Handicraft, Homemade, and Critters

DSC_0326

The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave it neither power nor time.

                                                                                                     -Mary Oliver

After a month of getting the kids schedules to be somewhat routine, I’m finally having a moment or two of time to sit down and type out some thoughts and some progress information about the homestead.

I have been knitting for many years, but I only know how to knit and purl.  That’s it.  So, last year after my friend made the cutest baby sweater, I decided to expand my horizons and learn to do some crocheting.  My grandmother taught me to knit when I was about 7 or 8 years old.  I stopped knitting until I was in my 20’s and decided I wanted to try it again, but I didn’t have a mentor at that time as my grandmother had passed away and also had lived about 1,500 miles from me after we moved away when I was 10.  This was before the wonders of youtube.  So, I did the knit stitch that I had been taught so many years before and still remembered and made some blankets for different people in my life I thought would enjoy having one.  My sister was having a baby at the time, and so I made the first one in many years for her.  That baby is now 24 years old!

I took up crocheting by watching youtube videos and allowing people who are so much more skilled then I am to mentor me.  There are a lot of great things about technology, most of which I honestly don’t embrace, but youtube is one I love.  I have learned to do many things watching others who are more knowledgeable then I.  And though, yes, there are lots of things on youtube that are also garbage, you take what benefits you and leave the rest.  I decided to make a baby sweater as my first project, since my niece (different one then the one mentioned before) was thinking about having a baby in the future, so I thought I would make the sweater with her in mind.  I looked up the instructions and managed to make one, it came out fairly cute, and I was hooked (literally and figuratively!)!  My next project was a blanket for that same baby-to-be.  Knowing my niece the way I do, I figured a nice silvery gray with white would be perfect and used soft baby yarn.  It came out pretty and I actually want to make one for myself with this same yarn, it’s so cozy and soft and just makes you want to have your own nap.  Above, you’ll see the little sweater in progress that is next on my list. Now, maybe it will be for this baby or perhaps for another one, but I also really like the gray and white together, so used that as the pallet for this little one’s sweater.  This color combination makes me feel as if it’s a cozy-in-the-snowstorm nap.  I may even make myself something out of the same color combination. Perfect for the winter landscape, so perhaps I’ll do a nice wrap or poncho for myself.  Never know what I will do when the mood strikes me!

For me, when I receive something that I know someone has spent hours making for me, I always am amazed.  I feel so honored that they thought enough of me to make the space in their lives to put the time and attention into creating something that they knew I would treasure.  I also  much prefer homemade items for other reasons- the uniqueness of a single item not mass produced, respect for someone else’s talents and appreciation of them, the care and attention taken to create something for me that only that soul could have created.  Everyone’s vision of what is art is so their own, and its an honor to me that they would consider me worth their efforts.  Yes, handmade is my favorite!  And handmade certainly goes hand in hand with homesteading.  Though I’m very aware we will never be completely self sufficient, the more my husband and I accomplish with our own hands is that step closer to the self sufficiency we crave, and that can only lead to the genuine life we are striving for.  Homemade and handmade are honest.  I respect honest most of all.

 

 

Well, our temps have FINALLY fallen here in southern New Hampshire.  On Monday my youngest was running in a cross country meet and it was 91 degrees out!  Now, here we are on Saturday, and it’s going to be a high of 52 degrees in our area.  What a difference a few days can make!  But, that drop also brings with it the realization that we have a lot to accomplish before the snow flies around here.  We don’t have a working heating system right now.  We discovered that the critter living under the house that had chewed it’s way into the heating ducts and two holes in the side of our house is a momma opossum and her babies (mama on left picture, babies peeking in right picture).  She has been our arch nemesis the whole summer, we finally got a trail cam and  caught multiple pictures of her.  Sigh.  Now how to get her out of there and get her babies at the same time could be tricky indeed.

M2E1L0-0R350B320

Did you know they use their tails to carry things?  I had no idea until we caught this game cam pic.  This is her bringing leaves and grass wrapped by her tail under the house to pad her nest for hibernation.  And yes, we have to get her before we get to that point!  We don’t want to kill her, we want to relocate the family, but we aren’t even sure how many babies there are, at least two that we can see in that picture of the babes.  Opossums are incredible tick removers and will basically eat their weight in ticks. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but they eat a lot of them.  And we can testify to that as we have  hardly seen a tick at all here since spring.  My chickens don’t free range because of the hawks that hunt them, so it’s not them that are keeping those evil genius insects at bay.

