Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmastide Home Tour 2013

Dearest Readers,

Won't you come inside my cozy little home and share the blessings of Christmastide....




May the good Lord look upon you and all those you love this Christmas!

Yours so kindredly,
Shan

Saturday, December 14, 2013

All is Merry and Bright.....





Dearest Readers,

Just popping in to say that I will be offering a Christmastide Home Tour on December 18th!  I hope you will join me for a cup of cheer and a peek inside my beloved Honey Hill...



Yours so kindredly,
Shan




P.S.  Please excuse my dust...I am redecorating my dear little blog too!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Autumntide Afternoon...

 
Dearest Readers,
 
My, my, it has been a long time since I have stopped by for a visit with you. We have been kept busy with so many diversions and happenings here on our little homestead.  Now that Autumntide is upon us, the pace of life is slowing and it is time to put away the busy-as-bees days of Summer.
 
The light is now changing...the afternoons bathe themselves in golden hues...dappled light invites itself inside, making for pleasant company.  No matter what the chore, it is always more enjoyable in the sunshine as it sparkles throughout the house....
 

The kerosene lamps are gathered, chimneys washed and polished clean, the bowls filled and wicks trimmed in anticipation of cozy evenings spent before the fire...reading by lamplight...snow swirling...wind howling....tucked under a favorite quilt....

The larder is full and the root cellar is bursting....time to take stock of the bounty that will bless us throughout the long Winter....
 
Why even the wee mice take the time to count their blessings...
 
 
What a lovely sight...a full pantry to delight tiny tummies in the coming months...
 


Now that Autumntide has made an appearance, it is time to slow down and savor the season.  I for one, welcome the respite and look forward to the quiet days ahead.

Yours so kindredly,
Shan

P.S.  Thank you from the very bottom of my heart for the lovely words and well wishes sent during our first steps as Army Parents.  Your kindness made the transition a little bit easier and I am happy to report that our Soldier Boy is thriving at his first duty station!  We are indeed Army Strong!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Our Soldier Boy....

 
Dearest Readers,
 
We have been receiving letters from our Soldier Boy!  He is entering his 4th week of Basic Training and we now have an address where we can send him letters.  We also may send care packages as long as they contain only approved items...they are not very exciting, just hygiene and writing items, but it is so nice to be able to connect with our boy.
 
We received a 25 minute phone call on Monday...we had not heard from him, by phone, since the end of May.  You can be sure that we were smiling ear to ear and I did shed a tear or two after we hung up the telephone. 
 
I have set up a little "Post Office" downstairs in my craft room so that I have all the supplies needed to send out letters and packages. I am trying to have mail go out every other day so that he is hearing from home consistently. 
 
I would love to hear from any of my lovely Readers that have had a loved one serve in the Military, especially one of their sons or daughters.  This is a whole new experience for me and I feel a little lost at times.
 
Yours kindredly,
Shan
 


Monday, June 17, 2013

Summertime, and the living is easy.....


Dearest Readers,

My how this summer is flying by!  We have been tending to our home and garden, not to mention chickens, the greenhouse and all the other daily chores with a quiet purpose...taking time at the end of the day to take in all the goodness and beauty that surrounds us. 

Today it is partly sunny with a chance for rain...always a blessing here in the foothills, but especially welcoming with all the terrible fires that rage around our beautiful state.  We ourselves were once so affected, please know that we keep all our dear neighbors in our thoughts and prayers.


I can hear the sound of a lonely train whistle in the distance along with my chickens sweetly clucking...I just love having the windows open, the breeze and sunlight inviting themselves to visit, if only for awhile.

 
Just puttering today, spending time in the kitchen, the laundry is churning, I have a few bills to pay and want to head out to the greenhouse and garden and take a look at how things are growing.  I love days when I have nowhere to go, just staying home and enjoying the ease of summertime.
 
 
We will have leftovers from our Father's Day meal for our supper as we had a bounty of BBQ chicken, so now it will just be a matter of making a side dish and a small salad and dinner will be on the table...easy peasy lemon squeezy!  Father's Day was lovely, but Dearest was hoping (as we all were) to get a telephone call from our youngest Darling Boy (who is away at Basic Training for the Army).  Alas, the evening concluded with nary a ring.  Our boy...we miss him so.....
 
 
Well, my sweet readers, you must excuse me, I hear Dearest in the kitchen having a late lunch and I think that I will join him.
 
I hope to get around and visit all my lovely friends here in our little internet world. You are all so generous to share your ideas, thoughts and lifestyles. I sit in awe, just in awe, of all that you accomplish and hope to accomplish...you inspire me...truly.
 
As always, I am kindredly yours,
Shan





Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Still Here.....




Dearest Readers,

Goodness gracious, I am back to posting here on my little blog!  I was away far too long, but our family has been going through some changes, and I wanted to keep my priorities in the right place as we journeyed through these ups and downs.

First and foremost, our youngest Darling Boy joined the U.S. Army!  He has wanted to become a soldier as far back as I can remember, so we were only a little shell-shocked when he took the steps to make his dream come true.  He moved home for a short while, giving away most of his possessions, boxing his treasures, and spending as much time as possible with us before leaving for Basic Training.  We all miss him terribly, but we know that this is his heart, his choice.  We also have faith that he is in our Father's keeping.  You might guess that I have shed a tear or two, and you would be right....tissues are close by and used at the oddest of times. 

We lost our beloved dog, Shiloh, in April...it was so sudden and unexpected.  Our vet was befuddled and completely at a loss to explain her passing.  We buried her in her favorite digging spot, wrapping her in her doggy blanket, telling tales of her antics, and crying.

I still think I hear her little dog tags tinkling...and for a moment I say her name...then I remember.

