Friday, January 29, 2021

Friday Fotos

 My daily walk (weather permitting),
centers me like nothing else.
Although I prefer to start my day with a power walk,
sometimes the weather does not cooperate,
and it must be postponed until later in the day.
No matter,
the important part exercise plays in my life
makes it worthwhile to adapt to any changes.

Lovely, sweet carrots were pulled fresh from the garden bed.
I can assure you, they didn't last long in the fridge,
as most were used as a snack all by themselves.
Yes, they're THAT good!
Another round will be planted soon for a spring harvest,
although there are still quite a few in our winter bed.
It's so rewarding to know that there are a few stalwart crops
that can grow and feed us through the colder months.
A sampling of Vates kale yesterday proved to be oh-so-sweet.

Onions are one of the easiest crops to grow.
and require little attention.
What you see here is the Walla-Walla variety,
which is a new-to-me plant.
The goal with this crop is to never  have to buy them again
at the grocery store or farmers' market.
Garlic and onions will be a winter garden staple from now on.
Yesterday a few spring bulbs were spotted popping up.
Our winter has thus far been consistently cool,
even downright cold at times,
but not so frigid that the bulbs couldn't wait to awaken.

These hyacinth flowers surprised me with a burst of color
in an otherwise barren and clay-laden bed.
I had hoped to fill this front flower bed with bulbs this fall
for spring blooming,
but I just didn't get a jump on it.
Maybe I'll try to plant in spring for the fall.
One problem is that the chooks enjoy dust-bathing and scratching in this area.
That's the reason I had laid the welded wire panels here
and it's worked fairly well.
These chooks have encouraged me to come up with creative solutions!

I had been communicating with someone on Next Door,
which is a local social media app, similar to Craig's List.
She is also a chicken keeper and she has the covetous conundrum
of too many eggs and not enough crates.
Which happened to be the exact opposite of our situation.
The good news is that we bartered empty egg crates
for eggs.
It was her idea, and I'd say that we got the better end of the deal.
Timely, as our girls are not laying much. 
It looks like there will be quiche in our future.

Some time was taken to
pulverize egg shells in the Blend Tec for use in the spring garden.
C enjoys watching the contents being crushed beyond recognition,
so I am happy to let him lend a hand.
The shells will be stored in the freezer until spring planting.

A few new recipes have been tried in the last couple of weeks,
with much satisfaction.
It certainly does make it easy to go meatless,
which is how I've been leaning for years.

Recipes will be shared soon,
if you are looking for something clean, healthy and off the beaten path.

Here's where you'll find me on most cold, rainy winter days.
Grateful for our toasty, cozy nest.

Hope you have many blessings to count this weekend.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Need Flags?


Our living habits are fairly simple.
We believe in the homesteading lifestyle which means
that we make do with what we have,
reuse or find a new purpose for items
and invest in quality merchandise when new elements must be replaced.
Shopping at thrift stores is always preferred,
as you never know what vintage treasures might be found.
That being said,
we were in the market for some new flags
for the garden and the house.
I've bought flags in the past from the usual places,
and been disheartened at how little use we got out of them.
For the most part,
they could not stand up to the elements,
fading with the sun and ripping with the gusts moving across the property.

Until now.
For the last year or so,
I've purchased several a dozen or so flags from 
and been pleasantly pleased with the quality of their products.
Even with the windiest of conditions and ample sunshine,
the flags we've purchased still look brand new.
Their collection also includes door mats,
mailbox covers, windsocks, and more.
The bonus is that the flat rate shipping of $5 for orders under $49,
makes it that much easier to dress up your home and garden.
Orders amounting beyond that, include free shipping.

The selection of subject matter is diverse.
Everything from seasons, to specific holidays,
to sports teams to any number of animals, floral,
military, nautical, outdoor, and patriotic
themes are available.
There really is something for everyone here.

With the average price of house flags hovering around $10,
this company gives you your money's worth.
And if that isn't enough,
there is a clearance section with a wide variety of choices.
I find it difficult to restrain myself when perusing this area on the website.
I do change our flags out with the seasons,
so this section makes it easier to add to the collection.
I think I might just need a few more flag poles around the homestead. 
This website is a fabulous place to find a thoughtful gift.
I'm not much of a shopper, but this company provides great products at a good value,
and that's an important aspect for me.
If you find yourself wanting to dress up an area of your homestead,
pay them a visit and see if you can't find something
you can't live without.
(I'm not receiving anything for reviewing this company,
I just like to keep the good stuff moving.)

