Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The Island

Any get together with Nate's family usually includes a story "remember that one year at Assateague." I knew the draw the island had on him way back at the beginning of it all.
Our first trip for him back to the island was full of feelings. Reminiscing of childhood adventures with his cousin his best bud who left this world to soon. It was early in our realtionship and life was taking some turns where we had a choice to face them together or alone. This was a trip that was emotionally exhausting but needed to be. We left I remember him saying "I can't wait to bring my kids here someday."
For his 30th birthday I planned another trip to the island. With a growing baby belly the good times were ahead and I always loved this picture where the island and Nate found each other again in a new beginning with our little family.
Now camping at Assateague is not for the faint of heart. It's primitive camping and....
But this trip was worth every mosquito attack to see the pure joy on Nate's face to be back on the island starting all over again.
With his own tribe on the island and to say the ladies are island babies is an understatement!  They were immune to bugs just like daddy and squealed with delight at every chance to see the ocean or bike ride!
So if you'll excuse me I'm off to continue picking sand out of all my personals and doing scads of laundry and enjoying indoor plumbing!

From our island to yours!
Much Love, 
AVR 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Oh for the love of... Laundry...



I am a granddaughter of the depression. A true mix of Chuck and Beth Vaughan a frugal engineer and an eccentric artist. Grandpa could calculate to the bean the best value for a can of kidney beans.
I carry on this trait as I often waive crowds by as I stand with my calculator in the grocery store.

So there has been a lot of chatter about making your own laundry soap. A friend  was recently shocked to learn I don't make my own... I gave it a whirl a few years back and hated it! It was snot like, required an afternoon to prep, and left clothes smelling sour sometimes and was just to inconsistent.

But it's cheaper you say... oh my friend... get your calculator ready!!!

If you follow the most popular version of the homeade laundry soap recipe found on Google it equates to roughly 7 to 9 cents per load. Let's also factor into this the gathering of pots, buckets, cheese grader, etc. To make it and roughly an hour prep and clean up.

So... I head once a month to a local close out grocery store. I picked this beauty up. At its markdown price it equates to 5 cent per load and it is a consistent product I know gets the crap off my crap. 

Because let's face it... it's way more fun to spend an afternoon making dirty laundry!

Yours in Frugality, 
AVR


Sunday, May 8, 2016

This Old House



This old house has been my home for all of my "adult" years. I moved here right after college at the wise age of 22. My RKR was the 1st baby to the house in 92 years!
The L. F. WRIGHT FAMILY
Old farm houses are mystical creatures. Built before a thought of electric or running water. In fact 2950 didn't go on the grid until 1950 becasue the Wright Family simply "didn't need it." A battery powered radio kept them in touch with the world and that suited them just fine.



I love being self sufficient growing tomatoes, foraging for black berries, and switching on the light in the bathroom to take a long hot bath after.


This old house has had an antiquated well system that has been the bain of my existence since coming here. I fondly called it "the pit of despair " We had to pump tons of electric into it to keep it heated all winter, shoo the rogue  heifer off it's roof, and convince the groundhogs it wasn't a time share vacation rental. That all changed yesterday!


After many years we finally hooked a new well to the house! When you embrace homestead ideologies one of the best assets is a supply of amazing friends who are skilled tradesman at the ready in any time of need! We made plans with a friend who is an electrician, bartered to borrow a neighbors backhoe,  and called in a favor to our mule man who also happens to be the best damned well guy around!

For the 1st time in memory  I did a load of wash AND took a shower... a feat never before attainabledue to poor water preassure and a requires recovery time to build back pressure.

It's a happy day indead as I enjoy a long draw of sweet water aftet our first sunshine in days!

These 1st few days we'll have to be vigilant as our pipe system is "talking" a bit with creaks and pops as it adjusts to the new flow of water, but this homestead momma is sure pleased!

Until Next Time,
~AVR


Monday, September 7, 2015

Party of 4

The trailer will soon be headed home from State Fair, I'm back teaching year 10!, the fall asters have started to bud, and in the distance you can hear the whine of a chopper as corn comes off.
Summer came and went in a hurry!
Yet, I couldn't be happier to see this fall.

RKR will turn 2! And..any day now we will welcome LBR to our family! It's a surreal, terrifying, and completely magical feeling to wake each morning and wonder if today will be the day we become a party of 4!

Until then we are lesson planning, meal prepping,  wood stacking, room cleaning, and sometimes resting; )

Reservation for Roland... party of 4...

♡AVR...and by proxy LBR

Monday, November 24, 2014

Winter Weather Advisory= Time to Start a Garden

The National Weather Service in Sterling Virginia.... 
Has issued a ***Winter Weather Advisory***....

QUICK... 
Your probably thinking get the toilet paper... get the milk... 
Here at the Homestead we say QUICK Plant a garden....


Mom called this afternoon insisting she needed Ruthie's "help" to make some Thanksgiving Treats... So I jumped at the chance to work in the garden a bit before we get up to 5 inches of snow later this week. With 70 degree temperatures here in Maryland today, I jumped at the chance to get my cold frames up and running  as this may be the last glimpse of growing weather I see for the foreseeable future...



