Thursday, September 30, 2010

what in the world?

Have you ever had one of those days where you were asking yourself "What in the world?" as the day progressed? That was me, yesterday. Here's why.
First, our carrots. What's up with them this year? I picked about 10 yesterday and over half of them weighed more than 1 pound.....each.Seriously? How do carrots get this big? In a normal sense, I mean. This seed was just planted in May, it's not as if the carrots have been in the ground for a year!Next, green beans. I swear that I packed all the jars the same and yet one came out looking like this. As if some little critter got into the jar in the pressure canner, drank half the water and ate about 1/4 of the green beans. How did that happen?Finally, eggs. More specifically turkey eggs. How many do they lay? I read somewhere, I thought, that a turkey may only lay one egg in their lifetime. Really? Is that true? Well, we got one yesterday. It's the egg in the middle. Has anyone ever eaten a turkey egg? I'd suppose they are about the same as chicken eggs. For some reason though I have this idea that I'll crack it open and something hideous will be lurking inside. Kinda scary.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

so, so overdue

Amy over at Homestead Revival was kind enough to ask me to be the homestead of the month, for September, in her monthly Homestead Tour series. I was delighted to participate!
I should have linked this interview last week when it was posted but I'm running behind. No big surprise there.

I am really excited about this series! In August, for Amy's first homestead in the monthly series, she featured Thy Hand Hath Provided. It was fabulous. How fun to see other people's homesteads, learn how they are using their space and get ideas from the practices they employ.

Amy really has a great blog going. Her mission is, "a challenge for readers to get back to the basics of living closer to the land, family, and community; to encourage women to joyfully embrace being a keeper of the home; and to educate the next generation of homesteaders!" If you haven't already been over to visit, don't delay!
Amy also has a forum going on BlogFrog; an additional resource for homesteaders to get together and learn from each other!
Thanks so much Amy for the feature, I had so much fun doing it!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

packin' that freezer

Today is my first day off. I've been cutting up meat for 3 days now and I'm so glad it's done! Gavin arrived home Thursday morning at about 12:15am with 3 bucks in coolers. Hunting was good and we are so thankful. My feet aren't very thankful after standing in the kitchen for 3 days in a row for hours on end but my tummy and our pocketbook will be thankful this winter!
We cut up back strap and steaks, made roasts, ground venison with some pig fat, and canned up even more.
We hunt Blacktail where we live so the deer are relatively small, in comparison to some Whitetail and Mule deer. Yummy none the less though! Gavin and his brother pack into the Trinity Alps every September just before opening weekend.
Camp was right on the outskirts of a meadow- perfect for the horses.

Packin' out a couple bucks.

This was their bed. Glad I missed this hunting trip- it poured rain for the first 2 days. I was happy to be sleeping inside, in a nice warm bed . Gavin told me last night that there were constantly centipedes and spiders in their bedrolls. That just gives me the heebie-jeebies.

From the talk around town, it seems as though this season is better than most. Even locally people are getting bucks left and right!

Does your family hunt? What do you hunt for? Is your season over or just beginning?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What to wear?

