Welcome to the journey,the tale and the saga of our Suburban Homestead.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ever notice?

    Have you ever noticed that little box on the right hand side of my blog, the Lijit one.One of the options is to look through the recent readers,I have a habit of when I check in here I check the recent readers list.It can be interesting to see who has stopped by and where they live.It even shows if the person was searching for something.Mostly I see chicken butchering,killing cones-how to make and the other big one is the search for the differences in types of chickens used for cooking.
  Just now I checked that little gizmo and whoa horse what did I read? Paris, France searching for "butchered girls". Oh lord that is grim sounding and kind of freaked me out.Lets all just hope that some how something did not translate the way it should have.

 Today I have been tinkering with my own version of mincemeat for pie.We will be having said pie for dessert and I'll fill everyone in once the votes are in.

 Rois

Monday, September 27, 2010

No steam for a battle

 Today Chance and I made what we thought would be just a couple of phone calls. Easy right? Just punch in the numbers,wait for someone to pick up and quickly get the business at hand done.But no that was not how the cards were stacked and laid out for us today.
  All we wanted was to find out the final sum owed on Issac's hospital bill,we have been waiting 6 months for this answer and to make a doctors appointment.Did we find the answer to our questions? Not really.
  The hospital and the insurance company are still arguing over minuet points concerning why did a 16 year old boy have his gallbladder removed.Geez mister insurance man, I don't know, maybe because the dang thing was impacted with stones and causing great pain.
   I think the insurance company is irked that they keep having to pay out for Issac.The staff knows him by name after all. We can't possibly be the only family with a sick kid on the face of this planet.I know we are not. The last time we were at the hospital right down the hall from Issac they held a Going Home Party for some child.Those parties are extra special,it means the kid going home has been there longer than 60 days.My kids longest stay of 2 weeks is a drop in the bucket compared to 60+ days so pay up mister insurance man!
 Then there's the doctor's office.I know my kid is not the only kid in the world and is just another patient.I know that his Gastro doctors office is one of two pediatric offices in the city.But really I call you telling you my kid is having some issues and not well at all and you tell me 3 weeks until he can be seen? Our regular Pediatrician will bump someone who is just coming in for a well child check if there is a child with a greater need.The last time we had to wait so long Issac ended up in the ER waiting to go to surgery at midnight.
  I have no steam for this battle today. Chance was home this morning helping with the calls so I was not totally alone, a fact I am truly grateful for but none the less I am at a stand still.
 In the past I have kept my chin up and my feet moving forward.This time I just want to sit in a dark corner and do nothing.In my last posting I wrote about Issac giving me so much courage and it is true he does but today there are things I don't want him to worry about or maybe not even notice.I don't want him to think about the money to pay the bills because I don't want him to feel the guilt I do over my own bills.I don't want him to worry about getting to the doctors in time.I want him to believe he can make it through the next three weeks.
  Today there is no way to kiss it and make things better . I just need to find my inner calm so I can build up my steam again,put my chin up and take a step forward.The meaning of Issac's name is laughter, today I will focus on that along with all of the other good things in our lives.

  Rois

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award,aw shucks!


     My friend and  fellow blogger Alison sent me a Beautiful Blogger Award here is why-

    I am sending you this "beautiful blogger award" because you are a beautiful person, and I learn a lot from your blog. You are one of my inspirations and I though that you might enjoy doing this activity - Alison

   Well,aw shucks Miss Alison,thanks for the kind words.The Beautiful Blogger Award is part chain letter and partly a way to say "gee,I think your blog is great" .There are two "rules" to the award,I have to write about 10 things you may not know about me (gulp) and pass the award on to someone else.

