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, November 30, 2017

This and That ~ Randomness

Someone, I'm not saying who, forgot to stoke the fire last night.  I got the chance to clean the ashes and restart it early this morning.  It's not too bad out - high of 50°F today with some rain in the late morning.  Lows are down to 20's.  Forecasts have predicted possible snow, but so far zero.  Towels dried great outside yesterday.  I wanted to get a dose of sunshine, and those stinkin' hunters were out back all day long.  Grr.  Either they have really bad aim, or they are shooting several herds of deer.  I'm guessing bad aim.

We are warned by the news about deer disease again.  It was a problem last year too.  I'm not sure I'd want to be eating one around here.

My jar of calendula oil and four thieves vinegar were ready to be strained.  Now I can use both.   Actually, I'm the first to try the vinegar.  I have a slight sore throat, and slightly swollen lymph nodes.  Two Tbsp. already went down the hatch.  It tastes like garlic.  I'll also be drinking hot ginger tea this afternoon.

I also got my chickweed tincture property bottled (amber bottle with a dropper) and labeled.

I need two more oils made, but those are going on the "after the craft show" to-do list.

Boot cuffs are getting made now.  I have two styles (two colors) so far, but I'm collecting free patterns for next year's Farmer's Market and winter shows.

I got my "door prize" finished for the craft show as well.  Red mug, with red/white and blue cozy and coaster.  One lucky person will receive this.  Each vendor is asked to donate one at a value of $15.00. 

I'm still plugging away at the 4th scarf.  I have been crocheting like a mad woman and forgot to thaw the fish, soak my beans, and a few other things yesterday.  I had to put it down, back away from it (ha ha!) and get some things done.  

I literally, have so much I can be doing, that I wrote out a list and it's called the "After Craft Show" to-do list.  I'm not joking.  I need to get the scarf finished, and a few more things to be ready for Saturday, then after that, I can jump back on the to-do list. Not to mention, start another scarf for our youngest daughter's birthday next month.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Herbal Book ~ Tidbits ~ Boring Stuff

I borrowed this book from the library.  I found a few good recipes to try.  I'll have to wait for spring and summer for a few of them though.  Just sharing in case you haven't seen this book. It's a beginner book, but I have not made a balm with chickweed and plantain yet.  That is first on the list.  I have chickweed salve that I purchased, and I LOVE it.  I hope it doesn't turn out to be a rock hard "balm."

 (Russian Giant - what a mess!)

Tuesday, I took some time in our 65°F (and sunshine all day) warm up, and weeded the garlic.  About 90% of it anyway. We've had lots of rain, and with the lack of snow cover, it's full of thistle already.  I found five of the giant bulbs rotten.  I replanted, but it may be too late.  The ground is very very wet, so I'm hoping the sun and heat dried it up a bit.  I also replanted the Creole variety - about 9-10 didn't come up.  Not sure yet on the last variety.  I'll check after next week.

And guess what's arriving tomorrow?  More rain. Today's high is 47°F.

I am going to wait until shotgun week has ended to finish the weeding.  When I heard the first shot I saw trees move not far from me.  I'm pretty sure I know who is shooting out in the woods, and they are not safe people.  I went in until Hubby got home.  Got myself a good dose (double dose) of vitamin D, then a dose of iron.   

You bet we went on a motorcycle ride.  I so much enjoyed seeing the beautiful Christmas lights on a motorcycle ride in late November.  I smiled all the way home.

I spent one day, up until noon, getting my last minute health insurance points.  Oye, what a mess of hoops we have to jump to keep our current cost the same!  I could have worked on barn wood, cleaned inside, canned, but the points have to be in before the end of December (and once you complete a "course" they can take up to 15 days to add to your account).  This meant watching several, hour long videos on financial tips, and health stuff.


I'm glad that job is done for this year. I got a set of boot cuffs made while waiting for the videos to end.   (Yawn)  You can't just walk away and let it play either.  They spontaneously stop the slide show and give you quizzes.  

Although I think we are overdue for some snow, I am enjoying hanging my laundry out in sun and wind and warmer weather.  I thought you'd enjoy a funny photo, because I haven't taught myself to knit socks yet, you get to see just a few pairs of my Christmas socks (ha ha ha!).

Monday, November 27, 2017

Last Bottle of Homemade Pear Wine

The last pear wine update was posted here (November 9, 2016).  We had some wonderful taste tests, and eventually bottled it.  However, the bottles with corks popped some tops, and turned pink.  

We didn't have enough bottles with screw caps, so much went bad.  However, to our delight, we kept one screw cap bottle.  