So, more on  the planned chores to get done before winter arrives in an upcoming post.  What specifically do you do to get your homestead ready for the arrival of Ol’ Man Winter?  Are there certain preparations you take to be sure you’re ready in the case of an emergency, like one of those ice storms we tend to get?  How would you handle the two weeks without power we went through a bit ago?  Would you be ready?  Topic for the a future post, and an important one for sure.

Until next time, be good to each other, be well and blessings to you all.

Shiplap, Tomatoes and Pancakes

DSC_0318

Isn’t this lovely?  This is our master bedroom as it is now.  Quite the distance it has come since purchase date!  I LOVE it and am so much enjoy spending time in it.  Just being able to close the door and have a little privacy is something that I hadn’t thought about as being precious before. After not having it for many months, I assure you it is quite precious. We still have some trim work to do, and our closet is not yet painted nor does it have anywhere to hang clothes yet, but all in all, it’s really quite cozy.  Michael did so many hours of work wiring the room and tearing apart the old ceiling, and then putting the shiplap on the ceiling.  I truly love the space.  And the more work we do on the house, the more it is becoming our home.  It’s been such a labor of love, and we are enjoying spending time here and continuing the work.  It’s beginning to feel like home.

DSC_0337

This week’s duties for me included not only getting the boys off to their first week of school, but also canning lots of tomatoes.  I bought 35 pounds of tomatoes at the local farm stand, so managed to get put up some pints of garden salsa, diced tomatoes, and pints and quarts of plain tomato sauce.  I really like having my own sauce canned up, it is amazing in the depths of winter to pull one of those off for a nice pot of spaghetti sauce, a chili or a lasagna.  Nothing I’ve ever purchased gives the same fresh flavor as a home canned sauce from vine ripened tomatoes.  It’s like opening a jar of sunshine every time!  I still need to do many more jars, and so I will pick up another case or two of tomatoes while the getting is still good.

DSC_0335.JPG

Being a long weekend for those of us that work outside the home, and a cool and rainy day to boot, I decided to make some autumn spiced pancakes.  So yummy!  I switched the recipe up a little and added some cornmeal for a nutty crunchy flavor.  A hit with all the menfolk here.  I made a double batch so that I could have some for tomorrow for them to heat up as well.  Are you like me?  Are you tired of the “pumpkin spice” everything?  I’ve been “pumpkin spicing” things for the last  30 years, long before it was a fad, so seeing pumpkin spice Oreos and Cheerios, and toothpaste. Well, that’s enough of that now.  But, I do love putting the flavors of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg into yummy items beginning when the weather turns colder. Since it is only a high of 58 degrees predicted today, I thought it would be a nice breakfast to have some flavors of fall pancakes.  No pumpkins have been harvested here yet, still early in the season, but the spices of pumpkin pie are enough to get the fall season going.  Thought you might enjoy the recipe for these pancakes in case you wanted to create a breakfast of autumn flavors for yourself.

Flavors Of Fall Pancakes

Makes 8 six-inch pancakes

1 1/4 c all-purpose flour

1/4 c cornmeal (I used finely ground, corn flour would also work)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbs sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

2 eggs, slightly beaten

1 1/4-1 1/2 milk (any kind will do, but I prefer whole cow milk)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 Tbs canola, coconut or olive oil

Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl, make well in the center of mixutre.  In smaller bowl combine all wet ingredients, mix thoroughly.  Pour wet ingredients into well in dry ingredients and combine until all dry is mixed in.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  If too thick, add more milk until pouring consistency. Pour by 1/4 cup amount onto hot pan or griddle.  Turn when bubbles appear in middle. Cook until done.  Top with maple syrup and/or sliced apples or peaches.  Yummy!!

That’s about all the news for today. I did take some pictures of the shower to show you, but it’s tough to see the way it came out because our bathroom is not that big and so the pictures are pretty close up, like this one.

 

DSC_0338.JPG

As you can see, I have not yet covered up the finish nails with paint, I will get there, just having it done this far is amazing, don’t you agree?

DSC_0340

Not much else to report.  If you’re interested in my salsa recipe, let me know, it’s pretty good.  I don’t eat cilantro, as it tastes like soap to me, so mine uses parsley in it’s place.

Until next time, be good to each other, be well and blessings to you all.