Tuesday, April 10, 2018

So let's spill the beans on... beans...
Beans are a great tool in your home canned arsenal! They can be added to soups, chili, or even made as a side.
Why not just leave them dry AVR? Hydrate them when you need them? Well friends because AVR doesn't always remember 18 hours prior to dinner to hydrate beans. Also, farm life sometimes means lunch time can go from us 4 to 10 in a matter of minutes.

Dried beans are also cheap cheap. I shop for dry goods at an Amish grocery. Rehydration and canning brings the cost to 38 cents a pint! Not to shabby! And best of all I can beans maybe twice a year and I'm set!

Black beans, kidney beans, pintos, limas, great northerns, and chick peas (ok maybe not a bean but he lives with the beans on the shelf so...) all are in the pantry here.

Here's how it goes.
You're going to need to soak your beans 18 to 24 hours in clean cold water. If they suck it all up you'll need to top it off.

After they've reached the time frame rinse thoroughly and then put back in the pot with clean cool water.

This water you'll bring to a boil for 30 min. You want the beans to be firm still kinda crisp. If you boil to long you get paste ewwww.

As they boil they foam. It's what Mammaw called "mung". Scoop that off and discard.

Load up the jars adding a bit of canners salt. Regular salt is not a canners friend it makes the water murky.

Process for the recommended time for your canner. Yep kids this is something you need to pressure can! It's a low acid item so you need the heat and pressure to correctly seal the jars and lids.

Now you've got a ready supply of easy to access beans for your bean needs.
2 favorite ways to enjoy are black bean hummis.
-1 can black beans
-juice of a lime
-salt and pepper
-splash of oil

Pop in the blender and mix well. Spread in soft taco shells with cheese and make like a cheese ques- a-dill-a ( it's late and auto correct isn't helping)

Beans beans...

Saturday, November 4, 2017

World's Okayest Teacher

For those who don't know my whole story I was raised and still live on my families dairy farm in Maryland.

I homestead pretty hard, but my "real job" is as a special educator for our local school district. 12 years.. and counting!

I feed my chickens in a skirt before I face a day of IEPs and behavioral protocols. 

I'm often met with the impression that because I make my own applesauce, butcher deer in my kitchen, live without a dryer or microwave, and drive an over 10 year old car with no air that I'm some dumb country bumpkin.

I have an Associate's , Bachelor's , 2 Master's degrees and... this week... I begin my candidacy to 
become Dr. AVR !

It will be a 2+ year journey. It will be for my ladies and in spite of them with the new academic responsibility!  BUT...  Homestead Engineer and I chose this lifestyle to show them real living, and with real living comes real opportunities! 

I feel a humble and empowered responsibility in this day and age as a girl momma to be a role model to my gals and lead my family. Self sufficiency and self reliance come from muddy boots, calloused hands, and a strong mind. 

I'll need my tribe, my village, love, light, laughter and coffee ALL the coffee to burn the candle at both ends and in the middle, but know we'll see this through! 

Because I never set out to be 

And I've finally perfected Strawberry Jam.. so it's time to embark on a new adventure.. and I'll need those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to dine on while we stretch farther to pay for college ;) 


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Fair Time

Fair time came and went... the summer is in full swing and after the fair the days get lazy and slip away one steamy sunset after another!

We've baked in support of our local fire houses. Taking home accolades, bragging rights, and reasons to love friendly competition among sisters as these placings are sure to come up at Thanksgiving, Christmas, in casual phone calls.. "Remember your 2ND PLACE brownies?" 

But, most importantly it connects us on a deeper level as a family. For these 9 days each summer we test our limits, our patience, and strengthen our bonds with each other and our communities. Watching the ladies grow as show women, exhibitors, and members of this special rural way of life is by far my favorite way to waste my summer days. 

 Sure there are ribbons
"Momma this is from the QUEEN she's over there... see Bread Bread we won!"

We did win!

But this... this is really why...

Everyone in this shot showed up for MY kid...
 to watch her grin ear to ear and poke a pig with a stick on a weeknight!

THIS is what the fair is about! It's about community, and family, and an overwhelming pride in your name, your homestead, and what you have created together...

THIS is the tribe...

 who loves my ladies fiercely!

They are family of blood, and family of choice.

Bankers, teachers, rock climbers, nurses, entrepreneurs, Great Grandparents, Yogis, military servicemen, cousins, colleagues...

This is what my ladies are winning... and maybe it takes a pig to get that, or a loaf of bread RKR bakes that's probably inedible ( but we exhibited it anyway!)

and for that we are blessed beyond a championship drive!

To My Tribe with Love!

The  Proud Momma of Exhibitor #920

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!