Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Rabbit Hutch from my stud

When I found our rabbits, we were going to slap a rabbit hutch together and call it good. Just something easy. Well, the plan kept changing. In the meantime we had them in a temporary cage that my friend let me borrow.

Joel spent a little time here and there on it and it was finally finished a couple weeks ago. He rocks my socks off. More on that in a little. I've got to save the best for last.

How have the rabbits been doing?
Well, Pumpkin is perfect. He is doing great. He is very friendly and even friendlier than Theodore a few times.

Coming in for a visit with the family. They aren't litter trained, but they prefer to only poop on the towel. Works well!
But Joel spent a lot of time taking care of Theodore one night while I was with my sister and the boys. Something had been up with Theodore. He had bare spots on him and scabs! We've got three thoughts on this:

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Oh. My. It’s a latte.

Do you love coffee? Do you love lattes? Me too!

I made a latte.

And I did it at home.

Okay, if you didn’t know, I worked in a small café for a short time and made a few drinks. They trained me on the hardcore skills, which I didn’t master, but still loved. I know that what I’m doing at home does not match up to real espresso, but what I loved the most and wanted to keep doing was latte art and drinking that lovely taste!

Guess what. The taste is fantastic. FANTASTIC. And now I can work on that art all I want!

Now, I’ll share with you my unconventional set up, and include a little info after about the differences between the real stuff and this tasty near match.

The mess. I think my stand mixer feels a little out of place in the coffee mess.

New Facebook Blog Page - how did that happen? + some of my favorite blogs on facebook

Why blog?
Sometimes, it’s lonely out here in homesteading land. Having a blog lets it be less lonely. Why? Well, because when someone wants to know what we are doing, they can read about it and comment, or talk to me about it. I know what we do is a little crazy to some, and I’ve noticed that it isn’t an easy topic of conversation. But it is fairly easy to share on my blog, where I can lay it all out, and let people start a conversation at the point they want to talk about it. Otherwise, I can just have the normal conversations (which are still fun) about other stuff. So, I’m not generally lonely, I just mean it can be lonely in homesteading land (which is a huge part of our life) – does that make sense?

Not everyone wants to read a blog that is heavy on the homesteading, or facebook updates about manure – and that is plenty fine. I guess I don't really want to make updates like that  on my personal page anyway. We are friends with different people and share different things in common.

Some friends are:
coffee friends
mom friends
Bible Study friends
farming friends

There is a core that lots of facebookers end up posting – pictures, family updates, current events… Homesteading(/all that other crazy stuff we do) is like that peripheral part I’d like to share and blogging is where I do that (and now the “opt-in” facebook blog page).

Modern technology, the internet, and all these small bloggers have made what we do possible and manageable – and I enjoy adding to that conversation a little.

How the internet has helped homesteading
Small homestead bloggers have been so helpful to me. Pinterest has been an invaluable tool. And Facebook is. When Joel went away overnight one Thursday a couple weeks ago, I started doing a little giveaway rampage. It was fun. I didn’t win any, but I found a whole lot of really cool bloggers. It was a wonderful find and I started to realize how valuable (and fun) all those facebook updates and community sharing have been.

In my facebook news feed, you’ll see John Piper, Voddie Bachman, Polyface Farms… and then the homestead homemaker blogs like The Elliott Homestead, Reformation Acres, The Prairie Homestead. And just recently I found all these wonderful people on facebook (in no particular order!):

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas time is here - photo overload

We had a wonderful Christmas time. It is the day after Christmas, but it still feels like the holiday.

I have to say, it was genuinely sweet and joyous. While I was making a calendar for my mom, I came across a few pictures and couldn’t help but get a little sentimental and miss my Grandparents. Thankfully, we have such sweet memories this time of year. And while going through these Christmas days, I could think back to similar days with happiness.

Just a fun picture I ran across. It says it is from summer 1991. Melissa is almost 1 and I'm 2 1/2 in this picture. 

