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Youngest and I’s adventure day

It’s been a beautiful fall day the sun is out, there is a breeze and it’s low sixties. We started the day with pancakes and a quick trip to town.

We picked up our allergy medicine, milk and a few odds and ends then headed to Papaw’s. Memaw was off garage sale peddling but my nephew was there with Papaw.

After a little family reunion we went into the woods to scope out places for youngest and I to hunt. We found a few lush places that will be ideal come next weekend.

Tromping through the back 40 on a beautiful day has a great start to the weekend.

Once back home youngest helped me move the ducks to the garden side of the runs, and I’d say they’re tickled pink…

It’s off to the showers for me as I’m now covered in everything but mud…. Yes, it’s poop.

Then time to make a nice batch of chili for supper. Tomorrow’s agenda in simplicity is raviolis, bread and noodles.

Rooster and oldest have been out enjoying the Youth Hunting season, and we look forward to them being home too.

In the still quiet of the woods remember to live a simple life. Even when you’re covered in poop it’s a great simple life.

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The Incredible, Edible… Nasturtium!

Nasturtium Leaves

I’ve probably been saying this wrong, and I know that I have been spelling it wrong. Nastrium that’s how I say and spell it. Nas-tree-um

I never knew about the plant until a trip to the local Organic Garden, DeKamps Gardens, and Pam had us try a flower. I was shocked it was peppery and amazingly beautiful! The boys of course politely spit theirs out, but I was hooked. Something new to spice up salads and make it extra colorful. Heck yeah!!

Every year since I have grown nasturtium in out garden. Not only does it benefit the chickens, and our salads but it beautifies the garden as well. Mounts of green with little pops of color here and there make it an appealing plant in so many ways.

This was the first year that I learned even more about this incredible, edible! Youngest and I were looking for tea recipes and wondered if nasturtium was a good tea ingredient, and it is! I’ve also just begun dabbling with making my own tinctures and extracts so I researched more throughly about nasturtium.

Nasturtium has so many uses!!! Let’s review a few!!

Hair spray!!!

Boiling nasturtium leaves and then straining gives you an all natural hair product!!

Acne treatment and astringent

That’s right! Making a tincture from flowers you can make an astringent that is said to clear up acne!! Say whaaaat?! And it’s all natural!

Dandruff

Making a nasturtium tea and applying it to your hair at the end of your shower can help clear up dandruff!!

Edible

BOTH the leaves and flowers are edible!! I add leaves to salads and the flowers make a pretty peppery topping! The chickens love a nasturtium treat! When the vines get a little crazy I just cut it back with scissors and give to the girls. They gobble it up! Even the pig appreciates a little floral snack from time to time! The neighbor girls think it’s hilarious to give Honey flowers to eat.

Tea

Yep, even nasturtium tea is a thing!

I hope you’ve come to appreciate this easy to grow plant as much as we have! Next season get some nasturtium seeds and give it a whirl!

And always remember… live a simple life!!

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There’s a chill in the air…

Remember in the movie Mary Poppins the wind changes directions and the chimney sweep starts singing “Winds in the east, mist coming in. / Like somethin’ is brewin’ and ’bout to begin. / Can’t put me finger on what lies in store, / But I feel what’s to happen all happened before.” That song is stuck in my head this morning.

Why you may ask? Because this morning it is windy and chilly here in northern Indiana. To the point that I’m wearing jeans and a hoodie to do the morning chores! It seems a little early for the first of September to be chilly, but I guess what’s to happen all happened before.

So with the change of temperature today my goals have changed a little. I’ll be planting a fall crop of lettuce, picking tomatoes and anything in the garden. This batch of tomatoes I’m going to sun dry for a nice addition to soups. Herbs need taken in as they are looking a little wild lately. So they will go in the dehydrator to be saved for later savored flavor.

A little tip if you can’t spare a canning jar to store your dried herbs in Dollar Tree stores sell airtight jars, wait for it… FOR A DOLLAR!

Today I am also going to inventory what we have stocked up and maybe make some dry soup mixes later this week. Another tip… dry soup mixes make excellent holiday gifts!

This change in the weather has me thinking about what to make for homemade gifts… I’m thinking about quick quilts or blankets, and dry soup mixes maybe a loaf of artisan bread…. Sounds very cozy doesn’t it?

