Traditional Homemaking: Late Summer/Autumn 2010 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 72 Old 08-19-2010, 05:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I kept hoping someone else would start a new thread... but no one did... so here it is!

How is everyone doing? I'm pretty burnt out on the summertime and am gearing up for a much-awaited autumn (when we'll also be welcoming out first baby!). How about you?

The original Traditional Homemaking thread
Summer 2009
Fall (and Spring!) 2009
Winter '09-'10


I can't wait to hear from you ladies again! And even if you weren't part of any of the previous threads, please, come in and join us!

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#2 of 72 Old 08-19-2010, 11:27 PM
 
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Hi I am new to this thread but have read a lot of the other ones. Currently, we are in the process of moving to a new home and so not much going on other than packing and cleaning. Hopefully, by next week I'll be unpacking and setting up the new house.
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#3 of 72 Old 08-20-2010, 01:13 AM
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well, this spring (since that is where we are heading in the southern hemisphere), i have the following exciting things up my sleeve:

1. more fermenting! we already ferment veggies for ourselves (very enjoyable), and then we are looking to make natural soda and also sour dough bread. I just need to get some of the right sized jars and containers for it all. and a dutch oven.

2. Wool Felting! i have just started gathering the necessary supplies to begin both wet and needle felting. i am going to start with a few home decorations and gifts, and then move on to slippers, scarves, and hats (to do home-made christmas for family and friends).

3. herb gardening with all the herbally goodness that goes with it. i'm doing both culenary and medicinals--from which i mostly plan to make teas. still, i need my mint tea blend and my chamomile. i have a hard time finding the blend that i need here, so i'm growing what i need. even my herbalist can't find everything, but we could find seed, so that's how it's going.

otherwise, more making from scratch!
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#4 of 72 Old 08-20-2010, 06:19 AM
 
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Hey mamas!

I've spent most of the past year trying to "get back."

I agreed in Jan to a job with my old employer, and it quickly grew into something of a monster that took over my life. It was OK during winter when I didn't have a lot to do, but unfortunately, as spring and summer came it kind of exploded for a variety of reasons. I am just now regaining my footing and getting some down time, if you can call it that. The farm is in full swing, and I am beat!

So what's left of my traditional home has been very farmy. It has been all about keeping up with the garden harvest and dairy. I am milking 2 goats and have learned to make yogurt and feta. Making the usual pickles and canned and frozen things. I'm extracting honey this week. I've started a lambskin to learn how to tan those, since we slaughter several lambs over the course of a year.

Now my dh is talking about an overseas job, though, and I don't feel great about it. While I love to travel, our farm has had me really tied to home, even while working, and I'm not drawn to the particular part of the world he's looking at. I don't know...in the meantime, I'm just trying to keep things afloat at home. I have had too much arthritis pain to do much that's crafty.

zoebird, I'd love to try fermenting vegetables. I'm a huge fan of kraut and kimchi. That's a great idea.

This fall, I want to learn some basic sewing skills, save a couple more lambskins and get back to creative writing. I also want to spend more time teaching skills to the kiddos. I've been cranky mom at the computer waaaay too much this summer.
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#5 of 72 Old 08-20-2010, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Zoebird, I should be whipped with a wet noodle for forgetting about our Southern Hemisphere homemakers!

As for us... the garden was an utter, complete flop this year. Part of it was just the bad luck that sometimes happens in gardens -- why, oh, why, did NONE of our strawberry plants even so much as sprout?? -- but mostly it was due to a heart attack in my extended-but-close family that kept us practically living in ICU for 2 weeks and then living at said relative's house to help out. It was a critical time in the garden and almost everything went to heck. Ok, everything. I'm still hoping to get some garlic, greens, carrots, etc, going for the fall, though.

Mostly our focus is on preparing for our baby due in October. I've only crocheted small items before but I'm currently working on this blanket. It's looking good, if not quite as perfect as the original. There are several other baby projects in various stages of completion and likelihood.