Christmas 1997. Starting to open presents. We would visit with Grammie and Grampa (they came down the hill to us)
 after we did our family thing.
We got up Christmas morning, read from the Bible, put the baby Jesus in the manger and brought a shepherd and a couple sheep to the scene.

Christmas Eve Nativity

Christmas morning nativity

Sweet, oblivious, milk-gotee face
Next, we decorated the Christmas tree to add some sparkle and fun to our little celebration and put on a CD that got some dance moves from the littlest man.

Noah did a lot of decorating for us.

Adding the star
Of course, I had to attempt a few pictures after the tree was finished. Out of maybe 50, there were only a few where both boys were looking, smiling, sitting nicely, etc. It was hilarious:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

First Snow Day - family guitar sesh, happy animals, free choice bark, and wonderful hay

We had our first real snow storm last Saturday night into Sunday morning. We tried to think of everything. Put all the chickens together, closed them in their insulated coop, came up with a makeshift mega-feeder, and filled everyone’s water. We filled the bathtub with water to flush the toilet with, and stored 3 ½ gallons of drinking water. We weren't planning on days of power outage, just a little inconvenient overnight type. I told Joel we would just fire up his grill and melt snow if it really came down to it. There is an abundance of wet around here.

This is our first year with a variety of animals. I had already heard all the horror stories of going out in the storms to check on animals, making sure they are okay etc. I figured we would have a little work to do Sunday morning.

Turns out, we had about 10 inches on the porch and no power outages. Our road crew was out, and I’m not complaining, but I still didn’t want to go out on the road Sunday morning to get to church by 9:30am. Since we live 25 minutes away, we wouldn’t know what would be between here and there.

This was from another day, but the bundled up look was the same.
I bundled up, and went out to tend to the animals, and was inside in less than 10 minutes. It was cold out – but I wasn’t in because it was cold. I was in because there was nothing to do. I guess we have a pretty sweet set up here. The chickens were toasty in their insulated coop, the cows were perfectly happy in their shelter and their water heater was working fine, and the rabbits were fine… I didn’t have to shovel my way to anyone because we made everything so that we wouldn’t have to do that in the winter.

So we all settled in for the morning, turned on the Christmas tree lights, and read Luke 2, focusing on the Shepherds. We sang a few Christmas songs and a few specifically about joy - the specifics of Joy and the Shepherds because this was the advent week with the Shepherd Candle representing Joy. The boys got to actually interact with Joel and the guitar, and “play” the guitar with him. I think it was a treat.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Looking forward to Christmas 2013

It’s the holiday season!! I’m so excited this year. We are keeping it pretty simple and unpolished here. We are trying to be intentional and I think that is why it has been so pleasant.

Our church family is going through the advent candles and each week is themed according to the Advent week: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love. It has actually been pretty challenging for Joel to pick out themed songs, but each week comes together nicely with the sermon, songs, and candle lighting. It has been really wonderful, actually.

At home, the simplicity of our celebrating and looking forward has been refreshing and everything is a really helpful teaching moment.

The tree itself doesn’t have a lot of significance right now other than what it will become on Good Friday like we did last year. We got the tree early, so it sits in our house with lights and a few ornaments. But we will do most of the decorating on Christmas morning as part of our celebration of Christ’s birth. The tree will be fully decorated on Christmas morning and stay decorated through Epiphany, at least. This is also pretty convenient with little kids. We’ll see how it goes, but so far, I don’t mind having an undecorated tree until the big day.

Last year's tree. I posted HERE on facebook about it.
(You can also see our previous Jesse Tree behind the decorated one.)

This year's tree - the bottom of the lights are out. :-(

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The past month or so, Part Two - Chickens, Winter Pasture, Norway's Return, Cheese.

Part One is here: http://www.onbrowncroftacre.com/2013/12/the-past-month-or-so-part-one-vacation.html

I’m totally impressed with our buckeye chickens. The ladies are sweet and big now! They took longer to get to their mature size than the NH Red and Barred Rock, but they have surpassed them. They were bread to be good meat chickens originally – so this isn’t really a shock, but nice to see. I may just need to order more Buckeye chicks next year and transition our flock to all buckeye.

