More Winter Prepping

Homesteading

We are still doing winter prepping. I don’t think the winter prepping will be over, even after winter is gone. Our shed needs siding put up and yesterday both of us were in the crawl space putting down vapor barrier and insulation. Chris found a dead mouse. I don’t like it underneath there. Aside from all of that we have been finding time to enjoy the weather. We’ve gotten some more snow. Not much but enough to enjoy it.

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The dogs had a ball playing in it!

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And we decided to go walk around in it before meeting 🙂

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We’ve been taking a run at hunting grouse the past few days. Nothing yet…but I’m sure we will get one. Isn’t it funny how they seem to be everywhere when you aren’t looking for them, but once you are prepared to hunt them…they mysteriously disappear. So strange.

I also cooked our tenderloins from the deer we got. OMG…it’s our favorite meat ever. It was incredible. I found a recipe for Venison Steak Diane, which was pretty simple. It rocked our socks. The meat came out perfectly medium rare and oh so tender. Unfortunately a deer only has 2 tenderloins…and we ate them. We are hoping that the butterfly steaks I cut out of the back straps will be just as tasty.

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The pictures don’t do it justice. Now I’m hungry.

We are going to get some down time this week. We promised ourselves a movie day on Thursday. Just us..food..eggnog and Netflix. I can’t wait.

With the moving and buying a house and everything else I haven’t had time to knit in like 7 months. That makes me sad. I love knitting. With Winter approaching I feel like we don’t have nearly as many scarves as we should. Or knitted blankets. So I’ve pulled out my knitting things and have been trying to get at least 10 minutes a day in. I’m knitting Chris a scarf out of fisherman’s wool. Hopefully it’s warm…this winter seems like it will be a cold one.

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Look at me knitting in front of my wood burning stove. Such an old country lady at heart. hah.

 

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The Best Homemade Mayo

Paleo/Primal

What is the best part of having fresh eggs daily from your own chickens? The delicious things you get to make with them of course! Chris and I are very particular about what eggs we will consume raw. We have nothing against eating raw eggs and in fact do so often, but it’s the quality of the eggs that decide for us. Pasture raised, fresh and local if possible is always best.  Luckily we now have a steady stream of eggs coming in that we know come from chickens that are raised the way we want them to be. So I’ve gotten to work creating fun things with these fresh eggs…starting with MAYO!

We are mayo fiends. Mayo addicts. Yes I know it sounds odd but we like us some mayo in this house. Currently in the fridge we have regular homemade mayo, homemade maple mayo, Sir Kensington’s brand chipotle mayo and wasabi mayo from Trader Joe’s. I know it sounds strange but just try it, it’s amazing…that is ditto for the Sir Kensington’s as well. Do it. You will be in taste bud paradise. As much as we like mayo..we are not fans of the horrible ingredients that go into it. Most of them are filled with soybean/vegetable/corn oil or a mix of more than one, sugar and the mysterious “natural flavorings”. Sir Kensington’s is the exception…the ingredients are not bad..but once you check out the price tag for a cute little jar you’ll be running to make your own mayo quick. When we are feeling a bad craving coming on we pop out the naughty wasabi mayo..enjoy and move on. You gotta live a little right?

Aside from the ingredients…

HOMEMADE MAYO TASTES BETTER…LIKE WAYYYYYYYY BETTER!

So much better it isn’t uncommon for Chris to catch me licking a spoon of it when making a fresh batch. Yes I told you…we have (mainly me) a problem. It is also so unbelievably simple there is no reason not to make it. Try it…tell me what you think!

HomeMade Mayo

Ingredients

  • 1 large pasture raised egg
  • 1 Tsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1 Tsp. Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 Cup Avocado oil
  • Salt to taste if desired, warning, go easy on it…you can always add more later. I add maybe 1/2 a Tsp. to start.

