Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Second Chance for that Pumpkin

Don't forget to give that sad pumpkin a second chance in your compost bin!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

When Life Gives You Apples

When life gives you apples, make applesauce!

I recently bought 2 bushels of apples from a local farmer.  Do you know how many pounds that is? It's about 100 pounds of apples!!! I thought it would be a really fun project to tackle with the kids and we set up an assembly line. Mason cut the apples in half and passed them to Maya. Maya would cut the core out and pass it to me. I peeled them and passed them to little Madelyn. Madelyn would throw them in lemon water to keep them from browning. Everyone was in charge of chowing down on the apple peels.

Next, we had to boil the apples to make them soft.

After that it was into my handy dandy Blendtec.

Then, into the canning bottles to be processed. 

It took about 4 hours and we barely made a dent in our 100 lbs of apples. My feet were swollen and I was exhausted and overwhelmed thinking about processing the rest of the apples! 

Luckily, a friend came to my rescue and let me borrow her MAGIC applesauce maker! It was amazing! It was so quick and easy that I was wishing I had more apples to process.

With this magic device, we just boiled the apples and threw them in, cranked the lever and out came the apples sauce. Then we put them in the canning bottles to be processed. Voila! 5x's the apples in about the same amount of time.

The Magic Machine! Food Strainer and Sauce Maker
And my studly little Mason making applesauce by himself. 

I have been learning lately that I need to start working "SMARTER" not "HARDER" 
Do a bit of research and asking around next time and find out the best ways to can your own food!

~Marisa

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Asbestos Awareness Week

Oops....we missed it, Abestos Awareness was last week. We were contacted by Cameron, his wife Heather was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a rare cancer which only known cause is asbestos. Please take a moment to check out their website here

Good luck to you Heather and Cameron and thank you for raising awareness about asbestos.

~marisa


 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Seed Catalogs

Do you remember getting the JC Penny catalog every December? Looking through it used to be one of my very favorite things to do at Christmas time. Those days are gone, does JC Penny's even have a catalog anymore? Anyways, I'm older and hopefully wiser now, so I now love receiving the Seed Savers Exchange catalog in the mail. I spend hours looking through all the seeds, just like I used to look through all the toys. I circle the seeds that look interesting, just like I used to circle the toys I wanted to get from Santa. I dog-ear the pages that are the best and most beautiful and interesting. Do you love the seed catalogs like I do? Which ones are your favorites?

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Free Class: Become a Healer in Your Own Home


Free Class via internet
Registration Link: http://Marisa.enterthemeeting.com/m/WH43TEUH


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Chickens!