Barred Rock Hen and Buckeye Rooster - the nice one.
One of our roosters is friendly, and the other is not. The mean one has been mostly confined to the coop. I might want to clip his wing to make sure because he did get out a few times. He’s so big that it is hard for him to fly over the fence, but it’s his size that makes us want to keep him for our meat chickens. When I say he’s mean, I really just mean he tries to be bossy. He doesn’t attack relentlessly, but he tries to show Noah who’s boss, so this momma went out there to show him who’s boss a few times. He needs to be taken down the pecking order if he thinks the pecking order includes humans. Since the pecking order is established by physical conflict – this basically means I gave him quite a few boots to the chest when he starts to try to ruffle up his feathers at me and “start a fight”.

On Thanksgiving, I went out to take care of our animals and found a dead chicken in our coop. The poor thing. But I am endlessly happy with our chickens because they never peck each other, and are not cannibals. So I found her looking as peaceful as a dead chicken can, without a spot on her that helps me determine what might have been wrong with her. My only guess is she may have been one of the chickens that had yet to start laying and may have had a blocked vent that we wouldn’t have noticed. There really was nothing odd about her though, and none of the other chickens are sick. So I moved her out of the coop to wait for Joel to bury her and thanked God for the chickens we had and their sweetness and respect for her.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The past month or so, Part One - Vacation, Milking Shed, Norway, Pregnant Cows, Kitchen Painting, and NEW Rabbits!

There is so much to tell. I’ll give you a two or three part recap on what we’ve been up to:

We had the best vacation ever in November. I kept telling Joel the whole time that it was the best vacation we had had yet. It was a time of getting a lot done around here, but that is just how we wanted it. We did everything together and it was wonderful! I thanked Joel endlessly because I just loved being together and apparently really needed it. 

My Dad helped us get a shed that we found on Craigslist. It was free, but was also pretty far away. It was in really good shape and will be big enough to milk a mini cow in.

They cut off one of the eves to make it road worthy, and because we plan to make a larger one anyway.
This is before they finished the "winter pasture". I'll show you some after pictures in the next post.
More work was done clearing some trees, and building a fence for the winter pasture. So now I have a “Milking Parlor”, that awesome heater that Joel picked up (remember that $7 find?), and a surge milker just in case I need it or want it. I know I can hand milk because I’ve done it a few times, but I wanted the option of an electric milker and found one on craigslist – so we sold a few things and used that to purchase the milker. Just lovely.

We also started painting our kitchen cabinets. We only have the doors left to paint, and we purchased enough new door handles from a thrift shop for around $12. Our cabinets were laminate and I had done a bit of reading on how to paint them. We chose Olympic paint from Lowes that was semi enamel and was primer and paint in one. Joel sanded everything down with his orbital sander, we wiped the dust off, and just painted. It took 5 coats on the bookshelf, but everything else took about 3.

It's starting to get white!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

2013 Fall Homesteading Recap

I'm hoping I do something like this every fall after I've brought in and stored the last of the produce. I think it will help in subsequent years to look back on it. If you are curious how things went this year, here you go (I'll try to put links to mentioned recipes and canning recipes at the bottom):

So here is what we had this year:
 34 cups of frozen zucchini
12 pints of applesauce
~7 quarts canned tomato sauce
~16 quarts canned crushed tomatoes
2 pints of grape jelly
22 chickens in the freezer
~10lb potatoes
6 good sized spaghetti squash and one small
5 pumpkins

Applesauce and broth

Chicken, necks and hearts, zucchini... There's no room for a cow in here.
 And then we have laying hens and cows now. We have rhubarb and asparagus planted and doing well. Our herbs are doing well - chives, mint, lavender, rosemary, oregano. We'll also be getting some beef bones and fat from our friends cow to make bone broth and tallow.

