Our newest additions…

We’d like to introduce you to the newsiest additions to our growing homestead.

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Meet the worms.  Can you see them??

This is most certainly a hubs venture.  Gee, for a guys who wouldn’t kill a spider a few short years ago, he’s really taken to the stinging and slimy world of winged things and creepy crawlies.  We now have approximately 2000 worms, which will grow in numbers to 10,000, living in the basement among the seldomly needed things and laundry.  Thankfully they are  contained in a bin where they will eat and poop, much like all other living things in and around this joint. 😉

Anywho, why worms??  Poop of course, silly!

Basically, we feed the worms compost worthy scraps and they give us poo (or castings).  This worm poo is great for the garden!  Worm castings have been found to stimulate growth in plants, they help to retain water and help to stop root rot.  They reduce the carbon in soil and increase the nitrogen.  They also have the ability to fix heavy metals in waste.  How cool is that!

Fertilizer from food waste!  These guys will hang out in the basement for the winter and then we’ll add the castings to the garden either by top dressing it or making poo compost tea to water the soil with.

So now I have worms in the basement.

What’s next?!?

Why, It’s another reenactment….

This time we recruited more folks to come with us!

This was the one that my guy REALLY wanted to go to, it was a revolutionary encampment at a historical fort site on the banks of the Atlantic ocean.

These folks stayed here all weekend.  They slept here, cooked, here and sold their wares here.  Which my boy was certainly excited to see, as he scored himself a wooden rifle. 😉

What I found very interesting was the battle reenactment that took place while we were there.  I never thought about it but it was so loud and felt so real.  The ground shook when they fired the howitzer!  I can’t even begin to imagine what it was like to actually be nearby for a real battle!

What a great group of people.  They were very excited to talk to us, share and educate us on the official goings on of the time period.

Probably my favorite part of the day was just how interested my 16 year old niece was (although she’d probably never admit it) in the battle.

Another great day had learning and re-learning about our history.

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What a privilege and a service that these folks are doing for our kids, young and old.  I would have never suggested going to an event like this, but this homeschooling thing certainly has me out of my comfort bubble and muck boots long enough to experience new things. ❤

I forget…

So….I forget. A lot.

I forget to switch over the laundry and have to rewash it because it stinks…

I forget to take meats out of the freezer until it’s actually time to eat…

I forget important dates, like anniversaries (sorry to the hubs about that one)…

I forget to pick up needed items at the grocery store (thanks to the hubs for bailing me out)…

I forget lesson plans…

I forget planned activities for the kids…

I forget cleaning schedules….

I even forget meal times…

And sometimes, I forget why I stared this blog…

Today is a day to remember.

I started this blog as a way to remember the things that we do, an electronic record of the homeschooling and homesteading journey that we are taking.   To have it all in one place that I can go to and remember just what we’ve done in the past year.

I came across this photo the other day and fell in love with it….

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Isn’t it perfect!

I may forget quite a bit, but I can never forget to be grateful for the intentional craziness that surrounds us. ❤

We choose this crazy life and we love it. ❤

Ps…it’s ok to forget. 😉

Mother’s Day…

From the upstairs I hear the sounds of my kids playing. From the window I see the little piggies wallowing in the dirt, I can see the big chickens dust bathing in the sun and I can hear the baby chicks chirping.   What a wonderful day. ❤️

Happy pigs make great bacon….

