November 25, 2018

Downright Winterish

Thanksgiving was a beautiful day. The westerly breeze was cool but it was warm in the sun. Perfect for the grandkids to play outside while the less interesting parts of the day (washing dishes) were executed. The next day it was a completely different story: cloudy, cold, wind from the north, and downright winterish. It was like somebody flipped a switch.

Heavy rain was predicted so I spent part of the afternoon walking in the woods and collecting kindling.

Our fall color has been late this year.

Usually, the leaves start to turn around the third week of October, but this year they waited until Thanksgiving weekend. Even now, the color is more subdued than spectacular.

Actually, it's unusual that the trees should be retaining so many leaves in late November.

Most years our trees are bare by now.

On Saturday the heavy rains came as predicted, showering leaves as well as raindrops. Now, the 10-day weather forecast indicates gradually sinking temperatures. Seems like winter is about to arrive.

Are you ready?

Downright Winterish © November 2018 

November 22, 2018

Thankful For ...

Our year didn't have an encouraging start. Those of you who have stuck with me all year will know that I'm talking about Dan's accident. That limitation resulted in a decreased income that left us facing hard lifestyle choices. Then his truck died, with the only option of becoming a one vehicle family.

We can't control our circumstances, but we can choose how we feel about them. Those initial emotional reactions don't have to take up permanent residence in our hearts unless we allow them to. On this traditional American day of thankfulness, I choose to look back on 2018 and reflect on things to be thankful for.


Project Goat Barn; something we once thought would never
happen! In January Dan completed the roof and cupola.

Cozy wood fires and comfy cats

Favorite treats


Nine healthy baby goats

Cooperative weather.

Winter garden (cabbage collard)

And an outpouring of prayers, support, and encouragement after Dan's accident.


Miracle, our survivor preemie

An opportunity to trade for a first generation Kinder buck (Hudson).

Progress on a real hay loft. (Knowing I soon wouldn't have to
wade through a mob of grabby goats with an armload of hay!)


Hay feeder under a future hay chute

Spring garden - old standbys like multiplier onions,

and new-for-me crops like sugar beets.


Spring flowers (Lavender)


$10 bargain windows for the barn!


Plentiful sweet potato slips (Vardamans) 

My first "professionally" published book!

Solar shed light for the hayloft


Tomatoes are just starting to ripen and okra is going gang-busters.
Summer garden

July is blueberry time with pie to prove it.
Plenty to eat. (Homegrown blueberries in homemade pie)

First load of canned pears.
Plenty to preserve (canned pears)


Grating homemade goats milk mozzarella.
Goats milk and homestead cheese

Slices of fresh cucumber on the food dehydrator tray.
Bountiful harvest (getting cucumbers ready to dehydrate)

Learning about carbon for soil fertility & forage diversity.


Rainwater collection system for the barn

Autumn harvest (cushaws)

I prefer the old-fashioned kind of thermometer, rather than a digital.
Learning about gardening by soil temperature.


Finishing the barn!


Hopefully pregnant does.

A case of frozen summer mixed leftovers for "instant" soup.

Roof leak fixed and a little more progress on the house.

And so much more. Are you taking time to count your blessings?

Thankful For ... © November 2018 by

November 18, 2018

Firewood Box and Barn Bench

Between building the goat barn and repairing the pantry roof, the pile of leftover wood scraps has become pretty large. Add to that a couple of rainy days, and this is what happens.

A new firewood box! The old one was small and rickety, so Dan wanted to make a new one. What's nifty about this one is that it has wheels and a handle.

It can be wheeled out to the front porch where the outdoor rack is and load it up. No more leaving the front door open in frigid temperatures while we carry in armloads of wood to refill it. 

 Dan also made a barn bench!

Rustic, heavy duty, and Meowy approved.

This was made from waste slabs of wood from Dan's sawmill. For every post, beam, or board he cuts, there are a number of pieces that are too irregular for regular building projects, but are still useful.

We're entering the season of small projects, because often that's all the weather will allow. It's also a good time to plan ahead, research, write, and do some creative experimentation. Not to mention enjoying a bowl of soup by the wood fire! We have to appreciate these things in their appropriate seasons, don't we?

Firewood Box and Barn Bench © November 2018 

November 14, 2018

Soup Season

Monday morning we got our first frost. The day was crisp and sunny, but it's been cold and rainy ever since. Time for soup!

I think most of us have a recipe or two for leftovers soup. I call mine "Scrap Soup."

Leftovers: mashed potato & cheese soup, pinto beans, oven-
roasted potatoes, and oven-fried sweet potatoes. Added:
chopped fresh daikon greens and a pint jar of bone broth.

Left to simmer all morning on the woodstove, the flavors meld wonderfully. It's deliciously warming and comforting.

Dan says I've made a soup lover out of him. :)

Usually there's enough leftover to become the starter for the next day's soup.

To leftovers of the soup shown above I added last night's lasagna
and another pint of bone broth for a more soup-like consistency.

I can soups too, often from small amounts of various garden produce when there isn't enough for a full canner load of any particular veggie.

Photo from my "Just Add Noodles" Chicken Soup blog post.

Home-canned soups are a wonderful convenience food, but this year I tried something different. We ate daily from the garden, but usually there were leftovers. The next day it seemed silly to heat up those leftovers when we had so many fresh vegetables to eat. So I got out one of the peanut butter jars I'd saved and started putting the leftovers in it. That jar went into the freezer.

Almost every day I'd add bits of leftover vegetables, meat, rice, pasta, cheese, beans, gravy, broth, etc. By summer's end I had a dozen jars full of frozen odds and ends for soup fixings. Perfect additions to keep that soup pot going.

Soup anyone?

Soup Season © November 2018 by Leigh