Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Picking violets to make jelly

I'm not yet sure how the jelly will taste, but gathering up our two tightly packed cups of violets was fun work. I realized I hadn't taken time to see them until yesterday.

My baby girl started out in her Over the Shoulder Baby Holder, but she's more of a hands on little one and quickly got tired of being carried. She sat within arms reach and picked grass while I picked more violets. I had my two cups and was ready to head inside, until I remembered to pack them tightly. Little M was getting restless, but I only had one cup after pressing them down.

We went in anyway, and steeped one cup of flowers with one cup of water. They needed to sit for twenty-four hours before being strained,so I figured I'd just combine the first strained batch with the next when it's soaking time ends.

My son got home from school before I got around to gathering the rest of our flowers. He eagerly joined in.

All the violets we needed.

I boiled my water and poured it into my jar of flowers... then, we wait.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Violet Jelly and Dandelion Wine

The blog that got me so excited to give violet jelly a try...

I'm on my way out to gather my flowers, but I just had to share first. I wonder if anyone else is out picking some.

My baby girl and I will also be gathering lots of dandelions for wine, which DH and I have wanted to make for years. I'll post some pics soon. Gotta get picking :-)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We had bunnies

Thursday morning was exciting, Our doe had her first litter of kits Wednesday night. She made her nest outside of the nest box, but she did have them in the box.

There were three that I could see moving and one that was dead. I took the dead one out and moved some of her fur into the box. When I checked on them Thursday night there was another dead one, and the doe had started to eat another one of the kits. I took the dead one out and finished off the injured one. Now we were down to one left, and I knew it was probably going to end up like the rest. Unfortunately I was right, she had eaten it sometime Thursday night. She has one more chance or it's rabbit stew for her. Going to breed her again after Easter.

Friday was a productive day, got the pine trees trimmed to allow more sunlight onto the raspberry patch & garden.

Times like this I wish I had a little chainsaw, my Husky is too big for me to use up in the tree.

We had an extra trash can that we didn't need, so we decided to make another rain barrel. I got the new rain barrel made and hooked up,and after the rain Friday night it's already full.

Since there were no kits to worry about disturbing, we decided to go ahead and move the rabbit cages over to their new location. Now when their cages need to be cleaned I just have to open the side door, no more carrying the trays through the shed. It will also give them a breeze in the summertime if we open the door they're in front of now, and the window across from them.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'm a dirty hippy half-assed housewife!

I'm the less productive half of our little backyard homestead, there's always something "I MEANT TO" do. Gardening is one of my passions, and fortunately as you can see, my husband is pretty into it too... or the tomato and pepper plants we've posted in our photos would probably be shriveled up dead by now. I easily get caught up in the excitement, the dreams of our perfect garden plots. I buy seeds like a mad woman,

seed catalogs filled with colorful plants help me get through the winter. I can't wait to start! Remembering to turn on the grow lights and water the plants over the long haul is where I have some trouble. Any plant that lives long enough to make it outside (thanks dirty hippy hubby), will do well. I actually LIKE pulling weeds, digging in the dirt, and everything else associated with gardening.

I enjoy cooking, which I'll admit I did very little of before getting married, and doing as much from scratch as possible now. The less processed the better in my humble opinion, with the exception of a delicious sandwich cookie dipped in milk that I'd never give up. It's taken me some time to really have fun with food and preparing it. Following recipes perfectly, and measuring everything down to the grain, is what I thought being a good cook was all about. I stressed myself out over the whole process, and usually wasn't thrilled with the results. It took a patient man who just tosses things in, and somehow turns out delicious meals, to make me realize I just needed to relax a little.

I love homemade bread fresh out of the oven, the smell of it baking is incredible. Does my bread look like the pics from a magazine? No way, but it beats store-bought mass-produced bread any day, even if it isn't perfect!

It makes me happy when my husband and son walk in the door to wonderful smells from the oven or stovetop. When the house is clean"ish" and the laundry at least made it into the washer, it's a productive day for me. Of course, I have a very demanding baby girl at home, so it's often a challenge...and where the half-assed side of me comes into the picture. I'd rather be a half-assed housewife, and a kickass mama in my little girl's eyes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

This week on the homestead

Finally had a break in the rain long enough to get some lettuce transplants, some more kale, peas, onion sets, cauliflower, and carrots planted.

Our greenhouse has been working great, we've had nights below freezing but the stuff is growing strong.

We got the rain barrel hooked back up today also, just in time for a thunderstorm. It should be about full with today's rain. I have plans of making another one out of a trash can to catch the runoff. Last year the one barrel was enough for the small garden behind the shed but since we have raised beds this year I think that we're going to need more water.

The tomato plants are growing, growing to fast in fact. We already put them in bigger pots, and might have to again one more time before its time to transplant them into the garden.

Talking to our neighbor the other day, he told us that he's not going to be planting very much this year, so if we wanted to use the left over space to go ahead. He said he's getting too old to use it all. So we are going to plant some tomatos, green beans and potatoes in his garden. We told him he can pick whatever he wants to eat and he seems happy with that, and the fact that his garden he's worked on so many years will still be used.

The rabbits are doing good. We should be having some kits today hopefully. After they get bigger we are going to move them from where they currently are in the shed over to the front of the side shed door, this will allow us to keep the side door open in the summer to help keep it cooler and makes it closer to the compost pile and bins for cleaning out the trays.

This door will eventually open up to the rabbit cages.

Projects that we have planned for this week:
Clean out the front flower bed
Turn front yard into a flower bed and mulch
Build new rain barrel
Plant the hops
Build a trellis for the grapes