Clothes. They make the man.
Well, actually, no they don’t. That’s the sad reality to the way our society leans now a days (along with all the other materialistic items that are must haves.) If you don’t have the “right” clothes, you’re just not cool. Other people will know how uncool you are. And what will they think? *Gasp* Dress for the world and you'll be all right. Make sure "they" all think you're cool.
How about what God thinks? I’ve had a few people ask me about the way I dress. “Do you always wear skirts?” “What’s with the bandanna thing on your head?” and the Lord has laid it on my heart to share with all of you.
Let’s start at the beginning. As a teenage girl I didn’t particularly like wearing dresses or skirts. I liked wearing jeans. I liked looking as though “I could hold my own” because I was always confident that I could and I wanted folks to know it. I grew up with a mom a dad and a brother and I spent most of my time playing Lego's and GI Joes with my brother and watching things like NASCAR and Monday Night Football with my dad. I wasn’t a sissy and sissies wore dresses. Part of that stemmed from the male influence and part of it came from my "Cowgirls don't cry" mentality. Don’t get me wrong, I did have dolls and ponies and I loved being a “mama” to them but that didn’t mean that I had to be a prissy one. I didn’t want people thinking I was a wimp.
As I’ve grown up though God has really opened my heart to what being a woman is all about and what a belssing it is to be a daughter of the King! Wearing skirts and dresses isn’t about being a sissy. It’s not about being a wimp and it doesn’t make me any less “tough.” The Lord has shown me how I can fully embrace my femininity! I love the feminine feeling of wearing skirts, pretty floral blouses and other frilly things. While I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with wearing jeans or other pants, I simply choose not to. I still own pants. They are in my dresser drawer and if an occasion called for wearing them, I would.
I don’t look down on those who choose to dress differently than I do (in a modest way) and neither does God. I’ve heard the scripture in Deuteronomy 22:5 “ A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this” used in reasoning why women should wear dresses and skirts exclusively. But for those who are born again, in Christ and have been freed from the old laws, that verse doesn’t hold ground anymore. Unless you’re also adding 4 tassels to all of your cloak corners and building parapets on the roofs of your homes as well.
I do believe however that God does strongly desire for a woman to look like a woman and a man to look like a man. But there are many ways for a woman to still look like a female in pants. I’m of the opinion that your entire appearance should be that of a woman (or a man, depending on your gender.) While wearing a dress or skirt would determine without a doubt that you are a woman, there are still plenty of clothes that you can look feminine in. Along with looking feminine, we should also strive to always be modest. Wearing shirts or blouses that are high cut, not low cut. Pants that fit loosely, not skin tight. Skirts that come below the knee, not above it. And please, undergarments hidden at all times. Trust me, no one wants to see any of that! It’s not sexy, it’s just gross.
I’ve tried to do quite a bit of research regarding head coverings. I talked to many Christian women, many of whom have had the conviction to research it themselves, some led to wear them and others led not to. I read version upon version of the 1 Corinthians verse in different Bibles. I read internet articles for and against wearing one and I decided that it was something that I needed to do; something that God was asking me to do. A friend recently emailed me a link to an online article and I think it described my belief on it near perfectly, “A woman has the choice to wear a head covering if she views it as a sign of her submission to the authority of her husband. However, it is a personal choice and not something that should be used to judge spirituality.” Paul writes in part of 1 Corinthians 11 that, “And every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors here head- it is just as though her head were shaved……for this reason and because of the angels, a woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head” You can read the entire text of 1 Cor 11 here. While a covering is not something that Jesus commands us to do it is simply a matter of individual personal conviction. I choose to wear one but that doesn’t mean that all my sisters in Christ must wear one too.

If you have any questions I’d be glad to chat with you. You can leave a comment here and I’ll try to answer it here as best I can or if you’d prefer you can email me at

Monday, September 20, 2010

Here's the thing...

Quilting 101 isn't quite going as planned. (Remember my post about my best laid plans not always working out?) So I've decided that instead of stressing over it every day I'm just going to extend it to the entire fall season. That way I'm not limited just to September, since it seems to be slipping away too fast. And since my last poll showed that quite a few readers are experienced quilters, I may just be preaching to the choir here. But for those of you who are wanting to learn, I'll be sharing a few easy techniques. Is there anything is particular anyone is wanting to learn more about?
I actually pulled out some rows of blocks, that I already have sewn, to try and work on this week. They just need to be sewn together, a border put on and then the top is ready for quilting. But I do have a baby quilt looming over my head like an anvil (yes, it's the one you're thinking of Mom) that I need to do as well.
Although it is supposed to be sunny today, we have had a ton of rain the past 3 days which has pretty much annihilated the garden. Mold, popped tomatoes, fallen sunflowers, you get the picture. I tried yesterday to save as much produce as I could. When I came in the house Wyatt said, "Mom, you're soaking wet!" Yes, but I had to save my produce!! How has your weather been?
Today I'll be canning tomatoes and trying to figure out something other than grilled cheese and tomato soup for dinner. Hubby is hunting and the pressure of not having to make a huge dinner is off. He'll be back soon though and I'm sure the kids will appreciate a better dinner!
So that's my quick update. Sorry for a no picture post. Those aren't much fun.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

How's about a winner? was so gracious to me tonight. Really. Before I typed in the numbers I said (in my head) "Please, oh please, give me an easy number tonight! My brain is mush and I don't think I could possibly count past 10 at the moment." Here's what it said:

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2010-09-18 08:37:12

Phew! See, there were 53 entries so that means I only need to count backwards 3 times....
Which means that the winner is.....
The Hungry Crafter, "FUn -- hope I win! :) I would love to get my hands on the punctuation pre cuts -- I've never had a charm pack before, and it sounds, well, charming :)"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

why friends are good

Friends are good for lots of things (lots and lots) but this is just one of the reasons why....

