It’s 10:30 at night, and my house is quiet.  That’s pretty unusual for this house.  The bunny is asleep under the table against my feet, my Hubby is snoozing on the couch, the cats are all passed out in different spots around the house.  Everybody is worn out; it’s been a busy couple of weeks for this household.  Last week, I had my week long orientation at my new job, the whole time my Hubs was trying to shift back to a day time schedule so he could talk to me and we could have dinner together.  This weekend I start back on night shift, so he may be more awake then.  This week we have been doing all kinds of stuff around here.  We have our shelf greenhouse chugging right along, and Husband has been babying those little sprouts.  They get a lot of attention.  The last few days, I have canned 10 1/2 jars of enchilada sauce that my husband made a few days ago, I learned how to make sauerkraut and started two jars, I have canned 11 jars of cream of mushroom soup base, baked bread, made dinner, done dishes, and today I learned how to process a whole chicken.  I have to admit that I had never done this before today.  In any sense.  When I was first on my own after college, I would buy boneless, skinless chicken breast and that was all I knew how to cook.  I couldn’t have successfully removed bones from a chicken if I had to.  And up to this point, Hubby has always boned and processed all the chicken.  He was tired today, having not slept much in two weeks, so I told him if he would just give me some pointers and instruction, I would do the work today.  So he guided me as I cut up a 7 pound chicken that mom and dad raised and gave to us.  It went better than we both expected.  I did the second and third birds with no instruction from him, and getting a little bit better with every knife stroke.  I finally feel like I am fully in this life.

I saw an article the other day that asked if many people out there that do what we do feel like imposters.  I know I do.  I feel like one of these days I’m going to make a post or write a blog, and someone who is a “real” homesteader is going to come along and shout and point, “fake!!  She’s a fake!  She doesn’t know what she’s doing!”  I’m sure a lot of people who didn’t grow up doing everything they are trying to do on their farm or homestead feel the same way.  But really, it doesn’t matter if you grow a tomato plant on your balcony or if you have the whole shebang- cows, pigs, chickens, gardens, orchard, fruit bushes, on and on, etc.  Either way, you are a homesteader if you think you are.  If you make any effort to improve the lives of yourself and your family, well, that’s the point.  You are now conferred the official title of Homesteader Extraordinaire, by the power vested in me by the state of confusion, cross my heart and hope to die.  So there, it’s official.

And today I finally felt it.  I am, no, sorry, WE are homesteaders.  We have a small, indoor hope-the-cats-don’t-eat-it greenhouse on a couple of shelves in our dining room.  But we are growing lettuce and beans.  In January.  I know how to make homemade sauerkraut now.  And I can cut up a chicken.  A whole dang chicken.  Which gets us another step closer to being able to have our own chickens in the backyard.  It might be a little more helpful if I learned how to be a carpenter, but sometimes, the skill you need the most is the one you learn right here and now.  And one of the most important parts of learning new skills- I can help my husband do more around the homestead.  If he isn’t feeling well, or he has a really busy week in the shop, I can jump in and do some of the jobs he has been doing for us this whole time.  I feel a little more like a “real” homesteader today.  And a little more helpful to my husband.



January Seeds


We are recovering from the holidays.  We ate too much and we certainly ate too many sweets.  But now the cheesecake is gone, even if the knowledge that I can make cheesecake remains in the mind of my husband.  The chocolates are gone, the Twizzlers are almost gone.  And it’s time to get back to normal.  Back to eating our vegetables and not overindulging.  I spent the day yesterday curled up in the recliner with a raging migraine and sour stomach; I think the bad eating caught up with me finally.  Today I felt better, but I think it’s going to be a long road to recovery.  And really the only thing that saved today was getting up and doing some stuff.  It wouldn’t have mattered what that stuff was as long as I was walking, talking and doing.  Mr. T&E worked on his knives some, drew out a new design he’s excited to work on; and he got into the kitchen and mixed up some seasonings.  This man is serious about his seasonings.  We have come to prefer grinding our own; the taste is much richer.  No matter the seasoning, really.  So he spent some time refilling his myriad of pepper mills that have different spices in them, adjusting the proportions of each variety of a spice to make the perfect blend.  Regular housework had to be done, so I knocked out the dishes and some laundry (it even got put away!)  and we did some cleaning.  I have started using a homemade scrub on my counters; it smells amazing, does a great job of lifting even caked on gunk, and it isn’t some harsh chemical.  I will drop you the recipe down below.  As the kitchen was getting a deep clean, I would sit and take breaks.  During the longest of those breaks, we inventoried our seeds and decided to try planting anything that was older than 2012.  If properly stored, as we see in the news, seeds can last hundreds of years and still grow.  Alas, we are not the best at storing seeds correctly, and we needed to find out if any of the old stuff would grow.  Heck, if we get 20% growth out of these poor beaten up old seeds, we will be tickled pink.  We decided to plant this early in the year because we are building cold frames and a small, portable greenhouses in the next couple of weeks, so anything that grows, will be transplanted out there.  So this is a grand old experiment.  My husband applied Murphy’s Law to the seed starting so early- he figures everything will grow and come spring we will have to increase the size of the garden by quite a bit to accommodate.  We can only hope, right?  We did plant 150 cells, which all have at least 3 seeds of some kind in them, some of them have as many as 10.  So if we do get most of it to grow, well let’s just say we will have more than we can plant.

Which brings us to the next topic of discussion:  we tossed around the idea of starting all of the seeds and anything we can’t plant, giving our little starts to folks that need some gardening in their lives.  We also have so much of some seeds that we will be packaging small amounts into packets and giving those to people that will use them as well.  They just need to plant them, that’s all we ask.

As with anything worth doing in this house, the seed planting was supervised by a cat.  He gave his (hopefully, anyway) seal of approval by sitting in the newly planted flats.  We are constructing some shelving tomorrow with lights so that we can put our flats on them securely (read wrapped in chicken wire) in the dining room, which has amazing light for this kind of thing.  We have a pomegranate tree in this space currently that loves the spot.  He will just have to budge over a little and share.

Yes, it’s January.  Yes, it’s a little bit cold.  But we both don’t function as well sitting around.  Whether we like to be busy remains to be seen, but we need to be busy.   We have ordered seeds for spring, including quite a few things we have never tried.  We are putting up shelves for our mini indoor greenhouses to start seeds in.  And we are about to start drawing up plans for and building moveable greenhouses outside.  I have found a way to keep my hands in soil year round.

I got this recipe for the scrub from Mighty Nest.  They are a company that has products meant to make your nest a little more sustainable and healthy.  Look them up on Google, they have awesome products!

Soft Scrub for Bathrooms (which I use in my kitchen, too)

3/4 cup baking soda

1/4 cup liquid castile soap

1 tablespoon water

10-15 drops of essential oil of your choice (we like eucalyptus oil)

Combine- I shake mine in a jelly jar.