Wednesday, March 28, 2007

It's springtime!

I love springtime! Nick and I went for a Sunday drive the other day and watched some baby goats (kids) playing in the pasture. They were so cute! Leaping and running around with the goats. One of the male goats had a bell tied around his neck and a rope attached. We wondered what it was for, but when he took off towards the barn, the others followed right behind him following the sound of the bell.

Does anyone know what either of these two flowers are? I would love to know! The purple ones are so fragrant! what about the white ones?

We've got bunches of wild green onions popping up all over the yard. I wish I could cut some up and add to a salad, but I'm not sure if these have been sprayed or not. By humans (pesticides) or cats marking their territory!!! I can't wait to have a garden of my own and be able to enjoy them whenever I want!

Sadie Sue

Here are some pictures I've taken of Sadie. I have mentioned her in previous posts before.

It looks like she is smiling in this one. Last week when I was playing with her she had a bone similar to that one. She was running around the yard trying to get me to chase her and when I looked down at her, she had the bone hidden under her cheek flaps. It looked like she was grinning from ear to ear. It was so funny! I wish I had gotten a picture of her!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Peanut butter, anyone?

With all the talk of the peanut butter recall and other recalls, it really has reinforced what I believe about getting away from prepackaged foods, and making food from scratch. I was talking to a friend about how I used to make peanut butter and how I wanted to make up a batch soon. He asked me if I would make him a batch too. Peanuts were on sale that day so I went and bought a few pounds. I wasn't sure how many I'd need and if I should get salted on non-salted. I also wondered how many times some of the peanuts had fallen into each other's containers accidentally. So, I ended up getting half of each kind. I'd tried to make peanut butter before in my blender but it turned out to be just a mess. I had a recipe calling for a food processor so I thought I'd try it. It turned out pretty good. I made sure to run the processor long enough to get a real creamy texture like I like. I gave a jar to my friend and he loved it! He said he doesn't have to soften it at room temperature before using (which I figured he'd have to do) and that it spreads really nicely. And the finished product- Ta da!

Why I hate plastic

I officially hate plastic containers for storing food. I made some fajitas for dinner today and used one to store the leftovers in. I thought I picked it up too hastily when I looked down and saw fajita sauce running down my dress. So, I went and got the stain out of it and put on a new dress. I went to put it in the fridge and happened to look down. I watched in horror as sauce dripped all over the fridge door and floor. I rushed it back to the sink dripping it everywhere! Somehow I got a two inch cut in the bottom of the plastic container. I have no idea how it got there and when. I finally got the stains up off the carpet, (who in the world installs carpet in the kitchen, anyways?) I cleaned up the fridge door, around the seals and scrubbed down my cupboard doors. As soon as I can, I'm buying some glass containers to keep leftovers in. Anyone know of a good place to find some inexpensively? I may just start hitting the garage sales around here.

Beautiful flowers

Nick came home last week and surprised me with a bouquet of flowers. Aren't they the most prettiest things you ever saw?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hawk throwing and the day we blew two tires.

Last weekend was the grand opening for the Little House on the Prairie. It was a cold windy day, the kind where I like to stay at home and cuddle on a warm pile of blankets. But Nick was going out to take pictures of the event so I went along. There weren't too many people out and about at first, but we stayed awhile and Nick took some pictures.

This one man approached me (the one in red) and asked if I wanted to throw a tomahawk. See me here as I warm up for a throw! He didn't really give me a chance to say no before he was leading me down to where it was all set up. I, normally the shy quiet one, wanted to keep to myself, but since no one else was around and I am trying to break out of my shell, decided to give it a whirl. It was fun! I threw it over and over and by the time we left I wasn't cold anymore! This man belongs to a group that we want to join. I'll tell you about it next time!

Later that week, we went to look at a house in the country for sale. Nick didn't know how else to get there other than the back way so that's which way we went. It had been raining all week and the road was very muddy. We thought several times we were going to get stuck! But we finally made it past the really muddy parts. Then on we went up a very rocky hill. When we got to the top, we heard a loud BANG! Nick had me hop out to check on the tires and there was a big gash in the back passenger tire. So, we puttered on up the hill and Nick got out and changed the tire. Sure glad he knows how to do that. Well, we went on our merry way. Still looking for the house. The place where we changed the tire looked like the house, which was very nice, but wasn't it. By the way, the two back tires were ones we just had bought a few months ago!

We didn't go but two miles when we heard a loud POP! followed by a hiss. This time it was the passenger front tire that popped. We pulled over to the side of the road and started making calls to every tire place. They quoted us a lot to either tow the truck back to town or try to fix the tire. We finally called one last place and they said they could fix it for a reasonable charge. They said they'd be there in 30 minutes. While we sat and waited for the tire people to come, I decided to take some pictures of the area around us. Some cows in a nearby pasture decided to see what the fuss was all about. I thought to take a picture of the tire guy fixing the tire, but was too tired at that point and didn't give it much thought at the time. One particular pasture area caught my eye because of a clump of trees. It struck me as odd to see them out there by themselves. Well, two hours later they came and picked us up and took us into town. They couldn't work on the tire there. They dropped me off at home while I fixed lunch and Nick took care of the tire situation. That afternoon, we got new tires put on the truck and now are good to go!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Time Flies.

I know it's been forever since I last posted. Time sure does fly. I can't believe it is already March of 2007!! We are still living in our apartment we found after we moved out of the camper. I am awaiting going to our home in Milo to pick up our last bit of things we left there during our last visit. I have been without some of my key essential kitchen supplies, but am getting used to not having them too. I wonder if I'll keep them when I do get them.

