Autumn Air

It’s turned cool and rainy here, bringing the definite feel of autumn to the garden.  Although spring came late and summer was cooler than normal, most of  my plants are already done for the year.  The last 2 weeks have been a flurry of activity to harvest and preserve everything when it came in one big glut.

Rather than winding down, the garden just suddenly called it quits this year.  Half the plants were pulled this week and now what's normally my last chores are ready to be done.  Looks like I'll be harvesting my dry beans, carrots, and spaghetti squash th

What are normally late fall chores for me are already done.  The beans have already dried on the vines and were brought in.

Mochas idea of helping me shell the beans :)

And the spaghetti squash have died back and been harvested.  Most of the plants have been pulled and thrown on the curb for the city to compost.  A few stragglers remain:  the last few unharvested corn stalks, carrots, rainbow chard, kale, parsley, and surprisingly the eggplants and one last green pepper.

The spaghetti squash were harvested today. These represents my triumph over the last of the grass in the yard. I just weed whack their bed to the ground in spring and planted spaghetti squash seeds and they did the rest.

I’ve been starting my mornings with a seasonal tread I wanted to share, as well :)

Real pumpkin spice latte

Real pumpkin spice latte

1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon pumpkin purée
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 shot espresso

Combine milk, pumpkin, and spices. Froth, or heat in sauce pan for 4 to 5 minutes without boiling and then wisk until frothy. Prepare espresso and pour over milk mixture.

Making changes!

My house will officially be up for sale as of Monday!  I’m ready to move out a little further and think I’ll be able to find something in the 3-5 acre range so I can expand my homesteading operations a bit.  I’ve spent all week stressing and cleaning, but things are coming together.  It’s ready to show and I’m starting to spend some time each night detailing another small section…ripping it apart, scrubbing it down, freecycling/donating/throwing out whatever isn’t a necessity, and putting it all back together.  I started in the kitchen doing one cabinet at a time and will work my way through the house.

Downsizing will not only make the move easier, but one of the options I’m considering is building my own place once I find the land.  I’m planning on doing a tiny house building class next spring…and while I probably wouldn’t find “tiny” useful for a functional homestead…I can see working with something more along the lines of “small” with a small bed and bath, decent sized kitchen with a pantry, and a multi-purpose work room rather than a living room (that could accommodate the sewing, seed starting, etc that goes on as the seasons change).

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Outside, things are still moving right along. Zucchini has started piling in. You should see peoples faces when they talk about their family zucchini woes from 1-2 plants and I mention I have 6 just for me :D

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The first tomato will be ready annnnnnny day now.

First to blush!

And things have really filled in. This is my bed with all the “short” stuff. Carrots, green beans, and cucumbers.

One of my main beds full of green onions, carrots, bush beans, and cucumbers.

I’ve done a bit more canning….but from this point on I’ll focus on eating up what I can so it’s less to transport later. These are sloppy joes and unstuffed cabbage, both from SB Canning’s recipe site.

homecanned sloppy joes

Homecanned Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

And beef stew with vegetables from the Ball Complete Book

Today's project was 16 pints of homecanned beef stew :)

Yesterdays bunny spa night. They didn’t appreciate their manicures as much as you’d expect :D

Bunnies don't appreciate manicures as much as you'd think

The winter was so severe, that a lot of plants which are at the edge of their hardiness zone up here didn’t make it. That included peach trees…so my fruit cocktail tree didn’t make it. One of my big projects this summer was cutting it down, digging out the stump, and finding a replacement tree (many nurseries were sold out or had lost their own stock)

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And finally…got a little bit more done on my cross stitch. This was during a recent storm that knocked out the electricity. It made for a wonderfully peaceful night by lamp light.

enjoying a quiet evening by lamplight during a power outage

Catching up

Over the winter, I upgraded my rabbitry.  My sunroom now houses my new zealand does and silver fox buck, with room for growouts.  I plan on switching over to all silver foxes this year, as I’m really loving the breed.  I still have my angora couple living outdoors, but I plan to get out of fiber rabbits once they leave me.

Its sunroom cleaning day.  And I made Foxy his own bachelor pad so the large hutches can be used for the ladies and their litters.

Outdoors I finished digging the last little 30×3 strip of grass that was left in the yard, and now everything is planted.

June 1st Garden Panorama

I also found an updated google map of my place. It’s from a couple years back, but you can see it’s pretty small and stands out :D

updated google map...even the satellites can tell I'm the weird one in the neighborhood

Right now, most things are just sprouting. But asparagus is already done doing it’s thing, and strawberries are just starting to come in.

First strawberry :)

Weeding season is well under way, and you can see how much help I’m getting from my little garden buddies.  Right on top of the kale and snap peas is apparently the most comfortable spot in the yard.

Out weeding with my little garden helper, who's doing a good job of flattening out the kale and snap peas for me.

Spring has Sprung

Spring has finally made it to Wisconsin.  My tulips opened last week and the world is starting to green up as the trees leaf out.

About time, tulips!