What to do

  • Add your egg, Dijon Mustard, lemon juice and salt (if using) to your food processor. Give it a whirl just to blend those things up quickly. Then while your food processor is still running slowly add your avocado oil in one tablespoon at a time. You have to go slow or it won’t form. Keep doing this and you will see your mayo start to form in 5 minutes or less. Keep blending until it reaches your desired consistency.

That’s it! Can you believe it? And it will be the best mayo ever…

🙂

It snowed! Oh & we went deer hunting.

Homesteading

Yep…we got snow last night. Can you believe it? Now it isn’t a lot…and won’t stick around..but it snowed. We were pretty excited.

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Now we really need to finish our prep for winter. Today we will be chainsawing a downed tree to dry out for next winter’s wood pile.

This past weekend was a really good weekend. Definitely one to be thankful for. It started with getting some wood cut and stored for next winter. We don’t want to be scrambling next Fall like we did this year.

Then Chris decided to do some hunting, hoping to get a deer to put in the freezer for extra meat on hand just in case. Friday evening we had no luck. Then Saturday he decided to try again. Well he got one! His first deer. It went really well and he got as humane a shot as possible. The deer passed right away. I have been watching videos and reading on how to process your own deer. A lot of people take them to be processed but it costs at least $100, usually more. Plus I like the idea of knowing where the meat started and what all was done. So we took on the task of doing it ourselves. So after Chris got his shot…he came and got me. We got to work right away removing the entrails. If this is not done promptly the meat will start to spoil and rot. It was pretty dark by now so we hurried and brought it down to the barn.

I watched a video in which a hunter used a come-along to hang the deer he was processing. He had a fancy spreader for the legs but mentioned he used to use a board with 2 nails on each end and some string. So I made one of those while Chris set up the come-along. We used paracord and it ended up working out really well. You always hang deer head down. In order to hang the deer by the hind legs you make a slit in between their bone and the tendon that runs along the back of the leg, this is right below a major joint and supports the weight of the deer really well. You then slip your spreader or in our case, board, between the bone and tendon and it hangs. Here are some pictures of the come-along and make-shift spreader.

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You can see the way I explained slipping the board between the bone and tendon.

We did a lot of reading and couldn’t decide if we wanted to skin it and let it hang overnight or leave the skin on over night. We got conflicting answers but decided to go with leaving the skin on so the meat wouldn’t dry out. As long as the weather is cool enough (below 40 F) you can let the deer hang, some people will leave it for up to 3 days to let the meat cure!

We left it for the night since it was approaching midnight and hoped for the best. Bill sat outside the barn for the whole time so we knew he would keep critters away.

The next morning Chris made a delicious and quick breakfast. Eggs in a basket…his mom used to make them…thank you Jan! They are the most delicious things ever! Then we headed to the barn to get to work. It was pretty cold for the whole day which was great for the meat. We started with skinning then began quartering.

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The process took a few hours but I feel like we did pretty well. As we quartered we put all of the meat into a cooler then lugged it up to the house for me to de-bone and butcher. A lot of people don’t take the ribs or use the lower portion of the legs because the meat is “not very good”. We believe in using ALL of the animal so we took those parts and put them into portions for food for Darci and Bill. We also saved the organ meat and tongue for them as well. We are so glad we can find use for those things that might otherwise be wasted. We’ve got a TON of meat and bone for them now.

I spent the next few hours Trimming fat, cutting steaks, roasts, stew meat and making ground meat and packaging it into butcher paper for the freezer.

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I Learned how to cut roasts, thick cut steaks, butterfly steaks, tenderloins and back straps.

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Packing is NOT my strong suit…oh well does the trick.

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We picked up this manual meat grinder to make ground meat.

We ended up with a TON of meat and are planning on giving some to my friends that are having a rough time.

We are also going to try to tan the hide to keep and use. It is in the freezer and will be a project for this weekend.

I refrained from taking any pictures of the deer before it was almost completely processed. We do not believe in taking pictures of dead creatures especially “trophy” type pictures of animals we have hunted. Taking a life is not easy and we try to be as respectful of the process as possible.