  My Ten things about me:

 1. A few years ago I had major surgery and after wards the epidural for my pain meds came out so I had no pain meds for 5 hours after surgery because my nurse thought I was some sort of freak or something.Ever since then I can not watch any kind of medicine based T.V show. I get a full blown panic attack,even writing this makes me a bit off.
2. I have studied three languages - French,Russian and Hmong. I understand all three when spoken to but will have to answer mostly in English.
3. I love shoes.If I had the money I would have a huge collection of them.Not high heels though just nifty shoes and boots.
4.When I was 5 I had a pet Turkey who laid me an egg everyday.At the end of my year in Kindergarten my teacher was moving on to a farm.I gave her my Turkey as a house warming gift and to show her how much I loved her.
5. If I could, I would eat Mango and Sticky Rice every single day and never tire of it.
6. Our son Issac gives me so much courage when it comes to having Crohn's Disease.He has taught me to be strong and keep going because what other choice do you have? He is my Crohnie (ha ha bad pun)
7. Out of all the things I do and make I can not knit.Learning to knit is on my winter to do list.
8.  As a kid I thought Earwigs (the bug) would crawl up your neck and bite you on the ear, which would cause  a little curly wig like the old lady down the street wore to grow on your ear.
9. I think ever kid should go to camp at least once in their lives.Even as an introverted child camp helped me to blossom and grow up.
10. I feel at home the most in the woods.

Rois

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Making your own brown sugar and joyful noise came to visit.

 This morning as we were prepping for a visit from The Cousins, Chance made Brown Sugar.Last week I had found a posting somewhere that I have lost, I found the how to and the why make it yourself,Chance just beat me to the doing of it.It really is so simple that I am not to sure I will bother buying bagged brown sugar anymore unless I am doing some sort of maga baking project.
  The reasoning behind making your own as I read it on the forgotten website is it is actually cheaper.Which is a good enough reason to make it but not my true reason for making it.At one of our local co-op markets they sell my favorite brown sugar which is as dark as black strap molasses but it is spend-y and rare treat.So now I can try to recreate that brown sugar and have it all the time.
Chance's Brown Sugar
  All you have to do to make your own brown sugar is take some white sugar (how ever much you think you will be wanting) put it in a bowl (Chance used our Kitchen Aid mixer to do this part) and start stirring in some molasses until you have the color and flavor you want it to be.Since you have now altered the moisture in the sugar you will need to store it in an air tight container. Chance did not measure any of this he just kept adding the molasses until he got the color he wanted.Next time I am going to try and add more of the molasses to see how close to the co-op's I can get.
  Maybe not everyone keeps molasses in their cupboards like we do so if you are making this for the first time and have to buy molasses this won't seem like a money saver.But I bake with it often so already have the molasses on hand so it seems kind of like a freebie to me.

A band of cousins,let the wild rumpus begin!
 Today my Cousin and his three kids came for lunch and a visit.As you can see from the photos after lunch the kids pulled out most of the musical instruments and had their own jam session,it was a rumpus in some ways but mostly a very joyful noise. And can you believe your eyes? Do you see that rare thing in the back ground? It's called a girl child! Oh my we need those around more often what a great change of energy.
Miss Z playing the didgeridoo.
Wild Mushroom Pirogi
 We had a pot luck lunch of Lasagna, Swiss Chard and Chick Pea wilted Salad and Wild Mushroom Pirogi.The menu was an attempt to feed all tastes. The Wild Mushroom Pirogi was my attempt to keep reminding Cousin and us that we are going mushroom picking soon,it's written in stone now.I tried to be a little creative with the dough scraps,those are suppose to be mushrooms on the top.






Hrafinstaads soon to be rain barrels.