We popped it open last night.  It was very good, but too much carbonation in it.  More like a high alcohol champagne, ha ha!

We are so excited that we've learned so much already, and next time we will have another carboy and we'll let it sit longer with the bubble airlock on it.  

We were so happy to enjoy that one single bottle, and now we are prepared to do any fruit wine.  Peach, cherry, any berry, grape, plum, apple....I may need more fruit trees, ha ha!

We now have a supply of empty screw cap wine bottles too (thanks to my wine drinking friends and family).  Many wine companies and changing over to screw tops due to the cost of corks.  

I thought you'd enjoy this update, as we travel through our homesteading and self sufficiency adventures.  I'm not sure what's on the schedule today yet.  It all depends on the weather.

Last night I had to put a buff orpington in the emergency coop.  She's loosing many feathers from molting and the other hens are pecking at her backside.  I have one chicken saddle, but they hate to wear it.  And the other hens will attack who ever is wearing it, so hence we just separated her until she's got her feathers back.

In preparation for the upcoming craft sale, I finished another slouchy hat, another mug/cozy/coaster set, sewed in the ends of other projects, and have 3 completed double wrap infinity scarves (with another in the making).  If I have time, I may whip up a few ornaments.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Load of Wood ~ Freezing Ginger

It was time to cut more wood.   We cut up rafter boards, a few beams and about half of the pile of short boards I pulled nails from.   We put another dent into cleaning up the barn mess, and the wood turned into a blessing for us.  

I was a few days late for this step, but the garlic was drained, half the liquid saved for salads, and the remainder heated with honey and poured back over the garlic. It will sit another 3-4 weeks.

The weather was heating up to the low 50's, and sunny.  Beautiful sunshine.   In fact, it was so beautiful, that we later took off on a motorcycle ride.  We passed about 5-6 other die hard riders Friday too.  

Saturday, it was the OSU-Michigan game, so we didn't get anything done.  It was also a day for a get together with my side of the family.   

I froze fresh organic ginger for winter for the first time.  I have dehydrated some in the past, but from what I have read, frozen will taste better.  I don't want to be home in a snow storm, and not have any.  Or have a sick kiddo and need it.  I simply wrapped it up with peeling on and will just peel as needed.  I will be stocking up more when it's on sale again.  It's organic too.

Guess what???

Poof!  After almost a year of not laying one single egg, the two of the three araucanas are laying again.  I was seriously about to drive them the one hour drive where they'd become stew meat  But alas they have proven their right to stay.  And some of the barred rocks and buff orpingtons are laying again too.  During the last two weeks or so, we were getting one egg a day.  I told Hubby the araucanas must be "Christmas" chickens.  It seems to be the only time of year they lay us eggs.

Last night we got home when it was getting dark out, so we plan to unload the wood today, but also have plans to cut another load.  We have a long to-do list, so I'm thinking we'll be spreading it out over the next week.  

Saturday, November 25, 2017

A Hammer and a Pile of Wood

Here is where I (re)started - the pile of wood left from tearing apart the roofing of the barn.  The long boards were put to good use - a co-worker of Hubby's that makes furniture with it.  The shorter boards remain in this somewhat of a huge pile.  I've worked on it a few days, but didn't bring much up to the house.  While Hubby is at work, and on good weather days. . .

 Nails got pulled.   And they are not easy to get out either.  Some are so mangled it takes great effort.

Added to the existing pile until we can cut them to fit the stove.  My wrist was sore, so I took a break.  

....putting a dent in it.  

Friday, November 24, 2017

Best Thanksgiving Ever

I am ever so grateful for my health, my family's health, and well being.

Guess what I did the day before Thanksgiving?

Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Literally.  Other than getting up at the crack of dawn (5am) and making breakfast, I pampered myself all day (aside from animal chores).

Thanksgiving day?  Ha!  I was up sipping coffee, enjoying the sunrise, while Hubby made us omelets.  Then we took a drive to visit Hubby's family before we enjoyed our own Thanksgiving.   

We ate out.  Yes, can you believe it?!  There is a nice restaurant (about an hour away) famous for their Thanksgiving dinner, and reservations are required.  I'll admit, it was not the same as homemade, but pretty close.  We met up with one daughter, another had to work.

After the meal, the girls all jumped in their sister's new car at the restaurant and carpooled to go "Black Friday" shopping.

Hubby said he saw a huge change in my mood. He was telling everyone later that I was up singing and dancing and dressing up.  I was too.

Best Thanksgiving ever, because Hubby sang to me in the car.  He serenaded me all the way home.  

Total bliss.  

