Friday, December 30, 2011

Free Seed Catalogs

I love it when my seed catalogs start coming in!   Many of them have some wonderful tips and information that's new to me. I think I could spend hours reading them.  Well I realized a few weeks ago that with moving out to the Hillside Homestead I wasn't going to get any catalogs if I didn't order them.  So while I was poking around the net I compiled a list of Free Seed Catalogs from companies that carry heirloom and open pollinated seeds.  I thought I would share some of the ones I found and some that have been favorites of mine for a long time. Oh and did I mention they are Free?  I just love that word!  

 Free Catalog List  ( heirloom/open-pollinated seeds)

Abundant Life 
Baker Creek
Bountiful Gardens  

Heirloom Acres Seeds  
Johnny's Selected Seeds  
Potato Garden 
 R.H. Shumway's
Sandhill Preservation Center 
Seeds of Change  

Seed Savers Exchange 

This is in no way a complete list. It's just a start.   If you have some that are your favorites, please share them with us!!  I just love reading them.  There is something I find wonderful about being able to hold them and flip the pages... I can make notes and use a highlighter too when I come across something "cool".  ( Don't tell anyone but I even "ohhh and ahhh" over some of the things I want to try)
                             ~~~~~~  Hey... I'm Just Sayin' ...  ~~~~~~

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Goals for The New Year

There are all sorts of things predicted for 2012 and to be honest.... until or unless they actually happen they are just that.  Predictions.  I can't fret and worry about what may or may not happen when there is so much to be accomplished around here.  I'm not to fond of Resolutions either and would rather set goals which can be obtained.  That's just us of course but it's what works around here.  This past year our goals were pretty "lofty" but mostly attained. 

We were able to find this little Hillside Homestead.  Cleared and cleaned land, hauled off trash, cut trees, laid septic lines, electric lines and water lines. Skirted in the trailer and got everything winterized.  Mars performed miracles and got the well working so now we have good water.  We've built a nice barn that's been plumbed for water and electricity.  The "chicken palace" has been completed.  We have our starter rabbits. We even tried to raise a few vegetables through the drought this summer. The compost pile has been started for the garden. Yeah, it's been a good year!  And since we didn't actually get moved out here until the spring I'd have to say it's been excellent.

So what's on the agenda for the New Year?  We still need to get the fence put up for the chickens. It would just be easier (not to mention cheaper) to fence them in than fence them out of the entire garden.The neighbor has offered to give us a few hens to get started and I'm hoping to get some chicks this spring.  He's also wanting us to take some roosters off his hands as he doesn't want to do any butchering.  Not that he cares if we do or not... he just doesn't want to deal with it.

Goats are part of the goal this year as well. We have fencing but it needs to be put up. Of course there are all the "goat things" that go along with that.  And I'm going to need a learning curve since I've never even been around goats before!  From what other folks have said I've got  some surprises coming my way!  At least I have "goat people" that I can turn to for help and advise. LOL Bring on the Nanny Goats!  What I don't understand is why everyone who knows me busts a gut laughing when I tell them I'm going to learn to milk a goat.  What?????? (ok you can stop laughing now too!! )

We are going to be expanding our garden this year.  What we had last year was just a sort of a start and it was a pretty late start at that.  There were just so many other things going on that needed attention around here and of course the weather didn't cooperate in the least little bit.  Big things in the works on that front this year.  I'll share them with you as we come to them. 

So there they are. Goals for the New Year.   Wow, it all looks real simple on paper.  But if we succeed in getting these things accomplished then at the end of it all we should be doing pretty well.  Rabbits for meat and chickens for eggs and meat.  Goat milk, cheese and cabrito. Vegetables from the garden.  Yep now that would be living large for little ol' me!  Not to mention being that much closer to our main goal of living as self sufficiently as we can.

                    ~~~~~~ Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ...  ~~~~~~

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Make a Memory

I'd like to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas this year. I hope it is filled with  wondrous joy and love.  I hope you make memories this year. You know the ones I'm talking about.  The ones that will last a lifetime.  Some might be a bit sad, or funny, or just leave a warm glow in your heart and a smile on your face. So my Christmas Wish to every single one of you is that you make a memory for someone this Christmas.  It's not all that hard to do.  Sometimes  a smile and a kind word can work miracles. 

                              ~~~~~~  Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ...  ~~~~~~

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tickle Me Tuesday!

Did you know that dolphins are so smart, that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand at the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?

Monday, December 19, 2011

For Those Who Wondered

We are spending our first Christmas on our little homestead. It's still hard to believe that our dream of being here has come true.  This year won't be exactly the way we have celebrated in the past.  Circumstances have helped to make that so. For one thing, I haven't put up a Christmas tree. There just isn't any room for one here in our little RV.  Unless I hang one from the ceiling of course. When we downsized to this trailer I got rid of ALL my Christmas decorations. It would have literally taken half a U-Haul trailer to tote around all the stuff I used to have! I DO wish I had made up a little Christmas BOB (bug out bag) now though.  Honestly, I don't know why I didn't think of it. I guess I was having a "senior moment".  It's ok though because like I said the only place to put one would be hanging it from the ceiling.  I DID put a tree up on my computer desktop though!!

