Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Homestead Update

Greetings from the homestead! I pray that all are doing well.

Beloved began his vacation today. It is such a blessing. We are going to spend the time not only having fun with the kids, but will also be taking care of our garden & other tasks.

Our outdoor cat finally brought out her 4 kittens to greet the family. She had 3 black males and 1 gray female. They are adorable. We only have her and her mate now, so these kittens are a blessing.

The non-electric lifestyle is very interesting. We are enjoying it and learn more each day. Now that summer is bringing the longer daylight hours, we are able to go without using the kerosene lamps as often. It is a blessing also that the days are so warm that laundry is drying much faster on the line. By July, I will be able to fill the lines twice in a day if need be and still have everything dry by nightfall.

One project that Beloved is working on over his vacation is setting up an outdoor kitchen. Basically it is a BBQ area but with enough area on the fire pit to allow us to also cook with cast iron. The addition of this kitchen will cut back on propane usage during the months when the temps are too hot for my using the wood cookstove.

Today, we have signed up Miss Abigail for the library summer reading program. We read to her and Micah each day, so this will be a fun activity for her. Both she and Micah enjoy the times we read to them. The library we go to allows us to check out 60 books at a time. We have yet to reach that limit in one trip, but once we begin homeschooling in a couple of years, I am sure we will do our best to reach that limit. LOL

Last month, I canned a month's supply of meat for the first time. What a blessing that became! I am so thrilled with the results. We were able to store the meat very well and the flavor was good. I am looking forward to when Beloved is able to go hunting for deer in the fall. I will be able to can the meat and not have to worry about how to store it. I was very happy with how easily it was canned and the flavor of it afterwords.

I wanted to post a quick tip for anyone who uses a lot of dried herbs in their cooking, but does not grow their own. If you have access to a health food store that provides bulk bins that you can buy your foods from, see if they also have bulk containers of the dried herbs and seasonings. The store we go to has this and we are able to buy about a 1/2 cup quantity of dried herbs & seasonings for about 20 cents. This is far less than the small containers that you buy in the grocery stores! Last month, I bought a 1/2 cup quantity of dried Sweet Basil for 17 cents - that amount would have cost over $2.00 in the bottles sold in the grocery stores.