When we started this endeavor of raising pigs 3 years ago, those that we spoke to said “give them a 10×10 concrete pad and food and they’ll be fine!” NO freakin’ way, we thought.IMG_6076

We wanted to raise our food in a healthy and happy environment so we built them a pen, a rather large pen (seriously as big if not bigger then our house!)  where they could roam and eat grass as they saw fit.  Little did we know just HOW fast they would eat.  We had great ideas of  moving them from one side to another of the pen, growing fresh greens in the side that was unoccupied.  Those ideas were quickly dashed as we found out that pigs eat a LOT and one of their absolute favorite pastimes in digging.  All too soon they had eaten and turned over all of the greenery that we gave them so, we moved our electric fence to put outside the pen and give them even more space and fresh greens and access to more bugs.  To see them happy and foraging again was absolutely wonderful!  These happy piggies were actually frolicking, it was such an cool sight. ❤

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As we stared at the space that we had just given them and the big, green hill behind them, we knew that we could put that land to better use and 2 years later, we’ve finally done just that.  This summer we fenced in and strung electric fencing so the pigs can have almost an entire acre to themselves!  We knew that our land was rocky, but we soon found out just how rocky when we started pounding metal T-posts into the ground.  Ouch!  It took a little longer then we anticipated but it was al worth it.  No more wooden pen, no more electic netting, no more pig escapes…a story for another time. 😉 These babes were happy and had more space then they knew what to do with.  The grove of evergreens gave them a great place to hide from the sun and eventually sleep as they abandoned their house shortly after moving into their new space.  One of my favorite things was to call them and see them come happily bounding down the hill to get treats!  We’ve always had happy pigs, this bunch though, was really special. ❤

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Here they come a running!

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Salted Caramel….

So seriously…

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YOU.MUST.MAKE.THIS.NOW

I have made this salted caramel over and over again and it is amazing!  I have tried others and compared to this recipe…they taste blah.

Be warned though….

*You will NOT wait until it has cooled down to taste it.   The smell will be so captivating that you will eat it right out of the pot and burn your tongue so, if you must taste anything of the remainder of the day…do so before you make this caramel

*Even though your tongue will feel like you’ve directly licked the sun at high noon, you will continue to sneak bites.  It won’t matter, you can’t feel anything on your tongue anyway.

*You will not be satisfied with the little bites here and there as it cools from molten lava, so just grab a shot glass…you will and up drinking some caramel.  I did. 😉

What to do with it now??

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If there is any left once it cools down you can drizzle it on anything!  Ice cream, baked goods, jar it and give it away…you are sure to make new BFF’s this way.

One of my newest ways to use salted caramel is to make caramel popcorn with it.  I said it….HOMEMADE salted caramel popcorn!

Want more yum??  Take your favorite kettle potato chips and drizzle this amazing caramel and then some homemade hot fudge on them.  Let them set up and turn on Netflix.  Plop yourself  on the couch and munch the evening away!

Put some in your coffee…OMG!

Before I get ahead of myself….let’s get the recipe for the caramel going.

Ingredients that you will need:

* Willpower to not eat it all in one setting

2 cups organic sugar

1.5 sticks of room temp organic butter cubed

1 cup organic heavy cream

1.5 Tbl seat salt, pink Himalayan salt or the like.

Digital thermometer…very important!

Method of Prep:

Have all of your ingredients ready and next to the stove…once the sugar melts, it goes fast, so be ready

In a large sauce pan (the caramel will bubble in a few reps so make sure your pot is big…3 qts or so) put the sugar in over med-high heat.

Whisk the sugar as it melts.  It will clump and begin to brown.  Keep on a whisking until all of the sugar melts, then stop.

Place your thermometer into the sugar.  It will continue to darken as it bubbles away.  It will look a dark amber color. BE CAREFUL…it can go from perfect to burnt in no time…so watch carefully.  It will be worth the fuss…trust me!

Once your thermometer reaches 350 degrees, put all of the butter in and whisk quickly.  This is the first time it will bubble up angrily…so be careful.  Whisk until the butter is melted.  Turn off the heat.

Take the pan off the stove and add the cream….this is the second bubbling, so be careful.  Whisk until incorporated then add the salt.

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Deny the feeling to dive into the pot…you will want to, but let it cool.  Meh….who am I kidding…you will get a spoon, everyone does.  I’ve made this recipe probably 15 times and I dip into the lava every time.  It’s a ritual now. 😉

Let it cool for a while and if there is any left, place it into a jar and store in the fridge.  Please reheat in a pan on low heat.  Don’t let the microwave destroy this nectar.

