Friday, October 30, 2015

That Time I Maced My Husband

As we do every year, we went to GoFest in mid October.  Here are some highlights from this year.

1.  This year, Pierce scampered straight to the top of the climbing wall, and rang the bell.

2.  Cort and Reid weren't interested in the climbing wall this time.  They did, however, do bike races and an alligator log rolling bouncy thing.

3.  Food trucks are crazy expensive.  You would assume food trucks would be kind of cheap, you know?  Not the case.  A grilled cheese cost me $8.  With no drink, no side, no chips, no condiments, no lettuce, no tomato.  Nothing extra.  Next year we're definitely eating at home.

4.  The guy at the Backpacker Magazine booth had 'practice mace'.  Looks like mace but it sprays water, so you can practice.  I laughed and declined taking one.  But he insisted I should have one for practice.  So I took one to be nice.  Later that night?  Yes, you can bet I practiced.  On Paul.  His face registered shock, then comprehension, as he realized it didn't hurt.  Then he laughed and laughed.  He said he knew I'd never really mace him.  Lucky me that he has a sense of humor, right?!

5.  Paul did a gear race that he does every year, and placed second.  He won a kayak!  Can't wait to try it out in the near future.  I have never been kayaking - just canoeing.

Readers, have you ever won anything big?

Hope everyone has a fun, safe, and mace-free Halloween tomorrow!

Linked today with Willy Nilly Friday

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Making Dandelion Root Tincture

I've been interested since I was a teenager in herbal remedies.  Last spring I read several books that mentioned dandelion tincture, which is supposed to be good for digestion and digestive organs.  I thought it might be interesting to try.  Goodness knows we have plenty of dandelions. 

You are supposed to wait until the fall to make dandelion tincture.  You dig up the roots and wash them.  If you have had a couple of frosts, you can use the greens in a sauté, but if they will be terribly bitter if you haven't had a frost yet. 

Cut up the root into small pieces and place in 90 proof (or better) alcohol for two weeks.  You should shake it every day, then strain it and place it in dark glass bottles. 

My root is still curing.  But I'm curious to see how it turns out.  As always, if you try making something like this, be absolutely sure you know the plant is dandelion, and talk with your doctor before using.

I'll let you know how it goes!  Readers, do you use any sorts of herbal remedies?  I want to try making dandelion coffee next.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Some Folks Really Do Melt in the Rain

Like Minions.  Turns out Minions melt in the rain.  Or at least this one did, following our ten days of heavy rains a few weeks ago.
I think everyone was glad when the rains ceased and the sun returned.  Even this minion still looks happy, albeit, in a slouchy kind of smile.

Friday, October 23, 2015

If I Could Just Boycott Winter

The Virginia Fall is splendid when it comes to the mountains and the colors.
Picture below taken at the pumpkin patch.
I do like running in the cooler temps, pumpkin lattes, Halloween parties and seeing the leaves change.  I don't, however, like the idea of the imminent winter. 

I'm really a spring person.  I'm already dreaming of next year's garden, and I haven't even put this year's garden to bed yet (even though all I have left now is some lettuce).  I have high hopes of some major garden extension next year. 

For month's I've been taking notes whenever I hear of some vegetable I want to grow next year.  I have a great list of heirlooms I want to try.  My parents are buying me some of these seeds for Christmas. 

I have a bit of a wait ahead, don't I? 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Parents in the Early Twentieth Century Were So Lazy

At my house the boys have to earn electronics privileges on a day to day basis, by doing educational worksheets.  They aren't obligated to do them, but if they want some time on the ipad or computer, they will.  Recently Pierce decided to do a historical reading I had put out for him about factory workers.  It talked about how during the Industrial revolution women could work factories, but it didn't pay well.  The article said that some women decided to work anyhow, because it gave them independence, a chance to send money back to the farm, and the opportunity to save money to take into a future marriage.

Pierce's take?

So yeah.  We had to have a big redo on THAT question! 

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Pumpkin Patch

Recently Paul's parents came to visit, and they treated us to a day at the pumpkin patch.  It was dreary and muddy, but that was the perfect time to go, because it wasn't crowded at all.
 Something kind of funny happened this year with Pierce.  You know he's almost nine now, right? 
 Well, he humored me sometimes...but other times he seemed conflicted.  Like maybe he thought he was a little too big to be doing some of the pumpkin patch.
 Fortunately, his brothers didn't have any hesitation at all.  Here is Cort's best spider face:

The hardest part for Pierce was the cow train.  Oh how he loved the cow train when he was younger.  He waffled back and forth.  He finally got on, but he wouldn't look at us the whole time he was riding around in circles. 

Cort and Reid had a blast with the tetherball.  Cort didn't want to leave it, and stayed there while his brothers shot off the corn cannon.

It was a fun day.  I think Pierce even managed to have some fun in spite of being way too cool for the rest of us.

Readers, have you visited the pumpkin patch yet this fall?

