Thursday, February 26, 2015

The HomeAcre Hop #109




The end of February and it is still dropping below zero at night.  Yes, I am still hanging  out in my makeshift studio dyeing wool, yellow, oranges, and greens. You can't tell I am longing for Spring.

I look forward to your Homeschooling, Homemaking and Homesteading post this week!


HomeAcre Host



  Each Host will have their own Featured post, Make sure to visit their blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)

Most Visited Post and My Featured Post





Congratulations!
We love to read encouraging post about Homesteading. Please stop to congratulate the Featured Bloggers this week. If you were Featured, feel free to grab our button to display on your blog. 


Be sure to check out the HomeAcre Hop Pinterest Board where we share our Hop Favorites each week




Clearwater Farm Journal
Clearwater Farm Journal

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Vegetable Soup in Electric Pressure Cooker



When we have a steer processed, we try to use all of the cuts of meat. One of the options they offer is soup bones, which we gladly take.

They are considered a "lesser" cut of meat, but in the Pressure Cooker with some added vegetables they make a great budget friendly, family meal.


I use two soup bones (two packages)



I place them in the Pressure Cooker with some onions, celery, and 2 cups water. ( I used dehydrated onions and celery)
Pressure Cook on high for 25 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes then release the remaining pressure. (vent)
You could probably cook the meat for less time, but I like to cook it a little longer.

I remove the bones from pressure cooker, and remove the meat from the bone. (after 25 minutes, it pretty much falls off of the bone)  Add the cut up meat back to the pressure cooker.

Add vegetables. (you can add whatever vegetables you like or have on hand)
These are the veggies, I typically add.

Potatoes (washed, peeled, cubed) OR  Dehydrated Potato Slices
Green Beans-fresh, canned or frozen
Corn- frozen, canned
Carrots-fresh, dehydrated or frozen
1 quart of stewed tomatoes-home canned

I then fill the pressure canner up to the fill line with beef broth. (do not overfill)

Pressure Cook on low for 10 minutes.

Let the pressure go down for about 10 minutes and then vent to release the remaining pressure.


Not much of a "formal" recipe, I know. I change it up a little bit, each time I make it.

The pressure cooker does a great job taking a cheaper cut of meat and making it more palatable.

Served with French Bread, this meal is one of the girls favorites.

(Remember to follow the directions that come with your Pressure Cooker)





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Thursday, February 19, 2015

The HomeAcre Hop #108




Welcome to the HomeAcre Hop!


Wow, winter is not letting up. Below zero temps continue to be in the forecast though next week...

One of  the things that have kept me sane, is working in my new make shift studio, dyeing wool. 

What have you been working on?


HomeAcre Host



  Each Host will have their own Featured post, Make sure to visit their blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)

Most Visited Post
(that shared a link back to the hop)



My Featured Post

Compost in 30 days | areturntosimplicity.com

Congratulations!
We love to read encouraging post about Homesteading. Please stop to congratulate the Featured Bloggers this week. If you were Featured, feel free to grab our button to display on your blog. 


Be sure to check out the HomeAcre Hop Pinterest Board where we share our Hop Favorites each week




Clearwater Farm Journal
Clearwater Farm Journal

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A February Photo Shoot

February has turned out to be a cold one! Many days of below zero temps!

Delaney is the only one who has been brave enough to venture out with a camera.

The last few days have been cold enough even the woolly ewes have been hiding behind the barn, out of the wind to keep warm. I have left the gate open so they can come and go as they please.


 Here is Ethel, leading the way back out to pasture. She is our oldest ewe, and is considered the Matron of the flock.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Needle Felting with Wool





Needle Felting is yet another craft to use up that wool stash!

What is Needle Felting?
It is a fiber art craft that creates felt without the use of water.
Using a barbed needle, wool fibers are tangled together by a continuous jabbing of the needle into the wool fiber.



It is easy to get started-all you need is wool roving/batt, felting needle, and foam work surface.

I purchased my first needle felting kit at a fiber art show for the girls. You have to be careful with the needle (it is sharp) but it was a great project for children.

You can start out using a cookie cutter for a pattern.

You can work your way up to sculpting three dimensional projects.

I will be honest, I do not have the flair for making anything but "simple".  I have a friend, on the other hand, who from day one, creates amazing pieces of art. They raise sheep and have wool coming out their ears, but she doesn't spin or knit. This turned out to a great creative outlet for her.

