If you want a golden rule that will fit everything, this is it: Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.William Morris.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Long overdue updates on the girls

In my absence of writing, "the girls" have been one of the categories or subjects that I have not written about. I want to give you some updates on "the girls".
It has been a long cold winter here in the United States. A majority of us have gone through some below freezing temperatures for long length of time, and Oklahoma has been hit with it also. Not as bad as those in the North and East have had. 
Poor girls they were just not happy with this weather. When it snows and such like that, they won't even leave the house, they hate the snow. I do not have a covered run for them because they spend most of their day running free around the farm. True free-ranged chicken 

So I wanted to give you some update on my girls.
I do not have a light or heater out in the hen house and I was so worried about how they were going to fare with the temps in the single digits and below zero we had had this winner. Well I like to tell you that they did well. I had lost only one, my red hen, she was one of my older hen I have. 

Pretty Red Hen

She was looking poorly before it got cold and that's all I took was this nasty weather and she just couldn't hold up
My production really went down as well but that is to be expected  it always does in the winter. There are a few reasons, the cold weather has something to do with it, plus I do not have a light in my hen house so I can't give them some artificial like to help induce a production. So I was down to 2 eggs a day. Sometimes nothing.

But I am happy to say, the past couple weeks we have had more normal and springlike temperatures here in the northeast part of Oklahoma. So I have been getting, on the average, 10 eggs a day now. I had someone say to me the other day  "well they had all those eggs stored up inside and now they are just trying release all those stored up eggs and laying like crazy". I don't about that but they are blessing us with such beautiful eggs.
I've decided not to get any chicks this year, I do have 18 hens and most of them are in the very good laying eggs stage.

 I'll keep you updated on that one.
I am thinking about getting a batch of chicks to raise for eating. Did that once before and we did our own butchering, but we do not want to have to do that again if we don't have to. It has been hard to find a place to process them for us but I have learned there is a place around us that will. I'll have to wait till after the "little dudes" birthday in May.

Monday, March 24, 2014

What's Up

Well this is what I have up on my design wall, and has been at there for quite a while.

 A couple weeks ago I posted that my what's up was to cleanup my sewing room. Which I did. 
This is a lot neater believe or not

And since then, I have not done a bit as stitching, at least in the sewing room. I have done some handwork and some knitting but that's about it so far.
Mainly what's going on right now is getting the garden ready and planting the spring vegetables.

But my word for the year is focus, so what I'm going to try to do is focus a little bit each day on my sewing. That's as time allows when not away from the home with appointments, etc. So I'm going to try to devote at least 15 to 30 minutes a day in there doing a little bit of sewing.
In the past that's not how I do my sewing. I'm one that likes to go in there and work for hours. I enjoy sewing and so once I get into it it's hard for me to stop. And I think that's part of the reason why I haven't been sewing. It's because I have a frame of mind that once I go in there I have to have a few hours devote to sewing and I haven't had that time. But now I'm going think of it as short periods of time, just 15-30 minutes, and see what happens. 
If I don't do this I don't see how I'm going to get any of the projects I have started or want to do done this year.

That's my mantra

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Slow and Peaceful Sunday

I have been watching the first season of House of Cards, knitting and playing around with this new app I put on my i-phone. I first saw it at aunt polly's porch blog. 
Seeing how we are having another blast of cold with snow flurries I have been inside the house. 
The other day I was checking out some blogs I like and over at Polly's she had also been playing around with this app and posted her pics.
The app is called "waterlogue" and I found it on itunes, so I only have it on my phone. What it does is it takes a photo and changes it a watercolor picture. 
Here are some of the pictures I have taken and change over to watercolor pics.

Pretty cool, I believe I will be having some fun and using these from time to time.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Mini Impossible Sweet Potato Pies

It's getting to be that time of year when I have just a few sweet potatoes left from last years harvest. I was trying to get creative and make something different that I haven't done with the sweet potatoes already. When surfing the Internet, I came across a recipe for an impossible mini pumpkin pies. I thought to myself why not use sweet potatoes, I've done it before for pumpkin pie recipes. So I thought okay I'm going to make little mini impossible sweet potato pies. 
They turned out yummy. 

