Friday, June 27, 2014

Strawberry-Jalepeno Jam = Best Wife Ever!!!!!

I am pretty sure I raised my status as the best wife ever yesterday!

If that was even possible!!!!

Mexican Joe (That's the title he calls himself!)  From NE Texas Preppers sent me the recipe for his Strawberry-Jalepeno Jam several months back and I finally got around to trying it. (If you want to try it, you will have to ask him for the recipe!)

Ok, lets be real here.... It is raining and I want to be outside digging and moving dirt and I can not.  So I am cleaning out the freezer and canning everything up that can be canned!  Or I am making meals out of it.

I need to make room for more stuff!!!!

Back to the Jam.......

You know a jam is good when I not only am licking the spoon and pot but getting a piece of bread to get every last drop from the pot!!!!

It was that good!!!!

Now, people are probably turning up their nose and getting a weird look on their faces as they are trying to figure out if it would taste good.  Or even what it would possibly taste like??

Let me just tell you, it is strawberry jam with a tiny kick to it... just enough spice that it takes the jam to an entirely different level of - Oh this is good...... all the way to - Oh my goodness this is awesome!!!

And with that note, I am pretty sure Hubby will not allow any of these jars to leave the house.  So if you want to try it... you will have to come to the door with a piece of toast in hand and I will sneak you a slather of the jam.

It is that good!!!!

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go, the cat just stopped in front of the office door to throw up.  Time for a clean up!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014



I'm low on product for some time.  And I don't want to spend the money.... I mean, it's extensive stuff.  But for my skin... it's priceless when I want a light tinted coating of protection. 

So as I'm morning the last day of use on this tube.... I take it to the kitchen and cut it open, for hopes of just one more day!!!

What I find.. . Not only enough for today, and an entire small bottle......

But enough for three bottles!!!!

And I'm once again sickened by the thought of how many of these I threw away when I lived in Fresno!!! 

Hundreds of dollars worth of products in the landfill. Wasted money!!!

Not any more!!!

I'm on to you now Mr container!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Someone stole Spring!

I want to make a report!!!

Seriously!  I want to know where Spring went.  First it was cold then it was not and then we were smack dab in the middle of a heat/dry wave that I have never seen living on the coast in Oregon... Ever!!!  Not complaining here.. I loved it and was getting a ton of stuff done here!!!!! 

We just got rain for the first time this month.  Which is like..... Totally unheard of here!  Well, at least since we moved here in 2010 that is.  And from the talk in the stores... it's totally unusual.

So, last month I woke up and planted all the plants in the garden.  Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions (only about 1,000).

No seriously, about a 1,000 onions!!!

What was I thinking!!!!!??

I have 52 Pepper plants that are in the greenhouse waiting for their next pots and to grow up a bit.  I have others that we bought from a store (5) that are producing.  But that was cheating. So I am waiting for the babies to grow up.

I just discovered on my walk through the garden that the rabbit I saw yesterday is probably the culprit that is eating my husbands watermelon plants.

The rabbit should pretty much hop on the next greyhound that passes by here.

Oh, we don't have greyhound out here..... Hmmmmm.. Dinner?????

I have chicks on order coming next week I believe and through all of this... I did not plan on having to water the garden every few days.

That is something God usually does for me.

Hmmm... God?  How come you aren't watering the garden for us?  I mean, no problem really.  I can do it.  But I liked when you helped out.

So I start the process of using the drip system that I installed earlier this spring.

Thank goodness I installed the system, It saves so much time!!!  I spent one day watering half the garden and then the next day watering the other half!

The garden is about 6,000 sqft.  Not big at all.  Just about 3 times the size of an average American home is all!!!!!!!!

I used to worry about the well, well, all the time.  And Hubby would laugh at me and tell me "we have an excellent well, don't worry about it.  Just use the water!  We live in Oregon".

So I no longer worried about the well.

You are beginning to see where this is going right?????

So Hubby starts to notice that our water is cloudy.  And he doesn't want to worry me (He knows how much I love to flush the toilet!) so he starts researching why that would happen.  And we start asking around.  Because the dog won't drink out of her water bowl anymore because she can't see the bottom!

Special dog!  We move on.... ;-)

So, I am sitting in church.  And now I am praying, please don't let me worry about this God....

