Saturday, December 15, 2012


My annual handmade ornament is hand sewn and fashioned after retro bulbs of past.

In felt of course, with darling mini rick rack.

Also in red and white but I am thinking of doing some opposite like white on red and just maybe in green and white. There is just something timeless about red and white though.

I think they are mighty cute and along with years past felt ornaments, they help to round out my mix of handmade and hallmark.






Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Water Storage

Water Storage...courtesy of Homesteading/Survivalism(located in Asheville, NC)

This is certainly something all of us should know and utilize. Water....we have to have it to live and one knows not what the future holds.

How To Properly Store Water Long Term

In order to properly store water long term for emergencies or survival, you'll need to do the following:

1. Consider the amount of water you'll need. It is generally recommended that you have 1 gallon per 3 day period per person for drinking water alone.

2. Choose proper container(s). Glass is often too fragile as well as heavy, metal is often corrosive or imparts a taste to the water. Stainless steel or plastic food/water storage drums are the best option for storing drinking water since they both do not corrode or effect the water and neither support the growth of bacteria or the like. However given the price of stainless drums, we recommend the use of plastic instead.

3. Properly clean your containers. sanitation of containers prior to filling is very important. Wash them out with soap and water, being certain to thoroughly rinse out all remnants of any soap residue. Next sanitize the containers with 1 tbsp of bleach for every gallon of water you add to the container. Shake and cover the inside thoroughly and then rinse thoroughly with clean water.

4. Choose a proper location to store the water. Always choose a cool, dark location for best water preservation. And naturally one where the containers will "survive" as well.

5. Add your water. Supposedly tap water does not require much treatment since it is already chlorinated and the like. However when using well water it is recommended that you add a small amount of chlorine bleach to the water. This we do not recommend. After much experience with long term water storage it is our recommendation to use a bit of colloidal silver with every batch and to then ozonate the water vs the far more harsh chlorination. Also, rotating your water out (emptying and refilling with fresh water) should be carried out approximately every 6 months.

Here are polymer 55 gallon drums for water storage:

You can find a good barrel sanitizer here if not using fine silver, colloidal silver or the like:

Colloidal silver for water purification and storage life:

A perfect water pump for using the stored water from your barrels can be found here:

A smaller stackable water storage can be found here:

Ultra large storage tanks can be found here:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Getting My Craft On.....

The chill in the air gets me every I want to grab my craft goodies, stay in my pj's, put on the Christmas music and create all day!

So far.. I've recycled a couple of jars and plastic containers into gift containers. I've got about 10 more of those to do and they be all ready when I need them during the holiday season.

I'm also working on a couple of gift bags .... recycled banana bags They have such nice handles it would be a shame not to do something with them. I decided they was too tall for the jars.. so I shortened it by cutting off the top and re-gluing the handles to the inside. I picked out some scrapbook paper to cover the writing on the front of the bag and finished it off by putting paper doily as the centerpiece. All that's left is to add a some pretty ribbon to the handles. I also added a piece of cardboard to the bottom for perfectly!

So what are you waiting for....get your craft on!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Simple Life

I often say I was born in the wrong era. That I would have loved the pioneering days where living rustic and simple went hand in hand. But alas the cards dealt me a different hand. Today's modern pioneer or farmstead movement is taking hold and I can see why it's gathering steam. Those of us on the path to a more simple life can't get there fast enough. We dream of sustainable living, living off what we have and living within our means. But it is not easy. The internet is loaded with "how to" resources from canning to building housing off grid to yard gardening. But, you must have the initiative to take that first step to a happier and less stressful life. A life filled with reconnecting to our food, making a smaller imprint, repurposing, recycling, requiring less, learning the art of bartering and growing our own food. Basically, you have to break the maddening allure of consumerism and embrace simplicity.