So here is the recipe from Betty Crocker website I used with my adaptation, to make it a sweet potato pies.

Mini Impossible Sweet Potato Pies

1 1/4 cup mash sweet potato
1/2 cup Original Bisquick®  or baking mix
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk (I used milk)
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1tsp vanilla
cup frozen (thawed) whipped topping, if desired

Top with brown sugar and chopped pecans

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 12 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray.
In medium bowl, stir all ingredients except whipped topping until blended. 
If using just milk instead of evaporated milk need to mix  1 tsp. of corn starch in with the sugar, then add with the rest of ingredients.
Pour 1/4 cup of mixture into each muffin cup.
I put the br sugar and pecans on each one

Bake about 30 minutes or until muffin tops ( I found it to be around 25 minutes) are golden brown and edges are starting to pull away from sides of pan. Cool 10 minutes. With thin knife, loosen sides of pies from pan; remove from pan and place top sides up on cooling rack. Cool 10 minutes longer, and serve with 1 generous tablespoonful whipped topping and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Makes 12 mini pies

Another thing I want to add  is how to make your own pumpkin pie spice mix if you don't have it on hand. You will need the spices cinnamon, ground allspice, ground ginger, ground cloves, and ground nutmeg

 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
 1 teaspoon ground ginger
 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

mix all together

This makes 2 tablespoons but you can increase amounts and store in a clean container for use later.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My word for this year

 Cheri Gregory

Have you noticed the past few years others talking about what their word is for the year or maybe you are doing a word for the year. I had seen others pick and talk about their word last year and thought that was a cool thing and something I wanted to try. But the days got passed me and I didn't pick a word and to be honest I really didn't fully understand the purpose behind it, so it just went by the wayside last year
So I thought this year with my new year goals (birthday) I was going to pick a word for myself to work on. I decided I needed to do more focusing,
 so focus it is my word.
In the process of thinking about what would be my word for this year, I did some research on the Internet to understand more about the purpose behind this one word. When I came across this book called "My One Word". 

Product Details
My One Word
I thought okay I'll read this and see if it can give me a little insight to what it's all about.
I'm glad I read it because it did give me some insight to what is floating around out there about their one word. I found it compelling, inspirational, and something that I think can help me grow as a person through this next year.
So focus is my first one word. 
I'm going to start with focusing on my family and health. Then I'll see what happens, where I end up. 
If you haven't done it yet it's never too late you can start now or months from now which ever and just focus on this one word for a year. If you want to know more just Google my one word and see what comes up. After reading what you find and if it's something that you could embrace, give it a try, I think it's a good idea 

Monday, March 3, 2014

It's Monday and What's up

I can finally say "what's up". I've looked it up and it was almost 3 months ago since the last time I shared what I've been up to. Beside that I have to admit that I am very rusty at writing. I'm not a born writer and it has been a journey for me. It has taken me on the last two posts, over two hours just to write those short post. I would love to have the talent of writing and speed on the keyboard like so many other bloggers have. So bare with me as I get up on this bicycle again. 
Today is a very cold day (5 degrees) with a wind chill in the minus degree and a winter wonderland.
The only green to be seen is in my morning green drink

Part of my new year focus is to be more delegate at getting healthier and to lose this weight that I have gained. For my birthday "the man of the place" gave me a vitamix mixer. My little mixer couldn't handle making smoothies and I have fallen in love with drinking my raw veggies. For me the best gift is one that is useful and will improve my life somehow.
And the gift I gave myself is the Fitbit Flex (not Force which can cause rashes for some). 

It is a device that keep tracks of your activity and calories (in and out). It will also track your sleep and tell you how many times a night you are restless and how efficient that night sleep was. Tracking what one eats and whether or not you are burning as many calories as consuming is the key to losing.
Right now my goal is 10,000 steps and once that can be achieved than I'll increase my goal. Its a challenge being stuck inside but by the end of the week, here in NE Oklahoma we'll be in the 60's. 
Go figure
I plan on being out in the garden getting it ready for planting by then.

