Monday, September 29, 2014

Bread and Butter Pickles

                             Grandma Perry's Bread and Butter Pickles.... YUM YUM

One of my favorite treats was to get the bread and butter pickles from ma maw's fridge and snack on them. My other was her black berry jam.. That recipe will be next!!! So when I finally got into the canning and homesteading I contacted my aunt who has all her recipes and tried them this year..mmmmmm brought back so many memories :)

4 qts sliced cucumbers
6 sliced med. onions
1/2 cup salt
5 cups sugar
1- 1/2 tsp. Turmeric
1- 1/2 tsp. celery seed
2 tbsp. mustard seed
3 cups cider vinegar

Ice down cucumbers & onions and salt. Let set about 2 hours. Combine all other ingredients - bring to boil.
Remove cucumbers, onions from ice water - add to boiled vinegar mixture until cucumbers are hot - Take hot empty jars and lids from hot water bath ( this is to sterlize and get the jars hot)
add pickle crisp per directions on jar add cucumbers, onions and vinegar mixture to jars. leave about a one inch space, wipe rims and- seal jars with hot lid.
Do not put back in Water bath
Set to the side and wait til you hear them POP. 
Got any questions just shoot me a comment :)
I started with this type of canning since the idea of a pressure cooker scared me.. but OH I AM READY NOW!!! I will be canning chili, beefstew and possibly potato soup this winter as soon as I buy a pressure cooker :)


If you are a crafter stop on by to my sisters blog
She makes some amazing crafty stuff. ME? not as crafty lol

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Quilts, Chickens and More!

Well it has been a hectic few weeks! We got 4 new chickens! They still are not socializing well but at least they are not fighting like before. We kept them separated by a fence for a few days but allowed them to socialize a few minutes every day. Now they are in the same pen. Not fighting but keeping to themselves LOL The two black ones do not want to sleep in the chicken tractor, they prefer to sleep on top of the fence then fly down in to the fenced area in the morning.

One thing I am learning about chickens is: when they first start laying they lay very small eggs that eventually get bigger! This I did not know but someone told my better half and he explained it to me then we actually got to see  one of the smaller eggs... so cute

I basically finished my rag quilt! My daughter LOVES it.
 With a rag quilt there is really no REAL quilting on a quilting rack involved. Yout cut out your pattern squares I did 6 inches, then you cut a flannel material a bit smaller for the "filling" next you cut a 6 inch flannel for the backing. sew them all together with a big X to keep the "filling from sliding. then you connect them together, to make what ever pattern you want, with the seam up toward the front of the quilt. cut small slits in the seam and after it is washed they fuzz up.  I Google several different rag quilts to get a good understanding.

I made my first batch of goatsmilk soap this year and it turned out wonderful! It is curing in the boxes now. In 3 more weeks I will have some WONDERFUL soap.

The most exciting part is that my husband and I are currently looking for a farm. Right now we live in a subdivision , yes with chickens LOL. We want to buy a small farm so we can be even more self sufficient and I am hoping more chickens, a few goats, a pond with fish and a big place for a garden, an orchard of fruit trees along with solar power and a canning and soap making room is in our near future.

Stay tuned to our search and then how we plan out out future for retirement

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Laundry soap and trials and troubles of being a new happy homesteader!

I truly have enjoyed our first garden! Many lessons learned and we have bought so many books and magazines that hopefully we will be better prepared next year! We are having an issue with our chickens going on strike??? But more about that later :)

My most recent happy homesteading ordeal has been making our own laundry detergent. I do this now for various reasons, The number one reason is because of my daughter's sensitive skin and my husband often breaks out if I change detergents. I found a great recipe that does NOT use borax. Some people like using borax so you could add it to the recipe if you want but I am afraid it would agitate my daughters eczema.

1 bar laundry soap, grated finely ( you can also use dove or a natural bar soap) I plan to try to make my own and use it. Right now I use the kind my grocery store sells in the laundry department
 1 c. washing soda ( cleanser)
1/2 c. baking soda ( removes stains)
 1/4 c. coarse salt ( this softens the water)
I also add a few drops of essential oils. so far I have used lavender and peppermint :)

I quadruple this recipe and keep it in an air tight container. I use an 1/8  of a cup or a little more depending on load size.

I have tried many homemade dishwashing detergents but have not found one I am happy with. They all seem to leave a film on my plastic cups. If you know of one you have perfected I would love to try it!!!

My hubby often comes home with muddy pants from his job and it has cleaned them very well. Neither my daughter or my husband has had any complaints and I love how I can control how strong or soft I want the smell AND what smell I may want for that month or two, depending on how much I make.

If you prefer a liquid detergent, there are many recipes out there, so remember save money by making this yourself and HAPPY HOMESTEADING!!!

My next blog will be about why our chickens have all of a sudden quit laying eggs ( if I can figure it out LOL, remember this is our first time with chickens so I am currently researching the reasons for their strike!) or it may about  the rag quilt I am currently working on. It won't be finished but a nice enough for a picture I do believe :)

I am hoping with in the next few months my husband and I will have found the farm that we want and you all can be part of our process of planning out the lay of the land etc... EXCITING TIMES ARE COMING!!!