Speaking of cozy check out my pen to paper pal who makes cozy items from natural, undyed, pure sheep wool! http://www.hookinsheep.ca She’s located in Canada and would love some American customers!!!

Well off to the garden, friends! Remember when the wind changes it’s all happened before… and live a simple life.

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Oh-M-G BEES!

Earlier in the warm season the neighbors discovered a honey bee hive in the walls of their summer kitchen. Hundreds of thousands of bees had made walls of honey for probably a hundred years. I’m surprised it wasn’t oozing out of the joists.

They called a northern Indiana bee association volunteer to come and remove the bees. By the name I assumed that they would move the swarm to another hive, but they did not. They killed the bees! I was astonished as bees are on the verge of extinction and we rely heavily on them for pollination which in turn produces food for us to eat.

13 bee facts you didn’t know

  • Bees have five eyes and six legs
  • Honey bees live in hives (or colonies). The members of the hive are divided into three types: Queen, Workers, and Drones.
  • There are more than 20,000 species of bees.
  • Bees can see all colors except red. That and their sense of smell help them find the flowers they need to collect pollen.
  • The average beehive can house around 50,000 bees.
  • Each bee has 170 odorant receptors, which means they have one serious sense of smell.
  • Worker bees go from one flower to another, collecting nectar. In one collection trip, a bee visits 50 to 100 flowers.
  • Carpenter bees create tunnels that usually look about one or two inches deep, but they can be up to 10 feet long.
  • The queen bee lays all of the eggs in a colony. At the height of the season, she may layover 2,500 eggs per day.
  • Honey bees are great flyers. They fly at a speed of around 25km per hour and beat their wings 200 times per second.
  • It takes 21 days for an egg to develop into an adult bee.
  • Honey bees pollinate more than 100 different crops in the U.S.
  • Over the past 15 years, colonies of bees have been disappearing, and the reason remains unknown. In some regions, up to 90% of bees have disappeared.

Amazing creatures aren’t they?

The buzz about bees for this blog topic is because we have a swarm of bees inhabiting the pig pen. Not the hundreds of thousands that the neighbors murdered, but a small gathering of bees. Whom “Honey”, ironically, likes to piss off by shaking the sunflower they are residing on.

I’m not worried about the bees per say until they bother someone. “Honey” seems to give two shakes about the buzzing things and really doesn’t mind them inhabiting the roof of his house either.

Minutes after taking this picture the swarm had tripled in size.

I called the northern Indiana bee association not knowing that was who the neighbor used as a contract killer, but quickly was informed of such.

I talked with a man named Rick who informed me of the following. At this point in the season removing a swarm of this size would do no good. The bees would not have enough time to create a hive before the impending weather change. Secondly he told me that these bees “shouldn’t” be aggressive as they have no Queen to protect. He’d sure be happy to come out and destroy them for us though… for seventy to one hundred dollars.

At this point in the conversation I am just completely baffled. You would think that this association would be geared more towards saving bees and not destroying them.

I’m dumbfounded really and truly. Maybe the decrease in the bee population has everything to do with us morons inhabiting the planet. Our pesticides we use to keep the crabgrass out of the sidewalk, the nuclear warfare can of Raid we use to deter ants and spiders all are killers of the one thing that will keep us from extinction. The bee. Not to mention if people have an unwanted swarm and they feel they are doing the right thing by calling the local bee association, but in turn end up murdering more bees that weren’t really even bothering anyone. We are all buffoons. Dumb dumbs. Cotton headed ninny muggins. Seriously.

When the swarm first showed up honestly I was excited! I consulted the great and powerful OZ we know as Pinterest to diy a bee box, how to get the bees in the box and all about making honey. All this and the powerful OZ crushed my dreams of a bee hive with the same explanation that the bee murderer gave me… rats!!!! I wanted to save the bees!!

I will however let them die a natural death rather than having them murdered. So remember when life sends you bees, save the bees, and live a simple life.

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A few days off…

I got 10 days off of work in which we dealt with e~learning and finishing some remodeling projects. Between classes youngest has been a big help playing handy manny. (For those of you that know youngest had an obsession with the show Handy Manny and we some times still holler “Come on tools!” whenever we are working).

So… we worked on putting up trim in the house.