This was her second project which started with a cookie cutter





This is one of her latest projects... I love it!!






It is nice having a dear friend who is so talented, she made me this amazing bird that came with her own nest and eggs. Most of it was made with wool from our farm.





Yes, Lucky Me !!

Embellishments, ornaments, and felted figurines are just a few things you can create with needle felting.




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Thursday, February 12, 2015

The HomeAcre Hop #107


Welcome to the HomeAcre Hop!


Anyone making plans for Spring yet?

I have not made any plans, but I am looking forward to warmer temps, green grass, and no more snow.

Share what you have been up to...


Kathi@Oak Hill Homestead
Nancy@Prudent Living on the Home Front
Tracy@Our Simple Life
Lisa Lynn@Self Sufficient Home Acre
Mary@Homegrown on the Hill
Heidi@PintSizeFarm
and Me @Clearwater Farm Journal

  Each Host will have their own Featured post, Make sure to visit their blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)

Most Visited Post
(that shared a link back to the hop)



What could be more effective to getting your budget on track than a Spending Freeze or No Spend Month? A "Category Spending Freeze" can help change habits.


                                                                          

My Featured Post






Congratulations!
We love to read encouraging post about Homesteading. Please stop to congratulate the Featured Bloggers this week. If you were Featured, feel free to grab our button to display on your blog. 


Be sure to check out the HomeAcre Hop Pinterest Board where we share our Hop Favorites each week




Clearwater Farm Journal
Clearwater Farm Journal

Monday, February 9, 2015

Dyeing Wool with Acid Dyes


The last couple of weeks I have been cleaning out a corner in the basement for a make-shift studio, and collecting up items I would need for dyeing wool.

I have dyed wool with Natural Dyes, and Kool-Aid but have not yet tried Acid Dyes.

I decided to start with Jacquard Dyes. They have quite a selection of colors and looked easy enough to use. I ordered several colors along with some of the other supplies I would need from Dharma Trading Co. 

The day finally arrived-I felt organized, collected the supplies on my list, and  had read through an entire book on dyeing (more than once) - "Teach Yourself VISUALLY Hand-Dyeing"

I was ready to give it a shot.






I started with One pound of Border Leicester Locks and some Wool Roving. Decided on Kelly Green and Yellow. (Think Spring!)

I didn't take pictures throughout the process. Once I started I tried to stay focused on what I was doing. I stuck with the "simple" dye pot method for the locks and the roving.

The Border Leicester locks were dyed the Kelly Green. The results were more of an eye popping Lime Green! My daughter nicknamed it  "Grinch Green".  It is the same color as a Mountain Dew Pop Bottle lid! Not the results I had in mind.

The locks were also not consistent. We decided to take the locks and make roving to blend it together.








Sunglasses anyone?

I asked around to some experienced dyers about the green color I got with the Jacquard Kelly Green, several said the results were typical.

Advice I received:  It could be overdyed, to try to change the color, or I could embrace the color and try to find the perfect project for it. I decided on option #3- put it on the Etsy shop and let someone else use it, someone who could appreciate the color more than I do!

The Dye pot did not exhaust (all of the color used up) so I added some Gray Romney roving-I liked the results a little more.




 The yellow? I used a Cheviot cross wool roving for that. It turned out just like I expected. Yay!




Thursday, February 5, 2015

The HomeAcre Hop #106




Welcome to the HomeAcre Hop! 


It looks like February is going to be the month for all of the winter snow. It is really piling up!

I keep reminding myself that next month is Spring, not that it is any guarantee of warmer weather, but at least we are heading in the right direction.

I hope you take a minute and link up your Homeschooling, Homesteading, and Homemaking post this week.

Kathi@Oak Hill Homestead
Nancy@Prudent Living on the Home Front
Tracy@Our Simple Life
Lisa Lynn@Self Sufficient Home Acre
Mary@Homegrown on the Hill
Heidi@PintSizeFarmand Me @Clearwater Farm Journal

  Each Host will have their own Featured post, Make sure to visit their blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)
Most Visited Post
(that shared a link back to the hop)


Monday, February 2, 2015

A February Snow Storm

Heading back into the barnyard..





We woke up to snow yesterday morning and that is what it did all day!
Last report I heard, our area received 19 inches! The weatherman got it right this time.

