Friday, December 28, 2012

Local Meals and Pantry Organization

Wednesday night for dinner we had venison sausage from the deer we got while hunting this last season, and some acorn squash that I had put up from my garden.   It was a simple dinner, but very good.

Last night (Thu) I made this breakfast casserole (below) using our venison sausage, and eggs from my lovely chickens, and local cheese. The milk, a couple slices of bread, and seasoings were store bought.   Can you tell I love casseroles?! Haha!  For our veggie we had steamed carrots from the garden.  I forgot to get a picture of those little rainbow beauties, but they were so sweet!




I am having fun trying new recipes, and trying to incorporate what we have put up into new meals.  You can only eat so many canned green beans before your burnt out! But looking at different ways to add them to a casserole or soup is fun! 

Yesterday my 12 year old daughter helped me organize the pantry.  It looks great! And we tossed a lot of junk.  Feels good to get that part done.


Today on the agenda...a little more clean up around the house, followed by lunch and Just Dance on the Wii with a friend and our daughters.  Looking forward to it.

Happy Friday!



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Getting Organized.

Christmas was good!  I love spending time with family and seeing the kids have fun.
We came home for a couple of hours in the middle of running around to clean the barn.  I even got out there to clean the chicken coop.  I LOVE the feeling of getting these things accomplished.  I feel good physically and mentally, knowing the animals have fresh bedding and clean water containers.
I even gave the pigs some apples.  They loved that!

Now that Christmas is behind us, I'm going to kick it into gear and get things organized around here.  That's talking about stuff and mental organization!

I have a bunch of thoughts and goals floating around in my head of things I want to do or accomplish this next year.  I'm getting excited about the possibilities.

I want to see where I can take my little farm.  I'd love to some day have a  CSA. But I need to take baby steps and do some talking with local farmers to see if it's something I could do.  We live in a small town and I'm curious to see if it's going well for them or if taking another route selling produce would be better.  I'd love to also sell some meat. So I need to look into a license and do some research there.  My #1 goal in 2013 is to have confidence in myself, and not be afraid to try new things.  I'm horrible about doubting myself. 

I have more I could ramble on about, but I better get out and feed my animals before the daycare kids arrive.  Enjoy your day!


Monday, December 24, 2012

Dark Days Challenge and Sewing Projects

The Dark Days Challenge is fun!
On Thursday I made Spaghetti.  The sauce was made up of sausage from our pigs that we raised, the tomatoes were home canned tomato sauce, I did use store bought Italian seasoning to spice the sauce up.  But for the noodles I used spaghetti squash I grew in my garden! So everything but the seasonings were home grown/local!!  And it was very good!  I actually liked the squash better then the noodles. It was sweeter. My kids, well not so much.




Last night we had another home grown/local meal!  I didn't get a picture of it, but it was a simple dinner that I threw together because we needed to use up some of our roast.  The roast was from our steer, the potatoes and onions from a local farmer, and the cheese was also local!  I made a casserole out of it and it threw it in the oven. It was yummy!! 

As you know, I've been sewing.  I am having a blast!  I've spent a lot of time with my seam ripper, but it's been a good patience learning exercise for me. 

I started with my daughters pj bottoms~
(this was the only picture I had of them
before I finished them)










I finished an adult apron, 3 children's aprons, a skirt and pj bottoms!  I am loving the fabric on my niece's pj pants!





Then my youngest daughter and I put these "Scrap Monsters" together.  She came up with the pattern and I sewed them together. I am thrilled with how they turned out! Now all my kids want one to keep for themselves.

I have a couple little things to finish sewing today, then off to the kitchen to bake up some goodies to take to our Christmas Eve family get together tonight. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Staples from scratch?

Over the last couple years I get better and better about eating more local foods. But I still have a long way to go.  It easy to eat local during the summer months when everything is in full gardening season.  But doing this "Dark Days Challenge" has really got me thinking outside of the box....or can.  Even though my pantry has jars of beautifully home preserved green beans, carrots, tomatoes, applesauce, pears, peaches...etc...  I still have staples like cream of mushroom soup and packaged gravy mixes.  But after looking up a recipe for Raw Milk Yogurt.  I saw a list of recipes of things that can easily be made in replacement of those store canned foods. 

I'm not going to lie, I have a mini inside freak out, thinking of how am I going to make the time to cook even more from scratch?!  I feel as if I am stretched as it is.  But it truly is something important to me. So I'm going to do my best making the time to plan ahead, recipe search and take the extra time to do it.  One of my goals for 2013! 


Above is a picture of my home grown meal from this summer.  The steak was from our steer, the salad was a variety of home grown lettuces with snap peas, radish pods and garnished with a nasturtium. Gorgeous! 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Crazy Weather on the Coast

On the West Coast we are getting another round of a wind/rain storm.  Our weather is so unpredictable minute to minute.  We are getting gusts up to 90+ mph.  The rain will pour...then it will stop.  Lightning and thunder will strike, then it hails.  It definitely keeps us guessing!

