Tuesday, December 30, 2008
It's 40 something inches and mounted to our wall and movies are incredible on it. Best of all...I didn't pay for it. There's no way I would have spent this much $$ for a TV, so it really was a blessing that we'd never have allowed ourselves. It came with a free Blue Ray player which makes movies jump right off the screen. It's incredible.
Another great thing about it is that I was really perfectly fine with our old TV. I didn't even covet anyone else's flat screen (I sometimes really struggle with coveting other's blessings.) So, this came as a huge out-of-the-blue kind of blessing.
There...I've confessed. I know this does not really jive with many of the ideas I've written about here, but it's true. I'm not going off grid anytime soon...it would mess with my reception of the Food Network. /blush/
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Tons of canning jars from my husband's grandmother...she is no longer canning and wanted to pass them along. I can't tell you how much fun it will be to fill them with the garden's bounty this summer knowing that they were used countless times by NeeNee Davis. Priceless.
A pizza stone and pizza peel for my bread baking!!
A bamboo cutting board that is absolutely beautiful.
My dad wants to build the chicken coop for me! He's quite handy and also very thrifty. Dad plans to use mostly materials that are available on the farm, so that'll be an added bonus knowing that all the stuff was from our family place that once belonged to my grandparents. Those of you with family farms know that the tin on a family farm has been recycled several times...it is never thrown away. Aside from the value of recycling...I'm also a hopeless sentimentalist.
A clothes rack for air drying clothes indoors. This increases the humidity in your home in the winter (when heating tends to dry out the air) and cuts down on energy usage/costs.
Aside from all the goodies, I was blessed with time to spend with family and friends. We are really building some powerful friendships in our little hometown and it is such a gift from God to have good friends surrounding you. I am so thankful that our jobs allow us three weeks off at Christmas. That is a gift unto itself.
I'd love to hear about your best homestead blessings this Christmas! Please share!
As for our plans for coming days...I'm baking bread tonight and hope to cook up another batch of apple peel jelly in the next few days. I've got two gallons of apple cores/peels in the freezer that were left over from recent apple butter and applesauce canning. Oh, and I'll be cleaning house and cooking for a Bible Study party we're having at our house on New Year's Eve.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Lastly, I'm pondering a remark made by a friend of mine concerning Christianity and environmentalism. I have to say that I see these two going hand-in-hand, although I think in our political times, there is an assumption about Christians that they are not environmentalists. Well, I'm inventing a new term....CRUNCHY CHRISTIAN. That's me. (In case my witty sense of humor is not quite connecting, I'm referring to the "crunchy-granola" stereotype of those some would label as hippies...whatever...I'm funny in my own head...please bear with me here.)
The way I see it, if I give my children a toy, I expect that they will take care of it. Put it away so it doesn't get stepped on, clean it off if it gets milk spilled all over it, etc. I believe that God made the planet Earth for us; therefore, it is our responsibility to be good stewards of this planet. Yes, I am a Christian who prefers products with less packaging, is trying to eat more organic foods, grows some of my own food, composts, and prefers to buy local produce (though it is not terribly available in our area) when I have the chance.
Also in line with CRUNCHY CHRISTIANITY (perhaps more on the hippie side of things), I am a whole-hearted supporter of breast feeding. After all, Mary fed Jesus this way and I see the design of our bodies as a beautiful testimony of God's provision. I loved wearing my babies and had quite a collection of baby wearing options. Ring slings were my favorite. Oh, and I love folk music....not sure if this really matters at all, but I thought I'd throw it in there just in case.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I also got some Pickling Salt and Pickling Lime for 50 cents each in huge canisters.
The young boy who was checking looked at me a bit strangly...because of the pectin and because of the mystery veggie he couldn't identify. I explained that it was rutabaga and he continued to peek up at me through a veil of long curly hair. I further explained that our family wanted to try a new vegetable this week and rutabaga was in season, so there you go. Suddenly he thought this was a neat idea and said maybe he, too, would try to cook rutabaga. He wanted to know how you cook it and said, "Let me know how it turns out, okay?"
Monday, December 15, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
In other BBA news, I mixed up a new batch of dough tonight and threw in two handfulls of wheat germ. I think it'll give the loaves a nice nutty taste. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Lastly, but also of notable BBA importance...I finally liberated 6 bananas out of the freezer to make two loaves of banana bread. I have a fantastic recipe for banana bread that has gotten rave reviews everywhere I take it.
1 stick sweet cream butter (unsalted)
- cream butter & sugar
- add eggs - mix
- mash bananas & add to mixture
- add flour, vanilla & pecans (if desired)
- bake @ 325 for 55 min. (loaf pan) or 30 min. (cupcakes)
A few notes:
The kiddos love to mash the bananas! Hand 'em a fork and let them mush bananas to smithereens!
I've made this with half white flour & half wheat as well and been quite pleased with the results.
I never throw out a banana. Overripe ones go in the freezer then I thaw them as needed for bread. They look terrible when they thaw, but you just rip off the end and squeeze out the banana like toothpaste. I swear these make the best bread ever!
Also, I don't like chopping pecans so I add them whole. It's rather tasty to bite into a chunk of pecan!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
And I did try it...all weekend long. I made 5 loaves of yummy artisan bread this weekend. I've also started another batch to use throughout the week. Ummm...hmmmm...I'm officially a member of Bread Bakers Anonymous (BBA). Anyone else want to join my club?
The great thing is that the original recipe can be tweaked for almost endless possibilities. The article also talks about making cinnamon rolls and pizza crust with this same starter. WOW! Try it...you'll like it.
(I'll try to upload some steamy photos of fresly baked bread for my fellow BBA members in the next few days! ;-)
In other news, the girls and I made some homemade soaps to give as Christmas gifts. We included Tea Tree Oil as a natural anti-bacterial. It smells great!
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
My dad saved several wooden screen doors from my grandma's house when he tore it down. I hope to build the run around grandma's wooden door. The sound of those doors clap-clap-clapping shut bring back so many memories.
Since we have a huge yard fenced with privacy fence, I think I can clip the chickens' wings and allow them to do some free grazing. If that doesn't work out, I'll come up with a portable run that can be moved around the yard during the day.
DH and I are both college professors, so it really helps that we have summers off to pursue gardening & homesteading efforts. I'm teaching an online class this summer, so I'll get some summer salary and be able to work from home. It's a pretty good compromise.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
It was goooood!
I just learned to can last November, so I'm really proud of what I was able to do this year. Our garden here in Oklahoma didn't produce as well as it will in normal years (we had a very hot, dry wind that fried lots of area gardens), so I have high hopes for next year!
This year, we did tons of jelly and jam, pickles, applesauce and applebutter. On the right side of the bottom shelf are the dried herbs for seasoning and teas. There are also some dried lavender bloosoms there that the girls and I will be making into soap to give as holiday gifts!
Special thanks to Little Homestead in the City for providing the inspiration to get my One Acre Homestead up and running. Next year, my goal is to double the gardens and add a small flock of chickens. In the future...bees! Stay tuned!!