Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Can It Forward

The first time I remember canning I was 8. It was corn relish as we cleaned out the garden at the end of the season. From my mom I learned that canning is part religion, part superstition, part "because that's what Mammaw did," and all Don't blow yourself up!

 Last year I started to journal my "accomplishments" in canning... and tonight took pause to reorganize my shelves check for spoiled jars and inventory.

 We've eaten a lot of good shit in the past 7 months!
 For my Birthday Homestead Engineer bought me a Presto canner JUST LIKE MY MOMS! And.. I've been learning the art, the voodoo, and the glorious hissssss all winter.

 My ladies will be the 5th recorded generation to can in this family, and I now know why mom insisted we'd blow up of we stayed in the kitchen. The women needed space and it's hotter than HELL canning in late August!

 But it's beautiful to see all those jars...
And I love nothing more than the dinner conversation "These tomatoes are from Andrew and the eggs are from your Ducks and our bread turned out Soooo good!"

It's almost time to plow the garden which means I'll probably have way more than these to snap in 2017. Cause even though we're all grown momma still plants "a few."

In love, light, and preservation 

Saturday, February 25, 2017


My body is giving me all the stessed out... about to breakdown feels... the throw junk food at me and worry about your pant size later drama. The oh you thought your back hurt yesterday we've got neckpain and sleeplessness in store today...
Beautiful weather I can only enjoy from a window, womenly issues, work stress, and poor sleep are all the culprits.
So.. whatcha gonna do?
We proclaimed it a daycation at 2950.
Our destination Havre de Grace a quaint little water town, 30 minutes from here with a BRAND new library!

 The library has this incredible childrens play area that is free and rivals any local museum.
The architecture in this town is historic and gorgeous! We strolled the streets with RKR and Homestead Engineer making up make believe stories about who might live there.
Barbie or a witch might live here?

We scored a resteraunt week deal at a Cajon resteraunt and the ladies loved jambalaya and crawfish. So fun to have a meal that didn't come from a Ball Canning Jar ♡

There is a mouthwatering chocolate shop in town and what helps improve ones mood and says vacation like artisan chocolate! The ladies squealed with delight at the chance to pick a candy treat. Starfish gummies for RKR, Peeps for LBR, chocolate covered pretzels for Homestead Engineer and 1/2 lb assortment for me because... well reasons!

And... what vacation is complete with out a new friend to love. LBR fell asleep in the Tula loving Puppy as we journeyed back to the car.

My heart is happy to have turned my mind off and my heart open to my little family today...
Oh... and this Sangria didn't hurt the cause either...
Tomorrow it's back to salad, clean eating, but for today mwphhhohhhchhhh (sorry my mouth is full of chocolate)

Your in love, light, and Chocolate! 

Monday, February 20, 2017

This is RKR... she wants a pig. She was 6 months old when she joyfully loved on her 1st piglet in Aunt Kelly's farrowing barn. 

It's been a constant part of her love language with Aunt Kelly ever since!

Last year she got the chance to show for the 1st time at our little fair and she was incredibly amazing for being only 2 at the time! 
Let's be clear here folks. Pigs are livestock,  livestock is unpredictable, bigger than her in size, but in no way bigger than her sense of adventure!

This was everyone from the family who took the pig show by storm to see RKR last year. She talks about this day and "all my family was there" in the groggy twilight before she drifts off to sleep on a regular basis. 

Among this crowd is Uncle Chris RKR'S Godfather. He's currently on a Navy Deployment as she puts it "fighting pirates and looking for mermaids"  He left shortly after the fair last year. RKR knows he'll be home by fair time. It's a BIG part of her motivation. 

Today she counted pennies...
And... started her pig fund. As she realized this is going to happen she giggled grinned and said "Uncle Chris will be so happy to come to the fair and see my pig and then we're going on a roller coaster."

Kick some pirate ass Uncle Chris! There's a pig show at the fair waiting for you and the 1st funnel cake is on us!


Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Story of Us.

In honor of Valentine's Day I present the story of US... AVR and the Homestead Engineer that is...
The 1st documented photo... December 2009. We met at a library (read Bar). Through mutual friends and a fierce wingman (aka my friend Brian)

We both were at crossroad places in our life. Me newly single after a 7 year realtionship and he with past shall we say transgressions of the vehicular form.

In the summer of our 1st year. He had some wrongs to make right. It would have been easy to walk our separate ways, but as my sister in law tearfully whispered to me very early on "You see what I see. You know the good that's underneath." So... for the end of that summer and into fall... this handsome fella lovingly known as "stick Nate" was a constant companion in his place.

The Homestead Engineer has had his share of learning curves. Farm life has always been mine and although raised at the opposite end of this rural county, the idea of livestock, hunting, gardening and wood chopping... was all my life, but quickly and easily became our life.

In fall of 2011 he would too call 2950 home and we began with the few items (including a Bull Dog Max) to carve out our life together. In December of that year with a ring financed through a friend and with the secret belssing of my beloved Dad, The Homestead Engineer asked to make this arrangement permanent with our marriage.
June 30, 2012 we became Mr & Mrs AVR and NJR. In a field below our home with homeade wine, home-grown flowers ( my bouquet was a staggering 8lbs) the tunes of the Mayo Brothers Bluegrass band filled our little valley.

 With nothing more than a kick ass doula and his loving embrace we welcomed RKR  that September and 2 September's later LBR.