In the morning I opened the gate to the barnyard and called the ewes, 30 seconds later they were filing in.
Just to clarify, if it was summer and they were out grazing, they would have ignored me...
But the snow was coming down pretty hard, and this is part of the winter routine. They are smart girls, they know there is mostly likely some nice Alfalfa waiting for them on the other side of that gate.

Hours later, they were still out, picking through the hay instead of taking cover behind the barn.





Lucy, one of my favorite Border Leicester ewes.
 (am I allowed to have favorites?)




Trying to pretend I do NOT see all of that hay in her beautiful fleece...sigh..


Another shot of Lucy...


Perfect indicator-that it is not that cold, goats out in the snowstorm instead of hiding behind the barn.


Fighting a losing battle!

Poor guy-I don't know how many times he went out an plowed yesterday, and it was for naught. We woke up this morning with just as much snow in the drive. He is out there at it again. (couldn't go to work -;) darn! )
Hopefully no more snow today.

 He was especially thankful for that wool hat, made from Ethel's fleece. When he came in it was covered in ice and snow, but his head was warm and dry. The inside of the hat was still dry. That is wool for ya!


****I just want to add, that we love our sheep! We always seem to get some concern that they are outside, in this type of weather. I can assure you they are fine. They had windbreak, cover if they wanted it, hay, and WOOL. We have never lost a ewe in a snowstorm, or even had one get sick. They have everything they need to take good care of themselves and they do just that. If I thought for one minute, that they would perish, I would force them into the barn whether they wanted to go in or not. But raising sheep for over 17 years has taught me not to panic at the first sign of snow, or if the temps drop below 30.
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Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Provident Pantry-Freeze Dried/Dehydrated foods



We woke up to a winter storm warning..
This time they were right-
I can't believe how fast it is coming down-snowed in, in less than 30 minutes.

It is nice, not to feel the need to run to the grocery at the first hint of bad weather.

I remember my grandparents having a stocked pantry, as well as my parents-being prepared is not a new concept.  I think it is a concept that has gotten lost over the years with the convenience of  24/7 grocery stores, but there is nothing like a winter storm to remind us that having a stocked pantry may be a good idea. Especially, when you watch the news and see the food aisles at the store getting cleared out in a matter of hours.

I am grateful that I was taught to see the wisdom in a well stocked pantry.

What's in our Pantry?
I try to store a variety of items.

Foods that we have put up ourselves over the summer/fall. (home canned and dehydrated)
Dehydrated/Freeze Dried Foods.(purchased)
Store bought canned goods to fill in what we didn't put up ourselves.
Spices/Baking supplies
Bulk Grains/Beans
Oils
Sugars

The focus of this post is on Freeze Dried Foods.

I do store some freeze dried foods that we purchase in the #10 cans.
One of the biggest advantage to adding freeze dried foods to your pantry is longevity. They can last up to 25 years!!(with proper storage)  You can't say that about most foods.

~Freeze Dried foods retain about 97 percent of their nutrition and Dehydrated about 93 percent.
~They can take up less space if you have limited pantry space.
~I have found that most of the foods taste great, when used in my everyday recipes.

The only "con" I find is the cost. They can be a little pricey.

I add items as they go on sale.

Emergency Essentials does Group Orders, where each month they offer several items at a very reduced rate as well as free shipping.

Honeyville Grain is another place I purchase items, they have very competitive prices, and they email me coupon codes several times a year.

I recently taught a class on keeping a well stocked pantry and one of the questions asked, was "How do we eat it" in regards to dehydrated/freeze dried foods.
Answer-Anyway you want! You just have to add water first.

When you buy freeze dried  green peppers, they are green peppers-they just need to be hydrated with water. The freeze dried peaches, meats, cheese? The same thing.

My favorites to have on hand are the dehydrated eggs, milk, butter, and shortening. I use these items in master mixes, which add some convenience foods to my pantry without the "unwanted" ingredients you find in the mixes at the store.
They also come in handy, when you go to grab an egg and realize you are out. Or when butter is 4.00 a pound this week, I will use the dehydrated butter when baking.  They work as a great solution for longer term storage on those items, that don't always store well.

I also like the freeze dried fruits for smoothies, and homemade instant oatmeal packets.

I like variety in my pantry and these make a great addition!

(Emergency Essentials and Honeyville Grains are two companies, that I have purchased from. There are many more. I am not promoting those companies, just sharing a couple of resources)

Do you stock  any Freeze Dried of Dehydrated Foods in your pantry?



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