Welcome to the journey,the tale and the saga of our

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Today we brought home my body weight in Apples,I upped the amount once we got to the pick up.

My kitchen is full of trays of drying mushrooms.

My house is full of kids,awesome! No really it is awesome.

We have out of town company and their dog here for the weekend,that's good too.

My house is bursting full like the story of the Mitten,where all of the woodland animals all try to snuggle into one mitten. So the cool wet months begin.


Friday, October 29, 2010

  Oh my goodness I have not been here have I? We have been so busy doing I don't know what; something cause I am one tired lady when I hit the pillows at night.
  A few days ago Chance and I slipped away again to pick mushrooms.This time we took our good friend Ms A with us,she had never been and was up for exploring a new adventure.The day was wet and even though we had all worn good clothing we came home so wet that we could wring our clothes out.The wet did not put a damper on us though I think the thrill of the hunt was over riding swampy feet and and dripping hats.While out Ms A was worried she was slowing down Chance and I since she felt she was not as athletic as we two.Me athletic? That's something I have not heard since I was a teen running around the soccer fields,it made me chuckle.In hindsight I see now that I do have a certain amount of agility when walking in the woods, a certain boldness, a sureness I don't think I walk with in the city. I trust my feet to be where they need to be so I can pay attention to everything else that is around me.
  Ms A quickly caught on that there are some skills one needs for mushroom hunting that take time,knowing where the mushrooms may be the biggest one and then there is this little waft on the air that is the smell of mushrooms.So faint it is hard to sort it out from the general scent of "The Woods" .So mushroom hunting is not about speed or being athletic, it is about carefully looking as you go for those tender morsels popping their heads out from under the duff. You gotta slow down and trust your other sense and yourself.
This round of picking was not as bountiful but we did bring home 4 pounds which we divided evenly so Ms A would have some mushrooms to squirrel away for winter. 
 Today Chance and The Cousin are going bird hunting and mushroom picking.Today the boys will look for my single most favorite mushroom the Hedgehogs. Chance and I don't always get around to finding Hedgehogs,they grow on the other side of the Willamette Valley from us so if Chance brings some home it will be a grand thing.Hedgehogs are a darling little story book like mushroom,the color of a toasted marshmallow and they have little quills on their under sides that give them their names.Besides having the typical musky mushroom flavor ,Hedgehogs also have a mild black pepper flavor which is what makes them my all time favorite.Good luck boys, I know I gave you a ton of ribbing about going with out me,only because I think the day is bitter sweet.Bitter because I am not going,sweet because you two are.But I love you both any way.
  I said this last year when I wrote about mushroom picking but it is so important I am going to say it again.( and I will most likely say it again next year.) Only go mushroom picking for the first few times with someone who really knows what they are doing.Someone whom you trust literally with your life.It is so easy to pick the wrong thing which can cost you your life. And remember this golden rule of my Dad's " When in doubt go without." This goes for any wild edible,period,end of story.

 Other than spending stolen days in the woods life has been busy.I think Chance and I have finally found our new homesteading groove.Things are getting done in a different way, but they are done.I now have an even firmer grip on the thought that baking can be done just before bedtime if it means there's good things to eat.See that goes back to my really old idea that if I did not get the bread dough going and baking by noon I was a failure.What was I thinking? Really? That is so lame. Why did I think that? I threw that one out awhile ago but now it is even more important to remember.
 The rains have returned.I could boo who in my tea cup but that would be a waste of time.There's no avoiding the rain so pull on some good boots and get marching along. Even thought the garden is now a soggy mess I still have not pulled it.Not because of the rain but because Chance has incorporated so much of the jungle-ly mass into his Halloween Spook-ville that pulling it all up will have to wait another week.
  My apples will be here in the next couple of days. I am glad this year that apples will keep for a bit.It may end up I pick up the apples on one of my days off and then stashing them until I have another day.Apple butter is a longer process so I will need a whole day for it.
  Well not much news and it is time for me to get moving.It's time to raise the boys from the dead and get them off to school.We have company coming this evening and I also have a few last minute things to do before I leave for my day at work.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

October Can Jam | Homemade Sriracha «

Oh my goodness! This has just hit my Must Make list. I don't know if any of you love Sriracha but we do.I don't mind buying it but nay time we can do for ourselves it is even better.

October Can Jam | Homemade Sriracha «: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Monday, October 18, 2010


Chance's 1st batch of Chicken sausages.


