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

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Pssst,

  Psst, I have a big secret,  something I have never ever shared before. Something few have ever seen. Guess what ...I like to draw but never let anyone see my drawings. So today I am taking a HUGE step forward and sharing with all of you the drawing I have been working on.

 Of course I can see a million things wrong with it and a few changes I may make but there it is my latest drawing.

Rois

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Just a quick hello to say Happy Thanksgiving to one and all. Today I am grateful for a house full of people I love,crowing roosters who remind me to "GET UP,YOU HAVE THINGS TO DO! " , 4 pies baked before midnight, and chilly weather because it makes the house seem even cozier.
 I am even grateful for one sleeping teen aged boy (not one of ours) asleep on the sofa in the living room.Why? Because it tells me we have a great home,where it is ok to fall asleep on the sofa while pies are baking ,I am squeaking away on my fiddle ( to fill the baking time nicely) ,the cat is cuddling into said sleeping boy looking for a warm place for the night and the wood stove is crackling.
  Just now said teen aged boy woke up and said in the most pleasant voice "Happy Thanksgiving". Yes!  In deed Dear Boy Happy Thanksgiving to all.


 Rois

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Snow day.

 Today is a Snow Day for the boys, the first one this school year.Today I will have a house full of frisky puppies, wait I mean boys.Somehow I will need to work on getting our house ready for Thanksgiving around their playfulness,winter layers of clothing strewn around and their requests for gallons of hot cocoa and tea.There's only a dusting of snow with patches of ice,not enough to really play any snow games but I think the boys will be giddy none the less. Really I can not blame them.I mean it is Snow after all, a rare treat here. ( Or used to be a rare treat here on our valley floor but as some folks say there is no global warming.Yeah right, no global warming my A*#.)
 Last night while we were waiting for the snow to start I made some of these 3 D Paper Snowflakes.  They were very simple to make but I did change a couple of  steps. The first step I changed was step # 3. The directions did not show to do this but I ended up folding the triangle in half to make the cuts in the paper so they would be evenly spaced. I also used a glue stick for making the curls.I read that one in the tips section so it was not my own idea but seemed easier than fumbling around with tape I did not have to begin with. I really do think younger kids who have nimble fingers ( That's a hint to you Natalie, I am thinking of your Little Miss M.) could do this project.Both of our boys learned to make them in Middle School.I used paper from the printer to make the first two.I ended up with these large sized snowflakes that are about 13-14 inches across.I love them, I think I will make a whole blizzard of them in different sizes.Maybe by the time I make them all I will know where the camera has gone and retrieved from and I can share some photos.
  So no one spoke up about doing some holiday cookie recipe swapping. (Excuse me while I  wipe my tears and have a very tiny pitiful  moment. Ok,I am done.) But greendeva3 did leave me her Grandmothers Norwegian Butter Cookie recipe in the comments which was so sweet of her.I noticed in her comment that our Grandmothers shared the same first name ,well actually it was my Great Grandmother but - Ellen. I love stuff like that,little connections with people.There is still time to do some recipe trading folks.I have not even started to bake for Christmas yet so there is time. I personally have 31 more days until Christmas baking must be finished.Anyone?
   This Thanksgiving it is up to me to do all of the pie baking,gulp. My Aunt who usually bakes the Pumpkin Pies is not feeling up to it,her Pumpkin Pie is the pie the whole family has set their standard to and there is no recipe,gulp. My Aunt says it is all about color and smell,gulp. I am going to give it a go and pray for the best. Sol has requested a Pecan Pie,another pie that will be new to me this year.Sol loves making pies and when we were talking pie flavors at dinner one night he made his request which includes him helping me. Sol is so sweet,here he is a big lug of a guy and he still likes to help Mama with the baking.
 Two of our chickens have become the "Wild Ones", they are one of the hens and the roo we hatched this summer.They will not stay in the coop or the chicken yard.Even though Chance raised the fence around the coop somehow they are still getting out,even with clipped wings.The two of them have been roosting in a tree at night.I am mostly ok with this, it is a the natural way for them to be. If they are too dumb to stay out of the weather or high enough in the trees to keep safe than maybe they should remove themselves from the gene pool.But....but...but...those two are our Homegrown Chickens,the very first chickens I know I will cry over if something happens.Currently their names are Loowitt (the hen) and Ransome (the roo) but I have been thinking of changing their names to Hansel and Gretel. Think about it.....they are "lost", the other chickens ate their trail of crumbs so they can't find their way home again, the witch (aka the Raccoons.) wants to eat them.The only problem with their story, I don't think they want to find home.I am hoping today's snow will motivate them to go into the coop tonight to be safe and snug with the rest of the chickens.