We're also considering getting some Silver Fox rabbits. We raise New Zealand Whites right now, primarily for meat, but DH uses the hides, as well. Silver Foxes actually are a "meat rabbit," their production is just not quite as good as NZWs. However, they have an awesome black coat shot with silver. Add that they're also considered critical by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, and they seem perfect for us. Our only problem is the local source we found wants $70 for a pair, and we are really strapped for cash right now since it looks like our insurance is backing out of covering our midwife. I really want to dig up the money since I'm not sure I'll be able to find them locally again, but...

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#6 of 72 Old 08-20-2010, 12:09 PM
 
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Wow...if that's a good breeding pair...if I were raising rabbits and using pelts, I think I'd swallow hard and buy them. Any way you can do a partial barter? They sound beautiful. And good luck with baby preparations!
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#7 of 72 Old 08-20-2010, 02:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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More about the Silver Fox rabbit.

It really is a good deal... I am thinking of calling later today and just making it work if the pair is still available. We even (conveniently) will have a cage for them, since one of our NZW does has recently turned from moody to evil, lol. DH says he's DONE with her.

1jooj, how long have you been "making honey"? We have been considering bees for our place but it hasn't come to fruition yet.

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#8 of 72 Old 08-20-2010, 09:42 PM
 
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Hey ladies! I am new to thread but excited to get to know you all! I have one son who is one year old (today, actually: happy birthday bud!). Our situation has recently changed and so I am really excited to be more of a homemaker.

I am a nanny for a great family. I take care of twin girls who will be 7 in a couple months. Ds comes with me to work. The girls are starting school on Monday and so I won't be working very much, which is great! I think once we have another baby I will SAH fulltime, but for now it is a fabulous situation. So anyway, I've been working looooong hours this summer and am very excited to be home a lot.

Also, Dh and his BIL have just started their own business doing hardwood flooring. For now Dh is going to hold onto his late-shift job for the benefits until we figure out exactly how this owning-your-own-business thing is going to work out. So this means he will be gone from 6 AM to 9 PM on weekdays! Yikes! He will mostly be home on weekends, but will probably work sometimes. He has always been great around the house: doing laundry and dishes and grocery shopping... but I am eager to do as much as I can so that his limited time at home can be spent with me and ds relaxing and having fun!

Alissa: married to dh since 05/2006 and mama to Solomon (08/2009) and Ezra (04/2012).

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#9 of 72 Old 08-21-2010, 10:18 PM
 
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Hello! I'm new to this tribe.

All of my energy right now is going toward preserving the abundance from our CSA. We're in a new house and only have the above-fridge freezer, so I'm trying to can as much as possible.

So far I've made some saskatoon berry jam with a friend.

I'm sterilizing the jars right now for a small batch of dill pickles and either some pickled beans or carrots (or both!) Our CSA farmers let us pick a bowl of chokecherries off their bushes this afternoon, so there will be jelly in our near future. I'm also waiting for my friend's crabapples to be ready for a few jars of crabapple jelly.

Oh, and I ordered some bulk organic peaches and roma tomatoes that should be delivered next week. Those are getting canned too. I see a yummy winter in our future!

We rented over the winter last year, so I left my regular compost at the house we sold and gave my vermicompost to a friend. I'm happy to have both of those up and going again. It gets too cold here to compost outside year-round, so I'm hoping to have a mini worm empire going in the basement for all of our winter scraps.

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#10 of 72 Old 08-22-2010, 12:39 AM
 
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1jooj, how long have you been "making honey"? We have been considering bees for our place but it hasn't come to fruition yet.
This is our third year. I think we managed about 100 pounds total this year, with 2 productive hives. We lost a couple hives to mice over winter; seems it's always something. I've been borrowing a neighbor's extractor, but I'd really like to get our own, since I like to extract a couple times a year and the extraction takes me several days each time. If I were starting, I might try a top-bar hive. They look pretty simple, and simple is good.

This week, the kitchen was just a ridiculous mess--honey, cucumbers and tomatoes everywhere until I got the canning and extracting done. Plus, it's Ramadan, and last night I hosted an Iftar here. Not a big one, just a couple families, but still. I had to whip the house into shape and cook a giant meal for 9 fasting adults and 9 kids (about 5 of them fasting, too).
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#11 of 72 Old 08-22-2010, 10:17 AM
 
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Hello all! I think I was a part of the very original thread, but that was a long time ago as it looks!