Ok, that didn't go so well.... But here is what God did during the greeting time at church.  The farmer in front of us turned around and we asked him the question about why it would do that.  And he said we probably got down to the bottom of the water and it started pulling in from it source for more and it all got stirred up.

We heard that from several people.  Also that it would clear back up in a few days.

Of which it did.  And what happened next, during the service, is what I want to share.

We all know that I am to grow a garden.  That is clear to me as being my job.  Well I am sitting there going back and fourth in my brain.  God, why would you want me to grow a garden, a large one that isn't even as large as you want... and not give me enough water to water it all?  And if the well wasn't going to be enough then why aren't you bringing me enough rain?  I need help here. We could lose it all!  I'm not understanding!

Then it hit me.  Yes, in the middle of service.  Please don't rat me out to the guest speaker we had.

I am given enough water!  I am given enough, But I am not using it wisely!

And that is when He proceeded to show me every single instance of where I am wasting the water He gave me!  And I feel so tall that if I was to sit on a dime.. my feet would dangle!!! 

By the time church was over, I had formulated idea's and plans in my brain on how we would get water to the garden.  And more exercise, which isn't a bad thing.  It would add more time to my day.  And create more work for us... But God never told me my life would be easy.

In fact, I think we all know, my life is not easy!  But I love every moment of it.  Even the snakes and chipmunk parts!

We get out of church and Hubby mentions the well again and I just start spitting all the ideas and plans I have... and he adds more... and we are both on board with the plan.. and we go home refreshed and renewed and very happy our church records the sermon so I can go back and listen to it to hear what it's about.

So what is changing?  Well,

1.  We put a large pot in the sink.  My Nanny had one of these in her sink.  She would collect her water from the sink and take it out to water the garden.  We now do the same.  We end up taking it out about 5-6 times a day to water plants.  We mark where we last watered and the next trip takes it from there.

It has showed me how much water we actually waste down the drain!!!! 

2.  The gutters we took down from above the front door (we are building a patio cover and they had to come down), have been rerouted to the other side of the shop.  20ft of gutters that will collect water.

3.  I researched and believe I figured out how to fix the leaking 55 gallon plastic drums that were leaking in front of the cottage.  They would never hold a full load of water.  So after reading up on it.. I went out and cleaned them up and slowly worked on each one.  It appears to have worked... If it does I will let you know how I did it.  I have a video of the first part here....

It's not a pretty edited video.. but it will have to do for now... Remember, I lost Spring!!!!!!

4.  I have reinstalled and set up the water barrels on this new side of the shop and connected them to the new gutters.  A totally separate line.  Not tied in to the 400 gallons on the other side of the shop.  I don't want to risk losing all of that water! 

That was last night that I finally finished it.  And this morning.... I woke up to rain! 

Can you just say praise God!!! Thank you!!!!!! 

I have been saying it all day!  I ran up in my PJ's and opened up all the cloche's so they could get watered and came inside to finally clean the house a bit. 

In the summer.... this house is not fit for anyone!  Not even us!  I spend every moment in the garden. 

5.  We are talking about reclaiming the grey water from the washing machine.  That is a total possibility.  Especially since I read that it uses 35-55 gallons of water per load!!!!  Yikes that's a lot of water!!!!

6.  There is a spring that was disrupted and relocated, via pipe under the driveway when we started construction here, that I am going to take a free barrel and dig a space to catch the run off that comes out of the pipe.  This way, we can hear the trickle like a stream out our bedroom window... and I can walk over and dip the watering can in to get water when I need it.  I just have to clear the weeds to find the outflow of the pipe that I know is there.... somewhere!  

You can see the grey pipe here.....

But the actual end of it is somewhere down here.....

Did I mention I saw a snake there on Monday?

I can do it! 

7.  I only do full loads of laundry and if I need to wash something separately I do it by hand.  I needed to wash a fleece jacket I love and recently it got this old dirty musty smell to it.  I couldn't stand to wear it.  So instead of throwing it in by its self.. I soaked it for a few hours in a gallon of water with some baking soda, then added soap and agitated it myself for a bit and rinsed it in a new gallon of fresh water.  Then rinsed it.  I used 3 gallons as opposed to the 35 gallons the washer would have taken.  And it didn't take any extra effort.  I let it sit and when I walked by it, I stirred it.