Each of us has our own interpretation of the "simple life". I know what I want and how I am going to get there. If you are just starting on your simple life journey, I recommend you sit down and write out your goals. As elementary as that may seem, you need to see it to believe in it. Maybe you need to get out of debt first, or downsize your home, or learn to garden to grow your own food. Whatever the barriers, start addressing them with a plan...and stick to it. Your dream will not happen over night but what will happen is you will become more motivated as you meet your goals. Trust me on this.

Let's start with one of the biggest barriers to any dream. Money. Well, you have to have it and how do you learn live on less? Think about this for a minute. Do you have less money because you have gotten in debt and your monthly income goes to "paying" off credit and frivolous purchases? If that is the case, you need to analyze your spending and break your habit of impulse spending. That in itself may be your hardest obstacle. Let's say though, debt is not your issue but instead you have a low income job and just don't "make enough". This may be slightly harder to overcome but it is not impossible. The old way of thinking is there are always ways to save money. Maybe you just have to get a little creative. Walk instead of driving when possible. Quit eating out. Shop thrift stores. The name of the game is to save money to purchase a small home with land or purchase land to build on. If you commit to spending less and saving more, be prepared to become happier and less stressed!

Next up to think about is food. It seems almost daily we're hearing how companies are pulling tainted food from shelves, how cancer causing ingredients are being found or how much "refined" sugar is in the food we eat. Our food is making us sick. All of those things combined should be enough to motivate one to find an alternative source for their food. But alas, many people don't think they have the time or resources to start growing their own. If that's you're way of thinking then shop local, visit family farms and pick your own. Learn how to can, dehydrate and store your food. The initial purchase of buying dehydrators, canners, etc will be expensive but the long term benefit of knowing where your food is coming from outweighs the cost. However, if there was one thing I could urge you to would be to start a small garden. There is just something magical about seeing your own food growing and being able to walk out and pick your very own fresh vegetables. You're not wasting the time or the gas to go to the store to buy fresh. It's just right out your back door. There are so many resources about gardening on the internet and in your local library to not give it a go. And yes, it is work to garden, can and dehydrate but you are reconnecting with your food source and that in itself leads to less stress.

So, there are the top two things to think about on your quest to a simpler life. If you are having trouble getting started or staying motivated then surround yourself with like minded people to stay on target to achieve your goals. Once you are on your way, you'll be so surprised that living simply is truly the way to a happier life.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tree Collards

Before an internet friend gifted me some old fashioned purple leaf collards I ordered some off the internet thinking they were the same. Come to find out what I got isn't even close to what I was looking for. Good example of not doing your research properly. But nonetheless I am giving them a go. They came bare rooted with instructions to stick into moist potting soil. So I did that and the wait began. Soon they started to leaf out. If I follow the instructions as directed they will be ready to plant in the ground by mid Oct. Now will I get to pick any this year? Good question...maybe I'll get a few to throw in with the ones I'm growing from seed... we'll see. I've seen them called both tree collards and tree kale and they can grow up to 9 ft tall.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

From Here to There

Living the dream...are we? Not yet, but we are in the planning stages. So how are we going to get there? Downsizing the house and upsizing the garden are our main priorities. Learning to live on one income now and not later when retirement becomes a reality. Little by little we are finding our niche on what we can cut back on and the must "haves". Also how to address the following: Money - unfortunately you have to have it and you must learn to live on less. Saving is the name of the game. Housing - yes, either you own or you rent. Your choice but the sad reality is it will be one or the other...for most of us anyway. So what do we really need? We are in that process now as to space and size. Transportation - yep, have to think about that too. We are down to one car and have a truck for back up. Car pooling is our current thing and will continue until the first of the year. Then we may end up doing something else..depends on if the ole DH retires or not. Insurance - again, you have to have it. Home and car are minimal. Health insurance who knows? Finding Happiness - we know what makes us happy and becoming more minimalist in our needs and wants is making us happy and content. This one is paramount and you should if nothing else decide on how you can be content. I often say my Grandma lived simply, not lavishly. She enjoyed simple things such as bird watching and gardening and did not covet fine jewelry or clothes. Her rocking chair, front porch and wide open spaces brought her contentment and happiness. Not a bad way to approach life...not bad at all.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Coop Moving Day

