Friday, April 29, 2011

pig barn tour

Here's a little video I did this morning, between the rain showers, of our pig barn. My husband built this about a year ago.

One thing that I forgot to add in the video was that we made the floor out of wood instead of cement. I believe that most folks use cement because it is much easier to clean. We have an abundance of lumber here though (hubby being in the tree business and all) so it was NOT cost effective for us to pour a cement slab.
Also, the window in the barn was recycled. A contractor friend of Gavin's had a bunch of windows that he had removed from homes that were just up for grabs!
We're hoping that by raising hogs now from May-September that we won't be dealing with the amount of mud that we had to by raising them last fall and into winter.

Hope that you enjoy the video!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

the experiment

With the wet weather that we continue to have (although the weather man does seem to be promising sunshine, after today's rain, for over a week) I decided to start my green beans indoors this year.

I normally don't start anything indoors. I just plant my seeds into the garden directly. Last year taught me a lesson though. I re-planted my pole beans 3 times thanks to slugs. We'll be adding 2 ducks to the homestead this weekend so hopefully that will help with the slime predators.

I'm not taking any chances this year and so I planted about 40 pole beans the other day. I don't have any creative set up for starting seeds indoors (like a UV light) and we hardly have room to place the little flats but starting them indoors may mean the difference in canning 50 Qts of green beans or 6.

Here's what I came up with....

Seeds like sunshine so I placed them on the kitchen counter somewhat near the window (which is about the most sun we're going to get in this house unless the seeds were in a bedroom.) Then I placed a heating pad underneath the flat to warm up the soil. I read that warm soil is what keeps the seedlings from growing tall and spindly.

I'm not sure that this really is going to work but it is worth experimenting with and everything I used, we already owned. It didn't cost a dime.

I'll let you know how it all turns out!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Simple Woman's Daybook- Wk 2

It's Tuesday again! Where did the last week go? Here we go again with a daybook entry.
Outside my window...the sun is coming up. Wow- I had the same weather as last Tuesday. SUN! The angels are singing! The grass is green and all is quiet.

I am thankful parents. They are here visiting right now!

I am remembering...Layton as a baby and trying to remember each and every day that my kids being "kids" is just a quick moment in time- savor it!

On my dentist appointment this morning.

From the learning rooms...that patterns aren't as intimidating to sew if you just START the sewing.

From the kitchen...peasant bread and baked salmon for dinner.

I am wearing...truthfully? Um, I'm still in my nightgown. As soon as I get dressed? A skirt and a top.

I am creating...dresses for Timber! Oh, and I did start working on the apron I mentioned last week. Plus, I'll have to figure something out for Layton because he keeps asking me to sew something for him!

I am going...the dentist (as mentioned above) and then to Freddy's (also known as Fred Meyer.)
I am reading...Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World and to the kids, lots of My First Little House Books.

I am hoping...that I can have the patience that the Lord asks me to have.

I am hearing...Layton and Timber sharing their Lego creations with Grandpa.

Around the kitchen is amazingly clean (thanks to my mom) and I'm thinking of purging some more stuff.

One of my favorite things...squeezing and kissing my children all day!

A few plans for the rest of the week...spending some time cleaning an elderly neighbors home, starting my pole beans indoors, waging war on slugs, getting back into meal planning, possibly getting 2 more piggies, and looking at a piece of property that just came up for sale

Here is a picture thought I am sharing... Words aren't necessary here.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The Easter Dress and Colored Eggs

Just before Easter I realized that Timber didn't have an Easter dress. I had actually thought about it a few weeks ago and decided that one of her regular dresses would do just fine and that she didn't need anything new. Then I changed my mind. I sewed this dress up last Thursday.
The dress is from this pattern.

The dress went together quickly and was easy to sew. I have found that I really enjoy sewing clothes. It's not like quilting. While cutting fabric for quilting you don't even want to be 1/8" off otherwise your points don't line up and your blocks are off. While I'm not suggesting that cutting clothes is just a bunch of hap-hazard cutting, it doesn't seem to need to be as precise. It seems more stress free!

We had a great Easter. I hope that yours was enjoyed!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jesus Paid It All

I hear the Savior say
Thy strength indeed is small
Child of and pray
Find in me....thine all in all

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin hath left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone
Can change the leper's spots
And melt the heart of stone

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin hath left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

And when before thy throne
I stand in Him complete
Jesus died my soul to save
My lips shall still repeat

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin hath left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

Thank you Lord, not only for taking my sin upon yourself, but for proving that death has no hold. May your Easter today be blessed as we celebrate the resurrection of the King!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

a little homemade skirt

I tried this simple, modest skirt tutorial last night for Timber. It went together really, really fast and would be a perfect skirt to sew for your daughter if you're new to sewing. Plus, it's adorable! The only way I may modify it a little would be to taper the top while I'm cutting my fabric so that there isn't as much gather at the waistline when complete.
Here are the photos that I took this gloomy, rainy morning.

I only had 1 yd of fabric (or maybe a little less) to make this so my back ties didn't come out to be as long as in the tutorial- or even as long as I'd like. But they'll do.

