July 31, 2013

Homemade Living - Week 2

It's Homemade Living Wednesday! Today these fine ladies are posting - be sure to give them a visit!

Happy Hump Day,

July 24, 2013

Homemade Living: Week 1

Welcome to Week One of the Homemade Living Series!

First, a little explanation of this new endeavor! Staci has invited five of us ladies to participate in this new series with her all about Homemade Living. Once a week, half of us will be posting anything that has to do with that idea - craft how to's, recipes, what's going on at our homesteads, etc. On our off weeks, we'll be linking to the other half of the ladies, so you won't have to miss a thing! Make sure you follow along with every to see what they are sharing.

Staci @ Life At Cobble Hill Farm
Tammy @ Our Neck Of The Woods
Daisy @ My Maple Hill Farm
Amber @ Making A Home
Mary @ Home Grown On The Hill

Now, as I sit here with a cup of green ginger tea, and I try to rescue what's left of my sanity after a day of crazed boys and a wild puppy.... Let's get on with the show!

This week I wanted to share a recipe for Zucchini Pickles. Since I'm sure everyone is probably drowning in zucchini by now! (Oddly enough, I'm not. I planted two zucchini plants this year and have hardly gotten anything. In fact my entire garden has hardly given me anything. I'm a little miffed. But I digress...)

These pickles are really good! They taste exactly like a Bread & Butter cucumber pickles, but are not quite as crisp. I've enjoyed them on buttered saltines for a snack, or with a bit of cheddar cheese.

Zucchini Pickles - makes about six pints
14 C zucchini, sliced at about 1/4 inch
1/2 C pickling salt
Cool water
6 C white vinegar
4 C granulated sugar
4 tsp mustard seed
2 tsp celery seeds
2 tsp ground turmeric

In a very large stainless steel or glass bowl layer the zucchini with pickling salt. Cover with cool water and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Transfer to a colander and drain, then rinse and drain again thoroughly.

In a large stainless steel or enameled pot, combine the vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed and turmeric. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the zucchini, remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the jars and canner - Wash jars, lids and rings with hot soapy water. Place the lids in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a simmer. Place jars in the canner, add enough water to cover by at least one inch and bring to a simmer. Keep jars hot until read to fill.

After the hour is up, bring the pot of zucchini to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes until heated through.

Pack zucchini into hot jars to within a generous 1/2 inch headspace. Ladle hot pickling liquid into jars to cover vegetables, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and add more liquid if necessary to keep 1/2 inch headspace. Place lids and rings on jars.

Process in water bath for 10 minutes. 

Staci and Amber are also posting this week! Be sure to visit them!

Staci @ Life At Cobble Hill Farm
Amber @ Making A Home

 Happy Eating!
~ Meg

July 19, 2013

Finished Knit: Woodburne Sweater

Can you believe, this is the first finished knit post of the year?

This is the first big thing I've actually finished, and the few little things I've done have left my hands before I took pictures of them.

I finished this at the end of June, but kept putting off the post because I was hoping for "on body" pictures... Well until I figure out a decent way to take pictures of myself, or I splurge and by myself a dress form (which I would LOVE, but I'm not sure where I would put it...), you get flat pictures! Better than nothing, eh?

I am in love with this sweater. This is the first sweater I have ever knit for myself and I am so very happy with it. It is beautiful, it fits perfectly, and is so toasty warm. It was the only cover I had while we were at the lake and it was just enough. I'm actually kind of ticked off that it's so stinkin' hot out right now, because I want to wear it!

My favorite part though, is the buttons. Ben made them for me! He machined them and punched the holes, and they are made from a cherry tree that used to be on his parent's property. They are so special to me that he made them, and if the sweater ever wears out I am taking the buttons and putting them on something else!

Pattern: Woodburne Cardigan by Carol Feller

Yarn: Cascade 220 Heathers in color number 8400

Needles: US 8/5.00mm (I had to go up a size to get gauge)

Happy Knitting!

July 17, 2013

A New Addition, and A New Series!

We've added a new little one to our household today...

Fell asleep on my lap after a bath and a brushing!
Meet Anna, our nearly 8 week old Black Lab/German Shepard mix. She is the sweetest little thing. I found her through an ad on Craigslist and we picked her out from her brothers and sisters this evening. I'm so excited to have a dog! She is WONDERFUL with the kids. She chases them in the appropriate puppy fashion, but is gentle (even her nipping is gentle - she hasn't bitten very hard at all). Munchie has tried to pick her up by her head and she doesn't even fuss. He has also stuck his hand right in the bowl of food as she is eating and she doesn't growl or bite, she just moves her little head over to get away from his hand. Very good signs!

