"The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land."
-Abraham Lincoln

Finally an update!

It's been awhile since I've updated and I sincerely apologize for that.  But.......in the meantime I have spruced up the old blog a bit.   I've put up a totally new layout and I'm continuing to add little things here and there as I go along.   I've got comments up and running so feel free to drop a line if you are so inclined (and no it does not have to be in rhyme *heehee*).  

On the homefront, I have several different WIP's going on.  I'm working on crocheting the afghan from hell (see previous post entitled afghan from hell) for my husband, knitting a hat for my daughter, sewing some winter clothes for my youngest and middle babies, harvesting pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, green lettuce, apples, and various other fruits and vegetables. I've also been having car trouble (first the window wouldn't roll up, then the brakes went out, the check engine light went on and finally the speedometer stopped working) and trying to work on that.  Otherwise, I'm just trying to keep the house in some amount of order.   But, hey, at least we've finished the corn!
I've also been shopping...

I've added this cute little monkey flannel fabric to my stash collection (on sale at JoAnn's for $2.99/yd)  I'm hoping to make some cute pajama's out of it for my 3 year old.   Plus, I found adorable little flannel dinosaur fabric (underneath the monkeys and also on sale) for the baby.   

So, as you can see, I haven't dropped off of the face of the planet.   But, alas, real life is calling me once again (my dryer is screaming at me for attention as I type) so I must be off.   :)

Free Food Friday!

It's Free Food Friday! Free Food Friday means I take a little time to share one of my family's favorite recipes with you. Enjoy!

This is the blanket I completed for Project Linus. It's a simple double crochet v-stitch with a picot edging. It's all done with a K hook and it works up really fast. This was the smaller sized pattern found right here. If you aren't registered to the website, you'll need to register to see the pattern but it's free and easy and there are tons of nice patterns on there.

I'm really behind in my postings right now but I'll try to get pictures of the other projects I've been working on up here in the next couple of days.

Busy, Busy, Busy

Life right now is a little hectic. It's the nature of the season, I suppose. I'm trying to get everyone's winter clothes finished. I've gotten my first hat KNITTED (yay!) for Zachary and I'm working on Nicole's. Then I'm on to Nathan's. I still have Zach's winter clothes to sew, a few more winter clothes for Nathan to sew and just a couple for Nicole left. I've also finished the first Project Linus blanket of the season. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures yet, I've also been very busy in the garden and with the cows so I haven't had much picture taking time. Hopefully I'll be able to get some loaded up today after we make a few more batches of corn.

Also coming out of our garden...beets, lots of beets (I don't even really like beets all that much). Lettuce. Potatoes, potatoes, and more potatoes. Eggplant. Apple cider (which is what I spent most of yesterday doing). And beans. I've also been collecting seeds for next Spring's planting. I seem to be increasing my inventory considerably from last Spring. It's usually about this time that I start to question my sanity. :D

Picture time!

These are just some pictures I took of a wood pile next to our woodshed and then played around with them on photoshop. Nothing special but I don't really have anything else to blog about today so I thought I'd share these.


I think it's safe to say that Fall is our busiest time of year. It's the time of year when we're harvesting, canning, chopping firewood, sewing, crocheting, and newly knitting winter clothes and just generally getting for the chilly season.
So, not only have we been picking apples and pears, we've also been picking squash. These are a few of our patty pans and zucchinis.

Zack has become our official squash quality control officer.


I just thought this picture was funny.


Pears aren't the only thing we've been picking around here....we've also been picking apples! (I bet some of you thought I was going somewhere else with that, ;0 )
Fortunately, our apple crop isn't a total bust like the peaches nor is it as pathetic as our pears. We actually have multiple full trees. My crystal ball sees much canning, freezing and baking in my future x-)
The first picture are typical macintosh apples. The above are a gala hybrid courtesy of my father-in-law.

These are the tragic souls left behind. They jumped ship (aka, tree) early and are now making a nice feast for the bees.


The pears are finally ripe. The kids and I went out to pick them this morning. Fortunately, not many had fallen off the tree, only about 4 were on the ground. Unfortunately, there weren't many in the tree to begin with. We ended up with a pathetic total of 8 pears. Chock it up to an almost total waste, second only to our completely nonexistent peach crop. I guess we have the late freeze a few months back to thank for this. Oh well, at least the 8 we do have seem to be pretty tasty.

I'm Teaching Myself to Knit

I decided about a month ago to teach myself how to knit. I figured it was only fitting that I should learn to both knit and crochet. So I went out and bought myself an "I Taught Myself Knitting" book which came complete with two sets of needles, a nifty little counting gadget, some stitch markers, a couple other little whatsits, and sweater patterns straight out of the 80's.

I proceeded diligently to scrap out about 4 rows before giving up entirely. I think that during that first attempt I was expecting something completely unrealistic. I was honestly expecting it to be pretty much the same as crochet except with two needles instead of one hook. It's not the same as crochet. Everything from holding the needles to controlling yarn tension seems different. That first attempt, the frustration of pioneering a brave new knitting world got the better of me.

