Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Method A Solution

I like the Method brand and use it but TBH is not associated with the company
that manufacturers the Method brand. 

While I do make cleaning products at home there are a few I purchase. A shower scrub to help cut grim in my shower and sinks, a floor soap (that has lasted 3 years), and hand & dish soap. Readily available at most stores I shop at is the Method brand. Best of all I find it affordable among the "green" products. Now I am not going to tell you it is the cleanest (greenest) product on the market because I haven't bothered to look into it that information. I am selfishly avoiding not wanting to feel bad if it really isn't the greenest choice. It is what I can afford and I feel better then buying Dawn (sorry Dawn).

Now I have all the more reason to like that I occasionally purchase the Method products. One of my favorite news feeds is Treehugger.com. When Wade lets me sit and read a news article on the computer I usually find something interesting or informative from Treehugger. Today was no different. I learned How Method Turns Plastic Pollution in the Ocean Into Bottles. Sweet!

You probably know how there are these ridiculously large floating plastic fields in the middle of our oceans. Well before I wrote this I didn't realize that there were FIVE large ones. I only really knew of one (The Great Pacific Garbage Patch). Regardless it is a really big problem and the question is... what to do about them? And what in the world can this little blue house do about them? We try not to buy plastic. All plastic 2 litters and gallon milk jugs and juice bottles are kept in the green house and animal buildings for watering and planting seeds. I wash all zip lock freezer bags and reuse several times. I keep my glass bottles and reuse as much as possible. We recycle (OK not in the house because of space for bins issue) but out of the house whenever possible! How much more can we do?


Well it turns out that from now on by buying Method products I am doing more. For every Method product I buy I now take 15 grams of plastic out of the ocean. Baby steps you say? Yup. But what a neat, innovative, and creative solution. Please read about how Method and their partners developed a whole new method of recycling the brittle and decaying plastic bottles floating out into the ocean and are using them to make a new high quality plastic bottle. A bottle claimed to be 100 percent post-consumer HDPE with 25% being from those floating trash fields. Neat! Can you tell I am a sucker for doing things better and doing things right? Like we should have been doing all along. Mankind I think God is smiling at your industriousness for this moment. Bravo. Let's keep doing more.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Holding


Summer is a busy time of year for just about anyone I imagine. For me with a little one it has been near impossible to find time to sit in front of the computer to blog and read blogs. Jackie and I talk often about that. We want to do more in the warm sunny months for our lovely little blog but this year that just wasn't to be. Please hold with us. Soon there will be snow storms and cloud cover. Time with hot mugs of coffee or chocolate are just around the corner. Babies will nap, houses will be clean, projects put to rest and the blog will take life again. I can't wait to show you what we have been talking about...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Good Food Friday : Tuna Cabonara

This is my absolute favorite fast supper.  I honestly can not believe I haven't shared this with you!  It comes together super quick with staples I'm sure you already have in your kitchen and even being a pasta dish I packs in a ton of protein.  My only complaint is that this dish can be awfully "beige" and colorless so please do your eyes a favor and add the veggies!


My usual recipe for this makes enough for our seven but the ingredients are totally flexible.  You really can't go wrong.

Tuna Cabonara

Ingredients:

  • pasta
  • tuna
  • onions
  • red bell pepper (optional, in fact most times I don't have this but its great for color)
  • fresh parsley (again optional but great for presentation)
  • Parmesan cheese (fresh grated) 
  • eggs, beaten
  • salt
  • oil or butter
Directions:
  • Boil pasta in salted water until al dente. 
  • While pasta is boiling, saute onion and peppers in oil or butter.  When veggies are softened, added canned strained tuna.  Cook until warm throughout.
  • Have cheese grated and eggs beaten
  • Drain pasta, but do not rinse.    Toss pasta into the tuna mixture and quickly toss with eggs and cheese.  The residual heat from the pasta will cook the eggs and melt the cheese.  
  • Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and stir in parsley.  Serve immediately. 
I usually let the number of cans of tuna dictate the beaten eggs.  In our house, it is three cans of tuna to three eggs.  See, plenty of protein.  This recipe always makes it.  No matter what I have on hand I can pull this one off.  No peppers?  How about peas?  No spaghetti?  Substitute rice.  Just don't skip the cheese or eggs.   The combine and become the creamy sauce.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Becoming a Redneck



Someone said the oddest thing to me a couple days ago. I was told by this person that I had surprised them. That growing up they never thought I would change so much marrying a redneck and all. I sat back surprised that my worst fear had been confirmed. I was now a redneck, not just in my imagination but in how other people perceived me as well. It left me completely unsettled. Yes. My husband has a bit of redneck in him. I appreciate that, accept that, and let him be who he is, but excuse me for saying so... I don't want to be a redneck. 

