Friday, July 29, 2011

Favorite Things Friday: Books and a Giveaway!

There are so many great helps out there for the farmer. The internet is super, you can find just about anything you are looking for. I tend to be a bit 'old fashioned' I suppose, in this department of my life also, because I love a good, informative book!
There are SOOOO many out there right now. Books that are encouraging, inspiring and make you feel like you can get out there and make a difference in your acreage, be it .5 acres or 500.
Here are a few of my favorites right now.


I just got my hands on this book and it is awesome! I love the pictures and all the basic information on a WIDE range of subjects.




Joel Salatin is my farming hero! He has taken us back to common sense and helped us remember how farming is not industrial, it is practical and it is a good way to live!






Ashley English has some lovely and informative books out right now. They include some interesting recipes and some great step by step instructions for learning.
The Encyclopedia of Country Living is AMAZING! It has a WEALTH of information and just about everything you might have a question about... the book has your answer!

And last but not least!!!

I was contacted by Skyhorse Publishing and received this incredible book. 
Not only is it chock full of goodness, it is a beauty to hold too. 
Gorgeous photography, great information and it is a WHOPPER! It's huge!

I know anyone who has the homesteading dream would enjoy this book and here is your chance to win your own copy!

So, all you have to do is leave me a comment and you get an entry.
Tweet the giveaway, earn another
Facebook the giveaway, earn another
Email the giveaway to friends, that will get you another
Become a follower, that will get you one more
And finally blog it and you get another!!

You could have up to 6!!! entries!


Thanks again to the great people of Skyhorse Publishing and their generosity!

The giveaway will close Sunday at midnight and I will announce the winner Monday morning!

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Our Anniversary

Today marks a milestone for my husband and I. Anniversaries are such a sweet time. Remembering the past, enjoying the present and looking forward to the future... and I do. I am so excited about spending the rest of my life with this special man of mine!

Speaking of remembering the past, I've got a little story for you.

The rock you see above is one that is on the side of the mountain that we travel up and down whenever we are going into the 'city'.
My whole life, that rock has been an eyesore. People spray-paint vulgarities on it constantly and if it isn't vulgar, it is just stupid. Making me cringe when we see it. Well, I guess I had fussed about that rock enough that my creative husband took action one year for our anniversary.
We went into town one day and when we came back up the mountain, I saw what you see above.
SJB loves Chas 4-ever!
haha!
Talk about surprise. I laughed and cried and was completely shocked.

But it gets better.

He went to paint the rock after work one day in the broad daylight.
He wore a hat because he shaves his head and the sun around here in July is brutal.
He was painting and a lady going down the mountain sees him and calls the police reporting that a 'young punk' was spray-painting the rock... again!
The police show, give him a bit of a hard time and eventually let him leave.

But... it gets better.

The lady who called him in was from our church.  LOL!
She didn't recognize him because he was in the hat and shorts.
She felt SO terrible for telling on him the very next day at church we were given an anniversary card with some money in it... she apologized for turning him in and insisted that we go out for dinner 'on' her and hugged our necks, apologizing all the while.
She was such a dear, dear lady.
I can hear her laugh even now. She's been in heaven for many years, but she gave us a big giggle just before she left.

Happy Anniversary, Dear Husband.
I love you more today than ever.




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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Favorite: Watermelon Salad

Yesterday we picked our first watermelon of the season from our garden. It was so exciting. We were out gathering the days bounty when the children begged me to check them. I told them that we had to *thump* a watermelon to see if it is ripe. We went over to thump the melon and indeed it sounded hollow.
They were excited beyond words.
We brought it in, cut it open for lunch and it was perfection!
A gal on facebook insisted that I try watermelon salad. I had never heard of it, but looked it up and was happily surprised at the interesting list of ingredients.

So... I tried it.
So... I loved it!
It was perfection. The tastes and the textures... oh my it was good!
I am going to post the recipe below, but know, I didn't have red wine vinegar, so I used balsamic and I really liked it that way!
And, I didn't have any mint. At least I didn't have any at the time I made it, it was pouring outside and didn't want to go out to the herb bed to pick in the rain.