 I came home yesterday from a very busy day at work to the yummy smell of sausages cooking.Chance had spent his day at home cooking ,baking and making up a whole storm of food. Chance made us this lovely pile of chicken,sun dried tomato and basil sausages,it was his first try at sausages and all I can say is,he had better make some more because they were a huge hit.
Besides making the sausages he made a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies for lunch boxes and a pot of squash soup.The cookies of course were half gone by this morning when I packed the lunches and the soup was slurped up at dinner.
  Although our summer garden did not produce as much as last years our fall/winter garden is looking hopeful.All 10 of our Broccoli plants now have blooms on them,the Kale and Pac Choi are both coming along as well.The fall beets are slowly growing but I think we have lost the carrots.The Swiss Chard from the spring planting is still putting out and will last at least until a hard frost comes.
  The hens are slowing down on their laying, way to early if you ask me. The slowing of the egg laying is making me think it is time to thin out our flock a bit.We have 3 older birds who I know are no longer laying which means they have become extra mouths to feed with no benefit to feeding them.There are 2 other hens who I am not sure about as well and since they are only 1 1/2 years old I may wait a bit to decide what we will do with them.
  The 100 pounds of Apples we ordered will be here in the next couple of weeks.After looking back through my homestead journal* I think this year I will can more apple sauce and less apple butter only because the boys inhale the sauce so fast and I'd like to have it around longer this winter/spring.
   * Do any of you keep a journal of gardening and canning? I started ours last year to help me keep track of what I planted,where I purchased or how much I purchased and how much it yielded. I also have a section for the chickens,their "birth-dates" ,breed,temperament and their laying habits. And I have a list in my journal of the u-pick places I went to with, what and when I bought from them and the price per pound.Some households have their coupon files I have my homestead journal.(speaking of coupons,have you ever noticed how useless most of them are when you cook from scratch?)
  I feel as if I have not had any great things to share here in a long time.With the growing year so slim and me returning to work it's all so different this year.We have settled into my work routine but are still figuring out how to fit in the homesteading projects.Months ago one of the readers here asked me how I do it all.My answer was I am home full time.I am now seeing why she was asking her question.How I will mange it all is yet to be seen.I am lucky that Chance and the boys are great help with work around home.But it has always taken the whole family to keep a homestead running smoothly so I suppose we are just returning to the roots of homesteading in yet another way.
  Long ago my Grandfather said to me "When you see something beautiful or something that makes you stop and smile,that is God reminding you He see's you and is watching over you.Never feel alone in the world." I have been thinking of that lately, often and with pleasure.The weather here has been story book perfect,cool and crisp in the mornings followed by crispy sunshine by afternoon.The leaves are starting to turn a rainbow of colors and I can smell the wood smoke drifting in the neighborhood.Apple weather. I am not a church kind of person but have a deeply seated belief in a higher power that has many names.These days I find myself feeling greatly loved and blessed by the world around me,even if the garden was slim and there are no eggs.


Monday, October 11, 2010

YouTube - The Ten Commandments of the Native American Indians

Today I honor my Great- Great Grandparents who walked the Trail of Tears. I am fortunate to be able to say that ancestors on both sides of my family made this horrible journey and lived to carry on.

YouTube - The Ten Commandments of the Native American Indians: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mushrooms and A Chantrell-moblie in the kitchen

 Today was a beautiful sunny fall day and Chance and I spent it in the woods mushroom hunting.It is not often we go on this kind of trip just the two of us and Sol left for school this morning with a very disappointed face.
   We spent around 3 hours poking through the woods and we saw lots of interesting mushrooms along our way. I am hoping Farmer Deville will stop here and name some of them from the photos.
I think someone once told me this is a Cauliflower Mushroom.

This is the same mushroom as above just poking out of the soil.

I have never seen this one before.It was amazing.

Check out that funky green that did not show up until I shot the photo.

 What we were hunting for today were Chantrells,our favorite wild mushroom to eat.Last year we found a bumper crop all in one area.Today's journey took us three stops in different areas.We did not bring home as many as we had hoped for but a day spent in the woods is never a waste no matter what.
 . Driving up the road to our final stop we came head to head with a logging truck,ack! Chance had stopped our truck to look at something along the side of the road when I looked up and out the front window I shouted "Logging Truck!" Chance had to back the truck down the road about 3/4's of a block before there was a spot we could pull over.Back road/ logging road tip: Logging trucks stop for nothing,it is up to you to look out for them and you have to figure out how to get out of their way.Loggers are paid by the load,time is money they have no time to stop.
   Last year when we brought our Chantrells home we put them in the freezer.This worked fine but the mushrooms were much more soggy than we really wanted them. This year we are drying the Chantrells.Two of our preserving books say that this is the preferred method of preserving Chantrells.Chance strung the mushrooms on some heavy string.He then took this funky laundry drying rack we have and hung it from the kitchen ceiling.The drying rack has clips that Chance attached the strings of mushrooms to.Both preserving books say to hang the mushrooms above the Aga/ stove where it warm and dry but we don't have the right kind of space there.The books also say that the drying should only take 3-4 days,the books say the mushrooms will look wizened. 

Some of the Chantrells before they were strung up.

Our Chantrell mobile,right in the middle of the kitchen.