With our new Ameraucana chicks outgrowing the dog kennel rapidly, we are faced with moving the coop and adding on. Of course we had to pick the hottest weekend predicted to break records to do the new move. High here today 102 with heat index of 115. Nice. Of course the old Hubs is just raring to get this project started. Hopefully, within an hour or so at least the original coop will be put in place and back together

Saturday, June 23, 2012

2 things: I think I will make one of these next year: And 2...the self watering buckets have been awesome so far. They are starting to use about 1/2-3/4 gallon of water a day on the ones in the direct afternoon sun. The other smaller tomatoes are not using but ~ a pint a day right now. But it's a success! I got the directions from this you tube video:

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Recycling paper

Here's a little tutorial on a cute way to recycle paper from the Dreadlockgirl.

Monday, May 28, 2012


I've been digging potatoes the last couple of days. What I have learned: The reds have done much better than the Yukon Gold. Simple fact the reds are outproducing the golds. So, next year I probably will do all red. Been researching vegetable pits for storing them. Here's the link to Mother Earth.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tomatoes in bales
Tomatoes in the ground
Tomatoes in self watering buckets
Due to the overwhelming germination rate I had on the both the tomatoes and peppers, we have had to branch out on where we could plant them. We have tomatoes in buckets, in the ground and in bales. We have at least 20 tomatoes setting as well as the peppers are starting to bloom! I plan on getting a dehydrator to dry some of the peppers and possibly the tomatoes. I also plan to do some refrigerator pickled peppers. Good grief if they all produce, we will be opening up a road side stand to sell the kidding..I'm serious! And what about that sunflower? Courtesy of the birds and it has to the nicest one ever!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

To Garden or Not..what a difference a month makes

March...just starting

April...where we are now

So, to put it in perspective, my space is not large. It could be but for now I am concentrating on what is working out as far as what I have planted, what will be planted next and so forth. I also plan to weigh everything. Because I am like that. I want to know how many pounds of produce was yielded versus cost(last year I didn't do this and wished I know just to see). I've heard planting potatoes is not worth it in a small garden. But I beg to differ. Last season, I grew in a very small bed probably around 10 lbs. From those 10lbs along with the squash and green beans also from our garden..I got at least 20 meals in the form of grill pockets. From picking to table our dinners took 30-35 mins. We ate fresh, healthy and loved it! I'm not re-inventing the wheel here, just saying. basically no matter how big or small your gardening space, with good planning you can grow in season veggies year round.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bella + 1

The waiting is over. During the night or possibly early egg hatched into a little yellow chick( I mean really...what else would it hatch into for pete's

Bella is keeping the chick warm along with the other remaining eggs that have yet to hatch.

I'll give those eggs another day or so to see if they do or maybe see if Bella decides to abandon them, meaning they must be duds. Still can't believe she's a first time Mom at age 10!

On another topic, I had planned to buy some Barred Rock and Rhode Island Red chicks from Hudson's Hardware. Apparently raising chickens has taken this part of the county by storm and they are selling out in 2 hours. Along with quick sales are long lines. I may have to resort to a mail order business to get all pullets. May work out since I am not really ready with the new coop...uhhh not even in I haven't even decided where we are going to relocate the existing one. Decisions, decisions!

Saturday, March 31, 2012


Jeff the"Proud Papa"

Bella, the last hen of our original bantam mix flock is sitting on 3 little eggs. Because I did not pay attention to when she starting sitting, I am guessing on when we will have chicks. Best I can tell, it will probably be the end of this week or first part of next.