She came from a family of 3 kids, and mama (lab) and daddy (german shepard) where there. The dad was so beautiful, and big, and sweet. He came running out and right up me and started giving me kisses as I was playing with one of the pups. And the mom was a good size, and very nice as well. So either way, she will either be a good size, or a big size, which is what I wanted.

And now, I'm very excited to announce that Staci is at it again! She has put together a new series that will be starting next week entitled "Homemade Living" - stay tuned!

Happy Wednesday (thankgoodnessthisweekishalfwayover!),

July 10, 2013

Naturally Dealing With An Insect Sting

I was pruning back the monster that is our boysenberry bush this morning, cutting back the dead and dying canes and training the new growth that will gives us next year's berries, when I found a nest of loving and sweet wasps. Or rather, one of them found me. I didn't even see the stupid thing but I certainly felt him on the back of my hand as he told me, repeatedly, to get away from his home.

I smacked at my hand before I even knew what was going on and my work glove was off in an instant. As soon as I saw what it was, I knew what needed to be done.

I'm not one for taking drugs. I hate taking drugs. I will even go hours with a headache because I don't like to take drugs. So my first thought was not "Go get the Benedryl!" It was "Off to the mud!"

I've always treated stings with mud, so a quick cake of mud on the back of the hand it was. I'm not sure how it works exactly, but one would assume that as the mud dries it pulls the toxins out of the wound. I let that sit for a little bit and it immediately felt better as soon as the cool mud hit my skin.

Then I remembered that I had some lemon balm growing in my herb pot. I'm very interested in herbal healing, and am slowly learning more and more about what herbs are good for what ailments. Lemon Balm is a cooling herb and can help to reduce swelling and irritation from insect stings and bites. The essential oil is the best way to get these healing properties, but I don't have just the oil, so I did what I could.

I removed the mud I had put on at first. Then I took four leaves from the plant and crushed them up a bit with my teeth, then placed them directly on the sting. I then covered them with a whole leaf that I had bruised, and covered all of it with a coat of mud.

Then I cut a strip of old T-shirt and tied it around my hand, mostly to keep the mud in place and from me brushing up against stuff with a muddy hand. Just make sure to tie it so that when you pick up your knitting the yarn isn't running through the mud....

The sting feels amazingly better! I kept all that on for an hour, then removed it all and put a fresh batch on for another 30 minutes or so. There is barely any swelling (just a tiny bit) and it hardly hurts at all. I'm really impressed with how quickly it all worked, and how much better it feels.

And now, I'm off to spray the whole stupid nest with RAID.

Happy Herbing!

July 8, 2013


From last year's trip. This isn't where we were, but it's what we were doing!

We just returned from four days at the lake with my sister and her lovely in-laws.

And I didn't take a single picture! I have realized that I really just like being in the moment and enjoying it, rather than trying to remember to snap pictures or spend all my time behind the camera.

It was a lovely, wonderful weekend. They are some of the sweetest, loveliest, wonderful, warm people I know and they were so gracious to have us with them and play with our kiddos. My sister's mom-in-law would take all the boys on a walk down to the lake and let
them play for awhile so that I could just sit and talk with my sister and have some quiet time. It was so sweet of her, and I am so grateful.

And boy can they cook. We ate so well while we were there. We grabbed a pizza on Thursday on the way to the beach to watch fireworks, but on Saturday we had homemade deep pit beef and all the fixin's, and on Saturday we had a fish fry with the fish that the men had spent the previous three days fishing for. It was delicious! And Sunday we had a giant breakfast before we left. It was so, so good and I think we all gained weight lol.

On Friday we took all the kids out on the boat and they got to try their hand at fishing. It was so much fun to watch them get excited about fishing. They each got to reel one in, if they didn't actually catch one themselves and I think they really enjoyed it. And on Saturday we hit up the farmer's market in a near by town and then went window shopping. We found an antique store and got a tiny little cast iron skillet big enough for an egg or two, which I'm very excited for. I love cast iron. 

We are all very pink, Ben's legs are as red as a lobster, and we're all a little tired still, but it was such a great trip and I'm really sad we're home. The weather was beautiful, the scenery was beautiful (we even had turkeys and deer come into camp!), and the company was wonderful. I want to go back!

I still haven't gotten over my anti-electronics feeling so I might be MIA again for awhile still. My head has been very happy being away from technology. :)

Happy Monday!

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