Friday, January 30, 2009

Supergirls to the RESCUE!!!!

Wanna know what kept us busy while we were iced in? The girls had a fabulous idea...be superheroes! They already had capes and we made these:

Here's a close-up. Impressive workmanship, no? (Okay...maybe not.)

A bit of felt, a pair of scissors, and a few scraps of yarn...instant entertainment! Aren't kids remarkable?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ice Storm Pics

Here are a few photos of the ice around the OAH. The first is of the ice on the north side of our picket fence.

This is the pear tree.

Here's hubby explaining the concept of "sleet" to the little one.


Here in southern Oklahoma, we get more ice than snow. Schools (including the university) were closed for the past two days because driving on an inch of ice is not easy. Our local news station said some areas were reporting close to 3" of ice! Crazy stuff. Here at the OAH we had around an inch of ice/sleet...which turned into straight ice yesterday after a bit more freezing rain fell on top of everything.

Sun Salute

Here's a pic of the "salad bowl" we planted a week or so ago. Hopefully it will soon provide us with some fresh salads. I love the way the tiny sprouts reach out toward the sunlight.

Fall Harvest Quick Bread


We made some delicious breakfast bread that is so healthy, moist, and not too sweet. I doubled this recipe so I could make some muffins and a loaf of bread.

1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. oats
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. oil
1 c. applesauce (unsweetened)
1/2 c. canned pumpkin
1 egg

Topping:
2/3 c. oats
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon
2 T. butter (softened)
  1. Combine the dry ingredients, mix well. Add wet ingredients, stir just until combined. Batter will be a bit lumpy.
  2. Combine the topping ingredients with a fork. Sprinkle on top of the muffins or bread.
  3. Bake in muffin tins (20 min.) or a loaf pan (60-75 min.) at 400 degrees.
The applesauce and pumpkin add some great nutrients to this bread and all those oats add fiber as well as keeping it moist and adding great texture. We used our own homemade applesauce. Anyone know if you can can your own pumpkin puree? I'd love to get a recipe for doing this.
As you can see, I am a true leader in BBA (Bread Baker's Anonymous)...for those who want to embrace our addiction!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Baby it's cold outside...

Here in Oklahoma we have a bit of an ice event occurring outside as I speak (er...write). On days like these, chili is in order! This is my favorite, super easy recipe:

1 onion
1 lb. of ground beef
3 cans of diced tomatoes (some combination of chili seasoned & onion varieties)
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans
1 can of dark red kidney beans
1 large bottle of V8 juice (Spicy)

1. Slice onion & brown ground beef. Cook the onion with the beef.
2. Put the ground beef & onion in a large crock pot with the remaining ingredients.
3. If the crock pot is put on low early in the morning, it will be ready for supper. I have to say, though, it is better the next day.

We ladle this over a bit of crumbled cornbread and top it all off with some shredded cheddar. Perfect for a cold winter day!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

And more seeds...

Okay...apparently I'm in the mood to buy seeds! Here are the ones I purchased today on Ebay:

Corn, Golden Bantam, Open pollinated, Heirloom
Bean, Blue Lake Pole Beans, Stringless
Zucchini, Black Beauty
THYME,thymus vulgaris
Cucumber seeds, Boston Pickling

I did a little Ebay bartering, OAH style, by selling some stuff I really didn't need to get a bit of PayPal "crazy money" which has funded all this seed craziness.

A GIVEAWAY!!

Five people who respond to this post will receive something created here at the One Acre Homestead. Be sure to post before Saturday, January 31 and check back in to see if you are one of the winners!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Seeds...

Here's a list of seeds I've purchased for this year's garden:

Italian Heirloom Constoluto Genovese Tomato
Pearly Pink Cherry Tomato
Green Zebra Tomato
Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomato
Basil (Italian Napoleatano Bolloso)
Bloomsdale Longstanding Spinach
Emerald Green Okra
Detroit Dark Red Beets
Mesclun Salad Mix (Sweet)
Looseleaf Lettuce Mix
Scarlet Nantes Carrots
Petite 'n Sweet Carrots
Sugar Snap Peas

And I have a good supply of saved seed from my Purple Hull Cowpeas.

In addition, I am really hoping that some of my tomatoes from last year will send up some volunteers. I'll try to do better at saving seed this year.