And can I tell you the smell is GONE!!!!!!  And it smells better then anything I could have washed in the washer!!!

8.  We water the garden by hand with watering cans.  Using the stored water as long as we have it.  This is a back up to the water that comes out of the kitchen.  

I don't recommend green watering cans.... they disappear in the garden! 

 Bottom line, I can look back at my childhood, what I was doing in church this last Sunday, and I can see how God was literally preparing me for this moment.  When I was young I lived through several water shortages in California.  We couldn't flush the toilets unless it followed certain guidelines because the price per gallon was so expensive during one crisis.  My great grandmother, who could literally get blood out of a screaming turnip, showed me without me knowing it, how to save every drop of water.  And I actually read all the pamphlets that came with our water bills on how to conserve.  It was all flooding back in to my memory while I was sitting there....

And I came home without a worry in the world.  We have enough water.  We just need to use it all wisely!  And catch as much as we possibly can when it rains! 

And I still have more barrels to catch more water!  Just waiting to be hooked up!!!!! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Chicken smorgasbord

So we like to feed the chickens the left over food from the kitchen.  But soups and liquids are hard.  If I put something down for them they spill it a moment later.  Hubby's mom was getting rid of these old bread pans.. so I drilled a hole in them and installed screws in the coop.... since I have two, one can be in the kitchen collecting and the other.... they can be eating from. 

It's like there own personal smorgasbord!!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dead BBQ Upcycled into Mitre Saw Table

So I have this old BBQ that worked perfect till the first year we lived here and Hubby swore it didn't need to be secured. 

And the first storm came.. with the 60-80mph winds!!!!

And it blew across the driveway and landed in a heaping mess with all it's pieces inside....

 ....a shattered mess.

Then in the spring, he put it all together and bought new pieces and it worked for a month.

Till the inside literally rusted out and the bottom fell out!

Then it sat over in the corner by the pallets for the next 2 years waiting. 

It was first waiting for me to make it into a potting bench in the yard.  With dirt inside and plants around it.  Shabby Chic up-cycling at it's finest!

Like this one....

Then we saw the Duck Dynasty episode where they picked up their BBQ on the side of the road after it fell out of the truck.. And instead of fixing it.. they made it into a charcoal BBQ.  To which Hubby exclaimed he wanted it back and was doing just that to it! 

Not the first nor the last thing that Duck Dynasty ruined for me!!!  But man I do like my Phil!!!! 


Then it sat there another year. 

And today, I took it!  And within an hour... this is what I made....

1.  I stripped it down to the frame.... 

 I would have taken it all apart.. (the other side)  But left and the center section were exactly 4 ft... and this meant I could literally use a 4ft section of MDF that I had on hand.  Which would mean it was free to make. 

2.  I drilled holes in the metal frame.  Special bit!  I never get to use those bits!!!  Fun!!!

3.  Then after trying several left over boards I finally got the piece cut to fit the top.  And screwed it in place. 

4.  After that a quick test to see if the mitre saw fits.... and we are off! 

I was planning on making the sides for it so it would nestle inside and I could cut better with it.  But I opted not.  This way I have a 5ft long table on wheels that I can use for anything. 

I also opted not to screw the mitre saw onto the top.  For the same reason. 

Also, because I spot another BBQ that I could use for another table on wheels..... in my future!!! 

I told Hubby if he built me a patio cover he could buy a new BBQ.  It sounds like he gets a new toy.. but in reality, I get a cover and he gets a BBQ that has enough space on it for us to really get BBQ'ing!!!! 

You can take the couple out of California... but they will take the BBQ'ing with them!!!!!  And we do love our BBQ!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Shall I Go? Or shall I stay was the question that was answered!

It was only 7.99!!! I couldn't buy this for that price at a garage sale up here!!!!


I have a confession to make.... For about a month now, I was actually seriously considering closing up FB, our blog, my G+ and the YouTube account.  I was actually wavering back and forth, do I go full force in finding an audience and do I really have something to say?  Or do I close everything up and retreat inside the homestead and just work? 

