Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Trick & Treat: Pumpkin Dog Biscuts

I use to make these dog biscuts for my dogs and my pet rats. They're a hit everytime!
This recipe is from The Doggy Bone Cookbook by Michele Bledsoe. If you like this recipe I recomend buying this book.
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup oatmeal
2 cups wheat flour
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine pumpkin, water, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg ina bowl. Stir well. Gradually add oatmeal, and wheat flour. Form a dough. Roll to 1/4 inch thickness and cut with cookie cutter. Cake on ungreased cookie sheet for 40 minutes.

Today's Purchases-Folding chair and soap

I try not to buy things that I don't need. I'm pretty good at it, honest! Today I bought a folding chair at Target for $9.59 because the one that I was using was old, rusty, and broken. This one is all steel. This was a better deal than the plastic/aluminum one that is on sale this week and it has a ten year limited warrenty. To make it more presentable for my room I'll make a cushion for it so although the chair itself is not colorful I can add a little color with the cushion.
Today I also bought the last of my simple soap making supplies. Although I would love to make soap from scratch my current living conditions will not allow me, so I bought melt-n-pour instead. Thanks to a 40% off coupon I was able to snag the soap base at Michaels for $6 and everything else at regular price, about $3 for the mold, and $3 for the scent. All I really need now is something to melt it in the microwave with and pour it in the mold.

It's Here

Saturday, September 26, 2009

This Week in a Nutshell

It's been a good week. Although my fall reading goal is not doing so well, I've finished one book but have hardly started the other, things are going good.
I made butter Thursday before work. I'm amazed at how almost effortless it was to do. The butter came together in no time. Tomorrow, I'll be making pancakes out of the buttermilk, yum.
I finished The Light Fantastic last night and started In Defense of Food which is proving to me really interesting. I'm hoping that this book gives me some insight on how to get away from this processed food world and into good cooking.
I've been eating my blackberry jam. It's good to sit back and watch the leaves change while eating blackberry jam from a humid day in August. It's a sweet, sweet memory. I'm hoping to take my friend, Heather, to go apple picking or pumpkin picking. I love her. She's such a dear. It's good to have a friend that has the same homesteading interests as I do. There's not many people around her that I know that do.
One of my mangers at work has really helped me with the canning and the gardening. She's from the south and, bless her heart, from my favorite southern state, Georgia. She walked me through pickling, and jamming. She's the gal I go to for advice. And get this, her mother still cans and she ain't a youngin' but 70-some! I would really love to meet her.
With the apples and pumpkins I plan to pick, the pumpkins will go to pies and the apples to pie and apple butter. I know that I said I was done with canning but apple butter is to die for. It's even better when you know that you can just toss it into the crockpot for a few hours! I'm craving for a good apple butter.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Fall Into Reading 2009

I was looking through my blog list of blogs that I subscribe to and I found this post by Karen Sue. I don't know about you, but I've become very, well, lacking in the reading department. Since I've gotten out of school I've read only one and a half book. So, I'm joining this challenge. I think this could do some good for me and I encourage anyone else that emjoys reading to this. This is the boost that I've been looking for to read fifty books by the end of the year.
So my list is:
1. Finish Light Fantastic
2. In Defense of Food
3. The Lost Symbol
4. Digital Fortress
5. And more....

My additional goals are to read two hours everyday. I use to do this all the time but that has gone out the window.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I'm the kind of person that would take $100 of spending money to vacation and come back with $50. It's just how I am. As I walk through the grocery store a constant reminder in my head goes "I can make this, it's simple." Usually this thinking is for the processed foods that, in truth, if I make myself would cost less and be healthier for me. Now, this thinking is getting attached to bread, butter, and cheese because I can make it. It's getting even worse now that I decieded I wasn't going to by any material posessions for a month or if I did it would be to make something cheaper. This is an exercise which I really don't need today. I've been working part time for three years and have over $8,000 in the bank. Yes, it's all my money but I also do not have bills to pay. I own a prepaid phone that has airtime for a year and over 900 minutes on it that I got for $100 because I can not justify spending $100 per month on a phone. Instead of buying a fancy popcorn popper I settled for a nice steel copper bottom 3 quart pot for $2 and learned how to shake it. It makes me laugh every time I think about the time when everyone loses their conviences and simply can't go one while us homesteaders will keep trucking along.
I want to keep things simple. I don't care if an air popcorn popper is easier, my old pot will keep churning it out way after that China made piece of plastic quits.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Trash, Stuff, and Things