Peaches. 54 pounds of peaches. Canned the other day.

Since canning only happens, for the most part, one season a year, I often forget how much fun it is to can with a friend. Not only does it go way faster but it's a much more joyful process. We made jam, lots of jam, and we canned peaches up for savoring this winter. We talked and we laughed and we just had fun.

Today I was in the kitchen again canning up sweet pickles for my dear hubby. He loves them on tuna. (Insert gagging sound here.) Later this month we'll be canning tuna, and my entire house will be smelling like fish. Unless I break out the propane cooker standy thing- I really can't remember the proper name right now, sorry about that. I will certainly be recruiting hubby to help with all of that. Maybe even my mother-in-law too. After all, canning a bunch of stinky fish just isn't as much fun flying solo.

Do you usually can by yourself or can alone? Do you have any type of annual ritual with canning? Maybe all your family gets together to do it or you have a special friend that you always can green beans with?

Don't forget about the charm pack giveaway here! The giveaway ends on the 17th!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

An anniversary and a homestead update

September is out of control already around the homestead! It's my busiest canning month, school has started, hunting season is here, the piggies are growing bigger, the hens are laying more eggs, I'm trying to stay on top of picking green beans and our fall raspberries........
Wow! We needed a little break. So last night, and for our anniversary, Gavin and I dropped the kids off at Nana and Papa's and headed for the back hills. Literally.
A, chairs for two?
Nothing says "Anniversary Dinner" like uncured hot dogs and sprouted whole grain buns.
Just cause you wear a skirt, doesn't mean you can't shoot a rifle.
I'd like to pretend that my two shots are the ones closest to the bulls eye but they're not. I got one on the target (near the 0 on the left) and one somewhere on a tree behind....I think. It's safe to say that the rifle is shooting high and left. Adjustments are definitely needed. Or, I just need to learn to shoot better, one of the two.
The homestead baby is now 10 months old. This is now officially the oldest baby I have had without having another one on the way!

The wild honey bees are out and about loving the sunflowers!

I'm not sure where we got this tire swing. To be honest, my husband comes home with more "free stuff" than I'd like to own. This one though was a deal. He hooked it up last week and now Timber is hooked!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Quilting 101: Pre-cut Fabric*CLOSED*

It's hard to imagine but there actually are people out there that do not know what pre-cut fabric is, but there are. Charm packs, jelly rolls, honey buns, turnovers, layer cakes...........I don't know if that's making me hungry or just giving me the urge to buy more fabric.
Pre-cut fabric is the greatest thing to happen to quilting since the rotary cutter! Pre-cut squares, triangles, strips, you name it! You can whip together a quilt in no time flat. The Moda Bake Shop regularly has easy quilt projects that use pre-cut fabric, cutting down the total time you spend on making your quilt by as much as half! You can find great prices on pre-cuts on Etsy, eBay and a few select quilt shops like Green Fairy Quilts.
If you're one of those folks who have never owned a charm pack, have I got a deal for you. I'll be giving away 1 charm pack to 1 lucky winner. You'll have your choice of either 1 Punctuation Charm Pack (for the retro loving quilter) or 1 12 Days of Christmas Charm Pack (for the more modern quilter.) Both collections are fabulous in my opinion!

Here's what you can do to enter:
1. Leave a comment here for 1 entry
2. Share this giveaway on FB or Twitter for 1 entry
3. Blog about this giveaway for 1 entry
Leave a comment for each one that you chose to do!
This giveaway is open to everyone, even if you already have a huge stack on charm packs in your stash. ;)
Giveaway ends this NEXT Friday the 17th at midnight.
Happy Quilting!

One of the best giveaways EVER

No, it's not my giveaway today, I'll get to that post a little later this morning. This giveaway is being hosted over at Raising Homemakers and is for the Prairie Primer homeschool curriculum!

I would absolutely love to have this for my daughter....and my boys too!

The giveaway closes on the 17th so head over soon! While you're there, read on to some other posts on their blog, I think you'll enjoy them.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Quilting 101: Fabric

Is this time of year just super chaotic for anyone else? I barely have time to keep up with things here at the homestead let alone on my blog! This post has been on my mind though and I want to get it out there. I have a feeling this is gonna be a long one folks, because when you get a quilter talking about fabric, she can talk, and talk, and talk and talk. Seriously. If you don't make it all the way through this post, I won't blame you.

