places that take barn wood, and they too, did not want it.  Everyone else wanted us to pay them to take it.  We simply wanted someone to use the wood too, but it's not as easy as you think.  Not in our area anyway.

Notice: Would the person who inquired about the barn, via Google, please contact me via the email address provided under "About Me" on this blog?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Puffed Pear Pancake ~ Cast Iron Baking

(right out of the oven)

In the midst of waiting for my pear liqueur to finish, I decided to tackle the 5 large bowls of pears that awaited me. Okay, so I tackled two whole pears (of the 5 large bowls). Ha ha!

I decided to make a Puffed Pear Pancake (Real Simple Recipes).  It's baked right in a cast iron pan.  Simple right?

Not only simple, but delicious. I took the advice of other reviews, and added a second pear, and extra spices.  It was a nice after school snack for the kids.  The batter bakes into a crust that has a somewhat "egg" flavor.  It was really good topped with maple syrup too.

Monday, October 28, 2013

One Last Porch Visit

It was the most beautiful morning.  Crisp air, and absolutely not one vehicle (or noise) on the highway.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Homemade Pear Liqueur

When I had a difficult time locating pear liqueur in our area, I decided to make it myself.  With all the pears from our trees this year, I was excited to experiment with new recipes.  I'm not even sure what type of pear we have.  These trees were here prior to moving here.

I searched books and the internet and found this one: Pear Liqueur

I filled my quart jar with pears, cardamom and a lemon peel.  I could not find cardamom pods, so I used ground (I know the flavor would be much better with the pods).  I gently shook my jar, and placed it in a dark, cool closet for a week.

My plan is to use it to make a pear liqueur frosting to go over homemade Pear Berry bread.  I will have that recipe to share soon as well, if it indeed rates high with the family.

Other than using the liqueur for baking, you can also simply drink it.  There are many mixer recipes it could be used with, including a pear martini.

Pears have so many possibilities. . . check back to see what we make next with them.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Knitting Needles in My Cupboards ~ Self Defense

Have you heard of the "ALICE" program yet?  If you have kids in public school, chances are, you may have.

A.L.I.C.E. is an acronym for,  Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Escape - Active Shooter Response Team.

For weeks now, two of our girls have been chatting about it, day after day.  It's beginning to become ingrained in our brains here at Rooster's Crow Farm. 

It's a program that teaches "young people" to fight back and not sit and "take it" if a shooter would come into the school.  They have been, as a class (and most of the school from what I am listening too), discussing what they could use as weapons, or do to fight back.  Quite honestly,  I can't wonder if this was created to keep school's from putting guns in our teachers hands.  Anyway....

You know it has been ingrained into your brain, when you go to bed in your camper, and prior to that, you look around and say to yourself "what can I use for a weapon if needed?"  Why lots of stuff, of course.

I can rip out the metal rod that holds the fold-out bed roofs up, and use that as a weapon.  

The same goes for my home.  What can I creatively use in a shooter attack situation?  In my bedroom I can use my knitting needles.

However, my 11 year-old asked me, "but are your knitting needles in a place where you can get them in an emergency?"

Ugh...probably not.  So, I asked her, "do I have to hide some in my kitchen cupboards now?"

....I'd rather stash a shotgun or two in my cupboards. This day and age anyway. 

Either way, I am glad they are teaching the kids to fight back, and fight for their life (I think), if it were to ever happen. In fact, this is one of the reasons I want Hubby to train me to box again.  I want to be in very good shape, in case there was a reason to quickly defend myself, or my family, in any situation.  

Have you been taught self defense?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Maple-Walnut Butter

A few months ago, Hubby and I were gifted with a few bags of homegrown, local, English Walnuts.  We cracked them all, and froze them.  I decided to make a butter spread with them.

Although I still have a bit of congestion and cough, I got up early and made the family French Toast for breakfast.  The butter is now "kid" tested, and approved.  I'm looking for more ways to sneak the nutrition of walnuts into our diet.  

A few years ago, I gifted my family Cinnamon Honey Butter, and it won over well.  This butter is another healthy, homemade gift idea. Here is the recipe:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Egg Production Halted ~ Gratitude ~ The Pioneer Lady's Country Christmas

What you see in this basket is not from our hens.  They are from the pullets we bought this past spring.  They are shooting out eggs like there is no tomorrow, however our 1 year-old, and 2 year-old hens are not laying.

They stopped laying about 2 months ago, when I saw that they were molting.  I did some research and read that chickens will stop laying while they molt, and need the energy to produce new feathers.  And from what I read, it takes the hens about 2 months to start laying again.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sickness ~ Alias Update and Other News

It happened.  

