Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas from the Roost





Photo by April Cole Photography



Photo by April Cole Photography






Wishing you lots of comfort and joy this Christmas season. Thank you all for visiting this little blog--I can't wait to share some exciting adventures with you in 2016!













Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmastime Is Here...





Can you believe Christmas is upon us? A time for celebration and reflection on the birth of our Savior and a time for joyous fellowship with family and friends. As usual, I am well behind the blog world in getting a Christmas d├ęcor post out to you.






 I seem to be getting simpler (or perhaps lazier) with my Christmas decorating each year. I prefer to put up a few treasured things around the house for the season and then the rest I like to just use fresh greenery and other natural materials. I just feel it's so much easier that way! No storing a ton of boxes for decorating--we just compost it all once we take it down.



I thought you might like to see what we have done so far (which isn't much). Of course we have our fresh Christmas tree....(it smells so wonderful!)



Fresh greenery adorning the entry and porch:









A few snippets from the living room and dining room:











It sure is interesting decorating with toddlers. We certainly have scaled back and have had to place all the non-breakable ornaments on the lower part of the tree. The girls are fascinated with the Christmas tree and it is so much fun starting new family traditions with them :)





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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Homemade Gifts from the Farm




I love homemade Christmas gifts--especially ones that are very practical and involve food :)

It's not always easy to come up with a great homemade gift but below are some ideas that I think any homesteader would appreciate:



1. Functional (and beautiful) wreaths using homegrown goodies such as garlic, peppers, or fresh herbs

 



2. Homemade dried soup mixes





3. Homemade specialty soaps









4. Knitted or Crocheted items, such as hats, scarves, washcloths or throws


5. Herb infused oils and simple syrups





6. Jams, Jellies, Preserves (and the like)


7. High Quality Meats (if it's something produced on the farmAre any of you doing homemade gifts this year and can you add to this list?








Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving




Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday. We are so thankful for God's mercies which are new each day.






* All photos are by the talented April Cole Photography. You can visit here here: www.aprilcolephotography.com 



Blessings,

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

June and Georgia Turn 2!





Our sweet little babies, June and Georgia, turned 2 years old a few weeks ago.  I can hardly believe it!



We had a little party for them with family and friends that I tried to keep relatively simple and stress-free.  Just some finger foods, cake and ice cream, balloons, and activities for the kids such as coloring, bubbles, and outdoor play.





I am so glad I didn't go crazy with trying to have a picture-perfect party with everything coordinated and pinterest-worthy. I wouldn't have been able to enjoy it as much, plus, I'm sure as the girls grow older there will be plenty of other times for fun themed, elaborate birthday parties.





I did, however, spend some time baking the cake. I wanted to make it on my own because I just feel like homemade cakes for birthdays are special. They may not be as pretty as professionally made ones (two of my layers feel apart on me), but it tasted delicious! I really liked doing it and I'm hoping to make baking the cake a birthday tradition.






The girls had SO much fun with family and friends and we are so grateful for everyone that came out to make their day so special. My babies are definitely growing up on me and parenting toddlers is getting more challenging every day!



Monday, November 9, 2015

Peppers in November?!?




Yes, I just had to share with you that we are STILL getting peppers in November!!!




This year our pepper plants have been especially prolific. It seems like every week or so since August we have been getting basketfuls of peppers including sweet banana peppers, jalepenos, green bell peppers, and anaheim chile peppers.




We planted the hot peppers thinking we would only actually get a few handfuls of them at harvest time and boy were we wrong! We are swimming in hot peppers and we don't use very many of them in our cooking. So far we have dried the jalapenos, made jalapeno poppers and used them for a few dishes here and there but overall we can't eat them fast enough. If I can find the time I'd love to make some hot pepper jelly :) We have really enjoyed eating the milder peppers though, in everything from soups to eggs or just eating them by themselves fried or sauteed.


I'm thinking that surely by Thanksgiving we probably won't be getting any more peppers, but this harvest has truly been amazing and not expected.






Sunday, October 25, 2015

October Beans




One of the delights of the fall garden is the harvest of fall beans--many times--especially in Appalachian areas--called October beans.



I ordered these October beans, an heirloom bean, from Sow True Seed. The hulls are a beautiful hot pinky striped and cream colored when they mature fully. The beans inside are also a reddish pink and cream speckled bean before they are dried or cooked.

These beans are for shelling and cooking or drying. Although you might be able to eat them as a green bean if you harvest them early enough when they are young.


We didn't plant a whole lot of them as we were just simply trying them out this year and wanted to see how they would grow, and thus we didn't get a ton of beans but certainly enough for a meal or two.



To cook the beans, I soak them overnight in water. The next day while cooking the rest of dinner you can cook them as you would any other bean or simply let them simmer with some onion and garlic, bacon fat, and plenty of salt. Enjoy!




Monday, September 28, 2015

A Little Piece of Land




I apologize for neglecting this little blog as of late. Life has become so busy with the twins now toddlers and trying to juggle part-time work with homesteading. On top of that, our family is trying to make some very important upcoming decisions.



We have generously been offered some land by some dear friends who live on a farm not too far from us out in the country. They have given us 10 acres if we want it. Half of the acreage is wooded and half is already cleared (as the pics in this post show). What a blessing!

For some time we have been trying to decide whether we would build upon this land or not.  While it is exciting to think about the possibilities, it's frightening not knowing what could happen in terms of our jobs or family situations that could force us to move elsewhere. To add to the struggle, we have always wanted to be closer to all of our parents in Kentucky, and building a house would make it more difficult to leave in the near future. On the other hand, we desperately want to put down roots somewhere after renting for over 9 years.  Currently the hubby has a wonderful job he cannot leave unless he found something comparable elsewhere (which is pretty difficult), plus, we are happy in this area. It will be a bittersweet decision either way we choose.



Of course I'm already dreaming about all the fun times we could have and a cozy cottage in the woods actually sounds pretty perfect right now--especially during the hectic times when we want to just slow down and enjoy nature.



We could have a huge garden, plant some field crops, and keep some other animals besides just the chickens!  And designing a cottage from the ground up would be pretty fun too :)



BUT WAIT--you might ask: "Aren't you a committed preservationist?" Indeed I am, and building a NEW house instead of rehabbing an old one would certainly make me feel guilty (and naughty). We have looked and looked at older houses for sale for some time but have failed to find one we liked on enough land in our price range. Perhaps that's just not in God's plan for us right now at this point in our lives.


It's a huge decision and commitment that will require much prayer and deliberation. Would appreciate your prayers that the Lord would lead us to make the right one.



Sunday, August 30, 2015

We Have Pumpkins!!!!





I CANNOT believe it.  All our past efforts to grow pumpkins have always failed but THIS TIME.....




a "volunteer" pumpkin plant started growing out of our compost bin and POOF: We have some awesome looking heirloom pumpkins. I AM SO HAPPY!!!






It figures with our gardening luck the year we don't try to grow something it magically appears and does wonderfully without any work on our part.



I believe these pumpkins are the "tan cheese" type peachy tan colored pumpkins that are a little more flat on the tops rather than like a round ball.






Yay for beautiful pumpkins that have appeared out of nowhere! I've been itching for fall to get here because I don't know about you but I sure am ready for cooler weather, beautiful leaves, hot apple cider, sweaters, and all things pumpkin :)





My homegrown pumpkins are just what I needed to get inspired and excited for autumn!







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