Monday, December 29, 2014

Honey

Honey is a sweet food made by bee using nectar from flowers

Raw honey (unheated and unpasteurized) has small amounts of several vitamins such as B5, B1, B2, B3, B6 and C as well as several other nutrients, giving it antioxident, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

My honey stash.
I have several jars of honey in my stash.

Local raw creamed honey.

I have a beekeeper friend that I get my creamed honey from, this my staple honey. I use it in my coffee because it does not drip or run. I drink a lot of coffee, I hate it when the honey drizzles all over the counter. (something that happens when I'm sleepy trying to make my morning coffee)
Creamed honey does not do this.

Raw liquid honey from the mountains of North Carolina

I picked this up while visiting North Carolina last year. You should buy your honey from someone you trust so you know how it was handled but I wanted to try a jar from somewhere I did not live to see how it tasted, different flowers give it a different taste.

Raw buckwheat honey from my home town.
Now here is my prized honey

BUCKWHEAT HONEY!

Growing up this was the honey I ate, I didn't know there was any other kind of honey. See I grew up in a small town in western NY where there was a plant that made buckwheat products and we had buckwheat fields everywhere. Its is one of the oldest buckwheat companies in the US, we would go into town and smell the buckwheat cooking.
ohhhhh it smelled soooo good.
anyway back to the honey, buckwheat honey comes from bees getting pollen from the flowers of the buckwheat plant. It is known as BLACK honey because it looks black or purple in the light. It can be found in New York, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Canada.
It has a very malty taste almost like molasses but not over sweet, its great for baking and in pancakes and cookies.

Local Amish honey that crystalized 

Similar to creamed honey, both have turned to a crystalized form but the creamed honey's crystals are small and more rounded as where to regular crystalized honey has larger more distinct crystals. They both taste the same and act the same in cooking, the creamed honey just feels better on the tongue. 

a closer look at creamed honey.

Enjoy

Saturday, December 20, 2014

DIY Christmas Deer

I have been a little bah humbugy lately, something I never have been before. 
I love Christmas, love the lights and decorations. I love the smells of Christmas cookies and eggnog. I decorate my house inside and out, from top to bottom. This year all I did was put up the tree and stockings and called it enough. I have been trying to get out of this funk so I went to the craft store this morning while I was waiting for my hubs to get out of the barbers. 
All of the Christmas decorations and crafts were 70% off. I was a little intrigued and decided to look around and there they were.
These cute little Christmas deer just calling out to me to be decorated.

 I thought this is just what I need to get me going and help me with this funk.
When I got home I knew exactly what I was going to do, wrap them with yarn and add some bows, maybe a few bells.
a few years ago I was working on some craft projects with up cycled yarn from old sweaters. I had some left over that I thought would be perfect for this project. Its rustic and texture, perfect!

I started at the bottom and worked my way up. I'm kind of winging it so I hope it turns out good.


The first one done.
Now for the decorations.



A bow and some bells.



And all done.
I think he look marvelous.

Now on to the second one.
I won't bore you with that one.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tis The Season

Tis The Season


One of my favorite times of the year. 
I love to decorate for Christmas!




Stockings are hung by the chimney with care.

From mine to yours!

Merry Christmas


Friday, December 12, 2014

Making butter in a food processor

In my quest to make more things homemade I decided to try to make butter. its easy and quick and has only 2 ingredients.



Heavy cream and salt. I think I can handle that.
I don't have access to a cow or a farmer with a cow so I had to buy some from the store.


There are a few ways to do this, you can put the heavy cream in a large canning jar and shake it until it turns to butter if you want. I decided (great lesson for the kids) I wanted something a little easier. 
I put the cream and salt ( 1tsp per pint of heavy cream) in my food processor, set it on low and let it go.


at some point it will look like whipped cream. if I had used sugar in stead of salt it would be whipped cream but since I put salt in it it will not taste good at all at this point.


let it go a little longer about 5 minute and the butter will separate from the buttermilk.


drain off the buttermilk and scoop out the butter. I patted it between 2 towels to get the rest of the buttermilk out of it.

and voila!
Butter!
You can use it at this point or wash it, to wash it all you do is put it back in the food processor with some cold water and blend it again for a minute or two and drain.

now just put in a container and put it in the refrigerator.

Enjoy!


Sunday, December 7, 2014

For The Birds

I have been trying to reduce my household waste, using veggie scraps in the garden, shredding paper and using it as mulch, cloth towels instead of paper, etc. I do a lot of crocheting around this time of year. I make blankets, hats, scarves and tons of boot cuffs for my Etsy shop.
 I have tons and tons if yarn snippets left over that I use to throw away. 