I caught the plague that the kids have been toting around. Ugh.  I blame it on forgetting to take my vitamins with me while camping.

I am just plain miserable.  My head hurts, the bridge of my nose feels like it's being squeezed by vise-grips, and my eyes are watering uncontrollably.  I already used a box of kleenex (which I insisted on buying the kind with lotion in them).  Thank goodness I have one jar of homemade vapo-rub made.

And I know I look as bad as I feel.  Hubby took one look at me and said, "you look like h*#!!"

He told me, "go back to bed" and that wasn't happening.

I had to prepare a birthday dinner (chicken alfredo and steamed broccoli) along with an apple and peach pie, get ice cream, and so forth.

Ha....go back to bed?  

Not happening. 

However, thankfully my son was off work Monday, and was able to help me by taking Alias to the vet.  He came home and said Alias got a clean bill of health.  Yay!  He is healthy and now current on his shots.

As for an update on the second inspection of the stove piping....didn't happen.  The second company we called, never called as they stated they would, nor came out.  Hubby said, "don't call them again."

I have now called the third company, who is scheduled to come out next week.  They would be here sooner, but are swamped with calls, as it is getting colder in our area.   I'll have an update on the inspection late next week.

Today, I am paying for not "going back to bed."  I am more miserable today than yesterday, and promised my 11 year-old I would do all of the dishes (she was getting a migraine last night and the other kids went to the movies).  

I did spend some "sitting time" working on some Christmas gifts, but I can't post photos until after I gift them.  

I will be going back to bed, after the kids get on the school bus.  I'm hoping that I have a few more glasses of homemade ginger ale in the fridge too.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Fall Camping Trip

I'm excited to say, that we got another fall camping trip in this year.  Hubby and I decided to camp the first night by ourselves.  Woot!  Oh, we needed the time alone.  It was a relaxing, romantic, camping date night.  And surprisingly, I did not take my camera this time.

The second night we picked up a few stragglers - 2 kiddos. 

Although it had rained a bit, we relaxed in the camper, reading, knitting, drawing, one kiddo doing school homework, and chatting.  After the rain stopped we started up the fire, and had more fun with s'mores and such.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Camper's Mug Cozy

Remember when I was telling you all about how I stopped to crochet, right in the middle of cleaning up my messes?  Well this is the result.  One completed "project" anyway.  

I ended up not using a pattern (not all mugs are the same size as all the printed patterns are for), and made my own for these camping mugs.  I did not want to mess with sewing buttons on, so I simply single crocheted 12, double crocheted into the 3rd chain, counting that as the first chain in each row, and dc across.  I measured about 10 inches, before finishing off, then simply sewed ends together (just enough to secure a hole for the handle of the mug).  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Caramel Apple Jam

I made a batch of caramel apple jam yesterday.  The grocery store finally got in some organic granny smith apples.  I used organic ingredients, and my homemade vanilla.  Yum.  

I apologize for the poor photo.  As fall rolls in, the lighting in the house gets worse.  Here is the recipe:

Wednesday, October 16, 2013


Projects?  Pieces of work?  Tasks?  They all sound like "work" right? Ugh.  I got myself into a tizzy this week, and had to get crackin' on doing some actual completions.  Otherwise, Hubby was going to call "hoarders" and turn me in. Seriously.  I had so many "projects" going on at the same time, I literally lost track of what needed completed first.  

Monday, October 14, 2013

Prosperous Weekend

(garden before we tilled it)
The garden is getting back into shape.  We secured the pea fence again, dug out the plastic and stakes, and mowed down weeds.  We started to till it, and get it ready for next year.  We battled tons of mutant lady bugs though.  Just standing to take the photo, I ended up covered in them.  I moved back pretty far to take the photo, and even then, you can't see all of it.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Hand Therapy

In desperation to give my hands some relief, I bought a paraffin wax hand therapy machine.  My 16 year-old is also battling sore hands from hand milking goats, so I felt it was a good investment.

We immediately opened the box, read the directions, and heated the wax.  The other girls were so enthused, that they too joined in with dipping a hand.  

I had to laugh, as we all wanted to take photos, but we all had one wax covered hand in a plastic bag.  

Friday, October 11, 2013

Wood Stove Repairs ~ Spiders ~ Surprise Flowers

I stitched up a few more cards and have them up for sale now.  I hope to get more stitched before the holidays arrive.

So it was bound to happen.  Stove pipe repairs (or not).  The chimney sweep was finished, and handed me a paper with a quote for new piping.  Wanna know how much?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Are you getting what you paid for?