As you can tell, unfortunately, many of the things I was hoping to grow never made it into the garden, or didn't make it once they were in the garden. That includes broccoli, cabbage (which was awesome last year), cauliflower and brussels sprouts that were destroyed by Basil (our cat). And a few other things.

So here are my quick summaries.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Traditions and Heirlooms

This morning we are acting like french people.

Okay, not exactly. I'm far removed from the french culture but I took French in high school and one of my favorite memories is dipping crusty bread from the day before in hot chocolate! Genius!

I'm enjoying sitting with my boys at the first table Joel and I purchased together and seeing a few new, fun, potential heirlooms around the kitchen. I found a couple butter paddles and a bread warmer at our local consignment shop. I can imagine teaching my kids to make butter and bread and using those often.

The bread warmer says "Bread, the symbol of Friendship and Hospitality"

This started me thinking more about traditions, heirlooms, the messages those things relate, and the cultures that started them.

Here, take a stroll through my spaghetti brain with me:

Monday, October 21, 2013

Progress and a cow on the loose.

First, that picture up there was my view this morning and was my pleasure to witness. Two brothers, friends, having fun singing and playing together. Isaac adores Noah and loves to get attention from him. And I think Noah likes being the big brother too.

About the blog title: our sweet buttercup got out of the electric netting on Friday morning. That was probably because it was off...

We woke up as normal, Norway was bellowing, the roosters were making a ruckus, and then I hear Joel from the living room "Buttercup's out!" What? Seriously?

I threw on presentable clothes and rushed out the door to meet my husband who was already standing next to buttercup with some tasty weeds. Since she was so calm, one of us suggested that Joel go get some hay to entice her into the fence again. That silly cow followed and hopped behind him like an excited puppy dog. It was quite the sight. Seriously. A waist high mini-cow (still probably 500-600 lbs) following Joel right into the fence. 

Joel is convinced that she wouldn't have tried it if the fence was on, so I'm not too worried. She really does hate the electric fence. But this led to tightening up the perimeter fence, just in case. We temporarily closed off the woods with cattle panel from tractor supply store and added some gates. Joel and my dad did more clearing in the woods and prepared some areas for post hole digging. Joel and I got a little yard work done and some inside work done too. It was productive, and I'm excited that we are closer to having everything set up for the winter.

Speaking of getting ready for winter:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Welcome to Brown Croft Acre

Well, you aren't really here, but I'm introducing our "farm" name! Welcome!

They are cute, and they are welcoming you.! - photo by my awesome husband
It took us a long time to come up with a name because nothing quite fit. I really like names that have to do with location, or type of farming, or other special interests... but we really don't have a set in stone plan for our homesteading endeavors, so things will change.

Brown Cow Family Farm was high on the list of likes, but we didn't really want to have a name that has a bias for the cow part of our homesteading.

Norway doesn't mind if we are biased toward him.

Monday, October 14, 2013

How far do we want to go with sustainability?

So how far do we want to go with sustainability?

I want to be able to do it all from scratch. ALL of it. Or at least, as much as can be made practical in price and time.

Chicken stock with one of our chickens

Like "meat" chickens. I don't want to have to buy the chicks each year because they are special hybrids. Ideally, I'd like to have my laying flock have a few broody hens that will hatch some chicks each year that we watch grow up with good mommas and then gratefully use them for eating when they get big enough. They'll take longer than Cornish X or Red Rangers/Red Broilers/Freedom Rangers, but I get to watch the whole process and see it happen on it's own. Minimal involvement.

New chickens just starting to lay eggs

I'd also like to culture my own mesophilic, thermophilic and fresh starters for cheesemaking. Maybe even make vegetable rennet out of nettles. So we'll have milk from our grass fed cow, rennet, and a sustainable culture that I don't need to buy.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Honey Sweetened Grape Jelly with apples for pectin

I just finished grape jelly and it was a success! Now I'm waiting for the canner to cool down so that I can dump it out and return it to a friend. It is the coolest canner ever. Joel agrees that we should find one because it just made my canning days a million times easier.