It was about this time that a visitor was brought up here by a friend for a 'tour'  She stood in my living room/dining room/kitchen, all 300 sqft of the room and when asked if she wanted the tour, she looked around and said, 'isn't this it?' with a smug tone.  I was hurt to say the least.  And thus no one else on my property has been offered a tour, since.  Yes, to a city person this place looks like a mess.  I joke we are Sanford and Husband, because for 4 years we have been in a state of construction.  I often bake bread or can stuff for my neighbors because frankly, I am begging for their forgiveness with the noise I make here!

And honestly, I know this place looks like a mess!!!!  It has literally given me a totally new view on others properties that look like this!  I hate it when God puts me in a situation that causes me to see people differently!!!!!!!  Seriously!!!!!  :-)

But there is progress!!  Ton's in fact. The studio is almost done!  She never saw that!  The water collection system is holding water, she never saw that!  The chickens are laying eggs and eating less feed from my plantings, she never saw that!  My garden is growing!  The greenhouse is full of hundreds of seedlings!  She never saw any of it!

But if you are a city person into make-up and heals... I can see where it looks like a mess.  I am only 4 years removed from the city lifestyle!  I can see over my shoulder!  And I can pretty much sum up the person as they walk down the steps to the house, by how they walk and what they are wearing.  I wish I was wrong!  But sadly, I rarely am!

But to all city people, best not ever say that to anyone on acreage... ever!!!!  Remember, I have acreage, in a forest, with coyote and bears!!!  ;-)

But all kidding aside..... Yes, I was kidding on the last paragraph! 

I love, actually not strong enough word, interacting with everyone on these sites and Hmmmm... I could actually make money if I put my mind to it on the Blog and YouTube site.  But.....  ???

That's where it always stopped in thought for me.  At the 'But....???'

Then I took a trip back home.  My goal was to go back to my nephew's wedding attend our old church and wait to hear what God wanted me to do.  And yes, I sat on the same side, same section (or as close to the same section as I used to always sit for 20 years.  The section where I accepted God as my Lord and savior!  They actually removed my old pew!!!!!  Probably retired it because I wasn't there anymore! Wink!!)

And then I totally forgot I asked Him for clarity. 

And that's when He hit me over the head not once or twice... but over and over and over again all during our 4 days down there.  It was abundantly clear to me on the second day that I am to continue.  And even crank it up a bit! 

You see, moving here 12 hours north and out on the coast while on the same west coast... it's totally different.  So while there are YouTube channels that tell people how to grow tomatoes, and they are correct... then there are those of us in the PNW that are told what we can't grow!!!  And that's where it becomes frustrating for me.  What worked for me down south, totally doesn't work up here with our challenges!  Mainly, 60-80 MPH wind's (stronger winds then Katrina at times!), 70" of annual rain, and the steep hillside I am living on, to name a few!!!! 

But, what I learned down there is still priceless knowledge if I study it and it's properties and tweak it into something that works here!  Which this whole 2 acre's is one big test study for me!  I should be ahead of whatever mother nature wants to throw my way!!!  And who wouldn't want to jump on board and learn along with us????

I listen and follow a blogger/podcaster called Growing Your Grub (one of many of my podcasts I listen to).  He was doing a podcast on gardening while he was living in Texas.  He retired and moved to California, on some acreage just near Oroville.  I know that area well!  And wish I was down there to help guide him.  But I am listening to his trials in gardening in a new area just as I am going through different but trials!  So I am not the only one that has recognized difference in how you do things dependent on the area!!!!!  Whew!!!!

So, here is what I am thinking.... I am going to continue with my posting and video's.  I will be building, growing, adding animals, preparing for the future home, getting out of debt, growing all our food, learning to hunt (the beaver we killed on the way down doesn't count.  Go Ducks!!!!!), harvesting honey from our bee's, just to name a few... How about I take you along the way with me?  Through the ups and downs, I won't hold anything back!!  You and I will be on this together.  You let me know when I totally screw up and if I nail my hand again with the nail gun you have total permission to laugh at me!! But remind me I need a tetnus shot!!! I need to schedule that!

What do you think?   And if you don't want me to do it anymore, you have my permission to unlike me!  (just kidding!  I might hunt you down and force you to watch!)

The only thing I ask of you... is that you share!  If you know of someone that might like my page or sight... Please share.  Lets see if we can make this something fun for all!

Right now, I am off to play in the sprinklers!  Code for, working on my drip irrigation system!

What do you all think of the new plan?