I love fabric. I mean I love fabric. Especially Moda fabric. As in, I could have our house chalked full of fabric and still not believe that I have enough. It's an addiction, I'll admit it. And really, addictions are not healthy. I won't try to pass it off as o.k. but it's the gosh honest truth. There's just something about the look and feel of good fabric; it invigorates the soul!

Where you buy your fabric doesn't matter as much as the actual quality of it. Quilt shops (whether brick and mortar or online) usually carry good quality fabrics all the time. Stores like JoAnn's, Crafters Warehouse, Hobby Lobby, etc have both good and not so good fabrics. You certainly have to be more picky. Then there's your big box store (no names mentioned) where you should only buy fabric for projects that you A. Don't want to last B. Think you may mess up a lot on so it's really more of a tester than a my skirt.
I can hear many of you saying right now, "But the good fabric is sooooooo expensive!!" and you're right, it can be. I mean $9/yard? Yikes! It's going to cost you close to $100 just in materials to make that quilt for your bed. So here's my advice for buying fabric:

1. Only buy sale fabric. Websites like have a bunch of quality fabric for way less than other places. The Fat Quarter Shop has sales on their fabrics routinely too. Search the sales section for fabrics that will work and you can end up getting great fabrics for $5/yard. I like to find the fabric that I need and then google it. I can usually always find it for a great price if I spend a little time searching. (If you have an online shop that you love, I'd appreciate you sharing a link in the comments section.)

2. Join a fabric co-op. There is one available to Etsy sellers. You can buy fabrics from retailers like Moda, Free Spirit, Kauffman, Widham, etc. at wholesale. You usually have to buy in somewhat of bulk but if we're talking about making a quilt (or two or three...) then 5 yards of fabric isn't that much.

3. Check out your local quilt shop for special sales, end of bolt deals and frequent buyer benefits.

There's nothing like getting into bed at night and pulling up, over yourself, the quilt that you made. Or, tucking your sweet children in at night with a quilt that your hands made. The thing is, if you're going to invest all the time in making a quilt then you'd better invest in good fabric. It would be a shame to have all of your hard work and time go to waste in 2 years when that quilt falls apart.

Whew, did you make it through? Tomorrow I'm going to try and cover another aspect of fabric. I think you'll like the includes a giveaway too, and that's always good!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Quilting 101: My little introduction

September is here and there is probably no better month to get into quilting. As the fall weather approaches, it turns our minds and our hearts more inward to our homes.
Quilting is the perfect cool weather hobby (once all that canning gets done!) It allows for your creative mind to wander while the rain or snow is falling outside and thoughts of the garden, yard work, trips to the river and backyards BBQ's are a thing of the past.

I'm not sure when I first fell in love with quilts and the art of quilting. My first quilt was made when I was around 9 years old. It was a doll sized quilt that I made to earn a Girl Scout (or Brownie, I can't remember which) badge while in elementary school. I took a little while away from quilting at age 9 *wink* and returned to it at around age 20. The first quilt I made was a queen sized "Square in a Square" quilt because really, I was either going to "go big or go home." A wall hanging didn't interest me in the slightest.

I was blessed at that point to have found the perfect teacher, a lady named Virginia. She was a previous employee of the 2 oral surgeons I was working for at the time in the Sacramento area. A couple of my co-workers and I would meet at Virginia's house every Tuesday night to quilt together. We'd meet, we'd chat , we'd share thoughts and burdens, we'd learn new things from each other and best of all, we'd quilt! Looking back at that now, it was probably one of the most enjoyable times of my early 20's.

If you've read the "About Me" tab on the top of my blog here you'll remember reading that I'm a huge fan of anything 1800-1900. History. US History. My absolute favorite subject in school, and one subject that I still love learning about today. Barbara Brackman has written quite a few books on the subject of history and quilts. One of the first books I owned that she penned was "Civil War Women." I read that book cover to cover so many times. What a delight to read about the women of yesteryear making quilts simply with scraps of fabric, a needle and thread. There is something so uncomplicated about it, something so peaceful.
While today I use my machine and am thankful for it, quilting still tugs at my history heart strings each time I make a new quilt.
And the good news is that quilting is easy! I've always said, "If you can stitch a straight line, you can quilt." While there are quilts that are more complicated, there are thousands that simply require a straight stitch that's available on your home sewing machine. You can make beautiful quilts with a little determination and some dedicated time.

I know that quite a few of my followers are already quilters but I hope this month to be able to inspire both new and old quilter alike. Please follow along this September as we look at, the very special, art of quilting!

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