Ingredients

  • 1 (5-pound) watermelon
  • 1 Vidalia or other sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 6 whole mint sprigs

Directions

Cut the flesh from the melon and cut into bite size pieces, removing and discarding the seeds, and set aside. Peel and slice the onion into rings.
In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, salt, pepper, and whisk until salt is dissolved. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, a few drops at a time. Add in the chopped mint, taste, and adjust seasonings.
In a large bowl, combine the melon, onion, and feta. Pour the dressing over the melon mixture and toss gently until everything is coated and evenly mixed. Garnish with mint sprigs.
To serve, divide salad among individual plates and garnish with mint leaves.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

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Monday, July 25, 2011

Welcome Baby Bull

On Friday night we had friends over. The 11... yes, 11 children and I went to the pasture to see if there were any blackberries left to be picked (sadly there were only a few because the heat). We were quickly greeted by the cows. Much to our excitement, a new arrival greeted us as well!

Little fella, we have been waiting and waiting and waiting on you!

I had almost given up. I was afraid that Ruby had trouble delivering and he didn't make it... but thankfully we found him prancing around with the rest of the herd.

So I happily welcome our new bull, Bob into the family. If you are half as pretty as your daddy, we will be blessed indeed!

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Favorite Things Friday: Knowing

I've been blogging for a number of years now. Sometimes it comes easy, sometimes there are times of drought. It mainly is a journal for me to learn from and remember, but what is such a treat, is *knowing* that something chronicled here has been a blessing to someone else.
There have been a few times where I have met someone in real life who has honored me with saying, "You know, that post really helped/inspired/encouraged me."

Recently that happened to me.
I can't even explain how sweet it was for me to hear that something I said/wrote was beneficial to someone else. It blessed my heart beyond measure and I am so thankful for such a treasure.

My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,
Colossians 2:2 NIV



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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Our Rainbow Tree

One day a sweet friend of mine posted a very cute idea on facebook. I decided this had to be something we did with our children. I gathered up materials for several weeks and then one night when my nephews were staying over, we got everything out and made our Rainbow Tree.

You might have to click on the image to see better.

All we did was save our plastic water bottles and pulled the labels off. Filled them with water again and their choice of food coloring.
So simple, but when you see it in person, it really is beautiful.
When my Mom saw it for the first time, she thought it was glass bottles.


We had a good time hanging them in the tree. We pulled the van in the yard and stood on top to reach some high limbs. :)

I wish my camera could do the tree justice, Especially when the sun is hitting it just right.

 Good times are as simple as you make them... beauty is in perspective.
We will be enjoying our rainbow tree for many days to come and it was easy as pie.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Green Beans in the Garden


For the past 30 hours my Mom, Sister and I have been 'in' beans.
Two nights ago we went to pick and picked for almost 2 hours and went to our own homes and broke beans. Then beginning at 9 am yesterday we met back at my Moma's house and broke and canned beans ALL. DAY. LONG. Seriously!
If that wasn't enough, my sister and I went back and got 2 more bushels last night... in which we came back to our Moma's and stayed the night. We were able to end up with 31 quarts each and then 22 pints of salsa too. It was such a great time.
We broke beans while watching the BBC
It was so fun... We always enjoy each others company, but this seemed extra sweet.
I am tired.
I am achy and sore from all that picking.
But I wouldn't trade it for ANYTHING!
What a sweet memory we created.

Now, I'm working on a place for these beauties in my canning pantry and then I am looking forward to a beautiful nap.

Have a great day my friends!



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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Farming the land

Since we started gardening, we have done what we have always known. We have tilled the ground and worked the garden that way. It's just what we remember helping with as kids and so when it came time to begin our own gardening, that is the route we went.

Being one who loves to read and research, I have been learning about how tilling disturbs the ground, waking up dormant weeds that could be easily smothered out otherwise.
That got me thinking...

I want big beautiful gardens like the one above.
I have been reading about the no-til gardening like Sara and her family do over at Farmama.
They have some amazing gardens and gorgeous vegetables.

I also already do a little raised bed gardening.
As you know we have a few beds like that already. Some do fabulous, some not... the soil is poor in two of the concrete block beds, so we are going to have to work on that in the off season.

Aren't these raised beds amazing?
Again, my pictures today are from Pinterest 

I want these beautiful results WITHOUT the use of pesticides, herbicides and gmo seeds. Is that too much to ask for?

So, do you have any tips?
What is one thing that you have learned from gardening that you would be willing to pass along?
If I get enough, I might make a whole separate post with everyones tips... wouldn't that be fun? :)

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Friday, July 15, 2011

Favorite Things Friday: Canning Pantry


Today I am working on my Canning Pantry, I suppose that is why it is at the forefront of my mind. A favorite thing all the time. Going to my pantry and pulling something that we have planted, grown and preserved, it is a great feeling.