A cold frame is super simple and any homeowner can quickly build one.Dad built some for mom in their lean times their 1st few years of marriage so I wanted to give it a shot myself. I bartered with Dad that I would do the Wright Farm chores tonight if I could borrow the truck, have those old windows in the shed, and 5 bales of straw....

There is something special about a rickety old farm truck... the scratched CD on repeat in the radio tells me Kelly was at the wheel not long before me, and I am always in awe of the myriad of varmint slaying  objects, animal health supplies, and the fact that you always come out of that truck dirtier than when you got in it...



Snug against the foundation of our 1890's farm house I took old storm windows and put them over a "frame" made from straw bales. The straw acts as insulated walls,  holding in the warm sun that the old windows let through.It's that simple... I then rescued the last of my standing herb plants a sage, and a parsley and moved them to their winter abode, scratched the dirt a bit and planted some lettuce and some spinach. This is on the sunny side of the house so it will stay nice and toasty when that warm sun hits it for the better part of the day, and if all is right in a few weeks I'll have fresh table greens!

The last of the Sage I harvested next to the wood stove onto my vintage drying rack Nate got me at a yard sale for my birthday. I so love that he knows  that I'm all about the practical and that yard sale gifts fit perfectly into our budget :) Sage is an essential ingredient in our deer meat we grind each year so this will all get put to good use come deer season. More on that later...

As for me...
I've moved to a warmer climate inside my cold frames.... come get me in the spring...

With love and sage,

AVR

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Homestead Engineer...

4 months ago we made an EPIC decision... Nate quit his job to become our full time Homestead Engineer,the title we give since "stay at home dad," doesn't quite do justice to what it takes to be at the mercy of a 100+ year old farmhouse, a hungry wood stove, 2 dogs, 10 chickens, 3 turkeys, 20 cows, oh... and  1 wide eyed little girl.

We had priced daycare... and the monetary price tag would be almost all of Nate's monthly pay, but the emotional price tag of a stranger with our child 9 hours a day, 10 months a year, with values that would probably not be the same as ours... that was not a price we were willing to pay! 


As I like to say... She's only going to be little once, we've only got 1 shot to do it right! Most importantly,I want her to live at a child's pace, not my pace!


To say we live on a shoestring is an understatement... it's more like used dental floss... a little frayed, and flavorless at times... but we get the job done!







I must admit though that every single sacrifice... every time I don't have even the change to stop for a coffee, 
or the car gas tank isn't just on E, it's on LOW E... 

I just need pictures like this to remind me why we chose this path.

Feeding Milk Cows with Gramp
Playing with Daddy on the Chesapeake Bay

Checking Tobacco with Auntie the Great
Feeding a new litter of pigs with Aunt Kelly
                                                                        
Helping excavate for the new silo.

I was a blessed little girl to know the love of my grandparents, and had I known then that they would all be gone by the time I was in my early 20's there is no doubt I would have re-prioritized. I want Ruth to know that love and that adventure that only comes from Grandparents... and lucky for her Great Grandparents too! In fact each week Ruthie has a lunch date with her Great Grandparents a treat she looks forward to while jumping yelling "MOM MOM, MOM MOM!" when she realizes that today is the day.



They always say that when you become a parent you want to give your child the World.... In my heart I am 1000% convinced that our sacrifices for her to be able to stay at home with Nate are giving her the world, allowing her to see the world, experience the world, taste, touch, smell, and laugh at the world... 



The chronicles of our journey continue and there is no way I'd rather spend it than here at 2950 with The Foreman (Ruth), & my beloved Homestead Engineer (Nate)!

Much Love!

AVR

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Partially Hydroginated... Totally No THANKS!

So.. I got to thinking a lot what I put into my body when I was busy growing Ruth. I read every label... Including this one. I have taught phonics for 8 years... I can't pronounce half of this CRAP! Sooo....
Goodbye!

A few simple natural ingredients and you can have coffee creamer that will make you NEVER go back to that other plastic disaster! It is important to note that as a dairy farmer's daughter I have a fundamental problem with calling it Almond Milk... An almond does not have a mammary system. So it's Almond Juice in our house, and YES I do re-write it in Sharpie on every single carton. 
My favorite Creamer is Caramel Extract, Coco Powder, Raw Stevia, and Almond Milk Juice. 
Grab and empty Mason Jar. Add 1/2 teaspoon Coco Powder
A splash of extract. You could use Almond, Hazelnut, Vanilla, Peppermint you name it! Then put in about 2-3 tablespoons of Almond Milk Juice.
Give her a good shake...
Brew you coffee accordingly. I use my beloved Kurig, and put it in my FAVORITE mug. I have an EXTREME love of Polish Pottery. It's probably because my Dad  who rarely leaves the farm goes out every year to hand selects every piece for me each Christmas. 
It's art you can cook and eat on and  with. (More on this later) 
And then... add to your coffee.. and ENJOY you breakfast! YES I put my creamer in my Polish Pottery Cow Creamer! 

For those of you who are nutrition conscious this creamer is also a great option. This creamer comes in at under 20 calories for the whole serving, and it's Sugar Free, and Processed free, and most importantly I can pronounce everything that's in it!

Until next time I'm about to sit down and enjoy this yummy treat!
~AVR~