Currently have a batch of tomatoes on the stove to turn into spaghetti sauce, and we need to make a run to the grocery store and hardware store. (We ran out of stain).

It’s been raining off and on today so I keep staring out to the garden thinking I need to grab the last of the summer harvest and plan on a big canning weekend. The fall plantings are doing well, and I even spied a few green beans this morning! Hopefully the impending doom of an early frost stays away. Farmers almanac is predicting an early fall this year, and a few of my homestead buddies out west are reporting the same! Noooooooooo I’m not ready!

I’m not ready for fall ESPECIALLY because we need our propane tank filled and when I called to check on the schedule they are delayed because… wait for it… THEY DO NOT HAVE ANYONE TO DELIVER THE PROPANE!!! This possibly made me hit my all time anxiety level panic button!!!! We heat and cook on propane!!

As the summer plantings slowly fade, and wither I can’t believe that it is almost September. Having just realized that Labor Day is fast approaching, and oldest made the VARSITY football team these are all signs of colder weather…

Oddly they are also panic triggers for me. Did I can enough? Freeze enough? Dehydrate enough? I don’t know why I always think that. Probably that fall hoarding anxiety kicking in full swing.

Another odd anxiety is if the kids have enough warm clothes? Do they still fit in their winter jackets? Bets are probably not. They grow like weeds, which reminds me… the mystery itching weed of death and destruction still is unidentified and I’m STILL getting more itchy spots of grossness.

Sigh. When anxiety knocks at your door, make a batch of homemade spaghetti sauce, and remember to live a simple life.

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Fall planting

Thankfully there is still plenty of time to get some fall plantings in!

Youngest and I just planted more spinach (giant noble) and carrots (Dante’s).

This is the first time we’ve ever planted for fall… hopefully it’ll pan out.

Have any of you ever done fall plantings?

Did you like your rate of return?

So far we do have green beans gearing up to grow… I can’t wait!!

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Fall Anxiety Hoarding

When the days begin to cool, prematurely or not the sense of the fall anxiety hoard starts. It’s a tightness in my chest, a nagging in the brain; that I need to stock up for winter. Maybe I’m part squirrel gathering nuts, or the bear bulking up for hibernation. Either way it started.

Last week had cooler than normal temperatures and those cool mornings had me grabbing my hoodie on the way out the door. Maybe my hoodie is the key to this fall anxiety hoarding; either way it hit me. Slowly nagging… do you have enough pasta? Toilet paper? Soup stocks? Maybe we don’t have enough q-tips.

Ugh. This fall anxiety hoard brings thoughts of loosing power, being snowed in, or even more likely this year being home bound in another pandemic. While my husband probably thinks I’m nuts for stocking up, it has always helped cut costs over the winter months.

In another blog I’ll go into more detail how I “PREP”are the household for winter, this one can just be about what a nut I am, and we can laugh at my fall anxiety hoarding together.

First and foremost I make a list. Whenever I’m anxious I make a list. I’ve noticed this about myself over my forty some years. Problems at work? Make a list! Problems with the children? Make a list! Stressed about what to make for supper? Make a list! Then rewrite it in order. Whether by grocery department or order of importance. I make a list.

To delve further into this fall anxiety hoarding I think of all the comfort foods I cook, and how many supplies I would need to get through winter without a trip to the grocery store. I know it’s impossible for the most part, but my dad was a boy scout and always told us “always be prepared”. He is also a list maker and “PREP”arer so I guess it’s genetic.

From my lists I then drive myself crazier by looking for deals. Ten for ten at Kroger? And a digital coupon! And fuel points? You had me at hello. Meijer buy ten get the eleventh free? And I can mix and match? Hold my spot in the self checkout lane! Aldi can goods by the flat? Who doesn’t need twenty-four cans of green beans that the kids loathe? Bulk stores don’t get me started! Free samples, and huge carts to peddle my extra large jugs of laundry detergent that I can’t even lift off the shelf in the laundry room! Move over flat bed cart I’m stacking it deep and you’re selling it cheap!!

I tend to buy more pasta, flour, stock base pastes, toilet paper and paper towels than your average hibernation bound bear, but I will have enough to make it to spring. I like to stock up on oddball shit too… toothbrushes, toothpaste, etc. my brain begins to reel as my pen hits the paper. Okay four people, four toothbrushes a month, let’s see… October, November, December, January, February and March… that’s six months times four people that’s twenty four toothbrushes. And bam I’m out grabbing 24 toothbrushes.