 We are putting up fresh peaches and blueberry jam, pickled peppers and peach preserves.
Such good, busy, happy times.
Next week, I hope to put up some green beans and tomatoes as the tomatoes are straggling coming in a little at a time.

Working together to provide for our family, it is such a good thing!
**all images from Pinterest 
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hello Yellow

On Carlie's birthday, I gave her a special treat... one thing I have never let her do.
Paint.
Yes, she has wanted to paint so many times, but I haven't let her until now.
I wanted our school area to have a fresh coat of paint before the year began so Wednesday evening we dove in and started.

It was already yellow, but not the same as the rest of our areas. This room was left out when we painted last time.
She was so excited and it was a great way to round off her already happy day. :)
Happily yellow and clean and fresh, a great nook of our school area, perfect for learning.
Once we get the other part of our area organized, I will let you see it too.

Hoping you a happy, sunshiney day!
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Last week

Last week came and went in a flurry of activity and busy-ness. It was a grand week, celebrating Independence on Monday, celebrating my Carlie Jean on Wednesday, painting, cleaning, cooking and then anticipating the return of our eldest from her first mission trip Saturday.
Busy-ness, good, but a bit exhausting.

Like I said our Carlie Jean turned 7 on Wednesday.

Born so close to the 4th of July, she is definitely my little firecracker. She is so sweet and loving. And so very compassionate. I could learn a lot from her in that department.
We were at my Sister's house for a cookout and figured since we were together, we would have Carlie Jean a birthday cake too. It worked out great.
She had been needing new big girl bike. So she was super excited to receive just what she wanted.
It was a perfect day.
Happy Birthday, Carlie "Dumplin" I love you so much!!!

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Inspiring Words



If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place,
  but have not love---I am a housekeeper, not a homemaker
If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements,
   but have not love--- my children learn of cleanliness, not godliness.
Love leaves the dust in search of a child’s laugh.
Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.
Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.
Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.
Love is present through trials.
Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive.
As a mother there is much that I must teach my child,
   but the greatest of all is….. LOVE.
                     --Michelle Duggar


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Monday, July 11, 2011

Overnight Blueberry French Toast

Hello my friends!

It's blueberry season here in our neck of the woods and what a yummy season that can be. Blueberry jam will be making an appearance soon. As will blueberry pancakes and blueberry cobbler.
I've even heard of a pizza with blueberries and goat cheese... hmmm, interesting combination. I wonder if my family would go for that? :)

Today however, I'm going to share with you a recipe that my friend Rachel pointed me to through Pinterest.

It was delicious and was not overly sweet.

I prepared the dish on Saturday night and popped it in the oven early Sunday morning. It was so nice to have a yummy breakfast that was so easy. Easy like Sunday morning. ;) haha
Here's the recipe.

OVERNIGHT BLUEBERRY FRENCH TOAST

French Toast:
   12 slices bread, cut into cubes (french or Texas toast work well. I used sour dough)
   1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, cut in cubes
   1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
   12 large eggs
   1/3 cup maple syrup
   2 cups milk (I use 1 cup milk and 1 cup cream)
Syrup:
   1 cup sugar
   1 cup water
   2 Tablespoons cornstarch
   1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
   1 Tablespoon butter

1.  Arrange 1/2 of the bread cubes in a greased 9 x 13 pan.
2. Sprinkle cream cheese cubes and blueberries evenly over the bread cubes.
3. Top with remaining bread cubes.
4. Mix together eggs, milk, and syrup.
5. Pour over bread cubes and cover pan with foil. Let chill in refrigerator overnight.
6. Bake covered with foil at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes or until fluffy and golden. Top with sauce. Serves 8.
    
Sauce: Cook water, sugar, and cornstarch until thickened. Stir in blueberries and simmer for 10 minutes. Add butter and stir until melted. Serve over the french toast.

Just to note, I used sour dough and loved the combination of the sweetness and the tartness together. I also didn't make the sauce, I just served with a tiny bit of real maple syrup. 

I hope you enjoy!



and

Homestead Revival

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Favorite Things Friday: Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas.
They can come in almost any shade.
They are big, full and glorious when in bloom.
The flowers when cut in a bouquet, can be a dramatic centerpiece.
Hydrangeas are still gorgeous when dried.
I think they are amazing! I love each little flower and then when they are all clustered it makes the big 'puff ball' or 'snow ball' flower.
They can be different shades of color depending on the ph of the soil.

I would love to have a yard full of them, along with so many other flowers, but until then a cut bouquet in a mason jar, truly one of my most favorite things.

Happy Friday everyone!

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