Trash is the stuff that you immiedity throw away. This can be packaging or even goods that you throw away, like those new little disposible toothbrushes called Whisps.
Things is items that doesn't last very long and you will eventually end up throwing out. This can be toothbrushes, nick-nacks, and bath sponges.
Stuff is things that you keep for a long period of time or forever. These are the things that last a really long time and you become attached to. This can be computers, microwaves, bedding, and kitchen appliances.
Up until the last few decades the items in a household consisted of stuff and few things and hardly any trash. Back then, things were meant to last two, three, even ten years. Sometimes, they made things stregth beyond their lifespan by repurposing it.
Repurposing is a lost art. Why bother since we can get new things cheaply? Because the earth will not be able to sustain use in a few years if we keep using our resources at this rate! As soon as I get my sewing machine fixed I'm sewing a seat cushion out of an old pillow and some spiffy new fabric. If I had it laying around, I would use an old shirt or bed sheet.
Doing without if another way to keep stuff out of the landfills. Do you really need that new coffee maker when your old one is still kicking? How about that bottled water? Wouldn't a nice steel or aluminum bottle serve just as well and last ten times as long?
Choosing the right replacment is another way to keep trash and things out of the land fill. Instead of that plastic electric coffee maker how about a perculator? Instead of a bath puff, how about some nice wash clothes in your favorite colors?
Although somethings you just need to have disposible, like tissues and toliet paper, you can be smarter about what you choose. Try post-consumer fiber tissues or, if you think their pricey, Scotties is a good brand to go with. They're made with virgin fiber but for every tree they use they plant three. It's better than nothing.
If you have any more ideas leave a comment!

A Lot of Things

I've been doing a lot of things lately. My room is cleaned out except for a few things. I sold the lot of rat bedding. Sold two books of half.com. My room feels so much better. I still have a few things lying about but if they don't find a home by the end of the week they get booted out.
I finally got my first issue of Mother Earth News. It's wonderful! I love all the articals and the letters to the editor are insightful. I really what to do this thing. MEN just makes me want it more. Perhaps in four years it will be possible. Sooner? Maybe.
In other news, I got a violin! Well, it's rented. It's mine for the next four and a half months for a great price of $52.98. Yes, I got the liability damage wavier. Sadly, I've already named it, Yahmie. Fortunatly, I'm not attached yet because I don't have the book yet but I'm hoping about getting it next week.
So, that's the overview. I'll write more later.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Banned from Cooking?!

Seriously, is it nessary to ban someone from cooking when one doesn't cook that much to begin with? Well, that's what my mom did. Who is she to ban me from cooking anyway? I'm 18 for goodness sakes! I clean up after myself and leave a clean kitchen behind. But yet I'm banned. The last thing I baked was on Wednesday and I took extra care to clean up. The kitchen was spotless. Now today when I annocnced I was making cookies she told me that I didn't need them. Um, excuse me? I'm not ten anymore and have less pleasant means of getting them as in going to the store and getting them.
This really frustrates me. A while ago I tried to get my mom to switch to homemade bread. I made two loaves every few weeks. She still bought bread. After awhile she told me to stop because no one was eating the store bought bread. I wonder why? Hmm.... I swear, she's fighting back hard to keep me from living the way I want to live but all she is doing is pushing me further and further away. The more she complains that more I want to get out. My sister's lucky, she moved out last year
I'll hang in there. Don't worry.

Saturday, September 12, 2009


I ordered Mother Earth News magizine about four weeks ago. Still nothing in the mail. I know that all the articals are online it's more eco-friendly to read it there. But what about nights that I decide to go off the grid? What am I to do then?
I love their articals, in fact I want to write one (and earn extra cash). My mom says six to eight weeks but it better get here soon!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Purging my stuff

These pictures where taken two years ago when my sister and I went through my stuff. I was amazed at how much stuff I got rid of then. Most things I donated.