 Shortly after the Cousins left our neighbor stopped by he had something for us if we could drive across the neighborhood to get them,two wine barrels for free. We had asked the neighbor a while ago about his wine barrels he turned into rain barrels,he said he would let us know if he could get some more.Well these two were suppose to be for his parents who decided they did not want them after all.The barrels were going to be just put out to the curb for free but then they remembered us and so now they are here.One of them will live in the flower bed along our front walk way near our front door.I think it's going to look nice.First we will need to find plugs for their bung holes and Chance will build a platform for them to sit on.I am still not too sure it make sense in wet Oregon to keep the rain barrels but the idea behind them is a good one so we shall see if they are worth it or not.
Other than all of that life is good.Yeah sure our garden sucks this year but I don't feel so bad about that anymore.After talking with several friends around town who are either professional gardeners or have gone through the Master Gardener program I now know that even our "better educated" gardening and homesteading friends are having a bad garden year.Whats the saying? Misery loves company?

Rois

Monday, September 13, 2010

senfgurken: vengeance will be mine! « Culinaria Eugenius

senfgurken: vengeance will be mine! « Culinaria Eugenius: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"


The other day I found an almost too big cucumber in the garden that was a bit yellow,oops.I brought it in and Issac asked me if it was any good? Maybe,maybe not was my answer.Issac suggested pickling it.No,it's too late for that,pickles are done.
I wish I had seen the linked recipe above maybe I could have saved the cuc from the compost bin/chicken snack bar. Now I know and have book marked the page. After taking time to grow our own food I really don't like wasting the investment,this recipe is inspiring me to find more ways or recipes that use up those "oops I over looked that ___" things we grow.

Rois

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Homesteading bliss.

   Today was a good homesteading day filled with wintering in tasks and getting things in order for the coming week.The sun was out with it's slanted fall sparkle to it making weeding a not so bad job.
  My shrine to St.Elizabeth is working and all of my baking came out perfect.My only baking related question currently is: How is that whenever I decide to bake I am wearing black? Thank goodness for my lovely collection of vintage aprons.
    The changing weather means that soon it will be time to hunt for mushrooms again.The word on the grapevines is the Chantrells are just starting to peek out.
  

Chantrell Mushrooms
  Until next time,
   Rois

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pickles and Chickens

After spending the past few days in bed with the flu which is the biggest waste of time to me and a pain in the backside all around, I am up and feeling mostly myself and ready to check in with all of you.


  I asked Chance for his input,thoughts, ideas or his maybe next time I would___ about pickles and here is his answer.
  It was easy.And I really should get in touch with Portland Charcuterie about curing meat and making pickles.( Ah yeah?! Stop talking and do it already! )
Chance's Pickles.
   Ok then,I guess that's it.I will add though he canned up 19 Quart jars from 20 pounds of cucs, that are now sitting in the pantry letting their magic work.We use my Grandmother's recipe that dose not tell you how long to process or how long to let them sit before you pop a jar open so we use the Ball Canning Book's guide lines.15 minutes processing and about 6 weeks of fermenting time.But really with Pickles the longer you can resist the urge to open a jar the better.Last falls Pickles hit their prime late Spring.I really do love Grandma's recipe especially the one scant cup of salt part with no naming of which kind of salt or what is a scant cup by the way Grandma?

 As some of you may know we have a handsome Rooster named Zephaniah who is the father of our 3 homegrown pullets that hatched this summer.When we brought Zeph home we told the neighbors if his crowing is bugging you please let us know and we would re-home him. The time has come, Zeph needs a new home,a neighbor whom we respect greatly commented on how vocal he has become.We are hopeful he can live at our friends farm out in the country where Zeph can go and be his loud and handsome self. I will miss that guy,he's been a great Rooster who took good care of his flock of girls.
 There's more news from the chicken yard as well.The Mama Hen has gone Broody again.It is totally the wrong time of year for this since the warm weather will be gone before chicks could become steady on their feet.This time around we are not letting her sit on any eggs.That dose not mean she is not trying really hard to sit.Her story is a funny yet sad one here it is.
  Mama has no eggs in her nest and when one dose get laid there we take it hoping she will just get the idea, nope.Chance put a block of wood in her nest to keep her from sitting and so the other hens wouldn't lay in Mama's nest.Mama still tried to sit,  on the block of wood! Ok, so now what? We are now letting the hens out every day to roam the yard and picking Mama up and forcing her to get off the nest.We then shut the coop door until evening.Mama now struts around with her tail fluffed up looking like a turkey's tail growling at everyone and thing.Poor Mama,poor, poor Mama.All of those hormones going to waste and a bad case of Chicken PMS.Watching her go through all of this has put a thought in my head or maybe I should say phrase- "bird brain". Only a bird brain would try and hatch a block of wood.
  This is kind of a lazy way to keep a hen from being broody,kind of. The other way to discourage a hen from going broody is to put her in a small cage that is only big enough for her to take a couple of steps.A kind of solitary confinement to get her to snap out of it.When we had an old cage we did this but sometimes it just seemed to not really work and even though we go about things with a certain amount of farmer's sensibilities it just gave me flash backs to all of the film footage out there of those God awful commercial chicken "farms".
   Make your own choice either way it takes a week or so for the Hen to get it over with.