Our oldest Darling Boy flew to Iceland and our Darling Girl traveled to Florida in the month of April and we made four trips to our far-flung airport.  We have decided that it is much more fun to go to the airport when you are the one getting on the plane and have vowed that the next time we go we shall have suitcases in hand!

Our Darling Girl graduated last week with her Master's Degree in Pediatric Nursing!  The graduation ceremony was very lovely, albeit long, and we had a nice celebration at our favorite restaurant complete with decadent cheesecake for dessert. It was bittersweet, as we were one shy of our full family, now that our youngest is serving his country and not able to attend.

The garden and outside chores have called our names and we have begun to get things in order...it was such a late spring that I have not even put out my tomatoes yet.  I will have to see what the rest of the week brings and then hopefully, have everything planted by the first of June. 

Well, my faithful and long suffering readers, I have many and varied posts swirling in my mind that I wish to share with you: pantry/food storage, cooking with my solar oven, what is happening in the greenhouse, a new chicken coop, and of course, Victorian decorating! I hope you will check back often as I am energized with new vim and vigor and will endeavor to make your visits worthwhile.

I have missed you all so very much...thank you for your patience.

Yours most kindredly,
Shan

Monday, March 4, 2013

Providing From the Pantry....Dry Storage


Dearest Readers,

With the cost of feeding your family on the rise, I wanted to share another way that you can continue Providing Meals from Your Pantry....dry food storage.

What am I talking about you ask?  Well, I am referring to all the items you keep in your pantry that neither need to be frozen, refrigerated or come already vacuum sealed in cans or jars.  I am speaking of foodstuffs such as rice, powdered milk, chocolate chips, dehydrated or freeze-dried fruits and vegetables, etc., etc.......

Usually these items expire fairly quickly once the store-bought package is opened.  Even those items designed for long-term food storage have a limited shelf life once the container has been breached.  So just what is a frugal, self-reliant homekeeper to do?

Well....I just grab my canning jars, seals and rings and use my handy-dandy FoodSaver and the Jar Attachment to preserve my dry storage....it is easy, peasy, lemon squeezy! (You can purchase a FoodSaver at your local discount store or you might try looking on Craigslist or Ebay for a used FoodSaver at a reasonable price.  I bought my Jar Attachment directly from FoodSaver.)

 
I purchased this large bucket of dehydrated potato shreds....they are delicious once re-hydrated and I use them in recipes and as good ol' hash browns when I am serving a farm breakfast or a delicious "turn-around supper"...
 
 
I find that the wide-mouth jars are the easiest to use..... 
 
 
It doesn't take long for the jars to seal.....
 
 
Sparkling jars ready for the pantry....a wise investment that will feed my family for a long while....
 
If you are interested in the myriad of options regarding dry storage...using your FoodSaver or oxygen absorbers for sealing powdery items, I want to recommend that you take a few moments and visit my favorite source here....this gentleman has taken the time to put up over 60 different short videos about preserving dry foods for longer storage.  Be still my heart!
 
Yours so kindredly,
Shan
 
Please remember, you cannot substitute dry storage for items that require water or pressure canning!
Always be safe rather than sorry when it comes to the safety of the foods that you store.
 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Clean Slate......

 
Dearest Readers,
 
Whew!  I have finally finished putting away the Christmastide decorations and have put my beloved Honey Hill back in good and proper order.  What a wonderful feeling to have a clean slate all ready to be filled with various and sundry pleasantries in this new year of 2013!
 
It has started off rather cold this January and much time and energy has been put forth to keep both the animals and plants (in the greenhouse) happy and warm.  Not to mention, the comforts required to keep body and soul agreeable. However, it is going to be in the upper 50's today and the sun's warmth is a welcome respite indeed.  I shall fling open the curtains and let the sunshine chase away the shadows!
 
Dearest and I plan an outing with our Darling Girl tomorrow and our looking forward to seeing her as we have kept our distance these last two weeks.  We have both been passing around some type of bug...not quite the flu...but perhaps it is a distant cousin, and thought it best to keep it to ourselves.We shall visit the Brass Armadillo, one of our favorite places, and spend an enjoyable day scouring its shelves for a bit or a bob to bring home...doubtless entertainment assured.
 
I have been obsessed looking over my many gardening books and seed catalogs and will be ready to place my order very soon.  I am thinking I shall try to grow some determinate tomatoes for canning, along with some indeterminate tomatoes for summer eating...any advice from a learned gardener would be most welcome. Of course, I will plant the usual..carrots, peas, beans, potatoes, onions, cucumbers, and pumpkins.  I also have raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and grapes.  All in all, I think it will be a very well rounded garden and I am praying that we will have abundant rainfall this year.
 
My sewing basket is filled with aprons for both myself and my Darling Girl, a very cute fleece vest pattern and I want to make a few faux shades for the upstairs bathroom.  On the crafting end of things, I have some beading of necklaces and pins, embroidery, and I am still learning how to crochet.
 
The fruit cellar has been re-orgainzed and cleaned and I have need of a few more lights which Dearest has graciously offered to install.  I bought a Foodsaver, with the jar sealing attachment, and I am excited to be able to successfully store the drygoods that I purchase in bulk.  I have become much more attuned to the need for food preservation and I am trying to learn as many techniques as possible.  I do not want to sound like Chicken Little, but should there be an event that causes a crisis in our lives, I want to be able to take care of those around me, and a nice warm meal would be a good way to start.
 
My, oh my, what a wonderful affair this idea of a clean slate brings!  A whole year with no mistakes in it!  I hope that you will fill yours, dear reader, full to over-flowing with blessings and delight.
 
Ever so kindredly,
Shan