I'm up to stoke the fire, and let Hubby sleep in, but we may not need a fire today.  The weather is warming up a bit today. Yay!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your Thanksgiving be relaxing, peaceful, fun, and safe!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Canning, Bourbon and Crochet ~ Cherry Bourbon BBQ Sauce

Tuesday started out just gorgeous.  Caught these photos after seeing it going out to fetch firewood.  Just makes a person smile.  

BBQ pork chops went into crock pot yesterday.  We had leftover wild rice, and it was a perfect match.  The sauce is home canned, with added fresh onion, green pepper etc.  Yum.  Recipe is in the cookbook, "Fix it and Forget it."  Although I think it's called "Spicy" not BBQ in the book.

Now if you just read the blogpost title and wondered (hiccup) if I indulged (hiccup) in that bourbon or (hiccup) not .  .  . 

 . . . Cherry-Bourbon BBQ Sauce was canned. Recipe is a "pile to file" keeper recipe.  I've had this on my list for over a year now.  It's from "The All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving @ 2016."   And you bet I tasted it right away.  Yum!    I would recommend it for gift giving for any occasion too.  You can use it on meat, fish, rice or other grain, on burgers, in other recipes...endless ideas.

I couldn't get my towels out on the line until noon, but the high winds dried it spankin' fast.  The sun was out too. 

Yesterday's snack?  Pumpkin hummus.  Mmmm.

It was also a day to blanch and freeze 3 bundles of organic dandelion greens, pick some more kale, and bring in one egg from my free loaders.  The kale is in this morning's breakfast.  I'm thankful it's still producing.

I got up extra early this morning, to make a fresh hot breakfast (not a reheated one Hubby usually takes to work).  Why?  Well, ha ha!  Oh boy.  I watched him walk out the door with pancakes on a plate with syrup and a fork.  There was no stopping him either.  It could have been bad with him driving and eating pancakes to work.  He arrived safely and on time, but today he'll not get away with do that.  

I'm making omelets - onion, red pepper, potatoes, ham and kale.  Gotta get them greens ya' know.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Teabag Tidbits

Well, I knocked Monday off the week with a bang - bills paid, recipes filed back where they need to be, one tossed out, groceries done, library returns done, some wood work cleaned, laundry done (it dried in 20 degree weather because it was very windy), and a crock pot dinner. 

I had plans to can on Monday.  Ha ha ha ha!  Yeah, didn't happen.  Bill paying hasn't been fun lately, so it was either chamomile tea or a shot of whiskey.  Not to alarm the kids, I drank the tea. 

Short post today. Enjoy your Tuesday.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Happy Homemaker Monday

I'm joining Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom, for Happy Homemaker Monday.  How happy is your Monday today?  Well, school break started today.  That makes me happy.  I have company and help.  I used my photo of the flourless brownies to remind myself we are due to have them again.  I have more homemade whiskey butterscotch sauce to use, and it's perfectly paired with them.  It's also good drizzled over a coffee cake too, so that may be on the menu too.

On the breakfast plate. . . 

 Coffee, burrito with egg, potato, sausage, beans and cowboy candy.

Right now I am. . .
Sorting bills.  

The weather outside. . .
Cold but sunny.

Looking around the house. . . 
I see we really need to get the Christmas totes put back in the garage.  That way I can get around the living room much easier, and get back to exercise again.  The house is looking very festive however.

On the to-do list. . .
-clean kitchen window woodwork
-clean more woodwork in bedroom
-clean up and put away Christmas totes
-scrub the tub
-pay bills
-library returns and pick ups
-crack more walnuts
-scrub dog bowls
-work on barn wood
-bring in firewood

On the menu this week . . .

Sunday: Meatballs with home canned pepper mustard sauce wild rice, and corn
Monday:  Sweet potato Chili
Tuesday:  BBQ pork chops, brown rice or quinoa, green beans
Wednesday:  Chicken Teriyaki
Friday:  Cod, spinach, garlic mashed potatoes
Saturday:  Leftovers

If I have a minute to myself today I will . . .
Work on the scarves for the upcoming craft sale.

New recipe I want to try or tried. . .
 New roll recipes.  Just need to get some time to try them. Oh, and chocolate marshmallows, and a few others.

Looking forward to this week . . .
Skipping Thanksgiving!!!!!!  No baking, no cooking, no rushing around, no dirty dishes to wash!!!  Woohoo!  I am very much looking forward to getting past the entire week healthy!!!  I'm still in the spirit, and may even be able to visit some family, but so less stressed this year.

Favorite photo from the camera. . .