Since then, I really haven't collected that much stuff. Really, I haven't. Right now I'm just going through and getting rid of things that I haven't used in a while therefore I don't need them.
So far I purged my library and closet. The books, CDs, and movies that I don't want are listed on half.com. So far I've sold one thing making $5.
The worse thing is my collection of tea. I year ago I was gaga about tea and now not so much. I own about fifty different kinds of tea. Yeah, I'm crazy.
The boxes under my bed really need purging. What am I going to do with all my beanie babies? They're kind of worthless. I'll probably sell them on ebay for $50 for the whole lot. Stupid 90s trends. As for the over flow of the elephant collection, I'm never going to see them again.
And don't get me started on my junk drawers. It's a mess.
I'll keep you posted on how things go.

Today's Agenda

Mom's going out shopping with my sister and leaving me home alone. Fianlly! So here's home my day is going to go:
-Make Amish White Bread and cinnamon rolls
-Check garden and pick produce
-Balance check book
-Master cleaning of room
-Clean bathroom
Not much but it's somrthing to do with my only day off this week. Next paycheck will be very nice.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Challenge: Scaling Down

I'll admit it. I've been a pretty big spender lately. I have money and I want to spend it. Well, I'm challenging my self to scale down and fight consumerism. For a month, yes you read it right, I will not buy anything that would be considered a material posession unless I have a good reason to. Anything that I do buy that is condered a material posession I will have to get rid of things that are equal to it in value. Meaning, if I buy my fiddle I'll weed my personal library and sell/donate them to make room for my fiddle.
First, I need to scale down. Over the next few days I'll be going through my closet. Anything that I haven't used in two months will go. No excuses. I can do this, I know I can. I went through my stuff two years ago so it shouldn't be a whole lot of stuff.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Field Trip: Durham Furnance

The Lost Art of Stove Top Popcorn

In this age of cell phones, computer and microwaves we've gotten too lazy for something as simple as stove top popcorn. Why bother why we can just put some in the microwave and walk away. Well it ends here! Trow out those boxes of over priced fluff, calories, and miscellaneous chemicals and get out the pot!
It's easier then you think, really. You made have heard horror stories of popcorn kernels of death trying to take one's eye out. Relax, that's all hype. Finally you're in control of what you put on it. It'll taste great, trust me. Take my hand and I'll guide you back to simple delicious healthy.
What you need:
A sauce pan with lid
3 tablespoons oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
Anything you want on it ex. salt, Parmesan cheese, cinnamon and sugar

How to:
Put oil into pot along with a few kernels. On stove, heat oil between high and medium. Once kernels pop add the rest and put the lid on. Move pot back and forth on burner to prevent burning. When you hear the popping stop turn off burner and remove from heat. Pour it into a bowl and add you favorite toppings.
That was painless, wasn't it? For an add bonus, try to find a farm that sells popcorn kernels. To my readers, I challenge you to make some stove top popcorn!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Field Trip: Feed and Grain Mill


Help! Murder in the Kitchen!

No, seriously it was only beets. I think Doug and his friend Skeeter were on to something about beets. They are so good.
I took another trip to Trauger's, I have no clue were I'd be with out them. I bought two more bunches of beets, popcorn kernels, snickerdoodle cookies, and some really good Sarsparilla made in Kutztown. On the bottle it says "Nix besser" which means "Nothing better".
So it took me fours hours to make my pickled beets and process them. Good thing I didn't have to hover over it all that time. The beets tasted very good. I made nine pints of them only the ninth pint never made it to process because the bottom of the jar had a chip in it. I dumped it into a container and put it in the fridge. Tomorrow I'll boil some eggs and add them. Yummy. The recipe that I used was from PickYourOwn.org.
Also while I was out, I stopped by the Delaware Canal at one of the locks. It reminds you of a simpliar time when man needed beast to help haul boat loads of coal from the mountians.
Also, I took a picture of a mill. I've been inside it before. It's very impressive. But to ease your curiousity I have some photos of the mill I visited in Lancaster County. They ran the mill for our tour group. Here's the video with no sound. You probably wouldn't have been able to hear anything anyway.