I would certainly make this skirt again. It's a winner!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window...the sun is coming up. It is so nice to see the sun today!!

I am thankful amazingly wonderful husband.

I am remembering...the Resurrection.

On my plans, generators and solar power.

From the learning rooms...that off-grid living doesn't mean moving to where there is no power and trying to live as though there is.

From the kitchen...breakfast burritos this morning with left-over tortillas from last nights dinner.

I am wearing...a jean skirt and a polo shirt.

I am creating...I'm getting fabric out and deliberating on making this.

I am town later this morning.

I am reading...Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, The Family Cow, and the Charlotte Mason Companion.

I am hoping
...that it will stop raining enough to get the garden in. And that it will for once, NOT rain on Easter!

I am hearing...Layton and Timber talking in their room, playing with Lego's and Mason's sweet little breathing at my side.

Around the house...cast iron that needs to be cleaned and laundry that needs folded.

One of my favorite things...Having a baby on my hip.

A few plans for the rest of the week...go to the dump, visit with good friends, weed the garden and prepare for family to arrive on Friday.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing... All babies are precious, even baby turkeys.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Katie's Mercantile

There's a shop in Mount Morris, New York, population 4,500, called Katie's Mercantile. I wanted to share a little about this shop with you today because I truly love shopping there. Shopping there??! Aren't you in California? Do you own your own jet? That I do not, but I do have a computer and I do have a phone and if I did live in NY you can bet I'd be making trips to the actual brick and mortar shop! I place my orders via the telephone and I have been more than impressed by their friendly customer service and well made garments.

"Our family friendly cottage industry features ready made, practical, modest clothing. Run by mother and daughter farm wives, we try to provide helpful customer service and quality garments at reasonable prices."

The statement above was taken from their online shop home page. And it's true! If you make a call to them, the sweet voice you'll hear on the other end is Cindy. She is extremely knowledgeable and one of the nicest people I've ever spoken to at a business. She'll be glad to help you "find" the perfect item.

The seamstresses at Katie's mercantile do an amazing job. All of the garments I have purchased have been made with high quality fabrics and have been perfectly sewn.

Whether you're looking for plain clothing like this basic dress:
(Available for both women and girls.)
Or if you're just looking for a good quality skirt or apron at a reasonable price. What homesteading woman doesn't love a good apron? And we're not talking about one type of generic apron- they have a wide selection! Here are a few of my personal favorites.

Each time I've received a package from them, I've always been impressed. There was a time that what I'd ordered didn't fit. No problem, the ladies at Katie's Mercantile want you to be happy with what you've purchased so they're more than willing to accept returns or exchanges to make it right. I know first hand.

See something that you like on their site but want your own custom version of it? They're happy to oblige! That's one of the great benefits of a family run business. This isn't some factory churning out the same dress after dress after dress. This is ladies sitting down at a machine and hand creating a piece just for you!

Not only do they carry dresses, skirts and aprons, but dolls, syrups, quilts, jams and jellies, clothing for expecting mom's and babies, head coverings, swimsuits.....and the list goes on!

This really is a fantastic shop and I hope that you'll take some time to check it out. They have made a lifelong customer out of me! Thanks ladies!

You can find them on Facebook here. Also, if you're in the NY state area they'll be having an open house on May 14 from 1pm-4:30pm.

For reference, their website is always on my list of links on the left hand column.

*This is an honest review based on my experience with the above shop. It is not a paid endorsement. I'm more than happy to share reviews of products or services that I find useful.*

Sunday, April 3, 2011

a simple homestead breakfast

We've got quite a few eggs around here right now. Our girls are laying like crazy (I've got 3 dozen in the fridge to prove it.) So, we eat eggs quite a bit for breakfast these days. This recipe is really one of my favorites. Super easy to make and it can use leftovers so that you're using up what you have! I don't have exact measurements on everything that goes into this because I usually end up just throwing in the amount that I have on hand.

Homestead Egg Bake
*1 dozen eggs
*cooked chopped ham, bacon, sausage or the meat of your choosing
*cheese, of your choosing
*some type of bread....english muffins, leftover cornbread, leftover biscuits, peasant bread, or even just the heels leftover from that loaf you've been using for sandwiches

-First, I would recommend toasting the bread to add a nicer texture. In the case of cornbread though, its not so easy so toasting is something that is completely optional.
-Next, chop the bread up into bite sized pieces and lay it in the bottom of an ungreased 13x9 pan.
-Grate the cheese (maybe using somewhere between 1-2c of grated cheese depending on how cheesy you want it)
-Beat the eggs in a large bowl and add in the grated cheese. Then add whatever type of meat you have, again, the amount it to your discretion.
-Pour egg mix over bread, cover and bake for 15 minutes at 350, then uncover and bake for another 30-45 until cooked through.

If I have cream on hand I'll make gravy to pour over each serving. And when it's just the kids and I, if Gavin has already left for work, I'll scale the recipe down and bake it in an 8" round pie plate. If you're a little shy on eggs you can add some milk to the egg mix as well. Add veggies if you'd like! Really, this recipe is one of those "no fail" recipes that is easy to whip together.

I hope you enjoy it!
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