Family Cook Book

Many mornings are spent around our kitchen table consuming large amounts of Luke's famous french toast.  A variety of toppings included, each person having their favorite; butter, jam, peanut butter, and maple syrup.  My 7 year old boy has been cooking a lot this year, in fact, and has decided to make us a family cookbook.  A collection of all the new recipes he's learning to cook.  I was thrilled.  Jake started this very same project many years ago, and it's fun to see how our tastes have changed!  I suspected Luke's interest would fizzle, but he has steadily worked on it over the long winter months.  I've even been allowed to add a few of my favorite recipes.

Yesterday, we made gluten free cornbread.  Yes, I'll be adding this one to the book, too.

Gluten Free Corn Bread
1 1/4 c. gluten free flour
3/4 c. corn meal
1/4 c. sugar
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 c. milk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 egg

Combine all the ingredients and mix until moistened.  Pour into a greased pan and bake at 400 degrees until top is golden brown.

What are some of your favorite family recipes?
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Casting Off

Sunday night I cast off the last stitch on the button band of my sweater.  Inspired by our first year of homesteading, sleeping out under the canopy of trees and stars.  I absolutely love it!  Everything about it is perfectly me and I wouldn't change a thing. (That never happens when I knit.)  

It's soft and cozy, and just roomy enough to wear as a coat!  Good thing, too.  The air may be shifting toward Spring, but it's going to be wool weather for quite some time yet.  

Details on Ravelry.

Joining in with Ginny.

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The Color of Winter

The day was warm and calm.  We drove up north to the land and I walked alone in our woods for a little while.  Until they realized I was gone.

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Homesteading: Permaculture and No Till Gardening

Homesteading:  A weekly account of our journey to becoming off grid homesteaders.  Our path will be long as we are only paying in cash and our funds are very limited.  Mike and I have no idea what we're doing so we'll be learning as we go.  I know we'll make mistakes and that's ok.  It's all part of the process.  

We would love to read about your homesteading experiences, so if you'd like to share your favorite resources, tips, funny stories, recipes, books, website or even just a photo from the week, please leave a link in the comments.

* * * * *

We're hanging out at the library today, immersed in a pile of books related to all things homesteading.  The method of permaculture, and especially no till gardening, has been on the forefront of my mind, as we decide how we want to move forward with feeding our family from the earth and not the grocery store.

I first discovered permaculture a few years ago on a blog Farmama.  Sadly, she's not blogging anymore, but her visions of small scale agriculture were inspirational.  I remember one post in particular where she wrote about no till gardening.  Instead of turning over the soil at the beginning and end of each season, the soil remained undisturbed.  It allowed the soil surface and micro organisms to work together, creating natural aeration (worms love the layers of cardboard and organic matter),  significantly reducing weeds, retaining soil carbon, and so much more.

This no till method, it feels just about right for us.

For now, we're hoarding cardboard.  Eliminating weeds and grass is the first step of the process.  Just as soon as the snow melts!

Here are a few links we've liked:

Midwest Permaculture


Do you have any experience with no till gardening?

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Total System Failure and Knitting

I just wanted to pop in and say hi!  We haven't fallen off the face of the earth or been struck by the latest plague (knock on wood).  However, we have gone into total system failure with our internet provider.  They claim different scenarios each day, with no indication of when things will be fixed.  For now, I'll have to take my computer (and knitting...  and friends...) to the coffee shop for my service.  It's not a bad gig, really.

(circa 2010)

Joining in with all the inspiring knitters over at Small Things.
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Knitting and Dyeing

I'm still working steadily on my sweater.  I love top downs and all, but now that I've got the neck just right and the color work done, it's miles of mindless knitting.  I'm definitely going to have to add in waist shaping and some color work around the bottom, or it may get too monotonous.

In between rows, my attention was diverted to dyeing wool.  I was trying {again} to replicate the color I used for my i cord bracelet.  Not even close.  So I dropped the skein into a pot of aqua and olive.  It's growing on me.

What are you working on this week?

p.s. I'm joining in with Ginny's Yarn Along.
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In The Shop

It's only Tuesday, and I'm already a day off this week.  Mike and Jake spent the weekend at a conference for the Wisconsin Falconer's Association (more on that later), so I didn't get my usual work finished.  The little guys and I did make some time to play around with the essential oils and we came up with a scent we all agreed smelled like Spring.  It's below zero and snowing outside, but we're all dreaming of fresh air and warmer weather!  It's surely right around the corner, isn't it?

The oils are a mix of lemon and sweet orange, with a hint of clary sage and ground ginger.  The fresh, invigorating scent immediately takes me back to spring time on my grandma and grandpa's farm in Iowa.  The white lace curtains blowing in the breeze, the fresh scent of new earth and green growth, and the sweet citrus from her homemade cleansers.

We mixed some of the oils to make our own homemade cleansers, and some of the oils I used to make handmade soap for the shop.

You can find the soap here:  Lemon Ginger Soap

And here's a recipe for our favorite all natural cleanser:

All Purpose Cleaner
1 ~ 32oz spray bottle
Fill it 3/4 of the way with water
Fill it the rest of the way with white vinegar
Add 15 drops of your favorite essential oils.  Tea tree, lemon, and other citrus oils are wonderful for cutting through grease as well as being antibacterial.  

Shake well before each use.  Spray liberally.  You do have to use a bit more elbow grease with homemade cleaners, but you aren't left with any toxic chemicals or fumes!  

What scents remind you of spring?

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