I’ve got a few of the cold weather things in the ground, and this week I’ll finish digging the beds and get the rest planted.

Some starts followed me home :D. Kohlrabi, Swiss chard, broccoli, and cauliflower all got planted today.  I also found Jerusalem Artichoke bulbs at Menards and put them in the failed shiitake mushroom patch.

This year I’ve got a lot of other goals I’m juggling as well. I’m just finishing Hunters Safety and will take the test tomorrow. We already did the field day and I had a lot of fun shooting a shotgun for the first time…even hitting 2 of the 6 practice clays they let us have.

Hunters Safety field day. Finally got to shoot a shotgun for the first time and even hit 2 of the 6 practice clays.

I hope to get out hunting, and have friends willing to take me for duck and turkey. I’ll probably be doing deer as well, although that will be a lone excursion. Fishing has also begun…here I was showing my appreciation to the first catch of the season :D

Showing my appreciation to the first fish of the year . It was cold and windy but I was lovin it. Got a nice variety of white bass, small walleye, crappie, and a catfish that gave me a good fight

Proverbs 31 Sampler

For the last couple winters, I’ve been (very) slowly working on my first cross stitch sampler, A Virtuous Woman.

proverbs 31 crossstitch

I think the Proverbs 31 Woman is the perfect role model for the homesteader and I really enjoyed the project.

Proverbs 31 Progress

And where it ended up.

My first cross stitch sampler is finally up :)

Audio Adrenaline

I went to an Audio Adrenaline concert on Friday, and it was awesome!  They were touring with Kutless, Finding Favour, and Shine Bright Baby.  The last wasn’t my thing, but boy did those hyper lil things do their best to put on a great show.

Kutless :D

On my old blog, I had a concert listing that I had kept updated.  I found part of it but there’s obviously a bit missing in the middle there.  Still, I thought I’d try to resurrect the tradition.

Merry Christmas and a food update

Merry Christmas everyone!

I wanted to check in with what I’ve been doing with my meals during my no spend month. I used some great old and new recipes. I kept a log of every meal on one of the forums I went to, but I’ll give you some highlights here :) I plan do get some cheese, sour cream, butter, and lettuce and try again next month.

Mexican Style Quinoa Bake

Mexican Style Quinoa Bake

1 cup quinoa
1.5 cups water
2 tsp oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 -2 garlic clove
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 tsp coriander
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp oregano
4 dashes hot sauce
1 can corn, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed
28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup red salsa
3/4 cup cheese

In a large skillet, dry roast the quinoa until it starts to crackle. Boil the water in a small saucepan and add the quinoa when finished. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Heat oil in the skillet and saute onions and garlic for a few minutes until starting to soften. Add beef, spices, and hot sauce and brown.

Layer quinoa, beef mixture, corn, tomatoes, salsa, and black beans in order in a large casserole dish. Top with cheese and bake at 450 for 20 minutes.

Makes eight 303 calorie servings.

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Pinto Beans and Rice (Crockpot)

2 cups pinto beans
1/3 cup salsa
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons each salt, chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon each cumin, oregano, pepper
3 bay leaves
1 cup dry rice

Rinse beans and put in crock pot. Cover with 2 inches water. Add all but rice and allow to cook 4 hours on high. Cook rice according to package directions and stir into bean mixture before serving.

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(Bread Machine started) Rustic Italian Bread

I made half a loaf because the comments were that this made one very large loaf…so I ended up with a too small loaf…lol…oh well.

1 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
cornmeal, for baking sheet
1 egg white, slightly beaten

Add flour, oil, salt, sugar, yeast and water to your bread machine according to its instructions. Set on dough setting. When done, roll out and form into loaf. Put in loaf pan and let rise 30 more minutes. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

The only good thing about shoveling today is that the cookies will be cool by the time I come back in.

Recipe: http://www.food.com/recipe/bakery-style-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies-80470

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So many carbs…so little time Caramelized Pear Oven Pancake for breakfast this morning

Recipe from: blog.williams-sonoma.com/caramelized-pear-oven-pancake/

Baked Walleye

Preheat oven to 350. At a low temperature, melt 1 Tablespoon butter per serving in a small frying pan. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice and salt/pepper to taste. Dip fish into mixture and place in small shallow baking dish. Saute onions and mushrooms (I used dry shiitake and onions, and rehydrated them first) in remaining mixture, and pour over fish. Bake 20 minutes and serve over rice (or with baked potatoes).

mile high biscuits

mile high biscuits

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 egg, beaten (I used powdered)
1 1/8 cups milk (I used powdered)

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Cut in shortening until crumbly. Add egg and milk and mix until dough forms a ball. Spread on flowered surface and knead only a dozen times. Roll out to about 3/4 inch and cut with floured biscuit cutter. Place on lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 475 for 12 minutes.

snow ice cream

When life gives you snow…make ice cream :D

2 cups freshly fallen snow
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk

Mix vanilla and sugar with snow. Stir in milk until desired consistency. Serve immediately (or put outside or in freezer 10 minutes or so to set a little harder) Makes 1 serving.

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