In addition to the deer meat we were able to harvest, our chickens are finally getting settled and giving us a consistent and increasing number of eggs each day. In the past few days we have be fortunate enough to gather almost 2 dozen.

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We have put so much time and effort into making our hens comfortable and have been trying so hard to get everything just right. This was really so satisfying for us. As Chris said when he went in to collect eggs yesterday..” I was so happy I could kiss the chickens!” haha.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend. It really felt like we were finally settling into the lives of being homesteaders.

*S

Cultivating Gratefulness

Uncategorized

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I recently had the opportunity to sit down with a kind, warm and caring friend. She always invites me into her home, makes coffee and takes time out of her week to spend hours with me. During our visit, she opened up to me a little. Our conversation hit me like a ton of bricks. I take A LOT  for granted. And it’s not just me…but almost everyone at some point or another doesn’t stop to be thankful for something. I, like many others, find myself complaining and stressing about the little things rather than stopping to enjoy everything I have. I won’t deny it…we are all guilty of it at some point. I wake up healthy in a house too big, I have a closet full of clothes and a warm meal on the table every night. I have a husband that loves and provides for me, the bills are always paid and we have savings in the bank account. I don’t even think to stop and be grateful for that everyday. That’s not to say I am not thankful…because I am..but I often forget these things when my day goes rougher than I would like.

My dear friend struggles to make ends meet and has really been down on her luck…yet her and her family are grateful and humble. They devote much of their time and energy into others and are grateful for what they have. It’s really a beautiful thing.

I learned a lot from our short conversation and brought it back home to Chris. We both have been really focusing on how fortunate we are and how we want to give back.  We are choosing going forward to be more present and thankful each day. Too often we get caught up in the simple things and forget how lucky we are to be alive.

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I challenge you to be more present and grateful in your daily lives.

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Rainy Days, Oil Lamps & Colds

Homesteading

Hello there. I haven’t forgotten about the blog…things as always have been busy here. We have had a TON of rain lately. For the past 2 weeks it has rained almost everyday! It’s been so wonderful. I am so grateful that while places like California are suffering a severe drought…we have the blessing of getting 2 weeks of rain.

I think we are finally slowing down a little. The firewood is all done..a lot of our winterizing projects are getting done. I can see the end of  our list in sight. Now we prepare to work on the inside of the house and hibernate. Winter is close…we feel it in our bones.

Along with the change of seasons comes the rush of sickness. I had a yucky head cold and some of the little cuties at our congregation did as well. Next thing you know it’s going around. Chris says it was me and the kiddos that infected everyone…I hope not. Now Chris is sick. Poor guy. We’ve been sleeping a lot and I’ve been shoveling elderberry syrup and vitamin C into his body. I think it’s finally helping, just in time for me to possibly be getting the stomach flu that is going around. Oh well.

The power has gone out during a storm once already, so we are getting prepared. Sometimes they go up to 2-3 weeks without power up here. So we have out generator…which will run our fridge and freezer and our well pump. We feel like those are the essentials and won’t need much more to function..Food kept cold-Check…Water-Check. Our stove is propane and we have the wood burning stove so cooking is still a go-Check (as well as heat). The only thing left is lights. We were lucky enough to inherit some awesome old oil lamps! We just love them. So we spent the time prepping those in case of a power outage.

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Don’t mind the mess…lots of organizing still happening. That’s the husband filling up the lamps…he was kind enough to do the smelly messy job.

I’ll try to fire one up soon and get a picture. They put off a lot of light. Yay.

Want to see our wood stash? We have the wood shed filled…a bunch under the car port and some on the porch by the front door. This will be a good test to see how much we use this winter.

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Wood shed.

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Car port

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Front porch.

So glad that’s done.

We also thinned our Chicken Flock a little. Figured it would be better for winter to get rid of the non-layers. We have a few more to take care of this weekend.

I’ll keep you updated with the last bits of prep before winter. All we want to do is eat soup and drink eggnog right now but there is work to be finished. I found recipes for Paleo eggnog. So exciting.

*S