The horse was spooked and ran right through the electric fence.  I'm glad my 14 daughter was here to help but him back in the barn.  Scary to see him standing by the road! Got our adrenaline going.

I was able to finish a couple of aprons yesterday and started on a skirt that will end up being a bag (hopefully). Haha! The sides didn't match. Not even close!  My husband says it was a good learning experience. I look at it as a waste of time. But maybe I will impress myself and get creative and turn it into a nice little carry bag for one of my niece's.

The tree is nicely decorated and it looks and smells great.  The kids did a great job on it.

Well now the rain has stopped and it's only a slight breeze I'm going to run outside (before it gets crazy again) and grab a few carrots out of the garden for dinner tonight.  Have a great day!






Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sewing, baking, and goal setting

Good Morning.
Its been a busy, somewhat productive week.
I still have a lots to do to be prepared for Christmas.
I have NO shopping done, or anything made for my own kids. YIKES!
We finally went and got our tree yesterday (in the pouring rain) and now it's sitting in the shop drying out.  The kids will decorate it today. Kadin (my 5 year old son) is so excited about the tree. My older girls have been decorating their rooms and it's fun to see them so creative and excited. 
Last week I was able to sew some pj pants for my daughter. (Which has been one of those projects sitting there for months)  I made my niece a skirt, and made a children's apron for one of the little girls that will be at our family gift exchange on Christmas Eve.  I have so much to whip out this next week. I hope I can do it.

I did some baking this week including a knock off recipe of Starbucks Pumpkin Scones. SO GOOD!
I will be making them again, and again.  And again I'm sure!

I've found myself deep in goal setting thoughts. I don't know if it's because there is a New Year creeping up on us or what. But I'm getting excited about making some changes this next year.  I will be sharing my thoughts with soon!  That's another post for another day.

I'm excited about that dark days challenge!  One of my goals is to really start tapping into local resources to find our food.  It helps to ask around......because with going out on a limb and asking (I'm scared of rejection) I found a milk share!!  So I will be getting Raw Milk delivered weekly starting Tuesday.  (Having a milk cow is something I'd love to have, but my husband's answer to that is a strict NO! Absolutely no changing his mind on that decision.) I am beyond  excited to be getting raw milk from Emma the cow.  I pulled up a picture of Emma the cow and said "Look Kids! This is who supplies our milk!" I find so much joy in that.

I better get off of here and get busy. 

Have a good Sunday!




Monday, December 10, 2012

Indoor Projects

It was a good weekend. 
Kris is starting on our bathroom remodel. So we took a trip to "The City" and picked out some tile samples.  It's getting exciting! A nice winter project for him.

I have decided to pull out the sewing machine and get going on a few projects for Christmas.  I did a lot of sewing when I was in High School, but as an adult, not so much. So I'm a little rusty. OK not a little, a lot rusty.  Pinterest is definitely helping my creative side come out a bit. Now if I can find the patience to figure out what I am doing we'll be in it!
But instead I find myself You Tubing Farming videos and day dreaming of Spring and Summer.

Well I better going! Time's a tickin'!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Some thoughts while drinking my morning coffee...


This picture was taken at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, during our visit to Newport this last June.
I love this and couldn't agree more.  I love seeing my kids exploring outside.  It makes me happy to see the kids working with the animals or helping in the garden.  I am very proud of the life that we are giving our kids. 
I am learning from them to.  I get so busy doing chores, I forget to stop and take the time to really look at what's around me.  When the kids point out, "Look at the moon tonight mom." Or "I found a frog just sitting in the grass."  It reminds me to slow down a bit and take it in.  


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Yesterdays doings around the farm....


On top of being a "hobby farmer" I am a child care provider.  I run an in home child care.  I have for many years.  It is my way of helping financially, but I am able to be home with my own kids. 
With doing In Home Child Care, there are a lot of pros and cons.  I love the children. And feel so blessed to be home with my own children (and you can't beat the commute).

I am fortunate enough to do child care for mostly school teachers, so I don't work to much during the summer. It gives me time to work on my little farm and spend lots of time in the garden.

This school year I have most Wednesdays off and to myself (my 4 kids are in school), so it's my catch up day.

Yesterday I was able to clean up the barn, burn some trash, clean up the pig pen, took a short ride on our horse, and pulled up a few brussels sprout plants that aren't doing to well and feed them to my chickens. 
I'm glad the rain held off long enough yesterday to get this stuff accomplished.  It felt good going out to feed the animals this morning and not stumbling through such a mess.


I'd like to share another picture.  This picture was taken the day we got our wiener pigs at the end of August. Our dog Chloe is checkin' her out.


I love my pigs.  They are so cute!

Have a good Thursday.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pictures!!

I think I'm getting the hang of this!!  Whoop Whoop!

Now to share a few pictures with you!