Another difference this year is that we won't be exchanging gifts. Our gift to each other is knowing that our bills are paid and that we are able to pay the land taxes. For that we are truly grateful. Have you ever wondered what Guberment Scrooge came up with the idea to make taxes due right after Christmas?  Geesh.... 

I haven't decided what I'll be making for Christmas dinner yet.  I have been doing a bunch of baking here lately. I just love to bake this time of the year. I've been making cookies and cakes for us and to share with our neighbors. Mars even made some Peanut Butter Fudge the other day!  Talk about yummy goodness! 

I'm still trying to figure out if I want to go ahead and make a traditional Christmas meal or do something totally different. Maybe pick up a couple of nice steaks and put them on the grill.  That would be a really simple meal and a nice one too!  These days, with the cost of food skyrocketing, steaks are a real treat for us. Anyway.... I've still got almost a week ( ok ok 5 days)  to decide what I want to do.  I'll figure it out though because I'm NOT going to cook all day like I did at Thanksgiving!  I refuse to go through THAT debacle again.  LOL

Whatever we decide to do we will have a nice Christmas dinner together. We'll listen to Christmas music, make some phone calls to family and friends and watch a movie together in the evening.  The seed catalogs are starting to come in now and so I think I might do an inventory of the seeds we have on hand and drool over the possibilities of what might be planted in the Spring.  Heck, I might even make it a new Christmas tradition. 

So for those of you who asked what our Christmas plans were this year... There ya go! The one thing I DO know is that we are blessed.  There are so many families this year that won't have it half a good as we do this Christmas. 

      ~~~~~~ Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ...  ~~~~~~

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Saturday Morning

 It's a few minutes after 7am as I write this and I am blessed this morning with one of the most beautiful sunrises just outside my window. Beautiful tints of reds and oranges through the bare limbs of the trees and a layer of frost glittering on the ground.   Often I don't get up early enough to enjoy them. Mars and I have our own sort of schedules, him usually being the early riser and me being the night owl will rise a bit later.  Every once in awhile, for no apparent reason, things "change" a little as they did this morning and our situations reverse.  So I sit here in the early morning light. the smell of fresh coffee brewing and watch the beginning of a beautiful December day.

      ~~~~~~  Hey ... I'm Just Sayin'  ...  ~~~~~~

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Change (My Christmas Wish)

This Christmas season I would like for us each to think about those who are so much less fortunate than we are.  No matter how small the gesture, we can ALL do something to help ease the sadness, despair and loneliness that touches another person less fortunate than we are.

Each of us, no matter our situation CAN touch another person's life.

      ~~~~~~  Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ... ~~~~~~

Monday, December 12, 2011

Lighten Up, It's Christmas!!

Can you believe that Christmas is now LESS that two weeks away??  With all the hustle and bustle that goes in in many homes and all around town it seems that sometimes nerves can get frayed and things taken just a little bit to seriously.
  So take a deep breath and take a couple of minutes (well 2:37) to listen to this. One of my favorite Christmas(y) songs!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Troublesome Times

Prepping has come a long way in the past two - three years.  When many of us first started in this "movement" prepping was an unfamiliar term. It was misunderstood and those of us who were into it were pretty much looked upon as a bit "odd".  When you tried to talk to others about what you were doing you were most likely met with a blank stare or a rolling of the eyes as if to say "What a nut job!"  Funny how things change in the face of  a depression some would say is as bad or possibly worse than the Great Depression in the 1930's.

It seems that prepping has now become mainstream.  Heck there are even television shows about preparedness and survival. On the local radio stations you now hear commercials for storeable foods and "survival seed vaults".   Even FEMA  warns us that we should be prepared for emergencies.  They tell us we should all have storeable food put away, water stored, and has even put out a list of things you should have on hand just in case of an emergency. I found this one especially informative. 

Folks, we are in some troublesome times.  On one hand you have all this mainstream attention to being prepared and on the other hand you have now all become potential domestic terrorists. You didn't know that?
The FBI ,in August of this year, issued a bulletin to Military Surplus Stores which included the buying bulk supplies of MRE's and even using cash to make purchases as possible terrorist activity which should be reported to authorities. Think I'm kidding?  Read this FBI Bulletin .  

And now I have come across this.  The following is a quote from Stewart Rhodes, of OathKeepers   “A fellow veteran contacted me concerning a new and disturbing development. He had been utilizing a Mormon cannery near his home to purchase bulk food supplies. The man that manages the facility related to him that federal agents had visited the facility and demanded a list of individuals that had been purchasing bulk food. The manager informed the agents that the facility kept no such records and that all transactions were conducted on a cash-and-carry basis."   

Think about that.  Think about the implications. How is it that buying foods to help your family survive in these times that many of us know are coming?  Are we now targets because we choose to prepare for uncertain times?  Terrorists?  How did this happen?  How did we come so far down this tyrannical road? We are now seeing the beginning of what some of us have seen coming for a long time.  And it seems to me that the "powers that be" are starting to worry about those of us who have chosen this prepping lifestyle. Those of us who have made a decision to live more independently and choose to care for ourselves and our families rather than depend on our government to do it for us. Now we are being considered potential terrorists for these actions. 