But not this time. Oh no. This time I came prepared. This time I when I picked up those needles, I knew what I was getting myself into. This time I sat diligently down without the half-baked, lofty ideas. This time I've turned out three sets of at least two or three rows. It's going to be a lengthy process here I think. I still don't know how to make a purl stitch, I don't know how to fix mistakes like dropped stitches (which I think I'll learn next), and my stitches are completely uneven (but improving). But with the help of the internet, my trusty little guidebook, and my own two hands I think I'll make a knitter out of myself yet.

Here's a little bit of my handywork so far:

Project Linus

I first became aware of Project Linus when my daughter was two and in the hospital for surgery. She recieved this wonderful crocheted afghan to cuddle with after the surgery and during recovery. She's referred to it as her "sick blanket" ever since. Whenever she has a cold, stomach ache, or really any other illness she has to have this blanket. Even her dolls and stuffed animals get this blanket when they aren't feeling well :)
I've loved this organization ever since. I've made afghans and quilts for them ever since and am looking forward to making more in the near future. There are different chapters for each state. If you'd like to make a blanket for project linus you can start by looking up the chapters in your area in your state. Give the chapter coordinator a call or an email to see what size and type they are in need of at the moment and get crafting.
There are a few guidelines: they must be child friendly (of course), homemade, washable and they must come from a smoke free home. All of this is of course listed on their website which is linked above.
They even have their own kids fabric line in partnership with Avelyn manufacturers so be sure to check it out if you are searching for fabric for a Project Linus blanket or for any other project. It's called Komfort Kids and the fabrics are so cute. 8% of the sales from Komfort Kids goes right back into Project Linus which is definately cool.
If any of you crafty critters out there are looking for a service opportunity that showcases your excellent crafting ability, please be sure to keep Project Linus in mind. My daughter and I can both attest to how much it means to a child to be on the recieving end of one of these blankets and I can also attest to how great it is to be on the giving end.
Keep Crafting!

A Little Something to Share

I found this photo from Jiggs Images on Flickr and wanted to share it on here. I just think that it's so cute and it showcases such a wonderful cause. This quilt was made by the Tweed Quilters to be given to kids in hospitals who are facing life threatening illnesses.

My Homesteading History

Coming into September, I find myself reflecting on our homesteading history. People often ask me, "what made you want to start homesteading?"

Many times the idea of taking on a homesteading lifestyle is hard for people to wrap their mind around. I mean, it isn't the most convenient or easiest choice by a long shot. So why even start down that path?

I've heard a variety of reasons from other homesteaders about why they started, for some it was a part of their culture all along. Their parents and grandparents did it so it just made sense to them. For others, they wanted to be debt free. Still others wanted a more "green" lifestyle. There seem to be as many different reasons for starting down this road as there are different homesteaders.

But for us, there was a wake up call. Sept. 1 year ago we had a decently bad storm. Winds kicked up to 60mph gusts. Alot of trees and limbs were knocked down in the storm and, of course, we lost power. We weren't the only ones out of power either. Almost our entire county and at least 3 neighboring counties were out of power. The storm was bad, but not nearly as bad as the aftermath. The power outage, which should have only lasted a day or two at most, drug on for 2 straight weeks. Turns out that the electric company hadn't been updating their equipment they way they should've been nor were they clearing limbs the way they should've been so when the storm struck their outdated equipment couldn't handle the massive overload caused by the downed trees and limbs.

So there we were, stuck, with two small kids, a pregnant woman (me), an elderly woman and my husband with no power, no water (we have well water run by an electric sump pump), we couldn't even get into our grocery store canned foods because my can opener was, of course, electric. Wouldn't have mattered anyways, I couldn't cook because my stove and oven are electric. For 10 days we had to flush our toilets with water from the lake across the street. We'd go out with buckets, gather water, and then when someone used the bathroom we'd dump the bucket into the toilet to flush it out. For 10 days, we lived off of peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches, crackers and the fresh vegetables that we got from my in-laws farm (thank God for that).

I began to realize that our total reliance on the outside world to cover our needs was not the best way to do things. So when the power returned and life slowly crept back to normal we decided that we were ready to make a change. We bought a grill, and a generator. That was step one. We started to cut our own firewood. Step two. We planted our own garden, step 3.

And as we journeyed down this new path I saw a whole host of other benefits. I would be teaching my kids life skills that just may come in handy as inflation increases, government debt increases, etc. I remember seeing something in the news a few months back saying that future generations may be so saddled with debt and high taxes that they will not be able to retire. No social security to fall back on.

I'm giving them a way out with this lifestyle, if they so choose to take it. With the skills I'm teaching them, they won't have to be enslaved to society for every little need they have. They'll be able to grow their own food, make their own clothes and therefore, hopefully, save even more of their money so that they can put some away to retire with or whatever they need.

So with that knowledge in hand and the suprising satisfaction of being self sufficient pushing us forward, we know spin our own yarn, raise our own chickens, grow 2 acres worth of vegetables and fruits to feed not only us but our extended family, our neighbors and our friends. We raise beef cattle in tandem with our in-laws. We make our own clothes for the most part and we love every minute of it. It's not a lifestyle for everyone, but it works for us and hopefully those who read this and other blogs like this will be able to at least take away bits and pieces of it to help further their own independence.

A Little Housewife Humor