I can a lot, and freeze a lot from the garden. So that takes care of most of the veggies, spaghetti sauce and salsas, and beans. Already I’m thinking how many jars of tomato stuffs I have left from last year and how many more I’ll need to get to March and realistically until the next batch of tomatoes come on the vine.

Sometimes I do grow things that no one ends up eating so it goes to the chickens or the hog. Last year I had a bumper crop of green beans I sweated my a$$ off canning those damn things only to have them not seal properly. You should have heard the boys rejoice. At least the chickens didn’t seem to mind my blunder.

My fall anxiety hoarding may seem like a waste of time and money to some, but the winter months hold the most expenses. Heating, higher electric bill, holiday gathering expenses, and Christmas presents. With my onset of fall anxiety hoarding I also develop this lovely sense of panic about Christmas gifts. Gifts from us, gifts from Santa, different wrapping paper for each boy, and from each gift giver. Not to mention trying to be creative with gifts for extended family, and additionally what in the world to get my husband!

Additionally I rearrange every nook and cranny in every closet, cabinet, and shelving unit to make room for as much stuff as possible. It’s a gift to be able to cram hundreds of can goods into a closet that once held your linens. LOL. No seriously. I noticed there was a shelf or two that only held an air humidifier or a salt lamp, and then they became shelves for shampoos, body washes, toilet bowl cleaners and the like. Neatly lined up in nice little rows.

Under the bathroom sink became the toothbrush, dental floss, and shower louffa warehouse. Over the toilet cabinet holds razors, mouthwash, deodorants, q-tips, lotions, and hair products. Under the kitchen sink holds cleaners, and scrubbing paraphernalia. Storage. It’s all about storage, and you can never have enough of it.

Fall is the start of all my anxieties, and we’re not even there yet. It’s going to be a well stocked year.

As you’re wheeling that extra large cart around looking for twenty pound jars of peanut butter remember to do the math, and to live a simple life….

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Don’t sit down…

Tonight after working at my full time job, I came home to pick jalapeños and poblanos, tomatoes and herbs. Vacuum packed the peppers, put the herbs in the dehydrator, and made 36 breakfast sammiches.

How did I manage this? I didn’t sit down.

Off of work, hauling kids to the orthodontist, picking the other up from day care, running to the post office, and picking up prescriptions from CVS… still came home to do do all the usual chores.

Don’t sit down. Once your ass hits that comfy couch it’s over.

No motivational speech or inspiration will motivate you once you sit down. Keep moving.

And live simple life

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Ye Ole Barbershop… part two

Since my previous blog rambled off into the shop local campaign I realized my intent of the blog and here’s part two… the real story behind the story.

While chatting about summer break I asked the barber if he had gone on his family vacation. Six weeks ago, the distance between haircuts, he had mentioned looking forward to the trip. Every summer his family, brothers, sisters, and parents get together at a remote cabin in Colorado. The family also meets back up between thanksgiving and Christmas.

He talked of long hikes in the mountains and the beauty of it all. Just finding a large rock to sit on and watch the world go by he said we so serene.

Last night I took his words to heart. I sat on the back steps (my local rock) and watched the world go by. I watched the pink tipped clouds become overwhelmed by the dark impending storm clouds only to emerge again. Once tipped in pink they were now more profound. Larger, brighter, and burnt orange and red by the setting sun’s rays. It was serene, soothing even; and very relaxing. So much beauty passes us by and most don’t even see it.

Today on my weekly Sunday drive I wandered down back roads that led to the unknown to me. It was forty miles from home that I found this amazing little park in the middle of nowhere…

The park had a calendar garden which I had never heard of… so I walked the path and took pictures of our birthdates….

The whole park was amazingly simple and calming. Not only was my drive full of calm, I had now stumbled upon a park that serenity seemed to have built. I sat down upon my rock and watched the world go by.

I took a moment to smile to myself and gave upon all of God’s glory, as I was indeed surrounded in nature herself.

Take the road less traveled.

Sit upon a rock and watch the world go by.

This….

This is the simple life.