Well, we are suburb dwellers with a fast-paced life, but I am trying to slow us down and live more simply. I always feel like falll starts a new year since hubby and I are both teachers and our older son is in school now...so this feels like the perfect start

It was great over the summer, we could be home all the time and I was able to do a lot of homemaker things...I shopped our farmers market and froze a lot of good things for the winter as well as making jam. I would have liked to can the jelly, but apparently in TX, they don't sell canning supplies in August! At least not where I am!

Now that we are headed back to school (TOMORROW) I am trying to focus on homemade meals and a clean organized house! Talk to you all soon!!
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#12 of 72 Old 08-23-2010, 03:05 PM
 
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Oh 1jooj I would LOVE to keep bees. Our house isn't set up for it at the moment but we are house shopping for a place with a bigger yard and I hope we can find a place for them.

I'm currently up to my eyeballs in canning, drying and freezing at the moment - about half way through the 3 bushels of peaches. Will start tomatoes this week.

I'm working on knitting socks for the kids for winter and looking for some nice jersey knit material for making some dresses for my girls. I need to get started on sweaters for winter.

Thanks for restarting the thread.
Karen

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#13 of 72 Old 08-23-2010, 04:19 PM
 
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Hi, I'm new I've lurked off and on the other threads, but this is the first time I'm chiming in.

I'm a mama to one almost two year old. Sometime soon we hope to be TTC again, but at the moment I'm recovering my health and trying to get my life organized so that when I quit my job as we get closer to being debt free (I work PT as a bookkeeper), I can seamlessly transition back home again (I was a SAHM for a year and loved it!).

Here's what I do so far and would like to perfect:

1) Cook almost everything from scratch. We eat a TF diet, so it seems like I'm always in the kitchen: making stocks, fermenting and dehydrating foods (I don't have any particular wish to pressure can), baking sourdough, etc. I can't say that I love it, but it does give me a great deal of satisfaction to be able to do this. After years of trying to bake bread, I can finally say that I make a wonderful whole spelt sourdough loaf At some point I'd like to get into charcuterie and cheesemaking, but probably not while we're living in an apartment in the suburbs...

2) Knit & crochet. I haven't had time to do this at all since starting work a year ago. Specifically, I'd like to learn how to make lace and make mantillas for me and Ladybug and maybe curtains for our future home.

3) Sewing. I can sew by hand, do some mending, etc. but I can't actually "sew." That is, I can't use a pattern to make clothes or household things. I can't alter things that are too small/big. I don't know how to even thread the sewing machine. This is my next biggest educational project.

4) Upcycle. I've made soakers/longies so far, but I'd love to learn to upcycle other things too. I'd especially like to be able to make our own furniture and refurbish things. We never by things new and a lot of our furniture is very shabby.

5) Natural medicine. I'm really into homeopathy and herbal medicine. But, I don't have time to read and study it seriously. We've decided to stop vaxing Ladybug and not vax any future kids, but I'd feel a lot more comfortable with my decision if I knew more about home remedies. Not "go look it up," but "I see a problem, I can diagnose it and have a remedy" for most common illnesses.
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#14 of 72 Old 08-23-2010, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It's so great to see a lot of new posters!

1jooj, I really had no idea how much honey one could get from two hives! I'll have to consider bees even more seriously now.

ltlmrs, that's a wonderful list. Maybe I'm just saying that because it looks a whole lot like mine? I can sew with a sewing machine and pattern, but I really want to get some skills in altering and drafting patterns. My DH is actually much better at this than I am. Something to do with spatial perception, I think -- he can just "see" how something will look when assembled, whereas I have to basically hold the fabric in position to figure it out.

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#15 of 72 Old 08-24-2010, 04:18 AM
 
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This is our third year. I think we managed about 100 pounds total this year, with 2 productive hives.
How does that translate in terms of quarts? 100 lbs seems like a lot! What do you do with your wax?

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If I were starting, I might try a top-bar hive. They look pretty simple, and simple is good.
Do you know if these survive in colder winter areas?


LOL I really want bees.