But for today while I'm stuck inside, this is my project/task.

This room, my happy place, is not so happy right now. Before the "little dudes" came in January I was deep cleaning a good portion of our home. I was able to give a lot of the stuff I was purging away but there was also a lot of sewing/knitting stuff in those rooms.

Well normally they belong in this room so that is where I haphazardly toss in here,
Which is so obvious by looking at the pictures.

What a mess, this is my cutting table or was.
I probably won't get much more done than cleaning it up and finding stuff but if I do, I'll share any progress I get done. 
There are a few things I want to get back to. Right now the main thing is to find them, they are in there somewhere.

Looking at this I realize I have way too much. And for me to not purchase another item because I just want it should be another goal to have for my new year.
I have been for the most part in that mode this past year except when it came to the grandsons. Just couldn't control myself, I was weak and gave in.
But there are enough projects for them in that room somewhere that I should be pretty busy for a spell. 

Need to get to work, this took again over two hours to write.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Here we go again

Hopefully this will be the last bout of arctic cold front, the high today was 17 with a wind chill of -3 and  in the morning the wind chill will be around -12.   
I did as little as possible outside, tended to the girls.
What I ended up doing was working on our taxes and we were able to get them completed and ready to be sent off.
And it was a perfect day also for a pot beans and ham, with of course a batch of corn bread. Now that is what I call comfort food.

So now it's some TV time, hot chocolate and knitting.
I figure I'm undecided and will work on two projects this evening. I have a scarf I started for a friend and do not have much more left.

Then the sweaters for the "little dudes" are also close to be being done but doubt if I'll get them completed tonight.

The first one is almost completed
I need to lengthen the sleeves and sew it up, as you can see I had just pinned it together so I could try it on the boys. Isn't Ben cute.
I had someone ask me for the pattern I am using to make these and this is it.



Saturday, March 1, 2014

My New Year

It's my birthday today and as the years have added on, I look at my birthday more as the beginning of a new year then just a day to celebrate my birthday. So as I sit and write this I can only think back over my last year and what direction I hope to see myself in a year from now. 
The start of a new year makes me excited about what I can accomplish and the experiences that will happen. 
And here in the United States the majority of us have been dealing with a cold long winter, myself included.
 Boy am I ready for spring and starting this years growing season. One of my excitements for this new year is to expand my garden space. I want to start my kitchen garden / potager. I just love that word, potager.  
Potager Garden Definition: (pronunciation: puh ta zhay) a garden that combines both edible and ornamental plants; a vegetable garden that is utilitarian in nature but designed with beauty in mind; much like an English kitchen garden, but often formal and symmetrically designed in the French fashion. 

something like this but higher deer proof fence needed.
I'll need "the man of the place" help with the construction of such a fence. I've given it some thought and thought I would try to start small with the ability to expand.
I did go out this afternoon to see what the veggie patch looked like.
With these arctic blasts we have had the past few months and the "little dudes" here I hadn't been out there. 
It is just crying for my attention.

You see what I mean, I should of had most of this clean and more mulch added by now.

 This is the bed that made it through the first part of the winter and sometime while the boys were here, when I was not going out to the garden and harvesting the wind blew the covers off and exposed the plants. As you can see, I lost the swiss chard, bok choy and turnips.

The spinach on the other hand lived through my neglect. Spinach is one tough plant. There is a touch of freeze damage to the tips of leaves but they are still thriving.


The girls were enjoying some new turf to scout out.

The strawberries did not fare as well as the spinach. I should've covered them with a thick layer of straw. That is usually what I do each winter. Looks like I will have some thinning out to do. It did need it though. I just planted the bed this past spring and it really took off on me. I wasn't that please with the variety I had planted. Can't remember what they were at the moment but 
I had a variety called Jewel before and loved them. Big fruit and very productive. I should plant another bed of them. Can't beat strawberries fresh or frozen.

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