Rois

P.S - I just happen to be be the BIGGEST DORK EVER! After writing this post this morning I went out to feed the chickens and standing there in the yard were "The Wild Ones" safe and sound, all fluffed up on this 23 degree morning. And as I fed the chickens I hear a cock a doodle do  not from Ransome  but  coming from Loowitt. What the?! How did I screw that one up?! I guess looking at the chickens with my glasses on really is the best thing to do.Once I looked at Loowitt I really felt dumb,there is the feathers shaped into a saddle on his back and the long tail.Oh yeah, and the cock a doodle doo thing as well. I was thinking Ransome's long tail was a sure sign of being a roo and since we had yet to witness the young one crowing it had to be Ransome but nooooo, it was Loowitt crowing..Lesson learned today: Always wear my glasses when trying to sex a chicken.And just to rub salt in my Homesteading wound Loowitt is now standing at the backdoor crowing at the top of his young lungs most likely laughing his head off at me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Snow!

It is snowing here,the boys are praying for many many inches,our dog is frisky,the wood stove is cozy and it all makes me smile!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

 
 
    The last few days here have been relaxing and calm ; a much needed break from last weeks turmoil.Sometimes just being at home is the best cure.
   I spent Monday cleaning the house.I am trying to get some things done now before the holidays come whizzing along.In between cleaning projects I made Apple Butter.I made it in the oven so while it was cooking I could do other things. I made a total  of 6 pints and that will be the whole stock of Apple Butter for this coming year. I realized that Chance and I are the ones who really like it so I am saving the rest of the apples for Apple Sauce.I will be making Marmalade this winter and I still have my strawberries in the freezer to make into jam as well,so we will be set for jams soon enough.
  I took a break from being indoors Monday afternoon.It was fairly late into the day by the time I got there but the duskiness of the light was just right for putting the garden to bed for the winter.I cut everything back and pulled the weeds and considered which beds should not be used next spring. I cut a large bouquet of the last of the Dahlias.I left their stems long and rangy,I wanted them just as they were once I put them in a vase. I smile when ever I walk by the flowers with their nodding heads.I know these are the last blooms until next summer when once again the garden will be lush and beckoning. I did miss my gardening companions- the busy Bees but they have gone to bed for the winter.Sleep tight little brothers and sweet dreams to all of you.
  Yesterday I spent the morning finishing my house work all the while thinking of  my holiday things to do list.We don't go crazy with holiday shopping and like to keep things simple and homey but there are some crafty things I'd like to find time for.This year I would like to make some of these little pods to give away as little Christmas favors. I am thinking I will fill them with candies,toy prizes and maybe some fortunes as well. One of my favorite blogs has recently given me the Christmas craft bug, Natalie over at Chicken Blog made some of the little paper house I love so much and she made paper chains. I think Hrafinstaad will be decked out soon with as many miles of paper chain as I can find paper for.
  I found the time yesterday to finally try out making my own muffin pan wrappers/liners using parchment paper. I found this tutorial but really it is so simple you may not need it. All you need are enough 5 inch squares of parchment paper to fill your muffin pan.The tutorial said to use cooking spray to make the papers stick to the insides of the muffin pan but I did not find this step to be helpful at all. I also did not line the pan with the papers first because once I let go of the papers they just popped out.So I modified things and put the papers in as I went along filling.This project is now on my list of "Fussy but kind of worth it" projects. I can't see where there is any money saved since parchment paper can be spendy and store bought liners are so cheap. But I must say once my muffins came out of the oven they were pretty to see. Issac did comment that he liked the parchment liners because none of the muffin stuck to the liner like it will with the store bought liners. Chance had our camera at work so I was not able to  show all of you a picture,sorry.
  Waaaaay back last spring or so I blogged about Issac having migraine troubles and how I was trying to figure out why and if there was something we needed to eliminate so they would go away.We tried not baking bread which did not work.And once school was out the migraines went away so we worried it was something at school.Since returning to school Issac's migraines have returned, coming about every other week causing him to miss school for a day or two.Well recently when Issac had blood work done the test showed Issac is very low in vitamin D. I did some reading about the side effects of low vitamin D, what do you know, migraine like headaches,muscle aches and fatigue are three of the symptoms that Issac routinely has.The muscles and the fatigue are a point since he is a 16 year old serious athlete. Athletes need vitamin D to  make their muscles work and when you are an athlete whose body dose not absorb things right you really got to pay attention.I think that maybe the school/summer connection could be the fact that during the summer Issac is outside in the sun from at least noon until dark,he's getting vitamin D from Dr Sun. I spoke with Issac's doctor about all of this and she agreed it could be the root of Issac's headaches.We have started Issac on some Vitamin D just like the doctor wanted and we are hopeful it works.If it dose not it means a whole different round of doctors and facing yet another yucky drug Issac ,Chance and I don't really want to see Issac have to take.
  What is the news from all of you? Has anyone else put their garden to bed for the winter? Any holiday projects going on out there? 
  I am also wondering if anyone would like to do a holiday cookie recipe swap? If enough people pipe up I can get this started by the weeks end.
  Rois