Part of the difficulty for me in canning is finding a recipe that fits our goals and that I can stick with. I didn't want to learn a sugar jelly with pectin, if I wanted to use apples from the yard as pectin, and honey from our future bee hive. So if I can get a good honey sweetened jelly figured out, I'd save myself a headache in the future when I'd have to experiment with a  new recipe and possibly not like it as much as a previous one.

Same with tomato canning, applesauce canning, and baked goods. I like to fill my recipe book with recipes that utilize what we can grow or harvest, or source in bulk.

My mom gave me a great recipe that she always used that uses one apple to help with pectin. Since it used sugar, and I wanted to substitute honey for it, I looked up other grape jelly recipes that use honey and apples, the USDA recommendations for jelly without pectin (because they have changed since the recipe book was published), and read up on pectin a bit (this is a great article on it).

So I can tell you, I didn't really meet the USDA recommendations. Please don't use this recipe and think I'm an expert. I told you last night, this was my first jelly attempt.

I strayed on the sugar. They say not to replace all the sugar with honey because it could cause problems with gelling, but I used honey 100% and just added a few more apples to up the pectin. But it also says to use "tested recipes" when replacing sugar with honey - so I tested it... I did follow the recommendation to waterbath it for 5 minutes.

So here it is.

Honey Sweetened Grape Jelly without added pectin

Monday, September 30, 2013

A Cow Update

It's late. Thankfully, I have chocolate milk beside me. Today was a much needed food preserving day and I'm currently waiting for some tomato sauce to be done. Thankfully, the chocolate syrup was made several days ago and ready for this exhausting day. Packaging birds, making jam, and this tomato sauce is all new to me. I've done applesauce, diced tomatoes, and freezing in the past, but not the things I chose to tackle today.

So lets have a cow update while I wait. I love this stuff and am trying to source all the best products and resources so that we can be raising our cows as organically and healthy as possible, so I'll share what I've found along the way.

The cows are doing great. We decided to go two ways with the fence I talked about: electric and barrier. We are using the stone wall as part of the barrier fence, some old livestock fence in the woods as another side, and some rough cut 1x6x12 lumber and 8" posts from the woods. My dad wants some of the woods cleared out, and we needed a fence, so my Dad, Uncle, and Joel cut some posts and some wood for firewood one weekend. The next weekend, Joel and my dad put the fence up. We'll have to finish the electric part when Joel stops going away so often. But at least the cows are easier to move along that fence now and they won't go running towards the road.

With the fence configuration, our cows are now responsible for mowing the back portion of my parents lawn. They are happy to oblige. In the winter, we'll switch to hog panels and two electric strands (we think) that are linked to the main perimeter fence. It should protect the calf and train him on electric fence at the same time.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Recipe for a relaxing beach day

So, it's been about 6 weeks of Joel being away on the weekdays for work. It's been rough, honestly. This mom needed some family time and some relax time. And I think the kids needed some special time too, even though they hadn't asked for it. I really wanted to get away from the typical daily grind. I used to get everything cleaned up before Saturday so that we could enjoy a peaceful weekend, but lately, I can't manage to do that without Joel home on the weeknights and things are just as crazy on the weekend - or crazier!

So a couple Saturday's ago, we packed up and headed for our favorite ocean beach spot - New Castle Beach. They have grass, picnic tables, charcoal grills, play ground, covered pavilions, bathrooms and a beautiful beach area. I highly recommend it. I think it cost us $6 to get in. So not bad at all.

It was awesome. We just weren't in a rush. I loved it. Food together as a family, beach time, reading time, Isaac loved the tent, Noah loved digging in the sand... No chores, no dishes, laundry, dust, or other projects to stare me down. Just a gorgeous day with my amazing family.

The grass spot

The Beach Spot

Monday, August 19, 2013

Wake up calls

This morning, I got three wake up calls. One alarm clock for Joel, who left early for a week of work. A second from a sad sounding juvenile rooster at 6am, and the next from our cows at 7am. So I got up, poured some coffee, and opened the front door so I could hear the commotion even louder. - once I was up, it quieted down...