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#16 of 72 Old 08-24-2010, 05:25 AM
 
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Honey is about 3lb per quart, so by that estimate, we got about 30-35 quarts...but we got more than that. Maybe 40 quarts. We collected twice. I have a cupboard filled with honey, I can tell you that, and at this time of year, it looks like so much, we're tempted to give away/sell half of it, but then we'd run out before we collect again if the bees survive. Dh wants to order 4 more colonies this fall. My arms get tired just thinking about that.

I don't know how bees overwinter in top bar hives. Even in standard hives, we get big losses in WI. I think, even with the cost of replacing bees annually if 100% died off in winter, my dh would still want his own bees. I don't know much about bees, though. There's so much to learn.

A big part of the reason we want honey is its healing qualities. It is more than just food. I make salves and balms from the wax, too.

I'm actually making feta right now. When I hit the gallon-plus mark for milk in the fridge, I make either yogurt or feta. I'd make another cheese, but feta is simple enough and doesn't require special ingredients or equipment...and I still have a fridge full of yogurt, so feta it is. It's so good with the tomatoes and cucumbers in season.
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#17 of 72 Old 08-24-2010, 04:57 PM
 
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Honey is about 3lb per quart, so by that estimate, we got about 30-35 quarts...but we got more than that. Maybe 40 quarts. We collected twice. I have a cupboard filled with honey, I can tell you that, and at this time of year, it looks like so much, we're tempted to give away/sell half of it, but then we'd run out before we collect again if the bees survive. Dh wants to order 4 more colonies this fall. My arms get tired just thinking about that.

I don't know how bees overwinter in top bar hives. Even in standard hives, we get big losses in WI. I think, even with the cost of replacing bees annually if 100% died off in winter, my dh would still want his own bees. I don't know much about bees, though. There's so much to learn.

A big part of the reason we want honey is its healing qualities. It is more than just food. I make salves and balms from the wax, too.

I'm actually making feta right now. When I hit the gallon-plus mark for milk in the fridge, I make either yogurt or feta. I'd make another cheese, but feta is simple enough and doesn't require special ingredients or equipment...and I still have a fridge full of yogurt, so feta it is. It's so good with the tomatoes and cucumbers in season.
Thanks for the info. I need to get on this.
Can I follow you around and ask you "How?" today?

How do you make feta? Most instructions I have seen says it requires lipase and rennet - neither of which I keep handy. Do you have another method?

Thanks
Karen

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Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#18 of 72 Old 08-24-2010, 06:17 PM
 
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I am learning as I go, so don't be surprised if I turn around and ask you, "How?"

I sort of morphed two recipes so that I can use yogurt in place of the lipase. Rennet I can get at the health food store in town, and a little bottle lasts through several batches of cheese. I heat to 86 degrees, add some yogurt, let stand an hour (maintaining temps), then add rennet and let stand 40min or so, cut curds, drain 24 hours, salt and let stand a couple days, then brine and refrigerate. Tonight, I will cut and salt. I am straining ricotta from the whey, and that I will mix with honey and vanilla and we'll eat it when we break our fast tonight.

Oh--and if you are going to order bees...I have to place my order in November for April/May pickup. I get mine at a shop about an hour from where I live.

I am tired of pickles.
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#19 of 72 Old 08-24-2010, 07:28 PM
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i would go with those rabbits, too, for such a price. it is a very good price. it is hard for me to hear of "meat rabbits" since i was so devoted to our pet rabbit, but he always said "there, but for the grace of god, go i." he was a rex mix, and a meat rabbit for sure, and understood his nature as a prey animal. it was illuminating, being with him.

i'm looking forward to composting. i don't think it will be a huge issue, looking at the state that the neighbors keep their trash. so, my little bins should work nicely.

i look forward to eventually keeping bees. i love bees.
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#20 of 72 Old 08-25-2010, 11:15 AM
 
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Wow ladies you are all doing such cool projects!!!

Right now I am in the process of unpacking and down-sizing our belongs. We just moved from about 1600 sqf to 1000sqf. In the year that we lived in the other home we gather a lot of stuff to fill up the extra space!!!! (Before that house we lived in 900sqf, we're military so move a lot!).