It was hard to pull ourselves away from the woods today.The weather was perfect ,warm fall sunshine that will leave us soon,the wind whispering in the trees,the knocking of a woodpecker near by and just each other for company.


Monday, October 4, 2010


Having a man who can fix just about anything- Priceless!

Having a washing machine running again- also Priceless !

Finding enough lose change in the washers filter to buy a large Latte- Puzzling!

I really am endlessly grateful for Chance's abilities to fix just about anything. There really was enough change in the washers filter to buy a Latte,a grande one at that.The whole filter was full of slime coated coins,ew.No wonder the thing would not run today.

I am off to do the laundry,

P.S I later counted the change from the washers filter and it came to $7.23,enough for 2 Grande Lattes.

Overcoming Pie Crust fear and my twist on Mincemeat.

      I started this posting last week and never got around to finishing it until now,better late than never I hope.
    Once upon a time I blogged that I have a fear of making pie crust because I come from a looooong line of amazing bakers,who made these light flaky crusts you can only get with lard.In the past I have left the making of pie crust up to Chance who dose not share this family history with me,who will willingly use butter and just get the job done.
  Even farther back in blog history I wrote about the boys buying me Grand Central Bakery's baking book,smart move boys. I have finally overcome my fear of pie crusts thanks to that book.One day I needed pie crust and Chance was not around so I bit the bullet and made one.Easy as pie,yup now I get the meaning of that phrase.
   The pie crust is made with butter not lard so you don't get the flakes but it is a good crust.The trick is to keep everything cold and you are good to go.The book even suggest to put the flour you will be using in the fridge.Now I figure if I can get over my fear maybe someone else will too having now heard of my brave deed.
  When I was home on Tuesday I went to the store for a few things and right in the middle of the produce section I had a brain storm,"why just make apple pie,I could try and make a meatless mincemeat filling" I knew I had at least most of what I would need.Minus the meat some people put in their mincemeat and minus the suet or lard.(there's that lard thing again,makes me feel fat just thinking of it.)
  Once home I slipped into my favorite apron,I was once again wearing black on a baking day,and pulled out the cook books that would most likely have mincemeat filling recipes.I mumbled over four different recipes and finally came up with my own twist based on what I had at home,how much time I wanted to spend and what I thought made sense.Here's what I did.There is no recipe to it just what I did,lots of handfuls and pinches but hopefully you will get the idea.

 Hrafinstaad's Mincemeat:
 6 medium sized tart apples
  A handful each of dried apricots,apples and some raisins (your choice of color)
 About 1 cup of Orange juice.
 Some cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon.How much depends on how spicy you want your pie.I most likely used 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon and cardamon and 1/4 of a teaspoon of the nutmeg.
  I cored the apples but did not peel them.Next I cut the apples in to walnut sized chunks.Chopped the apricots into slivers.I then put all of the first list of things into an oven proof pot and baked it at 350 for about 30 minutes.I wanted the apple chunks to be still a bit firm.I gave the pot a stir a couple of times while it was baking.
  Once I had the pot out of the oven I added in about 1/3 of a cup of marmalade. I added marmalade because all of the mincemeat recipes I have called for candied orange peel and I did not have any but wanted the orange flavor. Then I added in 1/2 a cup of apple butter.I added the apple butter to bulk up the filling and to add more spiced apple flavor.I stirred it all together and chopped at the apple chunks with the spoon.I left most of the apple chunks whole.Fill a pie shell and I baked the pie until the top was golden brown,maybe 30-45 minutes.
   The pie was good.Nice chunks of still firm apple, I had worried by pre-cooking and then baking the apples would turn soft but they did not.I loved the spicy orange undertones as well.One thing you might have noticed is I did not add any extra sugar to the filling,the marmalade and apple butter took care of that for me.By not adding any extra sugar the pie was slightly tart but the orange and spices made it rich which balanced out in the end.The raisins were nice little pops of sweetness too.I am going to keep this recipe in my files,it may be a tasty new addition to the holiday season.Next time I would also like to add some walnuts just to see how that would be.
   On page two of the Hrafinstaad News you will find that,Chance has decided to make one of our wine barrels into a smoker for meat.In one of our books there is a how to so he is going to give it a try.Once he has built it I will be sure to post more and the exact reason why use a wine barrel for a smoker.I am sure it has to do with flavor.
  Page three is all about how one of our young poulets is a rooster. I have been watching this fellow for awhile now.What stated me watching was as his feathers grew in I noticed his feathers on his back, right by his tail were laying like a saddle a sure sign you have a rooster.Then I noticed he has longer tail feathers as well and Chance spied spurs growing.I am sure there will be an ad in the Hrafinstaad News Classified section soon looking for a new home for our Roo.
  The final section of news,the Parenting section.Today's advice,always remember what it was like to be your child's current age when issues come up.A wise man once said that to us and it has been the best nugget of information when it comes to raising kids.Even when you are talking about being 16.