I have been trying to cut down on the amount of garbage we are throwing away. I really miss being able to burn our trash. And I miss the most our compost pile. I hate throwing away vegetable peels and other items. I have been working on a new post in our blog "The Wright Homestead". I have just been at a loss knowing how to get my words just right, but be looking for it. It's titled, "Homesteading in the City". Some of what you see here will be in it.

I've realized the past few months that things we talked about in that blog, we cannot do while living in the city. Maybe many of you feel that way. So, I thought, I'd post my experiments and simply share with others the changes we are making.

I found out there is a place here that I can take recyclable goods to. They take glass, tin, plastic. I hope to take the items once a month when they are open. I have found a use for my 500+ plastic grocery bags. I hate them, but they are now my kitchen trash bags. It is probably not the best way to recycle them, since they end up in the garbage, but at least they serve a purpose before ending up there. I am using a small tiny bathroom sized trash can for my kitchen, rather than buy a large trash can and have to buy the bags for them. Since we are buying in bulk again, my trash consumption is going down.

I recently found and joined a co-op and found another bulk foods store like we shopped at in Missouri. I love being able to purchase my flour, sweetener, rice, beans etc.. in bulk. I am trying to re-locate a company I found years ago that sold round plastic containers that held large amounts of food, (flour, sugar, beans...) I just can't remember the company's name or contact information. It's driving me nuts! Lehman's does sell lard cans which are nice to store food in, but I am wanting plastic containers to take with me to the co-op pickup days of dividing. I really dislike certain kinds of plastic and am in the process of clearing out my kitchen of it, but feel I will make a small exception to this for the co-op. I don't want to worry about dropping a glass or metal container and either breaking it or denting it.

The kinds of things I don't like plastic are the containers used for storing food. I prefer glass, because you can take it out and stick it in the microwave and not worry about it being ate up in there! I have ruined many a plastic tubs re-heating meat or fatty foods only to have part of my container missing and peeled back!

I would like to find some tote bags, netted or canvas to put my groceries in. I once sewed some canvas bags up but they did not hold their shape very well. I also like the netted ones because they are see-thru and store owners generally trust them more, as they can see that I'm not stowing away their products without paying for them. You get a lot of weird looks from people, but I don't really need that many plastic grocery bags. I think 500 should be my limit. What do you think? I have noticed the ones at certain stores seem to be very cheaply made and often have a side split before I'm even home. I almost dropped and cracked a jar of salsa the other day when that happened!

I have been cleaning out my wardrobe too. I would like 5-7 outfits, that I can wear in the summer or winter. I sewed up a cotton dress with a friend last year and really like the pattern on it. Jumpers are nice because you can swap out the shirts inside, but I do like the dress pattern more. I suppose I can always just wear a sweater if I'm cold. Since you can only wear one outfit at a time, it seems a waste to me to have more clothes than that. I currently have five pairs of shoes. One pair needs to go to the thrift store. I have a pair of good army boots, perfect when it's rainy outside. A pair of dress shoes, (given to me), a pair of red slip on shoes (given to me as well) and a pair of slippers. I really don't like this many pairs of shoes, but will keep them for now. When the dress shoes wear out, I won't be getting any more. I love the slip on shoes. They are from Cabela's and are very comfortable.

I recently purchased some organic calendula blossoms and I am eagerly awaiting the day I get to make some salve from it. I first have to make an herbal infused oil before I can add the beeswax to it and make the salve, but I need to get some olive oil first. The herbal oil is made by steeping the dried herb in a quart of olive oil, then straining it out. You can use the oil straight or mix it with the beeswax. It takes about a month to make the oil.

I also bought a pound of red raspberry leaf and a pound of nettle leaf with the intent of making an herbal infusion. Both of which are excellent for increasing fertility. Infusions are better for you than just making a tea. You make them by adding one ounce of herb to 4 cups of water and letting it steep for approximately 4 hours, depending on what herb you are using and which part of the herb. It is quite different getting used to, and will probably taste better when I can weigh out the herb on a scale, but I am glad I ordered them. Red raspberry leaf and nettle leaf are so good for you.

I am almost done paying off my grain mill and when that is done I am saving up for a Zo bread machine. I wanted a Bosch Mixer and while it is on my list of things to buy, there are other things I want first. I can't wait to get the Zo and be able to make bread on the timer as well as experiment with a recipe from Urban Homemaker. Only, I would use the two stage process method. Sometimes we are out and about coming home right before supper needs to be made and having a loaf of fresh bread waiting on you is just the thing we need! I think after I get the bread machine I will save up for a Zo rice cooker. I have a small microwave rice cooker but want something for when I want to make a larger batch of rice. Currently, when I want fried rice, I have to make three batches of rice on the stove which takes a good while because I have to cool the pot long enough to rinse the old rice out.

Last month, I bought some Kefir starter. Kefir is a cultured, enzyme-rich food filled with friendly micro-organisms that help balance your "inner ecosystem." It can be made into a delicious smoothie, which is how I plan to drink it. I'm not even sure if the starter is still good, and I've been a bit nervous to try it out, but tomorrow, I will do it! I'll post pictures from start to finish so you can see what it looks like. I got some fresh milk just for this purpose. I hope I like it!

Nick recently bought me a book called Nourishing Traditions. It is a huge book that mainly talks about lacto-fermentation of foods. How they preserved food in the old days before there were canners or how people preserve without electricity. It is basically a big cookbook, chock full of information. I am excited about trying out the recipes. It is not like any book I have ever read, but I like it alot.

Cell phone zippered pouches

Last week a friend asked me to sew her a cell phone holder that she wanted to give to a friend. So I took out my supplies and started to d...