Friday, October 16, 2015

Teeny Snapper

1.  I found this little snapper when I was running one day.  Partially buried in the dirt, I thought he was a walnut until I noticed the spine ridges.
2.  My friend Lisa came to visit for a few days, and I didn't realize until she arrived that she was on a paleo diet.  We don't eat a ton of meat so I was kind of at a loss about what to feed her.  But then I chopped up one of my huge blue hubbard squashes, and it saved the day (along with a cabbage and kielbasa stir fry).  She liked it so much she even took some home (and since it was so big, there was plenty left over).

3.  I spent some time getting recertified for CPR recently.  It's a requirement for one of my jobs, and I think it's an important skill to have.  I'm good for the next two years now.

4.  This weekend is GoFest in Roanoke.  I have blogged about it a few times.  Always a really fun festival - if you are local check it out.

5.  Our two guineas are 15 weeks old today, so maybe with a little luck we will see an egg soon.  Assuming, that there is a female in the mix.

Linked with Willy Nilly Friday.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Itunes Gift Card Giveaway

I haven't done a giveaway in a little while, and it is Paul's birthday today.  So I thought I'd give away a $10 ITunes gift card in celebration of his birthday, and my loyal readers.
Entering is simple.  Just click on the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win.  Good luck!

Readers, do you use iTunes?  If so, what do you like to download?  I mostly stick with podcasts, but once in a while I do like to purchase some music or a television show season. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, October 12, 2015

Growing Sprouts

This summer I read several books on self-sufficiency, and one of them mentioned growing sprouts.  I decided to give this a shot, and ordered a sprouting jar set up.  It has three different lids to allow you to flush out the water regardless of the size of your seeds, and it also allows you to have multiple jars going at a time.

I put together a collage to show you the progress over 5 days.  For this jar I just used regular lentils from my pantry.  You can get all sorts of seed assortments specific to sprouting, and I have since ordered a few to try. 

So I started with 1/4 cup of lentils and soaked them overnight.  After that, you start flushing them with water twice a day.  It's really very simple.  The boys enjoy helping and watching the sprouts grow. 

It is a very economic way to get fresh and healthy greens in your diet, with very little effort (and no weeding!) year-round.  Fresh greens for just a quarter in January?  Yes, please!

Readers, do you like sprouts?  How do you like to eat them?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Happy Boys

You know what makes my kids happy?  Being outside.  It doesn't much matter what they're doing - they always find some adventure.
And while they may still chat about Minecraft, while running and leaping and climbing, at least they are soaking in the great outdoors and having fun along the way. 

Readers, have you ventured outside lately?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The REI Kingdom 6 Tent

For over a decade, we had a Cabella's tent that slept six that my aunt and uncle had given us.  Unfortunately, Paul left it up on the mountain last fall and it got stolen.  So we were without a tent for a good long while, and the boys really hated not being able to camp this summer.  So for our wedding anniversary, Paul's parents thoughtfully gave us the money to get a new family tent. 

Paul and I decided to get the REI Kingdom 6 tent when it was on sale over Labor Day.  It is very spacious, with a room divider.  We set it up on top of our mountain one weekend for some camping. 
 We splurged and got the add on garage, where we can store backpacks or coolers or shoes or even a place for our dog to sleep.  Once the garage is added on, it's a very roomy tent. 
If it's anything like our last tent, this will get a lot of use!  We are eager to take some camping trips - now we just have to find the time!

Readers, do you like tent camping?

Monday, October 5, 2015

On the Mountain

We have a campsite on top of one of the mountains on our property.  It is about a mile and a quarter hike up to it. 
 The twins love the new backpacks they got for their birthday.  Pierce is still using one of Paul's, but he is hoping to get a kid sized backpack for his birthday later this month.
 The hike up to the top is really steep.  The boys have been hiking up there as long as they can remember, though, so they don't complain.
 There are a couple of hammocks for hiking recovery, and plenty of trees for climbing, if you don't feel tired.

We have two spots at the top for cooking.  This is the spot we use if it is very dry or windy, because the big rock over the fire pit offers added protection.  Years ago Paul built several benches to go around the fire pits.  There was a time when the benches had signatures burned into them from people who had visited our campsite, but these faded with time.

There is also a horse shoe pit.  Paul beats me at horse shoes every single time.  This time, I lost 15/10.

Bo came up to the campsite but this is a rare siting.  Usually he's running all over the place nonstop, chasing birds.

No campout is complete until there are smores over the fire.  Sadly, we forgot to bring up the chocolate this time, but marshmallows with graham crackers are still tasty. 
Readers, do you enjoy camping out?

Friday, October 2, 2015

Turkey Goulash with Mashed Potatoes

I made a turkey goulash recipe recently that turned out pretty well.  Relying on a number of pantry ingredients, it is modified from a Taste of Home recipe.

1 lb. ground turkey
1 package (16 oz.) frozen mixed veggies
2 cans condensed tomato soup
1 cup water
1 chopped onion
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. pepper

Cook turkey in large skillet, drain.  Add veggies, soups, water, onion, Worcestershire sauce, seasonings.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.  Serve over mashed potatoes.  You could use instant, or you could make yours from scratch.  I always make mine from scratch by boiling and draining a bunch of red potatoes, then mixing them with cream cheese, sour cream, butter, and garlic salt.  I don't measure - I just estimate and taste.  Delicious!

Readers, do you always use recipes, or do you wing it with some things?