Sunday, January 15, 2017

I'm no scientist... but...

Growing up with pigs and chickens there was always a bucket in the sink for scraps. It just was one of those things... when the Homestead Engineer and I got together it was just one of the things that made him shake his head at the new life he was entering with this wild eyed lady. Food scraps always had another life... one more job.

With the 2 ladies we are rich in pizza crusts, half eaten apples, and banana peels.
 We use a bucket with a lid. Ice cream pails, popcorn buckets, and pretzel jugs make great collectors. If it ever went in the fridge it's probably going to see the compost at some point. I'm enough of a compost nerd I even bring home my apple cores and banana peels from my lunch.
I compost junk mail, and at the store if I get a choice I always ask for paper and it gets composted too!
Shredding junk mail is very therapeutic. I rip it up into stips. The rule of thumb is if it isn't shiny paper it can go in.
The hens make a regular ahh hemm "contribution" when I clean out their house every few weeks.
They also do their part at keeping the compost turned and aerated.

So is it worth it? This pile of rotting everything?
This is spinach in the greenhouse right now planted in miracle grow potting soil...

This is spinach planted the same day that's in the greenhouse in an 80% compost 20% potting soil mixture. I'm no scientist... but... I think this speaks for itself! 
So nows the time to load up the compost bin so they'll be plenty for starting seeds this spring.

Yours in love, light, and decomposition

Friday, January 13, 2017

All's Fair....

I spent my formative years (8 to 18) as a livestock exhibitor. If it had legs and could go to a fair... I probably took or helped someone take it at some point!

I never imagined these years later I'd look back on those days and realize just how much they prepared me for adulthood.

A fair is a yearly event. Some folks you only see once a year, but you build friendships that pick right up where they left off. Because of this skill I have a beautiful frienship with my lifelong friend RLHC who lives states away, but when we finally share a space for at least one glorious day a year our friendship is exactly where we left it.

Sleep at fairs comes in bursts. 3 hours here... 20 minutes there. As a momma now this skill to power nap anywhere  like no other helps on days like today when there has been NO rest since 2:45 we are on the virus battlefield and I'm at the helm of the last stronghold!

Then there is the night watch. You sleep with one eye open and one ear listening. You're the one in charge of seeing nothing is soiled, set free, stolen, and if needed you give the scolding to those pre teens doing teen "stuff"...

Throughout our home are tiny trinkets and reminders of some of my greatest fair victories and memories... like my farm queen crown and my trophy from Mac..  still undoubtedly the 2nd greatest milk cow that ever lived with Anna Mae and Goldie tied for 1st.

So for tonight I've got the night watch with 2 sick babies and the Homestead Engineer down for the count.

Oh and this old thing... look still fits ♡

Yours royally in love &light
Harford County Farm Queen....


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Pizza the Roland Way

Today was cold... like the thermometer on the porch never saw 20 kinda cold. It was a good day to worship the woodstove and have Pizza for lunch.

Take out just isn't in our budget and it's a huge splurge for us since a single take out order usually is about $30.00 and 10% of our food budget in one greasy meal just doesn't appeal to us.

For the most part we eat as clean as possible with as much from scratch as we can. It's been a big part of my journey back to health after a demanding pregnancy with LBR and an asthma crash back early summer.

This pizza recipe was gifted from Miss Grace one of the most talented bakers I've ever shared kitchen time with. Over the years we've evolved the recipe and technique 2950 style and as The Homestead Engineer says "we've never had a bad pizza."

 I start with 1.5 cups whole wheat flour, 1.5 cups of white flour, and 1 tablespoon sugar. I've tried all whole wheat and it doesn't rise well and taste a bit lets say earthy... I buy all in bulk at an Amish grocery near Quarryville PA.
 To that I add 2 teaspoons of yeast. Easy now... I know you're thinking yeast has to be mixed with water... nope. Mixed into the dry mix it rises nicely and this allows me to make pizza kits that all I have to do is add warm water too. That way Homestead Engineer can whip up pizza whenever.
 It all gets "mix mixed" as RKR says with a dash of Italian Seasoning.
 Then you add enough warm water to make a nice doughy ball.
 Spray a metal bowl with cooking spray and then even the dough gets to worship the woodstove for a bit.
 After an hour or so youre ready to go! I made sundried tomatoes this summer and found the infused oil is great for oiling my pizza stone. Oiling with olive oil makes the bottom of your pizza crunchy. You can also make the dough and then freeze it and then in the morning get it out, spray your bowl and let it rise. It'll be ready to rock and roll come dinner time.
 Next, put a little oil on your hands and spread out your dough. This recipe makes 2 pizzas. This is the sauce I made crap tons of over the summer.
I buy mozerella and pepperoni in bulk at the discount grocery. When I'm free on time I love homeade mozerella, but in the words of Ina Garten "if you can't make locally sourced raw milk mozerella from range fed heritage breed dairy cattle, store bought will do."

Sorry there are no after pics... the lack of pictures speaks for the deliciousness of the outcome.

Pizza is on the menu rotation every weekend. I've also found it'super fun to do when we have company. Everyone gets a pie tin and we set up a toppings bar. My nephew raves about Pizza Parties here.

Try it out!  What's your favorite "take in not take out" recipe? I'd love to hear!

Yours in love, light, and woodstove warmth!

Monday, January 2, 2017

One Word...

Each new year brings ways we reflect on our lives and what we choose to do to move forward. For many it's a resolution or a list of resolutions. But for me a resolution tends to not be  stronger than devouring a batch of chocolate chip cookies in mid February that convinces me to bag the whole idea and shoot for next year.