Thursday, November 11, 2010

May I find your smile living amongst the stars.

    The past week has been overwhelming,heart aching and the longest week in the longest time.
   It all began last Saturday, a day that was to be filled with homey type things,laundry,shopping and a bit of canning but an email came , "Please call,there's news.Nothing that effects you or me directly but family news none the less"  I called and on the other end of the line I heard of my Aunts passing. I was effected and tears rolled. And my heart strings were pulled away from home,down the green valley,past farms and hills I know well.I needed to visit with my Grandparents to stand in the old country graveyard sheltered by giant sized oak trees.To turn and face the rolling farm land with the knowing that this is the perfect place for the two of them to lie.I wanted to make sure they were still there even if it is just a marker upon the earth.To make sure they knew their child was coming soon.
  As the car rolled along I thought of my Aunt the Master Quilter and wondered if she left anything undone.I knew it would worry her if she had.I thought of her sewing room with it's neatly folded shelves of rainbows of fabric and spool after spool of threads.
   I thought of my Uncle and cousins with deep quiet.
   Then Sunday came with a heart stopping call,my Dad was on his way to the ER. As I drove to the ER trying my best not to crumble apart I found my inner calm like a voice form far away. "Dad is not in an ambulance,he's being driven into Portland.That's a good thing he will make it through whatever it was." Whew,sigh and a great big Om. Dad spent three days in the hospital for an old mans aliment which would cause him some embarrassment if I shared it here.
  During Dad's stay in hospital we talked of his sister,the middle child and only girl child out of the five of them.My Dad's biggest sorrow- he is the eldest, he has been through hell with his body,he should have gone first.To be the big brother and lead the way over.
  Tomorrow are the services for my Aunt.There will be other Aunts, a few Uncles and a gathering of cousins.It should be an interesting day spent with this family of mine.You see,we tend to laugh when things are awkward and no one really knows what to do with themselves.When Grandam made a bunch of us go and help her pick out Grandpa's casket it was one joke after another.I picked one with Mt Hood,some trees and a big Buck Deer on the inside of the lid by the deceased persons face."Hey Grams,Gramps would have loved this one,look- all of his favorite things right there on the lid for him to see." Grandma bought it hook ,line and sinker.She missed my humor because well...who ever heard of such a thing the whole family shopping for a casket.
  I have manged to hold myself together this week until today when I stopped to buy some cards for my Uncle and two cousins.Standing in a line at a crowded shop I felt the tears there ready to spill again. But there is another family trait that came into play there in that moment. We Linn's are stoic, a skill taught to us from an early age.Suck it up and keep on going.Well...until some moment is so awkward it is followed by silence.The silence is then relived by some corny crack.Then laughter.
  The card I bought for my Uncle is partly a quote from "The Little Prince." and here it is-
    "In one of the stars    I shall be living   In one of them   I shall be laughing  And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night. ....and there is sweetness in the laughter of all the stars....and in the memories of those you love."
    Rois