Friday, January 22, 2021

Friday Fotos


 It's Friday Fotos!
Would ya look at these sweet pansies?
They just don't give up, no matter how chilly it gets.
They have been going strong to greet visitors at the front door for months!

Our rooster, Gandalf, has been part of a little experiment.
He is being separated from the hens for most of the morning.
I had to rig up a makeshift divider between them and him.
We're trying to solve a mystery.

When I last cleaned the coop,
I found this in the nesting boxes.
I have caught him in there,
sometimes alone, sometimes with one of our girls.
I'm not sure if he is eating the eggs, 
or simply stepping on them while in the box.
I have no idea how he even fits in there,
he is huge!
So far this week, we've gotten 3 eggs,
and since we hadn't gotten any in three weeks,
I think I might be on the right track.
The experiment continues...

I'm overwintering the turmeric and lemongrass
in the garage.  I merely pruned it down to the soil
and left it alone.
I'll be curious to see how the turmeric comes back.
I'm hoping there will be enough to harvest for cooking.

 The chipping is going well and I was able to create enough
to finish around the veggie beds and had enough
to add to the pathway behind the house,
which can be slippery if it rains or snows.
With no shortage of twigs in sight,
this should keep me happily busy.

A peek underneath the row covers
surprised me with an array of fine lettuce.
I sampled it just to see if it had turned bitter,
and was thrilled to find it sweet and tasty.
The spinach, kale and broccoli leaves are also dee-lish!
Although overall, I'm a bit disappointed in the crops this winter,
I'll chalk it up to experience and try again next winter.

Gandalf and his harem
We're still enjoying winter temperatures in the 30s, 40s and 50s.
Having lived in Florida for over forty years,
I have to say, that it's a remarkable and welcome change.
The hope for a good snow day remains.
I am so grateful to be able to enjoy time outside,
no matter the weather!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Gluten-Free Tortillas (cf, df, ef, gf, sf, vegan)

I found a new website called Ela Vegan for vegan recipes.
You can find it here.
Her recipes are so simple and clean as a whistle.
These gluten-free tortillas/crepes/wrappers are fantastic!
The end product depends on how much water is added,
so these transform from thicker sandwich wraps
to less thick but hearty tortillas,
to thinner crepes for dessert.

They look like conventional crepes, right?
Believe it or not, they are quite healthy!
That wasn't even my first desire when I was watching her videos, 
but it is an added bonus.
My mom, also known as Mimi,
 being the amazing French chef that she was,
used to make us crepes every New Year's.
It was one of the traditions we adored as kids.
She would have three separate skillets on the stove,
and could hardly keep up with us devouring them
hand over fist.
Ah, the good ole' days!
It's been a while now that I've been frustrated
with the offerings of tortillas at the grocery store.
I wasn't even looking for something necessarily gluten-free,
but these fill the bill remarkably well.
I've reintroduced gluten into my diet
over the past few weeks with success.
But I still have a gf son, and I enjoy finding new recipes
that we can both test out.
I'm sure making them from scratch yourself
would be wonderful,
but I needed something that was quick
and didn't require a beloved abuela to teach me.
These did not disappoint.
They are made with 4 ingredients 
(although I added garlic powder for the savory version),
fry up fast in a cast iron skillet,
and can be made savory or sweet!
What else could a gal ask for?
These are too good not to share.

Gluten-free Tortillas
1 C chickpea flour
1/2 C tapioca flour or arrowroot
1/3 teaspoon salt
(1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)-savory version
3/4-1 C water
Add dry ingredients to bowl, whisk to aerate.
Add water as needed to acquire desired consistency.
Pour 1/3 C batter into skillet or pan.
Cook 2 minutes each side.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Friday Fotos

Carolina blue sky

Hey there!
It's Friday Fotos
and we're here to share a little piece of our world.
I'm asking anyone who is so inclined
to continue to pray or light a candle for peace for our country.
Let's keep seeing the light!

