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.

Pantry Inventory

This month I’m doing a no-spend challenge for myself.  I will not be spending any money except to pay necessary bills and the mortgage.  Meals will simply be made out of the pantry.  I did ensure I stocked up on enough feed and hay for my animals before I got started.  Since it’ll cover Christmas I also picked up gift cards for my co-workers.

My intention in doing this is to force myself into a frugal mindset and stay out of stores with their temptations.  I’d like to focus only only spending on essentials in the upcoming year, so I can replenish my savings that were drained during my layoff.  I’ve got individual accounts set up for my major saving goals (emergency savings, new roof, enough to cover my health insurance deductible which doubled for next year, and starting to save fresh for a homestead).

Since the most challenging part of this for me will be finding new recipes to make use of all the food I have on hand, I started with an inventory.  This will make it easier to make sure I’m sticking to items in the pantry when I look for new recipes, and I can pick some of the less common ingredients (like farro or TVP) to base meals on so I can learn to make better use of them.  I’ll be sure to post up some recipes during the month.

Home Canned Items:
apple pie filling
apple sauce
asparagus
asparagus, pickled
black beans
broth
carrots
cauliflower, pickled
chickpeas
corn
dandelion jelly
dilly beans
garlic, pickled
grape juice
grapefruit
green beans
ketchup
peaches
pears
peas
pineapple
pinto beans
pork & beans
potato leak soup
potatoes
salsa
spaghetti sauce
strawberry jam
strawberry kiwi lemonaide concentrate
strawberry rhubarb jam
tomato soup
tomatoes, crushed
tomatoes, diced

Dehydrated
apples, diced
apples, sliced
banana chips
cabbage
carrots
corn
garlic
green peppers
hash browns
mixed veggies
onions
potato flakes
scallions
tomatoes
zucchini

Dry Goods
16 bean mix
6 grain rolled cereal
9 grain cracked cereal
alphabet soup mix
amaranth
arborio rice
baking powder
barley
beans (black, cannellini, chickpeas, great northern, kidney, navy, red, white)
blackeye peas
bread crumbs
brown sugar
bulger
bullion
cinnamon almond granola
cocoa powder
coffee
corn meal
corn starch
egg noodles
farro
flour
kamut
kasha
lasagna noodles
lentils
macaroni
masa
millet
mustard
oats, rolled
orzo
penne
polenta
popcorn
potato soup mix
powdered butter
powdered eggs
powdered milk
powdered peanut butter
powdered refried beans
powdered sour cream
quinoa
raisins
rice
rotini
salad dressing
salt
shiitake mushrooms
shortening powder
soba noodles
soy beans
spaghetti
spanish rice
spelt
spices, lots and lots
split peas
steel cut oats
sugar
TVP (beef, chicken, sausage, and taco flavors)
tomato powder
wheat
wheat cereal

Freeze Dried
asparagus
green beans
raspberries
strawberries

Frozen
chicken (breaded and non)
fish (breaded and non)
frozen fruit, assorted
frozen veggies, assorted
ground beef
steak

Refrigerated
butter
celery
cottage cheese
eggs
lemon juice
lime juice
mayo
shredded cheddar
shredded mozzarella
sour cream
tartar sauce
yeast
yogurt

Tinned and Bottled
chicken
cream of mushroom soup
enchilada sauce
fruit cocktail
honey
hot sauce
mushrooms
oil
peanut butter
refried beans
shortening
tomato juice
tomato paste
tuna
vanilla extract
vinegar (apple cider and white)

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