The growth of the prepper movement into the mainstream seems to have become large enough to make "them" understand that we KNOW that things are bad and bound to get worse.  It also seems to me that they are now worried about the fact that we DO know.  Please read this article that came out just this week.  Can you see the potential for disaster? 
      ~~~~~~  Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ...  ~~~~~~

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hillbilly Pie

Every year around this time I get the urge to bake. Cookies, pies, fudge, cakes.  After spending the summer trying everything in my power NOT to cook in the house because of the heat it's wonderful to be able to fire up the oven and bake old stand by's and to try new things. I've already made a few batches of my favorite cookies and have taken them to the neighbors. Of course I had to make another batch for us to enjoy!  I was looking around for a new recipe the other day, trying to find one that I had the ingredients on hand for and found this one. I wasn't sure if we would even like it because it sounded a little strange at first.  I'm sure glad I did though because this one is a keeper! 

               Hillbilly Pie


    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    1/3 cup white sugar
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    1 unbaked 9 inch deep dish pie crust (I made two regular 9" instead)
    3 eggs, beaten
    1 cup corn syrup
    1 cup brown sugar, packed
    2 tablespoons butter, softened
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    1 1/2 cups rolled oats


    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
    Combine the cream cheese, white sugar, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract in a bowl and blend until creamy. Spread the mixture into the bottom of the pie crust. Whisk together the eggs, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, flour, and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract in a separate bowl until combined; stir in the rolled oats. Pour the mixture over the cream cheese layer in the pie crust.
    Bake in preheated oven until center is set, about 60 minutes. Allow to cool before serving. 

This recipe says that it will make one 9" deep dish pie.  Well I don't have a deep dish pan so I ended up making two regular pies instead. They really turned out great. Kind of like a pecan pie without the pecans.  So if you are looking for something a little different and want to try something you probably have never tried before I think you might like it.  You can see from the picture that my oven bakes a bit unevenly.  It's one of those things that you just have to get used to. I have to move things around about halfway through the cook time (if I remember it).
      ~~~~~~  Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ... ~~~~~~

Sunday, December 4, 2011

December Has Arrived

It seems the weather has turned the corner on into winter here.  I suppose that shouldn't surprise me as it IS the first week of  December.  I still find that I have to occasionally have to remind myself that I now live in a place that, although mild, has distinct seasons.  It's been chilly and wet here the past few days and I've found myself hanging out in the house and drinking hot beverages and doing some baking.  On today's agenda is another batch of bread.  I've got a new pie recipe I'll share with you later this week.  I figured that two recipe's in a row wouldn't be the right thing to do. Especially since my postings are spread a bit thin lately. 

Mars has pretty much completed what he can do around here to winterize the place. There is still the window air conditioner unit to contend with but that's just a minor thing.  The well house is insulated, all the water pipes are wrapped, and the RV has been skirted with the older tin from the barn. We will be on the lookout for some paint to "pretty" it up with but for now it serves its purpose.The water hoses, yard furniture and various things around the yard are all in the barn and the rabbits have been moved in there as well.

I've put away most all of our summer clothes and exchanged them for our winter ones. The only things I can't find are my good gloves and those awesome wrist-warmers that my friend Mushroom made for me last year. I'm still searching for those but at this point I'm not sure where else to look. <sigh>  From the looks of the forecast for this coming week I better hustle up and figure out just where I might have put them.  We are looking at highs in the low 40's during the day and down in the low 20's at night. 

Now I know that for you guys up north this isn't really all that cold but just to give you guys an idea of what type of temperatures I'm accustomed to dealing with this time of year the forecast down in Texas is calling for the 60's during the day and in the mid 40's at night and that's only because they are having a bit of rain moving thru the area!  I am really happy to hear that some of my Texas buddies are actually getting some of that wet stuff.  Heaven knows they need all they can get down there. 
      ~~~~~~  Hey ... I'm Just Sayin'  ...  ~~~~~~

Thursday, December 1, 2011

No Bake Peanut Butter Pie

Oh Boy do I have an awesome recipe to share with you!  This is one of those super easy ones that whips up in no time flat and will have people begging for the recipe. It literally melts in your mouth.
  "And if that ain't true, then grits ain't groceries!"

No Bake Peanut Butter Pie
(makes 2- 9" pies)


    1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
    1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
    1 cup peanut butter
    1 cup milk
    1 (16 ounce) package frozen whipped topping, thawed
    2 (9 inch) oreo cookie crusts (graham cracker crusts are awesome too)
    Beat together cream cheese and confectioners' sugar. Mix in peanut butter and milk. Beat until smooth. Fold in whipped topping.
    Spoon into two 9"  pie shells; cover, and freeze until firm. For the best results freeze overnight. 

If you want, top with whipped cream and sprinkle crushed  oreo's  on top.  

This also works well using low-fat cream cheese and "lite" whipped topping. 

Take this to your Christmas Party and watch it disappear! 
      ~~~~~~~  Hey ... I'm Just Sayin' ...  ~~~~~~