Looks like a teen rooster, right? Or maybe me in the morning.
But really, the one I heard was real and outside.

And then sweet Noah decided to give Isaac a wake up call at 7:40am and loudly informed Isaac that it was time to wake up so that they could play. They routinely play in their room before they come out for the day.

snuggling in some clean sheets with his bear. Wartime Farm is on, of course.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Pictures from around the homestead - Mid August

I wanted to share some pictures of Buttercup and Norway and a little bit of what's been going on around here. I introduced you to our cows and how it all came about in the previous post. I'll be happy when the perimeter fence is up and that project is done! Of course, people say there is always fence to be repaired, but we are hoping to pick the right materials the first time to avoid some headaches. It's really just our second line of defense anyway. The cows will still be within their electric netting paddocks and moved around within the perimeter fence.

 Enough of that. Here's the fun stuff:

Sweet buttercup came for a head scratch.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Our 5th Wedding Anniversary and our unusual present to each other

I have a lot to tell you. And I have a lot on my mind. Joel and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary last Friday. Our sweet friends basically begged us to let them watch our kids so that we could go out. It was lovely and we had a really nice dinner at Jake's in Ossipee where we sat and talked much longer than usual. My man rocks and I love spending time with him. I loved looking over a few photos and shared them on facebook.

I need a lot of time with Joel, and that hasn't been happening a whole lot lately because of work. It's just one of those personality traits or something. It just so happens that the things we love to do together tend more towards farming. Not the shoveling poop and cleaning a stall type - but the planned rotational grazing, chicken tractor, a lot less work style since this isn't a full time thing. So we have enjoyed a few new ventures recently and since I like the work in and of itself, I'll also be okay doing it by myself when he is gone. But it will be really nice to do it all with him when he is here. We like productive fun.

Here is a little history:

Monday, July 29, 2013

My sweet boys

Today is Noah's third birthday and Wednesday is Isaac's first.

I'm not especially gifted in saying things the right way. So I often avoid things that I know need to be said well. Which as a result, means I don't say a whole lot about quite a few things that I think often about. Which, by the way, I don't think is a bad thing because I know some people are gifted in written words and I don't feel the need or the calling to be a great theologian or philosopher or emotional poet on here.

But sometimes, I just want to say something no matter how imperfect or bland, or fun or perfect it is:

My boys. Let's recap a little. They have stretched me. They are "runners", energetic, independent, and dependent. They love each other, they were born in the same sweet (or sweat) month, they have given me one of the hardest and most rewarding jobs there is.

They are each so different from the other, but still so obviously brothers and the sons of Joel and I.

Noah boy.
Noah was my polite baby. We dared not believe that his first words were "thank you" - but they were. He could never sit still and was always moving about the house. I had to blockade him with furniture to get anything done. He was born on a Thursday night in Massachusetts, 4 days late and 10lbs 11oz by c-section.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tales from the Homestead while making English muffins

Joel replaced our laptop screen and joked: now don't break this one! So I'm standing at the kitchen/livingroom divider while Tales from the Green Valley plays on the TV.

My timer says I've got two minutes before I need to start browning my english muffins. Then they'll be in the oven for 15 minutes! Can't wait to see how they come out. You'll probably find out too because I bet I won't finish this before we all dig in. Maybe I'll take some pictures. Maybe.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Finding some sweet things this week - These are a few of my favorite things.

Fourth of July fun.
I am so thankful for google hangouts this week. Joel and I both have android tablets, so while he is in Maine working, he brought his tablet and we have been able to talk every night. I gave the tablet to Noah last night in bed and Joel gave him a talking to about not going to bed the way he was supposed to... Of course they also chatted and got to see each other and say they loved each other. I actually didn't have to go back in after that. He just needed Dad to tell him to go to bed and that he loved him.