Devotional, Scripture, Key Verses, Quotes . . .
 Image result for Be thankful meme

First Snow

As Hubby made my breakfast, I glanced out the window and said, "it's snowing!"  He didn't believe it either, but the kids came downstairs and told me it was actually snowing for three hours Saturday night.   Our first snow.

Our pouring down rain on Saturday turned to snow by late evening.  It snowed most of Sunday, and it was cold.  Nothing on the ground this morning though, but a chilly 28° F here.

The pears are disappearing again.  I rolled out  a pie crust.

Look who was "eye-spying" that pie crust too!  Ha ha!

While the guys (we had help arrive) worked on replacing the two year old wheel bearing, I baked another pear gingersnap pie.  They were drooling over it and couldn't wait to cut a piece.  

While the guys worked outside in the bitter cold, I worked on some crochet work until the pie was done.  Meatballs went in for dinner right after that.

Hubby's nephew had his first piece of pear pie, and he asked if I sold them, ha ha!  I sadly told him no, and that there were no more pears, but a few (aside from what I froze).  I'm sure he enjoyed his piece slathered with homemade whiskey butterscotch sauce.

I would have slept in a bit more this morning, had I known that school break started.  I went to get Youngest up, and she told me in a groggy voice, "on break Mom." 

 Look what we were gifted!  Cute, right?   Well, I may join the Happy Homemaker post today later.  I guess we'll see. I am glad I have helpers today, and the remainder of the week too.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Rain, rain, and more rain

I'm posting without any photos for the first time in a long time.  It rained the entire day yesterday.  All day long, dark, dreary, and the type of weather you'd want to curl up with a book or crochet.

We ran errands.  It was miserable driving weather, but we did.  I was upset, only because we were rushed for time, I forgot to grab my crochet work. 

We had a 1 hour drive to get to the bank we needed to get to, and I forgot my stinkin' crochet.  I was beside myself.  Wasted that time, but enjoyed talking with Hubby.  He thought it was funny I was so flabbergasted I had nothing in my hands. 

We accomplished our stops, and I came home without my new circular knitting needles.  I'll have to drive in another direction, on another day to search for them.  I needed a US size 15, and they only had up to 11. I will have to find a Jo-Ann Fabrics to find them I think.  Our store in the "big city" closed years ago.  Nothing is easy to get to when you live in the boonies.

We returned home and had this crazy idea we'd go dancing.  The band Hubby hired for my surprise birthday was in town, but not playing until 9pm.

We crawled in bed and took a nap to prepare.

Or so we though we were preparing, ha ha!  I had ideas for what to wear, and we were both excited. 

Until we lost our excitement and decided to eat dinner in bed, watch netflix and turn in early, ha ha ha ha!

I'll regret not going dancing, but I'm sure they will play again in our area.   

We are now both well rested folks, and I'm feeling much much better, so sleeping in and napping yesterday helped.  It's very wet out, so we are limited to outdoor work, but Hubby has truck repairs that he never got to yesterday.  I am not sure what today will entail, but the fact we are healthy, and rested is a bonus.

Adding to Hubby's to-do list, is fix my Grandma's Christmas tree.  The ceramic one.  The cord needs replaced.  The original cord has been on it since I was a kid.  We'll be taking at least a look at it and deciding if we can even replace it.  I'm not even sure we can still purchase the light bulbs for it anymore.  I guess we'll be finding out. 

Fields are flooded today, and we went from a 58° day to a 37° morning.  I'm sure I'll be sloshing through wetness to get to the barn today.  Or rowing out there in the boat, ha ha!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A Peek at One Christmas Tree

I really need another tree for all the handmade ornaments I have. They are either made by me (80%), my grandmother, or my kids.  This one, I made.  I purchased a pattern from Etsy a few years back, and sold them at the Farmer's market.  They were well loved.  I should make some more if I have time.  Many of these ornaments have been shared on my blog before too.

Candy cane crocheted by my one Grandma.  She also crocheted us tree ornament stockings.  I haven't found mine yet in the box.

Only one of these were made (by me).  Our library closed, and we had to drive to the "big city" to another library.  I went home with a ton of Christmas books, and found the pattern to make this guy.  I have yet to find the same book (should have written it down).  I just love it.  Made from a wooden clothespin.

A drum, created from half of a toilet paper roll.  The drum sticks are toothpicks with tiny pom poms glued to them.  I made enough of these one year for an entire elementary class.

I loved participating in my kids Christmas parties when they were in elementary school.  Each year I tried to rotate the holiday's so each kid was spoiled with the Christmas one.  I would make an handmade ornament (with great detail), and wrap each one for each student.  Of course there were goodie bags and a homemade snack too.  Oh those were the good ol' days.  Some classes had up to 30 students too.