I told Gary as we drove home that day about my experience. Trying not to cry I told him that I now look the part of redneck and I didn't like it. That is when Gary looked into the situation and explained to me better than I could have imagined what that person really meant. I envision "redneck" the same way you might. Do a Google search for images "redneck" and that is pretty much where my stereotype leads me. What that person meant was perhaps "redneck" a little but it was more "homesteader" or "urban farmer". No one would have imagined (including myself) that I would one day have chickens in my backyard or that I would be raising cages full of rabbits so I could eat them. Not that I think I would have been against those things as a younger person but it was so foreign, so out of this world, so unthinkable. No one I knew or that person knew or even Gary's family knew was doing or talking about doing what we are trying to do now. 

That doesn't mean that others weren't being urban farmers or eating local or raising their own food. These movements have been around for a while. It was just not a part of my world. It certainly makes since to me. I think I was drawn to "it" years ago before I knew what "it" was. Who knows, if I had know that farming could look like this in high school it could have changed the course of my life. You can't speak about roads you never were on. 

However, I sat back in my seat thinking about what Gary had said. We were doing something that amazes and surprises our relatives and friends. Maybe they think we are crazy or maybe not but maybe being perceived as a redneck isn't so very bad after all.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Living Off the Land

Just for fun... how much land do you need?

I loved this graphic and found it interesting to think about. We are no where near living off our 1/2 acre but we are slowly moving towards that. If disaster hit tomorrow? I think we would still be very unprepared although not as much as those who may live around us. I hope we could continue to get into a position to stay afloat in such a situation and perhaps help others along the way.



Visit the website for more information and to better read the details on the graphic. What are your thoughts? How much land do you need? Are you living off the land?

Paper Wreath

I picked up an interesting book a couple weeks ago.  As you know, I love books.  To read, yes, but also as craft inspiration.  This naval book full of equations, charts and other math stuff needed to be on my walls.  What can I say?  This house like math.


A couple of Christmas' ago, I made this book wreath.  I also made Lauren a larger one.  Staring at a bare wall (ha! most of my walls are still bare...) I knew I wanted a big paper wreath too.   

Start with a light cardboard circle.  I'm sure you have at least one empty cereal box in your recycling.  Grab it.  Trace a dinner plate for a large wreath and a salad plate for the little one.  Or do both!  Cut a hole in the middle.


Cut a six inches of twine and make a loop.  Glue it to your cardboard circle.  


Add more glue and top it with a small section of more cardboard.


Cut or tear pages from the book.  These were coming out ragged when torn so I trimmed them with a blade and a straight edge. 


For the large wreath you need both full pages and half pages.  For the small wreath, only the half pages.   Based on my dinner plate, I needed about 30 of each.


Begin rolling in the bottom corner.   


It doesn't matter how tight or loose you roll.  In fact you need some of each and even in between to make your wreath worth.  Plus the variety adds interest.  


When you get to the other corner, add a drop of hot glue then continue rolling.  This is my little way not to burn my finger over and over again.  Hold it there on the table just for a second to allow the glue to cool.


Do the same with the half sheets of paper.  And now you have a collection of paper cones, all different sizes.


Starting with the large cones for the large wreath, glue to the cardboard circle.  I like to work in quarters to make sure they are straight.  Vary the placement of the paper cones so they aren't perfectly straight in the middle.


Secure a few, then jump ahead and glue.  Now fill the space.


Even if the space is small, you can wiggle a cone into the spot.  


There will be gaps.  (If you are making the small wreath gently separate cones and add a drop of hot glue then press with the palm of your hand.  Doing this will minimize gaps.  Or you could just leave them...Depends on the look you are going for.)


Space the smaller cones over the large ones.  No rhyme or reason for placement here.  After you like the placement of all the smaller cones, begin gluing.  This is your chance to hide some of the gaps between the larger cones.


Again, vary the placement of the smaller cones, allowing some to reach over the outer edges.  After all the cones are connected, gently pull apart at seams and add a dot of hot glue.  


My finished large wreath...


... and for now my favorite wall in the house.

This paper wreath took me all of one hour to complete, start to finish.  If I could give this up it would make a great housewarming gift.  How about using old street maps or encyclopedias?   Dilapidated children's picture books, dictionaries...  Or maybe I'll make a bunch of them all different sizes to fill a huge empty wall space.  Really, so many possibilities.  I think I'll have to make another.





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After a long summer dedicated to our families and gardens we are back to blogging. Joining up again with the lovely Farm Friend Fridays at Verde Farms. If you are stopping by for the first time welcome! There is a lot to see. If you are an returning friend we have missed you after our long hot summer and would love to catch up. Happy Weekend!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pony Pulls Highlights

video
The winning team pulling about 2000 lbs


video
The winning team pulling 4000lbs!

I was thrilled that we were able to see the Pony Pulls because it was the one thing that I had said I really wanted to see. Unfortunately, I only saw the light weights. Literally this ponies start pulling a sled filled with a 1000 lbs (light weight... are you kidding!?!) and ended with the winning weight at 4000 lbs. Well I am impressed. The heavy weights start at 3500 lbs. Amazing! When the ponies start pulling they are a bit excited but as they pull heavier and heavier the men handling them can hardly even hold them back. I can only imagine the Draft horse pulls. My mouth is dry thinking about it. It just shows you give an animal a job that fits them and they love it. These ponies give it their all.