That’s it!

Let me know how you’ve used this recipe!  I’d love to know!

 Oh..I’d also like to know that I am not the only one to dive in and scald my tongue…let me know when you’ve joined the scalded tongue club. 😉

The Dinner Party….

Our son hosted his first dinner party this past week!

He’s 7. 🙂

This child has been groomed to be a foodie.  He was never given the option to eat or not eat.  His only option was try it once, if you really don’t like it, then you don’t have to eat it.  To this very day he eats everything, except mushrooms

Lately his favorite show to watch is the Pioneer Woman!  He loves to watch her cook and his favorite episode is “Ranching in the mist”.  He has watched this particular episode so many times that he knows the recipes and the wording by heart.  The last time he watched this episode, he asked again if I could make the pop pulled pork.  Well, we don’t really drink soda , so cooking with it is out of the question for me, so I’ve said  no in the past to that recipe.

That same week we were all struck with the flu…boooo!  The hubs came back from the store with a natural soda called Dr. Better, because sometimes you just need something carbonated and it tasted just like Dr. Pepper!!  Light bulb!!  When everyone was feeling better and Ree Drummond was again on the screen, he asked again and this time I said sure!

He did the entire meal by himself!  I put everything in the oven and made the dough (which was Gluten free) but he did the rest from chopping onions to peeling and slicing the apples for the pie.

The hubs took the little one away for a few hours so we could have some space alone to work, and work he did!  He started at 11:30 am and finished when dinner was served.

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Cutting Onions

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Seasoning the pork shoulder

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Adding a little Dr. Better

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Slicing apples for the flat apple pie

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Cutting the cabbage for slaw

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Mixing up the slaw

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Making the potato au gratin (yes, he diced all of the potatoes) 🙂

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The finished pop pulled pork!

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Dinner is served!!

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Making caramel for the pie

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Pie is done!

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My guy! Sorry for the bad picture. 

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The whole meal was delicious!  The gluten free dough was so good!  You could never tell that there was no wheat in it at all.  The caramel was not my favorite recipe…it was a quick caramel and it lacked the depth that I love in caramel, but I wanted to stay true to the Pioneer woman evening, so we made all of her recipes.  I would certainly make them all again, with the addition of this salted caramel. 😉

I loved the feeling of pride that I saw on my little guys face when everyone was eating HIS dinner!  He was exhausted when bedtime rolled around and I think a little bit more appreciative of the meals that we eat…knowing a little bit better what actually goes into them.

He is already planning his next party with meatballs, pasta and cake.  I love that he loves being in the kitchen and I love even more the time that we get to spend together cooking.

Spring is not here yet….

I’m not sure that I have EVER wanted spring more than I do this year.

I am not quite sure if it is because we just finished reading The Long Winter, by Laura Ingalls Wilder or if I actually feel like this has been the longest winter EVER!

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Either way I am desperately craving warmth and sunshine even though the low tonight is supposed to -9 degrees….I am trying to be positive as the over 4 feet of packed snow in the yard dwindles slowly.  On the warmer days, every inch it melts is one inch closer to seeing grass.  It usually seems to happen over night anyway.

One way to “feel” spring before it happens around here is to order our chicks and piggies for the year!  We have done that already! 26 day old chicks will be here next week (some for meat and some to keep for eggs) and 3 piggies in a few short months!

The newest additions to the farm this year….. Drum-roll please….

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30,000 Honey Bees!

Yes…we (actually the hubs) is taking on the chore of bees…which is good because although I am not scared of bees and really appreciate all that they do for us, they creep me out…they are in the buggy category after all.  I am getting better with that part of farming, although not fast enough in my opinion!

Next is a dairy cow…Oh, how I long for a dairy cow!!

Someday….*sigh*