Homesteading and self-reliance is one of the hottest trends out there, even reaching to the urban farm movement. While the average homeowner may not be able to swing a fully self-sufficient homestead in their suburban backyard, you can make the effort to grow and raise your own food. If you've been on the fence about building a coop and investing in a few chickens, here are ten of the reasons why you should seriously consider taking that leap.
  1. Fresh Eggs– Many new chicken owners took the plunge solely to reap the benefits of having a steady supply of fresh eggs. What often comes as a surprise is just how many eggs you can actually collect. If you want a reliable stream of fresh, additive-free eggs, keeping chickens is a wise move, indeed.
  2. Reducing Waste– A single chicken can recycle roughly four pounds of kitchen waste in a single week. If you're not a composter and have several chickens, you'll find that your kitchen waste is reduced dramatically with the addition of these feathered garbage disposals.
  3. Fertilizing Vegetable Crops– Chicken manure is a nutrient-rich source of fertilizer for all manner of crop plants, and is an absolutely organic growth-boosting solution. Cut the chemical fertilizers out of your gardening routine and opt for the plentiful resources right in your own backyard, provided that you have chickens on hand to supply your needs.
  4. All-Natural Pest Control– Insects are a special treat to chickens, who will forage for them endlessly. That means that the Japanese beetles decimating your tomato plants will be gone in short order when there are a few chickens flitting around the backyard.
  5. Additive-Free Meat– While some families may not relish the idea of eating their pets, those who do raise chickens for meat are able to enjoy fresh protein that has not been contaminated by antibiotics, steroids or hormonal therapy. You'll know exactly where your meat came from and what it contains, and most cities do have slaughterhouses where you can get someone else to do the dirty work for a relatively small fee.
  6. Teaching Kids Responsibility– Children who care for animals gain a sense of responsibility and compassion. Keeping backyard chickens and getting kids in on the effort of caring for them not only helps to lighten the workload for you, but also teaches kids the benefits of animal husbandry.
  7. Instilling Good Stewardship Skills– In order for kids to learn the importance of caring for the environment and the world around them, they need to have a practical application of stewardship. Knowing the cycle of life, where eggs come from and how important it is to take care of the animals that supply their food is a strong lesson in stewardship that will instill those values.
  8. To Do Your Part for the Environment– The eggs at your local supermarket have been shipped by truck, releasing fumes into the air and gobbling finite fuel sources the whole way. Kitchen waste that isn't composted goes into a landfill. Fertilizers contain chemicals that can contaminate groundwater. There are a host of environment evils that can be reduced significantly on the personal level by keeping chickens.
  9. Sourcing Cruelty-Free Food– When you grab a carton of eggs and a bag of frozen chicken breasts from the grocery store, you have no way of knowing whether or not the animals who supplied them were treated humanely and ethically. Knowing where your food comes from and raising your own chickens allows you to source it from cruelty-free methods. Keeping chickens is good for your family, good for the environment and good for your conscience.
  10. For Fun!– The surfeit of eggs and high-quality fertilizer that comes with keeping chickens aside, they're also fun and entertaining pets. Their social hierarchy is firmly established, which can also be a learning experience for kids and adults alike.
There are scads of benefits to keeping your own chickens, but you should first make sure that there are no local ordinances preventing you from doing so in your area. Some metropolitan areas will allow residents to keep small backyard coops that house hens, but prohibit roosters due to noise issues. Make sure that you're well apprised of the legal implications of keeping chickens in your area before you build a coop and start stocking it with feathery egg making machines.

Article submitted by  http://savings.whitefence.com/

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Post Pumpkin Purposes

     As Halloween is soon coming to a close, make sure you save your carved pumpkins for your compost pile! These will serve a much better purpose in the compost pile than in your garbage can. Before you compost them remember to:

   1. Remove any non organic materials: Candles, aluminum foil, etc. These will not decompose.
   2. Remove ALL pumpkin seeds: The seeds will not decompose. When you spread your compost over your gardens in the spring, you will have unwanted pumpkins growing in between your flower beds! You can't turn those into carriages, Fairy Godmother!
   3. Break up the pumpkin, if desired: Most children would love to help break them up by smashing them. Just make sure they will help pick up all the pieces and put them in the compost pile.
   4. Cover the pumpkins in the compost pile: Like all green material, if you want to keep away bugs, then make sure to cover them with carbon-rich materials such as sawdust, paper, or all of those dried leaves you just raked up.

     Here is a recipe you can use for all of the pumpkin seeds you took out of your jack-o-lanterns.


Soaked and Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin Seeds
4 c Water
1 T Salt
1-3 Tbs olive oil or melted coconut oil
Spices of your choice (see spice options below for ideas)
Directions:
Soak: Take your clean pumpkin seeds and place in a bowl. Cover the seeds with warm water and a bit of salt. (Use as much water and salt ratios as needed to cover the seeds.) Let seeds sit at room temperature for 24 hours.
Drain: Drain the water from the pumpkin seeds and allow the seeds to dry on a baking sheet for a few hours. Alternatively you can just cook your seeds for 5-10 minutes in a 300 degree oven before moving on to the roasting part.
Roast: Toss seeds in oil and spices of your choice. Lay seeds on a baking sheet in a thin layer. Roast seeds at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Stir every 10 min.

Spice Options:
Cayenne and salt
Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
Chili powder, lime zest and salt
Paprika, sage, thyme and salt
Try whatever you like!

~marisa