I have often joked that she never laid an egg in her little life(she was my smallest hen)... however guess she showed me...funny she only laid 3 though. My past clutches have ranged between 8-13 eggs. I'm assuming she gave it her all...haha..seeing how she is 10yrs old. Wonder how that equates to human years?

Now, we just wait and see and hope they are not all roosters.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Game on

In full swing around here....potatoes, peas and onions....done!

Tomatoes are up and working on their 2nd leaves, won't be long before I will need to repot them.

Pepper seeds to be seeded today! I am a little late, but proceeding on anyway.

Left to do or should I say left for Monty to do - fashion 2 more beds for the corn.

All that's left now is to wait and see what works or doesn't. And to quit looking every day to see what's growing...hehe..just can't stand it...have to look :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Garden Journal

I've always wondered why keeping a garden journal is important. Well, now I know. Year to year it's just plain hard to remember what worked, what didn't and at what times you need to do this or that. Those who have never been farmers, like me, can't keep it straight on when to plant or when to start seeds. It becomes even more complicated when you start trying new things to grow.

Side note. I really like the B&N brand of 8x10 monthly planner but even before the Christmas season got into swing our local store ran low on the style I like. So, thinking I was just out of luck I bought one from Walmart. It's ok but I still wanted the B&N kind. So, my darling daughter found one in Minne and sent it to me. Only problem was I had already started using the Walmart planner. Which by the way is working wonderful for staying on budget. So, my B&N one has been riding around in my work bag...with nothing written in it and here it is...February!

Ahh, but last night I had a revelation....empty journal...perhaps a match made in heaven? I do believe so. The calendar pages are large allowing me to write in notes, add dates for expected harvest, when we planted our veggies or planted seeds.

By golly, I may just be onto something! My new Garden Journal Planner may just be "all that"!

Added benefit, I can keep it to refer to for next season.

Yep, I'm brilliant!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Seed Magazine Inspiration

This time of year brings a variety of seed magazines to my mailbox. I love to look through the pages and decide which variety of seeds I will order this year. Sure can't beat a good magazine with lots of pictures to get you all excited and inspired for the upcoming spring planting season.

On another note, the fencing around the front garden is almost done! Only one more section to go. We've ordered the wood to build the new raised beds, so hopefully by the end of next weekend those will be ready to start composting in. We're in the planning stages as to what is going to go where but I am thinking of definitely growing beans, tomatoes, squash, spring lettuce, onions, potatoes, peppers and maybe some cukes.

Will post some pictures soon!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Why, why, why do the darn weeds have to be so green?? They stand out here and there and everywhere in my yard.

They make me want to garden my entire yard so I don't have to mow or pull a single strand.

With yesterday's warm temps...where did you find me? Well, out in the yard...yes, you got it...pulling weeds and cussing along the way.

As in Lord of the Rings...."The world is changing, I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth. I smell it in the air".... and I see weeds a growing....

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Re-looking, Re-defining, Re-doing

It's that time of year when we redo our budget, redefine and goals and re-look at how we did last year. I can honestly say we managed to accomplish most everything we sat out to do.

There were 2 major things that we did not get accomplished. One was to finish fencing in the front garden which affects my next move and that's to incorporate more raised vegetable beds. I'm going to need the fence put up and beds fashioned pretty soon so I can start composting to amend the soil. We all know spring will be here sooner than later. The second thing was to redo the chicken pen. I want to get a dozen more layers and I want to sell my surplus. Hopefully, this will offset the cost of keeping the chickens and provide us with healthy eggs once again.

Financially it was a challenging year in general with food and gas purchases topping the list of expenses. Car pooling continues to be very cost effective, so we will continue that into this year. Food, well I am going to try some creative preparation of plan-ahead meals to help with breakfast. Of course left overs will still be a good part of our dinner meals.

I have set our money saving goals extremely high and it is going to be quite challenging to accomplish. However, the goal of building the little house will become a reality and how sweet it will be!