So when RKR was born we began to choose a word. One word. A word that would be our focus for our pursuits that year. My 2015 and 2016 word was simplicity. I found I needed to let go of stuff (read shit,clutter, baggage) we moved furniture, friendships, and our family forward.

In 2016 I found a love of yoga. It helps my mind, my body, and my soul and I found I thrive on the temporary stillness. At the start of each yoga practice they ask that you set your intention.

So this inspired my 2017 word
This year will be about thoughtful choices. About refining my skill sets and being purposeful about my action and sometimes inaction. Yep I want to make inaction a thing this year!
I don't want to live a reactive life, but one where I'll hopefully embrace the "measure twice cut once" ideals of life.

We've each selected a word. For RKR her word was play. She said she wanted to play more this year. So I'll be cognizant of setting up more playdates this year, and bagging some to dos some Saturdays for a playground trip or 10!
RKR wanted LBR to learn this year. So I charged her with teaching her sister things. So far we've begun to master climbing on chairs, tables, and the sliding board so we're on our way!

The Homestead Engineer chose the word patience. He is a patient fella, but he said he recognizes he is less patient with strangers and outsiders than he'd like.
We display our words above the dining room table to help remind us and so we can discuss our progress throughout the year. They are crooked I see, but being intentional allows me to embrace what is.

Now that you know my word I hope you'll aid in my intentions to be intentional in 2017 ♡

In love, and light...
♡AVR ♡

Friday, December 30, 2016

16 to 2016

2016 in 16 pictures 
 We added One, Matchy & Baby Duck to the flock.
 Pop Hebrank blew out the candles on his 90th Birthday!
 We took in all we could from Foo Fa's stories and wisdom.
 For the 1st time in 5 years the whole Vaughan family made it home for a weekend of fun!
 We dedicated our Leila Beth to a life of faith and good deeds.
 I was presented woth a Vazzzz in celebration of 10 years of teaching.
 A weekly lunch date means 52 weeks of lunches with their Great Grandparents including helping Da Da blow out his 80th cake.
 4 beautiful, adventurous years as Mr. & Mrs.
 We raised and released monarchs.

 Ruth was stunning as a flower girl!
 Bees celebrated her 1st Happy to You!
 We continued to perfect our self sufficiency canning lots.
 I found yoga and for that the world is thankful because I'm just better because of it!

My ladies grew in wonder and love and adventure.

We embraced baby wearing and LOVED it! While touring 3 National Parks!
We'll end the year with an injured chicken living in the kitchen, woodstove warmth, canned peaches in a jar, and a stack of seed catalogs that are a reminder of Gods promise and to "pray for a good harvest but continue to hoe."

2016 was a good to 2950 and we look forward to more adventures down the Road to ROLAND.

Yours in love, light, and new beginning.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Cool Yule

Here at 2950 we have long standing traditions for Summer Solstice. Over 50 years ago my grandparents started hosting a neighborhood picnic (feast) to celebrate the longest day of the year June 21st. We join with our neighbors on the closest Saturday to the Solstice  for the evening with wish lanterns, bottle rockets, and good food.
Growing up on a farm it also became a tradition with my dad to try and find a BIG buck. Legend was if Hern the half man half deer showed himself on the solstice it will be a good crop year. We always liked to increase our odds and would scour the woods and countryside for a glimpse and always have accepted the sightings of any deer as adequate.

Yet somehow the Winter Solstice hasn't been a celebration here... until today. Today December 21 is the shortest day of the year. There is more darkness today than any other day of the year.

The ladies and I ventured out with flashlights to gather materials for a Yule log. We hit up the lavander, some evergreens, and grabbed some hydrangea heads from my Grandma Vaughan's bush I brought to 2950 when I moved here.

Lore says that your Yule log must be from the property you live. These logs were cut from the hedgerow last spring and are in our woodpile. With the help of the ladies we added bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, limes, pine boughs and a few star stickers for good measure.
We turned out the lights and lit up the house with lanterns and candles. The idea of the winter solstice celebration is to bring back the light.
 We feasted... wine for mommy, dates, apples, bananas, oranges, and walnuts.
 We danced to celtic tunes.
 And we lured the sun back with a replica made of oranges, cloves, and straight pins.
 We then put our sun  where the real sun could see it and know that we want it to come back.
I grabbed my harvest basket and loaded up the Yule log. 
After LBR headed to bed RKR and I made a fire with coals from the woodstove and set our log ablaze. She's 3 so explaining the significance of this to her was tricky. I told her today was the shortest day with not much sun. We want the sun to come back because we like sunshine. She responded telling me "Oh Mommy we do this so the sun comes back and brings Summer Olaf will be so happy!" So I think she got the idea lol...

So when the sun comes back you're welcome... we did our part!

Yours in love and light!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Teddy Roosevelt of Seasons...

Winter arrived at 2950 this week. To me winter is the Teddy Roosevelt of the seasons. It speaks softly and carries a big stick! 

 In 2013 I learned winters full power. A new momma to a 4 month old baby without power or water for 4 days! It became evident 1 day into this event that our 87 year old neighbor was also in danger with limited food, an electric stove, no power and no water. So as is our family way we always make room for one more and we ended up taking  him home with us for the duration of the storm.

So that year I learned the power of preparation and have made it a point each winter to take a day and prep.

Fresh flashlights and batteries go in hidden places throughout the house because RKR is quite a fan of flashlights. 

 A tub with batteries, lights, candles, batteries, and matches gets prepped.
The fridge is a central location where everyone knows the supplies are so the box gets stowed away.

We also jug up water. We have 10 gallons in the bathroom, and 10 galllons of drinking water on tap.

 The generator moves up to the porch and the firewood will begin to fill the porch and we'll continue
To keep the yard piled high.

What are you doing to prep for winter?

Yours in love, light, and woodstove warmth!