   The last bit of chicken news.Our three Pullets now have a nickname,"The Bearded Ladies". All three have been graced with the Americanas beard from Zeph. Every time I look at them their markings change just a little bit.The two with the Gold Lace Wyandotte coloring are losing the light colored hoods they had but are still lovely.And the other black and white has the best coloring in her beard, a salt and pepper effect.I wish the trio would hold still long enough to get a good photo to share here.
( I stopped here due to Sol begging me to see if the Peach Crisp I made this evening was just right for eating.It was and bowls full topped with vanilla ice cream were enjoyed.)

 Other than pickles and chicken news what has been going on?.... I have been collecting seed heads from various things in the garden for next years garden,our cool weather crops are looking more hopeful than the ones we planted in the Spring.We shall see how long that lasts since we are due for La Nina weather this fall/winter bringing us even more rain than we had last spring (of course,go figure we live in Oregon after all.) and sometimes colder temps.
    I can't remember if I mentioned this but if you have fruit trees you may come to realize that every other year there seems to be no or little fruit.This year we are having a no fruit year. I have also noticed that it is also a no spider year here at Hrafinstaad.Usually by now I am walking through the yard waving my hand in front of me to knock the webs down before I walk through them.There have always been spiders despite us having the chickens so why there's no spiders this year is a mystery to me.I understand the fruit tree cycle but no spiders has never happened here before.I have also noticed tons more wild bees,3-4 different kinds in fact.This is good,those poor little things are dieing out all over and we need to them to keep the world fed.I don't know if we are seeing a rise in them because we now have several plantings they really like or if they fared better this past winter.Having this kind of relationship with the world around me is important to me,it keeps me from forgetting that I owe the Earth stewardship in exchange for all the Earth gives us.
    Right after taking note of the fruit trees,the spiders and bees I read a book by Barbara Kingsolver called "Prodigal Summer".Ms Kingsolver's name may ring a bell, she also wrote "Animal, Vegetable,Miracle" Prodigal Summer is what I consider a "chick book" (not my normal genre) but I enjoyed it for it's message about how inner connected and important the circle of life is.I would recommend this book not for the romance that comes and goes but for the conversations about how dependent one life is on another and how little most know about this.
  Wow,this post is a bit long so I am closing for now before anyone's eye cross.
  Rois

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

unclutter your life – give your stuff away

unclutter your life – give your stuff away: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Hey everyone I just found this and wanted to encourage people to think it over and maybe try it in their neighborhoods. Early in the summer Chance and I went to a near by neighborhoods "Take it or Leave it Day" event it was very much like this and a huge success.
Events like these have so many good points to them and all of them are listed on the website,go check it out.

I will have Chance's Pickle Report in the morning.

Rois

Today

Today Chance will be canning our Pickles by himself.This is part of the new era we are living in, dividing up the homestead work we once did together so things keep going.I'll post later with his thoughts on his first solo canning project.

Rois