Urban Garden Hoe reminded me of The Three Sisters, a Native American companion planting method, that I've been meaning to try. I'll have to get the proper seeds to do this as well.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Leftover chicken???

Got a little bit of leftover chicken? Not really enough to even mess with reheating? Debone it and throw it into a container labeled "Chicken for Pot Pie." Keep this in the freezer, adding bits of leftover chicken, until you have enough for a tummy-warming pot pie. It's almost like getting a meal for FREE!! :-)

Note to self...

In our quest to garden in this hard Oklahoma clay, we settled on buildng raised beds. I like that we can control the soil and also allow for drainage...and that they are nearly weed free. We used the Square Foot Gardening plan and added verticle supports to each of our three square foot beds. As an experiment, we used metal pipe, driven into the ground for two of the beds and a wooden frame attached to the bed for the third. Honestly, I prefer the aesthetic of the wood; however, the wooden verticle frame ripped the raised bed right off the ground in a bit of wind. To make matters worse, the bed is ruined...ripped to shreds. So...like it or not, this year we'll put in all metal pipe supports driven into the heavy clay. Those have well outlasted the wooden frame and the beds are still intact.

Also, DH wants to dig out a long rectangular bed, removing a minimum of 8 inches of clay and replacing it with compost. He was disappointed with the harvest from the square foot beds and thinks this will yield more produce. We'll try it out and see what happens. I am a bit nervous about the drainage issue, but the best way to test it is to jump right in. We'll edge this bed with rock to try to minimize weed entry.

On the indoor gardening front, my salad bowl is sprouting!!! It's so funny how that little bit of green can be so exciting! It will be great if this can provide us with greens year round. Someday I hope to add a small greenhouse to the OAH so that we can garden right through the winter, but the salad bowl will have to suffice for now.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Is it Spring yet???

I planted a salad bowl today!! (Thanks to TennZenn for the great idea!) I also found a tutorial about making newspaper planting pots on YouTube and plan to make up an army of these little gems this week. It's almost time to start some seeds indoors! Now...I wonder if Atwoods has their seed potatoes in yet?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Peppermint Sprite...

I read somewhere online...can't seem to find it now, please post if you know where it came from so I can give credit...that you could put leftover candy canes in the blender and blend them to a powder. This powder can be added to powdered milk along with hot water to make a warm peppermint milk. We have also added our peppermint to hot chocolate and to Sprite. Although my girls don't drink a lot of softdrinks, they thought the peppermint Sprite was the best thing they've ever drank.

I ground up all our Christmas candy canes and put the powder in a Mason jar. Anyone out there have any other ideas for our peppermint powder?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Homemade Granola

This morning I decided to try my hand at making my own granola. This recipe is from Women Not Dabbling in Normal:
Honey Granola
3 cups dry oatmeal
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2/3 cup butter (I used organic sweet cream butter)
1/2 cup almonds, crushed (I used pecans from my Grandmother-In-Law's trees)
1/2 cup honey (I used raw local honey)

First melt the butter in a 3 quart sauce pan over medium heat. Check out the deal I got in the fall on organic butter! This was for four sticks! It was nearing expiration, so I stocked up and put them in the freezer.

Add the honey and salt. Heat the honey briefly with the butter.

Add the oatmeal and pecans. Stir it up nicely. It smells really good.

Turn the mixture onto an ungreased cookie sheet, the kind with shallow sides; a large 9″ by 13″ pan works well too. Spread the granola out evenly and bake it at 375 degrees for 10-20 minutes. It should be a toasty brown. Why yes, my oven is incredibly clean!! How sweet of you to notice!(I just cleaned it on Tuesday...you shoulda seen it on Monday! ;-)

Now remove it from the oven and allow it to cool and crisp up right there in the pan. Store it in a half gallon mason jar.

This will be yummy with some milk and sprinkled on yogurt...or on fresh fruit...or over homemade vanilla ice cream...or....

Friday, January 9, 2009

Buying Seeds...