In 2013 I met him with the proposition that I would continue to work and he'd take on the role as our Full time Homestead Engineer  (because stay at home Dad isn't fitting enough term for days filled with the library, the zoo, lunch dates with great grandparents, wood cutting, deer hunting, house cleaning etc. Etc. Etc.) To which he quit his job 20 minutes later. It has taken financial creativity and balance, but if you've ever met my ladies you know he's doing one hell of a job! 

I will forever be grateful that God sent me a man who fearlessly will go after any bump in the night yet gentle enough to host high tea with the ladies and be adorned in floral regalia.

For over 2,599 nights I've closed my eyes knowing the love of this man. Although Valentine's Day is a time to pause and think of this I grateful for the love I know everyday of the year!
"You are my sunshine my only sunshine you make me happy when skies are gray. You'll never know dear how much I love you..."

Today and always to my Homestead Engineer with love!


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Good food fast?

There's a chain restaurant that boasts "good food fast." In my journey back to health we as a family don't eat much processed food. Other than an apple or banana not much clean food is fast food!
So... I've spent the weeks of the new year creating and canning some "fast food."
 We had our 4th deer of the season head to freezer camp so with RKR'S help we broke it down to grind.
 As I was canning last summer I had a collection of odds and ends. Either jars that didn't seal or leftovers that wouldn't make a canner load. I had popped them in the freezer and yesterday got them all out for our project.
 RKR is an expert at the vacuum sealer and at 3 makes all our bags to seal in. Since it's cheaper to buy the rolls of vacuum seal we make our own bags.
 With my helper we hand ground 18 lbs of vennison. We used 5 lbs and all our canning scraps plus some frozen peppers and some canned tomatoes to make 2 batches of chili.
It took ALL afternoon, but I was proud that EVERYTHING in that chili came from my storage! Nothing that had been purchased within the last month and 1/2! I felt that was deserving of a celebration beer!
 I'm learning  my new canner. The sounds, the right burner, the right fire setting... but for 1 hour and 30 minutes I was glued to the dial.
We ended up with 8 quarts and 7 pints of chili.
Once canned you can just pop of the lid and heat and eat! That's good food... fast... well sorta fast lol.

Yours in love, light, and two-piece caps at 10lbs pressure.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

God's Goodwill

Yesterday I scoured the Goodwill... I needed new shoes, LBR needs barn boots, RKR's school shoes are getting snugger by the day.

 I LOVE thrift store shopping, but as I rummaged there was a piece of me that ached for what if I could just go to Target? What if I could ignore price tags?

Something called me to check out the book section. There before my eyes was this book for 97 cents.
 My book club is reading a book about a depression era midwife in Appalachia Cole Country... so I thought this might be a neat little addition to the discussion.
So this afternoon I stoked the woodstove and percolated  coffee I got at the grocery auction for $1.00 a case in the .99 percolator I got at Salvation Army. Sitting at my Mammal's dining room table surounded by hand me down chairs I began to read. 
This book is a compilation of first hand vignettes and photography from depression era folks.
I'm not ashamed to say I wept! Tears streaming down my face, into my coffee... 
 Today like the mothers in this book I had used my last cup of flour, I had canned dried beans for future dinners. I had just payed bills, stressed about my budget, worried about money.  I found commonalities in their worry, but quickly snapped back...
With God's help I'll never truly know where they've been! There are boxes of hand me downs in the attic, a paycheck coming in 2 weeks, good heat, running water, freezers full of meat, and a pantry with enough we could stretch some time.

There are lean times, but I'm blessed with abundance!

I still feel weepy, but I can learn alot from the pages, stories, and spirit of these folks.

I plan to work harder on a garden this year. Be even more self reliant! CAN MORE PEACHES! Get a few more hens! Stack the woodpile higher... and maybe... bury a few dollars in a mason jar out back because well????

I did get shoes... but... somone knew I needed a reminder of my blessings. To recenter... it was God's Goodwill at the Goodwill...

In love and light

Sunday, January 22, 2017

I'm not listening...

I'm not listening... Can't hear you... lalala! 
Let me preface this by saying I don't do politics. I believe what I believe and it is rarely voiced past the gravel lane of 2950!

This week has been a taxing one to my soul... professionally, personally, nationally I feel bruised by ugly words and ugly actions of people who simply know better! Facebook and Instagram brought out a lotta ugly, I refused to watch anything but cooking show re-runs on PBS... and gave up on NPR except for re-runs of A Prarie Home Companion( ( because I have a crush on Chris Thile the dreamy mandolin toting host!!! ))

 Yesterday I realized I needed to have a straight up 3 year old fingers in my ears I'm not listening anymore...
 adult tantrum... party of 1!

I started the day with 100 degree yoga and as my beautiful yogi sister in law says "I had some stuff to get out!" Total this weekend I've spent about 2 hours on my mat... 
 Then my body completely crashed. I devoured  fresh guacamole,
took 2 naps, an epsom salt bath and was in bed by 9.
I'm not listening... I can't hear you! La la la!
I drank an entire cup of hot coffee in my greenhouse and even hosted an old fair friend in the greenhouse for an hour today... nope still not listening.

And then when it was dark I dug 100 pages deep into a new book and generated a page for my book club... what??? Sorry, I still can't hear you!

Dearest world I'm sorry I can't 
hang with the drama... I'm not sure I'm ready to take my fingers out of my ears yet, but I'll have to to hear the alarm clock tomorrow....

But LBR and I both know beautiful days are to come... seed catalogs  come addresses to me! These people believe I can make this beauty happen here!!!I always feel like seed catalogs are the ultimate reminder that gray days will end, keep planning, keep reaching, there is beautiful things coming, but you'll have to sweat and be dirty to see it!

Yours in love, light, and adulting.