Yes, folks, we had snow!
Last Friday it snowed nearly all day long,
and although it didn't accumulate into a silvery blanket,
we got enough to make this gal very happy!
It's still early in the year,
so maybe we will be blessed with another frigid blast!

No need to worry about the wildlife around here.
There are always rations-a-plenty for wayward souls.
The seed and suet feeders have needed refilling
on almost a daily basis.
We're content to provide for those who
give us so much entertainment and delight.

The chooks are faring well through the chillier nights.
Although my heart goes out to two of our hens,
for they have decided that this is the perfect time to molt.
I'm hoping that their feathers quickly return to keep them toasty.
Until then, they have ample sunshine
and the warm bodies of their companions at night to stave off the cold.
A friend pulled up her Brussels Sprouts the other day
and the chooks enjoyed the sweet leaves for some time!
We are getting zero eggs now.
In fact, I had to buy eggs from a neighbor
lest we be without for the foreseeable future.

For the life of me,
I can't recall where I got this recipe,
but the chooks enjoyed it.
It can be altered to fit what you have on hand,
and I'll bet it will be scarfed up in no time!
Well, actually, it takes them some time to finish it,
as there are many layers of goodies.
Sometimes chickens are known to pick out
just the things they like in their feed.
They didn't seem to mind any of these ingredients!

A sticky treat

And, speaking of treats...
This has become my favorite weekend breakfast.
I'm not sure where I was when avocado toast became all the rage,
but I'm usually late to the party.
Anyway, I absolutely adore this mouthful of bliss.
Avocado spread on oatmeal (or millet) bread
(which has been sprinkled with olive oil),
and then topped with a fried egg seasoned simply with salt.
Oh.  My.  Stars.
So flippin' good.

What's your favorite weekend breakfast pleasure?

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Change Is Good!

Let's face it.
Change can be hard.
Even though we know that 
it's best to shake things up a bit from time to time,
straying from the customary can be a struggle.
Our family thrives on routine and the familiar.
Last year, we made three big changes
that really paid off.
The Top Three Changes in 2020

We have permanently ditched the plastic water jugs
in lieu of this fantastic system.
For years, we wrestled with the dilemma of
needing clean water to drink and with which to cook,
while despising the idea of a steady stream of plastic 
coming into the house.
The Berkey turned out to be the best solution.
It gives us a safe and reliable source of water,
is renewable and long-lasting,
and it saves us money.
We would recommend it highly to anyone
who is looking for a way to reduce or eliminate
their plastic bottle dependence.
Getting Chickens
It was almost by accident that we acquired poultry.
My good friend was relocating out of state
and needed to find a home for her 60+ birds.
With only a little more than half an acre,
I knew we could only take a handful,
but we are so glad we did.
I had been thinking about becoming a chicken keeper
for the last few years.
In fact, one of the reasons we chose this neighborhood,
was because there were no restrictions on having chickens.
So, we took the plunge.
It surprised me how much I grew to love it.
They are so rewarding to care for and it's been wonderful
learning more about them and their habits.
Even Big K and C, who are not big animal lovers,
have become somewhat enamored with them.
Who knew?
Along with providing eggs for our family,
the chooks are a source of non-stop entertainment
and will no doubt be helpful in the garden
with their poop-laden bedding and bug patrol.
It's been a win all around,
and rumor has it that the flock may be expanded come springtime.

This organic produce delivery service is something 
that I never would have thought I would use.
I've been shopping once a week for decades,
but wanted to find a way to support organic farmers
and help stop the waste that happens with food in our country.
Misfits produce is all organic, minimally packaged
and mostly incredibly delicious.
A few times we have gotten something 
that was past its prime, but
our overall satisfaction with the service is quite high.
It feels good knowing that we are helping to use food
that might otherwise be tossed out and in keeping with our more ecological ideals,
there is no plastic wrap involved in the packaging of the ordered items.
For the last few months, we've even been able to customize our order,
making the service even more appealing.
We will continue to support and promote this valuable business. 

So, maybe these three great experiences 
will help me become less resistant to change.
It's a new year and a brand new chance
to try something different.
What changes do you plan for the new year?