Those are the only ones I took photos of this year, but if I take more I'll share more.  Just for nostalgic reasons, I may drive up to the "big city" some day and check out the Christmas book selection.  I miss that.  I do miss making the ornaments too.

Each Christmas I'd make one for each family member.  When Mom downsized her tree, she gave away all of my ornaments.  Sort of made me sad.  So, I stopped doing it.  I also got the hint that another had enough.  Again, it depressed my Christmas spirit.  However, I now want to make more for the kids that have moved out, and will have a tree of their own (one already does).

Thanks for listening to my Christmas tree ornament ramble.  It brought back a lot of good memories.  I'll leave you with a photo of one of  six snowmen.  My Aunt gifted them to me before she passed away.  They now decorate the house, in various places, leaving smiles along the way.

It's a full blown rainy day here today.  I slept in until almost 9am.  It felt great too.  Breakfast was made yesterday, so I don't have to even do that today - blueberry, wholewheat pancakes, and sausage.  And coffee of course.  I'm feeling better, but guess who has the sniffles?  Hubby.  He is working to hard, so I hope he takes it easy today.   He has repair work to do on the truck, and we can split wood under the barn roof, but it's easy-does-it for him today.

Friday, November 17, 2017

How to Make a Sore Throat Tea and Tidbits

I woke to a sore throat (a few days back), and found I was completely out of marshmallow root, so I threw together the following ingredients for a "sore throat" tea.  

I am simply sharing my experience with this tea.  Please keep in mind that all herbs/roots etc. may have side effects, and some may interfere with some medications.  There are many books and internet sites for you to research the benefits as well as the side effects.  Please research before trying anything.  I have a disclaimer on my blog (I am not a doctor).  I am sharing what worked for me.  Marshmallow root has been used for years for sore throats.  In the past, I have also made a tea with sage, peppermint, ginger, or mullein.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Christmas ~ Pears ~ Sunrise

I've been planning our Christmas meal for here lately.  One daughter (maybe two) has to work on Christmas day.  We've decided to have our meal on Christmas Eve, so I've been enjoying the planning.   So far that's the plan.  It may change again.

The holidays are definitely different this year, and we are very happy regardless of the changes this year.  

I had to go and search for the homemade vanilla extract recipe.  I used the recipe found "here" at Michelle's Little Piece of Heaven blogspot, and purchased the vanilla beans from the source she recommended.  I've been making it since 2013, and have never purchased vanilla in stores (organic is outrageously priced).

I spent the day peeling and slicing pears.  Some of them.  I am weighing out the amount for a pear pie, and freezing them in portions.  You can also put parchment paper in an empty pie dish, fill the dish with pears, freeze them, slide them out into a container or bag.  I just sliced and froze according to the instructions. I won't be freezing any for butters, as I have enough already in the freezer (and pantry).  Hubby is now thankful for the pear trees and the pears we got.   I won't have enough to can, but maybe in a few years I will.

The pears have not all left the table just yet.  I have more to tackle yet.

Homemade yogurt finally made it's way to the dehydrator.  I use this for my snack, breakfast, sauces, in my mashed potatoes and other baking recipes. 

I literally spent my entire day in sweatpants and slippers yesterday.  I also spent it wiping 8 paws off several times.  The rain wasn't a downpour, but it was all day and into the night. 

It's a wet, balmy 38°F and a high of 40 today.  You should have seen yesterday's sunrise before the rain.  Here I'll give you a glimpse. . .

Beautiful I tell ya'!  It remained a bright pink until sunrise.  Just a beautiful way to start the morning.  I had to get wood and took my time at it.  Today's is totally gray out there.

Today, I'm downing mullein tincture and rubbing homemade vapo-rub (with added eucalyptus oil in it) all over my chest and neck.  No worries, I spent the previous day downing a homemade sore throat tea I put together, and it worked.  I am starving this morning, so I'm off to exercise (don't worry, not over-doing it), and then to the kitchen.  I'm thinking pancakes and sausage or bacon.  Or saving the bacon for another dinner I have in mind.  There I go rambling again.

The dogs are upstairs driving Youngest mad.  I (gulp) let them go up and help her get out of bed on time, ha ha!  "Grad" daughter barreled out the door early afternoon to sleep at another friend's house (again), with an "I'm 18 and I can do what I want" attitude.  I'm on dog duty bright and early.  Motherhood can sometimes suck be difficult.

I'm hoping we get a glimpse of sunlight today.  I'm gonna need it.