Back in the spring, I ordered meat chickens.  I specifically ordered pullets.  One particular chick was picked on by the rest, and we brought her back inside with the layer chicks.  They layer chicks mothered her, and she slowly recovered.

We decided to keep her for a layer, as this breed was a dual breed of chicken.  We thought we could use the extra eggs.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Homemade "Lime-Away"

I wanted to share, that I have made and used the homemade "lime-away" recipe that Nancy shared over at A Rural Farm.  Thank you Candy for telling me about it.  It's awesome.  There are three simple ingredients - vinegar, lemon juice and dish detergent.  We have well-water, and even though we have a salt softener tank, we get build up.

The kids are responsible for one bathroom, and I the other.  My shower is tile, and my homemade tile/grout cleaner does the job very well.  However, over in the other bathroom, the shower is a stand-up version, and a cheap one at that.

I sprayed it down, and cleared a spot clean.  I waited for the kids to come home and showed them.  The response?

"That really comes off?" 


"Yes kids, that really comes off." 

Now they have no excuses.

Fill a spray bottle half-full with white vinegar; add 1/4 cup lemon juice, then fill the bottle the rest of the way with dish detergent.  Shake well then spray on and leave for about 30 minutes, then wipe off.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Preparing for Winter

Alias is enjoying the outdoors, and I think he has more energy than the other two dogs.

The house is a mess today (go figure), and the chimney sweep is coming this week.  I'm about a month late in getting it taken care of.  The kids will be working overtime to get this place "ship shape" today.  I like my kitchen "company ready" when I get up in the morning, and I have not been successful at getting the kids on board with this.  Where there's a will, there is a way, so I'm not giving up yet.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Family Fun Weekend

Hubby had the entire weekend off.  Yay!  However, the rain kept us from going camping.  Our 11 year-old was very energetic, and in between bouts of rain, had fun with backyard archery. She worked her dad hard with a game of basketball too.  Sunday we took the family bowling.  We were geared up for some old fashioned family fun.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Alias ~ Life on the Homestead

This is Alias's favorite spot to sleep and relax.  You can find him here most of the day and night.

He's less anxious now, and starting to get the commands for "potty" walks.  He's developing a way to signal us when he needs to go out too.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Homemade Mexican Taco Seasoning Mix

I've been busy in my kitchen these past few days.  The rainy days here, have simply motivated me to bake, mix, and shake it up a little. 

I am finally at a point in our self-sufficiency stride, where all of my homemade goods (and home grown) are coming together in all of my recipes.

Homemade Mexican Taco Mix is made using home grown oregano, onions, and garlic.  I can then use the seasoning mix for all sorts of recipes, such as my salsa dip (using home canned salsa too).

Friday, October 4, 2013

Dream It ~ Embrace It ~ Do It

While sipping hot coffee, in my island coffee mug, I sat and looked through the photos we took from our weekend getaway.  Oh, I miss the gorgeous sunrises, the relaxing sounds of the waves, and the unique place(s) we sat and enjoying time with each other (and nature).  

I'm wondering if I can squeeze another camping trip in this fall.  Hubby is back to working every day with major over time, so we hardly see each other already.  We are having what I call a "voice mail" week.  I leave him a voice mail, he leaves me one.  Sometimes we actually get to talk to each other.  On the phone that is.  Okay, I'm getting a bit off track with this post, but let me get to the point.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Mollie Dorsey Sanford ~ Random Updates

I used our library's free interloan program to borrow this book from another library.  It's wonderful!  If you liked Letters from a Woman Homesteader, then you most likely will enjoy this book.

It is not full of letters, but journal entries from Mollie Dorsey Sanford, from 1857-1866, while she and her family moved from Indiana to Nebraska and Colorado Territories.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Baked Egg Puffs ~ Using Baby Food

A blog follower told me about a recipe where baby food was used for the pureed squash, in a recipe.  So, curious for more recipes, I borrowed the book from the local library - Deceptively Delicious, by Jessica Seinfeld.

If you freeze your squash, pumpkin, beets, carrots, cauliflower, or any other vegetable, you may like this cookbook.  Almost every recipe includes some type of pureed vegetable (or fruit) in it.  Not specifically baby food, just pureed.

However, I did take up the challenge to try out a recipe using baby food - pureed squash.  I needed the jars anyway, so why not? 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fall has Arrived

The leaves on our maple trees have started to turn a beautiful orange.  This coming weekend would be a opportune time to go hiking, collect leaves, and enjoy nature (in our area).  I'm betting the canoes will be out (for the last time) at the state park too.  Laundry dried on the line, this time of year, smells so good.