 
Above is a picture of me and my "Peeps" prepping the garden area last April.  We have since made the garden area bigger. (Yea!)


And this is a picture I absolutely love that I took of my garden this last August.  I miss the color and life that was in the garden.  Ahh...I have Spring Fever already :) 

I will be posting more pictures soon.   But I better get my rear in gear. Lots to get done today! Including cleaning the barn, and putting feed in containters. Haha!

Have a good day.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Insert mad face here.....

I'm so irritated.  I'm totally using my blog right now to vent my frustrations.
I go to feed the chickens....open their bag of crumble to see it's moldy. Great!

Go in to feed the pigs..... I see that a rat made himself a hole in the side of the bag of  pig feed, It's EVERY WHERE.  Grrr.... That's stuffs expensive.

So I might as well take $30 and throw it away. 

**Deep Breath**

It will be ok.  It's a little thing. But still.  Irritating.

Off to the feed store.



Trying to figure this out!

I've been trying to figure out all the little things to blogging.  I feel like I'm running around in circles around the "dashboard".  Oh well its a good time of a year to try and figure it out, right?!
I'm not very tech savy.  Any suggestions?

The wind and rain have been crazy here these last couple weeks. I woke up a few times last night to a loud gust of wind hitting the house.  The rain seems to pour bucket fulls at times. 

I made Salmon chowder last night for dinner and the kids liked it.  My oldest and I went back for seconds.  Its always fun to try something new.

Well I better get on with my day. Hopefully soon I will figure out how to get some pictures up here to share with you.

Have a good Tuesday!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

All day in the kitchen....

This morning Kris fired up the smoke house to lightly smoke some Springer Salmon that he had caught earlier this year. (We needed to free up some freezer space.) After it came out of the smoke house I began processing. I am now waiting on my 5th batch to finish up. 

Having smoked salmon in the pantry is such a treat!  We like it right out of the jar, or mixed with cream cheese on crackers. While waiting on my pressure canner, I looked up some recipes I am going to give a try that sound amazing using our salmon!

I'm getting excited about getting out of my "cooking rut", and try some new recipes this month.  Including truffles! Yep, I was looking into some fabulous desserts to ;)   Mmmm!

Well my timer just went off! Time to turn down the heat and start cleaning up for the night.

Enjoy your evening.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Updating

If your looking for a bit more information on our Little Farm, you can always pop over to
www.countrygirlwearsflipflops.blogspot.com and read our past adventures.

Things have changed over this last year.  We have done a bit more farm improvements including; a bigger garden area, a new chicken coop, painted the barn red, put in drainage using the excavator around the barn, shop and garden. 

Kris remodeled our bedroom.

We have 9 head of beef.  This spring we had 3 calves drop.  A girl we named Patches, and 2 bull calves, that are now steers.  On that note, I learned a thing or two about banding bull calves and how much fun it is to watch my husband chase a spunky 3 day old calf down!

I raised and butchered my first flock of meat chickens this past May.  I was so proud of myself.  I look forward to my next Spring batch.  I plan on canning most of the meat.  I have to say it turned out wonderfully!!

I have 9 laying hens, that are still very entertaining to watch.

My garden this past Spring and Summer I was very happy with!  I was able to preserve some of it that we are still enjoying.  I hope to even go bigger next year adding more fruits.  I am trying my hand at "overwintering" a few things. We have very wet winters so we will see how it goes.  I lost some of it to bugs, deer and my chickens. But that's ok.  I will be harvesting some cabbage here soon. Mmmmm cabbage, beer and deer sausage! That may be on the menu this week!! 

Since it's fall going into winter and not to much happening on the farm I will post pictures and a little blurb to this last season. 

I'm already smiling reminiscing this last spring and summer.  Awe, the excitement of finding a new calf!  The fulfillment of harvesting my first batch of broilers.  Picking green beans to immediately go into the canner. Kris bringing home fish from our local river.  Oh boy Spring Fever is setting in already.  Ok gotta go.  Enjoy your Saturday!

I love my farm life!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Take 2!

Welcome to my "Spin off" of Country Girl in Flip Flops.
I realized this last weekend that blogging in the past really came in handy in our future!
Kris went to put ear tags in the young heifers and we were trying to remember birth dates, and I said "I know!" I ran, grabbed my phone and pulled up my old blog.  Right there was our info! Because I blogged about our exciting additions I had all the information we needed right there.

After our chores I read through some old blog posts and smiled reminiscing old times and thinking to myself "Wow! Look at where we are now!"  So here I am ready to blog again.

I will be honest last time I was blogging I had this thought in the back of my head, what if I look stupid to people that stumble across my blog and think my grammar, or punctuation is bad.  So I spent to much time typing and retyping many posts.  It became a time suck.  I am going to try my best to write what I am thinking and not focus on people out there that may judge me.  Because in 2, 5, 10 years from now. I will look back to my "journal" and smile while I read about our past adventures.