Sometime this week I do need to get some peppers prepped and frozen for use this winter. I have some sewing projects in work as well. I am working on a Christmas stocking for my new niece and some blankets for Christmas gifts. I am also need to make some new heat packs. I made some rice ones last year but the rice is starting to smell like cooked rice. So, I am looking at other possible fillers that won't have that same issue.

Right before we moved I was starting to learn how to make bread and I am looking forward to getting back to that.
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#21 of 72 Old 08-25-2010, 02:48 PM
 
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Hi all, I'm back. I'm the original OP of the first one. Well I downsized this summer, to an apt. We have simplified our lives quite a bit. What I'm working on right now:

Patio container gardening: mint (thriving), rosemary (thriving), cherry tomatoes (not doing too well)

Crocheting: I am a member of a weekly SnB. My skills have increased quite a bit since I started about a year ago. I just finished a cute sweater for my niece-to-be. I'm working on a cardigan for my dd right now.

Toiletries: I still make my toner and have taken up the use of Dr. Bronners for several things (body soap, face soap, shaving soap, cleaning).

Baking/Cooking: Since it's still summer the oven is still on vacay but I did make homemade foccacia pizza the other day for a dinner party. Breads will be coming soon once it cools off. I still cook most everything from scratch but keeping it basic in the summer. And I used up some ripe bananas that were on the verge of rotting for homemade banana walnut bread.

Sewing: This summer I made floor pillows from old bed pillows covered with vintage fabric. I made a cute table top playhouse to go over dd's small child's table w/vintage fabrics. I've sewed several skirts and capris for dd, pants for dh, skirt for my sister. I sewed up a set of cloth napkins as a going away gift for friends from vintage fabric (trying to use up the stash!).

Goals for Autumn:

Baking a loaf or 2 of bread once a week once it cools off (likely October around these parts). Even though I try to eat low carb, dd and dh don't so they'll tear this up!

Trying out a more sophisticated crochet design for a coat/sweater for dd.

Get my crockpot back in gear with soups and stews.

Start homeschooling dd (pre K program -ish..alot of nature-y crafts and reading)

Finish up some more baby crocheted gifts for SIL.

Sew a nice set of cloth napkins for us.



Glad this thread is still alive and kicking!!!

Living Simply and Enjoying Life
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#22 of 72 Old 08-25-2010, 02:53 PM
 
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And I wanted to mention how timely this thread can be. In this economy so many are looking to trim the budget and find ways to save money. One of the best ways to save money after losing debt is to make/do things yourselves. Plus it's usually better for the environment!

I'm going to be ordering the homesteading book from Amazon shortly. We're eyeing land in Maine for down the road. I'm looking to build my skillset so if times get tougher we won't have to suffer so much.

We picked so many blueberries this summer I was wishing I knew how to make jam, so hopefully next summer I'll be ready!

Living Simply and Enjoying Life
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#23 of 72 Old 08-25-2010, 09:04 PM
 
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I can't wait to get my crock pot going I just got a great new recipe for potatoe soup that I can't wait to try! However, it's still to hot for soup here. I am really looking forward to fall!
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#24 of 72 Old 08-25-2010, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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zoebird, I've had pet rabbits in the past, as well, and it was a big adjustment when we got our first breeding pair early this year. It's been a little difficult, but now that I've seen how much quality meat we can produce on grass and weeds, I don't think we'll ever go back. We are raising them largely on bits of land too shady to even garden on unless we cut several old trees. Truly, though, I think humans are designed for hunting and gathering... we make attachments soooo easily.

The main body of my baby blanket is almost completed! Yay! Now if I can just figure out how to make the trim...

marimara, you are so right about these skills being true assets and not just hobbies. DH and I rarely get worked up about money, not because we have so much of it (Hah!!), but because we know, if we have to, we have the skills to squeak by on very little. I think every time we learn a new thing, we feel a little freer.

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#25 of 72 Old 08-26-2010, 12:03 AM
 
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I feel the same about the skills. Dh and I have discussed many times over the past several years what we'd do if we "lost it all." Answer? Start over, duh. Really, this stuff around us is all just stuff. I really do think we can do all right and make a cozy home with very little stuff and a lot of hard work. No, I know we can. When we lived in Morocco, I had a pressure cooker and one other pot. We ate out of a single dish (which we still have).