I'm over here trying to stay all composed, continue taking showers, feed everyone, keep the house clean and keep up with laundry. But the hallway needs to be swept, I wanted to do more work cleaning in the brown shed, and there are seasonal clothes waiting in the bedroom that I'd like to pack up and store away. Eh. There were a lot of other things I kept myself busy with and I needed to do some enjoyable things along the way too.

Thankfully there were things to sigh about - in a good way. So I'll share with you a few of my favorite things this week with some pictures:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Around the Homestead: chickens, chick hatching, poison ivy, planting, and more.

Joel is suppose to be home in 45 minutes. Dinner is in the crockpot... can I write this post in just 45 minutes, sitting on the hassock, with my "sweet blogging setup", and two kids playing in the background or using my shirt as something to hold onto as they "furniture walk"?

On that note: Isaac walked a few steps for the first time yesterday! He walked to Noah! Noah was seriously so excited. It was adorable. He reacted the same way my sister did when she saw it happen today too. Isaac was too tired by the time Joel got home yesterday to do anything like that. So Joel has yet to see it

Joel has been working more often than he has in the past. Quite a few more hours. It hasn't really been that easy, but he'll have Thursday and Friday off this week - so that is awesome!

So lets talk about what's been going on around the yard/homestead, shall we?

two chicken tractors, garden, and toys
there have been a lot of occasions for family muck boot days.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

More Kombucha and sweet treats while blogging with a broken laptop screen

Check out my sweet blogging setup.

Not really that sweet. I smashed the screen on our laptop, so the only way we can use it is to plug it into the TV. It means I'm using the computer a whole lot less... that isn't necessarily a good thing since our budget is on the computer. :-P

But I asked Joel if I could check in and chit chat on here for a few minutes tonight. He's so nice, he said yes. So I'm sitting in front of our TV on the ottoman catching up a bit.

I'm so glad Joel enjoys doing the crazy stuff with me. I'm talking Kombucha right now. We totally let our brew just sit in our cupboard this whole time! I posted about starting it back in April. As a result, we grew a thick SCOBY mother and two babies! I don't know a ton about this yet, but I've read a bit today as we tried to use the mother and brew something we could drink. The first brew was just to get the SCOBY going, and this time, we moved up to a gallon jar and put the two babies in a kombucha hotel. So here are some photos:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hot Chocolate for breakfast, flinging poo in the garden, and chicks.

This morning was a special morning for no reason at all. Noah asked for milk and I suggested hot chocolate milk (milk, maple syrup, cocoa powder, cinnamon, vanilla).

And then I made some “granola” by mixing the ingredients to the no bake energy bites (oatmeal, unsweetened shredded coconut, peanut butter, raw honey and cocoa powder). And while the hot chocolate cooled, I put some cream in the mixer for whipped cream. After I scooped out what I needed of the whipped cream, I let it run until it turned to butter. mmmm.

It was just one of those mornings where I look past all of the mess and still make more of a mess. It was just right.

Realize there is a mess. A big mess in my kitchen. And I also plan to work in the garden and get filthy this afternoon if the boys take a nap at the same time… I’m okay with messy.

Friday, May 10, 2013

May. This is happening. 9 months old, hair cut, and chicks.

I always want to tell you the little details of what is going on in my house at the instant I'm starting to write my blogs. I end up reading old posts and enjoying the tid bits, so I'll probably keep writing them. So without further ado:

My sweet Noah is taking a nap! Isaac is playing in the living room, and this mama has coffee beside her and a laptop in front of her. I'm sitting in my FAVORITE chair.

That is a monster. If you couldn't tell.

Coffee again? Yes. I never manage to make it for myself in the morning. But come lunch time, while I'm whipping something up for Noah and Isaac, I start the wonderful coffee. I find it works well with our rhythm and it stays hot until Joel gets home. He likes a surprise hot cup of french press coffee.

What else...

I'm listening to the 32 birds in our living room! They finally came, but they came a day earlier than we expected. So I got the call, scrambles to lay down paper towel and went to the post office. Then we put a latch on the clean out drawer of the coop (so that Noah couldn't open it as easily), and made a chicken waterer. It was a day. A good day.



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