Wandering around Ebay today, I found some great deals on seeds. After ordering okra, spinach, and beets from the same seller (Steve), I asked him if the seeds came from his own garden ('cause I'm nosey by nature and also I love to know more about the heritage of the plants I grow). I'd tell you Steve's story, but I'd probably mess it up, so here it is in his own words:

"I try to save all the non-hybrids and heirlooms from our garden unless we are trying something new. Our hybrids I order. We are trying to become as completely self sufficient as we can. I grow for farmers market but the flooding from hurricanes Gustuv & Ike destroyed all our crops, equipment, and greenhouses. So I’m selling some of our extra seeds that I had saved before the losses so we can start all over and am ordering extra big lots so I can try to sell and make a little extra. In the next few weeks, when my new orders arrive, I’ll be listing about a hundred or so new items. We are also hoping to teach our sons. They are both autistic and this might be something they can do later on if they can’t handle a job away from home."

Whattya say we practice the ideas behind Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) from afar. Check out Steve's Ebay site...he's got some great seeds at great prices...and if I've learned anything about homesteading, it's that we all need to stick together and run this race together.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Spring days...in January?

In the winter, I sometimes find myself pacing around in the house...like those poor animals at the zoo...just needing to get outdoors. This past weekend gave us an opportunity to enjoy an out of season spring day and boy, did we take advantage of it! It was over 70 degrees outside!

I spent hours lavishly watering every tree, shrub, and perennial...checking each over for signs of life and new growth. I'm happy to report that they all the trees look great with lots of plump little buds that make me ache for spring. This will be the second year for many of the fruit trees, so it will be exciting to see if they produce for us. I also checked on the blackberries and the blueberries...all is well on that front.

The strawberries had me very excited. I have to say these are one of the most attractive ground cover plants I've ever seen. Most of the leaves are still green and some are touched with red. Now that most of the other plants in the front flower garden have withered away, I can see that the strawberries spread more than I'd thought at my last garden inspection. I'm thinking of starting these in all the beds as groundcover in the spring.

Finally, I wandered out to the bed that holds my garlic and my Egyptian walking onions. I'm not sure about these. It was my first time to try garlic, and I'm thinking I may have planted too early, but time will tell. I do hope the onions pull through the winter as they came from extended family that lives in North Carolina and they've grown in family beds for generations. If they don't make it, I just might have to spend another week at the Davis cabin up on Grandfather Mountain...wouldn't that be a shame! ;-)

The two girlies enjoyed the great outdoors this weekend as well. They'd played alone for more than an hour when they came running up to me with a cup full of seeds they'd gathered! The morning glories that had grown up over their slide/swingset was chock full of lovely little black seeds. Looks like we'll have a bit more of these little beauties climbing around the homestead next summer! Those are my girls!!!

Friday, January 2, 2009

An award and a list...

Look what I got today!! Special thanks to one of my favorite blogs, Random Bits of Knowledge, for the nomination! I feel so honored that anyone at all reads what I have to say. This award comes with a little assignment. I am to list 6 things I am thankful for and nominate 6 other blogs to receive the award...here goes. First, the 6 things I'm thankful for:

1. My Lord and Savior who makes all things possible. He has blessed our family beyond belief, he guides our life decisions and prepares the road ahead as we travel through our lives. He is good, all the time.

2. My husband. My husband was my dream man in high school and remains so to this day. I look forward to continuing to grow older along side him and seeing our changing relationship evolve.

3. My daughters. Wow...what was life like without them? I love my girls so much that it sometimes scares me. They are amazing and brilliant and loving and beautiful and filled with so much wonder for our natural world. They make every day an adventure.

4. Our hometown. We are generally nomadic...for whatever reason we have moved more than I want to discuss right now. After moving to the small town we now call home, I don't think I ever want to move again. Lord willing, we will stay here. We finally have a hometown...the kind that makes your heart soar a bit when you see the lights of town as you drive home after a week or so away.

5. Our acre. I've found so many possibilities on one acre of land! I look forward to spring for months, dog earring all my seed catalogs and sketching out gardening beds, envisioning the yard at the height of summer, when all the plants fill out. We have plenty of space for the kids to run and play and the dogs to fetch. We will have ample room for our little flock of chickens that will be added to the homestead in the spring. Each year, we plan to add to the yard and gardens. Watching it all happen is wonderful.

6. Learning. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a lifelong learner. I love to set new goals for myself and to research and learn new skills. In the past few years, it's been knitting, spinning, vegetable gardening, and chickens...who knows what is to come?

And the nominees are.../drumroll please/
TennZen
It Began in Camp 4
Heavenly Homemakers
Women Not Dabbling in Normal
The Pioneer Woman
The Finer Things in Life

I love the blogosphere! Have a wonderful night!
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