I have been trying to think of a way to reuse them and came up with this.
I found these at the Christmas Tree Store 

Its a suet holder, you know the kind that holds those square cake like commercial blocks of suet?

I filled one with some yarn scraps and hung it from a tree.

Now the birds can pick from it and use them to make a nice warm nest for winter.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The ramblings of a Yarn-aholic

 I LOVE YARN! 

Ok, I said it, I love yarn. I can’t get enough of it. I look for it everywhere I go, yard sales, thrift stores, discount shops, anywhere I think I can get some. I wouldn’t call it an addiction it's more of a savings plan for the future. Yeah, that's it, a savings plan. Some people collect gold, I collect yarn. Gold will not keep you warm when the power goes out, blankets carefully hand crafted from yarn will.

I have so much yarn I don’t think I could use it all in my life time.
All yarn
Also all yarn
Thick yarn, fluffy yarn, fancy, plain, baby yarn, wool, alpaca, I even have yarn my mother in law found for me from the 1930’s
Baskets, bags and tubs of yarn, so many pretty colors, so soft and fluffy!



Again ALL Yarn


A few years ago when we put an addition on our house my hubby had the builders put a full basement in just to have the room to store it all. I’ll keep him!

yarn

Yarn

OK maybe I have an addiction
The first step is admitting you have a problem.

And Yarn

I’ve made blankets for the homeless, hats for babies in third world countries, gifts for family and friends, and have contributed the the family income with a shop on ETSY. Crocheting got me through a deployment to Iraq, the fear and unknown of cancer, and many days alone while my hubby was away. 



Most of it I don’t yet have a use for but when I do I’ll be ready!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Keep warm this winter, shop ETSY

The weather outside is getting colder. It time to get your winter gear out and buy anything your missing. Why not start here, pick up a few things and have a look around.


 Boot cuffs
Boot cuffs

More boot cuffs



Green Elf hat


Grey and Brown Elf hat
Come on by and have a look.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

What I've learned so far

Fall is in full swing and cleanup is in progress. I am torn this time of year, I love the smells and colors of fall but I miss all the pretty flowers and garden veggies growing.

I worry that I didn't grow enough to get through the winter but I can't do anything about it now except plan better for next year. I don't yet have the resources for winter gardening so if I fall short I will have to break down and go to the store. Not something I like to do but will if I have to.

What I have learned this year so far.

-There are not enough hours in a day (the fence, phase 2 of the mini orchard, the door on the pallet shed, and the grape vines did not get done)
-I should take on fewer projects
-Homesteading in the city has more limitations than I thought
-Organic gardening is not as hard as I thought
-Homegrown food taste so much better
-What did not grow last year was not a reflection on what did or not grow this year
-I'm not as organized as I want to be
-I'm stronger than I knew
-With help from your friends anything is possible

Happy fall! Happy homesteading!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pallet tool shed

I needed storage space for all of my garden tools but am not ready to build a large shed. I heard people talking about making houses and other structures with pallets so I thought I would try to make a small shed with them.
Now it's not anything great but it will keep my garden tools and stuff out of the element for the winter. I don't imagine it will last more than a few year but that's fine. I'm only looking for a few years to save up enough money and salvaged materials to build a larger more stable one.

Pallets can be obtained from just about any company that gets large shipments. I got mine from the tile store in the city (and a couple from work). Check your hardware stores or home improvement stores the always have pallets. Please ask before taking, some of the stores return their pallets for money.

 Pallets come in different size so I waited until after I got my pallets tofigured out what the shed was going to look like. I decided on one that is 2 pallets wide, 1 deep, and 1 high.

I screwed the 2 base pallets together and leveled them with some brick pieces that I had left over from the retaining wall we built a few years ago.

I then added the sides and back. I used shorter ones for the back because I wanted the top to slope a bit so rain could run off. 

I then cut the sides at an angle (I didn't get a picture of this. I was in a grove and forget to stop for the picture) and added supports for the top. 

I added plywood all around. I did have to buy this but I got it really cheap. I bought discounted sheets that had defects from Home Depot. Something that most people don't know is if you ask them for the defective ones they will sell them at a discount if they have any. I paid $18 for 4 sheets that were originally $9 each. Not bad. 




I then put the roof on. I bought an open bundle of shingle for half off. About $15. 



And here it is ready for some paint.
It has rained here for a week so the painting is on hold. I wanted to put cedar shingles on the sides but they were too expensive and I could not find any recycled ones. I am still on the look out so maybe in the spring.