That said, I am about done making pickles. I am over 60 quarts now--about half dills and half bread-and-butter. Halfway done with tomatoes. We'll probably slaughter a few chickens tomorrow and the rest this weekend, and we start a third round in September. I'm struggling against the zucchini. I don't like it but for a couple of ways--grilled, used as lasagne noodles, or shredded in cake/bread/muffins--and I never used up what I froze last year. So I am baking cake every couple days. I also wasn't thrilled with the frozen roasted peppers or eggplants. And I don't have much energy for the dehydrator these days.

I need a recipe for canning hot sauce. We have a ton of hot peppers and dh eats hot sauce on everything.
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#26 of 72 Old 08-26-2010, 01:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by marimara View Post

Goals for Autumn:

Baking a loaf or 2 of bread once a week once it cools off (likely October around these parts). Even though I try to eat low carb, dd and dh don't so they'll tear this up!

Trying out a more sophisticated crochet design for a coat/sweater for dd.

Get my crockpot back in gear with soups and stews.

Start homeschooling dd (pre K program -ish..alot of nature-y crafts and reading)

Finish up some more baby crocheted gifts for SIL.

Sew a nice set of cloth napkins for us.



Glad this thread is still alive and kicking!!!
LOve the idea of listing goals for autumn.

Here are mine

Baking/cooking/preserving
bread baking - no more purchased bread
learn to make tortillias
make fresh pasta once a week or so
learn to make cheese
can lots more applesauce than last year and freeze more items this year.

Sewing/Knitting
get a pair of socks done for each of my kids by the end of October
make my girls some jersey dresses and cozy pjs for everyone
knit larger projects over the winter - sweaters etc. I do mostly small projects but want to expand
I'd like to start reclaiming yarn from older sweaters

Household stuff
get into a regular cleaning routine - feel as though it is too hapzard.
Continue to eliminate plastics and reduce our garbage as much as possible.

Health
preserve more herbs this year and learn to use them more effectively

Blessed partner to a great guy, and mama to 4 amazing kids. Unfortunate target of an irrationally angry IRL stalker.

Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha

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#27 of 72 Old 08-27-2010, 11:59 PM
 
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I would love to learn more about homeopathy and start using a more traditional/natural home remedies.
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#28 of 72 Old 08-28-2010, 10:59 AM
 
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I'd like to join you ladies!

I am capable of many traditional homemaking skills but find myself lacking the time and motivation! I work out of home about 30 hours a week and we are expecting our 3rd baby in early January.

We rent our home and it's not turning out to be as ideal as we had expected. The landlords are, umm, a little lacking. They moved halfway across the country 2 days after our basement flooded with 2 ft of water. We have another possible house in mind, it's in the country but not on much land. I do think I would be able to have chickens and bees at least.

I'm also wanting to start making soap. I think my first batch will be mostly animal fat based. I've read that lard makes a very hard, creamy soap.

Jenn: WOHM to a big girl (7/03), a medium girl (8/07), and a little girl (12/10)
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#29 of 72 Old 08-28-2010, 11:43 PM
 
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May I join?

Today, I took a "Preserving the Harvest" class at a nearby farm that has a "School of the Lost Arts".

We learned about canning, dehydrating, root cellaring, and freezing. We had a hands on with making wild blackberry jam with cinnamon and lemon zest -- weird, but it was yummy -- and making apple fruit leather.

I would love to learn how to make soap and candles, but am not sure where to begin.

Right now, anyway, I am saving my "spare" (ha!) time for saving summer's bounty and making homemade winter holiday gifts.
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#30 of 72 Old 08-30-2010, 04:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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With the baby due in October -- very early October, really, and could easily be late September -- I feel like I have so. much. to. do. Of course the house is getting scrubbed top-to-bottom for the first time since... um... since we moved in? I have baby crafts running out of my ears, and desperately want to get some more canning done soon. Namely another batch of pear butter, which DH loves. My goal was to have 24 jars for him, but right now I have 4. Eeek. I know he doesn't mind, but I really want to do this for him.

treehugger.gif SAHM with a precious toddler and the love of my life, expecting a new little one July 2014!
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