The pulls started at 7:00 p.m. and were still going when we left at 10:00 p.m. I could have been glued to the stands the entire time but out of respect for my family and Wade's attention span and all the other wonderful fair sights we only watch the first pull category. Gary did sacrifice seeing his beloved Oxroad Tractor Truck Pulls this year. Maybe next year we can do both...

My Little Farmer










Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Place of Dreams

Geauga County Fair

Labor Day weekend brings many wonderful things but no doubt my favorite is the Geauga County Fair. The first time I attended this fair was at Gary's encouragement and we jokingly called it our "honeymoon". Newlyweds we had a house that needed years of work, no chickens, rabbits, babies, barely a garden and a whole lot of hopes and dreams. It was fun to go to the fair that first time with Gary. He told me stories of when he was younger and running around the fair ground enjoying his youth. It wasn't like the fairs of my youth. It was more real, more country, more "fair" than any fair I had ever been to. I simply fell in love and I hope it never changes. However, this 2011 fair seemed more special than most...

My favorite part of every fair is always the animals. I could wander the barns for hours looking at and longing for the animals. Particularly the draft horses but all the animals drew me. I couldn't wait to share that with my son sincerely hoping to instill a deep love and respect for animals and the land in his heart at a young age. To be stewards of the Earth is to fulfill an ancient assignment given to us by God. For Wade to love the land and animals is to love God and obey Him. What better life could I strive to give Wade? Of course Wade can do and be as he chooses but I would hope that a part of himself would always come back to loving God's creation and having the same deep appreciation for it that Gary and I do.


Saturday afternoon we packed the car and prepared to drive the hour drive to Burton, Ohio. It was hot. I mean HOT! Everyone was talking about how it was the hottest days of summer yet. You just stood outside and started sweating but I wasn't going to let that stop us. I packed food for the baby and several iced water bottles and we loaded the car and headed out. We had a lot of fair to see and didn't leave as early as we had wanted. I was worried about how Wade would do in the heat and without a solid nap. I worried for nothing. Wade was a trooper and LOVED every minute of the fair. I have hardly seen him having so much fun.





Wade simply loved the sheep, had his first pony ride, saw cows, pigs, goats, miniature horses, and of course animals he had at home: rabbits and chickens. The fair was magical but we were no longer on the outside looking in. We as a family had started to secure and raise our own food. We had 23 birds in the freezer, a fresh laying flock of hens, my first ever canned tomato sauce, and a litter of rabbits with two more on the way in our own backyard. We had several gardens with more beds planned and could walk around this fair and dream of the next steps that didn't seem so far away. 

I jokingly talked with Gary about sheep. They were sweet and shy and you could get meat, milk, and wool from them and they would mow the lawn. Why couldn't we get the whole neighborhood to sign a petition to allow them. They would hardly be noticed noise or sound wise, right!?! Perhaps two pot belly pigs raised for 9 months to slaughter age was just around the corner in our lives? No one would even know they were around. OK, maybe not but when you are walking through the fair barns you just can't help but dream. We have come so far. Someday my little boy maybe auctioning off his prize winning rooster or buck rabbit at this very fair. I could have a 4Her in my future yet. Welcome to my place of dreams. I can hardly wait until next year.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

More furniture ... Before and After

I have been dreading the start back to school.  Ugh!  Early mornings.  Fighting with the boys over breakfast.   Dealing with tired kids in the afternoon.  And entertaining the girls all by myself.  Could the summer months have already passed?  Did this used to be my life?  

And then the first day,


 and week...


But what's this?  The house?  Spotless and orderly.  The girls?  Perfectly polite and interacting with each other happily.  The boys get up and ready basically by themselves.  The girls wake after they are well on their way to school and we settle into slow, quite days.  

So I have had some time to do fun things like have tea parties, lounge with the girls in my big white bed and tackle some of the furniture in the garage.  You already saw victim number one.  Here is number two.


The top isn't even real wood and did not cooperate when sanding.  Originally I wanted the top to be dark stained wood but that was out of the question.

So after two coats of off white paint I had this...


And after distressing and a coat of brown stain, I now have this...


The bottom handles were on the original.  The top four were pulled off some other furniture.  They were gold (of course) so I spray painted them with some cream paint and when they were dry I rubbed them with stain too.  Ahhh... much better!  


I adore how painting, distressing and staining reveal details that were lost on the original finish.  These little squares cut out under the top were completely invisible when it was just boring brown but now its a great eye-catching detail.


But again with the garage finish?  Let me see if I can fix that...


This  painted dresser finds a new home in a small odd spot in the corner of the living room that was until recently occupied by multiple pairs and sizes of mud boots.  Yes, mud boots in the living room.  I think this looks much better.


Hope I can keep it up with the furniture painting and get the garage empty enough to park our vehicles in it before the snow comes.  My mind is busy matching pieces and paint colors.  It is keeping me up at night and waking me in the morning.  I think that is a good thing, don't you? 


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