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Nat made me do it.

 What was I thinking?! 140 pounds of Apples,140 pounds! I caved into peer pressure from Nat who kept saying  "Take some more, there's plenty.We can settle things later." ("settle later", means we are working out some trading for the apples.) He was so charming about it,like a snake tamer, smooth and casual . All the while Nat was talking I could hear the boys in the back of my head moaning because they had slurped up all of the sauce last year so quickly.And I had Chance there to help me lug 3 recycling bins full of Apples into the house so I caved. I went apple crazy,insanely bonkers,out of my screw noggin'- Must make more !
   Ever wonder what 140 pounds of apples looks like? It sounds like this huge amount and it is sort of. Nat has it all figured out,1- 5 gallon bucket weighs 20 pounds.That means Chance and I brought home  7 - 5 gallon buckets of apples home We filled 3 of our curbside recycling bins the city hands out to everyone.
  The apples are lovely to see and I don't really think Nat is a snake charmer but I am wondering about getting all of those apples cut,cooked and canned before New Years. I  just had not thought through the logistics of the doing part. Duh Rois you have a job now remember? Which means this year I will be making up small batches of Apple Sauce as I can ( Can...ha ha, get it? Can,what a bad pun.) We have worked out many of the homesteading kinks that we have come up with since I am working but canning is going to need more planning in the future.
  Issac had a check up today with his gastro doctor,she was a bit mystified that Issac has had no flare ups since his surgery two years ago.Zero,zip and boy are we happy about that. I really do feel that eating the way we do without all of the crap foods or additives is making the difference.I have tried explaining my thoughts about food and Crohns to Issac's doctor but I am not too sure she gets my point.My point being, if a person with Crohn's has this autoimmune system that is always in over drive fighting against the persons own body why add to that fight by eating foods and additives that our bodies* don't know what to do with in the first place.It's kind of like taking the bullets out of a loaded gun, no ammo means no fighting or least not as much fighting.
  * Our bodies,that's everyone's bodies.When we eat certain things our bodies don't know what to do with them so it has to work extra hard to process it or stores it because it dose not know what else to do.
  I know I have noticed a difference in my own body and with my Crohns as well since we changed our diet.I am now 3 years with out medications and no flare ups.Flares up happen no matter what is what I have been told but I don't know,my own body feels different in a good way and I think is from eating well.
  So other than feeling overwhelmed by apples and Issac stumping his doctor things are good.Lots of wintering in things are starting to happen.We are working on putting most of the garden to bed for the winter once done we will bring our energies indoors focusing on wintry inside things.Chance has a list of meats he is wanting to try out.I am going to learn to knit-finally and have a list of small things I'd like to make.And since things have shifted around here somehow I will be figuring out how to make my "mitten"sized house seem bigger than it is.Suddenly the boys and their friends are much larger in size and quantity causing me to think I hear the walls and floor creaking from the house being so full of great big awesome boys and one really swell girl thrown in there somewhere.(that would be Issac's girl,whom I am doing my best not to get to attached to because they are only 16.But she sure is great.)

Rois

PS- Nat still has apples for 25 cents per pound with a 20 pound minimum.If you are interested and live local send me an email and I will get you his info.
  Also- Todd,Chance would like to know if you have a blog and about the meat curing get together's you mentioned.