A Midwinter Trek

A midwinter trek through the nearby forest.

Treasures abound.

Snow laden trees and trails left us exhausted, yet nourished.

Read More

Restoring Cast Iron :: Part 2

If you were waiting to read Part 2 on Monday, well.... better late than never, right?  Weather dictates all projects on the homestead and it just wasn't cooperating.  

Didn't that pan clean up nice?  The wood stove didn't fare so well.  It looked sleek at the beginning of winter {of course I forgot to take photos}, but this stove.... well, it gets a lot of use. We heat our water, our house and our food with it.

Now, to take care of your cast iron:

::  Wipe out your pan after each use.  Don’t wash with soap and water, it will ruin the seasoning.

:: Transfer left overs into another container.  Any liquid left in the pan will create rust.

:: If you notice food sticking to the pan, it’s time to reseason.

:: Store in a dry area.

I'd love to hear your cast iron stories... favorite recipes, tips for cooking, etc!

Read More

On My Needles

This week I finally finished the Lola Shawl.  {pictures coming soon} The ends need to be sewn in and it needs a serious blocking, but I'm calling it done.  Four long months, it's been on my needles.  Blah. It's an easy knit, but purling makes my hands hurt and it's all back and forth knitting.  The border was worth it, though.  the simplicity of the lace edge is exquisite.  I'm tempted to keep it, but it's meant for  another home.  I may use the lace design to create a cowl.  In the round.  No more purling.

I've also started another pair of mittens.  One can never have too many mittens, right?

What's on your needles right now?

{Joining Ginny}

Read More

How To Restore and Season Cast Iron

Slowly, but surely, we've been growing our collection of cast iron cookware.  Scouring flea markets, thrift stores, antique shops, in this area, has become one of our favorite winter past times.   Sure, I could head over to one of the big box stores and pick up a new pan for about $15, but I wouldn't have the love and history cooked into each piece.  I dream of all the holidays, birthday celebrations or everyday sit down dinners that pan has cooked for.  I also find great satisfaction in giving something old and discarded, a new life.  If you have a cast iron skillet that has rusted and are afraid it's ruined, don't worry.  With just a little bit of elbow grease, it will look and work just like new.

Benefits of Cast Iron...

::  Versatility.  You can use it on a stove top, on the grill, in the oven and on the wood stove.  This is so important for us, as we have extremely limited space and need to keep things as simple as possible.

::  Food cooks more evenly  

::  If seasoned, it has a natural, non stick surface.  Easy to clean.  Inexpensive

::  Easy to clean.  Just wipe out with a paper towel when you're through.

How to restore Cast Iron...

::  Remove all of the rust.  We used a steel brush attachment for the drill because it's a lot faster and easier on our hands than steel wools scrubbies.

::  Wash cast iron with mild soap and water to remove dust particles.

::  Thoroughly dry cast iron or it will rust again very quickly.

::  For cookware, you'll want to season your pan with oil before using.  To do this, lightly coat the pan  in oil.  Don't forget the bottom and handle.  Animal fat works best, but any vegetable oil will work.  {I would avoid olive oil, it made my first pan tacky.}  Next, place your pan in a 350 degree oven, upside down, for one hour.  You may want to put tin foil under it to collect drips.  Turn the heat off and let it cool.  It's now ready to use.

::  In case you're wondering... To finish our cast iron boxwood stove, we sprayed it with a matte black paint designed for stoves and grills.  You don't want to use regular spray paint, because it won't be able to withstand the heat.  Let it dry for 24 hours and it's ready to use.  I do suggest performing a test burn with the windows open.  The first time you heat it up, a foul odor is given off by the paint.  After that, you're good to go!

Be sure to stop back Monday to see the finished results of our cast iron pans.

Read More


Sometimes, during the dead of winter, we turn on the generator and watch a movie. 

Sometimes, we watch magnificent winter sunsets over the back forty.
Read More


This week we're especially grateful for...

::  warm{er} air and sunshine, the perfect weather for cross country skiing

::  an over abundance of fresh chicken eggs.

::  good times with friends we hadn't seen in far too long

::  a new supply of firewood.  We are learning quickly about the need to stockpile firewood

::  finishing up a few piddly projects that have been weighing on my mind.

What are you grateful for this week?

Read More

A Year Later

It was just a year ago that we sat in this spot, knee deep in snow, taking selfies, and wondering what it would be like to live here the next winter.

This year, we're in the same spot, knee deep in life, and wrangling chickens.

Read More

Fresh Food

Can you believe that the grocery store was throwing these out?  Almost expired, the clerk said.  She wouldn't let us take the food then, but said it would be taken to the thrift shop where they would have tables set up and we could take as much as we wanted.  It makes me sad and grateful all at the same time.  Horrified that we live in a country where so much food is wasted and taken for granted, yet thrilled to be able to save cratefuls of free organic foods from the dumpster.  

We've been picking up cast offs regularly now, mostly organic greens and breads, to give the chickens, but every once in awhile there's treat for us, too!

Halved with a sprinkling of sugar or fresh squeezed for juicing... either way, fresh grapefruit is like a ray of sunshine this time of year.  

Read More

In and Out

Outside:  The air has warmed to just above zero and the snow is falling softly.  

Inside:  The wood stove is crackling, Cole is mixing up a batch of waffles, and Mike and I are finishing shop orders from the week.

What's happening in and out at your house today?

Read More

Mini Skeins

Just before Christmas, I had a creative impulse to make something pretty and colorful.  

Mini skins, in three new color ways.   

At around 4 grams each, they're just right for knitting my Rustic I Cord Bracelet or any other small project.  

{And they come in a cute little cotton drawstring bag.}

Read More

On My Needles

Who ever said homesteading was simple has either never done it, or lied.  Good thing I have knitting.

Read More